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.

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

Updated Friday, April 15, 3 p.m. to included comments from grand opening: The opening of Centene's $25 million center in Ferguson Friday is the completion of a goal set by the company's chief executive officer shortly after violence broke out in the city in 2014.

Michael Neidorff said the investment by the Clayton-based managed care company should send a message to some employers who left Ferguson in the aftermath of Michael Brown's death.

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

Peabody Energy says all mines and offices will continue to operate even though the St.Louis-based company has filed for bankruptcy. Chief Executive Officer Glenn Kellow says the move allows Peabody to seek an in-court solution to its debt problems.

LED fixture beside a basic light bulb that has been used in streetlights for decades.s
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

Ameren Missouri says many of its customers could soon be noticing lower bills. The electric utility is upgrading streetlights throughout its system with LED technology.

An aerial view of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at 3200 South 2nd Street.
NGA

The likely winner of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency's new facility will be made public this week. A report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Friday will include the preferred location for the NGA's new west headquarters.

(Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

Home ownership rates across the country continue to decline and an economist at the St. Louis Federal Reserve says there are two potential factors at play. Bill Emmons points to a potential new-normal scenario and the possibility that housing ownership remains in downward cycle that has lasted for roughly two-decades.

Grant's Farm bridge with sign thanking attendees for visiting
William K. Busch Brewing Company

Updated 1:00 p.m. March 4 with Zoo's offer withdrawn:

The St. Louis Zoo’s plan to buy Grant’s Farm from a Busch family trust has fallen through. In a statement the Zoo says it’s withdrawn its conditional offer of about $30 million citing a legal dispute among the six heirs of the late beer baron Gussie Busch. Four of the six siblings have wanted to release the land from the trust, but Billy Busch is fighting to keep it in the family.  Earlier this week, he unveiled a five-year plan to acquire and develop the family-attraction with a small theater, and brewery.  A St. Louis Circuit Court hearing regarding the sale is scheduled for March 28.

Original article March 2:

A prominent member of the Busch family is providing more details about his plans for Grant's Farm. Billy Busch is trying to acquire the St. Louis County attraction and has unveiled a five-year business plan that calls for a small theater, brewery and continued free admission.

United Steelworkers Local 50 President Jason Chism after a news conference in Granite City in Feb. 2016.
File Photo | Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

A United Steelworkers local president is trying to remain as upbeat as possible, even though there is no indication when U.S. Steel might resume production in Granite City.

"I'm an optimistic person so my glass always runs half-full, even though it's been running close to empty here lately," USW Local 50 President Jason Chism told St. Louis Public Radio Friday.

St. Louis Fashion Incubator Executive Director Eric Johnson is a John Burroughs High School graduate with experience as the leader of New York City's fashion and arts initiative.
File Photo | St. Louis Fashion Incubator

The once-bustling St. Louis fashion industry could be poised for a rebound and a native with some big-time economic development experience is playing a key role.

Eric Johnson is the first executive director of the St. Louis Fashion Incubator. He is back home after spending several years as an economic development official in New York City, including serving as head of the city’s fashion and arts initiative.

futureatlas.com | Flickr

A federal mandate and a record supply are leading to the low gas prices in the St. Louis area. The monitoring site GasBuddy.com says the average price at the pump is $1.56 a gallon (as of Feb. 12), roughly 60 cents cheaper than a year ago.

And even with a recent spike in the past couple of days, at least one expert says prices are still poised to go even lower.

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

Updated 12:49 p.m., Feb. 11 with Peabody Energy's earnings report - St. Louis-based Peabody Energy is  still speaking with creditors and is open to more asset sales as it deals with huge debt and a deep industry downturn. It is reporting a full-year loss of slightly more than $2 billion, compared to a loss of less than half that for 2014.

Chief Executive Officer Glenn Kellow says Peabody has made several moves to improve its financial picture, include selling operations in New Mexico and Colorado, but more needs to be done.

The U.S. Department of Defense has included an order of 16 F/A 18 Super Hornets in their budget for the next two years.
(via Boeing)

The new U.S. Department of Defense budget request could provide breathing room for Boeing production in St. Louis. 

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

Updated 1:23 p.m., Jan. 27 with U.S. Steel earnings - U.S. Steel is not anticipating a strong year and that could further cloud the uncertain future for its Granite City operation. Under current conditions, the company says it expects lower results this year, compared to the $1.5 billion loss it posted for all of 2015.

Quincy, Illinois Logo
Great River Economic Development Foundation

The city of Quincy and Adams County are rolling out a new brand, designed to help tell the area's story and boost economic development efforts.

"Right on Q" was unveiled Wednesday night during the Great River Economic Development Foundation annual meeting. It essentially replaces "Life is Good," which was first used by Adams County roughly 20 years ago.

Facing increasing pressure from declining seed sales, St. Louis-based Monsanto has announced plans to cut more jobs from its global work force.

Under what the company describes as a Revised Restructuring Plan, it will eliminate 3,600 positions through the end of fiscal year 2018. Monsanto's original initiative, announced last October, called for 2,600 job cuts.

Jim McKelvey, Co-founder, Square
Scott Pham|KBIA

It has been a big year for an emerging technology company with St. Louis roots.

Square went public on the New York Stock Exchange a few weeks ago. It also opened a St. Louis office, which is expected to employ more than 200 in five years.

LockerDome Logo
LockerDome

A St. Louis-based social media technology company is moving into a much larger space as it prepares to add 300 jobs over the next five years.

LockerDome's headquarters will remain downtown on Washington Avenue, but plans to be in the new space by the end of next year. It will be 18,000 square feet as opposed to the company's current 6,800 square-foot office.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon at World Wide Technology groundbreaking
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

One of the St. Louis region's most prominent technology companies is hoping to use some workplace culture elements of some of the big players in Silicon Valley in its new headquarters in Maryland Heights.

World Wide Technology plans to open the space for 1,000 workers in 2017. It will anchor a $95 million revitalization effort for Westport Plaza.

Company officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday.

With U.S. Steel set to start idling operations in Granite City next week, some Metro East leaders are calling on federal lawmakers to take a tougher stance on overseas steel producers selling on the U.S. market at unfairly low prices.

Rabbi Susan Talve of Central Reform Congregation prepares to give the blessing at a Hanukkah party at the White House Dec. 9.
Screen capture | White House video

A St. Louis rabbi has used an appearance at the White House to highlight efforts to reduce violence and deal with radioactive contamination.

Rep. Lacy Clay
St. Louis Public Radio

A formal rollout of a federal initiative that could help revitalize some of the poorest sections of north St. Louis County and city is expected next month.

Monsanto, a global agricultural company headquartered in St. Louis, says it is taking a leadership role as the sector deals with climate change.

Monsanto plans to make all operations carbon neutral by 2021.

Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grant says essentially the company wants all of its systems to store, offset or sequester as much carbon as they release.

“When the beginning and the end match up and you are at net-neutrality, that’s the definition of a good day, I think.”

St. Louis Public Radio

The coal industry continues to adjust to economic realities. Peabody Energy has announced a deal to sell assets in Colorado and New Mexico, while Arch Coal is suggesting that a bankruptcy filing may be in order.  Tracking the sector can be a challenge, so we have put together a snapshot of some major players and their ties to the St. Louis region.

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

Updated at 1 p.m., November 24, 2015, to include comments from a union representative:

Dave Dowling, the sub district director for the United Steelworkers union, says he doesn't expect to know the date of the plant's idling for about two weeks.

De'Carlon Seewood
City of Ferguson

The new Ferguson city manager is a familiar face at city hall. De'Carlon Seewood is returning to the community after serving in a similar position in a Chicago suburb.

He was Ferguson's assistant city manager from 2001 to 2007. Seewood has also served as city manager in Berkeley.

Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 1:45 p.m., Nov. 16 with revised Illinois proposal - Metro East officials are sweetening their offer to attract a federal spy agency and its roughly 3,000 workers. St. Clair County officials said Monday that they are adding 200 acres to its proposal for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Ameren's coal-fired power plant in Labadie
Véronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

The Sierra Club is appealing to Ameren shareholders in an attempt to prompt the utility to move away from coal-based energy.

The organization has submitted a resolution to shareholders calling for at least 30-percent wind and solar sourced energy by 2030 and at least 70-percent by 2050.

Bevo fox on one of the old Anheuser-Busch buildings
Tom Nagel | St. Louis Beacon file photo

Updated 9:33 a.m. , Nov. 11 with announcement of formal offer -

Anheuser-Busch InBev has put forth a formal offer to takeover rival brewer SABMiller. The announcement follows word last month that the companies had an agreement in principle on a deal worth more than $100 billion.

In an effort to clear regulatory hurdles in the U.S., Molson Coors will buy out SABMiller's interest in a joint venture. That means A-B InBev, which brews Budweiser, will not own SABMiller's U.S. business or the global rights to the Miller brand.

Crews at the River City Business Park
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Officials broke ground Tuesday for a project that could spark an economic revitalization in the Carondolet area of south St. Louis. River City Business Park, just north of River City Casino is a 54-acre property on the site of the former Carondolet Coke plant.

Boeing FA-18 Super Hornet
Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Stephen G. Hale II | U.S. Navy

Updated 1:33 p.m., Feb. 16 with rejection of protest -  Boeing is considering its options following the denial of a protest over the military's decision to award a lucrative contract to a rival contractor. The U.S. Government Accountability Office says it has found no issues with the Air Force’s move to award the contract for the Long Range Strike Bomber to Northrop Grumman. Boeing's St. Louis-based Defense, Space & Security division still claims the Air Force's evaluation of the competing proposal was "fundamentally and irreparably flawed."

The engineering, manufacturing and development phase of the deal is estimated to be worth more than $20 billion

 

ConAgra Foods Logo
ConAgra Foods

ConAgra Foods is giving up on its St. Louis-based private brands unit after about three years. The Nebraska-based company is selling most of what it acquired in the 2013 Ralcorp deal to TreeHouse Foods in a $2.7 billion transaction.

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