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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Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

A cluster of 37 COVID-19 cases that caused four deaths at a Kansas City, Kansas, rehabilitation facility was brought on by “a confluence of bad circumstances,” Wyandotte County’s chief medical officer said Tuesday.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Riverbend Post Acute Rehabilitation, a health care facility in Kansas City, Kansas, reported an increase in a COVID-19 outbreak on Monday, with four deaths and 37 people testing positive for the virus.

Of those testing positive, 33 are residents and four are staff workers, said Janell Friesen, Unified Government Public Health Department spokeswoman. It’s a significant rise since Friday, when officials reported 19 cases.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

In a major reversal after an outcry from workers, Children’s Mercy Hospital announced Wednesday that it will allow all of its employees to continuously wear face masks during shifts for protection from the coronavirus.

In addition, the hospital said it will begin screening workers on Thursday, according to an email obtained by KCUR. As of March 31, the hospital had tested 255 employees, three of whom were positive for the virus, Children’s Mercy announced on its website.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City has barred medical staff from wearing face masks continuously through shifts during the COVID-19 pandemic and has threatened disciplinary action if staff defy the order.

In an internal email sent March 19 and obtained by KCUR, hospital leaders cited guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say face masks should solely be used by people who show symptoms of the coronavirus.

Marilyn O'Bannon

Missouri landowners who are fighting a high-voltage wind energy transmission line set to be built across the state are angry that agents seeking permission to survey their land have approached them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Here we have someone traipsing across the state of Missouri landing on people’s doorsteps,” said Marilyn O’Bannon, the leader of an organization opposed to the transmission line. “As much as we don’t want the project, it’s the timing. Why would you send people out in a time like this?”

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Kansas City and St. Louis business and health care leaders have issued an urgent, blunt warning to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson: Immediately order uniform social distancing across the state to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Church services were live-streamed, libraries and other gathering places emptied out and people huddled at home on Sunday, as fears of the coronavirus pandemic placed further limits on public life in Kansas City.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

A federal judge has declined to dismiss most of the counts in a civil lawsuit brought by Lamonte McIntyre and his mother over his conviction for a double murder he did not commit and his subsequent 23-year imprisonment.

The blistering 70-page ruling Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Kathryn H. Vratil came in response to motions to throw out the lawsuit by the defendants — the Unified Government of Wyandotte County; Roger Golubski, a now-retired Kansas City, Kansas, detective who was instrumental in framing McIntyre; and other policemen involved in the trumped-up investigation.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

The United States Census has started outreach to minority communities and hidden populations in Kansas City less than two weeks before the official launch of the once-a-decade count.

“By now they should have developed a system: how can we get into the communities that don’t want to (talk to the census workers?),” said Wasim Khan, a commissioner for Kenya on the Kansas City Ethnic Enrichment Commission. “So culturally, we are very unsensitive.”

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.”

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