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Guest column from OWN: Who we are and what we do

       By Welling Clark, President, Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN)

       For those of you who may be new to the Westside or who may not know about us, the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) is a volunteer neighborhood advocacy group 501c(3) working to improve the Westside neighborhood while communicating the concerns of Westside citizens to the elected officials at the city and county governments.
       OWN identifies and then works through projects and efforts to make sure that the concerns of our neighbors and neighborhoods are heard by elected officials and local planning entities. We are a friendly group of volunteers, and we welcome all residents to join us in helping to make the Westside a great neighborhood to live, work and play.
       We meet every odd month on the second Thursday at the Westside Community Center from 6 to 8 p.m., which are noticed in the calendar on our web page, westsideneighbors.org. We can meet more frequently as required.
       Our next major public effort will be determining if OWN will be holding a public
A map shows how the OWN area is divided into six areas, with one representative from each, plus three at-large. After the election process at the town hall March 12, all but two positions are now filled (as shown on the map).
Courtesy of OWN
picnic in June/July, as we have done in the past.

       Welcome new board and officers (elected at the town hall March 12).
  • 2015 Officers:
           - President - Welling Clark.
           - Vice president - Mary Gallivan.
           - Secretary - Jim Thompson.
           - Treasurer - Terry Brunette.
  • 2015 board members (in parentheses - the year that the seat is up for election):
           - Area 1, Chad White (2016)
           - Area 2, Open (2018)
           - Area 3, Mary Gallivan (2017)
           - Area 4, Open (2018)
           - Area 5, Welling Clark (2017)
           - Area 6, Terry Brunette (2016)
           - At-Large 1, Linda Schlarb (2016)
           - At-Large 2, Bonnie Lapora (2018)
           - At-Large 3, Jim Thompson (2017)

           Avoiding wintertime auto theft
           Auto theft increases during the colder months because owners yield to the temptation to start their cars and let them warm up unattended while staying warm inside the home or office. Also, someone may leave a car running while doing an errand, which can end up being a costly mistake.
           Never leave your car running or the keys in the ignition when you're away from it, even for “just a minute.” Car thieves take advantage of those who leave their cars running unattended. Even if you lock the car, it only takes seconds to break a window or jimmy a door lock. Also, aside from possible loss from a theft, it is against state statute and city code to leave your keys in the ignition while your car is unattended, and officers may issue tickets in such cases.

           Code Enforcement
           Most of us try to be good neighbors and keep our houses in good shape, trash picked up, and obey the law. Recently, we had people contact OWN about an event that caused issues (illegal parking/driveways blocked, trash, noise, etc.) which are essentially code violations. The Colorado Springs Code Enforcement mission is to protect the health, safety and welfare of city residents by mitigating physical signs of urban blight and social disorder through the enforcement of the City Code of Colorado Springs.

           Important phone numbers:
           - Code Enforcement: 719-444-7891
           - Parking Enforcement: 719-444-7706
           - Graffiti Hotline: 719-634-5713
           - Yard Waste: 719-579-9103
           For more information visit springsgov.com/Page.aspx?NavID=1688
           Let's all try to be good neighbors and think about what we do and how it affects our neighbors.

           Useful Internet information links
           - Colorado Springs: springsgov.com or coloradosprings.gov
           - El Paso County: elpasoco.com
           - Call block (National): ftc.gov
           - Junk mail block: dmachoice.org
           - Fourth Judicial District (El Paso/Teller Counties): 4thjudicialda.com
           - Colorado Bureau of Investigations: cbi.state.co.us
           - Fraud information: fraud.org
           - Colorado State Government: colorado.gov
           - National Crime Prevention Council: ncpc.org
           - El Paso County Sheriff's Office: shr.elpasoco.com
           - Crime Map: aidsonline.com
           - OWN: westsideneighbors.org
           - Westside Pioneer: westsidepioneer.com

    (Posted 3/20/15; Opinion: Guest Columns)

    Would you like to respond to this column? The Westside Pioneer welcomes letters at editor@westsidepioneer.com. (Click here for letter-writing criteria.)