BJ Austin | KERA News

BJ Austin

Reporter

BJ Austin has more than 25 years of broadcast journalism experience, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.

At KERA, BJ was runner-up for Texas Health Journalist of the Year in the 2013 Anson Jones, M.D., Awards from the Texas Medical Association. She earned a 2009 Texas Associated Press Broadcasters honorable mention for best specialty/beat reporting and a 2010 honorable mention for best general-assignment story for "Zoo Poo." She has also shared several awards, including a a 2010 TAPB first-place trophy for KERA’s radio series "Living with the Trinity: Thirsty"; a 2009 TAPB second-place honor for best continuing coverage for "Family Values: What Voters Want"; and a 2010 regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association for "The Economy Project."

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Wednesday was the 20th anniversary of the abduction of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman of Arlington. Her murder in 1996 led to the Amber Alert – a system of media notifications, advising the public to be on the lookout for missing children.

BJ Austin / KERA News

It’s going to cost more each year to operate the new Parkland Hospital in Dallas. The bigger, $1.3 billion high-tech hospital opened last week after five years of construction.  Now, what happens to the "old" Parkland across the street?  Its days may be numbered.

BJ Austin / KERA News

It’s moving day for Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Doctors, nurses, patients and equipment are making the shift from the 61-year-old hospital on Harry Hines Boulevard to the $1.3 billion New Parkland across the street.

BJ Austin / KERA News

After five years of construction and planning, the $1.3 billion New Parkland Hospital in Dallas opened its doors this morning. The ER and Labor and Delivery began accepting patients at 6 a.m. Throughout the morning, patients in the old hospital across the street are arriving at the new one via an air conditioned sky bridge.  

Chris Rabig / Flickr.com

School starts next week for most Texas students. But for more than 60 Dallas child advocacy experts, the homework has already begun. They met this week for a look at a Texas Legislature report card on children’s issues, and to outline assignments for the next legislative session.

Dallas ISD

Sam Tasby, the key figure in the Dallas school desegregation case, has died at age 93.  Tasby was a quiet man who spoke little about his long legal battle and its impact on schools and the city of Dallas.

Parkland Hospital

The new Parkland Hospital, which opens next week, unveiled a larger-than-life statue of Dr. Ron Anderson today.

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

Saturday's elections brought no changes at the top for the two biggest cities in North Texas. In Fort Worth, Mayor Betsy Price was unopposed, and in Dallas, Mike Rawlings was re-elected by a nearly 3-to-1 margin. But in the area's third-largest city, a newcomer toppled the six-term mayor.

flickr.com

TCU political science professor Jim Riddlesperger says the legacy of longtime Fort Worth Congressman Jim Wright is everywhere.

flickr.com

The Texas House Friday overwhelmingly passed a bill to limit local regulation of oil and gas drilling. It comes after stronger local drilling ordinances and a vote by residents in Denton to ban fracking within the city limits.

Trinity Parkway Design Charette Report

A re-design of the proposed Trinity Toll Road got official support of the Dallas City Council Thursday. The final vote in support of a four-lane, meandering parkway came only after a cloud of confusion cleared.

dallasdesigndistrict.net

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is set to unveil new recommendations for the controversial Trinity Toll Road today. And the Dallas City Council will discuss the suggestions in a special meeting Thursday afternoon. The divisive project is having an impact on the May City Council elections.

Streetcars return to Oak Cliff late Monday morning – a sound not heard in half a century. The new Oak Cliff streetcar line is making its inaugural run -- and it’s not your grandmother’s trolley.

BJ Austin

A bill on the fast track in Austin would pre-empt city ordinances regulating oil and gas drilling.  A vote scheduled next Tuesday in the Texas House is setting off alarm bells at Dallas City Hall. 

BJ Austin

The two top candidates for Dallas Mayor talked about potholes, poverty and the controversial Trinity toll road at a forum sponsored by the Dallas Bar Association and the League of Women Voters on Tuesday. The two agreed on a few things, but were far apart on one big issue.   

BJ Austin

The new Parkland Hospital in Dallas opens in August.  The $1.3 billion complex promises high-tech care inspired in part by Disney.

Greer Wilson-Chavez

Update, 5:06 p.m. Thursday: Schools are starting to announce they will be open Friday. Fort Worth ISD says it will be open tomorrow.

Kristen Taylor / KERA News

Update, Saturday night: Organizers have canceled Sunday's Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth due to the recent blast of winter weather. The half-marathon is still on -- it starts at 8 a.m. Sunday. 

BJ Austin / KERA News

The top stories this evening from the KERA Newsroom: One to four inches of snow across Dallas-Fort Worth caused flight cancelations and delays. One UNT student trying to catch a flight finally gave up and drove home.

TxDOT / Twitter/@TxDOTDallasPIO

The top local stories this evening from the KERA Newsroom: The winter storm that dropped an inch or two of ice on North Texas freeways and lawns prompted school and work cancelations or delays. Tuesday will be a repeat for some. Dallas Arlington and Denton schools are among those that will be closed again Tuesday. 

Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott gave his first State of the State address at 11 a.m. today from the Capitol. The Texas governor discussed several agenda items including education, road improvements and border security, among others. 

BJ Austin

In Dallas, officials at Parkland Hospital have announced a breakthrough.  The big news is financial, not medical.

Shutterstock

State lawmakers are poised to consider scrapping the longtime pilot program NorthSTAR, which provides mental health care to lower income residents in seven North Texas counties.

wiz722 / Flickr

The top local stories from the KERA Newsroom: Lawmakers are fast-tracking a bill that would allow college students to bring concealed handguns into their classrooms, cafeterias and dorms.

sylvar / Flickr

Residents in Arlington and a lawmaker from Bedford are winding up a one-two punch to knock-out red light cameras. 

Shutterstock

Texas has diversified its economy since the last oil bust, but with prices now down nearly two-thirds from the all-time high, there could be a big financial impact in America’s biggest oil-producing state. The fallout is expected to be felt from the oil patch dinner table to the state capitol.

Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram / http://www.star-telegram.com/news/traffic/your-commute/article3847242.html

The cities of Dallas and Irving took a first step toward an earthquake task force Monday with an afternoon conference call that included experts from the US Geological Survey. Seventeen small quakes have hit the Irving area around state highways 114 and 183 in the past week. Several of them were big enough to startle neighbors in Dallas and elsewhere.

Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram / http://www.star-telegram.com/news/traffic/your-commute/article3847242.html

Another small earthquake vibrated Irving Sunday night: a magnitude of 2.5 at 7:46 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That makes 17 in the last week in North Texas, most of them around the old Texas Stadium site in Irving.  As the quakes continue, speculation circulates as to what's causing them.

DART

The shake, rattle and roll of a dozen earthquakes this week in Irving has highway crews checking bridges and homeowners inspecting homes. While there hasn’t been any significant damage to homes, some are wondering about earthquake insurance.

Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram / http://www.star-telegram.com/news/traffic/your-commute/article3847242.html

Twelve earthquakes shook North Texas Tuesday and Wednesday -- and seismologists are intensifying their focus on all of the rumbling and rattling near the old Texas Stadium site.

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