Health, Science, Environment

NASA
12:06 pm
Thu June 23, 2011

Missing moon dust returned to NASA from St. Louis

(via Flickr/makelessnoise)

Houston now has one fewer problem to worry about.

Moon dust apparently smuggled years ago from Johnson Space Center is now back in Houston - from St. Louis.

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Mosquitoes - West Nile Virus
10:15 am
Thu June 23, 2011

Mosquitoes in St. Louis Co. test positive for West Nile Virus

(via Flickr/John Tann)

The Saint Louis County Health Department has found the first mosquitoes of the season carrying West Nile Virus.

Mosquitoes testing positive for the virus have been found in St. Louis Co. communities including Clayton, Florissant, Hanley Hills, Lemay, Manchester, Mehlville, Richmond Heights.

No human cases have been reported.

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Missouri River - Mississippi River - flooding
3:14 pm
Wed June 22, 2011

Corps of Engineers expects no major flooding near St. Louis

Commander of the Army Corps of Engineers' St. Louis District, Col. Tom O’Hara.
(Screen capture via YouTube/TeamSaintLouis)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will release even more water from the Gavins Point Dam this week. But in spite of these record high flows on the Missouri River, the Corps does not expect major flooding in the St. Louis area this summer.

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Pollution - Oil Refinery
11:52 pm
Tue June 21, 2011

Illinois EPA holds public meetings in Roxana to discuss oil refinery contamination

Shell Oil has been testing for toxic vapors in and under homes in this Roxana neighborhood adjacent to the Wood River Refinery.
(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

The Illinois EPA held public meetings in Roxana on Tuesday to discuss what Shell Oil is doing to address historic contamination from the Wood River Refinery.

A consultant for Shell has found high levels of cancer-causing benzene and other toxic petroleum products in Roxana’s groundwater.

Chris Cahnovsky of the Illinois EPA says toxic, potentially explosive vapors have also been detected in the soils under several homes.

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Missouri River Flooding
3:59 pm
Thu June 16, 2011

Extent of Missouri River flooding near St. Louis to depend on summer rainfall

(National Weather Service map/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Above: A National Weather Service map of projected flooding along the lower Missouri River, based on an average amount of summer rain, falling in a concentrated time period. This map assumes a river elevation of 37 feet at St. Charles, three feet below the 1993 record. Flood stage at St. Charles is 25 feet. Click here to see a larger version of the map.

The U.S Army Corps of Engineers says we can expect only minor flooding along the lower Missouri River if we get average rainfall through August - but, a stormy summer could change all that.

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Agriculture - biofuels
4:06 pm
Wed June 15, 2011

USDA to pay Mo. farmers to plant biomass energy crops

A two-year-old stand of the Miscanthus giganteus variety "Freedom." Dr. Brian Baldwin of Mississippi State University developed this variety (pictured).
(Wikimedia Commons)

The USDA has chosen two new areas in Missouri to participate in a program promoting biomass energy crops.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the program will pay farmers to plant giant miscanthus, a perennial grass that can be used for energy production.

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Agriculture
4:35 pm
Tue June 14, 2011

Novus to host international animal agriculture roundtable

Novus International headquarters in St. Charles, Mo. Novus will host a roundtable on June 15 about animal agriculture and feeding the growing world population.
(via Novus International)

Close to 30 representatives of the animal agriculture industry are meeting in St. Louis tomorrow to discuss the challenges of feeding the world’s growing population.

The international roundtable is being hosted by St. Charles-based Novus International. Novus produces animal feed additives and nutritional supplements.

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Cicadas - entomophagy
6:30 am
Tue June 14, 2011

Cicadas. Love 'em. Hate 'em. Eat 'em?

These cicadas were collected at night, shortly after they emerged, while their bodies were still soft and white. They were then frozen for storage.
(Art Chimes)

(Have a cicada sighting to report? Share it with us on our interactive map - photos and videos welcome, too!)

Billions of periodical cicadas have emerged over the past few weeks in more than a dozen states across the Southeast and Midwest.

A food bonanza for predators

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Cicadas - entomology
6:35 am
Mon June 13, 2011

Cicadas: the science behind the invasion

Two cicadas hang upside down on a branch, facing in opposite directions, to mate.
(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

They’re back. And if they’re out in your neighborhood, they’re pretty hard to miss.

I’m talking about the periodical cicadas. In the past few weeks, they’ve emerged by the billions in states from Maryland to Georgia to Oklahoma.

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Tourism - China
4:32 pm
Thu June 2, 2011

Missouri Botanical Garden to host Chinese lantern festival

Lantern sets representative of those that will be in the exhibition at the Missouri Botanical Garden next year. You can see artist renderings of the actual lanterns to be featured in the exhibition in the slideshow in the story below.
(via Karen Hill/Missouri Botanical Garden)

The Missouri Botanical Garden will host a Chinese lantern festival next year.

The exhibition—the first of its kind in the United States—will feature 26 large, brightly-colored lantern displays from China's Zigong province.

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