Christopher Connelly | KERA News

Christopher Connelly

Fort Worth Reporter

Christopher Connelly is a KERA reporter based 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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Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The race for Texas’ only open state Senate seat up for election this year is heating up. Two well-connected candidates with well-known names are spending millions to win the District 8 seat in Collin County, which was left empty when state Sen. Van Taylor announced he’d be stepping down to run for Congress.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

“If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures and run for office yourself.”

That’s what Barack Obama told his forlorn supporters in his farewell address last year as he prepared to leave office. One group that seems to have taken that message to heart are the people who worked in his administration.

Erik Hersman / Flickr

Texans will go to the polls to elect hundreds of officials to represent them this year. Up for grabs are the governor’s mansion, a seat in the U.S. Senate and some of the most powerful statewide offices.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

On Martin Luther King's birthday, with a winter storm looming, volunteers at a mosque in Richardson spent a day of service assembling and handing out hygiene kits for homeless folks.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

For years, Ramey Market in Fort Worth’s historic Stop Six neighborhood has been an utterly unremarkable convenience store selling the typical assortment of sundry items, snacks and sodas. It was just the closest place to buy cigarettes or lottery tickets or beer.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

What was billed as a region-wide celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has drawn fire from local civil rights groups and community activists. They’re angry over the inclusion of Gov. Greg Abbott as an honorary grand marshal of the Toyota North Texas Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade & Celebration, which is scheduled for next Monday in Arlington.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Lupe Valdez kicked off her campaign for governor in Dallas on Sunday afternoon. It was the first big event she’s held since she announced her candidacy last month.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

There’s a new major at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth dedicated to shining a light on issues around race and ethnicity. It’s part of broader efforts at the university to attract and retain more students of color and improve the campus culture.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The firing of a 22-year veteran of the Fort Worth Police Department is exposing tensions between the police chief and his officers, and between the department and the city’s African-American community.

Fort Worth Police Department video

A Texas police sergeant has been fired for ordering a rookie officer to use a stun gun on a woman who had called for help during a domestic dispute.

TEXANS FOR ANDREW WHITE CAMPAIGN; CHRISTOPHER CONNELLY, KERA; OFFICIAL PHOTO; SHUTTERSTOCK

One thing is clear: The 2018 midterm elections in Texas will be lively. Democrats have pledged a full-frontal assault on statewide offices, which Republicans have controlled since 1994.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Lupe Valdez is running for governor. The longtime Dallas County sheriff, the daughter of South Texas migrant workers, said Wednesday she will resign to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott in 2018. Valdez, 70, is the highest-profile Democrat in what's sure to be an uphill battle. But that’s nothing new for her.

Joe Barton’s fall from grace happened quickly. Last week, a nude selfie rumored to be from the longtime North Texas Congressman began circulating on social media. Barton apologized for the photo and text, saying he’d sent them to a woman he was dating.

flickr user longhorndave

While Dallas and Houston have been wrestling with very public battles over their pensions for city employees, Fort Worth has been nursing a pension crisis of its own for years. Now, city officials are working to find solutions.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Black Friday news flash: North Texans plan to spend more on gifts and entertainment than the average American — way more, according to the consulting company Deloitte. That’s a longstanding trend, according to the firm’s annual survey of holiday shoppers.

Shutterstock

A North Texas money manager wants to make America great again, one investment at a time.

For people concerned about a portfolio that undermines their partisan preferences, a new exchange-traded fund – ticker symbol: MAGA – was built from the most GOP-friendly companies. The fund’s founder calls it “politically responsible investing,” likening it to cause-based, social responsibility investment strategies.

US Department of Justice

Without the right policies in place, putting body cameras on police does nothing to make them more accountable and could exacerbate racial disparities when it comes to policing, civil rights advocates say.

A new scorecard rating the body camera policies of 75 big city police departments across the country finds that the vast majority have lots of room for improvement, including the half dozen Texas departments included in the report.

LYNDA GONZALEZ / KUT

After a tragedy, people often want to find a way to help. And after Sunday’s church shooting in Sutherland Springs, people across the country have been taking action to show their support. But experts say it’s critical to make sure donations go to the people who need them.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Fort Worth is growing fast. And while all that growth is exciting, it comes with challenges the city must meet.

That’s what Fort Worth City Manager David Cooke recently told business leaders.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Amazon set off a big, public scramble when it announced last month it was looking for sites for a second North American headquarters.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The Madras Maiden is all gleaming metal with red markings when it pulls up onto the tarmac at Meacham Airport in Fort Worth. Up near the cockpit, a painted pinup girl in short shorts salutes from the side of the plane.

This is one of only a handful of working World War II-era bombers left of the more than 12,000 B-17s.

Wikimedia Commons

When President Donald Trump was sworn in, there were more than a hundred empty seats in the federal judiciary. That left open a rare opportunity to leave a lasting legacy by appointing judges to lifetime terms likely to outlast his administration.

With the end of his first year in office coming into focus, some of his supporters are frustrated with the pace of the Senate Judiciary Committee in approving nominees.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

A company in the tiny town of Moran, Texas, is facing scrutiny for one of its main products after a gunman opened fire on Las Vegas concert-goers earlier this month.

The shooter had semi-automatic rifles fitted with bump stocks, which allowed him to rain down bullets on the crowd like he had fully automatic weapons. 

Seastock / Shutterstock

When Amazon announced plans in September to build a second North American headquarters, it set off a mad scramble by cities to woo the world’s largest e-commerce company. Dallas-Fort Worth might be a strong contender for what looks to be a massive development. 

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.

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