EDITORíS DESK: Think global, shop local

       Well, I guess that's it. Two of the Westside's three direct accesses to the downtown will be cut off in 2007 - or at least one and a half, if Cimarron stays open with two lanes - and we better hope COSMIX crews don't accidentally bust up Colorado Avenue while they're working on the I-25 bridge above it during the same time frame. Then we'll really be on our own.
       But would that be so bad? Yes, of course, if you're someone who has a job or clients east of here. I guess what I'm musing about is how desperate we are on the Westside for what's in the other parts of town. There once was a time, as readers of Mel McFarland's column know, when Colorado City was a true municipality, with a spectrum of businesses to meet people's needs... lumber yards, butcher shops, potato chip plants, hardware stores, haberdasheries, furniture stores, you name it. True, that was before Wal-Mart and Home Depot and everyone having cars, but that's not to say it's impossible to bring back such a "localness" to some degree. With every closed-off bridge, with every hike in gas prices, with every Powers-Boulevard-copy-cat-could-care-less-about-you chain store, the opportunities here, in our own neck of the woods, increase correspondingly. In such times, businesses would do well to stop gazing longingly at Briargate and start focusing on the potential customers who live in a one-mile radius. When, for instance, is the last time you were offered a coupon because you live in the neighborhood? Conversely, Westsiders might start browsing for local bargains instead of navigating their way cross-town for often-imagined savings. We might justifiably complain about items the Westside lacks - e.g., toys, electronics, sporting goods, shoe stores, a theater - but in our paper, week after week, are ads by merchants who are everyday people like yourselves and carry items you may not have realized were available so close. So that's today's message: For shopping, think community first. Who knows, come 2007, you may have no choice!

- K.J.