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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F1
1:50 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

AP: F1 Boss Extends Deadline for Austin Race Deal

Construction on the Circuit of the Americas track in southeast Travis County had been underway for months, until work was stopped two weeks ago.
Photo by Lucia Duncan/KUT News

The Associated Press is reporting the head of Formula One is giving local race organizers another week to reach a deal on a 2012 race at the Circuit of the Americas track in southeast Travis County. 

The AP quotes F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone as saying "the deadline hasn't been met so we are still trying to make it happen ... they need to get some money and a pen." He went on to say "if it isn't all signed before the World Motor Sport Council meeting (the race) can't happen."

That meeting is December 7th.

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Austin
12:30 pm
Mon November 21, 2011

Lawsuit Filed Over City "Banning" Protesters

Occupy Austin protesters at City Hall on October 28, 2011.
Photo by KUT News

Two members of the Occupy Austin protest have filed a lawsuit against the city, after they were banned from returning to City Hall Plaza. 

Rudy Sanchez and Kris Sleeman were arrested at City Hall in October and told they could not return.

They filed a lawsuit in federal court this morning, alleging the city's "ban" infringes on their First Amendment rights.

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Environment
2:58 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

BP Loses Two Rulings on Spill Suits

Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon April 21, 2010.
Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

A federal judge has dealt oil giant BP a pair of setbacks in its efforts to shield itself from billions of dollars in damage claims related to last year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Today, a judge ruled that BP is not covered under insurance policies worth $750 million held by the owner of the Deepwater Horizon, Transocean Ltd.

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film
4:52 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Austin Film Festival Reveals Fan Favorites

Image courtesy the Austin Film Festival

The Austin Film Festival has announced the winners of its Audience Awards for the festival that wrapped up last week. 

“There is no greater reward for a filmmaker than an Audience Award, which confirms their ability to tell a good story," AFF programmers Stephen Jannise and Stephen Belyeu in a press release. "Every filmmaker is a storyteller at heart, and you can’t receive better validation than the approval of your audience."

Austin-based writer/director Jeremiah Jones won the Audience Award in the narrative feature competition. KUT News interviewed Jones before the festival. You can hear that interview below.

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wildfires
8:37 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Another Bastrop Fire Burns 1,000 Acres

A tanker plane drops fire retardant on the Old Potato fire in Bastrop, that began October 4, 2011.
Photo by Matt Largey/KUT News

Firefighters made progress overnight on a new wildfire in Bastrop County. The fire started Tuesday afternoon, and quickly spread to about a thousand acres.

As of Wednesday morning, officials said the fire was 25 percent contained but expected that number to go up. No homes were destroyed, and no one was injured, though 50 homes were evacuated.

Celebration Community Church was opened as a shelter. The Bastrop Independent School District will provide bus service from the shelter to schools at seven Wednesday morning.

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Texas
1:04 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

If Government Shuts Down, So Does FEMA Aid in Bastrop

At the height of the wildfires that left around 34,000 acres scorched, smoke billows behind an American Flag.
Photo by Lizzie Chen for KUT News.

The current budget standoff in D.C. has some serious implications for disaster relief efforts here  in Central Texas. As lawmakers scramble to find a short term fix, one thing is becoming clear:  If FEMA doesn't receive new funding, aid work will cease.

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Central Texas Wildfires
2:54 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

Federal Disaster Aid Now Available for Bastrop County

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says funding is now available for governments and non-profits responding to the Bastrop fire.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath/KUT News

The Federal Emergency Management Agency today announced direct assistance has been approved for clean up of the Bastrop County Complex Fire.

The state and local governments, along with eligible non-profit organizations, can apply for reimbursement of costs incurred from the fire. 

From FEMA:

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Texas
4:19 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

U.S. Supreme Court Stays Cleve Foster Execution

Cleve Foster was scheduled to be executed tonight for the rape and murder of a Fort Worth woman in 2002.
Photo by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

For the second time in a week, the U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily stayed an execution in Texas.

Cleve Foster, a former Army recruiter, was scheduled to die this evening for the 2002 rape and murder of 28 year-old Nyanuer Pal, of Fort Worth. Foster's co-defendant died in prison last year.

This is the third time the high court has halted Foster's execution. Lawyers have argued he received ineffective counsel during his trial and earlier appeals.

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Politics
4:16 pm
Mon September 19, 2011

Tea Party Targets Perry On "Sanctuary Cities"

Texas Tea Party activists are trying to pressure Governor Perry to toughen his stance on illegal immigration. At a press conference today inside the State Capitol, several groups issued an open letter Rick Perry, demanding he call a special legislative session to pass a ban on so-called “sanctuary cities.”

The bill explicitly prohibits local police agencies from telling officers they can’t check the immigration status of a suspect. Supporters of the legislation sense a new vulnerability in Perry, who is now seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

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Wildfires
12:09 pm
Wed September 7, 2011

Video of Texas Wildfires From Space

The crew of the International Space Station got a bird's eye view of the wildfires burning in Texas. 

From 220 miles above the Earth, the crew captured this video clearly showing the smoke plumes emanating from several of the fires.

"It is a sad sight with all the fires burning in Texas right now. See one major one, and three smaller ones," said flight engineer Mike Fossum.

Breaking
6:30 pm
Sun September 4, 2011

Bastrop Fire Forces Hundreds to Evacuate

Smoke can be seen for miles as fire sweeps through Bastrop County. Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News.

12:00 a.m. UPDATE: More from KUT's Matt Largey at Bastrop Middle School:

"The folks sitting here, looking around, they look like they're kind of in shock. Obviously this is a difficult situation for them. They look exactly as you'd expect somebody to look like, who's just had to flee their home because of a wildfire."

Bastrop Middle School is one of several shelters set up for Bastrop County residents who've been forced to evacuate.

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Environment
3:57 pm
Mon August 22, 2011

Lawmaker Asks LCRA To Suspend Lake Releases

The high water mark under a bridge near a Lower Colorado River Authority pump house that transfers water from the Colorado River to irrigation canals that supply water to the rice fields around Bay City, Texas Friday, June, 10, 2011.
Photo by Michael Stravato/The Texas Tribune

Citing falling lake levels amid the driest nine-month period in state history, the chair of the Texas Senate's Natural Resources Committee is calling on the Lower Colorado River Authority to take emergency actions that would suspend the release of water from the Highland Lakes for interruptible customers downstream.

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Health
4:26 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Study: Romantic Sexual Relationships Deter Teen Delinquency

Photo by Flickr user ElenahNeshcuet

A new study co-authored by a University of Texas at Austin psychologist finds sexually active teenagers in romantic relationships are less likely to exhibit anti-social behavior than their peers who have casual sex.

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Austin
2:28 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

City Budget Could See More Money From Austin Energy, Higher Tax Rate

Photo by Liang Shi/KUT News

Austin City Council got some surprises at a budget meeting today, both pleasant ones for the city’s fiscal outlook.

City budget officers told the Council it underestimated how high the city’s property tax rate could be under the rollback rate. That means the city will be able to raise taxes higher then once believed without having to get voter approval.

If City Council chooses to raise property taxes to the new rollback rate, it would generate an additional $1.6 million in revenue.

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Texas
12:26 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Report: Texas Crop Losses At $5.2 Billion

The drought has taken its toll on a Burleson County pasture.
Photo by Blair Fannin/Texas AgriLife Extension Service

State agriculture officials say farmers and ranchers in Texas have suffered $5.2 billion in losses since last November, due to the current drought.

That tops the previous record for agriculture losses set back in 2006.

The losses cut across most of the state's crops, including cotton, corn, wheat, sorghum and hay.

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Energy
2:22 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

ERCOT Bringing Old Power Plants Back Online

Photo by Daniel Reese/KUT News

The quasi-state agency that operates the Texas electric grid is reviving several old power plants to help avoid more power emergencies amid continued triple-digit temperatures. 

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas nearly ran short of power on four days in one week earlier this month. It was forced to declare power emergencies those days, and on one occasion took some industrial customers offline temporarily to avoid the need for rolling blackouts.

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2012 Presidential Election
4:58 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Colbert to Iowa Republicans: Write In 'Rick Parry'

TV satirist Stephen Colbert's political action committee is out with it's first ad, taking aim at Governor Rick Perry, ahead of this weekend's Iowa Straw Poll.

In the video, Colbert's "super" PAC, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money supporting or opposing a candidate, urges Iowa Republicans to write in the name "Rick Parry" on their straw poll ballots.

"That's Parry with an 'A' for America. With an 'A' for Iowa," the ad says.

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News Brief
7:47 am
Mon July 25, 2011

Top Morning Stories Monday, July 25, 2011

Warren Jeffs faces sexual assault charges in San Angelo. Jury selection in the high-profile case begins today.
Photo courtesy Reagan County Sherriff's Department

Warren Jeffs Trial seeking Jurors

Jury selection starts in San Angelo today in the sexual assault trial of polygamist religious leader Warren Jeffs. Jury selection in the high profile case is expected to be difficult, since few people in the town are unfamiliar with the case. If convicted, Jeffs faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for sexual assault of one child and aggravated sexual assault of another. He will face bigamy charges in a separate case in October.

Leffingwell to Announce Possible Ban on Plastic Bags

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Top Stories
4:11 pm
Sun July 24, 2011

Top Stories for Sunday July 24, 2011

The Chester W. Ditto Golf Course in Arlington, Texas, recently began using reclaimed water from Fort Worth's wastewater treatment plant.
Photo by Djakhangir Zakhidov for the Texas Tribune

President Perry and the EPA

The Statesman has a piece today about how a President Rick Perry might affect the Environmental Protection Agency. Perry has been highly critical of the EPA in his time as governor, pushing back on the agencies efforts to bring Texas' environmental regulations under tighter control. The Statesman's Asher Price writes that Perry has used the EPA as an example of what he sees as federal intrusion.  

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Transportation
5:01 pm
Wed July 6, 2011

Deal Struck On Mexican Trucks In U.S.

Photo by Flickr user pantagrapher

U.S. and Mexican authorities today signed an agreement that will allow trucks from both countries to carry goods far beyond the border separating the two.

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