Westside Briefs:
Beneficial B&B Tour for OCCHS

       The 16th annual Holiday Bed & Breakfast Tour had one of its best turnouts Dec. 5, earning $4,100 in the benefit for the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS), according to Johnnie Jackson, OCCHS treasurer.
       In all, more than 400 people bought tickets that allowed tours of eight area bed & breakfasts, including the Holden House and Old Town GuestHouse on the Westside.
       “It was a beautiful day, and the B&Bs were decorated to the hilt,” Jackson said.
       The all-volunteer OCCHS owns and operates the Old Colorado City History Center, a museum and bookstore focusing on local history at 1 S. 24th St.

Led by trombonist Bill Emery, the New Century Big Band will offer its annual Christmas Party with live ballroom dance music at the Shriners Club Dec. 19. Admission is $15 (pre-discount), and the event will be from 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Courtesy of Bill Emery

       Big Band Christmas
       The New Century Big Band will host its fifth annual Big Band Sunday Christmas party on Sunday, Dec. 19 at the Colorado Springs Shrine Club, 6 S. 33rd St.
       The event will feature the band, playing dance music under the direction of trombonist/leader Bill Emery and vocalists Deborah LaPorta and Danica Kneebone. John Karrol of KRDO will be emcee, refreshments will be available, and a White Christmas gift exchange will be offered.
       Admission is $15, with discounts offered ($12 for ages 65-plus and free for ages 18 and under, and a $2 discount with a non-perishable food donation).
       For more information, call 964-9799.
       Free Christmas meals
       The Salvation Army will not offer a free meal on Christmas Day on the Westside, but two locations of its eight locations are quite close Saturday, Dec. 25:
       The Marian House, 14 W. Bijou St. from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
       Manitou Springs Town Hall, 606 Manitou Ave., from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
       “All are welcome, no reservations are required, transportation or delivery is available for those in need,” a press release states. For more information, call 636-5266.
       Streetlights, on or off?
       A year ago, when City Council shut off more than 8,000 streetlights to shave about $1.3 million from the 2010 budget, criticism was heard.
       This year, when council plans to turn most of those streetlights back on, another type of criticism has surfaced - people who think they should stay off.
       Such opinions were shared by City Council members at their Nov. 22 informal meeting. Tom Gallagher offered the view that most people got used to fewer streetlights in the past year and there is now “great anger from people about being lit up.” Streetlights should remain on at night in areas where “nefarious activities are on the rise,” he said; however, on the whole, the “various horror stories [about dark-street crime] never came to be” and “various environmental benefits” would result from having fewer lights on.
       After some discussion, a council consensus was reached, reflected by Mayor Lionel Rivera's offer to support a “green initiative” in which people could ask the city to turn off lights they don't want on.
       This option is detailed in a recent city press release stating that people who want any streetlights off should tell the city by Dec. 31 by calling 385-2852 or by e-mailing streetlights@springsgov.com.
       “After the initial call is made, all necessary paperwork must be completed and received by the city no later than Feb. 15, 2011,” the release continues. “The 'double deadline' is in place to try and balance the interests of those wishing to keep streetlights off with those wishing to have streetlights turned back on.”
       To get a light turned off, citizens living in that area must show support from 67 percent of the light's “affected neighbors” (as determined by city staff), the release adds.
       Crews are scheduled to begin turning Colorado Springs residential streetlights back on the week of Jan. 2.

Westside Pioneer/press releases