• It was a good week for the challenger in the Place 3 run-off campaign, with Randi Shade's ethics claims against Kathie Tovo proving fruitless in the incumbent's attempts to prevent Tovo from accessing $64,000 in public funds, per Tovo's signing of Austin's "Fair Campaign Pledge." Also this week, Tovo was endorsed by Place 3 candidates Max Nofziger (pictured) and Kris Bailey, who placed third and fourth, respectively. See "Fightin' Words in Council Run-Off."
• Off the campaign trail, there's plenty of City Council action: At its meeting this week (Thursday, May 26), council is scheduled to take up changes to the city's tax abatement historic zoning program, call for rapid bus improvements, and create a cell phone waiting area at the airport for people picking up friends and family outside the baggage area. See "City Hall Hustle."
• Austin residents have an opportunity to provide input in the city's 2012 budget-making process during May and June, when city staff provide budget presentations to city boards and commissions. For a schedule of upcoming meetings, see www.austintexas.gov/finance.
• The Texas Legislature is in budget meltdown after failing to reach an agreement on how to spread more than $4 billion in school funding cuts. Lawmakers only have until the session ends Monday to reach an agreement, or they'll be back for a special session. See "Out of the Schools and Into the Polls."
• The budget is not the only unfinished business plaguing lawmakers, with dozens of major bills dying as the clock runs out on the session. Top of the list may be congressional redistricting: As the Legislature has failed to pass a map, Republican Congressman Joe Barton has already filed suit and is asking the state courts to settle the matter.
• Monday is Memorial Day, so all municipal offices and libraries will be closed. The Town Lake Animal Center will still be accepting stray animals between 11:30am and 5pm, and garbage collections will not be affected. It will also be business as usual for Austin ISD students, who'll be making up a day lost to bad weather earlier this year.
• This week marked the 12th anniversary of the official opening of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, which observed the occasion on May 23, 1999. For relative newcomers to Austin, the airport used to be located off of Airport Boulevard in Central Austin at what is now the Mueller redevelopment project.
• In spring, a young cat's fancy lightly turns to another cat, and no entity knows that better than the Town Lake Animal Center, which this year expects an increase in kittens in need of foster homes. Kittens rarely thrive in animal shelters, so the center is asking for volunteers to provide homes for them for two to four weeks, with TLAC paying for medical costs and food. See www.austinanimalcenter.org for more info.