Friday Conversation | KERA News

Friday Conversation

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick talks with KERA's Rick Holter (left) and Christopher Connelly (right)
Credit Bud Kennedy / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Friday Conversation is a weekly in-depth discussion 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.

Ways to Connect

Caydee Daniel / KERA News

As president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Richard Fisher oversees a huge region from Tallulah, Louisiana to Silver City, New Mexico. He’s also one of the central figures guiding the Fed’s national monetary policy – which plays a key role in everything from international finance to the cost of the house down the street. KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter, sits down with Fisher for this week’s Friday Conversation.

KC Ivey / Flickr Creative Commons

We’re two and a half weeks away from the May 27 statewide runoff, but there’s also an election Saturday. Dozens of local municipalities will be voting on mayors and city councils, taxes, school boards and bonds. In this week’s Friday Conversation, KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter talks with our political reporter, Shelley Kofler, about Saturday’s top races.

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

The George W. Bush Presidential Center celebrated its first birthday on Thursday. The center – whose library hosted a bigger-than-expected 450,000 visitors in the first year – also includes an institute that focuses on six key policy areas. Margaret Spellings, the Bush Center’s president and a former U.S. Education Secretary, sits down with KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter, for this week’s Friday Conversation.

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It’s been a huge week for West Dallas. Springtime crowds are flocking to the Trinity Groves collection of restaurants. And the neighborhood’s first grocery store, Cox Farms Market, opened Thursday. It’s the first opening at the Sylvan Thirty complex, which also plans to include apartments and retail space. For this week’s Friday Conversation, Sylvan Thirty owner/developer Brent Jackson sat down with KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter.

The Perot Museum

Colleen Walker’s path to becoming the next CEO of Dallas’s Perot Museum of Science and Nature is a little unusual. She’s a former Miss Colorado, and she studied architectural engineering in college before getting her MBA from Harvard. Fresh off seven years of running the Girl Scouts of North Texas, she talks with KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter, about the Perot challenge, which she’ll take up in June.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Olympia Snowe is the only woman to have served in both houses of the Maine legislature and both houses of Congress. Two years ago, the moderate Republican retired from the U.S. Senate, citing the surge in hyper-partisanship and extremism. This week, she was in Dallas to speak at a Planned Parenthood awards luncheon -- and she talked with KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter, in this week’s Friday Conversation.

The Carter Center

Jimmy Carter is on a mission. The 89-year-old former president has issued a blunt manifesto in book form titled A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power. In today’s Friday Conversation, President Carter talks with KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter, about what he calls “the human and civil rights struggle of our time” – how religions have systematically denigrated women, leading to prejudice, infanticide and horrific violence.

Kainaz Amaria / NPR

Talk about a road trip! NPR’s Steve Inskeep and a team of producers just finished a 2,400-mile journey along the U.S.-Mexico border — from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean – to explore how the two countries are linked and how they’re separated. The NPR series, Borderland, paints a picture of a region separated in places by a river, walls, and barbed wire, but united in many unexpected ways. In this week’s Friday Conversation, Inskeep speaks with KERA’s vice president of news Rick Holter.

Audra Methvin

Last weekend, Audra Methvin won the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. This weekend, she'll sing the same program of four arias at the McCammon Voice Competition in Fort Worth. The 27-year-old is continuing her studies at SMU.

In the Friday Conversation, she talks to KERA's Anne Bothwell about the path that led her from her family's prize pig farm in Levelland to the brink of a career as a soprano.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Update, Monday, 6:05 p.m.: SMU did not make it into the NCAA tournament despite a top 25 ranking. The Mustangs host an NIT game against California-Irvine Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Moody Coliseum.

Our original post: Larry Brown has had a singular career in the basketball world. He’s coached 10 NBA teams and three college squads, and he’s the only coach ever to win both the NCAA and pro titles. And just weeks before the Final Four comes to North Texas, he took his latest reclamation project, SMU, into the top 25 for the first time in nearly three decades.

Brown sat down with KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter, for a Friday Conversation.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

For three decades, Gloria Campos has been like a member of the family to thousands of North Texans. In today’s Friday Conversation, the 59-year-old WFAA-Channel 8 anchor talks about her career as the first Latino anchor on local TV news and about how she’ll say goodbye tonight.

Caydee Daniel / KERA News

For the last several weeks, reverberations from the upheaval in Ukraine have been felt here in North Texas, where several thousand Ukrainians have settled. 

At Plano's River of Life church, the congregation includes people from 15 Russian-speaking countries. Balancing those divergent views is a challenge for pastor Leonid Regheta. In this week's Friday Conversation, he sat down with Rick Holter, KERA's vice president of news, to talk about handling the conflict from the pulpit.

Wayne Stadler / Flickr

The numbers are staggering: One of every six Texans lives below the poverty line. One in three has no savings account. Two of every three have a sub-prime credit rating. Those numbers, and the real-life people they represent, are what propels Woody Widrow.

Widrow is executive director of Raise Texas, a nonprofit network of organizations focused on helping people build financial stability. As part of the KERA series One Crisis Away, he sat down for a Friday Conversation.

Rick Holter / KERA News

Pitchers and catchers for the Texas Rangers start spring training tomorrow in Surprise, Ariz. The man who's been their radio voice for 35 years, Eric Nadel, will join them soon.

But before he goes, Nadel stopped by KERA to talk about about how he got into the game, his favorite Rangers moment and the Ford Frick Award he'll collect in July for being baseball's best announcer. (And don't miss his dream musical date in this extended version of the radio interview.)

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Dallas and its new city manager put the finishing touches on his contract this week. A.C. Gonzalez is officially in the top job, after spending much of the last two decades working for his predecessors.

In this week’s Friday Conversation, Gonzalez talks about the challenges of the job, the size of his salary and how a longtime insider positions himself as “change agent.”

Leading Authorities

Two years before 9/11, Michael Hayden took the top job at the National Security Agency. He spent the next decade at the top of the nation's intelligence structure and presided over a data-collection revolution.

Hayden's a security consultant now, and he'll be speaking in Dallas at noon Tuesday: It's part of the University of North Texas' Kuehne Speaker Series on National Security. (Tuesday's speech is sold out.) He took a break in his busy international travel schedule for this week's Friday Conversation.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

After being rocked by more than 30 earthquakes in the last two months, a busload of North Texans headed to Austin this week. They spoke at a Texas Railroad Commission hearing, urging state officials to shut down two disposal wells, part of the oil and gas drilling business. The Parker County residents suspect those wells are playing a role in the swarm of quakes a half-hour northwest of Fort Worth. One of the group’s leaders, Reno Mayor Linda Stokes, is the subject of this week’s Friday Conversation.

This season marks the 20th anniversary of the Dallas Stars coming to town. In that time, the team’s won a Stanley Cup and helped develop a generation of kids who play hockey in Cowboys country. In our Friday Conversation, Dallas Stars President and CEO Jim Lites talks about the team’s impact on North Texas.

Frank Vassen / Flickr

This weekend’s Dallas Safari Club convention will feature a flock of exhibitors, a herd of stuffed animals -- and an auction that’s kicked up international controversy.

In our Friday Conversation, executive director Ben Carter talks about how the club hopes to raise as much as $1 million to protect the rare black rhino by auctioning off the right to hunt one. But club members have been receiving death threats, and the FBI is investigating.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

How did Obamacare affect North Texans in 2013? It depends on whom you ask.

SoupMobile.org

David Timothy’s known as the SoupMan. Every day the charity he started a decade ago out of an old van serves hundreds of meals to the homeless. He’s normally set up just south of Fair Park. But this Christmas Eve – as he’s done for the last nine years. – he’s putting on a Christmas Gala at the downtown Dallas Omni.

He stopped by our studio for a Friday Conversation.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science opened its doors in downtown Dallas a year ago. Since that day, 1.3 million people have wandered among the dinosaurs, wobbled on the earthquake simulator and put their hands through a tornado. And at the end of this month, the museum’s CEO, Nicole Small is moving on to a new job, as president of the Lyda Hill Foundation. She stopped by our studio for a Friday conversation, which aired Dec. 6.

AXS

On Nov. 22, 1963, Dan Rather was far down the journalism totem pole, but he was in Dallas for President Kennedy’s visit. He was near Dealey Plaza when the president’s motorcade arrived. KERA recently talked with the legendary Texas newsman to get his impressions of what happened 50 years ago. He’s taking a look back at the assassination in a special on the AXS cable channel on Friday night.

Ben Wheeler Fall Feral Hog Festival

(Update, Jan. 27: Brooks Gremmels died over the weekend.)

A few years ago, Brooks Gremmels escaped Dallas and retired to a tiny East Texas town called Ben Wheeler.

The place was falling down. Buildings were vacant. Roofs were gone. Doors were missing. Weeds grew in the sidewalks.

People didn’t have much hope for the Van Zandt County town. But Gremmels did.

“Maybe I could spend a little money and clean up the town," he thought.

So, parcel by parcel, the multimillionaire cleaned up Ben Wheeler.

Steve Fisch / Stanford

This week’s Nobel Prizes had a distinct twang. Three North Texas universities had small roles in the project that won the physics medal – and the winner of the Nobel for Medicine spent 25 years at UT Southwestern in Dallas. Dr. Thomas Südhof took a break in his whirlwind week for our Friday Conversation.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

A little more than a year ago, at the Democratic National Convention, a new voice arrived on the national stage. That voice belonged to Julián Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, who got the coveted prime-time convention slot that once served as a launching pad for Barack Obama and before that, Bill Clinton. Castro was re-elected in May, but his national profile has stayed high, thanks to campaign-style trips across the country. And he’s the first guest in the new KERA series “The Friday Conversation.” During a visit to the Federal Reserve in Dallas this week, he sat down with KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter.

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