Peggy Lowe | KCUR

Peggy Lowe

Reporter

Peggy Lowe is a veteran reporter who covers two national efforts for KCUR — hub reporter for Marketplace, public media’s national business show, and an investigative producer with APM Reports. Before her return to the Midwest in 2011, she was a multimedia producer and writer at The Orange County Register in Southern California. Until 2005, she was in Denver, where she was a reporter for the late, great Rocky Mountain News, the Denver Post, KBCO and the Associated Press. Lowe was the Mike Wallace Fellow for Investigative Reporting at the University of Michigan in 2008-2009. 

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Courtesy Overland Park Historical Society

The Kansas City Star’s front page on December 7, 1997, made a big splash about the $500 million construction just starting in the southern metro area.  

“Sprint makes history with its headquarters,” the headline read, adding that it was “so big it will have its own ZIP code and power substation."

This week, two more headlines showed that the respective heydays for Sprint and the Star are now history, as Sprint lurches closer to a merger with a competitor and the Star announced the bankruptcy of its parent company.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

A Kansas City Police officer was using “reasonable” deadly force when he shot and killed 24-year-old Ryan Stokes, despite the fact that Stokes was unarmed and obeying another officer’s commands, a federal judge has ruled.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Clearing one of the last hurdles in a nearly two-year merger marathon, a federal judge on Tuesday ruled that Overland Park-based Sprint may complete its $26 billion deal with rival T-Mobile.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Not that he has a thing about his hometown football team and its quarterback, but don’t even think about asking Josh Weinstock to open his box of Mahomes Magic Crunch.

“I intend to keep that sealed ‘til the day I die,” Weinstock said. “If my grandchildren wanna open it one day, may they be cursed.”

A third shipment of the cereal was sent to Kansas City-area stores this week ahead of Super Bowl LIV. The new boxes were scheduled to be placed in stores Tuesday, said Tina Potthoff, Hy-Vee’s senior vice-president of communications.

File photo by Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3FM

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

Midwestern farmers are coming off a year of catastrophic flooding, high bankruptcies and billions in federal bailouts.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

A board member under fire for allegedly swindling an Indian tribe in Oklahoma. The organization’s $3 million Kansas City headquarters, bought and renovated just a few years ago, up for sale. The founder stepping away from day-to-day control. A CEO abruptly leaving after only a few months at the helm.

That’s the state of the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the world’s largest organization dedicated to promoting barbeque, which appears to be in turmoil more than three decades after its founding in 1986.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

In the months since last spring's catastrophic floods along the Missouri River, lifelong Holt County, Missouri, resident Tom Bullock has witnessed a lot of things he'd never seen.

Like, for instance, sheets of black asphalt in corn fields.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

The Interstate Crosscheck system, a controversial voter registration tracking program championed by former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, was labeled effectively “dead” after a legal agreement was announced Tuesday.  

As part of the settlement in a lawsuit brought last year by the ACLU of Kansas, Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab agreed to complete a series of information safeguards and issue an “acknowledgement of error.”

Courtesy Stacey Kelly

A Kansas woman who was sex trafficked as a minor and later convicted of felony sex crimes should not receive a pardon from Gov. Laura Kelly, a panel says.

Evert Nelson / The Topeka Capital-Journal

The foster kid is a 17-year-old boy who was kicked out of his home when he was 10, started using drugs by 13, and in five years is expected to be in prison or dead.

Kansas Department of Children and Families social workers check on him every day and there’s been some progress: He’s now in an independent living facility and he’s not using drugs anymore. But he still has many needs, including a coming heart transplant.

How can he be helped?

Evert Nelson / Topeka Capital-Journal

Parents of kids who are in the Kansas foster care system described it Saturday as chaotic, deceptive and traumatizing to children.

About two dozen people rallied on the steps of the statehouse in Topeka, calling on lawmakers to bring more accountability to the Kansas Department for Children and Families, an agency long under fire for losing kids and housing them in offices.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

The singer in a cover band was belting a hip-hop song about the party being underway on the lawn of the Sprint campus when CEO Michel Combes got on stage.

Combes told the Sprint employees gathered outside on a late June afternoon that they were celebrating the remodel of the company’s headquarters at 6200 Sprint Parkway. What he didn’t say was that the new building was missing one big thing: a Sprint logo.

Evert Nelson / The Topeka-Capital-Journal

From cries of heartbreak to a call for the prosecution of men who pay for sex with girls, Kansas lawmakers said the story of Hope Zeferjohn, a teen victim of sex-trafficking who was prosecuted for sex crimes, focuses a harsh light on a state system that is supposed to protect children.

Fernando Salazar / Special to the Capital-Journal

At first, they wanted to save her.

Then, after she fled the Kansas foster care system at age 16 and fell victim to the commercial sex trade, social workers told her she was going to prison forever.

"When I went into foster care and they wanted to take me away from my family, I ran," she said. "I ran away, and that's how I really started to get into all of this trouble. After I ran away, that's when they started treating me like, 'Oh, you're a suspect and you're not innocent.'

2017 file photo / Topeka Capital-Journal

Hope Joy Zeferjohn was missing from the Kansas Capitol on the day her family was posing for pictures with the governor.

It was May 22, 2015, and then-Gov. Sam Brownback was signing a proclamation for Family Reunification Month.

Zeferjohn’s parents and siblings stood behind him, literal poster children for Brownback’s efforts to return children to their homes from foster care.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Sprint Corp. was accused by the Federal Communications Commisison on Tuesday of falsely accepting millions of dollars in subsidies for low-income subscribers and failing to provide the service.  

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he has asked the agency’s enforcement bureau to investigate.

“It’s outrageous that a company would claim millions of taxpayer dollars for doing nothing,” Pai said in a statement. “This shows a careless disregard for program rules and American taxpayers.”

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

A Kansas City businessman will buy the Royals, the Major League Baseball team announced Friday.

John Sherman, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, is leading a group of local investors to buy the club from David Glass, 83, who has owned the Royals since 2000. 

Courtesy of Marvella Clark

A Jackson County judge on Tuesday railed about Kansas City’s decades of gun violence, state government’s “encouraging” the use of weapons, and his own futility in trying to bring justice to the “senseless, thoughtless and ultimately cruel” murder of a young mother.

Judge John Torrence sentenced Deandre “Day Day” Jackson to 26 years for the second-degree murder of Maryanna “Pretty” Pennington, 25, after a two-and-a-half hour emotional hearing where the victim’s family packed the room.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Astry Sosa has a good job at Prier Products, a manufacturer of plumbing products, but she’s the first to admit that she’s never been able to save money.

“I could just never seem to make it stay in a single place, you know?” she says with a laugh. “I’d always talk myself into ‘Oh well, what’s $20 on something?’’”

So when the 25-year-old Sosa took over payments on a pickup truck her parents owned, it was tough.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

More than a year after announcing the proposed $26 billion deal, Sprint and T-Mobile won final federal clearance on Friday when the U.S. Department of Justice announced it had settled anti-trust concerns.

The combined company will be called “the New T-Mobile.”

Jackson County Detention Center

David Jungerman, an 81-year-old Raytown man accused of killing a Kansas City lawyer in broad daylight, says he should be released from jail while he waits for his trial because he “has never killed anyone” and is not a flight risk.

In a rambling, hand-printed motion, Jungerman also appears to incriminate himself, admitting that it was his voice on a digital recorder police recovered, saying “it’s a shame I don’t have a .17 from a distance we could take ‘em out.”

Courtesy of Rekha Sharma-Crawford

A detainee at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in Chase County, Kansas, has tested positive for mumps, and 22 other migrants may have been exposed.

ICE discovered the detainee with the mumps on June 18, then identified the others who came into contact with that person, said Shawn A. Neudauer, an ICE public affairs officer.

The 22 other detainees are not sick but have been “cohorted,” or separated from the general population, and will remain there until July 16, he said.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Sprint and T-Mobile announced concessions to their proposed $26 billion deal on Monday, prompting promises of approval from two FCC commissioners.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday requested a federal disaster declaration in 13 counties along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, which will trigger assistance needed after devastating spring flooding.

In northwestern Missouri — where Interstate 29 is still closed, towns are submerged and hundreds of acres of farmland are underwater — many residents wondered why the declaration took a month longer than those in Nebraska and Iowa.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is expected to make a federal disaster declaration this week, which can’t come too soon for farmers and others needing assistance after devastating floods.

A large area of northwestern Missouri near the state lines of Nebraska and Iowa is still underwater following the flooding caused by a “bomb cyclone” that hit in mid-March.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

A small city in Kansas is determined to prove The Onion wrong.

Folks in Emporia, Kansas, weren’t laughing when the satirical paper named it “best town to escape from” in 2017. In fact, the “brain drain” from rural areas has been a problem across the country for decades. Since 2000, Emporia's population has declined more than 7 percent. It's now home to 24,724 people.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

The 11 levees that failed last week during catastrophic flooding along the Missouri River were maintained by local associations or private owners, with just one inspected by the Army Corps of Engineers this year, KCUR and APM Reports has found.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Even before the new year, Beth Kapp had been thinking about clearing the clutter in her Kansas City, Missouri, home.

Just the thought of the holidays was making her anxious. The single mom with two daughters knew her family would get presents, which meant even more stuff.

“Then, after the holidays, I was watching on Netflix this show. And it was really interesting to see her process because I knew there were things I needed to do but I really didn’t know where to start,” Kapp says.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

At the end of last year, most telecom analysts thought the proposed $26 billion merger between Sprint and T-Mobile was coasting towards an easy approval from the federal government.

But since then, opposition forces have surfaced, prominent Democrats are taking it on as a cause, and the deal’s approval chances now appear to be at 50-50. An analysis by Bloomberg called it "anybody's guess."

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

A few miles away from the Ford plant in Claycomo, Missouri, the assembly line at Knapheide Manufacturing Co. starts at the back door, where six brand-new white Ford Transit cargo vans are lined up, ready to snake through the line for their finishing touches.

Introduced in the U.S. in 2013, Transits have been popular, with an 8.2 percent increase in sales last year.

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