Will Colorado swing blue? Ask the media.

Moderator Dick Wadhams asked questions of three journalists — Chuck Plunkett, Shaun Boyd and Joey Bunch — during a discussion on the role of media in politics at a forum in Lakewood last Thursday sponsored by the Foothills Republicans. (Rick Entrom/Foothills Republicans)

Three journalists discussed Colorado’s status as a red/blue/purple state, the condition of their industry and how it impacts political coverage, and the upcoming election during a forum hosted by the Foothills Republicans.

Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Faye Griffin and her communications director Beth Clippenger at the Foothills Republicans lunch March 8. (SOS photo)

Chuck Plunkett, the editorial page editor of The Denver Post, CBS Denver’s Shaun Boyd and Joey Bunch with the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Colorado Politics fielded questions last Thursday from the audience and the moderator, former GOP chairman Dick Wadhams.

Before the start of the forum, Foothills President Rick Enstrom invited elected officials and candidates to introduce themselves, but it was Wadhams who got the biggest applause, when adding his 2 cents during a question about money in politics.

“Do away with every stupid finance law that exists,” he said. “Allow any amount of money from any entity at any time but with full and immediate disclosure and let the people decide if (the candidates) are bought off or not.”

Bunch got the biggest laughs with his homespun colloquialisms, including. “You know when a fact becomes a fact? When it gets a lobbyist.”

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Colorado’s Ken Kester: “How a public servant should be”

The life of the late Sen. Ken Kester, known for his humor , effectiveness and support for southeastern Colorado, was celebrated Monday at separate events in Las Animas and Cañon City. (Facebook: Dan Kester)

Covering the Colorado legislature was a blast and I was always reluctant to single out a favorite lawmaker because I liked so many of them, but on April 11, 2005 I  came clean.

“Do you have a favorite legislator? ” Colorado Pols, a new blog that was a must read for politicos, asked me in a Q & A.

“My press colleagues and lawmakers always tease me about Sen. Ken Kester,” was my answer. “He was so much fun in the House and he is a riot in the Senate.”

And it was true. How could you resist a guy who couldn’t resist having some fun with fellow Sen. Jim Isgar over a sex education bill.

“Isgar told me’s coming out with a bill where you’ll have driver’s training and sex education in the same car,” Kester deadpanned.

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Larimer County’s Irene Josey: a treasurer — and a treasure

Larimer County Treasurer Irene Josey sits in the the newly remodeled lobby in her office in Fort Collins. The wall of historic Larimer County photos were reproduced and framed by John Clarke Photography. Clarke was a Larimer County commissioner from 1995 to 1999. (Treasurer’s photo)

Here’s to Larimer County Treasurer Irene Josey for bringing back a bit of history to her office: a 2,500-pound safe that left the courthouse in a front-end loader in the 1970s and now graces her lobby.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan recently ran an intriguing story about Josey’s role in getting the safe back.

“The safe was built by the Mosler Safe Co. of Hamilton, Ohio, in the 1890s. In its day, it probably held money, bonds and other important documents,” the newspaper reported. “The original floral-print carpeting still covers its floor. Pasted to the inside of the safe are ‘service tickets’ from when its time lock received maintenance. The earliest dates to 1899.”

Local Realtor Sean Dougherty told Josey in March 2016 he saw the safe in a house for sale. It was built into a wall with “Larimer County Treasurer’s Office” painted above the safe door. Josey did some research and learned the safe was used in the original Larimer County Courthouse, which opened in 1887. It stayed in use until a new safe was purchased in 1964.

Read moreLarimer County’s Irene Josey: a treasurer — and a treasure

A good sendoff for a good man

Peter Blake's passions were on display at the reception after his funeral, including his life as a newspaperman -- and a darned good one.
Peter Blake’s passions were on display at the reception after his funeral, including his life as a newspaperman — and a darned good one.

I didn’t know that the late journalist Peter Blake’s middle name was Carson until his funeral Saturday, but how appropriate because it made me think of a quote from Carson the butler on Downton Abbey: “The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end that’s all there is.”

At a reception after the funeral, a room was filled with mementos of Blake’s life: journalism awards, family photos, a pennant from his beloved Philadelphia Phillies and plenty of baseball memorabilia.

Blake died Dec. 7 after being diagnosed in October with a fast-moving tumor. Up until that point, the 80-year-old was still working as a journalist and breaking stories.

When news broke of Blake’s death, a number of his former colleagues at the Rocky Mountain News remarked, “Pete was 80?” He was an ageless kind of guy.

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Journalist Peter Blake, 1936-2016: The end of an era

Journalist Peter Blake has died at the age of 80. (Rocky Mountain News/Ellen Jaskol/Denver Public Library)
Journalist Peter Blake has died at the age of 80. (Rocky Mountain News/Ellen Jaskol/Denver Public Library)

When former Rocky Mountain News reporter Peter Blake got up on his roof in mid-October to take care of the air conditioner, his wife Sandy scolded him.

“Peter, you’re 80,” she said. “You shouldn’t be walking around the roof.”

He told her he was fine, but unbeknownst to Blake, he wasn’t. He had no trouble with the roof, but by Oct. 19 he couldn’t throw a baseball and his speech was slurred. He checked himself into a hospital on Oct. 20, where he was diagnosed with a fast-moving brain tumor.

“We were in Palo Alto at the CU-Stanford game and he didn’t even tell us until the game was over because he wanted us to enjoy it,” Sandy said, recalling the visit with her son.

Peter Blake, an avid baseball fan, political insider and smokejumper, died at Denver Hospice on Wednesday. He is survived by his wife, two sons, other family members and a legion of admirers who admired the plain-spoken and tough but fair  journalist.

“Peter was a ‘high-alert’ guy,” said former Gov. Dick Lamm, noting that when his press secretary said Blake wanted an interview “you knew something was up.”

“He was always respectful, but you knew it was not going to be an easy interview. He would dig in places and come up with questions and you needed to be prepared.”

Services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, 1401 E. Dry Creek Road. A reception will be held afterward at the church.

Read moreJournalist Peter Blake, 1936-2016: The end of an era