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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MSD Consent Decree
6:43 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Gearing Up: First Big Tunnel Of St. Louis Sewer System Upgrade

The cutterhead support of the Tunnel Boring Machine is lowered into the starter tunnel shaft.
RiverCity Images

Updated 2/7/14 to correct the timeline of the lawsuit against MSD.

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is preparing for its first big dig.

Starting in a few days, MSD will begin construction of a 3,028 foot-long tunnel under the River Des Peres, just south of Carondelet.

The tunnel will hold a pressurized pipe that will carry sewage to the Lemay Wastewater Treatment Plant.

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Wildlife
6:00 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Trumpeter Swans Flock In Record Numbers To St. Louis-Area Bird Sanctuary

It's about an hour after dawn on a cold January morning. A couple hundred trumpeter swans have spent the night on Pintail Pond at the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary near Alton, Illinois.
Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio & The Beacon

Every winter, hundreds of trumpeter swans migrate from their breeding grounds in Wisconsin to the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, just across the Mississippi River from Alton.

This year there are about 900 of them, a record for our area.

On a recent cold, blustery St. Louis morning, I got up well before dawn to drive the 20 miles north to the sanctuary and record this audio postcard.

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Ozark Rivers - Management
2:37 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Draft Management Plan Released For Ozark National Park

Meeting place for the Current River and Jacks Fork, known as Two Rivers in the Missouri Ozarks.
Credit via National Park Service

 Updated 2:40 p.m. Jan. 22:

The National Park Service is holding the last public meeting on its proposed management plan for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways tonight in Kirkwood. See below for more details.

Updated 3:10 p.m. and 4:40 p.m. Jan. 7:

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Coldwater Creek
8:41 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Survey Shows Numerous Cancers, Other Diseases, Near North St. Louis County Creek

An online survey has collected 1,242 reports of cancer from current and former residents of the neighborhoods around Coldwater Creek in North St. Louis County.
Credit Via Coldwater Creek Facts PowerPoint presentation.

New data are adding to concerns that exposure to radioactive waste in Coldwater Creek could be causing cancers and other health problems.

Nuclear waste generated by the Mallinckrodt Company was dumped in North St. Louis County after World War II, contaminating the creek and surrounding areas.

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Bridgeton Landfill
7:14 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Missouri Attorney General Demands More Monitoring Of Smoldering Landfill In Bridgeton

An underground fire was first detected at the Bridgeton Landfill in December, 2010.
Credit Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio & The Beacon

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster wants more air monitoring at the Bridgeton Landfill, where an underground fire has been smoldering for more than three years.

Attorney General Koster asked the St. Louis County Circuit Court on Thursday to order the landfill's owner to collect more data on carbon monoxide emissions.

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Health - STDs
8:11 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

St. Louis Still Ranks Second In The U.S. For Two Common STDs

Via Flickr/meddygarnet

St. Louis continues to have some of the highest rates of two common sexually transmitted diseases in the country.

According to data released on Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, St. Louis ranked second highest among U.S. cities for per capita rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea.

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Death Penalty
12:54 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Investigation: Missouri's Execution Drug Source Raises Legal, Ethical Questions

Credit (via Wikimedia Commons/California Department of Corrections)

In an investigation spanning the past few months, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon has discovered the state of Missouri may be ignoring its own laws in carrying out the death penalty by buying execution drugs from a pharmacy not licensed to do business in Missouri.

As we’ve reported in previous months, a shortage of willing drug suppliers led Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to direct the state to adopt a controversial new execution method.

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Seasonal Flu
2:30 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

It's Back! Flu Spreads (Again) In St. Louis

You still have time to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu.
Judy Schmidt, James Gathany, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

It’s winter again in St. Louis ― and that means the start of flu season.

Dr. Faisal Khan with the St. Louis County Department of Health says he’s seen a sharp spike in the number of reported flu cases in the past couple of weeks.

He says that quick uptick is normal for this time of year, and it’s too soon to tell whether the current pattern will continue.

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Affordable Care Act
3:28 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

With Health Insurance Deadline Looming, St. Louis Sign-Ups On The Rise

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

UPDATE: 12-27-13

Even if you missed the Christmas Eve deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, you may still be able to have your coverage kick in on Jan. 1.

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Air Pollution
9:56 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Sierra Club Alleges Thousands Of Air Quality Violations At Ameren's St. Louis-Area Plants

The Sierra Club's Andy Knott speaks at a rally on Thursday in front of a 15-foot tall inflatable inhaler in Keiner Plaza.
Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio & The Beacon

Updated Thursday 10:15 p.m.

The Sierra Club says Ameren has been routinely violating air quality standards at its St. Louis-area power plants.

In a Notice of Intent to Sue delivered to Ameren on Wednesday afternoon, the Sierra Club alleges the company's Labadie, Meramec, and Rush Island plants have exceeded air pollution limits almost 10,000 times since 2008.

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