Westside Briefs:
Starlight Spectacular to start earlier

       A start time an hour and a half earlier has been scheduled for the 18th annual Starlight Spectacular bicycle ride Saturday, June 9.
       In previous years, the starting time was midnight, but this year it will be 10:30 p.m., according to the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC), which organizes the event.
       Numbering well over 1,000 cyclists with headlights, the Spectacular is a non-competitive activity that offers designated loops of 14 or 21 miles - many of them on the Westside - which start and finish at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center. People can sign up as late as that evening for an entry fee of $45 a person (with discounts for children, seniors, families or military), which also covers a live band beforehand (Pulpit Fiction) and a pancake breakfast afterward.
       Regarding the time change, TOSC Director Susan Davies states in a press release “our cyclists love the novelty of seeing some of Colorado Springs' best attractions by moon and starlight but not all are night owls, and the previous midnight start time made for some Sunday fatigue in the past. This year they'll be able to ride, have breakfast and be in bed before 2 a.m.”
       One of the two rest stations on the route will again be Bancroft Park in Old Colorado City.
       The event is a fundraiser for TOSC, a 25-year-old nonprofit “dedicated to the preservation of open spaces and parks and the creation of a network of trails, bikeways and greenways for the Pikes Peak region,” Davies release continues.
       For more information, call 633-6884 or go to trailsandopenspaces.org.
      
       Library yarn bombing
       For the second year, the Old Colorado City Library will celebrate International Yarn Bombing Day Saturday, June 9.
       Knitters are invited to bring yarn projects to the library, there to be connected with other people's projects, with the final products to be arrayed outside the library on a tree, pillars and railings.
       The main time range will be 10 a.m. to noon, although yarn needles will be left out so that people can add to the displays later in the day and “make it as interesting as we can get it,” said library employee and event organizer Deborah Bonifas.
       “It puts the whimsy into life,” added Bonifas, who also heads up a library knitting group called Stitch-Wits. “I love it that we can do this.”
       The library is in Old Colorado City at 2418 W. Pikes Peak Ave. The phone is 634-1698.

       Hydrant flushing starting
       Starting June 4 and continuing about two weeks, Colorado Springs Utilities crews will begin working in numerous neighborhoods west of I-25, flushing area water mains through fire hydrants.
       “This program is one of the ways Colorado Springs Utilities helps to ensure the delivery and reliability of the high quality water you've come to expect and deserve,” a press release states.
       Similar work occurred in other parts of the Westside in April, according to Gail Conners of Utilities.
       For any residents noticing discolored water in their water after the flushing work, this is sediment that's been stirred up and is not a health hazard, according to Utilities.
      
       PVNA trash pickup
       Volunteers with the Pleasant Valley Neighborhood Association (PVNA) led a trash pickup day May 19.
       Several dozen PVNA-member households took advantage of the association-sponsored opportunity, with 29 dropping off hazardous waste and 35 bringing in trash items that were too big for their trash bins, according to PVNA Treasurer Sharon River Hansen.
       The PVNA has 165 members in all, with new members from the neighborhood welcome. For more information, Hansen can be contacted at sharon@counsellor.com.
      
       Guided Red Rock hikes
       Free, guided tours of Red Rock Canyon Open Space are being offered again this summer.
       Lasting 1˝-2 hours, the hikes leave the main parking lot off Ridge Road Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m.
       Reservations are recommended but not required. For more information, call iManitou (formerly the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce) at 685-5089.
      
       Arrest in armed robbery
       A man has been arrested in connection with a dozen recent robberies, including one in which police say he doused an employee with lighter fluid and demanded money at the Clarion Hotel, 314 W. Bijou St.
       The incident May 19 at about 1:30 a.m. was followed by a similar robbery attempt - in which the thief left empty-handed - that same night at the Coal Train liquor store on Uintah Street, according to Police Blotter information.

Westside Pioneer/press releases