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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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

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 says. “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.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

A signature piece of public art was dedicated Thursday at the center of Fort Worth’s ambitious Trinity River redevelopment project just north of downtown.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

For most of us, the word “auction” conjures up images of antiques or fine art or even foreclosed houses. Ritchie Bros. in Lake Worth offers a very different kind of auction – one on the scale of massive earth-moving equipment.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is escalating his effort to stop Syrian refugees from being resettled in the state. Just before Thanksgiving, his health secretary threatened to sue resettlement agencies that refuse to comply with his order.

Brandi Korte via flickr

The holiday shopping season kicks into high gear Friday (and, in the case of a few stores, Thursday night). When you start talking shopping strategies, it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly how differently we all approach the task. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk unveiled a program that’s close to her heart on Monday. The new Reformative Justice Unit is aimed at keeping people with mental illnesses and young first-time offenders out of prison. Hawk says jailing young offenders can starts them down a path that leads to more crime.

Courtesy of the Fort Worth Opera

Race and policing was one point of discussion at a sweeping conversation in Fort Worth about the legacy of the civil rights movement in the decades after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. he conversation came just days before the Sunday anniversary of the assassination. It was part of a series of discussions the Fort Worth Opera is sponsoring as it prepares to premiere a new opera called “JFK." It follows Kennedy’s last hours in Fort Worth and Dallas. 

Gregory Hauenstein via Flickr Creative Commons

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was in Dallas on Tuesday. The former secretary of state spent the morning fundraising. Then she revved up hundreds of loyalists packed into a gym at Mountain View College in Oak Cliff.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

About 100 bicyclists spent Saturday morning riding along the Trinity River in Fort Worth as part of an event called The Great Seed Bomb. The riders tossed 4,000 seed bombs along the Trinity River in Fort Worth to build up habitat for bees and butterflies.

Glenn Harper via flickr

Texas Christian University announced Friday that it won’t allow concealed weapons on campus. That decision sets the private Fort Worth school apart from state universities that will be required to allow “campus carry.”

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