Christopher Connelly | KERA News

Christopher Connelly

Fort Worth Reporter

Christopher Connelly is the first KERA radio/digital reporter based full time in Fort Worth. He specializes in criminal justice and politics, and his reporting regularly is picked up by national shows including Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Marketplace.

Christopher’s a supremely versatile reporter. He profiled Opal Lee, the 89-year-old who walked many miles between Fort Worth and Washington, D.C., to make her pitch for a national Juneteenth holiday. He got a rare look inside William “Tex” Moncrief’s home while reporting on a remembrance for powerhouse lawyer Dee Kelly. And he earned the only mainstream media interview with a reclusive state Board of Education candidate in East Texas who’d called then-President Obama a gay prostitute. That story earned Christopher a Lone Star Award from the Houston Press Club.

His coverage of policing after five Dallas officers were gunned down last summer was key to KERA winning “overall excellence” honors among the biggest radio stations, public and commercial, in Texas and Oklahoma in the regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Christopher came to Texas from WYPR in Baltimore, where he was state legislative reporter. His most memorable moment there involved dodging tear-gas canisters (and having a microphone ripped from his hand) while covering the violent reaction to the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American who died while in police custody.

He cut his public-radio teeth as a Joan B. Kroc Fellow at NPR – that’s a prestigious one-year post-graduate fellowship that allowed him to train as a reporter, show producer and digital producer at network HQ in Washington, D.C.

Christopher is a graduate of Antioch College in Ohio, and he earned a master’s in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley. He was born in Ohio, but his Texas roots run deep: He has aunts, uncles and cousins here, and he spent summers with his grandparents in Fort Worth.

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Paul Moseley / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

John Nolley always insisted he didn't kill his friend. He spent nearly 19 years locked up for the gruesome murder. Then, a judge released him from prison, citing evidence that undermined the jailhouse informant who testified against him – evidence never given to his lawyers during the trial.

An 81-year-old statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Oak Lawn's Lee Park can now come down. 

During a hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater ruled the statue's removal didn't violate First Amendment rights. He also said the Dallas City Council didn't break its own rules when it voted Wednesday to remove the statue.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

As soon as the floodwaters receded in East Houston, the Hernandez family got to work.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

With the skies finally clearing over the Houston area, residents are getting their first chance to survey the damage and catalogue what was lost. 

Rachel Osier Lindley / KERA News

It’s been days since the waters began rising in Houston, and people are still being rescued from flooded homes. Evacuees are arriving at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. 

Courtesy of Jon McNight

Drive along Interstate 35W in Fort Worth and you'll see a painted sign on a three-story brick building: O.B. Macaroni. 

For more than a century, the building was home to a family-owned maker of macaroni and other starchy products. Now, this old landmark is getting new life: Entrepreneurs are moving in and finding space to make their own goods and expand their brands.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The first day of school is always a big deal. Kids have to get up early after a summer of sleeping in, and teachers have to plan out the year and memorize a lot of new names. For science teachers in the Fort Worth school district, the first day of school on Monday also meant talking about a historic solar eclipse going on right outside.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Lesa Roe, a leader at NASA, has been selected as the next chancellor for the University of North Texas System.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Fort Worth will not join a lawsuit opposing a controversial new Texas law targeting so-called "sanctuary cities." City Council voted five to four after five hours of debate and testimony Tuesday night.

For weeks, activists opposed to Senate Bill 4 have been calling for a vote on joining the lawsuit. They got their wish, but not the result they wanted. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The Fort Worth Police Department won’t fundamentally change the way it goes about policing the city when Senate Bill 4 gets implemented.

The law banning so-called "sanctuary cities" won’t force them to become federal immigration agents. That’s what police officials told the Fort Worth City Council members Tuesday.

JAMELAH E./FLICKR (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Even on issues where Republicans and Democrats agree on a problem, they differ on solutions. Case in point: mail-in ballot fraud.

Gage Skidmore

After last year’s presidential election, Democrats are in rebuilding mode in Texas and across the country. Democrats lost the White House and they’re the minority in Congress and in most statehouses. In Texas, the last time a Democrat won statewide office was in 1994. Despite all of this, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez is optimistic.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Folks who loved and worked with the five police officers killed last July 7 gathered Thursday to dedicate a memorial called the Circle of Heroes. Its six bronze plaques are mounted on stones that surround a flagpole. It's a place for people to stop along the Trinity Strand Trail in the Dallas Design District and remember.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

In the year since a gunman killed five officers, Dallas police have been buffeted by the retirement of a chief, a contentious pension battle and a continuing exodus of officers. Despite these challenges, two brand-new officers say they’ve landed in the right place, in a city where they feel they can do some good.

Matthew Martinez / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

About a hundred people gathered in front of Fort Worth City Hall Tuesday night to call on the city council to join a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 4.

Chris Connelly / KERA News

A North Texas community institution is facing a $2 million budget shortfall. The United Way of Tarrant County has cut one-third of its staff positions to preserve funding for the programs it supports in and around Fort Worth.

Faced by an increasingly challenging philanthropic environment and with new leadership coming in, the local United Way is changing how it works in a bid for success in the social media age.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

In Arlington, officials broke ground Friday on a new supplier park for companies that make components for the SUVs built at the General Motors Assembly Plant. It’s a move that GM hopes will make it operate more efficiently, and is expected to add jobs.        

Erik Hersman / Flickr

In Dallas, big changes are coming to the City Council after Saturday’s runoff elections. Three incumbents have lost their seats, which represents a big shift on the 15-member body.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Fort Worth, Dallas and Arlington are among a handful of North Texas cities holding runoff elections on Saturday to fill city council and school board seats.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi came to Dallas Wednesday to raise money for her party’s congressional candidates. But before she rubbed elbows with donors, the longtime Democratic leader talked to her base about healthcare, the economy and resisting President Trump’s agenda.

Throughout the speech, she seemed to be honing the Democratic message by focusing more heavily on appealing to middle-class workers.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr for KUT News

The 85th Texas Legislature is over. And while the threat of a special session looms, most of us are still trying to figure out what actually made it across the finish line.

JORGE SANHUEZA-LYON / KUT

In Austin Monday, both the Texas Senate and the House adjourned, bringing the 85th legislative session to a close. That was expected since the state constitution gives the Legislature exactly 140 days to run a regular session. What wasn’t totally expected was the drama that ramped up as the session was winding down.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Law enforcement groups call civil asset forfeiture a vital tool in the war on drugs. Critics on the left and the right say it’s a practice prone to abuse, and it needs to be curtailed. The process allows law enforcement agents to take property and cash they suspect is related to criminal activity.

Nisarg Khatri / Shutterstock

A bill aimed at shedding a little more light on family court proceedings ended up in the dustbin of legislative history when it failed to get a needed vote on the Texas House floor on Thursday.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Incumbents ruled the day in Tarrant County when voters hit the polls in Saturday's municipal elections. Voters weighed in in municipal elections, choosing mayors, city council members and other local positions. 

KERA archives

Robert Wilson, who brought Jim Lehrer and Monty Python to American television audiences while leading KERA during its early years, died today after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 75. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Saturday is Election Day for cities and school districts across North Texas. In Fort Worth, there will be at least one new face on the City Council. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Across North Texas, early voting is underway for the May 6 municipal elections. Members of city councils and school boards will be elected. They’ll direct how to spend billions of taxpayer dollars. There’s also a host of bond and tax issues on the ballot. But if the past is any indication, most people who can vote, won’t.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

At a community forum on Thursday night, Fort Worth and Arlington residents voiced concerns about a proposed saltwater injection well near Lake Arlington. The residents made their case to an audience of one: Ryan Sitton, one of three Texas Railroad Commissioners who regulates the oil and gas industry in the state.

Steven Martin via flickr

Another election day is fast approaching. Cities, school districts and other local governments across North Texas are gearing up for municipal elections on May 6. Early voting starts next Monday. In Tarrant County, there are some crowded races for dozens of open seats, and a whole host of questions about taxes and bonds that voters across the county will decide.

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