Peggy Lowe

Harvest Network Analyst

Peggy Lowe joined Harvest Public Media in 2011, returning to the Midwest after 22 years as a journalist in Denver and Southern California. Most recently she was at The Orange County Register, where she was a multimedia producer and writer. In Denver she worked for The Associated Press, The Denver Post and the late, great Rocky Mountain News. She was on the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of Columbine. Peggy was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan in 2008-09. She is from O'Neill, the Irish Capital of Nebraska, and now lives in Kansas City. Based at KCUR, Peggy is the analyst for The Harvest Network and often reports for Harvest Public Media.

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Harvest Public Media
7:44 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Garden City, Kan. Considered Model Of Success For Immigrant Influx

Two students in a “newcomer” class at Florence Wilson Elementary School in Garden City, Kan.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

Sister Janice Thome’s office is a 2003 brown Ford Focus with a backseat piled high with paperwork and a prayer book.

Thome puts 125,000 miles a year on this car, picking up boxes from the food pantry, finding a mattress for a newcomer, delivering a sick soul to a doctor’s appointment. All the while, she fields emergency calls on her flip phone, responding to her mission to serve the poor of Garden City, out on the plains of southwest Kansas.

This day, Thome is teaching her teen parenting class at the alternative high school.

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Cops & Crime
1:14 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

KC Democrat Named To Reinvestigate Maryville Rape Case

Jean Peters Baker, Jackson County prosecutor, was named Monday to launch another investigation into a controversial rape case in Maryville, Mo.

Jean Peters Baker, the Jackson County prosecutor, was named Monday to launch a second investigation into a controversial rape case in Maryville, Mo.

Baker, a Democrat and former state legislator from Kansas City, Mo., was chosen for the high-profile job after online outrage focused on the case of Daisy Coleman, a then-14-year-old Maryville girl who says she was raped by a 17-year-old boy in January 2012.

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Around the Nation
4:54 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Nearly Two Years Later, A Controversial Rape Case Is Reviewed

Daisy Coleman, now 16, looks at trophies and other awards she's won for beauty pageants, dancing and sports. She has attempted suicide at least twice since waking up in freezing temperatures on her doorstep.
Peggy Lowe KCUR

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 8:55 pm

Nearly two years after allegations of a sexual assault rocked a small Missouri town, the case may be reopened.

A county prosecutor in Maryville, Mo., has requested that an independent attorney look at accusations of rape and other charges against two former high school athletes — despite his earlier decision to drop the case.

The Internet activist group Anonymous, which crusaded for another high-profile rape case, is taking credit for this turnaround.

The Events

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Maryville Rape Case
7:39 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Maryville Rape Prosecutor Contradicts Earlier Statement

Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

A Missouri county prosecutor under fire for dropping charges in a controversial rape case is blaming the failure on the victims’ refusal to testify, contradicting an earlier statement.

Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice issued a press release Tuesday, defending his actions on insufficient evidence because “the state's witnesses refused to cooperate and invoked their Fifth Amendment privilege to not testify.”

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Crime
10:30 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Rape Case Outrage Focuses On Maryville

Daisy Coleman poses in her bedroom next to her dresser adorned with trophies and ribbons won in beauty pageants, dance and sports.
Credit Peggy Lowe/KCUR

Online outrage is focusing on a central Missouri town and its top law enforcement officers after news of the alleged rape of two teenage girls garnered national attention.

As first reported by KCUR, a 17-year-old football player, Matthew Barnett, was charged with raping Daisy Coleman, 14, after a drunken night at the Barnett home in January 2012. Another boy, Jordan Zech, then 17, was also charged in the case, accused of videotaping Barnett and Coleman on his iPhone.

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Harvest Public Media
7:56 am
Thu August 22, 2013

How Howard Buffett Is Helping Feed The World

Admitting he’s a boy who loves big toys, Howard Buffett stands on his John Deere tractor on his Arizona research farm.
Credit Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Five years ago, Howard G. Buffett was at a meeting of an international food aid agency when he was told that feeding the millions of starving people in Africa was simple.

Just give them better seeds, someone said.

That advice might work on some philanthropists. But Buffett, son of billionaire Warren Buffett, happens to be an Illinois farmer.

“This guy was explaining to me how to farm and he’d never been on a farm in his life,” he said. “So it really kind of irritated me. I came home and said, ‘OK, I’m going to have data to show these guys.’”

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Harvest Public Media
7:50 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Tyson Foods Suspends Use Of Controversial Drug

A pen at a feedlot in central Kansas that houses 30,000 cattle. Feedlots are where cattle are “finished” before slaughter.
Credit Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Tyson Foods, Inc., announced this week that it would soon suspend purchases of cattle that had been treated with a controversial drug, citing animal welfare concerns.

But many in the industry wonder if the real reason is not about cattle, but rather the battle for sales in other countries, where using drugs for meat production is banned.

“I really do think this is more a marketing ploy from Tyson to raise some awareness so they can garner some export business from our overseas export partners,” said Dan Norcini, an independent commodities broker.

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The Salt
4:45 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Did Tyson Ban Doping Cows With Zilmax To Boost Foreign Sales?

A pen at a feedlot in central Kansas that houses 30,000 cattle. Feedlots are where cattle are "finished" before slaughter, often with the use of growth-promoting drugs like zilpaterol.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 5:36 pm

Tyson Foods Inc. announced this week that it would soon suspend purchases of cattle that had been treated with a controversial drug, citing animal welfare concerns.

But many in the industry wonder if the real reason is the battle for sales in other countries, where certain drugs that make livestock grow faster are banned.

"I really do think this is more of a marketing ploy from Tyson to raise some awareness so they can garner some export business from our overseas export partners," says Dan Norcini, an independent commodities broker.

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Up to Date
10:43 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Looking At The Maryville Rape Case

(From right) Melinda Coleman and two of her children, Daisy, 16, and Tristin, 14, in their home in Auburn, Mo.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Cases involving teen sexual assault have been on the national radar lately, and one town in the Kansas City area is under that microscope. 

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Crime
8:28 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Sexual Assault In Maryville: A Timeline

Daisy Coleman, 16, adjusts a handwritten note on her bedroom mirror. On the dresser are the many trophies and crowns she has won in local beauty pageants.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Read our full investigative report on this story here.

January 8, 2012

1 a.m. — Daisy Coleman, 14, and a 13-year-old girlfriend sneak out of the Coleman’s home after texting with Matthew Barnett, 17. They go through a basement window at the Barnett home and begin drinking out of what is referred to as the “bitch cup.” Including Barnett, present were Nick Groumoutis, Cole Forney, Jordan Zech and a minor boy.

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Crime
6:26 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Why Was The Maryville Rape Case Dropped?

Daisy Coleman, 16, in the family’s weight room. Behind her is her younger brother, Tristin, 14. Her late father was a champion bodybuilder.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

  

The first thing Daisy Coleman remembers is her surprise that she was still alive.

“I was just like, I thought I was dead at first,” she said.

An incoherent Coleman, then 14, crawled to the front door of her family’s home in Maryville, Mo. It was a Sunday morning, Jan. 8, 2012, 5 a.m. Her younger brother, Tristin, and mother, Melinda, heard a thumping and at first thought it was their dogs trying to come in.

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Business & Tech
9:32 am
Fri June 28, 2013

RIP Kansas City Board Of Trade

Credit goatling / Flickr--Creative Commons

The open pit trading of winter wheat at the Kansas City Board of Trade has quieted down during its 157 year history, not quite silenced from its loud, rowdy past, when one journalist wrote that traders were “yelling as if a panther were at them.”

But on Friday (June 28) it will go silent, with the final ring of the trading day at 1:15 p.m. Central time, ending an era when this city put its name on a crop that became the crucial piece of our daily bread.

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Health
11:48 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Mark Bittman Visits KC, Offers Alternatives To 'Big Food'

Popular food writer Mark Bittman took the pulpit at the Unity Temple in Kansas City Thursday night, preaching his gospel of progressive food policy and offering denunciations of what he calls “Big Food.”

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Harvest Public Media
8:09 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Farmers Face 'Weather Whiplash' With Floods, Drought

The motorized growl from an idling John Deere tractor drowned out the sounds of nature on a recent morning on Chris Webber’s central Missouri family farm.

As he checked the 40 acres of muddy field he wanted to plant that day, Webber worried about getting more rain, even as he worried about the lack of it.

“The drought is over at the moment,” he said, “but in Missouri, we tend to say that in 10 days or two weeks, we can be in a drought again. That’s how fast it can get back to dry.”

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The Salt
5:07 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

As Drought Turns To Flood, Farmers Get 'Weather Whiplash'

A central Illinois farmer plants corn seed into the evening in Farmingdale, Ill.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 5:20 pm

As Chris Webber checked the 40 acres of muddy field he wanted to plant on a recent morning, he worried about getting more rain, even as he worried about the lack of it.

"The drought is over at the moment," he says. "But in Missouri, we tend to say that in 10 days or two weeks, we can be in a drought again. That's how fast it can get back to dry."

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The Salt
2:07 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Will Chinese Firm Bring Home The Bacon With Smithfield Deal?

Smithfield Foods, makers of ham products under a variety of brand names, is being purchased by Chinese food maker Shuanghui International for $4.72 billion.
AP

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 8:38 am

There were questions Wednesday about whether U.S. regulators will approve the takeover of Smithfield Foods Inc., the company that sells all-American hams, hot dogs and bacon, by China's Shuanghui International.

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The Salt
4:19 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Oprah Winfrey's Latest Venture Is Farming In Hawaii

The June issue of The Oprah Magazine includes an article with details on Oprah Winfrey's new farm in Hawaii.
The Oprah Magazine

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 2:48 pm

The local food movement has a powerful new poster girl.

More glowing than American Gothic, Oprah Winfrey and her pal, Bob Greene, appear on the cover of the June issue of The Oprah Magazine, standing in what looks to be a field of kale.

"Oprah's New Farm!" reads the headline splashed across the pair's checkered shirts. "How She's Growing Healthier — and You Can Too."

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Around the Nation
2:43 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

In Missouri, Days Of Drought Send Caretakers To One 'Big Tree'

This bur oak, called "The Big Tree" by Missouri locals, has been around for centuries. When a drought hit the state last year, the community came together to offer help and water for the iconic tree.
Courtesy of Christopher Starbuck

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 9:52 am

The devastating drought in the Midwest last summer is a story often told by the numbers, with statistics on large crop failures, days without rain and thousands of parched acres.

This story is also about a tree — a bur oak in rural Columbia, Mo., that everyone calls "The Big Tree." Although it's survived all kinds of punishments during its 350 years on the prairie, last year's record drought was especially tough.

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Plaza Fire
9:17 am
Fri March 15, 2013

KC Fire Dept. Reverses Protocol For Gas Leaks After JJ’s Explosion

The site of JJ's after the explosion.
Elana Gordon KCUR

The Kansas City Fire Department on Thursday made a major change in the way it responds to gas leaks, after it was highly questioned for its response to the JJ’s restaurant explosion. 

In what he said will be his final statement on the event, Fire Chief Paul Berardi announced that the department will stay on the scene of any gas leak until the situation posing a risk is resolved.  The department will also begin sending a battalion chief and a fire unit with monitoring equipment to all gas leak calls.

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Plaza Fire
10:05 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Fire Department Releases Report On JJ's Explosion

Elana Gordon KCUR

JJ’s restaurant was leveled by an unintentional explosion that probably was ignited by pilot lights in the kitchen, thanks to the nick in the natural gas line outside the building, according to a report released by the Kansas City Fire Department on Wednesday.

 

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Plaza Fire
6:28 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Questions Linger About Gas Company's Evacuation At JJ's

The site of the former JJ's restaurant.
Elana Gordon KCUR

As several investigations continue into the explosion of JJ’s Restaurant, the role Missouri Gas Energy played in its response to the emergency is being questioned by experts and a witness who say the utility didn’t follow industry standards or its own advice.

Although its own safety instructions for gas leaks to its customers call for evacuating the premises immediately, MGE didn’t do that at the Feb. 19 incident. In fact, the MGE workers on the scene didn’t suggest that people leave the popular wine bar until 51 minutes after the initial 911 call.

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Agriculture
9:12 pm
Sun February 24, 2013

Dairy Settlement Doesn't Deliver Reform

Dairy cows on a Missouri farm are fed early one December morning.
Credit Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

When a group of small farmers in the southeastern U.S. banded together to sue a powerful dairy cooperative a few years ago, many hoped that the case would bring big changes to the milk industry.

But the recent settlement of the case involving Kansas City-based Dairy Farmers of America Inc., resulted in little long-term reform, even as the farmers received some monetary damages.

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Central Standard
10:01 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Local Butchers in KC

Visitors who walk in to The Local Pig, 2618 Guinotte Ave., in Kansas City are greeted by this mural, which explains exactly what they are about to buy.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media and KCUR

The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. Professions once so famous that they made it into nursery rhymes, but how does modern commerce accommodate traditional business? Butchers and meat shops are still present in town, but how has the independent butcher shop changed with meat preparation moved into grocery stores and other superstores?


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Fire
4:09 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

'Miraculous': Employees Cleared Restaurant Of Patrons Before Blast

The hull of JJ's restaurant on Wednesday afternoon.
Elana Gordon KCUR

The best eye-witnesses to the explosion at JJ’s yesterday were also the people who were in the most danger – the restaurant’s workers. Bartenders, busboys, a hostess and others were the last ones out of that burning building.

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The Salt
2:33 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Farmers And Their Cooperative Settle Lawsuit On Fixing The Price Of Milk

This 5-foot plexiglass piece of art resembling a freshly poured glass of milk sits near the door at Dairy Farmers of America headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:01 am

Farmers who had hoped to get some answers on why prices for their raw milk went into free fall a decade ago were disappointed Tuesday by the settlement of a case accusing Dairy Farmers of America Inc. of creating a milk monopoly in the Southeast.

Dairy farmers and industry observers had hoped for their day in court after years of delays in the large class-action suit. But the day before the trial was to start in federal court in Tennessee, DFA announced a $158.6 million deal, saying it didn't want to risk going to trial.

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Agriculture
4:45 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Dairy Farmers Of America Settles Price-Fixing Suit

This five-foot plexiglass piece of art, resembling a freshly poured glass of milk, sits near the door to the headquarters of the Dairy Farmers of America, in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Dairy Farmers of America settled an anti-trust lawsuit Tuesday for $158.6 million, ending a long-running case that accused the country’s largest dairy cooperative of creating a monopoly in the Southeast, driving prices down for its own farmers and forcing many out of business.

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Government
5:28 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Anti-Tax Activist Norquist Lauds Kansas Plan

Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist (left), president of Americans for Tax Reform, talks to state Rep. Mario Goico, a Wichita Republican, after speaking to the Kansas Business Coalition for Immigration Reform in Topeka.
Credit Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s call in his State of the State speech for phasing out the state income tax had a high-profile advocate in the audience.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, a Washington, D.C.-based anti-tax group, met with Brownback and House and Senate leadership before the speech in Topeka Tuesday night.

Kansas could be a leader in the zero income tax policy fight, Norquist said, thanks to the governor, as well as the House and Senate, committed to “reforming some of the mistakes of the last several decades.”

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America's Big Beef
7:42 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Beef Checkoff Feud Exposes Divide Within Cattle Industry

Allen Berry co-owns a cow-calf operation with his wife near Trenton, Mo. Like all other cow-calf operators, Berry pays into a fund that benefits the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board for each animal sold.
Credit Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

When Allen Berry brought his 11 yearlings to the Green City Livestock Market in central Missouri last month, he paid into a fund that at first blush, seems a bargain.

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America's Big Beef
2:15 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Public Research For Private Interests

Dr. Dan Thomson, a Kansas State veterinary professor and director of the Beef Cattle Institute, holds a "Beef Quality Assurance" training at the Beef Fest in Emporia, Kan., in August.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

Agricultural colleges in the top five beef-producing states have become quasi-arms of the cattle industry, selling science to corporate bidders who set the research agenda with their dollars.

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My Farm Roots
8:47 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Making A Mark All His Own

Despite working full time as a mechanical engineer, 25-year-old Nolan Strawder is rehabbing his family's farm in his spare time.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

When a guy is a mechanical engineer at a nuclear power plant, you figure he puts in a pretty good day of work.

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