Christopher Connelly

Christopher Connelly is a KERA reporter based in Fort Worth. Christopher joined KERA after a year and a half covering the Maryland legislature for WYPR, the NPR member station in Baltimore. Before that, he was a Joan B. Kroc Fellow at NPR – one of three post-graduates who spend a year working as a reporter, show producer and digital producer at network HQ in Washington, D.C.

Christopher is a graduate of Antioch College in Ohio – he got his first taste of public radio there at WYSO – and he earned a master’s in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley. He also has deep Texas roots: He spent summers visiting his grandparents in Fort Worth, and he has multiple aunts, uncles and cousins living there now.

When William Roundtree got out of prison earlier this year, it took him just a few days to find a job that put his experience to work.

He spent 13 years and 10 months in prison for receiving stolen property. It was the tail end, Roundtree says, of an all-too-common story in the Dallas neighborhood where he grew up: drugs, dealing, addiction, stealing. After a few short prison stays, he received one long sentence for stealing tools and being a habitual offender. During that time, he says, he got clean without any treatment.

At the Texas Capitol in Austin, battle lines are sharpening around one of this year’s biggest fights over social issues. It’s a battle over bathrooms, specifically which bathrooms transgender people should be allowed to use. 

Public radio stations from across the state collaborated on this series looking at the death penalty in Texas – its history, how it’s changed, whom it affects and its future. 

Texas executed Terry Edwards on Thursday evening, making him the second man to be put to death by the state this year. In Texas, more than 240 people sit on death row awaiting execution. Long the leading executioner in the U.S., the Lone Star State put to death fewer people last year than it has in two decades. 

William Madison McDonald is far from a household name these days, but he was a legend in his day. Born 150 years ago, McDonald is widely believed to have been the first black millionaire in Texas.

SHUTTERSTOCK

This year, all 36 of Texas’ congressional representatives are up for re-election, but only one of those races is considered by most observers to actually be competitive. When it comes to state house and senate races, the vast majority of those aren’t terribly competitive either. That’s due, in large part, to a lot of the districts in the state are drawn with an overwhelming majority of one party or another.

President Obama was in Dallas to take part in a service honoring the victims of last week’s attack. He was joined by former president George W. Bush, and a host of other dignitaries. The speakers didn’t just honor the officers, but addressed the importance – and pitfalls – of modern policing.

According to legend -- and a Texas historical marker -- early in the morning on April 17, 1897, something strange happened in the small town of Aurora, about 30 miles northwest of Fort Worth.

Growing up in Indiana, Phil Crone loved having a bedroom in the basement.

“It was dark. It was cold. I didn’t know the difference noon and 6 a.m.,” he said. “It was wonderful.”

Recess at Eagle Mountain Elementary School in Fort Worth, Texas, looks much like recess anyplace else. Some kids run and squeal, others swing, while a half-dozen of their peers are bunched up on the slide.

Journey Orebaugh, a 6-year-old in an off-white princess dress, is playing family.

"You just get a bunch of people and just act like who you want to be," she says. Journey likes to play the mom.