Goodbye to the Renaissance Man, Roger Johnson. Rest in peace.

Roger Johnson at a Broncos game with his two sons, Gunnar, left, and Chris, right. (Johnson family photo)

You have to be intrigued by a guy who brings a guitar to a Christmas party and sings — the Wabash Cannonball?

Yup, Roger Johnson loved that song and plenty of other music. He was first chair in violin in high school and named his daughter, Amy, after his violin teacher. He also loved Rhapsody in Blue, which was played at his memorial service on Sunday.

I only met Roger one time but his youngest son, Chris Johnson, is Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ executive assistant, so I heard plenty about the man whom attorney Brian McConaty eulogized Sunday as a “larger than life character.”

Johnson was a doctor and a lawyer who was proud to have started the Knife and Gun Club at Denver General when he was in the ER.  He and his wife Gail Laxalt Johnson dined at the White House with President Reagan. Johnson shared his prize-winning tomatoes with everyone.

“The term ‘Renaissance Man’ is perhaps overused these days but never more accurately applied than to Roger,” McConaty said during the service.

Gaspar Perricone, who played for Northwesterrn University, and went on to become a Colorado judge.

Roger Johnson was born Oct. 23, 1928, and died May 29, 2018. He was 89. He is survived by his wife and seven children he loved to talk about. (Here is his obituary.)

Johnson attended Northwestern University where his roommate was Coloradan Gaspar Perricone, the star running back for the team when the Wildcats won the Rose Bowl in 1949 . Perricone invited Johnson to Colorado for a visit and that was it. Colorado is where Johnson wanted to live.

Johnson and Perricone were avid skiers. To pay for their lift tickets, they would play guitar and sing at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen. Both men graduated from the University of Denver School of Law and went into the Army.

Perricone went on to become a District Court judge in Colorado. Johnson went on to earn his medical degree at the University of Colorado.

“He would go to medical school during the day and then do the legal briefing work … in the evening with some court people complaining that he smelled like formaldehyde from his Anatomy Lab,” McConaty said.

Read moreGoodbye to the Renaissance Man, Roger Johnson. Rest in peace.

Another banner year for the Secretary of State’s “Go Code Colorado”

Guests, contestants and Colorado Secretary of State staff mingled before the start of this year’s Go Code Colorado competition. Left to right, Sean Williams, son of Secretary of State Wayne Williams; Tim Griesmer, legislative director for the SOS; Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert; Secretary Williams; and Jack Arrowsmith, director of the Statewide Internet Portal Authority. (SOS photo)

This year’s winners of the state’s ultimate techie competition, Go Code Colorado, walked away with $15,000 per team after creating tools that turned government data into useful information on three different fronts, including the tiny house movement.

The final competition was held Thursday at the Seawell Ballroom in Denver. Judges selected three winning teams from nine, which had been whittled down from a competitive field of participants that started with nearly 40 teams made up of more than 260 participants after the kick off in February.

“This year’s finalist teams showed an incredible breadth of ideas for how public data can help business decision makers,” said Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

The three winning teams were Carbos from Fort Collins, Adobio from Colorado Springs and Business Incentives from Grand Junction.

When I heard there was a team named Carbos, I initially thought that was the entry about food trucks. Instead Carbos leverages public data and blockchain technology to remove barriers to entry into the carbon offset marketplace.

Read moreAnother banner year for the Secretary of State’s “Go Code Colorado”

Tim Jackson: U light up my life

Blue …
Green …

The “ubiquitous Tim Jackson, CEO and president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, came up with a novel way to decorate his wooden U: He wrapped it in LED lights.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is handing out the U’s as part of the @UChooseCO campaign to educate unaffiliated voters. The campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO.

At least every week day between now and the June 26 primary the Secretary of State’s office will highlight a wooden U or two. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.

Orange …
Red …

Secretary Williams announces the launch of new business start-up tool

Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne today launched MyBizColorado, a tool designed to simplify registering a business and obtaining state licenses and registrations.

The MyBizColorado tool creates a single system for new businesses to interact with multiple state agencies responsible for new businesses, including the Secretary of State’s office. The tool works on your computer, tablet, and smartphone. It is tailored to the needs of the small business users instead of state agencies.

The lieutenant governor kicked off the press conference by expressing her excitement about MyBizColorado.

Secretary Wayne Williams shares his experience with starting a business as Tony Gagliardi, Colorado state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and Gov. John Hickenlooper look on. (SOS photo)

“In an excellent example of collaborating across government,”she said. “You’re going to hear from the secretary of state and the sovernor about delivering a product with real value for people looking to do business here.”

Colorado businesses are required to register with the Secretary of State’s office.

Williams explained how he stopped working for a large law firm to start his own business and how difficult it was because there was really no help or guidance.

“The purpose of MyBizColorado is to walk you through the process by asking you questions and doing it in a user-friendly fashion,” he said. “Whether it’s registering your business, establishing eligibility for tax withholding, unemployment insurance, or any steps you need to take to establish a business, it is designed to be focused on the users.”

Hickenlooper is familiar with the struggles of starting a business. He founded Wynkoop Brewing Co. in the late 1980s.

“That experience and how much paperwork there was and how much red tape there was, was really the provocation that took us to try and address these things,” the governor said.

Read moreSecretary Williams announces the launch of new business start-up tool

All about U: Denver Chamber

Kelly Brough with the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce speaks at a kickoff for the UChooseCO campaign targeted at unaffiliated voters at a news conference in Denver in April. Two decorated wooden U’s sit on the podium. (SOS photo)

The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce was a big supporter of a 2016 ballot measure to allow unaffiliated voters to automatically participate in primary elections so of course chamber president and CEO Kelly Brough was invited to speak this year at a kickoff to talk about what those voters needed to know.

Mainly, don’t spoil it.

Unaffiliated voters who did not indicate a ballot preference — whether they wanted a Republican ballot or a Democratic ballot — will automatically be sent both when clerks mail out ballots this week to in-state voters. If a voter marks up both ballots, for example, a Republican candidate for treasurer and a Democratic candidate for attorney general, neither ballot will count. Only vote one ballot.

The U decorated by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams launched the @UChooseCO campaign to educate unaffiliated voters. The campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO.

“By allowing unaffiliated voters to vote, we believe our elected officials will be rewarded for solving problems and finding solutions,” Brough said at the Denver kickoff.

“… This is all about being fair and in Colorado we like things to be fair.”

Williams also has handed out wooden U’s and asked recipients to decorate them.

At least every week day between now and the June 26 primary the Secretary of State’s office will highlight a wooden U or two. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.