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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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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Texas
2:54 pm
Tue July 5, 2011

State Board Declines to Stop Execution of Mexican National

Photo of Humberto Leal, courtesy the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Updated 4:40 pm: The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has voted to deny a request for reprieve from death row inmate Humberto Leal.

From the AP:

The panel voted 4-1 Tuesday to deny a reprieve request for 38-year-old Humberto. The same board refused by a 5-0 vote to commute Leal's death sentence to life in prison.

Leal's attorney issued a statement on the denial this afternoon. 

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles’ recommendation against a reprieve for Humberto Leal ignores the views of the U.S. government and Solicitor General, former diplomats, military leaders, judges and prosecutors, and organizations representing Americans abroad who believe that Mr. Leal’s execution would threaten the safety of Americans overseas and undermine the international interests of the United States. 

Earlier: State lawyers are asking the U.S. Supreme Court not to stop the execution of Mexican national Humberto Leal. The 38-year-old is scheduled to be killed on Thursday in Huntsville for the rape and murder of a 16-year-old San Antonio girl in 1994.

As KUT reported last week, Leal’s lawyers are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court on the basis that Leal’s execution would violate an international treaty.

That’s because Leal was not made aware of his right to contact the Mexican consulate when he was arrested, a right guaranteed by the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. His lawyers argue he may never have been convicted, or sentenced to death, if he had access to legal help.

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Business
11:59 am
Tue July 5, 2011

Last Shuttle Mission Means Fewer Space Jobs

Photo by Matt Largey/KUT News

The Space Shuttle Atlantis will lift off Friday - the last shuttle mission for NASA.

Contractors who work on the shuttle program have been getting pink slips for the past year and a half, as the program winds down. But thousands more in Florida, Alabama and Texas will be out of a job after the final mission. 

USA Today reports on how Florida's Space Coast economy will be impacted by the end of the program.

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Austin
6:28 pm
Tue June 28, 2011

W Hotel To Shut Down Temporarily, Replace Glass Panels

The W Hotel and Residences in downtown Austin, where glass panels on the exterior of the building have shattered and fallen from the building three times in as many weeks.
Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News

Updated 10:20pm: The developer of the W Hotel in downtown Austin says the hotel will close temporarily, and all the glass panels on the building's exterior balconies will be replaced. 

That's after more panels shattered and fell from the building Tuesday.

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Top Stories
9:12 am
Mon June 27, 2011

Top Morning Stories for June 27, 2011

Photo by KUT News

Cap Metro Board Nears Bus Operation Vote

The board of directors of the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority will vote today on whether to abolish StarTran, the subsidiary company it formed in 1991 to manage its bus driver and maintenance crews.

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Top Stories
9:07 am
Mon June 20, 2011

Top Morning Stories June 20, 2011

Photo by Nathan Bernier/KUT News

AISD Makes Gains On TAKS

More than 80 percent of students in the Austin Independent School District passed the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test, according to district data released to the Statesman. The district's board of trustees is expected to receive the data at  its meeting tonight. 

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2012 Presidential Election
4:32 pm
Wed June 8, 2011

More Perry-For-Prez Buzz

Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera for the Texas Tribune

The Wall Street Journal puts another log on the fire of speculation over whether Texas Gov. Rick Perry will run for the GOP nomination for president. In an article published this afternoon, the Journal points to conversations Perry has had over the last couple weeks about the GOP's chances against President Obama in 2012.

The article quotes unnamed sources, who say Perry has said he thinks the current field of GOP candidates are uninspiring:

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Mexico
1:28 pm
Wed June 8, 2011

Mexico Wants Texas To Tone Down Travel Warnings

Image courtesy Google Maps.

The head of Mexico's state-run tourism board is in Austin today to meet with Texas' Secretary of State and law enforcement officials. 

Among the things he wants to discuss: Texas' warnings about traveling to Mexico.

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Transportation
12:54 pm
Wed June 8, 2011

Water Work on Walsh Tarlton Begins This Weekend

Lane closures and detours will affect Walsh Tarlton north of Loop 360.
Image courtesy Google Maps.

The City of Austin is warning drivers to be aware of lane closures and detours beginning this Saturday, due to water main work in the area of Walsh Tarlton Lane and Loop 360 - near the Barton Creek Square Mall. The detours will last through the rest of the summer, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm daily. 

From the City:

Austin
2:26 pm
Tue June 7, 2011

F1 Organizers Want City to Pay $4 million a Year into Trust Fund

Artist's rendering of Circuit of the Americas
Photo provided by Circuit Events Local Organizing Committee

Austin City Council members heard a presentation today on Formula One Austin, that asks the city to contribute $4 million per year to a fund that would be managed by the group.  The money would come from additional tax revenues generated by people visiting Austin for F1 events.

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