• Otherwise, summertime blues reign at City Hall, as City Council's out on hiatus while staff labors behind the scenes on the city manager's proposed budget, due July 27. Action's in such short supply that the traditionally sleepy process of board and commission appointments has inspired intense media coverage, particularly as it concerns Kathie Tovo's Public Safety Commission pick. See "City Hall Hustle."
• Mayor Lee Leffingwell's chief of staff Mark Nathan announced his departure this week. "In May of 2009, Leffingwell asked me to put my Austin Strategies consulting practice on hold to become his chief of staff," Nathan emailed friends and supporters. "Twenty-six months later, I can tell you that the job has indeed been a great fit for me. With only a few exceptions, I've loved every minute. Whether I was a great fit for the job, I'll (unfortunately) have to leave for others to judge." Nathan says after "a short break," he'll resume his consulting practice.
• The Austin Film Society is looking for public input on the new-look Austin Studios. The East Austin facility, which sits on 20 acres of city-owned land, is expanding onto the neighboring National Guard Armory in 2012, adding two extra soundstages plus production suites. AFS board member Will Meredith said the society is seeking community suggestions via www.austinfilm.org on how to make the studio into "a creative media hub."
• Drinking your milkshake: Eastern Travis County residents will get access to water from Burleson County with the July 14 ribbon-cutting on a new pipeline from the Simsboro Aquifer to Manor. County Commissioner Ron Davis called the 53-mile pipeline "a big bite out of the apple when it comes to current and future development."
• Local rockabilly musician Chadd Thomas, founder of Chadd Thomas & the Crazy Kings, was found dead on the 2600 block of South Congress on July 11. The Austin Police Department is investigating the case as a homicide after the Travis County medical examiner ruled the cause of death to be blunt force trauma; anyone with relevant information should call the homicide tip line at 477-3588.
• No charges will be filed in the December 2010 deaths of legendary Austin drummer Bill Maddox and his neighbor John DeBrecht. A Travis County grand jury decided not to prosecute Maddox's wife, Rhonda, after DeBrecht's attack on the couple in their home led to the two men's deaths. See "Naked City."
• Looks like Texas Congressman Ron Paul will beat Gov. Rick Perry into the Republican presidential nomination race. The coastal crackpot announced this week he will not seek re-election to Congress and will instead concentrate on his third presidential campaign; he ran in 1988 as a Libertarian and in 2008 as a Republican.