› Amid all the budget talks, City Council meets today (Aug. 22) to address a slew of agenda items, including taking public comments on the budget, hammering out the selection process for applicants looking to get in on free Google Fiber services next year, and defining ridesharing as a mode of transportation that should not involve compensation.
› Travis County District Judge Orlinda Naranjo has dismissed an appeal of a record-setting ethics fine filed by the state's highest criminal judge, Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller, after Keller agreed to pay $25,000 of the $100,000 fine levied against her by the Texas Ethics Commission after she repeatedly failed to report millions in income on campaign financial statements.
› Vince Covino said this week that the Austin Aquarium will open as planned in November, even as his brother and business partner, Ammon Covino, is being tried in federal court on charges that he illegally purchased marine animals. The pair is also facing criticism from the community after news broke that more than 200 animals died in their Portland facility this spring.
› Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McCrum has been tapped to vet charges of official coercion and bribery filed against Gov. Rick Perry by Texans for Public Justice after Perry threatened to (and then did) veto money for the Travis Co. D.A.'s office unless D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg resigned her post.
› Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gómez asked the court Aug. 21 to consider a proposal to upgrade roads around the Circuit of the Americas track without voter approval. Gómez claims the improvements will expand access to the predominantly Mexican-American region; critics say they will mostly benefit race organizers.
› School starts again on Monday, Aug. 26, but drivers need to be alert early: From Aug. 22-23, the city's Public Works and Transportation Department will be conducting tests on school zone signals, 6:45-8:30am, and 2:30-4pm.
› City officials have asked White Lodging Services to reimburse the city more than $688,200 worth of fee waivers the company received to help cover construction costs for the Downtown JW Marriott. White Lodging failed to honor its end of the agreement – prevailing wages for construction workers – so the deal is off the table. The company has 30 days to pay up.
› The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has granted federal protection to two Texas salamanders under the Endangered Species Act and designated 4,451 acres in Travis and Williamson counties as critical habitat for both the Jollyville Plateau and Austin blind salamanders. Williamson County officials are not happy.
*The man in the photo above was previously misidentified as Greezo of the League of Extraordinary G'z.