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.

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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