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 the new head of an education nonprofit to a historian exploring a notorious lynching a century ago.

Explore the latest interviews below:

Ways to Connect

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

The State Board of Education will take a final vote Friday on what will be the first state-approved course on Mexican-American history in Texas public schools.

Courtesy of Miguel Solis

Olivia Solis has spent her entire life in the hospital. The three-month-old baby was born with a congenital heart defect. She's had multiple surgeries; the latest to close her chest after an extremely rare infant heart transplant.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

For most kids in North Texas, today's the last day of school. This day has special meaning for the struggling schools KERA's education team has explored over the last month in our series, “The Race To Save Failing Schools.”

Lara Solt / KERA Special Contributor

A few years back, the Dallas school district came up with an ambitious plan to save failing schools. Accelerating Campus Excellence, or ACE, pours money and the best teachers and principals into struggling schools. With Fort Worth, Garland and Richardson borrowing the idea for their failing schools, can ACE work on a larger scale?

KERA News

Former NFL player Husain Abdullah will be among the students at Southern Methodist University walking the stage this weekend. His journey to a master's degree in conflict resolution is like no other.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

After 33 years watching rockets blast off for NASA, Lesa Roe is presiding over a different kind of launch this week. It's her first commencement weekend as chancellor of the University of North Texas system.

Ryan Poppe / Texas Public Radio (left); Krystina Martinez / KERA News (right)

With the National Rifle Association's annual meeting kicking into high gear today in Dallas, KERA sat down for Friday Conversations with two women on opposite sides of the gun debate. 

LM Otero / AP

It’s been six months since Ed Jamison came to Dallas as the head of the city’s Animal Services Department.  That milestone came days after a woman was mauled by four loose dogs in South Dallas. She survived, but the attack again highlighted the longstanding problem of loose dogs in that area.

The George W. Bush Presidential Center

The George W. Bush Presidential Center is celebrating its fifth birthday with a star-studded leadership forum that ends Friday night with a keynote speech from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Bush Center president and CEO Ken Hersh says bringing Bezos to Dallas at a time when President Trump's been criticizing him on Twitter — and Dallas is on the shortlist for Amazon's second headquarters — was a coincidence.

UNT Dallas College of Law / Twitter

The four-year-old UNT Dallas College of Law is about to get a new dean. Felecia Epps comes from Florida A&M University, which faced similar challenges with getting its would-be lawyers to pass the bar exam.

Lopez Obrador Campaign

The midterm elections have been a priority this year in the U.S., but the country also has a stake in the presidential election in Mexico. North Texas has more Mexican citizens eligible to vote there than anywhere else in the U.S. except Los Angeles.

Jessica Diaz-Hurtado / KERA News special contributor

Cuban-born entrepreneur and philanthropist Jorge Baldor is behind some well-known cultural and political efforts in the Dallas Latino community.

Courtesy photo

Students across the country will be protesting gun violence as part of "March For Our Lives" Saturday. Sophie Conde, a junior at Centennial High in Frisco, is helping lead the march in downtown Dallas. 

In our Friday Conversation, she told KERA's Rick Holter that student organizers plan to keep the momentum going after the march ends.

Courtesy TCU Basketball

March Madness has a lot of Lone Star flavor this year. A record seven Texas schools made the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this year, and the Final Four is in San Antonio. One of the best story lines is TCU, which plays its first tournament game in 20 years tonight in Detroit. 

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT News

Tuesday's primary election sparked a surge of voters, which is unusual in a non-presidential election year.

Three lawmakers from North Texas lost their primary and about 30 races statewide are now heading to a runoff May 22. (Here are more results from the night.)

Ross Ramsey, executive editor of the Texas Tribune, joined the Friday Conversation to make sense of this wild week in Texas politics.

Information Technology Disaster Resource Center

It's been six months since Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas Gulf Coast. The Dallas-based nonprofit Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC) was among the organizations helping residents in the aftermath, rebuilding internet and phone connections.

Dorti/Shutterstock

Sports Illustrated published an investigative report this week alleging former Dallas Mavericks president Terdema Ussery engaged in inappropriate conduct and created a workplace that was hostile for women.

Rodger Mallison/The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley is angry.

The county's top elected official ignited a political firestorm a week ago when he said the state is refusing to pay what it should for public education, and he accused legislators of blaming local officials for raising property taxes.

Molly Evans / KERA News

Friday’s the deadline the city of Dallas gave bike-share companies to clean up their acts. The Denton City Council is also considering putting some regulations in place. Six months ago, tens of thousands of rental-share bikes began filling North Texas streets and sidewalks. One of the first companies was Garland-based VBikes.  

Katherine Welles / Shutterstock

In this week's State of the Union speech, President Trump delivered a glowing report about the tax bill he just signed, saying roughly three million people received "thousands and thousands of dollars in tax bonuses." However, that's only partially true in North Texas.  

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

In 2017, the original Women's March drew millions of women who opposed the inauguration of President Donald Trump. And this year's event has a renewed sense of urgency, thanks to the #MeToo movement. 

Rick Holter / KERA News

One of the most influential education nonprofits in North Texas has a new leader. Byron Sanders, who's 34 and grew up in southern Dallas, got the CEO job this week at Big Thought, a nonprofit focused on merging education and the arts to create a creative path for kids.

Samantha Guzman / KERA News

Today is Robert Siegel's last day as host of NPR's All Things Considered. He sat down with KERA in May of 2017, shortly after he announced his impending retirement.

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax is now in his second year on the job. In his first 12 months, the city passed a billion-dollar bond package, killed the controversial Trinity Parkway project, hired a new police chief, and replaced some of the city's top brass. 

Illustration by Krystina Martinez / KERA News

2017 was a rollercoaster year for news, especially if you were a person of color, a transgender person, an immigrant, or a woman.

Sundance Square

Fort Worth appears to be headed for a reboot. According to a new economic development study,  the city that embraces the nickname "Cowtown" is in danger of becoming "the biggest suburb of Dallas."

Rick Holter / KERA News

No part of society is immune to sexual misconduct cases, including religion.

Alia Salem has spent years speaking for the Muslim community in North Texas when she worked with the Center for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

She's now formed Face Abuse In Community Environments (FACE) to spotlight stories of misconduct involving Muslim clergy.

Shutterstock

Sen. Al Franken's decision to resign and the Dallas Theater Center's firing of Lee Trull are the latest moves in a seemingly nonstop stream of public figures embroiled in sexual harassment controversies. 

"The only thing that's new happening here is that people are getting fired for being harassers," SMU law professor Joanna Grossman says. "The harassment's not new."

Rick Holter/KERA News

The new CEO of Dallas County Schools is used to cleaning up financial messes. Six years ago, Alan King calmed things down at Dallas ISD as the interim superintendent. When questionable business deals and mounting debt came to light last year at DCS he stepped in briefly as chief financial officer. Now, he’s been brought on to close the bus agency.

Rodger Mallison / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

President Trump took another predawn Twitter swipe at a protesting NFL player this morning.  That came after a UT-Dallas researcher released a new study showing a deep racial divide among college students about "taking a knee" protests.

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