Matt Largey

News Editor

Matt has been a reporter at KUT off and on since 2006.  He came to Austin from Boston, then went back for a while--but couldn't stand to be away--so he came back to Austin.  Matt grew up in Maine (but hates lobster), and while it might sound hard to believe, he thinks Maine and Texas are remarkably similar.

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Real Estate
10:31 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Austin Home Prices Hit Another Record in April 2015

Credit flickr.com/digallagher

Home prices in Austin hit another record last month.

The numbers come as new Census data confirms Austin has continued its explosive growth in recent years.

The Austin Board of Realtors says the median home price was up 14 percent in April 2015, compared to the same month last year, to $274,000. The number of homes sold also hit a record for the month of April.

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Austin
11:58 am
Mon May 18, 2015

Yup, It's Still Illegal to Swim in Lady Bird Lake. Here's Why.

Don't even think about it.
Bryan Winter for KUT

After this weekend's rain, the city imposed a temporary ban on boating and recreational use of Lady Bird Lake. But even with that ban lifted, there's still one thing you definitely can't do in the lake: Go swimming. 

It may be well-known to longtime residents (who probably still call it Town Lake), but swimming in Austin’s “crown jewel” is illegal. Seems it has been for 50 years. 

Still, when contacted, public information staff at several city departments seemed surprised to hear such a ban exists.

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Texas
2:59 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Blue Bell Creameries to Lay Off 1,450 Workers in Wake of Listeria Recall

sarowen/flickr

Brenham-based Blue Bell Creameries announced today it will lay off more than one-third of its workforce, as it struggles to bring its production back online after listeria contamination was found in its ice cream products and at several of its plants.

Three deaths have been linked to the contamination.

750 full-time and 700 part-time workers will be laid off. That represents 37 percent of the company's 3,900 employees.

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Texas
2:42 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

What the Heck is the Texas State Guard Anyway?

Maj. Gary Sherman, 3rd Battalion, 4th Regiment, Texas State Guard, uses a compass to determine his bearing during a Land Navigation joint training exercise in Henrietta, Texas, October 11, 2014.
CW2 Janet Schmelzer, PAO, 4th Regiment, TXSG

This week, a lesser-known unit of the Texas Military Forces got some attention when Governor Greg Abbott called on them to “monitor” U.S. military training exercises planned for this summer.

Abbott ordered the Texas State Guard to ensure that Texans’ rights were not being infringed and help facilitate communication with residents during the exercises designated “Operation Jade Helm 15.” The operation is set to take place in Bastrop and several other locations across Texas and in some neighboring states between July 15 and September 15.

Exactly how that monitoring will be carried out is still unclear. When asked for details, the Governor’s office told us to call the Texas State Guard. In an email response, the Guard said “we are always ready to answer the call of the Governor and currently leadership from our Texas State Guard are in the process of examining the best way to meet the Governor's intent.”

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SXSW 2015
5:22 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

How One Austinite Learned to Stop Being a Cynic and Love SXSW (Sort of)

The line at Fader Fort on 5th Street on Thursday afternoon.
Matt Largey/KUT News

You might have seen it on Buzzfeed.

An article called “Here’s what Austinites really think about South by Southwest.”

"Utter madness," they called it. "Crazy." "Thrilling."

I was suspicious.

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Life & Arts
7:42 am
Fri March 20, 2015

The Invisible Thing That (Almost) All Your Music Has in Common

The Lemons perfrom at Spider House Ballroom during SXSW 2015.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

At South by Southwest Music you can hear everything from metal and rock to hip hop and electronic music.

Dozens of genres – but for the most part, they all have one very basic thing in common.

If you’re a musician, it might sound familiar to you:
The musical note A, above middle C, equals 440 hertz.

It’s the basis of virtually every piece of music you’ll hear today. And probably every piece of music you have ever heard, with a few exceptions.

It’s called reference pitch or concert pitch. It’s the note that every other note is based on.

Take a listen:

Every instrument in Western music – more or less – is tuned to this standard.

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Weather
8:05 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Most Austin-Area Schools Will Operate on Two-Hour Delay Tuesday

Nathan Bernier/KUT

Update (7:00 A.M.): Capital Metro has lifted detours, and is now following its regular routes.

Tuesday morning update (4:15 A.M.): The City of Austin has announced all City offices and facilities will open at 10 a.m. today.  That includes Austin Municipal Courts and the Downtown Austin Community Court. The City Council work session will begin at 10:30 a.m. Capital Metro will detour some bus routes because of possible inclement weather this morning.

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Austin
9:00 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Winter Weather Advisory in Effect Monday; Austin ISD Operating as Normal

National Weather Service Austin/San Antonio

Update 8:55 a.m.: Capitol Metro has ended its detours and returned to regular routes.

Police in Pflugerville and Cedar Park are reporting icy conditions on bridges and overpasses in the area.

Update 7:25 a.m.: The National Weather Service reports light icing in towns northwest of Austin, stretching from Cedar Park to Kerrville.

Area schools continue to publish updates to today's class schedule:

  • Burnet CISD will cancel classes today. All BCISD schools and offices are closed, and all afterschool activities have been canceled.
  • Marble Falls ISD will also cancel all classes today.
  • All other area schools, including Austin ISD, will operate on a regular schedule.
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2015 Legislative Session
5:30 am
Thu January 22, 2015

If the Texas Legislature Were a Symphony, This is What it Would Sound Like

Each 140-day legislative session begins slowly, before reaching a frenetic pace at the end.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of a story that originally ran in January 2013.

The Texas Legislature is back in session, though the casual observer might not know it.

This week, the highlights included the swearing in of Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. The Senate made changes to its rules yesterday. But you might notice that things are quiet when it comes to actual law-making. The clock is ticking: There’s 131 days left in the 140-day session.

And while it might seem like a slow start to the every-other-year meeting, actually, it’s all part of the plan.

In musical terms, each session has its own rhythm and tempo.

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Austin
4:35 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Recount Yields No Change in Result of District 4 Council Race

Defeated Austin City Council candidate Laura Pressley is asking for a recount in her District 4 race.
Credit Courtesy of Laura Pressley

UPDATE 1/6/15 4:30 pm: After a recount, the official tally of the December 16 runoff in District 4 is unchanged. Candidate Laura Pressley received 1,563 votes, Greg Casar won with 2,854 votes, a margin of nearly 30 percentage points. Casar will be sworn in tonight at City Hall, along with the rest of the Council.

UPDATE 01/05/15 6pm: The Austin City Clerk has recieved the required deposit from Laura Pressley, and the Travis County Clerk has scheduled the recount in the District 4 City Council race for 11 am Tuesday.

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NYE 2015
1:09 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Wintry Forecast Forces Cancellation of Austin's New Year Celebration

The City of Austin is cancelling Wednesday night's planned New Year's Eve celebration at Butler Park.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

The City of Austin says it is cancelling Wednesday night's planned New Year's Eve celebration at Butler Park, due to the potential for winter weather in the forecast.

There is a possibility of freezing temperatures and rain Wednesday night into Thursday.

2014 Mayoral Runoff
11:36 am
Sun December 7, 2014

WATCH: The Civic Summit 2014 Austin Mayoral Debate

Austin mayoral candidates Mike Martinez (left) and Steve Adler.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

KUT, KLRU and the Austin Monitor co-hosted a debate earlier today between Mike Martinez and Steve Adler. One of them will be Austin’s next mayor and will lead 10 city council members through the first years of a new form of city government.

A continuación usted podrá escuchar una traducción del debate entre los candidatos para presidente municipal, los señores Mike Martinez y Steve Adler. La votación temprana termina el Viernes 12 de Diciembre. El día de la elección formal es el 16 de Diciembre.

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Texas
11:03 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Appeals Court Halts Tonight's Execution of Texas Man Thought to be Mentally Ill

Credit TDCJ via Texas Tribune

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has halted tonight's scheduled execution of Scott Louis Panetti, who killed his wife's parents in Fredricksburg more than 20 years ago.

His attorneys argued his mental illness has worsened and he needs to undergo new mental competency tests because he's too delusional to understand why he's being punished.

Panetti represented himself at his trial and attempted to subpoena the Pope and Jesus. A group of prominent conservatives, including former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli asked Governor Perry to intervene. 

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Austin Shooting
3:14 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Calling Austin Shooter an 'Extremist', Acevedo Gives Details of Investigation

The scene outside APD headquarters on Friday November 28, 2014 following a shooting by Larry McQuilliams.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Austin Police are giving more details of what they've found so far in their investigation of Friday's early morning shootings in downtown Austin.

Larry McQuilliams, 49, shot at several downtown buildings, including the Mexican Consulate and APD headquarters, before he was fatally shot by Sgt. Adam Johnson at approximately 2:32am Friday.

McQuilliams had the words "Let me die" written on his chest at the time of his death.

APD Chief Art Acevedo commended Johnson, saying the officer took only one shot from 312 feet away, to end the incident. 

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Science
6:30 am
Fri November 21, 2014

The Mystery Brains of the Texas State Lunatic Asylum (Update)

Brains in the UT collection are mishapen or unusual colors, depending on the malady that afflicted their owners.
Adam Voorhes

UPDATE 12/03/14: After this story received national media attention, UT Austin now says the 100 brains that were unaccounted for are not missing. In fact, they were deemed unsuitable for research or teaching and were destroyed sometime around 2002. The University says it will continue to investigate the circumstances of their destruction

ORIGINAL STORY 11/21/14: For decades, a rare collection of human remains sat in a basement at the University of Texas at Austin. Now, it is getting renewed attention, thanks in part, to Austin photographer Adam Voorhes.

Back in 2011, Voorhes went to take a picture of a brain for a magazine cover. He went to see a guy at UT named Professor Tim Schallert. While they were there, Schallert asked if Voorhes wanted to see his collection. 

So, they made their way to a storage closet in the back of Schallert's lab. What was inside set Voorhes on a months long quest for answers about a group of people who died decades earlier — answers that largely remain elusive.

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Perry Indictment
4:57 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Judge Allows Perry Case to Go Forward, Overrules Objections Over Prosecutor's Oath

Governor Rick Perry addresses reporters outside a Travis County courtroom earlier this month.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

The judge in the abuse of power case against Governor Rick Perry is overruling objections from Perry's legal team over the way the special prosecutor was sworn in. 

Perry's attorneys argued that special prosecutor Michael McCrum had not taken the oath of office and filed a required document in the proper way. The defense said because the oath wasn't done properly, McCrum was not authorized to act as prosecutor and everything he had done to this point -- including overseeing grand jury proceedings that produced the indictments against Perry -- were invalid.

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2014 Elections
5:15 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Clearing the Way for Tovo, Riley Withdraws from District 9 Council Runoff

Council member Chris Riley (left) and Council member Kathie Tovo at an October candidate forum.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Current Austin City Council Member Chris Riley is withdrawing from a runoff election with another current Council Member, Kathie Tovo.

In Tuesday's election for the District 9 seat, Tovo won 49.05 percent of the vote -- just shy of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Riley earned 40.41 percent and the third candidate, Erin McGann, won 10.53 percent.

In a statement announcing his withdrawal, Riley congratulated Tovo on a hard-fought campaign.

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2014 Elections
9:28 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Where to Vote in Travis County This Election Day

It's Election Day.

Voters in Travis County can vote at any polling place -- not just their precinct location. This map from the Travis County Clerk shows all voting locations in Travis County. 

Politics
5:14 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Who Sounds More Texan: Greg Abbott or Wendy Davis?

Marjorie Kamys Cotera & Bob Daemmrich via Texas Tribune

The words a political candidate uses mean a lot. But how those candidates say those words can make a big difference, too. Especially in a place like Texas.

UT linguist Lars Hinrichs studies the Texas accent. He and some students wanted to see how the two leading candidates for Texas governor match up when it comes to sounding Texan.

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Health
9:12 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Georgetown Man Being Monitored After Potential Ebola Exposure

A Georgetown man is being closely monitored, Williamson County health officials say, after sitting near Dallas nurse Amber Vinson on a flight from Cleveland to Dallas earlier this week.

Vinson was among those treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the man from Liberia who began exhibiting symptoms of Ebola shortly after he arrived in Dallas earlier this month. Duncan died eight days after being admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

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