EDITORíS DESK: Now that summerís here (we think)...

       Maybe it really is safe to come out now. Who would have thought that in the year of the Winter That Would Not Leave, Territory Days would slip through without a raindrop, let alone a snowflake?
       Anyway, with summer at last before us (or so it seems), we can look ahead to a bounty of warm-weather Westside fun. The Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center is not a bad place to start. I'm often surprised to meet locals who've never gone there. The common assumption is that it's just for tourists, but if you check the offerings in our Westside Happenings you'll see that's not the case. What more can you ask, if you like a little exercise and have even the slightest curiosity about nature, than to join a walk with a specialist in a subject such as birds (June 6), insects (June 8), photography (June 9) or prairie falcons (a chance to see a nest) every Wednesday? Other such walks leaving from the center are scheduled during the summer and are instructive about geology, wildflowers and even bats.
       Additional neato keen Westside offerings include, in no particular order, the three outdoor jazz concerts at Bear Creek Park, the first of which will be June 9; the opening of the Rock Ledge Ranch summer season June 5 (not forgetting that the city-forsaken facility needs every donated dollar it can get); the Saturday Farmers' Market and Old Colorado City History Center art/garden fairs on 24th Street, starting June 12; the "Roundup" at the Westside Community Center June 26; the seven weekly Paint the Town Blue concerts in Bancroft Park, starting July 1; and the annual Organization of Westside Neighbors Picnic Aug. 1, also at Bancroft.
       If you feel like volunteering, the Palmer Land Trust has a June 12 workday at the 24-acre Mesa Wildlife Preserve (another of those Westside "secrets"), and the Friends of Red Rock Canyon will upgrade the Contemplative Trail June 20 and is planning other days to get those lousy noxious weeds.
       Long and short of it: Things could be worse than to be on the Westside in the summer of 2010. (As long as the weather holds.)

- K.J.