All about U — and health care

Brian Clark and Deb Goeken from the Colorado Health Institute and their wooden U. (SOS photo)

Did you know that 93.5 percent of Coloradans are insured? Well, they are. It’s right on the wooden U decorated by the Colorado Health Institute.

The health policy think tank sliced-and-diced and glue-sticked an annual report and the result is a wonderfully decorated U filled with data.

The back features columbines, the state flower, and the sides have information, too. That comes as no surprise because the work was done by Brian Clark, the associate director of visual communications for the Colorado Health Institute, and a former designer for the late, great Rocky Mountain News. In on the project was another Rocky alum, Deb Goeken, the vice president of communications for CHI.

The top of the wooden U decorated by the Colorado Health Institute.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams handed out the U’s as part of the UChooseCO campaign to help inform  unaffiliated voters that for the first time they can participate in Tuesday’s primary election, and to remind them they can only vote one ballot. If they vote both, neither will count.

The Colorado Health Access Survey is a biannual survey of 10,000 Colorado households managed by the Colorado Health Institute and primarily funded by The Colorado Trust.

The UChooseCO campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter and this blog.

Two other Rocky alums have decorated a U: former Cherry School District spokeswoman Tustin Amole — and me!

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.

SBA touts Colorado’s amazing small business success stories

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, left, and Dan Nordberg, right, the regional director of the U.S. Small Business Administration Region VIII, with the winners of the Colorado Small Business Persons of the Year award, Margot Langstaff and Elisa Hamill with LifeHealth in Littleton. The Colorado-based company provides a range of clinical health services. (SOS photo)

Check out these Small Business Administration loan success stories in Colorado: Otter Box, Chipolte, Snooze, New Belgium Brewing and more.

At an awards ceremony Wednesday in Centennial,  Dan Nordberg, regional director of the SBA’s District VIII, emphasized the impact of small businesses and the SBA in the state.

“Over the last 64 years more than 70,000 Colorado companies have financed their American dream using the SBA’s funding programs,” he said.

The ceremony was part of National Small Business Week, which includes local business events and workshops throughout the state. In addition, each state hands out awards and some recipients are honored at an event in Washington, D.C.

“It was heartwarming to see the successs of these great businesses.  More than a million Coloradans work for the more than 600,000 Colorado small businesses,” noted Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. “Our office works hard to provide common sense easy filings for every business and nonprofit across the state.”

Read moreSBA touts Colorado’s amazing small business success stories

Go Code mentor weekend kicks off at Google

The Google Boulder campus, the host of Go Code Colorado’s 2018 mentor weekend. (Go Code photo)

Go Code Colorado‘s fifth annual mentor weekend kicked off last Friday at the new Google campus in Boulder.

Go Code is a statewide business app challenge housed in the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. The award-winning challenge is the first and only statewide effort of its kind that uses public data to solve business problems. It is overseen by staffer Andrew Cole.

This year’s finalist apps focus on housing development, food trucks, childcare and transportation.

Andrew Cole explaining the 2018 “Go Code challenge coin” to the crowd on Friday. (Go Code photo)

Cole thanked the teams for helping to make public data in Colorado more accessible. He then handed out a “2018 Go Code challenge coin,” similar to challenge coins that military members receive upon finishing boot camp. He explained that the story goes if a military member is caught without his coin, drinks are on that person.

Mentor weekend provides an opportunity for all 10 teams to receive mentorship by leaders from Boom Town AcceleratorCA TechnologiesGoogleHouse of GeniusTwitter and other minds from Colorado’s tech and entrepreneurial community.

This years competition kicked off Feb. 7 in Denver. In attendance were Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his predecessor, Scott Gessler, who was in office when the Go Code Colorado challenge began, as well as various SOS staffers and Colorado lawmakers.

The challenge weekend began April 13 in five cities statewide: Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Grand Junction and Fort Collins. Two teams from each location were named finalists, awarded $2,500 each and headed to Boulder for mentor weekend April 27-29.

Read moreGo Code mentor weekend kicks off at Google

Delta County welcomes Wayne Williams

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and four election judges at the Delta County clerk’s office on Monday. The judges are, left to right, Debbie Cole, Laura Earley, Susie Johnson and Judy Briscoe. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams always gets rave reviews about Dominion Voting Systems, the firm he selected to provide voting equipment to counties statewide, but during his visit to Delta County on Monday he heard a first:

The system is so fast, so efficient, that the work of checking in ballots and checking for signatures gets done in a much shorter period of time.

Delta County Clerk Teri Stephenson and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams Monday at her office in Delta. (SOS photo)

“That means we don’t get to spend as much time together,” election judge Debbie Cole told Williams when he stopped by the Delta County Clerk and Recorder’s office to visit with Clerk Teri Stephenson and her staff.

At that lament, Williams let out a huge laugh. He told the judges he had never heard that one before.

Stephenson said the election judges told her afterward how surprised they were that the secretary of state “was such a down-to-earth, normal guy.”

“And we always brag on our election judges so it was great that Wayne got to meet some of them,” she said. “They are just an awesome group and they get along so well.”

Election supervisor Rene Loy said the volunteer election judges who showed up Tuesday were bummed they missed a visit by the secretary of state.

Read moreDelta County welcomes Wayne Williams