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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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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HB2
6:06 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Supreme Court Halts Texas Abortion Restrictions

Credit Eric Schlegel, Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court has halted the enforcement of two provisions of Texas' new abortion law, known as House Bill 2, for now.

"Tonight, our reality in Texas was recognized by SCOTUS and they ruled on the side of Texan Women," said Amy Hagstrom Miller in a statement. Miller is the president and CEO of Whole Woman's Health, which is a plaintiff in the case against the provisions. "We are so proud to have led this fight."

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Voter ID
5:23 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Appeals Court Allows Voter ID Law to Be Enforced in November Elections

Credit KUT News

A federal appeals is allowing a Texas' voter ID to go ahead for the November election. The law requires voters to show an approved photo ID before casting a ballot.

The ruling comes after a federal judge in Corpus Christi struck down the law last Thursday, calling it an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, and adding that it intentionally discriminated against Hispanics and African-Americans.

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Voter ID
2:58 pm
Sat October 11, 2014

Federal Judge Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law (Updated)

A federal judge has struck down Texas' Voter ID law.
KUT

UPDATE (Saturday 2:30pm): The judge in the Texas Voter ID case has formally issued an injunction barring the state from enforcing the new photo identification requirements under Senate Bill 14. 

 

Unless an appeals court intervenes, the ID requirement will not be in effect for the November election.

 

UPDATE (Friday, 2pm): Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wants a federal judge who struck down the state's voter ID law to clarify her ruling by the end of today.

In a filing Friday, Abbott writes:

The scope of the planned injunction appears to be quite broad (much broader than it should be, even assuming the Court is correct regarding the merits of this case), but it is not described in any detail. Nor does the Court’s opinion announce the anticipated timing of its injunction. It is not clear if the Court’s injunction will apply to this election. 

Abbott also says the judge should allow the ID requirement to stay in effect for the upcoming November election, as the case is appealed.

 

EARLIER: A federal judge in Corpus Christi has struck down a Texas law requiring voters to show ID before casting a ballot, calling it an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote.

The law was passed by the 2011 Texas Legislature, and has been the subject of plenty of legal wrangling ever since. Republican leaders call it a protection against voter fraud. Democrats say it's aimed at discouraging minorities from voting.

Several groups representing Hispanic voters -- along with the Justice Department -- sued the state.

In her ruling today, Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos largely agrees with the plaintiffs. She cites the limited number of accepted forms of ID as an unconstitutional barrier to the right to vote, and saying it intentionally discriminates against blacks and Hispanics.

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Ballot Boxing
10:28 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Listen: The Ballot Boxing District 10 Forum

Candidates for Austin City Council in district 10 met to present their platforms.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

KUT continued its Ballot Boxing series of in-district Austin City Council forums Wednesday night in District 10. The candidates met at the LCRA's Red Bud Center on Lake Austin Blvd.

Our Ballot Boxing forums will continue with the mayoral candidates on Wednesday Oct. 15 in the Moody Auditorium at the Belo Center for New Media at UT Austin. 

Below you can listen to the full audio of last night's forum and view a photo gallery above.

Ballot Boxing
10:26 pm
Sat October 4, 2014

Listen: The Ballot Boxing District 7 Forum

Community members listen as Austin City Council candidates from district seven answer questions in a forum at the Alamo Drafthouse Village.
Mengwen Cao/KUT News

KUT continued its Ballot Boxing series of in-district Austin City Council forums Thursday night in District 7. Eight candidates joined moderators KXAN's Shannon Wolfson and Mike Kanin of the Austin Monitor at the Alamo Drafthouse Village on Anderson Lane.

Our Ballot Boxing forums will continue this Monday Oct. 6 in KUT's Studio 1a with the forum for District 9.

Politics
10:37 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Court of Criminal Appeals Declines to Reinstate Tom Delay's Conviction

Former House majority leader Tom DeLay (left) and his defense lawyer Dick DeGuerin at the Travis County Criminal Justice Center on November 1, 2010.
Matt Largey, KUT News

The state’s highest criminal appeals court is refusing to reinstate the 2010 convictions of former House Majority Leader Tom Delay on money laundering and conspiracy charges.

Prosecutors alleged Delay illegally funneled $190,000 in corporate campaign contributions to several candidates for the Texas Legislature in 2002.

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Ballot Boxing
11:11 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Listen: The Ballot Boxing District 5 Forum

Austin City Council candidates from District Five answer questions in a forum at the Austin Community College South Austin campus.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

The Ballot Boxing series continued last night with the Austin City Council candidate forum for District 5 in South Austin. Seven candidates gathered at Austin Community College's South Austin campus with moderators Michael Kanin of the Austin Monitor and Mary Tuma of the Austin Chronicle.

You can view a photo gallery above and listen to the full audio of the forum below.

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Lt. Governor Race
3:30 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

On The Airwaves: Another Statewide Candidate Debuts TV Ads

Texas State Senator and Democratic Lieutenant Governor nominee Leticia Van de Putte released her first two campaign television ads, one in English and one in Spanish this morning.

In “Twice”, Van de Putte calls out Republican Lieutenant Governor nominee Dan Patrick for the cuts to the education system he supported in past budget sessions:

The ad points to Patrick’s 2011 vote to cut more than $5 billion from public education in Texas. The cuts came on the tail end of the Great Recession, which dramatically lowered state tax collections. Patrick has defended his vote, saying the state had to balance the budget and no choice but to cut spending to do it. Van de Putte voted against the cuts in 2011.

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HB2
5:02 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Federal Judge Strikes Down Provisions of Texas Abortion Law

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

A federal judge in Austin has struck down several parts of House Bill 2, the controversial abortion law passed by the Texas Legislature last year.

The provisions were set to go into effect on Monday.

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10-1
2:11 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Ballot Boxing: The Austin City Council District Forums

Join KUT, the Austin Monitor, Univision 62, KXAN and the Austin Chronicle for our series of in-district Austin City Council candidate forums. All forums begin at 7 P.M. They are free and open to the public.
RSVP is recommended. 

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Totally Overrated?
12:00 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Listen: The Worst Yelp Reviews of Barton Springs and Mount Bonnell

Is Barton Springs totally overrated? According to these contrary Yelp reviews, apparently so.
Flickr user David Ingram, flickr.com/dingatx

Mount Bonnell and Barton Springs are two of Austin's eternal treasures –unblemished reminders of Austin's natural beauty.

But to a handful of reviewers on Yelp, they're totally overrated.

Mount Bonnell's scenic overlook rates a solid four stars on Yelp; Austin's crown jewel, Barton Springs Pool, clocks in at four-and-a-half.  But proving you can't please everyone, a collection of contrary reviews offer an antithetical take on these two Austin institutions.

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Austin
2:58 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

How to Sound Like You're From Austin (in 90 Seconds)

Daniel Johnston's famous mural "Jeremiah the Innocent" by Guadalupe Street.
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

What do you think of when you think of Austin?

Live music, hot summers, breakfast tacos and the people come to mind for starters. But spend a little time here, and another thing jumps out at you – the "Austin correct" pronunciation of local streets and landmarks.

Take Guadalupe Street across from the UT Campus ­– pronounced Gwad-a-loop by generations of students and residents.

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Weather
6:47 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Flash Flood Watch Canceled, All Low Water Crossings Now Open

National Weather Service

Update 6:45 a.m.: The City of Austin has now opened all of the low water crossings on Spicewood Springs Road around Loop 360. Low water crossings at Terry-o Lane near Ben White Boulevard.

The Lower Colorado River Authority says some rain did fall in the watershed, which will help with low lake levels. Right now, Lakes Travis and Buchanan are still sitting at about 36 percent full.

Austin Firefighters are blaming lightning on at least three overnight fires – including one at an apartment building in southeast Austin. No one was injured in the fires.

About 1,500 Austin Energy customers are without power this morning.

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Science
4:07 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Astronomers Set Out to Find the Sun's Long Lost Sibling - And Succeeded

The star HD 162826 is probably a "solar sibling," that is, a star born in the same star cluster as the Sun.
Credit Ivan Ramirez/Tim Jones/McDonald Observatory

When Ivan Ramirez started his search about a year ago, he really didn’t think he’d find much.

"We expected it to be either one or zero," says Ramirez, an astronomer at UT-Austin.

Ramirez and his crew were looking through thousands and thousands of stars – all in order to find just the right one. 

“We're looking for the stars that were born with the sun," he says. "Because our sun, like most other stars, was born in a cluster – probably a thousand to ten thousand other stars. We know that there are a few that we can detect that are nearby, but it’s been a really tough job to do."

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