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

Dan Flynn

A Texas House pensions committee advanced a bill to the full House this week aimed at fixing the Dallas Police and Fire Pension fund. The key figure in Austin for the troubled pension funds in Dallas and Houston is a small town-Republican.

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

For the last three-plus years, Alia Salem has been the public point person for just about every controversy involving Muslims in North Texas. Salem stepped down as executive director of the local Council on American-Islamic Relations this week, and she's determined to stay optimistic.

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

The NCAA Women’s Final Four tips off tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the American Airlines Center. Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman played a role in bringing the tournament to Dallas. In our Friday Conversation, she said Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle tapped her at the last minute to pitch the city as a tournament site to the NCAA.

Women make up half of the U.S. population, but hold less than 20 percent of the seats in Congress. Cindy Simon Rosenthal spent much of her career studying this issue, and then got involved herself. She was the first female elected mayor of Norman, Oklahoma - and now runs the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at The University of Oklahoma. 

Texas State Archives

Texas was a very different place two centuries ago. It was home to roaming tribes and just a few permanent settlements. Researcher Sam Haynes of UT Arlington says it was the most diverse place in North America.

U.S. House of Representatives

Congressional Republicans this week rolled out their alternative to the Affordable Care Act. Though some on the right have criticized it as “Obamacare 2.0,” U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling says he’s on board with the proposed legislation – with a few tweaks.  

Louis DeLuca / The Dallas Morning News

Update: Jeffrey Weiss died Oct. 25, 2017. He was 62. Read his obituary from The Dallas Morning News. 

Death is inevitable, but few are willing to confront it publicly. Jeffrey Weiss has been a reporter for 35 years, and he’s in the middle of writing the story of his life – a series about his own brain tumor.

Libre Initiative

New federal memos this week on immigration enforcement have stoked fears that millions of people could be deported. A UT-Dallas student who’s part of the DACA program spent the night in a Richardson jail. He’d been pulled over on a traffic warrant, but was detained when his immigration status was discovered.

Wikimedia Commons

In the wake of President Trump's executive orders on travel and refugees, a wave of immigration roundups occurred last weekend. The attention’s now on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency in charge of allowing people into this country and deporting others.

Jess Herbst

Jess Herbst drew an international spotlight to the tiny Collin County town of New Hope when she came out as the first openly transgender mayor in Texas. She describes the reaction as overwhelmingly positive. Of the few hateful reactions, she says, "That's what the delete button is for."

Santiago Bilinkis/Flickr

When a superstar athlete has a catastrophic injury, the first call often goes out to Dr. James Andrews. The surgeon worked on the shoulder of former Cowboy Troy Aikman, the knee of Tiger Woods and the elbow Yu Darvish, among many others. 

Krystina Martinez/KERA

For the first time in decades, an outsider will be Dallas city manager. T.C. Broadnax takes the post next week. Though Dallas faces some big issues - a major bond election, a struggling police and fire pension system and crumbling streets – Broadnax says those challenges drew him to the job.

Robert Anderson

A Fort Worth plastic surgeon just returned from a 7,000-mile house call to Lebanon. Dr. Robert Anderson spent more than a week there with Dallas-based LEAP Global Missions, treating displaced Syrians living in refugee camps. What he saw, he says, was devastating.

Shutterstock

Retired Dallas police and firefighters may be able to pull money out of their pension accounts again under a new policy unveiled Thursday. A judge still needs to approve the deal. Those retirees have formed an association to get their voices heard.

Shutterstock

Every football fan knows about crime and punishment on the field. You break the rules? You get a penalty. A team of researchers including professors from the University of Texas at Dallas has tried to gauge the link between penalties on the field — and crime off it. 

BBC

Some familiar voices from late night and weekends on KERA will be popping up in radio's prime time starting Monday, Jan. 2. The flagship show of the BBC World Service, Newshour, will start airing from 9 to 10 a.m. weekdays on KERA. It replaces the Diane Rehm Show – she's retired. 

The Trinity Trust Foundation

A lot of people get praised for “leaving a mark” on a city, but Gail Thomas will be retiring from the Trinity Trust Foundation with fingerprints all over Dallas.

Courtesy Photo: Christopher Suprun

Editor's noteThis web story has been edited to reflect the latest reports about Christopher Suprun's background. 

The Electoral College will vote Dec. 19 for the next president. At least two of this state’s electors announced they won’t cast votes for Donald Trump. One resigned as an elector. The other, Christopher Suprun from Dallas, vows that he will vote for someone else.

JIM YOUNG/REUTERS

Issues with the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System came to a head this week. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings sued the pension board – as a private citizen – to try to stop pension members from withdrawing money from the fund early.  

Stunned. That's how Bob Schieffer, the retired CBS newsman with deep Texas roots, reacted on Election Night. He, like much of America, didn't think Donald Trump had much of a chance against Hillary Clinton. He, like much of America, was wrong.

Shutterstock

A Baptist church in Dallas that's been in the national spotlight the last few years voted this week to grant full membership to folks in the LGBT community. And that effectively severs ties between Wilshire Baptist Church and the the Baptist General Convention of Texas, one of the governing bodies for Southern Baptists in the state.

It’s the latest in an ongoing debate among churches about LGBT inclusiveness.

@oofuchibioo / Twitter

The top local stories this afternoon from KERA News: For the second night in a row, protestors go together in Dallas to speak against the election of Donald Trump. About 300 people gathered last night at Dealey Plaza in Dallas.

Molly Evans / KERA News

In an election dominated by Republicans, there were only a few scattered bright spots for Democrats this week. One of them happened in Dallas County, political rookie Victoria Neave, upended a Republican incumbent, Kenneth Sheets, in Texas’ most expensive state House race.

Christopher Connelly/KERA News

The United Hispanic Council of Tarrant County asked the U.S. Justice Department this week to investigate complaints of voter suppression among elderly Latino voters. The group alleges state investigators looking into mail-in voter fraud in the county are actually “creating an atmosphere of fear.”

DART

DART made a big decision this week on two major transportation projects. Brandon Formby has been following that story, along with legislative races in Dallas County. The longtime Dallas Morning News reporter moved to the Texas Tribune this month. He’s working out of the KERA newsroom, as a part of the station’s partnership with the statewide online news source.

Shutterstock

In the past week, Donald Trump has suggested the United States election system is rigged as he continues sliding in the polls. The accusation, along with news of a potential voter fraud investigation in Tarrant County, has raised questions about the security of our elections process. 

Rick Holter/KERA News

Union Station in downtown Dallas opened in 1916 as a railroad hub for the city. At its peak, 80 trains passed through daily.  After a brief closure in the 1970s, Union Station still services buses and rail, but it remains underused. However, things are looking up as the station approaches its 100th birthday.

Krystina Martinez/KERA News

It’s been a week since Gov. Greg Abbott announced that Texas would withdraw from the federal Refugee Resettlement Program. The state took in 7,000 refugees in the last year and about 900 of those refugees have come from Syria.

Penguin Random House

Merritt Tierce’s debut novel Love Me Back is the story of a single mother working as a waitress in Dallas. The book earned rave reviews when it was released two years ago, but that didn’t translate into sales.

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

Marcelo Cavazos, the man who leads Arlington’s schools system, was named Texas Superintendent of the Year this afternoon. The honor came at the annual Texas Association of School Boards conference in Houston – and it includes a $5,000 prize. The five finalists also included another North Texan, DeSoto superintendent David Harris.

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