EDITORíS DESK: God rest ye merry volunteers

       I've got to keep this short. There's this bearded guy in a red and white suit who keeps tapping on my window.
       So what do you think about 2010? Nothing like trying to work up a Westside Stories of the Year article to get immersed in what's been going on here over the past 12 months. What kept hitting home to me, as I read back through the Westside Pioneer articles, was the yoeman efforts by so many volunteers to preserve so many of the wonderful city amenities that would otherwise have been lost - perhaps for good. Consider the Westside Community Center. The buildings there might have been boarded up by now because the city no longer had the money to subsidize the operation at the old 80-20 ratio. I doubt the facility will ever be a cash cow for anyone, but Woodmen Valley Chapel volunteers are doing a great job putting life into the place. Then there's Rock Ledge Ranch. Another board-up job thwarted, thanks to the ranch's friends group, the Living History Association. And how about all those neighborhood parks, with so many individual citizens or groups or businesses stepping up to pick up, clean up, weed or lug trash cans?
       Yes, the city is financially better off this year, although the budgetary lifeline in some cases is hardly more than a short piece of rope. The Community Center has to keep looking for cost efficiencies; Rock Ledge may be in fundraiser mode forever. Somewhere out there I hear Scrooge saying the city just isn't run by the right people; otherwise he might consider helping out. But at my window, I see the bearded guy has brought a friend. Hey, Bob Cratchit - let's have a toast. Here's to Christmas and a better new year.

- K.J.