Wayne Pratt

Reporter / Newscaster

Wayne Pratt is a veteran journalist who has made stops at radio stations, wire services and websites throughout North America. He comes to St. Louis Public Radio from Indianapolis, where he was Assistant Managing Editor at www.insideindianabusiness.com. Wayne also launched a local news operation at NPR member station WBAA in West Lafayette, Indiana and spent time as a correspondent for a network of more than 800 stations. His career has included positions in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Toronto, Ontario and Phoenix, Arizona. Wayne grew up near Ottawa, Ontario and moved to the United States in the mid-90s on a dare. Soon after, he met his wife and has been in the U.S. ever since.

A rendering of the proposed St. Louis soccer stadium.
Courtesy of HOK

Updated on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 3 p.m. to include new offer from Foundry St. Louis -

A decision on an offer to cover a funding gap for a proposed soccer stadium in St. Louis could rest with the top professional league in the U.S.

 

Two groups have been trying to secure a local MLS expansion franchise and one is suggesting a partnership that could eliminate the need for public money. Foundry St. Louis officials say they are willing to put $80 million into the $200 million project proposed by SC STL.

 

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says it isn't up to the city to approve such a plan.

 

U.S. Steel in Granite City
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

Many Metro East steelworkers who have been laid off by U.S. Steel could be on the verge of some financial help. A proposal to extend unemployment insurance benefits is expected to be discussed this week on the floor of the Illinois House.

Doug Byrum poses for a portrait with his wife, Ruth Ann, at their Mitchell, Illinois, home on Nov. 7, 2016. Byrum is one of 2,000 U.S. Steel employees who has been without work for nearly a year.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Discussions are underway this week at the Illinois Statehouse about whether to extend unemployment benefits for laid-off steelworkers in the Metro East. A bill to lengthen the benefit period to a full-year instead of the current 26 weeks has been passed by a legislative committee.  

Trailnet officials suggest quick action is needed on the proposed network. They say St. Louis could lose economic opportunities and potential new residents to cities that already have such a trail system.
Trailnet

An eight-mile urban trail in Indianapolis is serving as a model for a similar proposal in St. Louis. Trailnet has announced plans to put together a 12-mile network of walking and cycling trails to connect the city’s cultural and entertainment districts. Organization officials say it could be key in convincing more millennials to put down roots here.

One of the buildings of U.S. Steel's campus in Granite City, where production has been idled since around the end of 2015.
File photo | Davd Schaper|NPR

Tough market conditions continue to idle steel making  in Granite City. The chief executive officer of U.S. Steel says the company still does not have a timeline to restart production at the Metro East plant. Around 1,600 workers have been off the job since operations were idled roughly 10 months ago.

Centene announced plans for this new claims center shortly after the death of Michael Brown
Centene Corporation

Many organizations are still working to make a difference in Ferguson and North St. Louis County two years after unrest erupted in the city. That includes several foundations and other nonprofits that made promises of funding and commitments to change as part of the healing process. We decided to check in with a few of those organizations to see how well they have followed through on their commitments.

Maria Altman| St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on Oct. 27, to include contract vote approval - Schnucks union employees approved a new contract Wednesday night, avoiding a potential strike.

The members of the UFCW Local 655 voted 1,020 to 507 in favor of the three year agreement.

The original contract expired in May. Union members rejected a previous version in September. The union recommended a yes vote to the membership before last night’s decision.

In a statement emailed to St. Louis Public Radio, UFCW Local 655 President David Cook said, “Schnucks management listened to our concerns and worked with us to provide a significantly revised agreement that our membership supported with tonight’s vote. Our members deserve to be recognized for their sacrifices with a fair contract. The significant concessions from Schnucks show they understood that and came back to the table with a much better contract.”

The proposed office building would be on the west end of Ballpark Village, across the street from Busch Stadium.
St. Louis Cardinals

If you have ever wanted to live in an apartment with full view of Busch Stadium, here’s your chance. The Cardinals have announced plans for a $220 million expansion of Ballpark Village that include a 29-story apartment tower. The team says the proposal also includes construction of the first upscale office building in downtown St. Louis since 1989.

Scottrade was founded in Arizona in 1980 and moved to St. Louis roughly one year later.
Scottrade Facebook Page

Updated Oct. 24 at 4:20 p.m. with reaction

Another major St. Louis-based company is being sold. Scottrade has announced a $4 billion deal to be acquired by TD Ameritrade. The financial services company has been based in St. Louis since 1981.

Anheuser-Busch interior
File Photo | Tom Nagel | Beacon

Updated on Monday, Oct. 10, 4:30 p.m., with news that the deal has been finalized - The multi-billion dollar deal to create the world's largest brewer is complete. Anheuser-Busch InBev has wrapped up its takeover of SABMiller.

Changes are not expected at the company's Missouri facilities. AB-InBev has three plants in the state — the St. Louis brewery — which is the North American headquarters for the company, a can plant in Arnold and a packaging materials facility in Bridgeton. AB-InBev officials say the brewer has roughly 4,300 workers in Missouri. Those jobs and plants are expected to be safe — at least for the time being. That's because AB InBev agreed to sell the Miller brands to MolsonCoors so the SABMiller deal could gain regulatory approval. The company says offloading labels like Miller Lite means there won't be any overlap, so significant adjustments to U.S. operations are not necessary.

Monsanto says it will not comment further on Bayer's bid, which is being reviewed by the board of directors.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The head of St. Louis-based Monsanto says completing the $66 billion deal with Bayer is one of his company's main goals for 2017. Hugh Grant has also given analysts reasons why he thinks the takeover by the German company will be cleared by regulators. He spoke Wednesday during Monsanto's quarterly earnings call.

Abby Cohen is a co-founder of Sparo Labs. She will be on the trip to Boston with other St. Louis startup leaders.
(Photo courtesy of Sparo Labs)

Members of the startup community in St. Louis are trying to strengthen links to Boston. A group of about 20 startup leaders will leave Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Tuesday evening for two days of meetings in Massachusetts.

Rendering of Centene's expansion proposal in Clayton
Provided by Centene

Updated 12:05 p.m., Sept. 28 with Board of Aldermen approvals - Members of the Clayton Board of Aldermen have approved elements of a massive expansion plan by Centene.  Rezoning and a special development plan for the multi-million dollar project were passed Wednesday night. Individual phases of the project still need to go through an approval process.

Monsanto
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Senior executives with Bayer and Monsanto are defending the German company’s proposed $66 billion acquisition of the St. Louis agricultural giant. They were among the industry leaders who testified Tuesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on agricultural consolidation.

The Bayer-Monsanto deal comes as other acquisitions in the agricultural sector are pending. Dow Chemical and DuPont are midway through the regulatory process, while ChemChina and Switzerland-based Syngenta also have a proposed deal.

Monsanto says it will not comment further on Bayer's bid, which is being reviewed by the board of directors.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10:25 a.m., Sept. 14 with CEO comments -  The head of Monsanto is assuring St. Louis residents about the company's commitment to the region, following the announcement that the agribusiness giant is being acquired by Germany-based Bayer. Hugh Grant told reporters the combination is good news for the region and points to the fact that it will be the global center for the combined company's seeds and traits operations.

Monsanto says it will not comment further on Bayer's bid, which is being reviewed by the board of directors.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 7:18 a.m., Sept. 6 with revised Bayer offer - St. Louis-based Monsanto is evaluating another takeover proposal from a German company. Bayer announced early Tuesday morning that is has increased its offer by roughly 2 percent. It’s a more than $65 billion proposal.

ARS screen in a helicopter
Provided by Churchill Navigation

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is using new technology that can be described as Google Maps on steroids. It helps pilots search for missing persons and better track possible suspects.

The Climate Corporation Logo
Provided by The Climate Corporation

The sale of a Monsanto unit's high-speed planting technology subsidiary is in jeopardy. The federal government has gone to court to block the deal. It contends the multi-million dollar sale would hinder competition and raise costs for farmers. The companies involved in the potential transaction are vowing to fight the claims.

More details are emerging about Anheuser-Busch InBev’s takeover of rival brewer SABMiller, which is expected to close in a few weeks.  Documents from both companies provide a glimpse of job cuts, brand growth and reasons behind the roughly $100 billion deal.

Gateway ARch Sunshine
(photo by Tim Tolle via Flickr Creative Commons)

The superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial says the work to renovate the ground around the Gateway Arch could be an example for other national parks as they deal with the possibility of under-funding by the federal government.

Emily Koplar - Wai Ming
Provided by St. Louis Fashion Incubator

Updated 11:48 a.m., Aug. 25 with inaugural class announcement -  A local designer is part of the St. Louis Fashion Incubator's first class. Emily Koplar is one of six people chosen to go through the two-year program aimed at supporting the businesses and boosting the city's fashion-related economy. She is founder of the Wai Ming women’s clothing line. Other members of the inaugural class are from the New York City area, Dallas and Chicago.

Goalie masks and homeplate
Provided by St. Louis Blues

Following the selection of five St. Louis area players in the first round of this year's National Hockey League draft, officials with the Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and the NHL are convinced an outdoor game in January will help build on the sport's already solid footing in the region.

League Commissioner Gary Bettman stopped in St. Louis Tuesday to promote the Jan. 2, 2017, contest between the Blues and Blackhawks at Busch Stadium.

Anheuser-Busch interior
File Photo | Tom Nagel | Beacon

Updated 11:40 a.m., July 29 with SABMiller board recommendation and China approval - The board of brewer SABMiller says it intends to "recommend" that shareholders accept  Anheuser-Busch InBev's revised takeover offer, clearing the way for a shareholder vote on the mega-deal. The decision comes only hours after AB InBev's cleared the last regulatory hurdle for the 79 billion pound deal.

Centene announced plans for this new claims center shortly after the death of Michael Brown
Centene Corporation

The head of St. Louis-based Centene is shooting down speculation it will bid on any units being unloaded by larger companies that are considering a merger. There have been reports the St. Louis-based health insurer is interested in trying to acquire units that would have to be divested by the potential combinations of  Aetna  and Humana or Anthem and Cigna.

Dotson Precautions Tweet
Provided by Twitter

The deadly ambush of police in Dallas is prompting law enforcement in the St. Louis area to take precautions to better protect officers.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson says he is taking steps to “maximize the safety of officers” throughout his department.

They include:

Anheuser-Busch complex
File Photo | Tom Nagel | Beacon

Shareholders of brewer SABMiller might want more out of the proposed takeover by Anheuser-Busch InBev because of England's vote to leave the European Union. Edward Jones' equity research analyst Brittany Weissman says that is a remote possibility as the acquisition closes in on regulatory approval in the U.S. and a few other countries.

MISO control room
Provided by MISO

A battle over power is shaping up in Illinois. It involves lawmakers, but unlike with the state budget crisis they are not playing a central role. This fight involves electricity plants, regulated and unregulated energy companies and the nonprofits that act as air traffic controllers for the electric grid.

SixThirty Cyber Logo
SixThirty

A new St. Louis-based initiative might produce the next big advancement in the war against hackers and data thieves. SixThirty Cyber is an offshoot of financial technology venture fund and business accelerator SixThirty, which is housed in the T-Rex co-working space downtown.

SunEdison Solar Energy farm
SunEdision

Updated 12:12 p.m., June. 9 with operational loan approval - A St. Louis-based renewable-energy company has been approved for a loan that will help it operate through the bankruptcy process. A judge has cleared the way for SunEdison to access $1.3 billion. Bloomberg reports some of the money will fund a probe by creditors into the company's financial activities.

Wayne Pratt, St. Louis Public Radio

Nine St. Louis area companies remain on the Fortune 500 list and they are the same employers who made the rankings last year. But there have been some changes in where the companies now stand in the publication’s annual tally based on fiscal year revenue.

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