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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All 36 of Texas’ congressional seats are on the ballot this fall, but only one of those races is considered truly competitive. The vast majority of state House and Senate races aren’t particularly competitive, either. One big reason: A lot of the state's districts are drawn to give one party or the other a big majority.

Christopher Connelly/KERA News

Restaurants come and go all the time, but in Fort Worth’s West Seventh district, a taqueria is going a bit beyond a simple relocation. It’s moving an entire building, complete with its concrete slab, all the way across town. It’s a slow process — one that's weeks in the making and will take days to complete — but it’s a labor of love.

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Donald Trump was in Texas again on Tuesday. The Republican presidential nominee held no public events, but stopped at private fundraisers in Dallas and San Antonio.

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Attorney General Loretta Lynch finished her visit to North Texas Tuesday at a National Night Out celebration at UNT-Dallas.

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We're just weeks away from picking a new president and congress. But for some, that's nowhere near enough change. It’s not hard to find an audience in Texas receptive to the message that the federal government is in need of a drastic fix. One group has an ambitious plan to do just that.

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An 89-year-old Fort Worth woman is on a mission to make Juneteenth a nationally observed holiday. Juneteenth marks the day that word arrived in Texas that slavery had been abolished. To bring attention to her cause, she’s on a symbolic walk to Washington, and she’s determined to spread the word any way she can.

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At least seven coal-fired power plants in Texas could face closure in coming years because more renewables and cheap gas makes coal power too expensive. That’s according to a new report commissioned by the environmental group Public Citizen.

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This summer, it’s started to look a bit like a tax revolt in North Texas. Frisco voters just turned down a school tax increase, Dallas schools decided not to ask for a tax hike. And in Dallas County, Judge Clay Jenkins said he wants to cut property tax rates.

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An unusual journey began in Fort Worth last night. An 89-year-old woman named Opal Lee started a walk to the White House. Her goal: Make Juneteenth a national day of observance.

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It’s the first week of school in many districts across North Texas, and students are returning to the classroom after a summer of racial turmoil in America and police shootings in Dallas. 

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Donald Trump steered clear of fundraising throughout the GOP primary, but has embraced donations since then. But are North Texas donors embracing him? 

Courtesy of the Fort Worth Transit Authority

Construction on a $1 billion rail project is about to get underway in North Texas. TEX Rail will link Fort Worth with DFW International, giving Tarrant County a direct route to the airport. 

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Dallas police officers have been leaving the force in droves in recent years, most of them going to other North Texas departments. 

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Texas is taking the Obama administration to court again on Friday. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking a federal judge in Fort Worth to temporarily block federal rules that would let transgender kids use the bathroom or locker room that matches their gender identity. The Obama administration says Texas is jumping the gun.

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It’s been almost a month since a gunman opened fire on police officers downtown Dallas. Since then, the department has been sorting through a deluge of job applications. Last week, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton gave a shout out to the city.

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As baby boomers head into retirement and are living longer, they’re more independent that any previous generation. Cities across the country are watching the demographic trend and trying to figure out if they are ready to accommodate the needs of this silver tsunami. In Fort Worth, it’s a work in progress.

After months of uproar over the guidelines for transgender students in Fort Worth school, the district released an updated version yesterday. Many opponents of the original anti-bullying effort applauded the new version, but some transgender advocates say the changes strip out many of the strongest elements in the original.

Critics of the original transgender guidelines were vocal, especially about bathrooms. Opponents argued that the guidelines would have let transgender kids use the bathroom of their choice. Superintendent Kent Scribner says that was never true.

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday he wants to classify attacks on police as hate crimes. The idea has the backing of law enforcement groups, but it’s raised some concerns among advocates for hate crimes legislation.

Charley Wilkison says police officers feel like they have a target on their backs. He’s the head of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas. That feeling, he says, started long before cops were gunned down in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

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Texas has sent off another of its officers killed in the line of duty last week. The funeral for Dallas Police Officer Michael Krol on Friday was the fourth of five. The Michigan native known as a big guy with a big heart.

Sgt. Michael Smith was one of five law enforcement officers killed when a gunman fired on police at a peaceful protest in downtown Dallas last week. He’s remembered as a kind man, a good friend and a role model for a young boy at his church.

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President Obama was in Dallas to take part in a service honoring the victims of last week’s attack. He was joined by former president George W. Bush, and a host of other dignitaries. The speakers didn’t just honor the officers, but addressed the importance – and pitfalls – of modern policing.

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President Barack Obama is coming to Dallas Tuesday to take part in an interfaith memorial service for the victims of last week’s shooting. Obama will be joined at the Meyerson Symphony Center by former President George W. Bush and other dignitaries.

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As they sorted through their shock, horror and grief, Dallas residents gathered in Thanksgiving Square yesterday to pray for the victims of a sniper attack that left five law enforcement officers dead and nine people wounded on Thursday night.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Hundreds of people gathered in Thanksgiving Square in downtown Dallas for an interfaith prayer service Friday.

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Zebra mussels are showing up in Tarrant County. Officials say the razor-sharp shells have turned up in the waters of Lake Worth and Eagle Mountain Lake.

Courtesy of TCU

Texas may be known for oil, but it is also the nation’s largest producer of wind energy. And while renewable energy is generally a good thing to most people, it’s not great for bats. Those towering wind turbines that harness the wind’s power kill a lot of bats every year.

Todd Wiseman / Mark Fischer / The Texas Tribune

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the University of Texas' affirmative action program by a 4-3 vote.

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The shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando last week put homophobic violence in the spotlight. On a regular basis, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face hate crimes. These incidents are not always deadly, yet they still leave deep physical and emotional scars. They occur against a larger backdrop, a whole story that the data on hate crimes in Texas don’t tell.

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Democrats are flocking to San Antonio to kick off the state party convention today. In Dallas, Donald Trump supporters – and protestors – will rally at 7 o’clock tonight at Gilley’s in the Cedars area just south of Downtown. Before that, Trump will hit up GOP donors for campaign cash.

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This story is part of A Nation Engaged, a collaborative project between NPR and its member stations. This week's question: "Does my vote matter?

As politicians, pundits and reporters talk about how voters are making their decisions, the issues that motivate them, which candidates excite them. But what about those people who might be staying home in November?

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