Matt Largey

Managing 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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The 86th annual Zilker Kite Festival has been canceled, after last night's storm drenched Zilker Park. More rain is in the forecast today.

In a statement, festival organizers said they had planned to go forward, until the weather turned even worse last night.

"We want to be especially respectful of our home – Zilker Park – and with this type of weather, we risk doing too much damage to the park under these wet conditions," said a statement on the festival's website.

Rosemary Lehmberg will be allowed to continue in her role as Travis County District Attorney.

San Antonio-based Judge David Peeples made that decision this afternoon after three days of testimony recounting the April night when she was arrested for drunk driving and her subsequent treatment for alcohol abuse at a facility in Arizona.

Lehmberg pled guilty and served her time in jail for the DWI charge earlier this year, but a complaint was filed under an obscure state law allowing District Attorneys to be dismissed if they are found to be intoxicated.

A Travis County grand jury has indicted Jerald Cobbs, a former executive with the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), in connection with an $11 million grant the agency approved without putting it through required reviews.

The charge of securing execution of a document by deception carries a potential jail sentence of five to 99 years or life, and a fine of up to $10,000.

Jason Shear/UT

Editor's note: This story was originally published Nov. 19, prior to being rebroadcast on WBUR's Here and Now.

When you think of bacteria, you might think about a bunch of mindless, single-celled bugs blindly roaming the world in complete ignorance. But over the past few decades, scientists have found bacteria are much more complicated than that.

Now, a group of scientists at the University of Texas at Austin has come up with a new way of studying how bacteria interact with the world – and each other.

You see, scientists have a couple of problems when it comes to studying bacteria.

Judi Radice Hays

A version of this story first ran Nov. 16, 2012.

Formula One events begin today at the Circuit of the Americas track.

F1 doesn’t have a huge following in the U.S. – it’s only in its second year in Austin – and a lot of people may not know the first thing about the sport. Here's what we learned about the basics.

First things first: what is the “formula”?

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.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thewhitewolves/

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.

flickr.com/speedye

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.

Credit: www.businessinsider.com

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.

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