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.

St. Louis Public Schools students thank Jack Taylor and family.
St. Louis Public Schools Foundation

A philanthropic family that prefers to remain low-key is making a high-profile statement to help underserved communities and St. Louis-area youth.

The family of Enterprise Holdings Founder Jack Taylor is donating $22 million to several charitable and educational organizations throughout the region.

Proposed Carson, California stadium
L.A. Times| Manica Architecture

The Rams' future in St. Louis continues to be uncertain.

National Football League owners are meeting this week in San Francisco and are expected to receive updates on stadium plans in St. Louis and two Los Angeles suburbs: Carson and Inglewood.

Atul Kamra, SixThirty
SixThirty

The new managing partner of St. Louis-based financial technology business accelerator SixThirty is bringing plenty of experience to the job.

United Steelworkers Sub District 2 Director Dave Dowling
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the United Steelworkers are pressing U.S. Rep. Mike Bost of southern Illinois to vote against legislation that would fast-track a multi-national trade agreement.

AOL's Steve Case at LockerDome's Lockerdorms
LockerDome.com|Gabe Lozano

As the Midwest economy continues to shift from a traditional manufacturing base, the spaces that many area workers and employers spend their days — and nights — in are also evolving. Research suggests more and more workers are shifting to non-traditional offices, ranging from pet-filled apartments to shared spaces, complete with bunk beds and craft beer.

Mayor Francis Slay, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

A new partnership will focus on training and business development in the St. Louis region’s immigrant entrepreneurship community.

Air pollution from coal-fired power plants, industrial activities, and cars contributes to asthma and other health problems in the St. Louis area.
Syracuse University News Services

The American Lung Association says a data collection glitch in Illinois means it can’t determine whether air quality in the city of St. Louis has worsened.

Brewing tank outside The Schlafly Tap Room in downtown St. Louis.
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

The increasingly competitive craft beer sector has at least two high-profile St. Louis companies looking to make inroads in Chicago, one of the largest markets in North America.

Urban Chestnut and Schlafly recently struck separate distribution deals to start selling in Chicago, which the Brewers Association says is the third largest overall beer market in the country.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
Flickr | McCaskill | April 2015

Updated at 4:30p.m., Feb. 10, 2016, to include congressional committee contempt vote -  A U.S. Senate committee Wednesday called for contempt proceedings against a website accused of aiding the sex-trafficking trade.

The panel voted unanimously in favor of a resolution from Senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Ohio Republican Rob Portman. McCaskill says the two have been conducting a bipartisan investigation of sex-trafficking and want to question officials from Backpage.com. "We have reached an impasse with Backpage. They have refused to come to the hearings. They have refused to present documents." If the resolution is approved by the full Senate, it would mark the first time in more than two decades the chamber has held anyone in contempt of Congress.  McCaskill says she helped launch the investigation after a 15-year-old sex-trafficking victim walked into Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis last year and asked for help. Our original story: 

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says 71 percent of the child sex trafficking reports it receives involve ads posted to the website Backpage.com.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says that was the case four months ago when a 15-year-old girl walked into St. Louis’ Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital asking for help: “Along with four other girls, between the ages of 12 and 18, she had been sold for sex at truck stops across Missouri, Florida, Texas and New Mexico for almost two months.”

Martin Brodeur and reporter
Wayne Pratt, St. Louis Public Radio

Even though he only played a handful of games with the St. Louis Blues, the National Hockey League’s most successful goaltender ever is comfortable enough with the organization, and the city, to hang around a bit longer.

Martin Brodeur officially hung up his skates Thursday and accepted a front office job with the hockey team.

He is now senior advisor to the team’s General Manager Doug Armstrong, as the Blues prepare for a Stanley Cup push by relying on a new executive who did it all as a player.

LockerDome

The startup scene in St. Louis is grabbing more national attention as the calendar year begins.

(Wayne Pratt, St. Louis Public Radio)

Realtors in the St. Louis area say they are fighting a negative perception of the region in the aftermath of last summer’s violence in Ferguson.

Many in the market, especially in North St. Louis County, are concerned about low re-sale value, said St. Louis Association of Realtors President Janet Judd.

“The perception is that values tumbled, plummeted.”

About 200 realtors gathered at the association’s headquarters Friday to examine how the unrest and its aftermath have affected the area’s housing market.

Shell gas station
(via Flickr/dno1967b)

A new forecast is suggesting gasoline prices in St. Louis will continue to be among the lowest in the nation for 2015.

GasBuddy.com's annual outlook predicts the peak price in the region will range from $2.65 to $2.95 cents a gallon, thanks in part to a decision by Saudi Arabia to continue production even as global oil prices fall.

From  left, Stephanie Lecci, Willis Ryder Arnold, Emanuele Berry, Durrie Bouscaren. Wayne Pratt was not available for this photo.
St. Louis Public Radio

This summer, the newsroom of St. Louis Public Radio hired five people who had never lived in St. Louis. As 2014 draws to a close, we asked each to reflect on what they've discovered in their five months here.

Eads Wide View Over the Mississippi
Metro Transit

The massive rehabilitation of the landmark Eads Bridge should be complete by early 2016. Officials say they are at the half-way point and the $40 million project remains on budget.

Crews have been blasting away at 140 years of paint and corrosion on the span over the Mississippi River linking St. Louis and East St. Louis.

"So much of it that I will tell you it looks brand new," said John Nations, president of the Bi-State Development Agency, which operates Metro Transit and is overseeing bridge maintenance.

Philae Lander on Comet
ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

There is a St. Louis-area connection to the mission that recently landed a spacecraft on a comet for the first time.

Paul Friz is wrapping up an internship at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

His interest in space started as a teenager looking at the stars at his family’s home in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

When he was 14, Friz saved money from a summer of mowing lawns to buy his first telescope.

Juggling Jeff performs at the Lewis & Clark library branch
St. Louis County Public Library | Dave Moore

Several community organizations are using the Thanksgiving holiday to give back -- especially in the wake of the unrest in Ferguson.

That includes the St. Louis County Public Library system, which has been offering special events this week for north county students whose schools have been closed because of the unrest in Ferguson.

Officials decided to restart the program after first offering it in August.

Here Comes Tim Hortons

Nov 12, 2014
Show Me Hospitality LLC

The Maplewood City Council has given final approval for the St. Louis area’s first Tim Hortons.

Plans call for the coffee, donut and bakery-style eatery to be built on an empty lot next to a CVS near the intersection of Big Bend Boulevard and Manchester Road.

Local development company Show Me Hospitality LLC wants to bring 40 Tim Hortons to the region by 2019, starting with the Maplewood location.

Wayne Pratt / St. Louis Public Radio

Elmer Boehm's life is a story about war, survival, love and life-saving luck.

The World War II veteran is headed to Washington, D.C., on Veterans Day as part of the final Greater St. Louis Honor Flight of 2014.

“I just hope I can … I’m strong enough to make it. I’ll be 92 in January, but I’m still pumping around,” said Boehm during a recent interview at his home in Town and Country.

“It’s kind of an honor to go. It will be nice to see all these memorials that they put up for the various servicemen that have done a lot for their country.”

Revolution LLC

A high-profile entrepreneur is calling on the community to do more to support St. Louis-area startups.

"We just need to tell that story. That’s not to say that Silicon Valley won’t continue to be great and New York City isn’t great and Boston isn’t great, but St. Louis is great too," said A-O-L Co-Founder Steve Case during a stop on Friday at Washington University.

"There should be some degree of skepticism when people are talking about new ideas, but give entrepreneurs the benefit of the doubt."

sign for medical marijuana
Wikimedia Commons

The opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new industry has a Metro East entrepreneur moving forward with plans for a medical marijuana operation, even though there is no guarantee of being granted a license by the state of Illinois.

Mitch Meyers is a partner with NCC LLC, which stands for Nature's Care Company. She says the company has already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into a potential cultivation center and dispensary near Marissa in St. Clair County.

Merck KGaA and Sigma-Aldrich Corp.

A global pharmaceutical company is planning to maintain a significant presence in St. Louis once its $17 billion acquisition of a local life sciences company closes.

Germany-based Merck KGaA Chief Executive Officer Karl-Ludwig Kley says it is too early to fully discuss the synergies that will be created by the deal for Sigma-Aldrich Corp.

Merck says the St. Louis-based chemical compound provider will enhance efforts to provide services to drugmakers and research institutions.

Wayne Pratt / St. Louis Public Radio

The rapid growth of e-cigarette stores in the St. Louis area and throughout the country might be about to hit a bump. The federal government is considering regulations for the industry. It could have sales of $10 billion by 2017, according to Wells Fargo Securities.

That has many entrepreneurs who make their living in the burgeoning sector concerned about its future.

Missouri Department of Transportation

It will be another busy weekend in St. Louis and drivers should expect more traffic issues than usual.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is planning a full-closure of eastbound I-64 between Vandeventer and Forest Park Avenue. Ramps and lanes will be off-limits starting Friday night through Monday morning at 5.

"“We’re continuing some resurfacing work on the Interstate over Vandeventer. We’ll be removing, repairing and then replacing the driving surface on that roadway that goes over Vandeventer,” said MoDOT spokesman Andrew Gates.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

A motion for judgment has been filed in a lawsuit accusing the state of violating Sunshine Laws for refusing to provide information related to Missouri executions.

The filing seeks to expedite a lawsuit filed earlier this year by stating there is no dispute in the core facts of the case, which calls on the court to order the Department of Corrections to release details about the drugs used in lethal injections. It also seeks to identify the pharmacies and laboratories that create and test the drugs.

FBI St. Louis

The FBI is hoping a reward of up to $20,000 will help solve the case of a Jefferson County woman who vanished in 2005.  Investigators have also released a new missing person poster showing Amanda Kay Jones in the clothes she was wearing the day she disappeared.

The federal agency is seeking information leading to the location of  Jones, or details about anyone who was involved in the disappearance.

Wayne Pratt, St. Louis Public Radio

He's won Emmy awards and been enshrined into the broadcast wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Now he has his very own star.

Former Major League Baseball player Tim McCarver was inducted Monday into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. He was a stalwart on Cardinals teams of the 1960s and was named an All-Star twice.

"I've never had anything, any Walk of Fame, anywhere," McCarver told St. Louis Public Radio. "This is really something."

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Flooding along the upper Mississippi River is affecting navigation, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"High river levels have forced us to close two of our locks and dams. Lock and Dam 24 and 25 are both closed right now," said Mike Peterson, chief of public affairs.

"But there’s not a lot of river navigation going on along the upper river right now because upstream of us there is a whole lot of closed locks and dams."

Flood crests on the Mississippi are expected over the next week, but Peterson is not expecting much higher levels.

File photo

If you are traveling the highways over the July 4th holiday weekend, prepare to pay more at the pump. Prices will be higher than last year, mainly due to uncertainty in the Middle East.

"I think the overall problem with Iraq is that it's causing crude oil prices to go up and that's driving up wholesale gasoline prices," said Mike Right, senior vice president of public affairs for AAA Missouri.

"St. Louis is a peculiar market in that they pass along price increases instantly from the wholesale level down to the consumer."

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