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:

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Auto Field Guide / autofieldguide.com

Toyota’s new U.S. headquarters in Plano won’t be ready until 2017, but its North American CEO has already set up shop in North Texas. Jim Lentz is a 33-year veteran of the company, and he’s putting down roots in Westlake.

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

As Donald Trump and his Republican opponents for president ramp up their rhetoric about immigrants, there’s another conservative effort making inroads among Latinos in Southern states.

Brad/Flickr

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Texas cities like Houston and Dallas became a place of refuge for thousands of evacuees.

Many were fleeing deplorable conditions at the Louisiana Superdome, which was set up as a temporary shelter. Former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller says it was a scramble to organize relief efforts.  

NorthPark Center

NorthPark Center turned 50 this week. In 1965, Raymond and Patsy Nasher transformed a Dallas cotton field into a shopping center that is now one of the top-performing malls in the country.

It generates more than a billion dollars in sales a year, and remains a family business. Daughter and NorthPark co-owner Nancy Nasher sat down with Eric Aasen to talk about how she got into the business.

AARP

Eighty years ago, the Social Security Act was signed by President Franklin Roosevelt. The program was designed to provide older adults a financial safety net after they retire.

Today, though, that safety net is taxed. 

Adam Simmons/Flickr

A proposal to redevelop the gateway to Oak Cliff’s Bishop Arts District has sparked a debate about to how to balance development with a neighborhood’s personality.

Meredith Heuer

Serial reshaped the audio world last fall, spurring 80 million downloads and a months-long conversation about the decade-old murder of a Baltimore teenager and the young man convicted of killing her.

Serial host and co-creator Sarah Koenig is touring Texas this weekend -- Austin on Saturday, Fort Worth on Sunday and Dallas on Monday. She sat down to talk about making the 12-part podcast that became a binge-listening sensation.

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

Brad Sham is about to start his 37th pro football training camp. The voice of the Cowboys still has a passion for covering the game's biggest moments. And in this week's Friday Conversation, he  shares a few of the countless stories he's collected over those years -- from his favorite calls to his early, failed bid to become a science reporter at KERA-TV. Here are five things you might not know about this very familiar voice:

Allen Otto / The Texas Tribune

The shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, last month spurred a nationwide debate over the Confederate flag. That state removed the flag that flew over its capitol, and retailers like Amazon and Walmart have stopped carrying the rebel flag.

The debate has extended to southern states, which are now grappling with what to do with Confederate memorials. And, in Texas, there are concerns about how new textbooks will teach the Civil War.

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

T.D. Jakes has built an empire in North Texas. He runs The Potter’s House, a megachurch with 30,000 members. He headlines a super-charged annual revival MegaFest. And he's produced Hollywood films like "Heaven Is for Real."

Seth Sawyers / (cc) flickr

The Dallas and Fort Worth school districts are searching for new superintendents. They’re not the only school systems with help-wanted ads. Chicago, Newark and Los Angeles also have openings.

Shutterstock

The Highland Park school district earlier hired Tom Trigg as its new leader earlier this week. He’s spent a decade running the Blue Valley schools in suburban Kansas City.

PBS/Wyatt McSpadden

Six years ago, Aaron Franklin was in a rock band in Austin when he cooked his first brisket. Now he runs a restaurant that’s become a Lone Star landmark. And he was named best chef in the Southwest by the James Beard Foundation last month, a first for any barbecue pitmaster.

Jon Viscott/Facebook

A North Texas megachurch that bills itself as the largest LGBT-Q church in the country gets a new leader, just as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on same-sex marriage. Neil Cazares-Thomas comes to Cathedral of Hope from L.A. where he worked to lift the ban in that state.

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

The Texas Legislature wrapped up its session, and lawmakers have returned to their districts. Jason Villalba represents much of North and East Dallas in the state House, and he’s often a singular voice in a deeply conservative Republican party.

Justin Terveen

This story was originally published on Feb. 1, 2015: It may seem like politicians and planners have spent just a decade or two sparring over the proposed Trinity River toll road, but controversy has swirled around the Trinity much longer than that - ever since folks began settling beside it nearly two centuries ago.

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

Darlene Ewing presided over one of the few blue counties in Republican Texas as the chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party.

Lara Solt / KERA News Special Contributor

About 111,000 kids in Texas are considered homeless. They stay in shelters, couch-surf with friends or family, or even live on the street.

Courtesy Photo

For the first time in 35 years, The Dallas Morning News has an editor who didn’t come up through the ranks at the paper. The previous editor, Bob Mong, retires Friday. His replacement is Mike Wilson, whose last job was at Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.  

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

Saturday's municipal elections feature bruising mayoral races, tight city council tilts and tough school board tussles.

Shutterstock

While the violent drama played out on the streets of Baltimore this past week, an equally passionate debate played online in a social media community that’s become known as Black Twitter.

Stephen Voss / NPR

Jarl Mohn is just two weeks away from the anniversary of getting the top job at NPR. For this week’s Friday Conversation, he talks about his first year at the network, what he learned from running E! Entertainment television, and how he hopes to position NPR in a radically changing media landscape.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

This weekend in Cleveland, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will induct a North Texas legend. Stevie Ray Vaughan and his band Double Trouble – Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon, and Reese Wynans – are headed for the Rock Hall 25 years after Vaughan died in a helicopter crash.

wikipedia

As downtown Dallas sparks back to life, the city faces a crucial question: Tear down old buildings or save and rehab them? A task force on preservation was created after several historic buildings were demolished last fall without much warning. Katherine Seale chairs the city’s Landmark Commission and is also the head of that task force

For this week’s Friday Conversation, she talked about the task force’s new recommendations for the city. 

Coltera / Flickr

Note: This interview contains some graphic descriptions that may be uncomfortable. 

In 1908, a ceremonial arch lit up downtown Dallas at the corner of Main and Akard streets. It was built by the Elks Club, with a gaudy sign that proclaimed “Welcome Visitors.” It became an iconic symbol of an ambitious city. 

By 1910, it became a different kind of symbol when a mob hung the body of a black man named Allen Brooks from the arch.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

The Dallas Cowboys' signing of Greg Hardy, suspended last year after a domestic violence conviction, fed a national conversation about domestic abuse. And one of the strongest voices came from a TV newsroom just down the street from KERA -- sportscaster Dale Hansen.

Lara Solt / KERA Special Contributor

For the last month, the KERA series One Crisis Away: Inside a Neighborhood has illuminated the lives of folks on the financial edge in Jubilee Park.

As KERA’s Courtney Collins reported, Jubilee has seen change for the good, but there are still plenty of problems in the East Dallas neighborhood: it’s tough to find fresh food, bank accounts and decent-paying jobs.

City of Wichita Falls

Parts of North Texas received a half-foot of rain over the last three weeks – so it might seem a little odd to talk about drought. Still, the historic dry spell persists. 

Esteban Monclova / The Texas Tribune

The slide in oil prices has been good news for drivers, but it’s sent the Texas oil business into a ditch. James Osborne has been digging into the implications of the bust. He’s the energy writer for the Dallas Morning News, and he joins KERA’s vice president of news Rick Holter for this week’s Friday Conversation. 

Eric Aasen / KERA News

A North Texas doctor helped spark an international discussion this week -- about peanut allergies. 

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