Health, Science, Environment

Coal Ash
2:21 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

First-Ever National Coal Ash Regs Disappoint Missouri Environmentalists

In Dec. 2008, the failure of a dike at TVA's coal-fired power plant near Kingston, Tenn., released 1.1 billion gallons of coal ash into the Emory and Clinch rivers and buried about 300 acres of land.
Credit Tennessee Valley Authority

For the first time, the byproducts of coal-fired power plants will now be subject to federal regulation.

In a state like Missouri, which generates more than 80 percent of its electricity from coal, the new standards could have significant repercussions.

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Hospital Debt
4:03 am
Fri December 19, 2014

When Nonprofit Hospitals Sue Their Poorest Patients

Keith Herie is swamped in debt from medical issues he and his wife encountered starting about a decade ago. Heartland hospital is seizing 10 percent of his paycheck and 25 percent of his wife's wages, and has placed a lien on their home.
Steve Hebert for ProPublica

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 9:32 am

On the eastern edge of St. Joseph, Mo., lies the small city's only hospital, a landmark of modern brick and glass buildings. Everyone in town knows Heartland Regional Medical Center — many residents gave birth to their children here. Many rush here when they get hurt or sick.

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Healthcare in St. Louis
9:02 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Before ACA, Number of Uninsured Remained Stagnant in St. Louis as Economy Recovered

Credit Adrian Clark / Flickr

Despite progress in unemployment rates, the number of St. Louis residents who were uninsured in 2013 was almost the same as it was five years ago, according to an annual report by the St. Louis Regional Health Commission.   

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Local food in schools
7:21 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Agriculture Department Awarding Grants To Bring More Farm Food To Schools

The Missouri Agriculture Department is hoping Farm-to-School value-added grants will bring more locally produced food into schools.
Credit Stephanie Lecci

The Missouri Department of Agriculture will soon announce the winners of competitive grants aimed at increasing the amount of locally produced foods in school, while growing local businesses.

The Farm-to-School Value-Added grants will go to businesses that either buy or process foods from local farmers, or are food producers themselves. The applicants must already have a relationship with schools, either directly or through a distributor. 

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West Lake Landfill
7:31 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Radium In Groundwater At West Lake Landfill Exceeds Federal Standard

This figure from the USGS West Lake Landfill groundwater report shows levels of radium in groundwater wells under and around the landfill. Red, orange, and yellow dots show radium contamination above the federal safe drinking water standard.
Credit U.S. Geological Survey

Updated 12/18/14:

Groundwater under the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton is contaminated with unhealthy levels of radium.

That’s according to a U.S. Geological Survey report, released on Wednesday by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases
5:17 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

St. Louis No. 1 In Nation For Chlamydia, No. 2 For Gonorrhea

The chlamydia bacteria, stained and viewed at 500 times.
Credit National Cancer Institute | Dr. Lance Liotta Laboratory

Post updated 12/16/14 with response from St. Louis City Health Department.

A new federal report shows that the city of St. Louis had the highest rate of chlamydia and the second-highest rate of gonorrhea infections among major U.S. cities in 2013.  

"We've had persistently high rates for a long time," said Brad Stoner, who directs the St. Louis STD and HIV Prevention Training Center at Washington University. "These rates are difficult to bring down unless we develop a concerted, community-wide effort to reach out, screen and treat populations at risk." 

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St. Louis Research to End
3:14 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

After 14 years, NIH Cancels National Children’s Study

Louise Flick, DrPH, principal investigator for the National Children’s Study Gateway Study Center and professor at SLU School of Public Health, Edwin Trevathan, M.D., MPH, dean of SLU’s School of Public Health (center), & Craig Schmid, St. Louis Alderman
Credit Chad Williams | Saint Louis University Medical Center

Its magnitude was ambitious and unprecedented: The National Children’s Study promised to follow 100,000 American children from before birth to the age of 21. Researchers sought a better understanding of autism, obesity and cancer by tracking links between children’s environments and their health outcomes. Since 2007, Congress has appropriated about $1.3 billion to fund planning and research; millions went to four research centers in the St. Louis region alone.  

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Hospital Economics
9:24 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Decision Nears On St. Elizabeth’s Hospital Move

President and CEO, Maryann Reese, stands in front of St. Elizabeth's Hospital in downtown Belleville, IL. The current building was completed in 1954.
Credit Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Update 12/16/14: St. Elizabeth's Hospital has asked the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board to delay their planned vote over the hospital's move because not all board members will not be present at their December 16 meeting. The board's next meeting is January 27, 2015.

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Callaway - Nuclear Power
4:21 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Missouri Environmental Group Moves To Block Relicensing Of State's Only Nuclear Power Plant

Ameren's Callaway Nuclear Reactor is the only commercial nuclear power plant in Missouri.
Credit Missouri Coalition for the Environment

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment has filed a petition to intervene with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to try to keep the NRC from relicensing Ameren's Callaway Nuclear Power Plant.

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St. Louis On The Air
1:42 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

How Long Do We Remember A President's Legacy?

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, seen from the viewing plaza on June 4, 2003.
Credit deanfranklin / via Flickr

Quick: How many presidents can you name?

From the start, there was George Washington. Then John Adams. Thomas Jefferson. Then ... 

Two Washington University researchers have found that most presidents are forgotten 50 to 100 years after leaving office, “unless something really, really important happened in their regime, or they’re one of the early presidents,” said Henry “Roddy” Roediger, a Washington University psychology professor.

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