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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Colorado raffle drawings offer big dreams, help nonprofit licensees

Children’s Hospital dream home in the Bonnie Brae neighborhood of Denver. (Photo courtesy of Children’s Hospital Colorado)

Each year the Colorado Secretary of State’s office issues hundreds of raffle licenses.

And three nonprofit licensees — The Boys and Girls Cub of Metro Denver, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Colorado — offer a dream home as the grand prize.

Raffle tickets for the three nonprofit licensees range from $100 to $150.

The Boys and Girls Club offers a safe place for children by providing after-school programs, a meal, help with homework, or whatever else a child may need. A membership is only $2 annually for a child, thanks to fundraising events such as the “Dream House Raffle.” The slogan is “Your chance to win is their ticket to thrive.”

The grand prize this year is a 9,500-square foot house in the Stapleton/Lowry area.

The winner is offered the option to forgo the house and take $2 million in cash instead. Shannon Bee, the Secretary of State’s office’s bingo & raffle supervisor, said Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver has been doing successful house raffles since 1995.

The Boys and Girls Club four-bedroom, seven-bathroom dream home in the Stapleton-Lowry area. (Photo courtesy of Boys and Girls Club)

Children’s Hospital of Colorado does not offer a cash option but it does cover the cost of one year of taxes on their dream home as well as some of their other top prizes.

Children’s Hospital Colorado is the leading center for children’s health in their seven-state region. Children’s pioneers new methods of treatment and care made possible through fundraisers such as the mighty millions raffle.

In addition to dream homes, prizes such as cars, vacations, gadgets and various other items are raffled off.  The dream home offered this year is in Denver’s Bonnie Brae neighborhood.

St. Jude also conducts dream home raffles in Colorado among other states. The nonprofit licensee offers two homes in Colorado this year, one in the Denver area and one in the Colorado Springs area.

For St. Jude, it’s a win-win situation. Winners receive their dream home and are helping to end childhood cancer. St. Jude research hospital offers their services to patients and their families free of charge thanks to donations and raffles like the Dream Home giveaway.

Arapahoe High’s Ben Timmons: a true Warrior

Arapahoe High School Warrior Ben Timmons, whose father Trevor works at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. (Timmons photo)

By Julia Sunny

Around the Secretary of State’s office, Trevor Timmons is rarely seen without his Arapahoe High School lanyard around his neck — his son Ben is one of the team’s star basketball players.

Ben Timmons, who thought his career was over because of two back-to-back injuries, ended up helping the Warriors earn a berth in the Sweet 16 this season.

“He is big and talented,” Trevor said of his 6-foot-7, 220-pound son.

When Trevor’s not in meetings dealing with cyber security and other issues — he’s the Secretary of State’s chief information officer — he’s doing duty as president of the boys’ varsity basketball booster board.

Trevor also tweets out the Warriors’ progress during the games.

Ben isn’t the only tall guy in his family. His younger brother, Bryce, is 6 foot 2, and their grandfather was 6 foot 4.

“I’m the smallest guy in my household,” said Trevor, who is 6 feet tall.

Read more

Colorado’s state elections director rises to NASED president

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his elections director, Judd Choate, in Washington, D.C. (SOS photo)

Colorado’s state elections director, Judd Choate, was sworn in Thursday night as president of the National Association of State Election Directors.

When administering the oath, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams talked about Choate’s unrelenting commitment to his beloved University of Kansas basketball team. Williams assured onlookers that Choate would apply that same passion toward his leadership of the organization and its goal for elections excellence.

Among those in the crowd: Matt Masterson, one of three commissioners with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

“Thanks to the leadership of Secretary Williams and Judd Choate,  Colorado is a national leader in elections,” Masterson said. “As president of the State Election Directors, Judd will have a platform to lead and share the great work done in Colorado.”

The organization, referred to as Nass-ed, holds its winter conference in Washington, D.C., at the same time the National Association of Secretaries of State meets.

“Election directors can adopt policies to increase voter turnout,” Choate said. “I hope to use my year as president to encourage the adoption of these policies.”