Durrie Bouscaren

Durrie Bouscaren is a general assignment reporter, based in Des Moines. She covers breaking stories, economic news, and reports from the Statehouse during the legislative session. 

Bouscaren joined IPR in March of 2013 as a one-woman bureau in Cedar Rapids. Her passion for public radio began in high school, when she would listen to BBC World Service newscasts in the middle of the night. While attending Syracuse University, she reported and produced local news for member station WAER, and received a statewide Associated Press Broadcasters Association award for a report on Syracuse’s Southern Sudanese community. Bouscaren also covered Syracuse and small towns  throughout Central New York as a stringer for WRVO Public Media. Her work has aired on NPR's All Things Considered, WBEZ's Front and Center and KQED's The California Report

Bouscaren's favorite public radio program is Planet Money.

For three months, 32-year-old Tara Hegger has lived in the intensive care unit at Mercy Hospital.

She passes the time listening to music, visiting with family members and watching TV, mostly comedies. They keep her mind off of a painful decision that inches closer every day.

“The social worker came to me and basically told me I had to leave, because my days ran out," Hegger said, pausing between the pumps of oxygen provided by a ventilator next to her. "I had to make a choice.”

Like other Missouri patients in her situation, she will have to leave the state to find a nursing home that accepts her insurance — a dilemma tied to the state's low Medicaid reimbursement rate for long term care.

NAMULONGE, Uganda — Before rows of tall, green bushes, Jude Aleu picks a cassava tuber off the ground and cracks it in half.

That shouldn’t be so easy. Healthy cassava tubers — a staple food crop in the region — can grow as thick as your upper arm. But the root in Aleu’s hands is stunted and gnarled because of a plant virus called brown streak disease. When he breaks it open, the flesh is streaked with brown and yellow, a necrosis that will render the harvest inedible.

“It’s corky,” said Aleu, a cassava safety manager for Uganda’s National Crops Resources Research Institute. “This root you cannot eat. Even animals cannot eat it.” 

It took just a few minutes for the Affordable Care Act to feature in Sunday’s presidential debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump as Trump quickly blamed the legislation for the rising cost of health care.

“When I watch what’s happening with some horrible things like Obamacare where your health insurance and health care is going up by numbers that are astronomical,” Trump said, adding that costs have gone up as much as 71 percent.

The Trump campaign has not said where he obtained his figures. But even though premiums are rising, the effect is concentrated on plans sold on the individual market not those that are provided through an employer. 

The breed of mosquito most likely to carry the Zika virus probably won’t make its way to St. Louis this summer, but local public health agencies are still taking precautions.

Radioactive contamination at the West Lake Landfill has been detected farther south than previously reported, according to data released Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The new map shows contamination on the northern edge of the Bridgeton Landfill, a few hundred feet away from an underground smoldering fire that has existed since at least 2010. The contaminated soil, left over from the Manhattan Project, is about 70 to 80 feet underground in the newly discovered area, officials said.

The record floods that swept through the St. Louis region just after Christmas claimed at least two dozen lives in Missouri and Illinois. In four counties near St. Louis, the water damaged 7,100 homes, businesses and public buildings, according to early estimates. As communities clean up and rebuild, attention is turning to how these disasters can be prevented. But the answers are never simple.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

As the third year of Healthcare.gov gets underway, an estimated 90,000 people in the St. Louis region are still uninsured and eligible to buy health insurance on the federal marketplace, according to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. 

Even Medicaid is out of reach for some of Missouri’s poorest children, who are uninsured at a rate 2.5 times as high as their counterparts in Illinois. Being uninsured can limit a child’s access to health care or wreak havoc on a family’s finances in the case of an emergency. 

New census numbers show that about 5 percent of Missouri children in families with incomes below 200 percent of poverty ($3,348 a month for a family of three) did not have health insurance in 2014. In Illinois, which has twice as many low-income families, only 2 percent of children in that demographic were uninsured.

With more than a hundred homicides already this year, St. Louis is no stranger to gun violence. On July 14, a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department sergeant was ambushed while working a second, security job in the early hours of the morning. The officer survived thanks to a bulletproof vest, and four suspects have been arrested in connection with the shooting.  

We independently confirmed the identity of the officer with the St. Louis Police, but have granted him anonymity out of his concern for the safety of his family in order to hear his perspective on the situation.

Updated on July 21 to add information about the film's screening as part of the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase. The co-directors were guests on "St. Louis on the Air."

When Ashley Seering and Cory Byers started gathering stories about heroin addiction and deaths in southern Illinois, the Edwardsville-based filmmakers didn’t realize it would turn into a feature-length documentary.

 The state of Illinois has already missed a self-imposed deadline to license medical marijuana cultivators and dispensaries by the end of 2014.

The law allows people suffering from one of about 40 conditions to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval. It passed the Illinois legislature more than a year ago, but with a Republican governor soon to take office, it’s unclear exactly when state regulators will issue permits to the future suppliers.

In the meantime, patients continue to wait.

Audible groans murmured through the West Side Missionary Baptist Church as county prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced, via livestream, that no charges would be filed against Officer Darren Wilson.

Church leaders switched off the projector as Reverend Starsky Wilson stood to give a sermon, calling for dissent.   

“The question is whether our faith will produce anything as an alternative witness to the system that has both broken, busted and disgusted,” Wilson said.

A landfill in East St. Louis will soon begin full operations of a facility that converts waste emissions into natural gas. The landfill operator will sell the gas they produce to Ameren Illinois, which can be used to heat homes. 

When violence broke out in Ferguson late Sunday, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Stephanie Lecci and Durrie Bouscaren took refuge in a family’s home. Bouscaren asked them what life is like right now in the formerly quiet suburb.

We met the Moore family in the middle of the night, after running from tear gas and gunfire during Sunday night’s clash between police and protestors. Stranded miles away from our cars, we knocked on the door of a house with the lights still on. Irma Moore let us in.

  

Nearly a hundred cities across the country joined in a National Moment of Silence Thursday night to honor 18-year-old Michael Brown and protest police brutality.

In downtown St. Louis, hundreds gathered near the Gateway Arch. As red armbands were passed around, organizers said they represented the message that "we are all cut from the same cloth."

When organizer Chloe Ward took the megaphone, she said she’s afraid to raise a black son.

Now that the Supreme Court struck down a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, same-sex couples can apply for their foreign-born husbands, wives and fiancees to join them in the United States.

There are an estimated 28,000 gay and lesbian binational couples in the country, and for years many have been separated by immigration laws that didn't recognize their marriage.