Another banner year for the Secretary of State’s “Go Code Colorado”

Guests, contestants and Colorado Secretary of State staff mingled before the start of this year’s Go Code Colorado competition. Left to right, Sean Williams, son of Secretary of State Wayne Williams; Tim Griesmer, legislative director for the SOS; Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert; Secretary Williams; and Jack Arrowsmith, director of the Statewide Internet Portal Authority. (SOS photo)

This year’s winners of the state’s ultimate techie competition, Go Code Colorado, walked away with $15,000 per team after creating tools that turned government data into useful information on three different fronts, including the tiny house movement.

The final competition was held Thursday at the Seawell Ballroom in Denver. Judges selected three winning teams from nine, which had been whittled down from a competitive field of participants that started with nearly 40 teams made up of more than 260 participants after the kick off in February.

“This year’s finalist teams showed an incredible breadth of ideas for how public data can help business decision makers,” said Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

The three winning teams were Carbos from Fort Collins, Adobio from Colorado Springs and Business Incentives from Grand Junction.

When I heard there was a team named Carbos, I initially thought that was the entry about food trucks. Instead Carbos leverages public data and blockchain technology to remove barriers to entry into the carbon offset marketplace.

Read moreAnother banner year for the Secretary of State’s “Go Code Colorado”

Honoring Douglas County’s Sheri Davis

Judd Choate, elections director at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, Sheri Davis with the Douglas County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, and Secretary of State Wayne Williams. Davis, who used to see oversee elections, was recognized by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday for 20 years of service. (SOS photo)

Sheri Davis celebrated 20 years of service as a Douglas County clerk and recorder employee in a ceremony Tuesday that attracted a ring of admirers, including Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

During her tenure, Davis worked in recording, then elections and now is overseeing Motor Vehicles.

Williams told the Douglas County Board of Commissioners that when he served as the El Paso County clerk and recorder his office often turned to Davis, the elections manager, “to find out what made sense, what looked like it was going to work.” That partnership continued when he became secretary of state in 2015.

Sheri Davis, who has worked for Douglas county government for 20 years, and her current boss, Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Merlin Klotz. (SOS photo)

“Thank you Sheri for all of your work. Thank you for making it so that I never had to worry, so that I could just call and say ‘Hey, had a question about this,’ and to know that when you said, ‘Yes, things are going fine,’ that that meant they absolutely were,” Williams said. “I appreciate your great work.”

Douglas County commissioners recognize employees’ years of service in five-year increments. It was Davis’ first time to appear before the board during her recognition.

“Wow, my head just really grew,” Davis told those gathered at the Douglas County board room. “I have a passion for serving the citizens of Douglas County and I hope to be able to continue to do that for a few more years. I do appreciate all the support I’ve received over the years.”

Read moreHonoring Douglas County’s Sheri Davis

SIPA: helping government go digital

Marybeth Van Horn accepted a $1,000 micro grant on behalf of the town of Moffat at an event Tuesday in Denver. With her are, left, Irv Halter, the director of the Department of Local Affairs, and to her right, Secretary of State Wayne Wiliams and state Sen. Dom Coram, R-Montrose. (SOS photo)
Jill Jolton, enterprise content management coordinator for the city of Arvada, and Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale. (SOS photo)

Government agencies big — the University of Colorado — and small — the town of Moffat, pop. 116 — rejoiced Tuesday night when accepting grants designed to help them put more information and services online.

CU received $3,000 to scan historic maps of the state published between 1880 and 1907 and put them online, and another $6,500 to digitize the state House and Senate journals back to the 1800s and make them available to the public.

The town of Moffat, located in Saguache County, received $1,000 to help update and maintain the town’s website.

“We are excited to use this SIPA grant to help increase communications, educate our citizens and create accessibility in our small rural community,” said Marybeth Van Horn of Moffat.

Read moreSIPA: helping government go digital

Secretary Wayne Williams finds future and past in Little Rock

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in 2017, where nine black school children made history in 1957 during a nationally watched battle over integration. (Wayne Williams photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams often tells the story of how the high school he attended once shut done rather than integrate, and during a technology conference in Arkansas this week he got to see where the public showdown first began.

At the conference, Williams also got to ride in a self-driving vehicle and heard from the “Elliot Ness of cyber crime.”

As for the school, a 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling ordering the integration of public schools was met with hostility. In Little Rock, nine black students were denied entrance to all-white Central High School, forcing a very public conflict between President Eisenhower and the Arkansas governor.

Wayne Williams in high school.

At Warren High School in Virginia, where Williams graduated in 1981, the school board decided to close the school rather than allow blacks to attend, which is why there was no graduating Class of 1959.

Williams said the area was still mired in backward thinking when he first attended school, which created an economic decline in the town, which is why he first got involved in politics.

“When I was 17 years old I gathered a group of friends together and we passed out literature to everyone walking into a polling place,” Williams often tells young leaders. “And through that we were able to change the power in my area from one party to my party. So I understand the importance of youth involvement.”

Read moreSecretary Wayne Williams finds future and past in Little Rock

Douglas County program: “A shining example to the rest of the state”

Douglas County Clerk Melvin Klotz, his predecessor, Jack Arrowsmith, Douglas County elections director Sheri Davis, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Douglas County School Board President Meghann Silverthorn at a board work session Tuesday night in Castle Rock. The election officials presented the board with an award for allowing high schools to partner with elections. (SOS photo)
Douglas County Clerk Melvin Klotz, his predecessor, Jack Arrowsmith, Douglas County elections director Sheri Davis, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Douglas County School Board President Meghann Silverthorn at a board work session Tuesday night in Castle Rock. The election officials presented the board with an award for allowing high schools to partner with elections. (SOS photo)

The Douglas County School District’s impressive program that uses high schools as voting centers and students as election judges grew out of frustration with the 2006 election.

That year, voters in Douglas — and Denver County — stood in long lines for hours or skipped voting.

Jack Arrowsmith, sworn in as Douglas County clerk and recorder in 2007, said a review of what went wrong determined in part the county needed better polling locations and a variety of election judges.

“Sometimes out of adversity, really good things happen,” Arrowsmith told the Douglas County Board of Education at its work study session Tuesday night.

Arrowsmith was part of a delegation of officials that presented the Board of Education with a NASS Medallion award from the National Association of Secretaries of State for “its leadership and determination in making available facilities for polling places.”

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams told the board that one county clerk wanted to install a ballot drop box outside a state-owned community college, but was turned way.

“They response they got was, ‘That’s not part of our mission,’” he said. “So I’m here to say, ‘Thank you for recognizing it is part of your mission.’”

Read moreDouglas County program: “A shining example to the rest of the state”