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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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.

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. 

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:

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.

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:

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.

Photo by Jeff Heimsath/KUT News

ACC Buying Last Tract of Highland Mall

Austin Community College is in the process of buying the last piece of the Highland Mall property that it doesn't already own, the Statesman reports this morning. 

ACC also says it is working with a partner, who will develop a mix of retail, residential and office space at the mall, which has fallen on hard times recently. The College's leadership appears upbeat about what the acquisition means for the insitution.

Photo by KUT News

Town Lake Animal Center is putting out a call for foster homes, after a greater-than-expected number of kittens have been taken into the shelter.

The kittens generally need to housed for at least two weeks. Fosters are asked to provide bedding and care for the animals, while the shelter pays for medical treatment and food.

Photo by Nathan Bernier/KUT News

Authorities are warning of potentially severe thunderstorms in Central Texas tonight.

National Weather Service meteorologist Amanda Fanning says there's a 20% chance of severe thunderstorms in the Austin area. She says there's a slight chance of showers, but large hail and damaging winds are also possible. Any storms that do occur are likely to be severe.

Chances for severe weather are greater to the west of Austin, in Blanco, Burnet and Gillespie counties. 

Photo by Erika Aguilar and Matt Largey for KUT

Austin City Council Member Randi Shade has filed another ethics complaint against challenger Kathie Tovo.

It’s the second complaint based on an email sent by a Tovo supporter.  The Shade campaign says the email should have contained a disclaimer announcing it was from Tovo’s campaign. The city’s ethics commission tossed out a similar complaint last week, saying it did not have jurisdiction over the matter.

In the new complaint, Shade says the value of the address list the email were sent to exceeded the maximum contribution allowed under city ordinance.

Photo courtesy the Texas Tribune

Governor Rick Perry signed held a formal signing ceremony today for the state’s so-called “sonogram bill. ” It requires women seeking an abortion to undergo a sonogram before terminating their pregnancy. Doctors will have to make an image of the fetus and the sound of its heartbeat available.

Houston Republican, Senator Dan Patrick, says if this new procedure changes the mind of 20% of women who go in for an abortion, it would mean 10,000 - 15,000 additional births in Texas each year.

The law goes into effect September 1st.

Photo by KUT

The Texas House has given its approval to a bill that formalizes landowner’s full ownership of groundwater below their land.

Property rights advocates had pushed for the bill, which allows landowners to pump and sell groundwater, though the state would still be able to impose some restrictions.

Texas is one of the few states that still gives landowners control over the water underneath their property.

Photo courtesy of US Senator Christopher Coons on Flickr

Doctors at Seton Medical Center in Austin say they expect to discharge Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad today.

Fayyad was hospitalized Sunday, after complaining of chest pains. He was in Austin to attend his son’s graduation at UT-Austin.

Photo by KUT News

The Austin ISD Board of Trustees has approved a timeline for finishing the district’s controversial Facility Master Plan. At a meeting Monday night, the board okayed the timeline set out by Superintendent Meria Carstarphen. 

A report presented to the board in March by a citizens’ task force suggested closing as many as nine schools.

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT.

Governor Perry and President Obama aren't meeting during Obama's visit to Texas today. And, perhaps not surprisingly, each side is blaming the other. 

The White House says Perry refused to meet the President in El Paso earlier today.

The Associated Press reports Perry's office said Obama declined an invitation to tour areas of the state scorched by wildfire or to meet in Austin. 

Photo courtesy the Texas Forest Service

APD Officer Shoots and Kills Armed Suspect

One man was killed by an Austin police officer early this morning in Southeast Austin.  About 1:00, police responded to a "shots fired" call in an apartment complex on Burton Drive, near East Oltorf Street.

"The suspect's a male Hispanic, about—approximately 29 years of age.  And what occurred in this incident is he was trying to gain entry by shooting into—at a apartment door, trying to get into a house where his ex-girlfriend resided," said Police Chief Art Acevedo.

Photo by Liang Shi/KUT News

The Austin City Council got its first look at budget projections for the next fiscal year today.

Budget managers told council members that falling property values and sales tax collections mean revenue is not keeping up with the cost of maintaining city services at current levels. The projections showed homeowners could face higher property taxes next year.

Smoke from the Oak Hill brush fire can be seen from the highway. Photo by KUT's Crystal Chavez.

8:30 p.m.  Austin Homeland Security and Emergency Management have updated the list of areas that will remain evacuated overnightHere is a map of the affected area.  Austin Community College says classes will run on normal schedule at the Pinnacle campus, located near the area of today's brush fire.

Photo courtesy the Texas Forest Service.

Wildfire Danger at Historic Highs Today

State officials are warning of extreme wildfire danger across much of the western half of Texas today, as hot, dry, windy conditions couple with low humidity. 

The Texas Forest Service was fighting several wildfires yesterday, but was bracing for more, reported the Associated Press.

Photo courtesy the Texas Forest Service

Officials are sending more resources to help battle a massive wildfire in West Texas that's already burned about 50,000 acres.

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