Christopher Connelly | KERA News

Christopher Connelly

Fort Worth Reporter

Christopher Connelly is the first KERA 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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Texas public school students across the state started taking the STAAR test today. The state of the state’s public schools has long been a contentious topic – from standardized testing to school finance.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

President Obama’s time in the White House, at this point, is measured in months, but according to presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, Obama is using every tool in the executive toolbox to being seen as a lame duck.

truthout.org via flickr

A race for a seat on the State Board of Education representing Northeast Texas is getting an unusual amount of attention.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Campaigns for the Texas Board of Education seldom make news, especially in the 31 rural and small-town counties east of Dallas that make up District 9. Republican candidate Mary Lou Bruner has changed that.

glynlowe via flickr

Fort Worth’s Zoning Commission voted Wednesday to support a historic overlay district that would add protections to the oldest buildings in the Fort Worth Stockyards. The vote isn’t binding – it’s ultimately up to the City Council – but the designation could have a big impact on how the Stockyards are redeveloped.

dydavis via flickr

Fort Worth’s Zoning Commission will weigh in on how much of the iconic Fort Worth Stockyards should be included in a historic overlay district on Wednesday. At the crux of the debate is which and how many of the buildings should have added protections because they’re important to the city’s history. 

Texas House of Representatives

When it comes to just about every state legislative race in Texas, the March 1 primary is effectively the election. There are deep red Republican districts and deep blue battles in Democratic districts. There are just a handful of purple districts with competitive general election races come fall.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Across Texas, insurgent Republicans who rode Tea Party anger to Austin are now facing challenges themselves. That’s the dynamic in Tarrant County, where state Rep. Jonathan Stickland and challenger Scott Fisher are racing toward Tuesday's primary.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson is seeking his fifth and, he says, final term. 

Christopher Connelly/KERA

A Texas judge says the case of Ethan Couch, a teenager who used an "affluenza" defense in a fatal drunken-driving wreck, will be moved to adult court.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

State Rep. Charlie Geren is in the middle one of the toughest primary fights in Texas. Entrepreneur Bo French is challenging the 15-year House veteran in a district that stretches from Fort Worth to the northwest corner of Tarrant County. It’s a battle over the future direction of the statehouse that offers voters in House District 99 the choice between experienced deal maker, or replace him with a fresh face promising a more conservative agenda.

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As Texans start heading to the polls for early voting Tuesday, they’ll get to name their choice for their party’s presidential nominee. Some of them will also be choosing sides in fierce battles over seats in the state legislature, races where millions of dollars are being spent to convince Republicans in North Texas how to vote.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

The Denton County Republican Party held its biggest fundraiser of the year on Ronald Reagan’s birthday and it was a show of force. About 1,000 Republicans in formal wear crowded into a cavernous banquet hall Saturday to hear from elected leaders.

Christian Boschult/Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Thousands of residents in far North Fort Worth are being told to boil their water today because of possible contamination. Restaurants are closed, schools have shut down water fountains and the city is handing out bottled water.

The city started handing out water early this morning – first from small tanker trucks and then in packages of bottled water. 

Christopher Connelly/KERA

This week, the Naval Air Station in Fort Worth launched an annual training exercise. It’s designed to make sure the joint reserve base is ready to respond to security threats. The opening day began with a staged attack.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Edward "Rusty" Rose, a prominent Dallas businessman and former co-owner of the Texas Rangers, has died.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

A grand jury may have cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing, but Governor Greg Abbott says that’s not stopping the state from looking into the group.

Irving has been in the national spotlight in recent months, especially after a Muslim teen was arrested and suspended for bringing a homemade clock to school. But during her annual State of the City address Tuesday night, Mayor Beth Van Duyne steered clear of controversy. Instead, she highlighted several economic development efforts.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Growing up in Indiana, Phil Crone loved having a bedroom in the basement.

“It was dark. It was cold. I didn’t know the difference noon and 6 a.m.,” he said. “It was wonderful.”

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Folks right in the path of the Christmas weekend tornadoes couldn’t do much to save their houses. For those who avoid a direct hit, building codes are supposed to protect homes from serious damage.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio made his first public campaign appearance in North Texas Wednesday.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio made his first public campaign appearance in North Texas yesterday. The state is an uphill battle for the Florida Senator, one he’ll have to fight against a Texas senator and other candidates with Texas ties. But his aim was not at the crowded field of Republicans he has to beat to win his party’s nomination in the coming months. Instead, he aimed his fire at the Democratic front runner. He does not care for Hillary Clinton.

Recess at Eagle Mountain Elementary School in Fort Worth, Texas, looks much like recess anyplace else. Some kids run and squeal, others swing, while a half-dozen of their peers are bunched up on the slide.

Journey Orebaugh, a 6-year-old in an off-white princess dress, is playing family.

"You just get a bunch of people and just act like who you want to be," she says. Journey likes to play the mom.

BIRCHMENCOLONIZER / Reddit

On the night when 12 tornadoes raced across North Texas, it was up to first responders – police, firefighters, paramedics – to get folks out of harm’s way. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Before Ethan Couch and his mother fled to Mexico, they held a going-away party. Then they hopped in a pick-up truck and drove to the border.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

2015 was a good year for Matthew Newman. The Dallas entrepreneur decided to give back today by hosting a catered lunch for the residents of Tent City, a sprawling homeless encampment under the I-45 freeway in downtown Dallas.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

There’s a new start up in Fort Worth that wants you to skip the gas station and let them bring the fuel to you, courtesy of a smartphone app. 

DOUALY XAYKAOTHAO / KERA NEWS

A federal judge ruled recently that Texas’ long-term foster care system is “broken.” In North Texas, a Fort Worth-based nonprofit has been working out the kinks in a model that could redesign the entire system, giving more flexibility to local organizations to address the problems outlined in the judge’s opinion.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Turns out recess is so much more than just monkey bars and freeze tag. In American public schools, though, recess has been on the decline – edged out to make more room in the day for testing and academics.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Two days after a landmark international deal on climate change, the city of Denton is debating its push toward more renewable energy in the first two official public hearings on the Renewable Denton plan.

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