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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Reproductive Health
2:46 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Study: For Women, Free Birth Control Doesn't Lead To Risky Sex

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

New research out of Washington University has found that giving women free birth control does not increase risky sexual behavior.

The analysis included 7,751 St. Louis-area women between the ages of 14 and 45.

It was part of an even larger effort called the Contraceptive CHOICE Project, whose goal is to promote the use of long-term contraceptive methods like intrauterine devices (IUDs) or implants.

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Bridgeton and West Lake Landfills
7:22 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Congressional Delegation Asks EPA To Let Army Corps Take Over At West Lake

A map of the West Lake Landfill from above.
Environmental Protection Agency report p.8

Members of Missouri's congressional delegation have issued a letter strongly urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to turn over responsibility for the clean-up of radioactive material at the West Lake Landfill to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill as well as Representatives William Lacy Clay and Ann Wagner signed the Feb. 28 letter addressed to EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks.

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Medical Ethics - Genetics
2:17 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Whole Genome Sequencing Is Here To Stay. What Does That Mean For Genetic Privacy?

Adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine (abbreviated ATCG) are the four nucleotide bases that make up DNA.
Credit Jane Ades, NHGRI

Originally published on Wednesday, February 26, 2014. Updated to include audio from St. Louis on the Air.

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Bridgeton and West Lake Landfills
8:24 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

Confused About The Bridgeton And West Lake Landfills? Here's What You Should Know

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

On Friday morning, NPR reported that 13 employees at the only dedicated nuclear waste dump in the U.S. had inhaled radioactive material after a major accident earlier this month.

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Biomedical Engineering
10:00 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Wash U, U of I Scientists Use 3-D Printer To Help Create Prototype Next-Gen Pacemaker

This photo shows the new cardiac device ― a thin, elastic membrane ― fitted over a rabbit's heart. The membrane is imprinted with a network of electrodes that can monitor cardiac function and deliver an electrical impulse to correct an erratic heartbeat.
Credit University of Illinois and Washington University

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Washington University in St. Louis have developed a new device that may one day help prevent heart attacks.

Unlike existing pacemakers and implantable defibrillators that are one-size-fits-all, the new device is a thin, elastic membrane designed to stretch over the heart like a custom-made glove.

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Health & Science
10:52 am
Fri February 21, 2014

New Bridgeton Landfill Data Suggest Underground Fire Still Far From Radioactive Waste

Map shows concentrations of carbon monoxide collected from gas extraction wells at the Bridgeton Landfill on January 24. Readings above 1,000 ppm indicate an underground fire. Radioactive waste is located north of the wells shown in purple.
Credit Republic Services

Updated on 2/23/14 to correct the date of the 2013 CO measurements, and on 2/21/14 to add a data table from MDNR and more characterization of the recent CO measurements.

New monitoring data from the Bridgeton Landfill suggest that an underground fire has not spread toward radioactive waste to the north.

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AAAS Annual Meeting
11:16 pm
Sun February 16, 2014

St. Louisans Among Presenters At National Science Conference In Chicago

Credit American Association for the Advancement of Science

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is wrapping up its annual meeting Monday in Chicago.

Among the presenters were researchers from Washington University and the vice president of the James S. McDonnell Foundation.

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Ozark Rivers - Management
6:03 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Political Battle Over Ozark National Park Heats Up

This photo of the Current River is from the cover of the National Park Service's draft management plan for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
National Park Service

(Updated at 3:39 p.m., February 20)

Missouri senators passed a resolution to block the federal government's proposed changes in tourist restrictions at the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The resolution passed on a 23-8 vote on Thursday and now heads to the House.

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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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