Happy trails to Tustin Amole

“Tustin and I are proof that you can be on different sides of the political spectrum and remain close friends. However, I still remember the shock in her voice when she said, ‘You voted for Bill Owens?'”

Five former staffers for the Rocky Mountain News gathered this week to pay tribute to Tustin Amole. After she left the Rocky, Tustin became spokeswoman for the Cherry Creek School District, a job she is retiring from this month. Left to right: Kim Young, Deb Goeken, Amole, Tonia Twichell and Lynn Bartels.

My very good friend Tustin Amole retires at the end of this month as the spokeswoman for the Cherry Creek School District.

Gene Amole.

I was touched that the district asked me to speak at her going-away party Wednesday night, where the three superintendents she has worked for gushed about Tustin — and deservedly so.

As I said in a Facebook item I posted after the party, her late father, the famed columnist Gene Amole, must be busting his buttons in heaven.

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Secretary Williams hands out Enstrom’s toffee, goodwill in Taiwan

Secretaries of State Wayne Williams of Colorado, Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky, Tom Schedler of Louisiana, Chern-chyi Chen, the deputy director general of the Bureau of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs, and Secretary Mac Warner of West Virginia during this week’s visit to the Asian country.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams handed out tins of Enstrom Candies this week when visiting Taiwanese dignitaries as part of an international trade mission to Asia.

Mountains are featured on one of the tins of Enstrom ‘s toffee.

Williams is the western region vice president for the National Association of Secretaries of State. He was joined on the trip by three other secretaries of state: Tom Schedler of Louisiana, Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky and Mac Warner of West Virginia.

“The challenge with bringing Enstrom’s is that my fellow secretaries are tempted to eat it instead of giving it as a gift to our hosts,” Williams joked.

The Grand Junction-based company is known for its mouth-watering toffee. The candy is always a hit on Valentine’s Day at the Colorado Capitol.

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SOS helps open-records measure survive tumultuous journey

Sen. John Kefalas talks about his public records bill that Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law today. It was the second year in a row the Fort Collins Democrat has introduced a bill to modernize open records laws. (SOS photo)

An effort to modernize the state’s open records law died in one legislative session, spent months being studied by a working group at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, appeared destined to die again this legislative session but was reborn and finally signed into law today.

Gov. John Hickenlooper referred to its tumultuous journey.

“This is one of the bills that was hotly debated throughout the session, and really did require some gentle caressing and firm molding,” Hickenlooper said. “But when you see some very conservative components of our community and some very liberal components of our community coming together, generally you know that there’s good things close at hand.”

In urging the passage of Senate Bill 40 during committee hearings, Secretary of State Wayne Williams quoted “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” which lawmakers said likely was a legislative first.

The law now requires public records that are kept digitally to be released to requestors in that format.

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Secretary Williams to present award to Ouray High School

Evan Vann, a junior at Ouray High School, helped his school receive an award for voter registration.

When Evan Vann approached his fellow students at Ouray High School and asked if they wanted to preregister to vote, he got some lukewarm receptions.

“A few them said they really had no interest,” Vann recalled. “One of them told me, ‘I really don’t plan on voting — ever.'”

But Evan persisted, which is why Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams on Saturday will present the Eliza Pickrell Routt award to Ouray High School for its outstanding voter registration efforts. The award is given to schools where more than 85 percent of eligible seniors are registered to vote.

The presentation will be made at Ouray’s senior high school banquet. Vann, a junior, will be present.

Colorado is one of 11 states that allows residents as young as 16 to preregister to vote. The group Inspire Colorado has been working around the state to make it happen.

“Achieving the award at a smaller school is an impressive feat,” said Inspire Colorado’s Ryan Drysdale. “At Ouray, Evan and his teachers had to register nearly a dozen seniors in order to reach 85 percent.”

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Five Colorado governors offer up some advice

Secretary of State Wayne Williams with former Gov. Roy Romer, his wife Bea and their son Tom.

What a treat to visit with all five of Colorado’s living governors, who participated Thursday morning in a policy discussion on partisan politics.

They talked about their individual legacies and also offered advice to President Trump, according to The Denver Post’s Jesse Paul.

The governors: Dick Lamm, who was first elected in 1974, Roy Romer, Bill Owens, Bill Ritter and the current occupant, John Hickenlooper, who is term limited after next year.

As a reporter, I covered Owens, Ritter and Hickenlooper. I never covered Lamm or Romer but I interviewed them countless times over the years.

And while at the Rocky Mountain News, I was assigned to write Lamm’s and Romer’s obituaries and have them ready to go, you know, just in case. Yes, awkward, but Lamm was very gracious when I explained why I was interviewing him. My lede: “Dick Lamm did his duty today.”

Lamm and Romer outlived the Rocky, which died in 2009.

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