Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Wayne Pratt

Morning 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 Inside Indiana Business. 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.

Many homeowners are using services like Airbnb to make some extra cash, while the option is becoming more popular among travelers
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

A global online company will start collecting two taxes in St. Louis next month.

Vacation rental website Airbnb and the city have reached a deal involving the Convention and Sports Tax and the Tourism Tax. The company will automatically collect the taxes and transfer that money to St. Louis officials.

U.S. Chess breaks down the numbers behind this month's World Chess Championship.
U.S. Chess

The biggest chess showdown on the planet is generating a lot of interest in St. Louis, even though the games are being played half-a-world away.

St. Louis resident Fabiano Caruana is challenging defending champion Magnus Carlsen in the world championship match. The event started Friday and the two will play at least 12 games through Nov. 28.

“It’s really a big deal,” Tony Rich, St. Louis Chess Club executive director, said. “This is the first time an American has played for the undisputed world championship title in the past 40 years.”

World War II veteran Ralph Goldsticker at his home in Creve Coeur.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ralph Goldsticker doesn't consider himself a hero.

The 97-year-old World War II veteran says he was just a guy was doing his job like everyone else at the height of the war in 1944.

But his story, which he continues to share as Veterans' Day approaches, is the stuff of which heroes are made.

The Creve Coeur resident was flying bombing missions over Europe when he was 22. Goldsticker was the bombardier in a B-17 bomber. That's the person who sat in the plexiglass bubble in the nose of the plane, to get the best view of the targets.

For many out-of-state visitors driving to St. Louis, the Gateway Arch is their first glimpse of Missouri.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

An area nonprofit and a prominent private investment firm are launching a partnership to boost the startup climate in St. Louis.

A new pitch competition — think of the TV show ‘Shark Tank’ with a strong St. Louis flavor — will have early stage companies battling for an investment of up to $1 million from the Chaifetz Group.

An honorary street sign notes Providence Place's original street name – Knapstein Place – in the Dutchtown neighborhood.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis will soon have Bismarck Street again.

A yellow commemorative sign will go up Saturday morning at the corner of Seventh and Lami streets in the Soulard neighborhood, just weeks before the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

The entire school-based health center will take up 2,800 square feet at Riverview Gardens High School.
Riverview Gardens School District

Another area school district is about to open an on-campus health center. Riverview Gardens High School's clinic will be available to 1,200 students this month.

It’s part of a trend to bring health care access to students with the aim of improving academic performance.

Coffee Cartel, Central West End, St. Louis, CWE
Rachel Heidenry

The Coffee Cartel will close Tuesday after 22 years in the Central West End.

After a 36 percent drop in sales over the past two years, owner Dennis Gorg said Monday it wasn’t feasible for the business to stay open.

“There are a lot of small businesses in St. Louis and what a proud community we have to have such great small businesses, but you gotta get out and support them,” Gorg said.

Merav Gleit, Monsanto's bee health platform lead, with the company's backyard bee hives in summer 2016.
File photo | Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

The state of Missouri is again set to fund non-traditional and urban agriculture entrepreneurs like shrimp farmers, wine producers and beekeepers. Those are some of the businesses the state’s department of agriculture has supported in the past few years through a special program.

The state is accepting applications until Oct. 26 for the next round of funding for its Urban and Non-Traditional Agriculture Matching Grant Program, which aims to spur innovation and create more jobs in Missouri’s agricultural sector.

Harley Race poses for a portrait after responding to letters at his Harley Race Wrestling Academy office in Troy.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Harley Race, the pro-wrestler from Missouri once considered among the toughest in the world, has come full circle.

Or as they might say in the pro wrestling biz, full squared circle.

'Handsome Harley,’ as he’s known, has spent the past few years back in his home state guiding the next generation of pro wrestlers. He’s shifted from world champion grappler to wizened coach by running a training academy about an hour west of St. Louis in Troy.

Activists rally outside a McDonald's in St. John. Sept. 18, 2018.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Over 50 McDonald’s workers and advocates rallied outside of the McDonald’s at St. Charles Rock Road and Brown Road in St. John on Tuesday as a part of a one-day national strike to protest on-the-job sexual harassment at the restaurant chain.

The national strike was first proposed by women’s groups within Fight for $15, a workers’ rights advocacy organization. It was later approved after a nationwide vote by Fight for $15 members Sept. 11.

Astronaut Bob Behnken is a Pattonville High School graduate. He has physics and mechanical engineering degreees from Washington University. He earned advanced degrees from the California Institute of Technology.
NASA Kennedy | Flickr

Bob Behnken is helping NASA usher in a new era.

The astronaut, who grew up in St. Ann, has nearly 40 hours walking in the vacuum of space. Now he is part of the crew that will conduct the first human test flights for the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

The tanker drone is also known as the MQ-25 Stingray.
Boeing

Boeing has won a bid to produce test drones for the U.S. Navy. The $805-million deal involves four unmanned aircraft and could balloon into a $13-billion program. The Navy says most of the design and production work in the test phase will take place at Boeing’s operation in St. Louis.

Granite City steel plant on July 20, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Steel is facing a labor issue in Granite City just months after restarting production at the Metro East plant. The company’s current national contract with the United Steelworkers is set to expire Saturday, and workers are holding a rally Thursday to draw attention to the negotiations.

Talks with Canada are underway following a trade deal announcment between the U.S. and Mexico.
Bigstock Images

Trade experts are poring through documents related to this week's agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, but a professor at Washington University in St. Louis cautions more information is needed before a full assessment can be made. Even so, he said there are some positive signs emerging from the deal.

Bayer says glyphosate is a key tool for farmers as they try to control weeds and produce enough corn and other crops to help feed the world.
File Photo | Adam Allington | St. Louis Public Radio

Bayer is gearing up for legal battles surrounding a Monsanto-developed weed killer. The German conglomerate has outlined plans to defend a key ingredient in Roundup, only days after starting to integrate the operations of the two companies.

Kirkwood plans  to suspend curbside recycling and plans to retrofit the Francis Scheidegger Recycling Depository on South Taylor Avenue to accept separated recyclables.  Aug. 21, 2018
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Changes in the recycling industry are prompting advocates throughout the region to examine options for continuing curbside collection in many area communities. The effort follows a decision by a main processor to stop accepting mixed residential recyclables on Nov. 1.

The announcement by Resource Management comes as the industry adjusts to China’s move to implement higher standards for imported fiber and solid waste, like paper and plastic. U.S. companies have been shipping recovered items to the Asian country for years to be recycled.

Workers set up for the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country in June.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country is the center of the golf world this week with the 100th PGA Championship set to begin Thursday. Organizers are expecting 80,000 people to come in for the event.

They will get to see a championship course in all its glory. Precisely mowed greens, protected by deep sandy bunkers and fairways stretching for hundreds of yards lined by trees reaching for the sky.

The person tasked with getting everything ready — and making it all look good — is Carlos Arraya.

Susan Berthold bought Remington's on North Main Street in St. Charles in 1995.
Carolina Hidalgo

The memories of the 1993 flood are still vivid for St. Charles business owner Susan Berthold. Even though most businesses in the city’s historic downtown were spared from the worst of it, low-lying areas like Boschertown Road were hit hard.

Berthold managed a go-kart track in that area, which took on roughly 13 feet of water.

“It was a monumental project to get cleaned up because of all the acreage required for the track,” Berthold said.

provided | Danforth Plant Science Center

After two decades of building, the region’s agricultural technology cluster is poised to take off. A Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit suggests it already is a global leader and a national example for other metro areas trying to establish economic growth strategies.

The expansion adds office, storage and warehouse space to the Wellston Business Center, which opened 13 years ago.
St. Louis Economic Development Partnership

The expansion of a center to help launch businesses is aimed at sparking an economic rebound in a north St. Louis County community. A ribbon cutting is set for Monday at the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership business center in Wellston.

The casket of St. Louis Cardinals great 'Red' Schoendienst is escorted from the Cathedral Basilica in the Central West End on June 5, 2018. Schoendienst died June 6, 2018 at the age of 95.
Robert Cohen | Pool photo

One of the most beloved members of the St. Louis Cardinals' organization was rememberd Friday as a humble man who loved baseball and his family. Albert "Red" Schoendienst has been laid to rest. The baseball Hall of Famer died June 6. He was 95.

Fur traders Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau are credited with settling The Landing's original nine-block area in 1764.
LacledesLanding.com

An effort to revitalize a once-bustling section of downtown St. Louis is underway. Developers are pumping roughly $20 million into Laclede's Landing for retail, office, restaurant and residential space.

The investments follow some tough years for the area with Gateway Arch grounds construction and a down economy.

"We're done licking our wounds," said Laclede's Landing Community Improvement District President John Clark. "It was a dusty mess and there was some tragedy along the way. We lost a few businesses."

Bayer completes Monsanto acquisition

Jun 7, 2018
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Monsanto, a company based in St. Louis for more than 100 years, is now part of Bayer.

The roughly $63-billion acquisition closed Thursday, nearly two years after the companies first announced the deal. Regulators in Canada and Mexico were among the last international watchdogs to approve the combination.

The U.S. Department of Justice signed off on it late last month after Bayer committed to shedding about $9 billion in several areas to chemical giant BASF.

That includes Bayer's Liberty-brand herbicides, which compete with Monsanto's Roundup.

Monsanto is expected to keep a large operation in the St. Louis region after the Bayer buyout goes into effect.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Original story from 06/04/18; updated with audio from St. Louis on the Air segment on 06/06/18.

Monsanto will be under new ownership by the end of the week and have a new name likely by the end of the summer. Bayer plans to finalize its roughly $63-billion acquisition of the St. Louis agricultural seeds and chemical company on Thursday. 

Enterprise is putting its name on an arena that is the site of approximately 100 events a year. The Blues also say the center attracts more than 1 million guests to downtown St. Louis annually.
Provided by St. Louis Blues

Enterprise Holdings is strengthening already deep ties to the National Hockey League, the St. Louis Blues and the region. The Clayton-based firm Monday announced a deal to change the name of the Blues' home arena to Enterprise Center. The agreement is for 15 years, with an option for another five.

A student walks through the University of Missouri-St. Louis' campus Friday afternoon, May 19, 2017.
File photo| Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated May 8 at 8:30 a.m. with new recommendations —

Some degrees slated to be dropped at the University of Missouri-St. Louis appear to have been saved.

UMSL administrators released final recommendations Monday on a restructuring effort designed to save the public institution money. The entire University of Missouri System is going through a similar process at the direction of President Mun Choi.

The technology startup incubator in downtown St. Louis is currently home to nearly 230 businesses. About 40 others got their start at T-REX and have moved to other locations throughout the region.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis technology incubator is devoting an entire floor of its historic downtown building to establishing a pipeline of workers and advancements in the highly-skilled field of geospatial technology.

T-REX will soon house a Geospatial Resource Center. T-REX President and Executive Director Patricia Hagen recently spoke about the plans, which have been spurred, in part, by the yet-to-be-built National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's new headquarters in north St. Louis.

Shop 'n Save stores disappeared from many St. Louis area neighborhoods in 2018.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Bad decisions by the parent company and a rapidly changing retail grocery landscape are key reasons why Minnesota-based Supervalu is selling a local chain. That's the conclusion of a prominent food industry analyst, who adds it's too early to say what company might end up acquiring Shop 'n Save.

The festival has taken place in July over the past two decades to mark the big catsup bottle in Collinsville.
Mike Gassmann

After 19 years, an annual July event to mark a Metro East roadside attraction is no more. Organizers have pulled the plug on “The World’s Largest Catsup Bottle Festival” in Collinsville, saying it’s become too much work.

The Minner Arena fan cave is in the basement of O'Fallon photographer Dennis Minner.
Dennis Minner

An O’Fallon, Missouri, resident might have the coolest basement around — especially if you are a hockey fan. Dennis Minner has converted the space into a mini-Scottrade Center, with much of it devoted to his love of the St. Louis Blues hockey team.

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