Bret Jaspers | KERA News

Bret Jaspers

Bret Jaspers is politics reporter for KERA.

His stories have aired nationally on the BBC, NPR’s All Things ConsideredMorning EditionWeekend Edition, and Here & Now, and APM’s Marketplace. Prior to KERA, Bret reported on politics and the Colorado River basin for KJZZ in Phoenix, and was managing editor at WSKG in upstate New York. He got his start in radio as an intern and temp producer at WNYC.

Awards include a 2016 1st Place NYS AP Association award for Enterprise reporting for a story on insurance coverage for addiction and a 1st Place Documentary award (with a colleague) for the hour-long special The Rush: Digging into Addiction.

Bret is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional stage actors.

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Olinka Green of Dallas spoke to the crowd in front of City Hall.
Bret Jaspers / KERA News

Protests over the police killings of black Americans continued for a second day in Dallas. Saturday's events started peacefully, but police later used tear gas to disperse protesters in downtown, while other demonstrators briefly shut down highways and damaged businesses. 

David J. Phillip / The Associated Press

The City of Dallas’ mobile coronavirus testing service is making house calls, but it saw low numbers over the Memorial Day weekend. 

Walgreens employee talks to person in mini van
Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, state and local health officials rush to try to detect and contain outbreaks before they get out of control. A key to that is testing, and despite a slow start, testing has increased around the country.

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, state and local health officials rush to try to detect and contain outbreaks before they get out of control. A key to that is testing, and despite a slow start, testing has increased around the country.

But it's still not always easy to get a test. While many things can affect access to testing, location is an important starting point.

Eric Gay / Associated Press

Cesar Varon of Dallas had coronavirus early on in the outbreak. His initial symptoms didn’t seem strange at all.

“So technically my first symptoms were, like, very similar to an allergy,” he said. “Nothing different than that.”

David J. Phillip / Associated Press

Joe Saad is a pathologist and the medical laboratory director at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. He said with the suspension of elective surgeries in Texas until late April and people staying home, there isn’t the same demand for routine tests.

Eric Gay / Associated Press

Texas is moving into a new phase in the coronavirus outbreak: managing transmission while partially reopening non-essential businesses. And still, the rate of testing for the disease remains low. 

A cyclist wears a bandana over his face as he travels past a boarded up business in downtown Austin.
Eric Gay / Associated Press

Friday begins Texas’ reopening. Gov. Greg Abbott announced restaurants, retail stores, malls, museums, libraries, and movie theatres in counties with more than five COVID-19 cases can operate at 25% capacity starting that day. Rural areas with five or fewer cases can open to 50% capacity.

 Gov. Greg Abbott holding the Governor's Report to Reopen Texas book during a news conference Monday where he announced he would relax some restrictions imposed on some businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eric Gay / Associated Press

Texas is joining other states in letting some businesses shut by COVID-19 reopen to the public – at least partly. 

This is a photo of designer dresses on display at the Neiman Marcus flagship Dallas store during the company's 100th Anniversary Celebration event in 2007.
Amy Conn-Gutierrez / Associated Press

The luxury retailer Neiman Marcus could soon declare bankruptcy, according to media reports. It has already temporarily closed its stores and furloughed many employees during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

As one former Neiman Marcus executive put it, the epidemic has contributed to the company’s struggles, but is not the cause.

After high turnout in last year's midterm elections propelled Democrats to a new House majority and big gains in the states, several Republican-controlled state legislatures are attempting to change voting-related rules in ways that might reduce future voter turnout.