Véronique LaCapra

Science Reporter

Science reporter Véronique LaCapra first caught the radio bug writing commentaries for NPR affiliate WAMU in Washington, D.C. After producing her first audio documentaries at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies in N.C., she was hooked! She has done ecological research in the Brazilian Pantanal; regulated pesticides for the Environmental Protection Agency in Arlington, Va.; been a freelance writer and volunteer in South Africa; and contributed radio features to the Voice of America in Washington, D.C. She earned a Ph.D. in ecosystem ecology from the University of California in Santa Barbara, and a B.A. in environmental policy and biology from Cornell. LaCapra grew up in Cambridge, Mass., and in her mother’s home town of Auxerre, France.

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Clean Water Act
6:44 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

The EPA Has Approved Missouri's New Water Quality Standards, But Do They Go Far Enough?

The Current and Jacks Fork Rivers in the Missouri Ozarks are among the most pristine in the state. The U.S. EPA has recommended that Missouri designate waters with particularly diverse or rare aquatic species as "exceptional aquatic habitat," which would provide them with a higher level of protection.
Credit National Parks Service

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has signed off on a major overhaul of Missouri's water quality standards.

The state approved the new regulations in November but needed federal approval to start enforcing them.

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Pesticides
5:34 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Monsanto To Keep Selling Pesticide-Coated Seeds EPA Says Don't Help Yields ― And May Harm Bees

This blueberry bee, photographed at the Missouri Botanical Garden on Mar. 25, 2012, was the first recorded in Saint Louis since the 1930s.
Credit Ed Spevak|Saint Louis Zoo

Monsanto will continue selling soybean seeds coated with pesticides that have been linked to honey bee deaths, even though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found the seeds do not improve yields.

The seeds in question are treated with a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids, which are chemically similar to nicotine.

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Bridgeton Landfill
9:45 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

State Says Bridgeton Landfill Owner Must Do More To Contain Fire's Spread

On this map, the location of the new temperature monitoring probes that Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources wants Republic Services to install is marked with a purple line.
Credit Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Updated 10/17/14: Republic Services has confirmed that it agreed on Thursday, in writing, to comply with all of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' requirements ― although the company remains committed to its position that the additional measures are not needed.

Our original story:

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Space Science
5:12 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Waste In Space Is A Puzzle With Millions Of Pieces

There are something on the order of 12,000 to 15,000 pieces of space debris larger than the size of a softball orbiting the Earth.
Credit NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Space debris probably isn’t at the top of your list of day-to-day concerns.

The junk we’ve left floating around in space includes everything from spent rocket stages and old satellites, to nuts and bolts ― even tiny flecks of paint.

And it’s constantly colliding with satellites and anything else in what's known as “low Earth orbit,” including the International Space Station.

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Underground Railroad
9:38 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Archaeologists Dig For Clues To African-American History In Brooklyn, Ill.

Archaeologists from the Illinois State Archaeological Survey dig at the former 1851 house site of Priscilla Baltimore in Brooklyn, Illinois.
Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

Brooklyn, Ill., is a small, predominantly African-American town, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.

What little revenue the town brings in comes mostly from strip clubs. But there’s more to Brooklyn than that.

Archaeologists from the Illinois State Archaeological Survey have been digging for evidence of Brooklyn’s pre-Civil-War past, trying to solve some of the mysteries about its origins.

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Scientific Research
8:09 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

CT Scans Reveal Surprises About Wash U And Saint Louis Art Museum's Egyptian Mummies

This CT scan of the mummy Henut-Wedjebu, an upper-class Egyptian woman who lived about 3,400 years ago, shows small shiny objects that appear to float around her head. These could be glass beads, embedded in a wig or shroud.
Washington University

Barnes-Jewish Hospital had some unusual “patients” on Sunday: three ancient Egyptian mummies.

Washington University radiologists put each mummy through a CT scanner, which uses X-rays to “see” through the mummies’ wrappings, and high-powered computing to generate detailed, 3-D images of the tissues, bones and organs underneath.

The mummies were already X-rayed in the late '60s, and two were CT-scanned in the '90s.

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Asthma Study
6:00 am
Sun October 12, 2014

NIH Seeks African Americans To Evaluate Asthma Medications

Dr. Leonard Bacharier, a Washington University pediatrician and asthma expert, consults with a patient at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
Credit Robert Boston|St. Louis Children's Hospital

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis needs African Americans with asthma to enroll in a study evaluating different treatments.

Previous research suggests that some medications may not work as well for blacks as for whites.

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Reproductive Health
4:00 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Study: Giving Teens Free Birth Control Means Fewer Unplanned Pregnancies And Abortions

IUDs and implants are 20 times more effective at preventing pregnancy than short-term birth control options like the pill, patch, or vaginal ring (pictured).
Credit Via Wikimedia Commons/Victor byckttor

Giving teenagers access to free, long-term contraception can dramatically reduce rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion. That's according to new research out of Washington University in St. Louis.

The study is part of a larger effort called the Contraceptive CHOICE Project, whose goal is to promote long-acting forms of birth control like intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive implants in order to reduce unplanned pregnancies in the St. Louis region.

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Energy
2:47 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Missouri Government And Industry Energy Plans Include Renewables, But Will They Go Far Enough?

Ameren Missouri's largest coal-fired power plant is located on the banks of the Missouri River in Labadie.
Credit Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10/1/2014 to add comments.

Missouri is making headway toward developing a Comprehensive State Energy Plan Wednesday with the inaugural public meeting in St. Louis of the plan's steering committee.

Also on Wednesday, the state's largest electric energy provider, Ameren, released its energy plan for the next two decades.

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EPA Carbon Rule
8:00 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

EPA Official Talks About Proposed Carbon Dioxide Limits ― And How They Could Play Out In Missouri

Credit Credit Syracuse University News Services

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first-ever rule to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

Under the new limits, Missouri would need to reduce its emissions by about 21 percent over the next 15 years.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra spoke with EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks about the plan, which Brooks said is designed to give states maximum flexibility.

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