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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fremont County Colorado: Crime Evidence Dumped In Landfill, Related To Former Detective Robert Dodd & Candace Hiltz?

In case you missed the latest on the torturous saga of former detective Robert Dodd of the Fremont County Sheriff's Office, you missed some top-notch journalism from Tracy Harmon of the Pueblo Chieftain and perhaps a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel for many people in Fremont County that have been affected by obvious gross negligence in handling crime evidence.

Read the story here:

It's an amazing example of community journalism and an amazing example of citizens banding together to get justice for many, but primarily the family and friends of Candace Hiltz, who was murdered in 2006. I think most will agree that the Hiltz family had the misfortune of having Robert Dodd as one of the detectives assigned to the case.

Earlier this year, Rick Ratzlaff of Canon City went public with his discovery of evidence in the Hiltz case, found in a storage locker he purchased at auction.

Ratzlaff has publicly vowed to not only to attempt a recall Fremont County Sheriff Jim Beicker, but to help the Hiltz family and others get justice for what he considers negligence and corruption.

It turns out many more courageous people have stepped forward to get justice, when the local law enforcement system has seemed to fail or put a band-aid on a mortal wound.

According to the article published today by Harmon, it was Robert Orton, a worker at Phantom Landfill in Penrose that discovered what appeared to be dumped crime evidence, allegedly from a dumpster ordered by Dodd's wife.

Orton called Ratzlaff, who alerted Harmon who rushed to the scene before the evidence was further destroyed.

                                  Former Fremont County Sheriff's Office Detective Robert Dodd

After months of investigation in the initial Ratzlaff discovery, the CBI only charged Dodd with three misdemeanor charges.

It seems what friends and family of Candace Hiltz, and Ratzlaff, have been saying all along is true. Even the CBI didn't dig as deep as they could have.

Ratzlaff has been reported in the media as saying that all the CBI had to do was issue a warrant to search Dodd's house and they would have probably found what ended up in the landfill in Penrose.

Some people in Fremont County, like myself, who generally respect an value law enforcement, are asking the question that shouldn't even have to be brought up: What the hell is going on when average citizens with little or no law enforcement experience use common sense and raw persistence to get closer to the justice that the loved ones of Candace Hiltz, Gene Fish and others are crying out for?

And the disgraced former detective, Robert Dodd? Most of us in the community are still wondering what would posses a person whose job required above-average intelligence to dump evidence in a storage locker and bounce a check so the locker would go to auction?

And what type of person would rent a dumpster and send it off to a landfill? Wouldn't a sharp mind attempting to cover up corruption at least burn or destroy the evidence before disposing of it?

According to the Chieftain article some of the evidence was dated 2003 and 2006. We all know 17-year-old Candace was murdered in 2006.

The most basic question people are asking is: Does not some law enforcement entity OUTSIDE of Colorado care about this? Even before the latest development, even the most casual onlooker could tell outside independent enforcement needed to come in an thoroughly investigate this utter corruption and stupidity that has hurt countless people--living and deceased.

Kudos to Tracy Harmon for doubling down and not letting this go. And kudos to Ratzlaff. And now kudos to Robert Orton at the Phantom Landfill for defying his boss' orders to cover the evidence over. The article suggested Orton could be fired. If he is, I imagine it would take about two seconds for someone else to hire him.

The clock is ticking on the recall efforts of Sherriff Jim Beicker. If someone lets me know the time and places when people collecting petition signatures are scheduled, I'll post it here.

I was neutral on the recall efforts. I am no longer after today.

#FindItInFlorence --I Found A Colorado Life Magazine Writer And Photographer In Florence, The Antiques Capital Of Colorado

Today I found Colorado Life magazine staff writer, Lisa Hutchins and Joshua Hardin, the magazine's photo editor, in Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado.

Every day is a good day in our fun burg, but today was one of the best days ever.

Front row: Joshua Hardin, photo editor and photographer; Lisa Hutchins, staff writer; Elsie Ore, co-owner of Heartland Antiques and Heartland Boutique; Florence mayor Keith Ore and co-owner of the Heartland stores. Back row: Rena Pryor, manager of The Loralie Antique Mall and owner of Bizzy Bee Honey Farms: Peg Piltingsrud, co-owner of Fox Den Of Antiquity and pioneer in Florence's Antiques Capital Of Colorado status.

I've been a subscriber and admirer of Colorado Life magazine for many years. Refer to my March 2016 blog post about this remarkable magazine--written way before I knew the magazine was honoring Florence with a photo spread and story.

In that 2016 blog post, I mention the world-class writing and photography and commitment to digging deep into the real Colorado. After spending an afternoon with these friendly and professional magazine folks, I can say what I wrote over a year ago, is even more deeply felt today.

For those readers who don't live in Colorado, it might be hard to imagine that a state with so many wildernesses, geographical divides and diversity of people and scenery are tight-knit. It's true. As we were all chatting around a table at Florence's Aspen Leaf cafe, what came to the forefront is that all of us love the towns we live in, but love Colorado as a whole and it binds us together.

It's the love of Colorado that Colorado Life magazine captures perfectly in each and every issue.

Check out the magazine's website at:

You heard it here first: What happens in Florence--doesn't stay in Florence.

We rarely let anyone leave Florence without a parting gift, even if it's simply the memory of a fun and friendly welcome they can take home with them. But Joshua and Lisa were treated to some jars of Bizzy Bee Honey Farms raw honey, compliments of Rena Pryor.

We took a leisurely tour of Florence's many shops and galleries. Then we ended up at the 1923 Rialto Theater on Florence's Main St. Pictured above is,  Keith Ore, Peg Piltingsrud and Joshua Hardin discussing the fact that the partially-restored Rialto is one of Colorado's few existing theaters that have the original fly towers intact.

I know a fair amount about Florence's history and attributes, but today I learned as much about the town in a few hours than I've picked up in the last five years since I've chosen this town as home.

I'm not sure when the Florence story will appear, but when I know, I'll post it. In the meantime, those wishing to experience Colorado Life magazine, information on subscribing is at its website, or single issues are available at the check stands at the Big D Supermarket in Florence.

And I know when Colorado Life's Florence story hits the stands, I'll learn even more about our town. Best day ever!

So, will we find YOU in Florence next?

#FindItInFlorence -- I Found The Kissing Camel Women's Club In The Antiques Capital Of Colorado

So who did I find wandering the quaint streets of Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado, this time?

I saw a Grayline tour bus park on Main St. We don't often see tour buses in our fair burg, so it piqued our interest.

There was a sign on the side of the bus that read: Kissing Camel Women's Club. Kissing Camel is a community in Colorado Springs located close to the stunning red rocks and scenery of Garden of the Gods.

Naturally I was wondering about the club and why they stopped in Florence, when Ginger Hanson, the club's outgoing president, dropped into ye olde antiques mall, after a delicious lunch at the Aspen Leaf.

She said the club is simply a group of neighbors devoted to friendship, education and culture. The club was formed in 2009 to share community, friendship and fun and now has over 150 members.

 The club recently decided to enjoy short day trips to Colorado destinations and chose Florence and Canon City as one of their first adventures.

Hanson and fellow club member, Nancy Vessel, took a trip down memory lane in many of Florence's antiques stores--before heading off to tour the Abbey Winery in Canon City.

                                       Nancy Vessel and Ginger Hanson: Browsing In Florence

We're thrilled that some of the neighbors and friends that form the club decided to visit their neighbors to the south in Florence.

More information on the women's club can be located at:

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Fremont County: 18th Annual Great U.S. 50 Yard Sale, May 20 & 21

Junkers and bargain hunters unite! The 18th annual Great U.S. 50 Yard Sale is almost here and Fremont County has a whooping good time scouring every hill and dale for treasures.

This event is also called: The Nation's Yard Sale. I personally call it: The Greatest Show On Earth.

I'm still tingling over the gorgeous handcrafted twig end table I got for just $5 a few years ago at the sale. You know, the kind that usually sell for about $100 in those woodsy, lodge-type stores. But none of that around here on May 20 and 21. It's the time to NOT pay full retail, get some exercise and visit with folks.

Canon City has a huge yard sale at the Depot Park that is not to be missed. I've scored plenty a bargain there. But people set up all over the county from Penrose to Florence and beyond.

And word on the street is that there will be a big yard sale at 1009 E. Main St., across from the Big D Supermarket in Florence.

And here's an interesting story about the history of this fantastic yard sale that has become a traditon for many across our great nation:

Friday, May 12, 2017

#FindItInFlorence: We Found YOU In Florence, Colorado--Gary & Pam Holder of Pueblo

Florence is the antiques capital of Colorado. The town has the slogan: #FindItInFlorence.

I like to do a little twist on that and see if I can find YOU in Florence. You never know when or how I will pop up with my high-tech $29 cell-phone camera and a piece of scratch paper and ask you what YOU found in Florence and what you are going to do with what you found.

This time I was fortunate to find a lovely couple, Gary and Pam Holder of Pueblo shopping in Florence.

The Holders purchased a porcelain knob with SUNDRIES painted on it with a patent date of 1890. They told me they were planning on putting on their pantry door for a unique vintage touch.

Within about 10 minutes of leaving the store (in their car on the way home) they called ye olde antiques mall and asked if I could ask the antiques dealer who owned the other porcelain knobs to give them a deal if they purchased them all.

No problem. Everyone in Florence works to make visitors to our fair burg happy.

The Holders returned today and purchased the rest of the knobs to use on their kitchen cabinets.

The antiques hunters thought this would be the perfect conversation piece in their open concept home, where the kitchen can be see from many other rooms.

Now we don't kiss and tell on this blog. But the price of these antique knobs was fairly reasonable. Besides the great price and the wow factor--there was yet another reason the Holders wanted this unique find. "You simply can't find them!" Gary said.

They searched the web and a few had surfaced, but already sold and none others were available or the knobs had writing on them that wasn't as compatible with a kitchen.

I asked what the availability and prices were on reproduction knobs? Yikes! I don't condone reproductions, but I was just asking.

 OK, I was fishing around to see if Florence has the real deal for less than reproductions.

According to Gary the price for the real deal in Florence was significantly cheaper than reproduction knobs.

And these knobs are genuine apothecary knobs. Pretty cool.

Yet another example of the creative and knowledgeable shoppers we meet in Florence all the time--and yet another example of how if you #FindItInFlorence the price and uniqueness of many items here beat what's in the online venues.

And I always offer all the folks featured in We Found YOU In Florence, Colorado, the opportunity to send a picture of their completed project done from items found here. And then I'll post it on the blog so all can see the clever ways folks come up with make antiques and collectibles a part of their home and life story. And even if I didn't find YOU in Florence and you want to share what you did with an an item found in Florence, fell free to send a few pictures and a brief description for possible inclusion on this blog to:

So, will we find YOU in Florence next?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fremont Victory Quilters: Sewn With Love For Our Veterans

Most of us can agree that there is hardly a greater love and courage when a person is willing to lay down their life for their country.

And many quilters in Fremont County are showing a great love for our veterans.

Twice each month, quilters from Fremont County meet at the Elks Lodge in Florence to construct quilts for veterans, as part of the national Quilts Of Valor outreach, which also reaches out in Colorado. More information on that non-profit group is at:

Every time a quilt is sent to a veteran, the Fremont Victory Quilters send a letter to their vet. The veteran is unknown to them, but is invited to drop a note (if they wish) and tell the group a bit about themselves.

The part of the Fremont Victory Quilter letters that literally brought tears to my eyes is: "All of are of different faiths, have varied political beliefs and have strongly differing views on this war, but we united in agreement that our Service men and women should be treated with dignity and kindness. It is with this goal in mind that your quilt was created."

And these quilts are not just any quilts. They are practical and comforting--but also works of art as you can tell from the picture.

More information on the Fremont Victory Quilters is at Facebook:

If you want to see just a few of these lovely quilts, that will eventually be gifted to veterans, take a stroll to 109 W. Main St. in Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado. There is a window display dedicated to these quilters and the veterans in honor of Armed Forces Day.

The Loralie Antique Mall and Boutique is a sponsor of the Fremont Victory Quilters. Loralie Harris, owner of the antique mall and boutique is a well-known textile designer and donates fabric.

And the mall has set up a donation jar at the mall. So feel free to donate some pocket change (or even a more significant cash gift) to the quilters, so they can keep on giving back to the veterans.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Florence, Colorado: What's Worth More? Bakelite Bracelet or Littonware Microvave Casserole..

Such fun. One can opine and guess what the trends in antiques and collectibles are. I work in an antiques mall, so I can see in real time what some of the trends are.

But it's much more entertaining to me to see what actually sells for more online to see what the trends really are.

So, what's worth more? A tested bakelite bangle bracelet with hand-painted flowers OR a four-quart Littonware microwave casserole? Huh? OK, I didn't even know what a Littonware microwave casserole was until I started digging deep to see what the current trends are. I was raised in the era where microwaves were some new-fangled things that were a Death Star in disguise. Sure, I use them--but with extreme caution and suspicion. And I never suspected older microwave cooking vessels were something that great.

So, let's start with the bracelet.

Pretty. Real bakelite. Hand painted flowers.

And now, the contender.

A four-quart Littonware mictowave casserole. I know nothing about microwave casseroles and even less about Littonware. But I'm guessing Littonware is circa 1970s or 80s. This puppy has a chip in it. The bracelet does not.

And which item is worth more?

The casserole of course. It sold for $45.

The bracelet, a mere $29.