Westside Briefs:
Wood stove ashes cause Cucharras fire

       A fire at 1704 W. Cucharras St. caused $80,000 damage and displaced the residents Saturday morning, Nov. 27.
       Fire crews “found heavy smoke showing from the structure and initiated a fire attack with the fire under control in about 20 minutes,” according to a press release from Lt. Bill Hull of the Colorado Springs Fire Department.
       The residents were not home at the time. Two dogs that had been inside the house died, the release states.
       The cause of the fire was ashes from a wood stove that had been put in a cardboard box and left by the side of the stove. This also resulted in the stove falling through the floor into the crawl space, according to the release.
       26th&24 presentation
       A presentation on the planned transportation safety project at 26th Street and Highway 24 is scheduled at the Dec. 9 board meeting of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN).
       The meeting, which is open to the public, will start at 7 p.m. at the Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou St.
       Colleen Dawson of Nolte Associates, who is project manager for the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA), said she will give an overview of the project and answer questions.
       The work, estimated at $50,000 and expected to start in early 2011, will create offset left-turn lanes on Highway 24 to improve visibility for motorists, according to Dawson. The project was spurred by multiple left turn accidents at the intersection in recent years, putting the intersection on the city's top-10 most dangerous list in 2006.
       CSIC asks Pine Ridge help
       The public is invited to the monthly Community Dinner offered by the Colorado Springs Indian Center (CSIC) Saturday, Dec. 4 from 1 to 3 p.m.
       The location is Trinity United Methodist Church, 701 N. 20th St.
       There is no charge, but a covered dish is optional. Also, attendees are asked to bring a new toy or monetary donation for South Dakota's impoverished Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, according to CSIC spokesperson Sebrena Forrest.
       For more information, the CSIC number is 599-8630.
       Police start toy drive
       Colorado Springs Police have started their 22nd annual Christmas Toy Drive (the 11th in partnership with Christmas Unlimited and second with Teens with Promise).
       Through Christmas Day, collection boxes for the two nonprofits helping needy children will be in the lobbies of each city police station, including the Westside's Gold Hill Division, 955 W. Moreno Ave., a City Police press release states.
       Christmas Unlimited focuses on younger children, Teens with Promise on ages 13 and up.
       The toys will be delivered Dec. 20. Last year the Toy Drive resulted in presents for about 400 children in the city, the release adds.
       For more information, call the Police Department at 444-7412 or 444-7410.
       Mask event at AACL
       “After creating and designing their own original 'fantastic creature' masks, students will bring them to life on stage” at the Academy for Advanced and Creative Learning (AACL) Thursday, Dec. 9, a press release states.
       The times will be 6:30 to 8 p.m. for the “Fantastic Creature Exhibition.”
       Located at 2510 N. Chestnut St., AACL is a free public charter school that specializes in gifted education.
       The event idea arose from school study of the functions and forms of masks as well as their origins in world cultures.
       Activities will include celebrating the opening of new gallery space; hands-on exposure to “make n' take” arts and crafts; live music and a tour of the facility For more information, call 434-6566 or e-mail office@academyacl.org.

Westside Pioneer/press releases