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.

Ways to Connect

V. Tilvi, S.L. Finkelstein, C. Papovich, and the Hubble Heritage Team

A team led by a UT Austin astronomer has identified and measured the distance to the most distant galaxy found so far.

The galaxy — designated z8_GND_5296 — is so far away from Earth that the light we are now able to see from it was emitted more than 13 billion years ago. So we're seeing it as it was in the distant past.

"We're seeing it very close to the Big Bang. About 700 million years after the Big Bang," says UT astronomer Steve Finkelstein, who led the project. He says ultimately, far, far away galaxies like this one may help us understand things closer to home. “We want to study very distant galaxies to learn how galaxies change with time, which helps us understand how the Milky Way came to be.” 

National Weather Service

Update: The Red Cross is keeping an eye on weather conditions in Central Texas over the next few days. So far, they’ve responded by distributing supplies like clean-up kits.

“We are working closely with local emergency management to respond and assist families who have been affected by flooding in their homes,” Red Cross Central Texas Region CEO Marty McKellips says in a statement.

The Red Cross shares four tips for making it through extreme weather:

Lower Colorado River Authority

Parts of Central Texas saw as much as 12 inches of rain over the weekend. Water levels in the Highland Lakes  rose slightly, but the storm was far from a drought-buster.

Lakes Travis and Buchanan remain only about one-third full. 

Wikimedia Commons

Update: Scientists Peter Higgs and Francois Englert have been awarded the Nobel Prize for physics for their quest for the Higgs boson – the so-called “God particle.”

The European Organization for Nuclear Research proved its existence last year with a massive particle accelerator. But as KUT reported shortly after the particle’s  discovery, some Texas physicists say the discovery could have been made here years ago.

Original story (July 4, 2012): Scientists in Switzerland announced overnight the discovery of what appears to be a particle that’s long been hypothesized, but never proven. It’s a bittersweet moment for some Texas physicists.

Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News.

A state appeals court in Austin has overturned the money laundering conviction of former Texas Congressman and House Majority Leader Tom Delay. 

Three years ago, DeLay was convicted for conspiring to illegally funnel $190,000 in corporate campaign contributions to Republican candidates for the Texas Legislature in 2002.

Delay has been free since his conviction while the case was appealed.

KUT News

Virtually all firefighters rely on a simple device designed to alert their fellow firefighters when they need help.

It’s called a Personal Alert Safety System, or PASS.  It’s basically a sensor that measures whether the person wearing it is moving. If they're incapacitated or immobilized, the PASS sets off a 95 decibel alarm to draw the attention -- and assistance -- of other firefighters.

Every year in the U.S., dozens of firefighters are killed in the line of duty. But there are hundreds more close calls, where a firefighter needs to be rescued after becoming injured or otherwise incapacitated. Virtually all firefighters, both volunteer and professional, rely on a simple device designed to alert their fellow firefighters when they need help.

Brigitte Woosley

Army Major Nidal Hasan has been sentenced to death for the 2009 shootings at Fort Hood that left 13 people dead and 32 wounded.

The military jury deliberated for a little more than two hours before announcing their decision. Military law requires the panel be unanimous to impose the death sentence.

Hasan could be the first member of the military executed since 1961, though the sentence triggers an automatic appeals process that could stretch for years to come.

In representing himself during the trial, Hasan presented little in the way of a defense. In his opening argument, he admitted the evidence would show he was the shooter. He offered no closing argument and did not call any witnesses during either the trial or penalty phase. 

Russ Poldrack

At 7:30 a.m. on pretty much any Tuesday over the past eight months, you'd find Russ Poldrack lying on his back in front of the MRI scanner in his basement lab at UT, waiting to scan his brain.

Poldrack, a neuroscientist, runs the Imaging Research Center at UT-Austin.

I meet him on the morning of his 58th scan.

courtesy Bell County Sheriff's Department

The Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009 will be allowed to represent himself at his trial.

The judge in the case, Col. Tara Osborn, ruled today that Major Nidal Hasan is both mentally and physically capable of acting in his own defense. His military lawyers will stay on the case, but will only act if Hasan asks for their help.

Last week KUT News spent some time looking at affordable housing in Austin in "Under One Roof: Affordable Housing 101." We got into the nuts and bolts of how nonprofit developers build affordable housing for low-income Austinites and why it’s in such short supply.

We heard from quite a few people about this series and about some of the other issues around affordable housing as well.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Real estate finance under any circumstances is complicated. When it comes to affordable housing, it’s even more so.

So to make this as simple as we can, we’re going to use Austin’s M Station as an example. The 150-unit apartment complex is right next to the Red Line tracks on MLK Boulevard.

Update: Police say the child has been found. The Amber Alert has been discontinued. 

Earlier: Police in McKinney, Texas -- north of Dallas -- have issued an Amber Alert for 10 month old Isabella Reyes. She has black hair and brown eyes and weighs 17 pounds.


Authorities have confirmed there were fatalities in the explosion at the fertilizer plant in the town of West – just north of Waco – though they have not said how many.

Today, Gov. Rick Perry has declared a disaster in the area.

As for the explosion itself, much of the focus has been on the chemicals stored at the West Fertilizer Company, where the massive explosion happened.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

UPDATE (12:15am): A Texas Department of Public Safety official says there were fatalities in a massive explosion in the town of West, Texas Wednesday evening. 50 to 75 homes were damaged, along with a 50-unit apartment complex, in the explosion at a fertilizer plant there.

DPS Trooper D.L. Wilson says all of the roughly 100 people injured have been removed from the scene. He could not say how many people may have died in the blast, though he did say there were fatalities.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

UPDATE 7:15pm: KUT News has spoken with William Greer, who says he is fine, after a pair of explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

He and his sighted guide, Peter Sagal, finished with a time of about 4 hours and 4 minutes. The explosions went off about 5 minutes later.

Greer said, from his vantage point, it wasn't clear at first just what was happening, but when multiple emergency vehicles started speeding toward the sound of the explosions, it became clear that something serious had happened.

UPDATE: Peter Sagal tells All Things Considered that he and William Greer are safe, following two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Sagal says the pair had just finished the marathon and were making their way through the finish chute when they heard two explosions in quick succession. Marathon staff then told them and other runners to leave the area as quick as possible.

Original Story: Today, thousands will run in one of the country’s oldest and best-known road races: the Boston Marathon.

Among them will be a 43 year-old Austinite named William Greer. And he'll have a special guest along with  him that might be familiar to listeners to weekend public radio.

Travis County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE: Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg says she will plead guilty to a DWI charge and will accept whatever punishment is handed down.

Lehmberg sent the following letter to County Attorney David Escamilla over the weekend:

To: Mr. David  Escamilla and the Judge of any Court of Jurisdiction

From: Rosemary Lehmberg

Date: April 14, 2013 

Please accept this as my Plea of Guilt to the Charge of Driving While Intoxicated, arising from my arrest on 4/12/13, for whatever level of offense is determined to be justified by the facts.

KUT News

New research out of the University of Texas at Austin finds Bevo, the school’s mascot, and other Texas Longhorn cattle are direct descendants of the first cattle to arrive in North America.

The study of the Longhorn genome finds the cattle’s lineage can be traced back 10,000 years to India and the Middle East. Researchers looked at 50,000 genetic markers of different cattle breeds. They used that information to track the Longhorns’ ancestors from the Middle East and India, to Europe and eventually to North America. 

George P. Bush - son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the nephew of former president George W. Bush - announced today he's running for Texas Land Commissioner.

There's been intense speculation about which office Bush would pursue since he filed paperwork with the Texas Ethics Commission late last year without specifying which office he planned to run for.