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.

Ways To Connect

(Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

  It was a chant from a different era.

“ERA now! ERA now! ERA now!”

As much as it sounded straight out of the past, the rallying cry was used Tuesday as a coalition of women’s groups marched to the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City on Equal Pay Day, the day marking how far into a new year it takes a woman to earn what a man took home last year.

(Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

State efforts to label genetically-modified food would be outlawed under a bill unveiled by a Kansas congressman Wednesday – a plan immediately criticized as a “legislative Hail Mary” that won’t pass.

The bill by Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Wichita, would also bar the Food and Drug Administration from labeling efforts, a move highly popular with consumers, and allow so-called “natural” foods to contain bio-engineered ingredients.  

Gay couples in Missouri who were married in other states may still file their taxes jointly.

On Friday, a judge denied a conservative group in its attempt to immediately bar same-sex couples from filing their state tax returns together, a right granted by Gov. Jay Nixon’s executive order issued last year.

Kyle Piccola of PROMO, a state gay rights group, said he wasn’t surprised by the ruling.

A conservative Missouri group on Wednesday attempted to put a quick stop to same-sex couples’ right to file joint tax returns, saying it violates the state’s ban on gay marriage.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James will deliver his third State of the City address today, focusing on education, plans for a new airport and more gun control.

James will make the annual speech at Park Hill High School, 7701 NW Barry Road, beginning at 10:30 a.m., followed by a student town hall meeting moderated by KCPT’s Nick Haines.

“Some of the long-term issues we’re talking about will be crime. We’ll be talking about the airport. We’ll be talking about the street car system and education in the city,” said Joni Wickham, a city spokeswoman.

  The Hickman Mills school district in Kansas City, Mo., is battling back from a critical state audit that found financial and management issues. Now the next step for the district is winning back its full accreditation – which slipped to provisional status last year. Hickman Mills Board Vice President, Dan Osman, says they have a plan.

Missouri Gas Energy failed to act urgently to protect the lives of people in JJ’s Restaurant last year, the Missouri Public Service Commission ruled Thursday.

The gas company violated its own safety rules that lead to an explosion that killed one woman and injured more than a dozen others and it should be fined, the 125-page report said.

When the Kansas Board of Regents announced a new, broad policy on social media for faculty and staff in mid-December, it didn’t take long to hear the reaction.

That is the nature, after all, of Facebook and Twitter.

“Unbelievably broad and vague set of policies,” Burdett Loomis, a University of Kansas political science professor, wrote in a Facebook post. “Perfect example of using a nuclear weapon to destroy a gnat of a pseudo problem.”

The Kansas Board of Regents Wednesday denied a faculty group’s request that it suspend a controversial social media policy that has received national criticism as harming free speech.

Emporia State Professor Sheryl Lidzy, representing the Council of Faculty Senate Presidents, asked for the suspension, saying the plan could harm the hiring of top quality faculty and continue to generate negative publicity.

A 19-year-0ld Maryville man pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor count of child endangerment, dodging a rape charge and offering an apology in a case that attracted small-town acrimony and international attention.

Matthew Barnett, who appeared at the Nodaway County Courthouse with his parents, got a four month suspended sentence, two years probation, and was ordered to make $1,800 in restitution to his victim, Daisy Coleman, now 16.

On a quiet Sunday morning last fall, Paige Parkhurst remembers being awakened by her mother, who was crying.

A newspaper story about the night two years ago that Paige was assaulted and her friend Daisy Coleman was allegedly raped was going viral. She and her mother, Robin Bourland, talked about how they had already been through so much. The minor boy who admitted to having sex with Parkhurst had been convicted and sentenced through the juvenile justice system.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

A highly-anticipated decision is expected Thursday on a controversial rape case in Maryville, Mo.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Wednesday, two years to the day of the alleged assault, that she will announce the findings of her investigation in Maryville at 1:30 p.m.

Baker has not made any indication what her decision might be. She could refile charges against two boys that were dropped earlier, refuse to file any charges, or choose other legal claims.

Big companies made big news. Muddy fields made for major headaches. And a Farm Bill delay makes the list for the second consecutive year.

If you follow Harvest Public Media, you’ll be familiar with the top stories of 2013. Seems this year brought lots of national and international news – a far cry from our first days when we wrote mostly about issues in agriculture and food production.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

When the people from the drug company came out to visit Tyler Karney at Ordway Feedyard on Colorado’s eastern plains, he was a little skeptical.

They said their product, Zilmax, could put another 30 pounds on an animal in the last days before slaughter. Then he started blending it into the feed for the 6,500 head of Holsteins at this huge feedlot.

“We feed it the last 20 days of the feeding period and when you drive by, you can actually see a physical change in the animal,” Karney said. “They’re chest floor’s wider and just, a boxier animal. It’s kinda hard to believe.”

South African President Nelson Mandela was remembered as a freedom fighter and a forgiving man at a memorial service in Kansas City Monday night.

A local children’s choir sang the South African National Anthem at the event at the Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral as people offered prayers for the world leader who died this month at the age of 95.

Ester Holzendorf of Grandview, Mo., came to the service at Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church with her daughter.

South African expatriates' memories and a special version of their country’s national anthem sung by local children’s choirs will be part of a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Kansas City, Mo., Monday night.

The event at Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 415 W. 13th St., is set for 6:30 p.m.

The service will also mark the Day of Reconciliation, a public holiday in South Africa held every Dec. 16 to mark the end of apartheid.

Peggy Lowe: So what I'd like to talk to you about today, Mark, is just what we talked about the other day, which is: You had said you were in JJ's the night this all happened. Please tell me that story. 

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Not yet 9 a.m. on a warm fall day, freshmen Binh Hua and My Nguyen are in protective goggles, long hair pulled back, ready for their chemistry class in a Garden City Community College lab.

The teacher calls the class to order, calling the students “Busters,” short for “Broncbusters,” the college’s mascot and a reminder of this old West town’s history of raising cattle.

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.

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.

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

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.”

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.

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.’”

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.

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.

Looking At The Maryville Rape Case

Jul 15, 2013
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. 

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.

Why Was The Maryville Rape Case Dropped?

Jul 11, 2013
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.

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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