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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Bridgeton Landfill
3:23 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Radioactivity Testing At Bridgeton Landfill To Start Next Week

An underground fire has been smoldering at the Bridgeton landfill for more than 2 years.
(Véronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated 4:07 p.m.

Preliminary work to build a firebreak at the Bridgeton Landfill will begin next week. But a local environmental group is worried about what it could stir up.

To figure out where they can safely dig the trench that will separate the underground fire from the radioactive waste, contractors will test the soil for radioactivity. That involves clearing trees and shrubs away from where the firebreak will be built.

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West Lake Landfill
6:22 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

EPA Considering Landfill Fires In Re-evaluating What To Do With Radioactive Waste In Bridgeton

This map from May, 2013, shows part of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton. The underground fire is shaded in red, the radioactive waste in orange. The 1993 fire was in the north quarry, closer to the radioactive waste.
Missouri Department of Natural Resources

This isn't the first time a fire has smoldered underground at the landfill in Bridgeton.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment says another subsurface fire burned there in 1993.

They found a reference to that fire in an old report related to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's management of radioactive waste at the landfill.

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Lethal Injection
5:45 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Gov. Nixon Halts Execution Using Controversial Drug - Why The Change Of Plans?

Propofol.
(Veronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

On Friday, Governor Jay Nixon postponed the execution of an inmate that was set for later this month. That execution was going to be carried out using propofol, a common anesthetic that has never been used in a lethal injection before. So why the change in plans?

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Saint Louis Zoo
4:13 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Saint Louis Zoo Shows Off Plans For Its New Polar Bear Exhibit

An artist's rendering of the new exhibit
(Saint Louis Zoo)

The Saint Louis Zoo is forging ahead with building a new, state-of-the-art polar bear exhibit.

The 40,000-square-foot McDonnell Polar Bear Point will more than double the zoo’s previous polar bear habitat, which closed in 2009.

Features of the exhibit will include:

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Lethal Injection
11:20 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Mo. To Return Some Of Potential Execution Drug Supply, But Questions Remain

A picture of propofol in the possession of the Mo. Dept. of Corrections. Hospira, the manufacturer, says it was sold by an unauthorized dealer.
Mo. Dept of Corrections via sunshine request.

Updated 10/9/2013 6:42

The Missouri Department of Corrections has announced that it will be returning some of its propofol to its supplier, as the company requested almost a year ago.

But questions remain on how the state obtained the drug.

Propofol is a widely-used medical anesthetic, but the Mo. Dept. of Corrections is planning to use it for lethal injection. Missouri's Oct. 23 and Nov. 20 executions would be the first time the drug has ever been used for capital punishment.

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Lethal Injection
5:37 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Governor Nixon: Europe Won't Block Missouri Executions

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

Governor Jay Nixon said Missouri will be moving forward with two executions later this year, in spite of objections from the American Civil Liberties Union and the European Union.

The executions could have a very real impact on hospitals throughout the United States, as the European Union considers possible export limits of the drug as part of its anti-capital punishment policies. Most propofol comes from Europe, where its leading manufacturer only wants it used for medical purposes.

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Affordable Care Act
5:00 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Confused About The New Online Health Insurance Marketplace? We Have Answers

The Affordable Care Act's online health insurance marketplace opens October 1.
Flickr Creative Commons Users/Compiled By Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio

Starting on October 1, Missourians will be able to shop for health insurance through a new online marketplace. It’s one of the biggest changes in health insurance coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.

But there’s still a lot of confusion about how the exchanges will work.

St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra spoke with the Missouri Foundation for Health’s Ryan Barker to try to get some answers.

How will Missourians access the new health insurance options?

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Affordable Care Act
5:38 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Insurance Premiums In New Online Marketplace Will Vary By Place, Age

Credit Flickr/Tax Credits

A new report released on Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finds that average premiums in the new online health insurance marketplace opening Tuesday will be lower than expected in most states.

In Missouri, the average monthly insurance premium for a family of four making $50,000 a year will start at $72. That’s for the lowest level of coverage, after a tax credit.

But prices will vary depending on where in the state you live.

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Bridgeton Landfill
6:26 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Republic Services To Build Firebreak Between Radioactive Waste And Smoldering Bridgeton Landfill

Republic Services says it will extend this plastic cap over the entire landfill. The company also plans to build a firebreak between the radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill and the underground fire at Bridgeton.
Credit Missouri Department of Natural Resources

The company that owns the Bridgeton Landfill has changed its plans for keeping an underground fire at the site from spreading to nearby radioactive waste.

Republic Services says it will now move forward with building a firebreak between the Bridgeton and West Lake landfills.

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Affordable Care Act
7:08 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Top U.S. Health Official Says Insurance Marketplace Will Help Many ― But Not All

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius speaks to reporters at St. Louis City Hall, while St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis City Health Director Pam Walker, and St. Louis County Health Director Delores Gunn look on (left to right).
Credit Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in St. Louis on Thursday to talk about the Affordable Care Act.

Sebelius met with city and county officials and representatives of the local healthcare community in a closed-door session at St. Louis City Hall.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Sebelius said as of October 1, Missourians will be able to purchase health insurance through a new online marketplace.

Sebelius said many of Missouri's 800,000 uninsured will be able to get coverage.

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