Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

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.

LED light beside a decades old bulb-based streetlight fixture.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

An initiative to update streetlights could save the City of St. Louis more than $150,000 a year. Installation of new LED technology is already underway and the city says the effort should improve lighting, especially in some dark areas on local roads.

The initial phase involves nearly 5,000 LED fixtures that will replace current high-pressure sodium light bulbs on major routes like Grand Boulevard and Kingshighway.

new stadium, St. Louis Rams
Courtesy HOK | 360 Architecture

The saga of the Rams' decision to leave St. Louis is not over. The city, St. Louis County and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority are suing the National Football League and all of its member teams over the Rams' move to Los Angeles.

The suit was filed Wednesday in St. Louis Circuit Court. It accuses the NFL and Rams' officials of violating the league's relocation guidelines. The relocation guidelines, according to the lawsuit, "bind the NFL, NFL team owners, and NFL teams to follow certain procedures before allowing them to relocate."

A view of the outside of the Peabody Energy building in St. Louis.
St. Louis Public Radio

Peabody Energy has emerged from bankruptcy with less debt and a shift in focus. The St. Louis-based coal company spent roughly a year under Chapter 11 protection and some of the same industry-wide challenges remain – government regulation and cheaper energy producing options, such as natural gas.

In a release when Peabody emerged from bankruptcy earlier this month, Chief Executive Officer Glenn Kellow sounded upbeat.

Flickr | TerryJohnston

Updated July 18 with deal closing - Panera Bread is no longer a locally-owned company. The $7.5 billion acquisition by European business group J-A-B Holding Company was completed Tuesday morning. The deal takes Panera private and its shares are no longer trading on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to law enforcement officials. (03/31/17)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 2 p.m. with NAACP comment — Ferguson officials say they have not been notified by federal authorities about a potential review of the city's agreement with the Justice Department involving local police and municipal court reforms.

On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered all consent decrees to be reviewed, including agreements in Ferguson, Baltimore and Chicago.

The industrial park in Illinois covers 2,300 acres. Developers say it is within 1,500 miles of 90 percent of the people in North America.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Leaders in a Metro East County are taking a proactive approach to anticipated changes by the new administration in Washington, D.C. Massive infrastructure investments and re-working international trade deals are key parts of President Donald Trump’s blueprint and Madison County officials are trying position the area for growth under the potential new economic realities.

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On behalf of several farmers in 10 states, including Missouri and Illinois, a law firm has filed a class action lawsuit against Monsanto.

The main allegation is that the agriculture company knowingly sold a crop that did not have any approved herbicide to go along with it in 2015 and 2016. As a result, farmers who planted Monsanto’s Xtend cotton and soybean seed used dicamba, an illegal herbicide, to avoid damage to the crops.

The project calls for a tower to go up beside Centene's headquarters in Clayton and in front of The Crescent condominiums.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Feb. 15 with city's rejection of petition - A group of Clayton citizens is dealing with a setback in its effort to bring a massive expansion project directly to voters. The city has rejected a petition essentially calling for the more than $770-million Centene headquarters expansion to be put on the ballot.

Stones used by the St. Louis Curling Club during matches at the Creve Coeur Ice Arena. Each could weigh as much as 44 pounds.
St. Louis Curling Club

The first stand-alone curling facility in Missouri could be operating by the end of the year. Members of the St. Louis Curling Club have made an offer on property at the St. Louis Mills outlet mall. They are also having preliminary discussions with the city of Hazelwood about a possible tax abatement.

St. Louis Public Library
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

A so-called "ransomware attack" is causing problems at all St. Louis Public Library branches.

Library system spokeswoman Jen Hatton says one of the system's servers is being blocked by an outsider who is asking for money in exchange for returning control of the server back to the library. The amount of the ransom being demanded is not being released.  

Hatton says the FBI has been contacted and is investigating the attack. The library's own technology employees are also working on repairing the server.

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Jan. 17 with comments from Bayer, Monsanto and Trump administration - More details are emerging about Bayer's possible acquisition of St. Louis-based Monsanto. The companies and the incoming Trump administration on Tuesday provided some specifics about job numbers and investment levels.

In a joint statement, Bayer and Monsanto said there are plans to invest $16 billion in agricultural research and development over six years, with at least $8 billion of that in the United States.

The field at Busch Stadium had a music theme to mark the Winter Classic between the Blues and Blackhawks on Jan. 2, 2017.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

It was a celebration of hockey between two rivals and a chess match with Mother Nature.

The St. Louis Blues won both.

The 1972 St. Louis Stars played in the North American Soccer League championship, losing to New York.
Jan Reinertsen | nasljerseys.com|

The effort by backers of a potential Major League Soccer expansion franchise for St. Louis has some fans reflecting on the history of the sport in the region. That includes memories of a top-level professional team in late 1960s through the mid-1970s called the St. Louis Stars.

Kirkwood officials say there have been years where more than 540,000 visitors have gone through the station.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis County community is launching an effort to pay for massive renovation of a prominent landmark. The Kirkwood Train Station Foundation wants to bring in money to fix up the structure, which was originally built in 1893.

The goal is to raise $3 million.

Peabody describes itself as the world's largest private-sector coal company
Peabody Energy

Peabody Energy is mapping out its plan to emerge from bankruptcy protection next spring.

The coal company has filed a financial reorganization proposal with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis that calls for shedding more than $5 billion in debt and eventually issuing new common stock. Current shareholders would not receive anything and might oppose the plan.

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

Updated  at 3 p.m. Dec. 19  with news of the bill signing — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a bill that would extend unemployment benefits for 2,000 laid-off Granite City steelworkers.

The legislature this month approved the proposal that will provide 52 weeks of benefits, instead of the current 26 for eligible workers.

“This legislation will help the hard working families of the Metro East who lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” Rauner said, in a statement. 

The pilot program only covers the City of East St. Louis, not unincorporated areas.
Heather Anne Campbell | Flickr

A pilot program between East St. Louis and the state of Illinois is expected to streamline the inspection process for more than 50 retailers in the city who hold liquor licenses. The Illinois Liquor Control Commission is training local officials to make sure the businesses are following state and local laws.

Autoclave at new Boeing commerical airline parts facility in St. Louis
Maria Altman| St. Louis Public Radio

Boeing will move its defense unit from St. Louis to Arlington, Virginia. A spokesman Tuesday confirmed the decision, which was made by senior management. Boeing's defense headquarters have been in St. Louis since the 1997 merger with McDonnell Douglas.

An "out of order" sign hangs from the pipes of a water fountain at Patrick Henry Elementary School in St. Louis.
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Dec. 9, 2016 with the results of the most recent tests — St. Louis Public Schools officials are still working on replacing water pipes, fountains and sinks that tested positive for lead.

Most of the nearly 90 sources have passed most-recent testing, but three fountains and nine sinks have been abandoned. Another eight fountains failed the most recent lead tests, and officials are waiting for results on four other fountains.

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

 

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.

File photo | 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.

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