Bell Tower presents ‘All Things Celtic’ art show in February

From traditional Celtic crosses and knots to the more whimsical leprechauns and unicorns, the Florence Arts Council will feature “All Things Celtic” during its next art show, running from Friday, Feb. 27 to Tuesday, March 31 at the Bell Tower Cultural Center, 201 E. Second St. in Florence.

“We hope that this will be a very diverse show with wide assortment of subject matter,” said event organizer, Peg Piltingsrud, noting that the show will feature a variety of media, including paintings, drawings, stained glass, cross stitch, wood carving and pottery.

An artists’ reception is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27 at the Bell Tower. The public is invited to attend the reception to vote for “People’s Choice” of first, second and third places.

The public is also invited to enjoy a concert from “Willson & McKee” at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 14 at the Bell Tower. The group plays a variety of instruments, including the Celtic harp, accordion, dulcimer, bodhran, bouzouki, guitar and bagpipes. Tickets are $8 for members and $10 for non-members and can be purchased at the door or at the Fox Den, 123 W. Main St. in Florence.

For more information about the art show or concert, contact the Bell Tower at (719) 784-2038.



Letter to the Editor- A response to Traci Hibbard

By: Adam C. Mokhriby


This is a response to an article authored by Traci Hibbard which unfortunately made a false legal claim as well as being misleading. This article is an attempt to clarify the current legal situation to anyone who may have been misled by Hibbard’s claims. I’d like to bring your attention to this quote from Hibbard’s article, “School prayer is unconstitutional and illegal in a public school. There is no gray area here.” I Imagine the millions of students who choose to pray before eating, the thousands of religious clubs that openly pray on school property, as well as the school boards, principals and the Department of Education that knowingly allow this activity will be quite surprised to learn that school prayer is unconstitutional and illegal! Is it possible that school boards, principals, and attorneys are uneducated on this subject? There is another possibility however: prayer always has been, and most probably will always be, not merely legal but in fact protected underneath free exercise of religion and free speech rights. Though admittedly with a few provisos which will be mentioned in part below. Court cases such as Westside Community Board of Education v. Mergens guarantees the constitutionality of school prayer while other court cases limit school prayer such as when Hibbard mentions in her article the court case: Lee v. Weisman, which found that prayer during graduation by a clergy member was in violation of the Establishment Clause. But that is a far cry from what Hibbard would have you believe, for in her article it is clearly implied that Lee v. Weisman found all prayer at school unconstitutional which is extremely misleading to the actual ramifications of the decision. To go through every court case would make this article too long, so I will attempt to summarize the current legal situation; if you want a more detailed understanding sources are widely available online. A Summation by the FFRF, (an organization which is far from being religiously friendly), “Individual, silent, personal prayer never has and never could be outlawed in public schools. The courts have declared government-fostered prayers unconstitutional – those led, required, sanctioned, scheduled or suggested by officials.” In guidelines written for school districts by the Anti-Defamation League they state, ” a school district must never, in whatever it does, appear to endorse or disapprove of religion.” You see a student will always have the right to pray, and a religious club will always have the right to exist, just as a chess club would. Problems only arise when the school can be seen as showing favoritism/endorsement to a religion, or a religious lifestyle, or if a student’s display of religious practice is disruptive to the class and/or classmates. Claiming that prayer at school is illegal, is inaccurate. The moral, (which is really for everybody): before you spread a falsehood, spend a few minutes of your time to verify the validity of your claim.

Robert Macklin

After struggling with a long term illness, our Beloved, Robert “Bob” Macklin passed away at home on February 9th, 2015. He was a loving and kind Man; father, husband, son, brother, uncle, grandfather, and all those who knew him loved him like family. He was preceded in death by his father, Wilbur “Mack” Macklin; and his parents-in-law, Frances and Floyd Kern. His memory lives on in the hearts of those survived by him; his wife of 40 years, Sherri Macklin; mother, Dorothy Macklin; brother Barry Macklin, nieces, nephews, and families; his children, Carissa Macklin, Blake (Alison) Macklin, Noel Macklin, Dusty (Jenny) Macklin, and Karen Hall; and the lights of his life, his grandchildren, Ben, Sam, Lillia, Kaylee, Landon, and Noah Macklin who has also preceded him in death.

Bob was born in 1951 in McPherson, Kansas. He attended Lamar Junior College and later spent his working days with Safeway. Though his work was stressful and demanding, he loved it and was extremely accomplished and decorated in his field. During his off time you needed only look outdoors to find him. Gardening was more of a passion for him than a hobby as evidenced by an abundance of delicious vegetables he enjoyed sharing with everyone. If he was not in the yard, he was out in the woods. As an avid fisherman, he would comb the wilderness in search of the one that got away, often returning with a basket-full and stories to tell. More than anything, he loved to laugh and could always be found with a smile on his face. As a master of conversation you could always county on his quick wit and unmatched humor. He will be deeply missed.

Memorial Service will be at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at the Holt Chapel of the Garden in Canon City, CO. Arrangements are under the care of Holt Family Funeral Home. Online condolences @ www.holtfamilyfuneralhomes.comRobert “Bob” Macklin

Mildred Ruth Longaker

Mildred Ruth (Denman) Longaker was born October 4, 1921 in Bushyhead, OK, to Bessie Pearl (Dodson) and Roy Arthur Denman. After owning and working farms and feed stores in OK and New Mexico, the family moved to Canon City, CO in 1926. They bought and operated a grocery store, gas station, and cider mill on East Main. While attending Canon City High School, she met and married Kenneth Longaker in 1938. Kenneth worked for the Canon City Daily Record for 50 years and Mildred (Millie) worked at J.C. Penney’s for 31 years, along with working at McDonalds and Thomson’s Health Store until her retirement. She was a member of the First Christian Church and taught Sunday school for many years, also helping in the Library. She was a member of Business & Professional Women’s club and an Elkette.

Millie loved all people and was a smiling face on Main Street for over 30 years. She loved nature and always took time to stop and see its beauty. She loved feeding the birds and squirrels wherever she lived. She was an avid walker and hiker. When she was in her 60’s, she hiked to the bottom and back up of the Grand Canyon carrying her tent, sleeping bag, and food. She walked daily at the Arkansas River Walk with her many dear friends. She and husband Kenny, jeeped most all of the Colorado backroads, fishing all along the way.

Her last four years, were spent in Nampa, Idaho, to be near her family. She lived in Sunny Ridge Retirement Center where she continued to walk, feed the birds and squirrels, and made many new friends. She passed away there, February 6, 2015, and she is now with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

She is survived by her daughter, Connie Lorene Hook (Tom, deceased); two grandchildren, Theron Thomas Hook (Wendy) and Tristan Kenneth Hood (Jolynn); four great grandchildren, Thane, Chandra, Timothy, and Jocelynn Hook, all living in Murphy, Idaho; and many nieces and nephews, who all loved her dearly.

Her positive attitude and winning smile will be greatly missed. As she always said, “keep looking up!”

Visitation will be at 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at Wilson Funeral Home with Graveside Service following at 10:30 a.m., at Mountain Vale Memorial Park. A Memorial Service will then follow that morning at 11:30 a.m. at the First Christian Church in Canon City, CO.

Arrangements are under the care of Holt Family Funeral Home. Online condolences @

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Stanley E. Niemiec

Stanley E. Niemiec, 65, of Cañon Cit, Co died, Monday ( January 5, 2015).

He was born in Passaic, New Jersey.

Surviving are his daughter, Christina Glennon, his son, Stanley Niemiec Jr., Sister, Christine Cornelius of Sarasota, FL, brother, Peter Niemiec of Manville, NJ., Sister, Maria Fuger of Sarasota, F, two grandchildren, three nieces and four nephews.

Predeceased by his parents, the Reverend  Stanley Niemiec and Jean Niemiec.

Stan will be missed by his family and friends.


Irene Ruth Saucy Roechel

Irene Ruth Saucy Roechel 93 went to be with her Lord Jesus on November 26, 2014 in Hesperia California. Born February 7, 1921 to Lenora Eva Saucy and John George Saucy.

She was married to Edward Earl Roechel on January 27, 1948. She leaves 7 children Myrna Stanton, Daniel Silano, Janet Avolio, Earl Roechel, Nancie Burton, Kenneth Roechel, Barbara Plascencia. There is also numerous grandchildren, Great Grandchildren and Great Great Grandchildren. She was proceeded in death by her mother, father, sister Geri Richlich, brother Arnold Saucy, her husband Edward Roechel, and daughter in-law Gloria Roechel. She was loved by her family and is greatly missed.

A memorial of her life is to take place on February 21, 2015 at 10:00 am at Sunnyside Christian church 2025 N. Murray Blvd Colorado Springs Colorado.

Marjorie Alice Atwood

Marjorie Alice Atwood, 82, passed away February 10, 2015 in Canon City, Colorado. She was born in Goodland, Kansas on January 29, 1933 to Frederick and Eva (Stafford) Doerfer.

Marjorie is survived by her husband, Harry Atwood, Sr.; her children, Sandra Sherwood and Debbie (Larry) Turner; daughter-in-law, Colleen Atwood; grandchildren, Jennifer (Chris), James (Sonya), Rebecca, Sarah (Chris) Seth (Danielle) and Ciaran; great grandchildren, Blaise, Jacob, Eleora, Abbi, Ehryn, Lillian, Emmitt, Lilly, Daisy, Elexander, and Draven; special niece, Twila Shoaf; and numerous other extended family members. She was preceded in death by her son, Harry Atwood, Jr. in May, 2014; her parents; and three sisters.

Funeral Services will be at 1:00 p.m., Friday, February 13, 2015 at the Holt Family Florence Historic Funeral Home at 120 N. Pikes Peak Avenue, Florence, CO. Interment will follow at Union Highland Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Sangre de Cristo Hospice – West, 601 Greenwood Ave., Canon City, CO  81212.

Arrangements under the care of Holt Family Florence Historic Funeral Home. Online condolences @