Véronique LaCapra

Science Reporter

Véronique LaCapra first caught the radio bug while writing commentaries for NPR affiliate WAMU in Washington, D.C. After producing her first audio pieces 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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NPR Story
11:26 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Forty-Five Years Ago, We First Landed On The Moon: Meet The Man In Charge In Mission Control

NASA flight director Eugene F. Kranz at his console in Mission Control in Houston on May 30, 1965, during a Gemini-Titan IV simulation to prepare for the four-day, 62-orbit flight.

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 5:17 pm

Forty-five years ago this Sunday, Apollo 11 became the first space flight to land men on the moon.

At Mission Control in Houston, Gene Kranz was the man in charge.

Kranz spent more than three decades working for the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, serving as flight director for both the Gemini and Apollo space programs.

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Science and Technology
8:26 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Gov. Nixon Launches New State Energy Plan

Gov. Nixon praised the Callaway nuclear power plant for its safety rating while speaking to reporters Wednesday.

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 8:57 am

Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order on Wednesday, officially launching the development of a comprehensive state energy plan.

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Environment
9:07 am
Thu June 12, 2014

National Analysis Suggests Cutting Carbon Dioxide Would Improve Air Quality In Missouri

Coal-fired power plants produce pollutants including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury.

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 8:27 am

Cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants would also reduce other types of air pollution, both here in Missouri and nationally.

That's according to a recent analysis by researchers at Harvard and Syracuse Universities.

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Health
8:13 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Study: Poor Gut Health Persists In Malnourished Children, Even After Treatment

A Bangladeshi mother holds her malnourished child.

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 10:09 pm

New research out of Washington University could help explain why malnourished children suffer long-term health effects, even after medical treatment.

As young children develop, the community of bacteria and other microbes in their intestines develops with them. In healthy children, the community reaches maturity about the time a child turns two years old.

Washington University microbiologist Jeff Gordon calls those tens of trillions of intestinal microbes “an organ within an organ,” because of the key role they play in helping people digest food and absorb its nutrients.

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Science and Technology
8:49 am
Tue June 3, 2014

New carbon dioxide limits could bring changes for coal-powered states like Missouri

Coal is transported by train from Wyoming to fuel Ameren Missouri's power plants, like this one in Labadie.
Credit Veronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the first-ever rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

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Health
8:02 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Got Unwanted Prescription Drugs? Get Rid Of Them On Saturday

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 4:03 pm

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Saturday is sponsoring a nationwide prescription drug take-back event.

Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., anyone can turn in their expired or unwanted medications at thousands of police stations, pharmacies, and other sites across the country, including here in St. Louis.

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NPR Story
3:20 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Saving The Monarch's Migration: A Conversation With Ecologist Lincoln Brower

Monarch butterflies cluster on the branch of an oyamel fir tree in Mexico.

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 3:15 pm

Every year, monarch butterflies undertake what seems like an impossible journey.

By the millions, they leave their summer breeding grounds in the United States and Canada to fly thousands of miles to a small area of alpine forest in central Mexico.

Ecologist Lincoln Brower has been studying monarchs for almost 60 years.

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Health
4:11 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Illinois expanded its Medicaid program. Missouri didn’t. How are those choices working out?

In his hospital room at Touchette Regional Hospital in Centerville, patient Steven Glispie finishes signing the paperwork to enroll in Medicaid.
Credit Véronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

 

Listen to this story as it aired on KBIA's Under The Microscope.

For years in most states, Medicaid eligibility had been limited to disabled adults, seniors needing long-term care and very low-income parents with their children.

Then along came the Affordable Care Act. It was designed to grow health insurance coverage across the board. One of its tenets was to expand Medicaid coverage beyond the extremely poor and disabled to include all adults earning up to 138 percent of federal poverty levels.

But in 2012, the Supreme Court gave states the chance to opt out Medicaid expansion.

Illinois is one of 25 states that went ahead with expanding the program. Neighboring Missouri did not.

We looked into the impacts of those differing decisions. Here’s what we found out.

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Health
3:01 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Obama Administration Will Allow More Time For Health Insurance Sign-Ups

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 3:41 pm

The Obama administration says it will give people more time to sign up for health insurance through the federal online marketplace.

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Science, Health and Technology
8:20 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Study: For Women, Free Birth Control Doesn't Lead To Risky Sex

IUDs and implants are 20 times more effective at preventing pregnancy than short-term birth control options like the pill, patch, or vaginal ring (pictured).

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 9:48 pm

New research out of Washington University has found that giving women free birth control does not increase risky sexual behavior.

The analysis included 7,751 St. Louis-area women between the ages of 14 and 45.

It was part of an even larger effort called the Contraceptive CHOICE Project, whose goal is to promote the use of long-term contraceptive methods like intrauterine devices (IUDs) or implants.

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Politics
9:07 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Political Battle Over Ozark National Park Heats Up

This photo of the Current River is from the cover of the National Park Service's draft management plan for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
National Park Service

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 3:41 pm

(Updated at 3:39 p.m., February 20)

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Science, Health and Technology
12:48 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Trumpeter Swans Flock In Record Numbers To St. Louis-Area Bird Sanctuary

It's about an hour after dawn on a cold January morning. A couple hundred trumpeter swans have spent the night on Pintail Pond at the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary near Alton, Illinois.
Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 6:45 am

Every winter, hundreds of trumpeter swans migrate from their breeding grounds in Wisconsin to the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, just across the Mississippi River from Alton.

This year there are about 900 of them, a record for our area.

On a recent cold, blustery St. Louis morning, I got up well before dawn to drive the 20 miles north to the sanctuary and record this audio postcard.

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Science, Health and Technology
9:28 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Survey Shows Numerous Cancers, Other Diseases, Near North St. Louis County Creek

An online survey has collected 1,242 reports of cancer from current and former residents of the neighborhoods around Coldwater Creek in North St. Louis County.

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 11:05 pm

New data are adding to concerns that exposure to radioactive waste in Coldwater Creek could be causing cancers and other health problems.

Nuclear waste generated by the Mallinckrodt Company was dumped in North St. Louis County after World War II, contaminating the creek and surrounding areas.

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Science, Health and Technology
9:10 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Missouri Attorney General Demands More Monitoring Of Smoldering Landfill In Bridgeton

An underground fire was first detected at the Bridgeton Landfill in December, 2010.

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 10:05 pm

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster wants more air monitoring at the Bridgeton Landfill, where an underground fire has been smoldering for more than three years.

Attorney General Koster asked the St. Louis County Circuit Court on Thursday to order the landfill's owner to collect more data on carbon monoxide emissions.

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Politics
8:04 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Investigation: Missouri's Execution Drug Source Raises Legal, Ethical Questions

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 1:11 pm

In an investigation spanning the past few months, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon has discovered the state of Missouri may be ignoring its own laws in carrying out the death penalty by buying execution drugs from a pharmacy not licensed to do business in Missouri.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:27 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

It's Back! Flu Spreads (Again) In St. Louis

You still have time to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu.
Judy Schmidt, James Gathany, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 9:58 am

It’s winter again in St. Louis ― and that means the start of flu season.

Dr. Faisal Khan with the St. Louis County Department of Health says he’s seen a sharp spike in the number of reported flu cases in the past couple of weeks.

He says that quick uptick is normal for this time of year, and it’s too soon to tell whether the current pattern will continue.

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Science, Health and Technology
6:30 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Federal health insurance enrollment deadline nears

Credit Rosemary / Flickr

This Monday marks another big deadline under the Affordable Care Act. That's the last day that people can sign up for insurance through the online marketplace and have their coverage begin on January 1.

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Science, Health and Technology
9:59 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Photojournalist goes under the ice to document Arctic climate change

German diver and marine biologist, Rupert Krapp, of the Norwegian Polar Institute, pumps his fists in victory after surfacing with plankton samples from under the ice at 82 degrees North, 500 miles from the North Pole.
Randall Hyman

Randall Hyman is a St. Louis-based photojournalist and writer. For more than three decades, he has traveled the globe covering cultural and environmental issues.

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Science, Health and Technology
8:32 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Sierra Club Alleges Thousands Of Air Quality Violations At Ameren's St. Louis-Area Plants

The Sierra Club's Andy Knott speaks at a rally on Thursday in front of a 15-foot tall inflatable inhaler in Keiner Plaza.
Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 10:17 pm

Updated Thursday 10:15 p.m.

The Sierra Club says Ameren has been routinely violating air quality standards at its St. Louis-area power plants.

In a Notice of Intent to Sue delivered to Ameren on Wednesday afternoon, the Sierra Club alleges the company's Labadie, Meramec, and Rush Island plants have exceeded air pollution limits almost 10,000 times since 2008.

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Agriculture
7:56 am
Mon December 9, 2013

State audit faults conservation dept. for overspending on elk restoration

These two bull elk were among the first to arrive at Peck Ranch in May, 2011. They were outfitted with GPS collars for tracking purposes.
Credit David Stonner / Missouri Department of Conservation

A report released on Friday by the Missouri auditor's office says the state continued to overspend on its elk restoration project, even after a 2011 audit found it was way over budget.

The current audit found the Missouri Department of Conservation spent close to $3.4 million to bring 129 elk into the state. Only an estimated 115 elk have survived.

But conservation department Deputy Director Tom Ripperger says those figures are misleading.

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Science, Health and Technology
6:27 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Washington University researcher explains the risk factors of childhood obesity

Credit InspiredHomeFitness / Flickr

Obesity has increased dramatically in the United States over the past several decades.

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Politics
3:40 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Mo. Moving Forward With Executions, Despite Secrecy Over Drug Supply

(via Wikimedia Commons/California Department of Corrections)

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 3:32 pm

A month ago, St. Louis Public Radio reported on the questionable manner in which the state of Missouri got ahold of its potential execution drug. Now Missouri has a new plan to go ahead with two upcoming executions, but the process is anything but open.

Updated 11/14/13 3:24 p.m.

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Under the Microscope
7:24 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Why Gov. Nixon halted an execution over propofol concerns

Credit 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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Science, Health and Technology
7:56 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Confused about the new online health insurance marketplace? We have answers

Credit Compiled by Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio / Flickr

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. Here's an excerpt from their conversation.

How will Missourians access the new health insurance options?

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NPR Story
7:42 am
Mon September 30, 2013

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

Flickr Creative Commons Users/Compiled By Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 2:03 pm

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?

Read more
Science, Health and Technology
8:06 am
Fri September 20, 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).

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 10:35 am

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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Science, Health and Technology
8:51 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Missouri’s Power Plants Among Worst U.S. Greenhouse Gas Polluters

Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 8:01 am

Missouri's coal-fired power plants are among the largest sources of carbon dioxide pollution in the country and a significant contributor to global warming.

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NPR Story
5:51 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Missouri Botanical Garden Completes Encyclopedia Of Missouri's Native Plants

Lisa Francis, Missouri Botanical Garden

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 2:00 pm

The Missouri Botanical Garden has completed a 26-year effort to document the state's native plants.

The three-volume Flora of Missouri contains illustrations, plant distribution maps, and a detailed description of each species, including its taxonomy, uses, and conservation status.

This encyclopedic work updates the original Flora of Missouri, first published in 1963 by the late Julian Steyermark.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:26 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

SLU Students Help NASA Ozone Study Soar Over Saint Louis

Art Chimes

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 7:29 am

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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Science, Health and Technology
10:22 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Mo. Environmental Group Sues Army Corps Over Pipeline Project

Enbridge Energy Company, Inc.

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 5:01 pm

Updated at 5:00 p.m.

A St. Louis-based environmental group has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for failing to provide information about a multi-state oil pipeline project.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment says the Corps unlawfully withheld documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

Read more

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