Gus Contreras | KERA News

Gus Contreras

Digital Producer, Reporter

Gus Contreras is a digital producer and reporter at KERA News. Gus produces the local All Things Considered segment and reports on a variety of topics from, sports to immigration. He was an intern and production assistant for All Things Considered in Washington D.C.

He is a first-generation American from El Paso, and attended UT-Arlington. He was the sports and managing editor of The Shorthorn, UTA’s student newspaper.

A sports nut, he enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family. When he’s not trying to cook Mexican food at home, Gus enjoys finding new taco places in North Texas.

Eric Gay / AP Photo

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Minority rights groups today told federal judges that Texas needs new election maps for 2018. A three-judge federal panel met in San Antonio. The judges didn’t decide next steps, but it appears a trial is likely this summer over the state’s voting maps for Congressional and state House districts.

Michael Conroy / AP Photo

High school football in North Texas produces talent that has made it to the NFL, and on Thursday night an Arlington native made history.

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Across North Texas, early voting is underway for the May 6 municipal elections. Members of city councils and school boards will be elected. But as KERA’s Christopher Connelly reports, if the past is any indication, most people who can vote... won't.

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The jury in John Wiley Price’s federal corruption trial is deadlocked on at least one of the counts against him. The jury has spent five days deliberating the guilt or innocence of the longtime Dallas County Commissioner, and the judge told the jury to come back and try again Wednesday morning.

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Dallas Animal Services says it’s making progress toward improving animal care. The agency has hired more employees, added overnight shifts, added pet care education programs and increased citations and enforcement.

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The jury in the federal corruption trial of John Wiley Price stopped deliberating for the day without reaching a verdict. It marked the third day of deliberations, and the jury is back in session Monday morning. 

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Judges have again found that Texas racially gerrymandered voting maps to weaken the growing electoral power of minorities. The 2-1 ruling by a federal panel in San Antonio says that the state tried to intentionally weaken the influence of minorities around Dallas, Houston and other areas across the state.

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It’s now up to a bankruptcy court in Delaware to decide what becomes of Oncor. The judge in the case wants to sell the Dallas-based electric delivery company to pay off creditors of its parent company Energy Future Holdings.

BILL ZEEBLE / KERA NEWS

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Prosecutors say longtime Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price accepted nearly $1 million in bribes in exchange for insider information and his vote on certain contracts. Price has pleaded not guilty.

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Cities, school districts and other local governments across North Texas are gearing up for municipal elections on May 6, and early voting starts April 24. KERA’s Christopher Connelly sat down with Eric Aasen to talk about some of the races in Tarrant County. 

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The Dallas Stars named its new coach, and he happens to be one of the team’s former coaches. As KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports, Ken Hitchcock's announcement comes after the hockey team just finished one of its worst seasons since moving to Dallas 24 years ago.

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The Dallas City Council voted this afternoon to participate in a marijuana cite and release program. City officials say marijuana arrests disproportionately affect minorities. Council member Philip Kingston says the cite and release effort will save police officers time by keeping more of them on the streets.

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State Senator Don Huffines wants to shut down an agency called Dallas County Schools. It provides bus service to several North Texas school districts, including Dallas Independent School District. 

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In the 24 hours since the U.S. launched missiles at a Syrian air base, the move has gotten mixed reviews from Texas lawmakers. Senator John Cornyn – who, like President Trump, is a Republican – told Fox News that he fully supports this as a show of strength against the Assad regime. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

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Families and students of Focus Charter School in southern Dallas held a rally this afternoon. They’re making a last-ditch bid to keep the school open. As KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports, the state says the school has agreed to close after three bad academic years.

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The Texas House today gave preliminary approval to a bill that would address the backlog of untested rape kits in the state. The bill aims to essentially crowdfund money for testing DNA evidence from sexual assault cases – thousands of kits have not been tested in Texas due to a lack of funding. Texans who apply or renew their driver’s license would have an option to donate a dollar or more toward kit testing. 

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Certain high-paying jobs don’t attract many women. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 2.5 percent of firefighters were female in 1998. Fast forward to 2016, and it’s just 3.5 percent. Courtney Collins talks to one future firefighter planning to buck that trend, who hopes more women decide to join her.

Rodger Mallison / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Longtime Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is replacing analyst Phil Simms on the top NFL broadcasting team for CBS after choosing retirement over playing for a team other than the Dallas Cowboys.

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The Dallas mayor is voicing his opposition to proposed pension reform legislation in Texas.

Rick Holter / KERA News

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The NCAA Women’s Final Four is set to tips off Friday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas. Tonight’s doubleheader starts off with Stanford and South Carolina. Later, Connecticut squares off against Mississippi State.

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Three philanthropic groups are teaming up to help reduce the number of stray dogs in southern Dallas. Communities Foundation of Texas, The Rees-Jones Foundation and the Dallas Foundation are contributing more than $13 million to fund a large spay and neuter initiative.

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The National Weather Service confirms at least two tornadoes struck North Texas overnight. One tornado hit North Fort Worth – it moved into Keller and Southlake in Tarrant County. It was an EF-0, the lowest level on the tornado damage scale. 

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Fort Worth City Council members and top city staffers climbed onto a bus Tuesday and took a tour of the Stop Six neighborhood in East Fort Worth. The historic African-American neighborhood has long struggled with high crime, high unemployment and low incomes.

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The Texas Senate has approved a bill that sharply reduces gun license fees. State Senator Robert Nichols originally sought to scrap the full $140 fee for first-time licenses and the $70 charge for 5-year license renewals, but doing so would have cost Texas more than $55 million.

Hady Mawajdeh / KERA News

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The Dallas Museum of Art’s new exhibition “Mexico: 1900 to 1950” is turning into a major attraction. It features works from masters like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and contains nearly 200 works showcasing the widespread creative explosion Mexico experienced in that period. 

LARA SOLT / KERA NEWS SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR

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A classroom that’s used as a prayer room at Liberty High School in Frisco got the attention of the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office last week. The office sent a letter raising constitutional concerns, while the Frisco superintendent calls the letter a publicity stunt.

Amphibian Stage Productions

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‘White Rabbit Red Rabbit' is a play with a crazy premise: the actor starts it without ever having read it. He or she is just handed the script – and begins. ‘White Rabbit’ has been staged in nearly 50 countries. Fort Worth’s Amphibian Productions is giving the play its North Texas premiere.

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Governor Greg Abbott has been pushing for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution. The goal? To limit the federal government’s power. Andrew Schneider with Houston Public Media reports on the possibility of a constitutional convention – and what it could mean for Texans.

Lara Solt / KERA News Special Contributor

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office is raising questions about a prayer room used by Muslim students at Liberty High School in Frisco. The room and the school’s growing diversity were featured in a KERA story last week that’s part of our American Graduate series, “Race, Poverty and the Changing Face of Schools.” 

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The NCAA basketball tournament tipped off this afternoon, and hopefully your bracket isn’t totally destroyed yet. There are only three teams representing the state of Texas this year:  SMU, Baylor and Texas Southern. KERA’s Gus Contreras reports, all three play Friday afternoon.

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