Tom Noel, also known as Dr. Colorado, to appear for Colorado Day

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and University of Colorado Denver history professor Tom Noel, after stepping of a 16th Street Mall shuttle bus on Monday. (SOS photo)

One of the best things about riding the 16th Street Mall shuttle is you run into folks you know, including Tom Noel, a lover of history, particularly Denver and Colorado history.

It turns out Professor Noel, or Dr. Colorado as he is known, on Monday was hitching a ride to his barber so he would look spiffy for Colorado Day today when Noel and other members of the new State Historians Council will be introduced to the public at History Colorado. Noel will lead the group.

I was happy to introduce Noel to my boss, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who asked, “What’s a state historian?”

Read moreTom Noel, also known as Dr. Colorado, to appear for Colorado Day

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!

All about U — and me!

My wooden U, painted my favorite color and adorned with some of my favorite things.

The only thing I knew when I started decorating my wooden U is that I would paint it turquoise and put my “I want my Rocky” pin on it.

Then I scoured through my dresser drawers and visited craft and hobby shops. On a road trip to Jackson and Grand counties with Secretary of State Wayne Williams I bought a “I ♥ Colorado” key chain to glue to the side of the U. “I think I’m up to $60,” I told the boss.

The secretary is handing out the U’s as part of the @UChooseCO campaign to educate unaffiliated voters that they can participate in the June 26 primary election, but they can only vote one ballot. The campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO.

See that “L” on top of my U next to the miniature telephone? I was thinking of spelling “Lynn” out on one of the U legs but the block letters were too big. I liked the L next to the phone because I am always on one. The sack of letters cost around $7 and I’ve got a whole bag of them.

I particularly like the dogs. Those were plastic buttons from Michaels and I cut the backs off with a wire cutter I borrowed from our IT department. I also bought a tiny dog food and water bowl, but decided not to use it.

Read moreAll about U — and me!

All about U: Wellington Webb

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his decorated U. In 1991, he was elected Denver’s first black mayor and went on to serve three terms.

Here’s to former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his staff at Webb Group International for their iconic U.

Colorado Secretary of State Williams is handing out the wooden U’s as part of the office’s UChooseCO campaign, which stresses to unaffiliated voters that they can’t vote both the Democratic and Republican ballots they will receive for the June 26 primary. They have to pick just one ballot. If they vote two, neither will count.

The Webb group’s Josh Miller went all out. He ignored the colored markers in the UChoose box and bought paint. The result is a U with Denver’s logo, a tennis shoe and a shoelace.

After all, the story of Webb and his size-12 sneakers is a part of Colorado’s political history.

The Rocky Mountain News, which endorsed underdog Wellington Webb in Denver’s 1991 mayor race, focused on his sneakers in an ad congratulating him after his victory.

Out of money in his first race for mayor, Webb announced he would campaign on foot, spending the night in supporters’ houses as he traversed the city, traveling only by bus. The press corps, robust in those days, followed to see if Webb was keeping his word.

At the time, Webb was third in polls that gave him only 7 percent of the vote.

Webb went on to serve three terms as Denver mayor, and was succeeded in 2003 by brewmeister John Hickenlooper, who now is governor of Colorado — and who has yet to decorate his wooden U!

Miller suggested that Secretary Williams donate the U’s to the History Colorado Center. This is the first time in state history that unaffiliated voters, now the largest voting block in Colorado, can automatically participate in primary elections. Voters approved the change in 2016 when they supported Proposition 108.

The UChooseCO campaign has a web pageFacebook page, a Twitter account and its own hashtag, #UChooseCO.

At least every week day between now and the June 26 primary the Secretary of State’s office will highlight a wooden U or two. Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.

All about U: 2 former journalists

The U from Dan Haley, formerly of the Denver Post and now president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.
Former Rocky cartoonist Ed Stein’s U.

Argh. I blew it. This was to publish on Saturday. So pretend it’s Saturday when you read it.

One of the cool things about Colorado Secretary of State’s UChooseCO campaign is seeing how the wooden U’s that have been handed out are decorated.  I thought former Rocky Mountain News cartoonist Ed Stein would, well, draw cartoons. I figured former Denver Post editorial page editor Dan Haley might go with a pop culture reference.

I guessed wrong.

The U’s are part of a campaign to inform unaffiliated voters that they can now automatically participate in primary elections without having to affiliate with one party or another.

Unaffiliated voters also are being told DON’T SPOIL IT. They will get two ballots, one for Republican candidates and the other for Democratic candidates, but they can only vote one. If they return both, neither ballot will count.

Ed Stein.
Dan Haley.

We asked those who received the wooden U’s to show off their work on Twitter and other social media venues.

“Luddite that I am I don’t get hashtags (I know, so 20th Century),” Stein wrote.

That’s OK, we promoted it for him.

Haley is known to quote “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and drool over Angie Dickinson in “Police Woman.” He’s such a Broncos fan that Colorado Public Radio featured him in a story about the anniversary of the team’s first trip to the Super Bowl. But Haley, now the president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, instead went with a work theme.

Every day between now and the June 26 primary we will highlight a wooden U or two. Recipients were asked to consider their values when decorating or to just have fun. Some clerks highlighted their counties.

Check out more decorated U’s on Facebook and Twitter.