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

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.

KUT News

A federal judge says the City of Austin can no longer ban people from City Hall's plaza.

The case revolves around a practice that came to light last year, amid the Occupy Austin protest at City Hall. Some Occupy members were issued criminal trespass notices and told they were banned from the plaza, sometimes for up to two years.

Two Occupiers - Rodolfo Sanchez and Kristopher Sleeman - took the city to court.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

A federal appeals court is upholding a Texas law aimed at government transparency.

A group of city officials from across Texas had challenged the Texas Open Meetings Act, saying it violates their free speech rights. The law requires public officials to post notices and agendas for their meetings and restricts how officials can meet with each other to discuss public business.

The ruling today from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a lower court ruling that found the law is constitutional and does not improperly limit elected officials speech.

UPDATE 1:30pm: APD says the situation near LBJ High School has ended. They are interviewing two people. As of 1:30pm, an AISD spokesperson said the lockdown was still in effect, but they expected it to be lifted soon.

EARLIER: LBJ High School in northeast Austin is on lockdown after reports of gunfire near the school. 

Austin Police don't believe the gunfire was on the campus, but they are looking for whoever fired the shots.

An AISD spokesperson says the school was locked down just before noon.


UT Regents meet Wednesday, and among the items they’ll consider is KUT’s request to purchase KXBT 98.9 FM Radio from Border Media Business Trust.  KUT management told us they have no comment at this time.

Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

With 52.08 percent of the vote and only 20 precincts outstanding, incumbent Mayor Lee Leffingwell has declared victory.

Mayor Leffingwell just finished delivering a speech to supporters at Scholz Garten, where incumbent Austin City Council member Mike Martinez also recently celebrated success.

Leffingwell came out on top of his two challengers – former city council member Brigid Shea and community activist Clay Dafoe. Leffingwell has narrowly avoided a runoff, coming in with about 52 percent of the vote.

Photo courtesy

A federal judge says the state of Texas cannot exclude Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid Women’s Health Program.

The program provides contraceptives and basic health screenings for more than 100,000 low income women in Texas. A state rule aimed at preventing Planned Parenthood from providing services under the program was put in place earlier this year.

A federal appeals judge today said there is evidence that the rule is unconstitutional – and upheld a lower court’s order that temporarily blocks the state from enforcing it.

Early voting in the Austin city elections began this Monday, April 30. As part of KUT's interviews with all 14 candidates, KUT’s Matt Largey recently spoke with mayoral contender Brigid Shea on affordability, Austin Energy's rate redesign, and more. 

Also running for mayor are incumbent Lee Leffingwell and council meeting regular Clay Dafoe.  Election Day is May 12.


UPDATE 9:05PM: Authorities say the three day old boy reported missing earlier today has been found and is safe.

EARLIER: An Amber Alert has been issued for a three-day old boy last seen in the town of Spring, TX.

Keegan Schuchardt, a white male only weighing 5 pounds, was last seen around 2:40pm Tuesday.

Authorities describe the suspect as a thin, black female wearing a gray sweatshirt and blue jeans. She apparently fled the scene in a light blue 4 door vehicle, possibly a Lexus.

Images courtesy Austin Police Department

The Austin Police Department says drivers should expect delays in some areas on Wednesday between 1 and 4pm, due to the funeral procession for Senior Police Officer Jaime Padron.

Padron was shot and killed in the line of duty early Friday morning at a North Austin Wal-Mart. The suspect, Brandon Montgomery Daniel, 24, is in custody.

APD is inviting Austinites to pay their respects to Officer Padron during the procession, before his body is taken to San Angelo, where he'll be laid to rest.


The funeral procession route will be as follows:


Photo courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife

Bastrop State Park is expected to be almost completely open by this weekend – seven months after wildfires ravaged the area.

Officials say more than 80 percent of the park’s trails will be open in the coming days, and reservations are being taken for campgrounds and cabins. More on the closures is available at the park’s website.

Closed in the aftermath of the Central Texas wildfires, the grand re-opening of Bastrop State Park is being planned for Labor Day weekend – the one year anniversary of the wildfires. The park saw incredible damage from the Central Texas wildfires, with flames engulfing nearly two-thirds of the 6,600 acre park. (You can see photos of the devastation in a slide show from KUT News.)

U.S. Army

The Army psychiatrist accused in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shootings will be back in court this week.

Attorneys for Major Nidal Hasan will ask a judge to rule Wednesday on a request for the government to pay for a forensic pathologist to serve as an expert witness.

The judge may also rule on a defense request for notes from meetings between President Obama and high-ranking Defense Department officials after the November 2009 shootings.

Photo by KUT News

Army Paratrooper from Marble Falls Killed

A soldier from Marble Falls has been killed in Afghanistan.

Army Pfc. Payton Jones died Thursday in Kandahar province after an attack on his base, according to the Department of Defense. He was one of two soldiers who died during the same assault. Staff Sgt. Jordan L. Bear, 25, of Denver, Colorado was also killed.

Jones was a paratrooper in the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, N.C. He was 19 years old.

Photo courtesy

No Problems, as Occupy Austin Reconvenes

About 120 Occupy Austin protesters came to city hall plaza last night for the group's General Assembly. 

That came just 24 hours after Austin Police were given the order to clear out the plaza, and enforce new city policies governing the use of the plaza. Seven people were arrested Friday night. Essentially, the new rules prohibit camping and storage of personal items in the plaza - and bar overnight use. 

Implementing the 'Sonogram Law'

The Texas Tribune has this look at the practicalities of implementing the state's sonogram law - which requires abortion providers to show a sonogram image and play the fetus' heartbeat for the mother within 24 hours of performing an abortion. Clinics say complying with the law has become a "bureaucratic nightmare".