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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Air Quality
6:00 am
Mon August 19, 2013

SLU Students Help NASA Ozone Study Soar Over Saint Louis

SLU students Joseph Wilkins, Patrick Walsh, Jackie Ringhausen and Tim Barbeau (standing, from left to right), and Valparaiso Univ. trainers Alex Kotsakis and Mark Spychala (crouching, left to right) stabilize the balloon as it fills with helium.
(Art Chimes)

If you happen to be near the Saint Louis Science Center planetarium at around 2 o’clock in the afternoon, look up. You might see a weather balloon.

Students at Saint Louis University are launching them as part of a study sponsored by the U.S. space agency NASA.

The mission aims to improve our understanding of air pollution and global climate.

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Childhood Obesity
4:43 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

CDC Report: Obesity Rates Down Slightly Among Low-Income Preschoolers In Missouri

Rates of change in childhood obesity (ages 2-4) from 2008 to 2011.
Credit U.S. CDC Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System, 2008-2011. *Represents statistically significant annual decrease or increase in obesity.

Updated at 5:30 p.m.  to adjust y-axis units on graph and to add second map.

It's not a big change, but it's at least in the right direction.

According to a new report released this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of obesity among low-income preschoolers (ages 2-4) declined by at least one percentage point over the period from 2008 to 20011 in 18 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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Public Health
5:39 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

St. Louis County Officials Call For Stricter Regulation Of Ameren's Meramec Power Plant

Map showing the location of Ameren's Meramec Power Plant.
Credit (via Google Maps)

Updated at 3:45 p.m. on August 14, 2013 and at 11:10 a.m. on August 15, 2013 (to add comment from Ameren).

Another St. Louis County official is calling for tighter pollution controls at Ameren's Meramec power plant.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley today released a letter he sent to the Environmental Protection Agency, urging the agency to pursue sulfur dioxide controls at the Meramec plant.

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Industrial Pollution
5:14 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Public Meeting To Discuss Environmental Contamination In Sauget, Ill.

The Sauget, Ill. area.
(Missouri Department of Natural Resources)

State agencies from Illinois and Missouri are holding a public meeting Tuesday evening in Cahokia, Ill. to discuss plans to address environmental pollution in and around Sauget, Ill.

Tom Heavisides of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says old landfills and industrial facilities in the Sauget area of St. Clair County have contaminated soil and water.

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Following In Darwin's Footsteps
5:00 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Two Young Women Scientists From UMSL Forge Their Futures In The Galapagos

Maricruz Jaramillo (standing) and Samoa Asigau wait for their ride back to the Charles Darwin Research Station after an early morning of catching birds in an agricultural area on Santa Cruz Island.
(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

Charles Darwin revolutionized science. His theory of evolution was based on careful observations of birds and other wildlife in places like the Galapagos Islands.

One thing that has been really slow to evolve is the gender mix in science. Men still dominate many scientific fields, just like they did in Darwin’s day, more than 150 years ago.

But gradually, more women are breaking in.

I met up with two young women scientists in ― where else? ― the Galapagos. Here are their stories.

Maricruz Jaramillo fulfills a dream

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Carter Carburetor
5:19 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Toxic Carter Carburetor Site In North St. Louis To Be Cleaned Up -- At Last

EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks (at podium) speaks at the Carter Carburetor announcement in St. Louis on July 29, 2013.
(Sarah Skiöld-Hanlin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A toxic eyesore in North St. Louis is finally going to be cleaned up.

The old Carter Carburetor Superfund site on North Grand Boulevard will undergo a long-awaited $30 million remediation, the Environmental Protection Agency announced on Monday.

The cleanup is the result of separate settlement agreements between the EPA and Carter Building, Inc., and ACF Industries, LLC. The two companies will cover most of the costs of the remediation.

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Ameren - Coal Ash
5:33 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

National Report Condemns Coal Ash Water Pollution From Ameren's Labadie Plant

Residents of Saint Louis, Franklin County and Jefferson County staged a “Miss and Mr. Toxic Water Pollution” pageant on the banks of the Mississippi River on Tuesday to draw attention to the issue of water contamination from Missouri's coal-fired power plants.
Credit Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio

A new report released Tuesday by a coalition of environmental groups focuses on the need to revamp national water pollution standards for coal-fired power plants.

The report cites Ameren's Labadie power plant in Franklin County as one of the worst waterway polluters in the nation.

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Science
11:44 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Let's Play Name That Sound... Of The Galapagos

A Galapagos mockingbird.
Credit (Véronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

Our Véronique LaCapra's trip to the Galapagos Islands has allowed her to see - and hear - things she's never experienced before. Play a little game with us, will you?

This Galapagos mockingbird is pretty good at mimicking other things...

But it's not good enough to make these sounds:

What IS making those grumbling, crunching sounds (nevermind the birds)? And how about that "burp!"

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Special Projects / St. Louis on the Air
4:38 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

To The Galapagos! 'Following In Darwin's Footsteps' Begins

St. Louis Public Radio's science reporter Véronique LaCapra.
(St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis Public Radio's science reporter Véronique LaCapra sets off this week on a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

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Science
5:33 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Monsanto Researcher To Share World Food Prize

Credit (St. Louis Public Radio)

A Monsanto researcher is one of the winners of the 2013 World Food Prize.

Monsanto Chief Technology Officer Robert Fraley will share the international honor with Mary-Dell Chilton of Syngenta and Belgian plant scientist Marc Van Montagu.

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