Wayne Pratt | KBIA

Wayne Pratt

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.

The St. Louis Blues will play host to the National Hockey League’s All-Star festivities this weekend for only the third time in the team’s history. 

And this year’s celebration of all things hockey comes with the Blues sitting at the top of the mountain as Stanley Cup champions and this season's Western Conference points leader.

A new effort is designed to boost entrepreneurs and their companies in Missouri by emphasizing their role in job creation and economic development throughout the state.

NEXT Missouri is a coalition of 17 organizations that will start lobbying lawmakers to revamp policies and better support entrepreneurs who create jobs.

“Data shows more than 80% of the new jobs in Missouri — 45,000-plus a year — come from startups and come from entrepreneurs,” said NEXT Missouri President Ben Johnson. “But our public policy historically hasn't been focused on supporting startups and entrepreneurs.”

The owners of the old St. Louis Post-Dispatch building are pushing big plans to bring more jobs downtown.

Along with a pending move to 900 North Tucker Blvd. by mobile-payments company Square, the StarWood Group is creating the NoW Innovation District, according to managing partner John Berglund.

"Basically, it is north of Washington. It runs out to 14th Street, up to Cole Street, and then down past the convention center," he said.

There is new life for what developers describe as the last major vacant building in downtown Granite City. A St. Louis area nonprofit has acquired the former Tri-City YMCA with plans to convert it into affordable apartments and an arts hub.

Rise Community Development has closed on financing for the building, which has been vacant for 14 years. Plans call for nearly 40 apartments in what will be called Edison Avenue Lofts and more than 5,600 feet of commercial space.

Missouri ranks second nationally for completed apprenticeships. Officials say it’s a sign that efforts to improve apprenticeships in the state are paying off.

Developers of the old Crestwood mall site insist work is being done behind the scenes to redevelop the nearly 50-acre property along Watson Road. But right now, it is still a huge patch of dirt and weeds in the center of the south St. Louis County municipality.

The mall has been closed since 2013 and was demolished in 2016.

Experts in making beer, wine and other adult drinks will discuss their craft this month in St. Louis. The Venture Cafe is putting on “The Art of Alcohol” to “explore the science, logistics, innovation, and business models behind alcohol.”

One of the sessions will focus on beer.

A monthslong search for a new home is over for a nonprofit that maintains the history of St. Louis radio, television, newspapers and other media. The St. Louis Media History Foundation plans to move into Grand Center early next year after striking a deal with the Kranzberg Arts Foundation.

Imagine living in the heart of Cardinals country and not only being a fan of another legendary Major League Baseball team, but also an owner.

Meet Robert L. Plummer. 

The majority women ownership group at the helm of St. Louis' new professional soccer team is continuing a line of female sports ownership in the region that extends to the early 1900s.

While many St. Louisans recall that the National Football League's Rams were owned by Georgia Frontiere for much of the team's time in the Midwest, they might not know the Cardinals also had a female owner.

And she just so happened to be the first female owner in Major League Baseball history.

While fans are excited about the arrival of Major League Soccer in St. Louis, the new stadium could be the beginning of a more vibrant sports-entertainment district in downtown.

The likely site of the MLS expansion team’s venue will be west of Union Station, just down the street from the Enterprise Center, where the Blues play, and Busch Stadium, home of the Cardinals. That will mean a roughly one-mile stretch boasting three professional sports venues, similar to districts in Pittsburgh and Detroit.

Health officials in Missouri are warning residents about the potential dangers of vaping. 

The state’s Department of Health and Senior Services has issued a health advisory for severe lung conditions possibly related to e-cigarette use. It comes after Illinois reported what is believed to be the first vaping-related death in the United States.

Hundreds of people will line the streets of several St. Louis neighborhoods this weekend to catch a glimpse of cyclists zipping along the roads at an average speed of 30 miles per hour.

Several racers from around the world are in the city for the Gateway Cup. It's a nationally recognized cycling event that is in its 36th year.

"It's exciting for us to say, 'Wow, we have national champions and Olympians and people who have raced in Europe targeting St. Louis and then coming here and having a great experience,'" said organizer Mike Weiss.

Updated at 5 p.m., Aug. 20 with stadium details and comments from ownership.

St. Louis soon will be home to a top-tier professional soccer team. Major League Soccer officially awarded St. Louis an expansion team on Tuesday. 

The team will begin play in spring 2022 in a new stadium to be built just west of Union Station. Construction could begin in January, according to team officials. The team’s name, logo and colors have not yet been finalized. 

“It is with great pride that we welcome St. Louis to Major League Soccer,” league Commissioner Don Garber said Tuesday morning.

More than 30,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses will gather in downtown St. Louis next weekend as part of a convention at The Dome at America’s Center.

The three-day event called Love Never Fails begins on Friday.

A Cuba-born teenager who lives in Webster Groves is trying to add to her already impressive chess resume over the next few days at the St. Louis Chess Club. Sixteen-year-old Thalia Cervantes is among 10 phenoms vying for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

A massive redevelopment project at a high-profile site in St. Louis’ Midtown area is on track to open next year. The first phase of  City Foundry STL will include a large dining hall featuring local eateries. Plans also call for a grocery store, movie theater and office space.

A member of the North County Police Cooperative is being remembered as an outstanding officer and a mentor to younger members of the department.

Officer Michael Langsdorf, 40, was shot and killed in the line of duty Sunday.

Plenty of people from the region and around the country are jumping on the St. Louis Blues' bandwagon during this year’s impressive playoff run. But an 87-year-old diehard from Chesterfield has been a huge fan since the beginning. John Oefelein has purchased season tickets every year of the team’s existence.

A nearly five-decade wait for hockey fans throughout the St. Louis region ends Monday. The Blues will return to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1970.

They will be in Boston to take on the Bruins, the same team that knocked out the Blues the last time they made it this far.

Author Dan O’Neill’s connection to the National Hockey League team goes way back. He was working as a busboy in the old arena club during that 1970 final and was in the building earlier this month when the Blues clinched a spot in this year’s final playoff round.

A high-profile development in University City is back on track.

A new deal for a project at Olive Boulevard and I-170 between the city and Novus Development will be presented next week to the city council.

A previous deal between the two fell apart this year after a consulting firm made a mistake about how much revenue the city would receive through a special taxing district. The latest deal was reached after months of negotiations and calls for a $70.5 million tax increment financing district to support the project.

St. Louis Community College is suing one of its workers over allegations of financial mismanagement. The filing alleges the employee diverted more than $5 million in state worker-training money over roughly a decade.

"It was money that was intended to help people to advance in their careers and help employers with their existing employees," said the college’s chancellor, Jeff Pittman. He added, "It's frustrating and discouraging to believe that anybody would take advantage of a situation like this."

The owner of the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in St. Louis wants to rebuild following last month's fire that heavily damaged its home near the Compton Hill Reservoir Park.

Updated April 19 with MLS expansion plan details — The potential owners of a St. Louis Major League Soccer team are closer to reaching their goal. League Commissioner Don Garber says St. Louis and Sacramento will be asked to make another formal presentation to the league's expansion committee.

The announcement came Thursday after an owners’ meeting in Los Angeles. The league says it will expand by two teams. For months, it was looking to add only one franchise.

A St. Louis Public Radio founder and longtime University of Missouri-St. Louis administrator has died.

Donald Driemeier identified the need for a public radio station for the region in 1971. St. Louis Public Radio signed on about a year later, under its call letters K-W-M-U. He wrote the construction permit for the station, which was based on UMSL’s campus for years.

A Missouri nail maker has started to bring back workers now that it does not have to pay a 25% tariff on imported raw material from Mexico. Federal trade officials have granted an exemption on nearly all the foreign steel used by Mid Continent Steel & Wire in Poplar Bluff.

Dr. Janet Kavandi has orbited the earth more than 500 times yet admits she’s a little nervous about being inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on Saturday.

The Missouri native said that’s because she has to give a speech.

“I don’t usually get nervous about talking to any particular group of people, except for my peers,” she said.

Updated 3:45 p.m., April 2 with the City of St. Louis reissuing building permits for Northside Regeneration's planned urgent care facility — The GreenLeaf Market at the intersection of North Tucker Boulevard and North 13th Street will open this month.

It is the first project developer Paul McKee has completed in has massive Northside Regeneration plan after more than a decade.

The market will open April 13. Across the street, the ZOOM convenience store and gas station opened in October. The two buildings mark a total investment of more than $20 million and the creation of 72 jobs in north St. Louis.

Inspectors are going through the rubble of a historic-document museum in St. Louis trying to find the cause of a fire that heavily damaged the building. The former church in south city has been home to the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum since 2015.

“As far as the actual exhibits, we saved those,” said museum director Kerry Manderbach.

A grassroots effort is underway to build up the St. Louis region and then expand that unified message of pride to other areas of the country. A key goal is to make the area more competitive when it comes to attracting jobs, students and keeping people here after they graduate.

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