EDITORíS DESK: Westside thankfulness

       The last couple of issues I've harped about the Highway 24 expansion plans, and I could harp some more, based on the state's apparently blasť attitude toward Westsiders' views, but you know what? Thanksgiving is coming up, so it feels much more seemly somehow to go the other direction today and use this space to list things I'm thankful for here on the jolly old Westside.
       How about, to start with, Highway 24 the way it is now? I never thought I'd feel affection for that landscape-challenged corridor (makes you wonder, if the state can't trim the weeds there, how does it expect to build a freeway? But enough of that). The four lanes now seem... well, civilized.
       The trees. If you've ever seen century-old photos of this area, you've noticed right away that back then there was almost no foliage. This was barren land, and it looks so much friendlier now.
       The locally owned stores. What a contrast the Old Colorado City area is to the corporate facelessness of Academy or Powers boulevards. So many of the shops here are still run by the people who own them. They know their merchandise inside and out, are proud of what they have, and (in a number of cases) made a lot of it themselves.
       The wonders of nature. Where else in the world could you have parks like the Garden of the Gods and its near-equal, Red Rock Canyon? These are treasures we get for free (although it was great to learn that citizens donated more than $150,000 this summer to aid Garden restoration - such generosity is also something to be thankful for).
       The history we have here. What a sense of place the Westside has. It's the original town at the foot of Pikes Peak (a decade before General Palmer, by gar). It was (briefly) the territorial capital. It had trains and gold mills.
       Last (but far from least), the people. We've come to know many of you folks since this paper started, and we're thankful for all your support.

- K.J.