Radioactive Threat: War in Ukraine Shows Potential for Nuclear Disaster

Photo: Yvonne Logan

By Don Corrigan

Americans never envisioned that any military would be demented enough to attack an operating nuclear power plant, but then Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. The world has been shocked to see nuclear power plants in the midst of heavy fire.

Endangering the integrity of nuclear plants is an attack on the ecological well-being of all of Europe and a large chunk Russia itself, according to Steve Cohen of Columbia University’s State of the Planet.

“Any species that can produce a Putin and give him an army cannot be trusted with the management of such a complex and potentially dangerous technology,” declared Cohen.

“As if attacking a functioning plant was not sufficient, Russia has also taken over the site of the no longer operating Chernobyl nuclear power plant,” wrote Cohen. “The Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986 spread radioactive materials throughout Europe and was one of the largest nuclear catastrophes in history.”

Europeans know all too well what happens when a nuclear power plant fails. Radiation from the USSR’s Chernobyl plant spread from Poland to Germany to Scotland. The disaster galvanized an anti-nuclear movement in Western Europe.

Now Ukraine is under siege, a country that relies on nuclear power for 60% of its energy, and Russians are pummeling and seizing these plants.

Lynn Sableman, president of the St. Louis chapter of the Women’s League for International Peace and Freedom (WILPF), speculates that the Ukraine conflict could mean the beginning of the end of the nuclear age.

It could also provide the impetus to clean up global radioactive contamination. Or, it could lead to a world nuclear nightmare.

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Editor Corrigan To Debut ‘Amazing Webster Groves’ This May

A new book, Amazing Webster Groves, has gone into pre-press production and will be available in May. EE Co-editor Don Corrigan will do a Missouri book tour starting in May with first presentations scheduled for book outlets in St. Louis and Webster Groves.

America’s Heartbeat can be found in the St. Louis suburb that’s been a Time magazine cover story, the subject of a CBS-TV documentary, and a magnet for pollsters at presidential election time.

In Amazing Webster Groves, you will discover Old Orchard, where prime real estate was sold out of President Ulysses S. Grant’s log cabin. You’ll find Webster Park, where a governor, a senator, and many of St. Louis’s business geniuses once lived.

You can read the true tale of the Webster TV housewife who nicknamed her hubby “Fang,” the man whose election to governor was held up when Democrats cried fraud, a zoologist who advocated for “charismatic megafauna,” an atomic age activist who collected 300,000 baby teeth for Strontium 90 detection, and a female author who won a Pulitzer at 24.

You will also learn about the town’s remarkable college, Webster University, and the revered Eden Seminary where theologians who advised presidents taught beneath its Oxford Tower.

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St. Louis Planting Calendar From Seed St. Louis!

Want to know when is the best time to plant your veggies and fruits in St. Louis?

Seed St. Louis has a local planting calendar to help!

Check it out here: 542c0a3c-46e3-432b-9bc4-0379f7d1453e.pdf (



Washington Park hosts CCC Co. 1743 celebration March 19

Washington State Park team members are hosting an open house celebration of Civilian Conservation Corps Company 1743 in honor of Black History Month. The open house will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, at the Thunderbird Lodge. The African American Civilian Conservation Corps Company 1743 craftsmanship can be seen throughout the park.

Washington State Park interpretive team members will be on hand to discuss the cultural and historical significance of Company 1743 and their unique contribution to the park. Photographs and artifacts from CCC Company 1743 will be on display.

Black History Month 2022’s theme is “Black Health and Wellness,” and interpretive team members will lead a guided hike on 1,000 Steps Trail at 1 p.m. to support this initiative. This trail was built by Company 1743 and displays their stonework and highlights the park’s natural resources. The hike is 1.25 miles long over a natural surface.

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Join MDC and partners March 19 for an epic cleanup and festival in Meramec River Watershed

Photo: MDC

Missouri Stream Teams and Dome Life are organizing a large-scale cleanup event, followed by a festival with food and live music.

The Meramec River is an aquatic gem in the St. Louis region—a great river for floating, fishing, and recreation.  Part of what makes a great river great is the watershed that surrounds it and feeds it.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), Missouri Stream Teams, and Dome Life invite the public to be part of an epic cleanup event to help make the Meramec and its watershed a better place, and to a festival after to celebrate the success.

The Dome Life Stream Team Mid-Meramec River Cleanup will take place Saturday, March 19 starting at 8 a.m.  The public is invited to join in this effort that includes both land and water trash cleanups, and invasive plant removal projects along 26 miles of the Meramec River.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for all of us to improve the Meramec watershed and its natural communities, and to make the area a better place to recreate, enjoy, and live in,” said MDC Resource Science Aid, Brian Waldrop.

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Missouri Severe Weather Preparedness Week is March 7 – 11

Missourians are reminded to prepare and plan for severe weather and participate in Statewide Tornado Drill on Tuesday, March 8

On Dec. 10, 2021, severe storms and six confirmed tornadoes in Missouri killed two people and destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes and buildings, as well as 20 large transmission towers and lines that move power between Missouri and Arkansas. The storm system serves as another reminder that deadly tornadoes can strike any time of year.

To prepare, from March 7 to 11, the National Weather Service, State Emergency Management Agency and local emergency managers encourage Missourians to learn more about severe weather and how to protect themselves during Missouri Severe Weather Preparedness Week. Missouri’s annual Statewide Tornado Drill will also be held on Tuesday, March 8 at 10 a.m. (Some Missouri communities may choose to conduct the drill on a different day due to conflicting local events.)

“Although many Missourians associate severe weather with the spring and summer months, there is no tornado season,” State Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Remillard said. “Dangerous and sometimes deadly tornadoes, thunderstorms and flooding can happen year-round. That’s why it’s incredibly important to have an emergency plan in place and talk to your family about when to take action before severe weather strikes your area.”

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Just Moms STL Blasts Inaction On Radioactive Landfill After Years Of Promises To Clean Up St Louis Atomic Legacy

West Lake Landfill

By Don Corrigan

Co-Founder of Just Moms STL Dawn Chapman is expressing anger that there is no clear schedule to clean up radioactive waste in a Bridgeton landfill. She is joined by state lawmakers who are tired of years of the EPA dragging its feet.

The landfill could be releasing radioactive pollution due to an underground fire in the area landfill. Environmental experts fear that if the fire mixes with the contamination, North County residents could face more woes and possible evacuation.

The radioactive waste was generated in St. Louis when weapons-grade uranium was refined for use in the top-secret Manhattan project. St. Louis is increasingly known around the country as “Atomic City” for its problems from careless procedures used in producing the first atomic bomb.

Radioactive byproducts from producing yellow cake for bombs was shipped away from riverfront operations in open trucks. It was simply dumped haphazardly in sites around North St. Louis County.

Just Moms STL launched the campaign for the long overdue cleanup in 2013. In 2019, the EPA agreed to remediate the site after Chapman, Karen Nichol and their group campaigned to protect their community from radiation placed in the landfill nearly 50 years ago.

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March Promises Us Some Weird “Wizard of Oz” Weather

North of Hannibal, Mo, 2003. Photo: STL NWS.

By Don Corrigan

March brings us Mardi Gras, Irish revelry, International Fanny Pack Day and wild-ass weather. Tornadoes are just around the corner, which is why it is an American family tradition to watch “The Wizard of Oz” on TV in March.

There is no better movie tornado scene than Dorothy and her little dog Toto trying to find shelter as a Kansas cyclone bears down on them. The tornado in “Oz” is every bit as scary as anything in the more recent movie, “Twister.”

If “The Wizard of Oz” classic were filmed today, the setting would have to be moved from Kansas to Missouri. That’s because changing weather patterns have meteorologists telling us that Tornado Alley is moving eastward.

Missouri and states to the southeast are seeing more and more tornadoes. On a recent drive to the Florida Panhandle, this scribe witnessed plenty of tornado damage in Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.

Meteorologists are predicting twice as many tornadoes this spring because of what used to be called “global warming.” That terminology has changed to “climate change,” because a warming atmosphere gives us weather extremes of hot and cold.

February 2022 has exhibited this phenomenon. It has been a roller coaster. Sunny, balmy days followed by ice, sleet and snow and an occasional polar vortex. It has been roller coaster weather.

The weather roller coaster of extremes in February has put us on a track for violent tornadoes in March. So grab Toto and be ready to take shelter as dark and ominous roll clouds wind their way up I-44 in Missouri, a super highway which has become Missouri’s very own Tornado Alley.

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Washington State Park Celebrates Civilian Conservation Corps Company 1743 With Open House & Hike On Feb. 26

In honor of Black History Month, team members at Washington State Park invite the public to join them in celebrating the work of Civilian Conservation Corps Company 1743 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26. Park team members will be available during this open house event at Thunderbird Lodge to discuss Company 1743’s contribution to the park, display historic photographs and discuss historical record accounts of the company’s time at the park.

Since Black History Month 2022’s theme is “Black Health and Wellness,” interpretive tream members will lead a guided hike on the 1,000 Steps Trail at 1 p.m. to support this initiative. This trail was built by Company 1743, and displays their stonework and highlights the park’s natural resources. The hike is 1.25 miles long over a natural surface.

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WGHS Hall of Famer: Joseph Sohm’s Lens Captures The Best Of America

All Photos: Joe Sohm photos from his work in early February along the Great River Road near Alton, Illinois, for his compendium of Images of America covering all 50 U.S. States.

By Don Corrigan

Sometimes a photographer points the camera lens on a subject and creates a great profile. Sometimes the camera lens turns 180 degrees and creates a great profile – of the pro behind the camera.

Such has been the case for professional photographer and videographer Joseph Sohm, a 1966 Webster Groves High School graduate, who was inducted onto the school’s prestigious Wall of Fame.

Sohm has been profiled by CBS MarketWatch, PBS NewsHour, Esquire magazine, USA Today, the San Francisco Examiner and more. Sohm has received this “earned media” because of literally hundreds of thousands of images he has produced in a five-decades career.

Photographer and videographer Sohm has had his work appear in National Geographic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated and Vogue.

His images of U.S. Presidents have appeared – everywhere. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also have drawn on Sohm’s iconic images to celebrate the American spirit during their White House years.

If you want to talk about U.S. Presidents, Sohm will start with Teddy Roosevelt. That’s because of T.R.’s keen interest in protecting natural landscapes and establishing national parks.

Sohm’s favorite park is Yosemite known for its granite towers, deep valleys and the tranquility of the High Sierra. Yosemite is where T.R. met with the legendary John Muir and was converted to become a conservationist president.

“John Muir outlined to Teddy ‘why’ we need to save our natural heritage,” said Sohm. “Since then, many U.S. Presidents added onto this heritage, including President Clinton, whom I worked for during the 1992 campaign and for his inaugural.

“What makes America unique is our belief in democracy,” said Sohm. “But what also makes us unique is our heritage of creating these national parks. We must preserve this natural heritage and our democracy.”

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