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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Saint Louis Zoo
4:58 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Sea Lion "Bennie" Dies At Saint Louis Zoo

Bennie was one of the zoo's most popular sea lions.
Credit Roger Brandt/Saint Louis Zoo

A sea lion has died at the St. Louis Zoo.

“Bennie,” as he was known, was born at the zoo in 2002 and would have been 12 years old in June.

The 500 pound sea lion was one of the stars of the zoo’s sea lion show. But he stopped performing two weeks ago and had been under veterinary care.

The zoo says a necropsy will be performed by its pathologist, but it will take several weeks for the zoo to get the lab results needed to determine the cause of death.

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Wildlife Conservation
5:03 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Saving The Monarch's Migration: A Conversation With Ecologist Lincoln Brower

Monarch butterflies cluster on the branch of an oyamel fir tree in Mexico.
Credit Lincoln Brower

Every year, monarch butterflies undertake what seems like an impossible journey.

By the millions, they leave their summer breeding grounds in the United States and Canada to fly thousands of miles to a small area of alpine forest in central Mexico.

Ecologist Lincoln Brower has been studying monarchs for almost 60 years.

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West Lake Landfill
5:40 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Lawsuit Alleges West Lake Landfill Radiation Has Spread Off Site

A barbed-wire fence at the West Lake Landfill is intended to keep people out of the areas containing radioactive waste. But Friday's lawsuit alleges that radioactivity has spread off site.
Credit Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

A lawsuit filed on Friday alleges that radiation from the West Lake Landfill has spread into surrounding neighborhoods, contaminating properties there.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maintains that the public is not at risk.

Attorney Daniel Finney, Jr., filed the suit on behalf of John James, who has lived near the landfill in Bridgeton for more than 30 years.

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Carter Carburetor
9:58 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Concerns Over Minority Hiring Dominate Asbestos Cleanup Meeting In North St. Louis

The former Carter Carburetor plant is located on N. Grand Avenue in St. Louis.
Credit Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated after the public meeting on 4-10-2014:

The meeting hosted Thursday night by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was supposed to focus on the first phase of the $30 million cleanup of the former Carter Carburetor plant in North St. Louis. That first phase involves removing asbestos from the site's main building.

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Ameren - Coal Ash
3:01 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Meeting Tuesday To Take Public Input On Ameren Coal Ash Landfill

The approximate locations of drinking water wells in Franklin County (shown in red). This map was created for the Labadie Environmental Organization based on Missouri Department of Natural Resources well location data.
Credit Image courtesy of the Labadie Environmental Organization

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) is hosting a meeting on Tuesday to get public input on Ameren's plans to build a coal ash landfill next to its power plant in Franklin County.

The meeting will focus on whether the agency should grant Ameren a landfill construction permit.

Ameren Missouri's Vice President of External Affairs and Communications, Warren Wood, said the new coal ash landfill will be state-of-the-art.

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Bridgeton And West Lake Landfills
8:32 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

EPA Analysis: Neighbors Could Be At Risk If Landfill Fire Reaches Radioactive Waste In Bridgeton

This radiation warning sign is posted on the perimeter fence of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo.
Credit (Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio)

A new analysis by scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests there could be risks to area residents if an underground fire were to reach radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill.

An underground fire has been smoldering at the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill for more than three years and is now about 900 to 1,000 feet from the radioactive material.

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Affordable Care Act
9:02 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Illinois Expanded Its Medicaid Program. Missouri Didn’t. How Are Those Choices Working Out?

In his hospital room at Touchette Regional Hospital in Centerville, patient Steven Glispie finishes signing the paperwork to enroll in Medicaid.
Credit Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

For years in most states, Medicaid eligibility had been limited to disabled adults, seniors needing long-term care and very low-income parents with their children.

Then along came the Affordable Care Act. It was designed to grow health insurance coverage across the board. One of its tenets was to expand Medicaid coverage beyond the extremely poor and disabled to include all adults earning up to 138 percent of federal poverty levels.

But in 2012, the Supreme Court gave states the chance to opt out Medicaid expansion.

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Affordable Care Act
11:11 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Obama Administration Will Allow More Time For Health Insurance Sign-Ups

Credit Flickr Creative Commons Users/Compiled By Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio

The Obama administration says it will give people more time to sign up for health insurance through the federal online marketplace.

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Bridgeton, West Lake Landfills
10:22 am
Fri March 21, 2014

EPA To Contract With Army Corps To Build Fire Break At Bridgeton Landfill

This radiation warning sign is posted on the perimeter fence of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo.
Credit Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it is contracting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a fire break to keep an underground fire from reaching radioactive waste at the landfill complex in Bridgeton.

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Bridgeton Landfill
6:50 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Radioactive Waste Detected Closer To The Bridgeton Landfill Fire

This radiation warning sign is posted on the perimeter fence of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo.
Credit Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on 3/20/14 to add a statement from landfill owner Bridgeton Landfill, LLC, a subsidiary of Republic Services.

Preliminary tests by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have found radioactive waste closer to the underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill than previously thought.

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