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

Dell Inc.

Shares in computer-maker Dell Inc. surged by 13 percent Monday on rumors the Round Rock based company could go private. Bloomberg News cites anonymous sources as saying Dell is in talks with at least two private equity firms.

John Doggett is a lecturer at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business. He says the talks come as Dell is shifting its business strategy away from PCs.

The New York Times is reporting that Lance Armstrong is considering a public admission of doping, in hopes of restarting his career as a competitive athlete.

Austin Police Department

The Austin police officer best known for killing the University of Texas Tower sniper has died.

Officer Houston McCoy shot and killed Charles Whitman on Aug. 1, 1966, after Whitman killed 16 people and wounded 32 from the observation deck atop the UT Tower.

flickr.com/branditressler

The State Fair of Texas wants your help rebuilding its most recognizable cowboy.

The 52 foot-tall mascot Big Tex was destroyed in October in an electrical fire. He had been a fixture at the fair in Dallas for 60 years.

The State Fair’s Sue Gooding says they’ve launched a website trying to raise about half a million dollars to build a new and improved Big Tex. “This is not just the Big Tex that left us that day,” she says. “We’re working on some re-engineering of Big Tex and of course, this next one will have a fire suppression system built in.”

Daniel Bayer via flickr.com/aspensnowmass

A British newspaper is suing Lance Armstrong for about $1.5 million over a settlement it reached with the  cyclist in 2004.

The Sunday Times paid Armstrong almost half a million dollars after he accused the paper of libel when it printed allegations that he used performance enhancing drugs.

F1 photo flickr.com/pdbreen; Bevo photo flickr.com/finitefocus

Update: Circuit of the Americas emails KUT News the following statement from COTA principal Bobby Epstein:

"Circuit of The Americas has expressed our strong preference for an alternate race date in 2013. We understand that setting a global calendar can be very challenging, involves many factors and is out of our control. We feel confident that Formula One has taken our concerns seriously and is working earnestly towards a collective solution. Ultimately, our 2013 race date may remain as it currently stands."

Original post (Nov. 20, 4:51 p.m.): If you thought it was crowded in Austin last weekend, just wait until next November.

Bell County Sheriff's Department

UPDATE 12/4 at 5:45pm: Army Col. Tara Osborn has been appointed to replace Col. Gregory Gross as judge in the military trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan. He's charged with in the shooting rampage that left 13 people dead and dozens wounded at Fort Hood in November 2009. It's not clear when hearings will resume.

ORIGINAL STORY: A military appeals court has removed the judge in the trial of the suspect in the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood. 

NASA/ESA/Andrew C. Fabian

Scientists at the University of Texas say they’ve discovered the most massive black hole ever identified.

It sits in the center of a galaxy called NGC 1277. It has a mass equivalent to about 17 billion suns.

Doctor Karl Gebhardt is an astrophysicist at UT, and a member of the team that made the discovery. He says their finding could help us better understand the way galaxies are formed.

flickr.com/photos/dawilson/

The Texas Longhorns take the field Thursday for their traditional Thanksgiving game.

Although this year it’s without their traditional rival, Texas A&M.

With the Aggies in the S.E.C. this year, UT added Texas Christian University to the schedule for the holiday game.

Longhorn Head Coach Mack Brown says there are several similarities between the old rivals, A&M, and this year’s opponent.

flickr.com/photos/declanjewell

Credit card company Visa says it will build a new IT center in Austin, bringing almost 800 jobs to the area within five years.

Texas Governor Rick Perry announced the project this afternoon.

Perry is using $7.9 million dollars from the Texas Enterprise Fund to entice Visa to Austin.

The city will kick in about $1.5 million over 10 years, according to a memo released by the city's Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office.

courtesy Heyride

Heyride is a smartphone app that lets people find and offer rides to strangers for money. If that sounds kind of like a taxi service to you, the City of Austin agrees.

Last month, the city sent a cease and desist order to the Austin-based startup.

The city regulates for-hire transportation, doing criminal background checks on drivers and making sure vehicles are safe. But Heyride drivers aren’t going through that permitting and inspection process.

flickr.com/landerholm

The University of Texas at Austin will hold its annual Hex Rally tonight, despite not playing Texas A&M in their annual football rivalry game.  

The rally has been held every year since 1941 to put a curse on A&M ahead of the game. But the rivalry was effectively ended when A&M left the Big 12 this year.

The target of the hex this year will be Texas Christian University. UT plays TCU on Thanksgiving Day. 

Tyler Police

Update: Nov. 1, 5:25 a.m.:

An Amber Alert issued yesterday for a Tyler boy has been canceled. Four-year-old Lucas Calvert was found safe in West Monroe, La.

The suspect in the abduction was taken into custody.

Original Story: Oct. 31, 10:27 p.m.:

Police in Tyler have issued an Amber Alert for a four year old boy named Lucas Calvert.

KUT News

Some members of the Austin City Council will avoid prosecution for alleged violations of open meetings laws.

On Wednesday, the Travis County Attorney’s Office said it finished its investigation into a nearly two-year-old complaint that council members deliberated among themselves in ways that may violate government transparency laws.

emergency.tamu.edu

Updated 4:15pm: The A&M campus is now reopened, according to the university's emergency website:

Bell County Sheriff's Department

A military appeals court says Major Nidal Hasan can be forcibly shaved.

The judge in his court martial held Hasan in contempt six times for appearing in court with a beard, which violates Army regulations.

Today, the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals said Hasan did not prove the beard is an expression of religious belief.

His lawyers have indicated they will appeal today's ruling.

Hasan is on trial for killing 13 people and wounding dozens more in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood in 2009.

NASA Mars Science Laboratory

The University of Texas has inked a deal with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to work together in areas such as robotics, miniature satellites and high-precision mapping. The director of UT’s Center for Space Research, Byron Tapley says it will ultimately help to advance space exploration.

“The activities we’re talking about here are built more about the unmanned, or the robotic exploration programs, both of the earth and of the planets themselves," said Tapley. "I would say the excitement of that is every bit, if you look at the excitement generated with the recent landing of the Mars science laboratory.”

The project manager of the team that landed that Curiosity Rover was a graduate of UT.  

The head of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Charles Elachi says the new partnership with UT is a logical extension of JPL’s existing relationship with the university.

KUT News

State officials say a record number of Texans have registered to vote in the November elections. 

As of today, more than 13.6 million people have registered to vote in Texas. That’s about 20,000 more than the last presidential election year in 2008. And it's about 70 percent of voting age Texans.

"We’ve already broken the record," said Alicia Pierce is a spokesperson with the Texas Secretary of State’s office. "And we anticipate having more voters by the end of the week as counties continue to add registered voters who sent in their registration by the October 9th deadline.”

Debora Cartagena for Centers for Disease Control

State health officials are confirming Texas’ first case of meningitis linked to contaminated steroid injections.

The Department of State Health Services says a Central Texas woman was hospitalized with symptoms of fungal meningitis.

She was treated for back pain at one of two Dallas-area facilities that gave injections of steroids from the Massachusetts pharmacy linked to the outbreak.

The fungal infection associated with the tainted drugs cannot be passed from person to person.

Matt Largey, KUT News

Tom DeLay's legal team was in an Austin appeals court this morning, arguing that the former U.S. House Majority Leader could not be guilty of money laundering because as they said, "checks aren't funds."

DeLay was convicted in 2010, on charges that he conspired to funnel $190,000 in corporate contributions to Republican candidates for the Texas Legislature. Candidates for state office are barred from accepting corporate donations. The money was given by corporate donors to the Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee in 2002, which then sent the money to the Republican National Committee.The RNC then distributed an equal amount to candidates for the Texas House. 

DeLay could spend three years in prison, if his conviction stands.

At issue at today's hearing was how to read state law at the time. Delay's lawyers argue the law does not specify checks as a form of funds that can be used to launder money.

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