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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High School Sports Brain Injury
5:12 pm
Fri March 4, 2011

St. Louis medical professionals supporting High School Sports Brain Injury legislation

Missouri Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R-Lake St. Louis) is sponsoring HB300, the High School Brain Injury Prevention Act. He spoke to the press about the bill today at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis area medical professionals are throwing their support behind a bill making its way through the Missouri legislature. The bill would help protect high school athletes from concussions.

Among other measures, the High School Sports Brain Injury Prevention Act would require student athletes to be cleared by a doctor before returning to play or practice.

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Food Deserts
6:35 am
Mon February 28, 2011

"Food deserts" and nutrition: a Q&A with USDA's Roger Beachy

The Old North St. Louis Grocery Co-op brings fresh, local produce to an underserved neighborhood of the city. (Art Chimes)
(Art Chimes)

“Food deserts” – places without access to fresh produce and other healthy foods – continue to be a problem throughout the U.S.

Here in St. Louis, the Old North Grocery Co-op opened last summer, in an effort to increase healthy food options in an underserved part of the city. It’s the first co-op in Missouri to serve a predominantly low-income neighborhood.

The director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy was in St. Louis recently visiting the Old North co-op and discussing the issue of nutrition.

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Coal Ash
6:35 am
Wed February 23, 2011

Coal ash landfill controversy continues in Franklin County

Ameren’s 2,400-megawatt plant near Labadie, Missouri, is the state’s largest coal-fired power plant. (Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)
(Veronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

In the small Franklin County town of Labadie, Missouri, about 35 miles west of St. Louis, a debate is raging over what to do with millions of tons of coal ash.

The dispute is pitting area residents against the utility company Ameren – and putting Franklin County’s commissioners in the middle of the fight.

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Middle East
10:00 pm
Sun February 20, 2011

Fontbonne University hosts grassroots Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiation

Minds of Peace looks to ordinary Israelis and Palestinians to bring peace to the Middle East. (Google Maps)

Starting on Tuesday, Fontbonne University is hosting the “Minds of Peace Experiment.”

The three-day event brings together five Israelis and five Palestinians who now live in St. Louis, to try to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict in the Middle East.

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Other News
8:32 pm
Sun February 20, 2011

McCaskill unveils new Congressional reforms

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill speaks to reporters at her St. Louis office on Sunday. (Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says Congress needs to play by the same rules as everyone else.

Speaking at her St. Louis office on Sunday, the Democratic Senator unveiled a package of reforms she says will help bring transparency and accountability to Congress.

McCaskill proposed creating an independent watchdog office to oversee Senate operations and take complaints from the public.

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Ameren Missouri lawsuit
4:35 pm
Tue February 15, 2011

EPA responds to Senator Roy Blunt: Ameren lawsuit justified

Ameren's Rush Island power plant near Festus, Missouri. (Google Maps)

EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks says the federal government is confident Ameren Missouri violated the Clean Air Act at its Rush Island power plant near Festus.

Brooks was responding to a letter sent to the EPA last month by Senator Roy Blunt.

In the letter, Blunt defended Ameren and accused the EPA of overreaching its authority in order to “broadly penalize the use of coal in the United States.”

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Earthquakes & St. Louis Region
4:38 pm
Fri February 11, 2011

Threat of earthquakes to St. Louis region "real," says FEMA's Fugate

A woodcut depicting damage from the New Madrid series of earthquakes in 1811 and 1812. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate says the threat of earthquakes on the New Madrid fault remain. (Via Wikimedia Commons)

Some scientists say risks of another major earthquake from the New Madrid fault are minimal.

But FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate insists the threat to the St. Louis region is real.

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FEMA & Flood Insurance
3:12 pm
Fri February 11, 2011

FEMA Administrator: Residents may need flood insurance, despite levee protection

A levee in Granite City, Ill. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate says homes and businesses in the Mississippi River floodplain may need flood insurance, even if they are protected by a levee like this one. (St. Louis Public Radio)

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate says homes and businesses in the Mississippi River floodplain may need flood insurance, even if they are protected by a levee.

Last week senators from Missouri, Illinois and 16 other states sent a letter to Administrator Fugate.

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Mercury Pollution
5:09 pm
Thu February 10, 2011

Illinois, Missouri among nation's top mercury polluters

A screen capture of the cover of the report from Environment Missouri on mercury pollution. (Environment Missouri website)

Updated at 5:00 p.m. with comment from Ameren Missouri.

A new report suggests that power plants in Illinois and Missouri are among the nation’s top emitters of mercury pollution.

Mercury can cause serious health problems for both wildlife and people who eat contaminated fish.

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Monsanto Sugar Beets
4:38 pm
Fri February 4, 2011

Monsanto Roundup Ready beets given approval for spring planting

Fields of sugar beets, Monsanto's Roundup Ready brand to be exact, are now eligible to be planted this spring. (via Flickr/Dag Endresen)

Farmers will be able to plant Monsanto's Roundup Ready sugar beets this spring.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today that planting could continue while the Agency completes an Environmental Impact Statement.

The beets have been genetically-engineered to tolerate Monsanto's Roundup herbicide.

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