Morning round-up
9:34 am
Thu September 13, 2012

Morning headlines: Thursday, September 13, 2012

New report: "vast improvements" at John Cochran VA Medical Center

A new government report says the John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis has made "vast improvements" after an earlier report noted problems.

The Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of Inspector General issued the report Wednesday. It comes more than two years after reports that insufficient sterilization at the center's dental clinic may have exposed more than 1,800 veterans to hepatitis and HIV. Subsequent testing found no link to hepatitis or HIV in patients. Other sterilization concerns briefly shut down surgeries at the center last year.

A report issued in April found the center still needed to improve its sterilization procedures.

The new report says that many of those conditions have been resolved and that no further action is required.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill called the improvements a success story.

EPA to clean up lead from soil in Jefferson County

The federal government will spend more than $28 million to remove 428 tons of lead-contaminated soil from yards in Jefferson County, south of St. Louis. The Environmental Protection Agency announced the funding Wednesday, estimating that about 800 residential properties will require remediation.

Sampling has found widespread lead contamination in the flood plain of the Big River, which begins at Leadwood and runs to the Meramec River confluence near Eureka. Excavated soil will be taken in covered trucks to a landfill in nearby Washington County. Officials believe the soil was contaminated by old mine workings.

Mayors to meet in St. Louis about Mighty Mississippi

Mayors from 41 Mississippi River communities are gathering in St. Louis in hopes of coming up with ways to ensure and improve the sustainability of the nation's longest waterway. The inaugural, three-day meeting of the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative begins Thursday.

Organizers say the Mighty Mississippi plays a key role in providing drinking water, moving commodities and supplies. They hope to enlist state and federal partners in the effort to keep it vibrant.

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