Friday Conversation | KERA News

Friday Conversation

The Friday Conversation is a weekly in-depth discussion between KERA's Vice President of News Rick Holter with people making news in North Texas. Subjects have ranged from former President Jimmy Carter to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price to sportscaster Dale Hansen to a historian exploring a notorious lynching a century ago in downtown Dallas.

Explore the latest interviews below:

Ways to Connect

Rick Holter / KERA News

Mary Horn is a ground breaker. She was Denton County's first female tax assessor and the first woman to serve as county judge. And she's lasted longer in the county's top job than anyone else.

This week, the Republican said she's retiring. And whether it's refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, fighting to keep a Confederate memorial or opposing the so-called "bathroom bill," she makes no apologies.

Lynda Gonzalez / KUT News

Law officers from across the country came to the Hill Country this week to learn how to respond to active shooters like the one that killed 26 people at a Texas church last weekend.

The leader of the Texas State University program, Pete Blair, says each active shooter situation is different. 

Hyperloop One

Hyperloop technology promises to shuttle people in capsules from Dallas to Austin in 19 minutes. How? Through passenger pods traveling at up to 700 miles per hour through a low-pressure tube.

Texas emerged as one of 10 winners in the recent Hyperloop One Global Challenge. Steven Duong, a Dallas-based urban designer who helped write that plan, says the Hyperloop is not as far-fetched as it sounds.

Rick Holter

The recent debates in Dallas, Denton and Fort Worth over Confederate monuments and places named for Confederate figures puts Cindy Harriman in a unique position. She’s the executive director of the Texas Civil War Museum – and a lifelong member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

It’s up to the Dallas City Council to decide the fate of the city’s Confederate symbols.

The council is expected to vote next month; the city's Cultural Affairs Commission endorsed a series of recommendations this week made by a task force appointed by Mayor Mike Rawlings. Here's what those actions would do.

NOAA

Kevin Simmons is an economist with an unusual specialty: disasters.

The professor at Austin College in Sherman says cities, states and nations can prepare for disasters like hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey.

Danny Bollinger / Dallas Mavericks

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.

Brian Williams

The nation came to know Dr. Brian Williams in the days after July 7, 2016. He was working at Parkland Hospital that night when wounded police officers were brought into his operating room.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

Flood experts, state officials and meteorologists are starting to get the full scope of Hurricane Harvey's behavior and the cost of damage it inflicted on the Texas Coast.

Courtesy photo / The Tyler Loop

After President Trump's decision to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program this week, we've heard voices from big cities like Dallas and Houston.

Former NPR journalist Tasneem Raja has been collecting stories of people in Tyler who were brought into the country illegally as children for her news startup, The Tyler Loop

Cathy Frisinger/UT Southwestern Medical Center

About 700 people spent the night Thursday at the shelter at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

Caring for evacuees after a natural disaster presents a huge medical challenge, which Dr. Ray Fowler of UT Southwestern Medical Center knows well.   

Krystina Martinez

When folks talk about tech accelerators and entrepreneurship, the images that usually spring to mind are of sparkling Silicon Valley campuses or hip downtown live/work lofts.

Michelle Williams is dedicated to bringing that spirit to southern Dallas. She's leading a branch of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center opening soon as part of the re-imagined Red Bird Mall.

Rick Holter/KERA News

A statue of Robert E. Lee was at the center of the white supremacist rally last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. Cities across the U.S., including Dallas, are now renewing debate on what to do with existing Confederate memorials.

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

For eight years, Leslie Brenner's been Dallas' leading restaurant critic. This week, she announced that she’s leaving The Dallas Morning News to work for a real estate startup that specializes in restaurants. 

Paul Chabot campaign/Flickr

Paul Chabot has a sales pitch for conservatives across the country: Move to Texas. After losing his second bid for Congress in California, he uprooted his family and settled in McKinney. He started a company called Conservative Move to get like-minded folks to do the same.

Ana Perez/KERA News

It's been a tough week for the transgender community. The Texas Senate passed a so-called bathroom bill regulating public restroom use for transgender Texans. The next day, President Trump tweeted that he'd like to ban transgender people from serving in the military.  

Facebook / Detroit Police Department

Dallas made a landmark hire this week – Renee Hall will be the first woman to run the city’s police department. Now serving as deputy chief in Detroit, Hall is determined to make her mark in Dallas not just as a woman, but as a standout leader.

dcwcreations / Shutterstock

According to the latest numbers, North Texas housing prices are up 8 percent over last year. That sounds like great news for home builders. Yet, Phil Crone of the Dallas Builders Association went to the nation’s capital last month to make a desperate plea for immigration reform.

Year of Unity

St. Paul United Methodist Church is just a few blocks from where a gunman disrupted a peaceful rally in downtown Dallas last year. Richie Butler, pastor of St. Paul United Methodist Church, said some church members were part of that once-peaceful rally.

Gerald Herbert / AP Photo

A year ago, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarippa were still riding the rails and patrolling the streets of Dallas. Then came July 7. Mayor Mike Rawlings recalls how the city came through that night and the days that followed.

David Kent/The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram got its first new editor in nearly two decades this week. Lauren Gustus comes from Fort Collins, Colorado, where she also fought to pass legislation improving that state's open records laws. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA

Opal Lee has lived 90 pretty remarkable years -- from the night, when she was a kid, that a mob of white protesters drove her family from their Fort Worth home, to her symbolic walk to Washington, D.C., last fall to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

Courtesy of J. Parker

The 85th regular session of the Texas Legislature ended dramatically last week, and the drama's not over: Lawmakers will return to Austin next month for a special session. Two members of the state House, Democrat Rafael Anchia and Republican Jason Villalba, stopped by KERA to talk about a session they say was unlike any other.

Miguel Perez for KERA News

A group of architecture buffs got a sneak peek at the Statler Hilton in downtown Dallas. The 1950s icon was the place where Tina Turner famously dumped her abusive husband Ike. Abandoned since 2001, it’s now being transformed into a hotel and apartment building.

Krystina Martinez / KERA

The Texas Legislature is keeping the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) busy this session.

Sylvia Komatsu / KERA News

At 95, journalism pioneer Vivian Castleberry has seen it all. She was born in the roaring '20s, came of age during the Great Depression and interviewed seven First Ladies.

Samantha Guzman / KERA News

For a generation of radio listeners, Robert Siegel has been one of the few constants. He’s hosted NPR's All Things Considered since 1987 - through inaugurations and impeachment to natural disasters and wardrobe malfunctions. 

Allison V. Smith / KERA News special contributor

A lot has changed since State Rep. Eric Johnson grew up in West Dallas. His old neighborhood is in the midst of a transformation. 

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

As President Trump nears his 100th day in office, we take a step back to look at how presidential power evolved in the modern era with Rita Kirk, who directs the Maguire Center of Ethics & Public Responsibility at SMU. She says historians estimate it takes about 20 years before one can get a sense of what happened in the past.

Catholic Diocese of Dallas

Edward Burns led his first Easter mass as the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas last weekend. He moved from Juneau, Alaska, a few months back, and he’s already making a mark. He started a task force on immigration and is leading a national effort to prevent  sexual abuse in the church.

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