Thanks, Arkansas Valley P.E.O.s, for letting me talk about Cottey College

Sharon Kolomitz of P.E.O. chapter W in La Junta and Lynn Bartels, a 1977 Cottey College graduate, at the Akransas Valley P.E.O. brunch held at the Koshare Indian Museum in La Junta on Aug. 26.

A while back, political consultant Greg Kolomitz was browsing through Facebook when he called out to his mother, Sharon, “Hey, Mom, Lynn Bartels went to Cottey College and she really promotes it.”

That’s how I ended up in La Junta one week ago today speaking to the Arkansas Valley P.E.O. chapters at their annual brunch about the incredible two-year college I attended from 1975 to 1977.

Sharon Kolomitz is a member of P.E.O.’s Chapter W in La Junta. P.E.O. is a philanthropic educational organization that owns and supports Cottey, which was founded in Nevada, Mo., by Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard in 1884, back when women really wanted an education and their choices were limited.

The program for the Arkansas Valley P.E.O. brunch.

I talked about my Cottey experience, and how it influenced my 35-year career in journalism and current job as spokeswoman for Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

The women laughed when I told them my friends accuse me of “Cheneying” the job, because Wayne had called me to ask about the credentials of the some of the applicants for the position.

Now, Cottey might be a small school — and “one of the finest,” as the song goes — but the Cottey connections are quite widespread.

Just ask Channel 9’s award-winning producer Nicole Vap, but more on that later.

Former state agricultural commission John Stulp is the latest example of a Cottey connection, which I discovered at the P.E.O. gathering in La Junta.

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Denver Rustlers: A Colorado tradition

Gathered for today’s Denver Rustler’s event: Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Steve Weil of Rockmount Ranch, and Wes Friednash and Josh Hanfling, who both help oversee the event. (SOS photo)

For 33 years now, Colorado’s business, civil and political leaders have worked together to make Denver Rustlers the guardian angel of both the Colorado State Fair and the rural kids who show their animals at the event.

Denver City Councilwoman Kendra Black and Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson. (SOS photo)

The Rustlers boarded three large buses today and headed south to Pueblo, where its pool of money will be used to bid on sheep, cattle and more during the Junior Livestock Sale.

“It’s one of my favorite events,” said Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who works in Denver and commutes from Colorado Springs. “It’s always nice to get outside of the metro area and visit the rest of the state.”

The event begins in Greenwood Village with an early lunch at Del Frisco’s (home of the most incredible mini corn dogs you will ever eat).

It attracts current and former governors (John Hickenlooper and Bill Ritter, respectively), current and former agricultural commissioners (Don Brown and Don Ament, respectively); members of Congress and the General Assembly, county commissioners, city council members and more.

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Here’s to the Colorado State Fair

Four Southern Colorado lawmakers on Friday helped introduce their colleagues at the Colorado State Fair legislative barbecue. From left to right, Rep. Don Valdez of La Jara, Sen. Leroy Garcia and Rep. Daneya Esgar, both of Pueblo, and Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, and Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, at the Colorado State Fair’s legislative barbecue Friday night in Pueblo. (SOS photo)

One of the best things about late August is back-to-back activities at the Colorado State Fair.

Friday night it was the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce barbecue, which draws lobbyists and legislators, the governor and cabinet members, local school board and city council members and more.

“I love the legislative barbecue each year,” said Rep. Clarice Navarro, R-Pueblo. “It’s an awesome experience to be able to showcase all that I’m so very proud of in Southern Colorado.

“The chamber never ceases to amaze me at how it draws a who’s who in Colorado to the fair that I love,” she added.

On Tuesday, attention switches to the Denver Rustlers, a group that raises money to buy livestock from kids showing animals at the State Fair.  Members of the bipartisan organization board buses in the metro area and head to the fair for the day.

“Best philanthropic day of the year,” is how Matthew Leebove, Mountain States senior campaign executive at Jewish National Fund, referred to the Rustlers’ rendezvous.

Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Rep. Jim Wilson pose with two former state lawmakers who now are on the Colorado State Fair board, Lois Tochtrop and Ron Teck. (SOS photo)

“The highlight for was the Centennial Farm awards,” said Sen. Larry Crowder, referring to the program started under former Gov. Dick Lamm in 1986.

“And everyone was on their best at the legislative barbecue!”

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Colorado politicians look upward for that total eclipse of the sun

Four state Senate Republicans walked outside the state Capitol in Denver to observe Monday’s eclipse. They are Ray Scott of Grand Junction, Kevin Grantham of Cañon City, Don Coram of Montrose and Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling. Denver’s City-County Building is in the background. (Photo by Sean Paige/Colorado Senate GOP)

The 2017 eclipse has come and gone, but the pictures are forever — and thank goodness for that because some are spectacular.

In my book, winner-winner chicken dinner of political photos goes to Sean Paige, spokesman for the Colorado Senate Republicans, who got an amazing shot of four caucus members, including Senate President Kevin Grantham, looking into the sky with their special glasses.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and plenty of other elected officials, including county clerks and their staffs, got into the action, posting their photos on Facebook and Twitter. Colorado Politics’  Erin Prater put together a string of tweets and photos from various politicos. It’s a fun read.

Bring on the “Hot Sauce” for another year of state league co-ed softball

It’s been another great year for the Colorado Secretary of State’s co-ed softball team, Hot S.O.S. Front row, left to right: player and manager Hilary Rudy, Tiffany Long and Terri Long. Middle row: Nick Severn with the Department of Personnel and Administration, Kim Taylor, Brad Lang, Caleb Thornton and Kelsey Klaus, with her son AJ in the carrier. Back row: Robb Madison, Kyle Dostart, Kris Reynolds and Alex Klaus, husband of Kelsey. (Photo by Meg Lang)

By Lizzie Stephani

The Colorado Secretary of State’s co-ed softball team didn’t win any league trophies this year, but took home something more important: a reputation for being nice and fun.

The team is named Hot S.O.S., which is pronounced “Hot Sauce.” Its goal is to have a good time, said Coach Hilary Rudy, the deputy elections director.

Hot S.O.S. participates in the state’s co-ed softball league, which has been around since the 1960s.

The 14 teams are comprised of employees across various state agencies, such as the Department of Education and the  Department of Natural Resources. In line with the league’s laid-back nature, each team came up with its own creative name. The Legislative Council’s team is Capitol Offense while History of Colorado is Relics.

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