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.

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The top local stories this morning from KERA News:

About 100 protesters demonstrated outside the office of Texas Senator John Cornyn in Houston on Thursday. Organizers from United We Dream Houston want an extension to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Trump administration's deadline for DACA renewal applications was yesterday.

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The top local stories this morning from KERA News:

Today marks the deadline for beneficiaries of the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, to submit renewal applications. Around 124,000 people in Texas now benefit from the deportation relief program. The deadline applies only to DACA recipients whose benefits expire before March 5, the date President Trump announced the program will end if Congress fails to work out a solution. 

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is thinking about running for president. The Dallas billionaire spoke about the possibility in a podcast with former South Carolina state legislator Bakari Sellers. Cuban said the key issues he sees facing the country include income inequality, health care and technological competitiveness. 

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Federal lawmakers say they're working on a plan to continue the Children's Health Insurance Program. It provides coverage for nearly 400,000 children and pregnant women in Texas. The Texas Tribune reports they could vote on the issue by Wednesday. 

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The man who police say killed nearly 60 people at a Las Vegas concert last night once lived in North Texas. Mesquite police say 64-year-old Stephen Paddock lived in the Dallas suburb from 2004 to 2012.

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The Richardson school district has suspended two high school students after they posted racially charged messages on social media. As KERA’s Stella Chavez reports, parents brought the issue to the district’s attention.

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Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea watched in horror as Hurricane Maria tore through his home island of Puerto Rico. He had to do something.

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Two Texans are among President Trump's nominees for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Don Willett is a Texas Supreme Court Justice and James Ho is a Dallas attorney, and both their nominations require U.S. Senate confirmation. The New Orleans appeals court has been an influential stop in recent years for high-profile Texas laws over abortion access, voting rights and immigration crackdowns.

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Hurricane Harvey hit Texas just as schools were starting a new year and all but three school districts have reopened, according to Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath.

Dozens of school districts had to delay the start of school for days, even weeks, after Harvey made landfall. At a luncheon in Dallas, Morath spoke about the difficulties. 

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Dallas is working to reduce child poverty, but it still has one of the biggest populations of poor kids among major U.S. cities. The child poverty rate in Dallas has dropped from about 38 percent a few years ago to 31 percent last year. The Mayor’s Task Force on Poverty today released updated numbers based Census Bureau estimates. 

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The top local stories this afternoon from KERA News:

A federal appeals court is giving Texas more latitude to enforce a ban on so-called sanctuary cities, according to a ruling Monday. The decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes nearly a month after a judge blocked most of the law.

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The recent removal of the Robert E. Lee statue at a park in Dallas has intensified a debate over whether Confederate statues and memorials should be taken down, moved to a museum or left alone. Protesters recently gathered at Oak Lawn Park, formerly known as Lee Park, in Oak Lawn to express their dissatisfaction over the statue's removal.

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The recent removal of the Robert E. Lee statue at a park in Dallas has intensified a debate over whether Confederate statues and memorials should be taken down, moved to a museum or left alone.

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The top local stories this afternoon from KERA News:

The Dallas Zoo is working to make their gorillas more heart healthy. To do that, they’re trying to get an accurate blood pressure reading for the animals. But that’s been quite a challenge. KERA's Stephanie Kuo visited the zoo and found out it takes months of training and trust.

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A team of researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington is working to identify and fight “fake news” with a focus on Twitter bots. Professors Chengkai Li and Mark Tremayne are on the team that's funded by a UT-Austin grant, and they spoke with KERA's Justin Martin.

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Texas House Speaker Joe Straus wants a controversial Confederate plaque removed from the state Capitol in Austin. The plaque, called "Children of the Confederacy Creed,” rejects slavery as an underlying cause of the Civil War. It was installed in 1959.

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The top local stories this afternoon from KERA News:

The protest by the group called 'This Is Texas Freedom Force' is set to be held at Lee Park on Saturday, where the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was removed Thursday night. The Freedom Force group calls the effort to remove monuments an attack on Texas history. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The top local stories this afternoon from KERA News:

After a few delays, a Confederate statue in Dallas is set to come down today. A crane arrived at Lee Park in Oak Lawn on Thursday afternoon. City officials say it could take a couple more hours to remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. 

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A new campaign aims to point out the economic impacts of the ban on so-called "sanctuary cities" in Texas, as well as the phase-out of the federal immigration program known as DACA. The Mexican American Legislative Caucus is behind the multi-state campaign called “Not in My State.” 

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Texas still has more residents without health insurance than anywhere in the country, and the state has the highest uninsured rate, according to Census Bureau data. Last year, 16.6 percent of Texans were not insured, almost double the national rate of 8.6 percent. In recent years, the Texas uninsured rate has gone down, and the number of people without health insurance continues to decline. 

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The top local stories this afternoon from KERA News:

About 2,000 Harvey evacuees remain in North Texas shelters. The American Red Cross says most are staying at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas, about 100 people are in Fort Worth and a few dozen are in Irving. 

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The top local stories this afternoon from KERA News:

The Texas child-welfare and foster-care system is getting a makeover this month. Among the changes? Moving to a “community-based foster care” model, like the one pioneered in the Fort Worth area. 

CHRISTOPHER CONNELLY / KERA NEWS

The top local stories this afternoon from KERA News:

A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is coming down after all. On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council voted to remove the statue in Oak Lawn. That brought a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order. The statue’s fate was decided this afternoon in a federal courtroom. 

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The top local stories this afternoon from KERA News:

A Confederate monument is staying put for now at a park in Oak Lawn, following a last-minute ruling. U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater granted a temporary restraining order this afternoon, a hearing is scheduled for Thursday. 

Stella Chavez / KERA News

The top local stories this afternoon from KERA News:

DACA's days are numbered and that's generating strong reactions across Texas. Since 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has given legal protections to more than 120,000 Texans.

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The top local stories this afternoon from KERA News:

Reports that President Trump will wind down the program that protects so-called "DREAMers" rocketed through Houston's immigrant community Monday. Houston bills itself the most diverse big city in America. A quarter of its residents were born outside the U.S. and a third of those residents are undocumented.

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More Harvey evacuees are heading to North Texas. Nearly 2,000 people were staying in Dallas shelters as of Friday afternoon.

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Cars are lined up at some gas stations across North Texas, and fuel prices in the state and across the country have jumped by at least 10 cents since Harvey pounded Houston and the Gulf coast. Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton wants nervous motorists to know despite the oil refineries currently offline, there's not a fuel shortage.

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Dallas has welcomed hundreds of Harvey evacuees so far, and the city is preparing for many more. The City Council today approved using $8 million in emergency funds to cover Harvey relief efforts, and Texas will reimburse the city. 

Stella Chavez / KERA News

The top local stories this morning from KERA News:

North Texas is preparing to take in more Harvey evacuees Tuesday morning. Dallas, Fort Worth and Irving are all opening up shelter space. The city of Dallas will open the convention center as a mega-shelter that can handle as many as 5,000 evacuees.

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