Shelley Kofler | KERA News

Shelley Kofler

Former News Director/Reporter

Shelley Kofler is a former KERA managing editor and news director who most recently served as Texas Public Radio’s news director. She moved from KERA to TPR in December 2014. Before moving to public radio, Shelley was Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.

Her expertise on legislative policy issues includes school finance, foster care and transportation. Her stories on the overmedication of foster children captured the attention of state officials who strengthened laws for the use of psychotropic drugs.

Shelley also covered government issues for North Texas NBC affiliate KXAS-TV and worked with KERA on numerous public affairs projects, including nationally broadcast programs. She has reported on statewide elections and presidential primaries since the late 1980s. She also founded and operated her own communications firm, Kofler Communications, in Dallas and Austin. She served as a communications strategist and media trainer for various companies, agencies and public officials.

Shelley’s radio and television work has been honored by the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Association, the Houston Press Club, and the Radio-Television Digital News Association, from whom she received a prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for a series of reports on the Trinity toll road decision.

Biologists have found the DNA of invasive zebra mussels in six additional Texas lakes. That doesn’t mean the mussels are there, but KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports the discovery has heightened concerns.

Right now Texoma is the only Texas lake known to be infested with zebra mussels and officials want to prevent their spreading.

That’s why biologists became concerned when they found zebra mussel DNA in six additional lakes: Eagle Mountain, Lewisville, Ray Roberts, Arrowhead, Bridgeport and Caddo.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

U.S. Senate Candidate Ted Cruz’s income increased almost six-fold between 2006 and 2010 according tax returns Cruz released Friday.

Tax information released Friday afternoon by U.S. Senate Candidate and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst show generous gifts to charity and tax payments that seem sizeable. But without analysis of some 500 pages of supporting details still being provided it’s difficult to fairly characterize Dewhurst’s tax payments.
 

Following is information provided from his two most recently completed tax returns:

2010

Adjusted gross income $1,010,218.
Total taxes $ 443,646
Gifts to charity $1,199,869

2009

Wealthy Republican Senate Candidate David Dewhurst says he’ll release some of this tax records today. KERA’s Shelley Kofler says Dewhurst’s announcement follows opponent Craig James release of five years of returns yesterday and a challenge for his GOP opponents to do the same.

James: I have opted to step into this arena of public service. Therefore it’s important for me to open up so people get to know all they can about me.

Photo by Ben Philpott, KUT News

Governor Rick Perry is returning home after poor debate performances and political gaffes forced him to end his race for president. KERA’s Shelley Kofler looks at whether Perry’s national pummeling will cut into his political power in Texas.

Texans for and against the Keystone XL pipeline say President Obama’s rejection of the pipeline today will affect the Lone Star state. KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports.

The Frisco City Council has set the stage for a process that could close the Exide lead battery plant. But Exide is promising to fight back. KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports it may be a long, emotional battle.

Gage Skidmore (cc) flickr

For the first time last night the top five GOP candidates for the U.S. Senate met to debate. KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports sparks occasionally flew as the state’s former solicitor general took aim at the Lieutenant Governor.

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The U.S. Supreme Court may be considering instructions that would delay Texas primary elections again. KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports Justices asked about a delay yesterday when they heard arguments over Texas’ election maps.

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Legal teams from Texas are gathered at the US Supreme Court today for arguments over which redistricting map should be used for this year’s elections. KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports the impact on minority voters is at issue.

Erik Hersman / Flickr

Legal teams preparing for Monday’s Supreme Court hearing over Texas election maps are gathering in Washington for a that fight pits the state and Republicans against Democrats and minorities.

The Texas Attorney General’s office will ask the Justices to approve a map adopted by GOP lawmakers.  It would likely give Republicans three of the four new Congressional districts in Texas. 

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry is taking his presidential campaign to South Carolina where he says he can rebound after his poor, fifth place showing in Iowa. KERA’s Shelley Kofler says the Palmetto state will be a make-or-break primary for Perry.

Perry’s decision to stay in the race follows an earlier announcement that he’d reassess his candidacy. Many interpreted that to mean he was dropping out.

jmtimages (cc) flickr

Texans will be watching two of their own as Iowa republicans cast the nation’s first ballots for a presidential nominee. Lake Jackson Congressman Ron Paul, often considered out-of-step with the GOP, is expected to finish near the top. But KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports Governor Rick Perry is just trying to survive.

Gage Skidmore (cc) flickr

In Texas many Republicans consider Governor Rick Perry the leader of their state party. But in Iowa there appears to be more voter enthusiasm for another Texas Republican, Congressman Ron Paul from Lake Jackson. KERA’s Shelley Kofler has more from voters about why they're supporting Paul.

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Again this year North Texans have told us about the unique ways they celebrate the season. We heard about festive foods, family rituals and the joy that comes from giving.

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Just as the North Texas Tollway Authority tries to shed an image of awarding lucrative sweetheart contracts, an FBI investigation is raising new questions. KERA’s Shelley Kofler has more on actions the board took Wednesday.

In a meeting where NTTA board members talked about the importance of transparency, they emerged from an executive session and quickly agreed to use public money to reimburse board member David Denison’s legal fees. But NTTA Board Chair Kenneth Barr would say little about the reason for the vote or how much money Denison will receive.

KERA News

The North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) board has passed a cryptic measure that appears to authorize the NTTA to pay legal fees for a board member. 

Andrew Nourse, flickr

A Republican and a Democrat, each with some name recognition, have entered the race to replace retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. KERA's Shelley Kofler says the biggest buzz surrounds broadcaster Craig James.

An agreement on when Texas will elect their party nominees could come as early as today. KERA's Shelley Kofler reports Republicans and Democrats say they're close to deciding when Texas should hold political primaries.

As of now March 6 is still the date set for the Texas Primary. But a partisan battle over which election maps should be used has resulted in a US Supreme Court hearing on January 9, with election boundaries for congressional and legislative races being decided sometime after that.

jmtimages, flickr

A federal judge has signed off on an agreement to delay Texas' March primary election until April 3. That will give candidates time to adjust to final redistricting maps. But KERA's Shelley Kofler reports Texas may lose some of its influence in choosing a republican presidential nominee.

If the primary had remained on March 6 Texas Republicans would have been among the 11 states taking part in the big Super Tuesday vote. The contest among presidential contenders may still close in March, and Texans could have been among the voters that decide the GOP nominee.

More than 400,000 Texas students will have the option of transferring to new schools because their schools have ended up on the Public Education Grant list. KERA's Shelley Kofler says making the PEG list brands a school as having poor academic standards.

There are two ways a campus can make the dreaded PEG list. It can be rated unacceptable or at least twice in the past three years at least 50 percent of its students have failed part of the TAKS test.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Citizens who want the Exide lead battery plant out of Frisco are turning up the heat on city officials. KERA's Shelley Kofler reports on demands they presented to the city council last night.

You couldn't miss the forty some members of Frisco Unleaded. They were the ones wearing badges with a bright red line crossing out the Exide name. Some wore tall burning Exide smokestacks on their heads and carried signs that read, "Punish the Polluters".

Shiby Matthew / Frisco Unleaded Member: Children are more affected by lead than adults. There are no safe levels of lead.

Shelley Kofler, KERA

Tuesday night a group of Frisco citizens plan to demand the city council use a zoning tactic to close the Exide lead battery plant. The confrontation comes as Exide scrambles to meet government mandates to clean up toxic levels of lead. Shelley Kofler reports lead contamination was the last thing residents expected to find in this upscale community.

Last year Meghan Green had a toddler and was eight months pregnant when she and her husband joined other affluent families moving to Frisco.

Dallas, TX – Fort Worth Council member Kathleen Hicks yesterday became the first Democrat to file for Tarrant County's newly created Congressional District 33. It's a race that is expected to draw a big field of competitive candidates. KERA's Shelley Kofler reports on the possibility of Tarrant again having a Democrat in Washington, and on the Republican challenge that could prevent that.

Dallas, TX – The City of Dallas and animal advocates are joining forces to end the euthanasia of adoptable pets. KERA's Shelley Kofler has more on the effort to make Dallas a no-kill community.

At the Dallas Animal Shelter most of the cleanly scrubbed kennels are filled with lost and abandoned pets.

Catherine Baxter, shelter employee: I think we usually do an intake of about of at least 100 animals a day.

Dallas, TX – A survey by one teachers group is providing a look at how state budget cuts may be affecting Texas school districts. KERA's Shelley Kofler says the survey comes as lawsuits challenging school funding take shape.

The online survey from the Texas American Federation of Teachers isn't scientific, but it's a glimpse into what has happened in schools since the state legislature reduced their funding by more than four billion dollars.

Dallas, TX – Native Americans from across the country traveled to a ranch near Greenville for the ceremonial naming of a white buffalo calf on Wednesday. KERA's Shelley Kofler has more on the importance of Lightning Medicine Cloud's birth.

Dallas, TX – In the middle of our bustling metroplex is a paddling trail that's home to impressive birds, interesting wildlife and protection from the North Texas sun. The Beaver Pond Paddling Trail in Lewisville is among 7 North Texas canoe and kayak routes the state unveiled this week.

This morning KERA's Shelley Kofler paddles the route with an expert who has seen all kinds of creatures on the trail.

Dallas, TX – Priority one for state lawmakers meeting in Austin next week is to plug a $25 billion budget shortfall. Just how big is that? Well, if you shut down all the prisons, laid off every state trooper, eliminated every service except public education, higher education and health care, you still wouldn't cut $25 billion.

Governor Rick Perry and others have suggested Texas drop out of Medicaid, the federal-state health program for low income children, elderly and the disabled. It's Texas's fastest growing expense.

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