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

Seth Sawyers / Flickr Creative Commons

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.

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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. 

Leanne Winkler / KEDT

A letter from the Texas Medical Association came across the desks of KERA this week with a pretty startling headline: “The Next Disneyland Could Be Plano.” It’s a reference to the measles outbreak that’s spread to 18 states and the nation’s capital.

Rick Holter / KERA News

The Dallas Citizens Council is a group of the most powerful business leaders in town that in many ways shaped the modern city. It also became a lightning rod of criticism for people who felt powerless – for decades, this was an all-white, all-male club that epitomized the establishment.

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Cindy Crain has been on the front lines fighting against homelessness for seven years. She’ll be leaving the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition (TCHC) to run the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA), which covers Dallas and Collin counties.

Department of Homeland Security / Twitter/@DHSgov

Ana Zamora, a 21-year-old Dallas college student and part-time hotel receptionist, got an unexpected seat on a national stage this week. First Lady Michelle Obama invited her to her husband’s State of the Union speech in Washington, D.C. Zamora is a “dreamer." She was brought to this country from Mexico as a toddler and she’s set to graduate from Northwood University’s Cedar Hill campus this spring.

Dallas County Community College District

President Obama unveiled a plan last week to make two years of community college free. The student has to be in school and keep a grade-point average of 2.5 or higher. That’s big news for students, of course, and it could have a huge impact on the colleges themselves.

About 1,000 educators will descend on Dallas this weekend to attend the Extra Yard for Teachers summit.  The event is organized by the College Football Playoff Foundation as a way to boost education in advance of Monday night’s championship game. For this week’s Friday Conversation, Google education evangelist Jaime Casap sat down with KERA’s Stella Chavez to talk about his role in the summit and in classrooms.

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

The education nonprofit Big Thought has spent 27 years working with North Texas schools. CEO Gigi Antoni is just back from a little farther afield -- Seoul, South Korea. For this week's Friday Conversation, she's sat down with KERA’s Stephen Becker to talk about what we can learn from one of the top-rated national school systems in the world.

Susan Hawk campaign / Facebook

In 13 days, Dallas County gets a new district attorney. Susan Hawk will be the first woman in the job, and she won it last month from the first African-American D.A., Craig Watkins. She’s also the only Dallas Republican to win countywide this election year. She sat down to talk about some of her plans as the next district attorney.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

This week, the city of Plano did a little myth-busting. After a contentious debate, the Plano City Council approved a measure to extend discrimination protections to people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The city’s mayor, Harry LaRosiliere, has spent his year and a half in office busting other myths, too. He talked with KERA this week.

KERA News

The month after an election is generally thought to be a political ‘quiet time.’ This year, the past few weeks in North Texas has been pretty noisy. First, Fort Worth mayor Betsy Price announced her re-election bid on KERA, and this week, the mayor of Dallas said he’ll run again. Gromer Jeffers with The Dallas Morning News sat down to talk about local politics in this week’s Friday Conversation.

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