“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man” (or woman).

– Benjamin Franklin

Well folks, looks like we’ve got 2009 whittled down to just a few hours. For some, we’re sure, that means party time, and if you’re looking for party places or just a good way to wind down the old year and bring in the new, we’re here to list a few.

But, do understand, no one said we could be the social chairman. All we’re doing here is reporting what we know, and we don’t know any more than we’re telling.

Personal responsibility people, that’s what we’re talking about. If you’re imbibing, please let someone else – a clean and sober someone else – do the driving. Party if you want to, but be safe and be careful. And hey – you know, if you’re outside the city limits proper, there’s no burn ban and you can shoot fireworks like – well, we were thinking of saying like it’s 1999, but no one here can remember 1999 that well.

Y2K? What was that about?

Anyway, it’s the present, and here’s what we’ve got.

Beat the Clock Run

Runners can start 2010 off in stride by participating in the first “Beat the Clock 5K Charity Run,” benefiting the Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter here and sponsored by Brownwood Fitness Center and The Loop Running Club.

Registration for the race is at 10 p.m. at Fabis Park (fee is $20) and the run is scheduled to begin at 11:30 p.m. An awards ceremony will follow the race – probably just after the New Year arrives.

Awards will be given to the top male and female overall, as well as to the top male and female in the following age groups: 11 and under, 12–19, 20–29, 30–39, 40–49, 50–59, 60–69 and 70-plus.

Water and snacks will be available to all participants following the race. Be prepared for cold and/or wet weather and no make-up date or refunds of the race fee are scheduled since entry fees benefit the Brown County Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Feel like dancin’?

• North Lake Brownwood American Legion Post 470, at Harbor Point, is hosting a New Year’s Eve Dance from 8 p.m. to midnight. A $10 donation gets you in the door and it’s BYOB, with no cooler charge. All of the donation money goes to the benefit of local legion programs. A deejay will keep the music going and song requests are welcome. There’ll be party favors, black-eyed peas and cornbread for all guests.

• And at Elk’s Lodge, 1070 W. Commerce, there’ll be some dancing going on to the music of Barrick and The Critters. Music starts at 8 p.m. and goes to midnight. For midnight refreshments, there’s the traditional good luck fare of black-eyed peas, cornbread and sausage. U-m-m-m-m, u-m-m good.

Learn to Zumba

Brownwood Fitness Center, 104 Center Ave., is hosting the Zumba New Year’s Bash starting at 5:30 p.m. and lasting until 7:30, or longer.

There’s gonna be prizes for the first and best with the new steps, some fun and refreshments. There’s no admission, come for the fun for free. Door prizes as well as new music and choreography are planned. For more information, call Cookie at 641-3488.