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Home / Articles / Best Of / Best of Utah /  Best of Utah 2007 | Media & Politics Page all
Best of Utah

Best of Utah 2007 | Media & Politics Page all

Posted // June 11,2007 -

BEST RADIO CRUSH
Kerry Jackson (X96) & Doug Fabrizio (KUER 90.1)
It began years ago, but Radio From Hell’s Kerry Jackson’s purely heterosexual man-crush on Radio West’s Doug Fabrizio hasn’t cooled with time, nor has Fabrizio’s act of cool indifference toward the situation—a classic love story for the ages. Fabrizio’s 2006 expansion into television (he’s too good-lookin’ to be contained by radio, as Jackson will attest) hosting KUED 7’s Utah Now has made him even more of a viable media playa, but we all wonder if the Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name holds a special, secret place in his heart. As for Jackson, hope springs eternal, if not potentially tragic: “He’s handsome, smart, the whole package—he’s everything I want to be. Now that I think about it, I hate him. I may have to kill him to become him. But I don’t think I could do an entire hour of radio on turquoise, so never mind.”

BEST TV NEWS HAIR Readers’ Choice
Kerri Cronk (Fox 13)
There’s a whole lotta blond going on at the Good Day Utah anchor desk, but Dan Evans’ spiky ’do has been outshined by flowing flaxen tresses of partner Kerri Cronk (and looking at the runners-up, we’re not sure where your heads are at, voters). Cronk could also be the first morning personality to ever win this award, which makes the victory even sweeter—at 5 a.m., hair that fab doesn’t just happen, people. Sure, she probably doesn’t spend as much time on her gorgeous golden locks as Evans does on his, but we’ll let them fight this one out. Weekdays, 5-10 a.m.
2. Randall Carlisle (ABC 4)
3. Dick Nourse (KSL 5)

BEST TV NEWS REPORTER Readers’ Choice
Chris Vanocur (ABC 4)
Here’s how you know you’ve become a local institution: when you look up at the lunch menu at Tony Caputo’s deli and see a salad named after you. Over his 20-year career in Utah journalism, Vanocur has provided depth to local news stories in his Sunday morning On the Record program and collected a Columbia University Alfred I. duPont Silver Baton for reporting on the Olympic bribery scandal. One might also consider the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Reporting a pretty high honor as well—but can you eat it?
2. Rod Decker (KUTV 2)
3. Shauna Lake (KUTV 2)

BEST TV FEATURES REPORTER Readers’ Choice
Big Budah (Fox 13)
He just gets bigger every year—in the voting, that is. There’s no subtle subtext with Good Day Utah’s super-size Samoan; what you see is what you get with Big Budah, an eager everyman (more like everykid, really) who’s not afraid to jump into a segment and get his hands dirty (or take a punch in the ring, or get knocked down by a roller-derby girl, etc.). And to think the guy used to toil away unseen and chained to a mic on radio. Weekdays, 6 a.m.
2. Allie MacKay (KUTV 2)
3. Bill Gephardt (KUTV 2)

BEST ACTIVIST Readers’ Choice
Rocky Anderson
“Rocko” may be stretching out his last term as Salt Lake City mayor like Thanksgiving turkey, and it does seem more like a holiday than the administrative taskmaster we know and love. But the gadfly spirit in him comes to glorious life when he talks about impeaching our current commander in chief, even if that means a somewhat ill-fated sparring match with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and the anticipated fencing match with Sean Hannity. Mayor Anderson may be the most contentious, difficult person ever to lead our city and, by quixotic extension, pick at the margins of the larger national political scene, but CW readers love his confrontational style. Long may he rage.
2. Community advocate Pamela Atkinson
3. Utah Sen. Scott McCoy

BEST TV SHOWCASE FOR UTAH METAL
Local Rock Gods
Clifton, Cavityburn, Kill Syndicate, The Rest … if you know these names, you’ve been losing your hearing regularly supporting local bands playing the hardest of hardcore metal. Or maybe you’ve just had your TV turned on at the right time. Local Rock Gods provides area viewers with a glimpse of live performances from these bands and many more at local venues. With OnDemand, you can even control when you watch—as well as controlling the volume. Comcast Channel 111, 11 p.m. nightly. LocalRockGods.com

BEST TV ANCHORWOMAN Readers’ Choice
Hope Woodside (Fox 13)
Whether we qualify “best” with “sexy” or just play it straight, there’s no shaking News at Nine’s Hope Woodside as your perennial favorite TV anchorwoman—this is her 10th (!) win, by the way, and most all of them have been landslides. Simply being “hot” doesn’t carry anyone this far: Woodside has the journalistic cred, assured delivery and trustworthiness that transcends looks. And, yeah, she’s still hot. Weeknights, 9 p.m.
2. Kerri Cronk (Fox 13)
3. Mary Nickles (KUTV 2)

BEST ANTI-STRAKER
Terry Wood (ABC 4)
“This is my 40th year as a broadcast journalist. Thirty of those years I’ve spent here in Utah, and I have never taken a position of advocacy before,” ABC 4 anchor Terry Wood editorialized on the Divine Strake nuclear tests in February of this year. “But, after looking at the facts, ABC 4 has taken a determined stand in opposition. But more than a professional journalist, I am a citizen of Utah. My children live in Utah. My grandchildren live in Utah, as do those of the ABC 4 staff. By the government’s own admission, the mushroom cloud from Divine Strake will pass over Utah. … I am not willing to obediently accept the Department of Energy’s assurance that it will not cause us harm in the years to come. They may be right, but I do not want to take the chance.” Divine Strake was eventually canceled, likely thanks—at least in part—to Wood taking a stand when no one else in local TV would.

BEST WEATHER GUESSER Readers’ Choice
Kevin Eubank (KSL 5)
Sometimes it pays off to go into the family business—but it’s not easy following in the footsteps of a local legend. Kevin Eubank joined KSL last year, and found himself heir-apparent to the prime newscasts when his father Mark retired after 30 years at the station. And based on readers’ response, he’s taken to the KSL 5 green screen like it was a comfortable sweater—or Dad’s trademark white snow-predicting jacket.
2. Damon Yauney (Fox 13)
3. Dan Pope (KSL 5)

BEST NEWS DRUMMER
Mark Koelbel (KUTV 2)

At a governor’s gala fund-raiser at the Salt Palace last October, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.’s classic-rock band The Politically Incorrects once again put KUTV 2 news anchor Mark Koelbel behind the drum kit; he’d jammed with the band before as a part of a news feature. Is this becoming a regular gig, or is Koelbel destined to be the next Pete Best when the Guv’s band finally makes it? It’d be a shame; he has some serious skills on the skins—if your local band is looking for a drummer, please call Koelbel. He can buy the beer—but remember, he can only play weekends. Weeknights, 10 p.m.

BEST TV NEWS STATION Readers’ Choice
Fox 13
Who says Fox is all fluff? Big Budah is this year’s readers’ pick for “best features reporter” and Hope Woodside, the perennial winner in years past of “best sexy TV anchorwoman,” this year becomes “best anchorwoman,” period. For evidence why, look to Woodside’s interview with Condoleezza Rice. She pinned down the U.S. secretary of state asking about the Bush administration’s thoughts on war protesters, like Rocky, then quizzed Rice about her sideline as a pianist. You got the news and get to watch (the-still-sexy-we-don’t-care-what-anybody-says) Woodside—the best of both worlds.
2. KUTV 2
3. KSL 5

BEST SPORTS REPORTER Readers’ Choice
David James (KUTV 2)
The odds of victory certainly increase when you’re as busy as David James. When he’s not manning the sports desk at KUTV 2, he’s co-hosting 1280 The Zone’s Manly Morning Show with Patrick Kinahan. And when he’s not on The Zone, he’s providing sports updates for X96’s Radio From Hell. But no matter the gig, James provides knowledgeable sports coverage with an abundance of wit.
2. Mike Runge (Fox 13)
3. Dave Fox (KUTV 2)

BEST HAIR/BRAIN
Randall Carlisle (ABC 4)
His hair ain’t bad, and it looks even better in person. But the real point about Carlisle is that he’s one anchor in this town with a good brain. By the time he starts work each afternoon, he’s already familiar with the day’s news; he goes over the stories written for his newscast with care; he knows how to fill in the news story blanks and doesn’t depend on interns to get facts for him. He works the phone, doing the research himself. He’s so low-key, few realize how smart the guy really is. Weekdays, 5 p.m.

BEST RADIO STATION Readers’ Choice
X96
In an age when independent radio stations have become the target of soulless behemoth media conglomerates that crap out mass-produced corporate sound, the nationally recognized X96 still gives a damn about good music and good programming: “Local, Independent, Alternative.” From the Radio From Hell MVPs, to the soothing tones of Artie Fufkin easing the rush-hour commute, to Corey O’Brien’s OPR breaking new music every Monday night, to Portia, the weekend champion of the local scene, X96 is still the best source for alternative rock and personality in our fair state.
2. KRCL 90.9
3. KUER 90.1

BEST IN-THE-CLOSET RADIO STATION
Movin’ 100.7
Women love it, but newbie station Movin’ 100.7’s (KYMV) fabulously dance-tastic playlist (Madonna! Cher! Chaka Khan! Snap!) also puts the groove in the hearts (oh yeah—Deee-Lite!) of a shouldn’t-be-all-that-surprising demographic: gay men. That’s how we’ve heard it, anyway. You’ll likely never see it marketed as such (the station is still a bit young to come out), but Movin’ 100.7 is a shiny disco ball of light leading to a Rainbow connection—and really, isn’t it about time, girlfriend? Movin1007.com

BEST LOCAL NIGHTTIME TALK
The Nightside Project (KSL 102.7/1160)
It seemed like a dubious prospect at first—KSL doing “cool” and “edgy” programming?—but in less than a year, The Nightside Project has become a go-to alternative to national after-dark talk radio, even if it does practically scream “We’re cool and edgy!” Host Michael Castner and reporters Jon Dunn, Chelsea Hedquist, Alex Kirry, Sarah Jane and Paul McHardy run a tight, fast-paced show heavy on localism (good), breaking news (great) and gadgetry (not so much for radio) that, at the very least, beats yet another conservative-talking-head show (sorry, Lars Larson fans). Weeknights, 7 p.m.-midnight

BEST UNREST ON THE SEVENTH DAY
Kaos With Darby (KBER 101.1)
Even if you’re not a serial killer, nothing gets you ready for the work week quite like three hours of heavy, heavy metal—just try going to bed with Darby’s Kaos and waking up anything less than refreshed … or possessed. We’re not talkin’ poodle-haired pop-metal for soccer moms stuck in the ’80s; Darby (who recently took over KBER’s midday shift as well) spins thoroughly modern metal that, in a just radio world, wouldn’t just be relegated to Sunday-night goat sacrifices: High on Fire, Dying Fetus, Clutch, Chimaira, Candiria, the list rages on. He can’t be held responsible for what you’ll do to your boss on Monday, however. Sundays, 9 p.m.-midnight

BEST RADIO SHOW Readers’ Choice
Radio From Hell (X96)
Who’d have thought that a radio morning show spawned from the depths of hell could do so well in the land of Zion? The Radio From Hell triumvirate of Kerry, Bill and Gina can credit some of the show’s success to regular sketches such as Punk’s movie review, “Our Son” Kyle and random phone conversations with William Shatner, but its true strength is its chemistry. The best moments happen when the trio rant about whatever comes to mind, from Kerry doing an impersonation of Anna Nicole Smith’s vain corpse (“I’m so dead and beautiful!”) to Bill criticizing Gina as unpatriotic for disapproving of Angelina Jolie (“Why do you hate freedom, Gina?”). Unlike the asinine stunting of other morning shows, Radio From Hell feels more like you’re just bullshitting with three good friends. If your friends were actually funny. Weekdays, 5:30-10 a.m
2. Radio West (KUER 90.1)
3. The Morning Zoo (97.1 ZHT)

BEST SUMMATION OF CITY WEEKLY
Pignanelli & Webb, Deseret Morning News
In a May 28, 2006, Deseret Morning News column, Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb sized up Salt Lake City’s print media, eventually pegging City Weekly as “read by spiky-haired Utahns with nose rings who fervently believe the LDS Temple should be dismantled and all LDS active members carted off to another desert location (preferably on Mercury). These readers are convinced Utah offers no place to get a drink, but they eagerly anticipate the Weekly’s annual ‘Best of Utah’ to read about the best watering holes.” Guilty!

BEST ANIMATED RADIO VOICE
RadioWest’s Doug Fabrizio (KUER 90.1)
The man’s peerless interview skills aside, listening to Fabrizio’s broadcast voice is almost akin to riding an amusement park roller coaster—except for the fact that the thrill of all those peaks and valleys rests inside his vocal box. Where other radio personalities experiment with volume, timing and tone, Fabrizio is the master of letting his voice ride over hill and dale at the gracious clip of a thoroughbred pony. Just hang on and enjoy the ride. Weekdays, 11 a.m.

BEST PREMATURE PLUG-PULL
97.5 FM
Talk Less than a year and an advertising blitz consisting of maybe a couple of billboards into the FM talk-radio game, Simmons Media shut down 97.5 FM Talk in August due to (shocker) nonexistent ratings. Why didn’t it catch on? For one thing, with the exception of the Howard-Stern-lite Mancow morning show, the station programmed the same old conservative blowhards you can get all over AM and dared label it “younger” and “smarter.” For another, the only local host, Utah radio vet Tom Barberi, was relegated to two less-than-prime-time hours. Too bad, FM talk was a good idea—one that KSL grabbed and ran with on 102.7.

BEST TV ANCHORMAN Readers’ Choice
Dick Nourse (KSL 5)
Back on top after barely losing the ratings war to KUTV 2’s newscast in 2006, square jawed, silver fox Nourse showed he’s not done yet. He’s been behind the KSL anchor desk so long, he’s become part of cultural landscape. In February, a local oil painter chose Nourse as the subject for a live painting demonstration. KSL may have lost Mark Eubank, but it still has Nourse, the man with the golden baritone. Weeknights, 10 p.m.
2. Mark Koelbel (KUTV 2)
3. Dan Evans (Fox 13)

BEST RADIO PROMO GIMMICK
Blaze O’ Glory (94.9 The Blaze)
It may not be as effective as a colorful van parked outside of a concert blaring louder obnoxious tunes than the colorful van next to it, but rock station 94.9 The Blaze has a built-in promotional vehicle that no other local FM outfit can claim: a “tribute” band made up almost entirely of on-air personalities—and they don’t totally suck. Blaze O’ Glory (which plays only tunes you’ll hear on The Blaze, natch) features morning DJ Marcus on drums and weekenders Doug Wylde and Fish on guitars; sadly, the band recently lost DJ/vocalist/lead tambourinist Marci to a Phoenix radio station. But Blaze O’ Glory will likely carry on … wayward son. Sorry. BlazeOGlory.com

BEST NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST Readers’ Choice
Bill Frost (City Weekly)
While inconsequential media has called Frost a cynical bully, his readers know differently. He’s Salt Lake City’s conscience, plain and simple. As much as he’d probably refer to his three-weekly-column output as no big fucking deal, the amount of crackling wit, venom and ego-puncturing precision he works into a few lines is never less than impressive. But arguably it’s The Ocho that’s his greatest achievement. In eight scintillating lines of deadpan humor, he shoots at the heart of whatever is this city’s obsession of the week. Frost captures SLC’s seedy pulse in a way that deserves awe—unless you’re the one he has in his sights.
2. Robert Kirby (Salt Lake Tribune)
3. Holly Mullen tt(formerly Salt Lake Tribune)

BEST IN-YOUR-FACE TO J-SCHOOL
New Deseret Morning News Editor Joe Cannon
When Joe “No Longer Just Chris’ Brother” Cannon was named John Hughes’ successor as the new editor of the Deseret Morning News in December, head-scratching ensued over how a guy with zero newspaper experience beyond recognizing one in a street rack could be put in charge of guiding the editorial department of one of Utah’s Big Two newspapers. Leave it to D-News Chairman Ellis Ivory to lay all concerns to rest: “He may not be a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer that John Hughes is, but he is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reader,” Ivory told The Salt Lake Tribune. “He’s just with it.”

BEST LOCAL BLOG Readers’ Choice
Atropos (X96 Radio From Hell)
Since Radio From Hell listeners are a famously loyal lot, did show-recap blogger Atropos win this on his own merits, or because Kerry, Bill and Gina pushed for it? One read answers that: Atropos’ blog is as funny as RFH itself; sometimes it’s “better than the actual show,” Bill Allred has admitted. Atropos is a ninja master of brevity and punctuation, sculpting down rants and stories to sharp sentences that retain and even enhance their original ridiculousness: “Gina walked the three blocks to the mall. Mid-trip, a big black pick-up truck pulled up alongside Gina. The man rolled down the window and asked Gina if she wanted a date … No! The man just drove away. Bill was curious as to whether the man should be driving with such poor eyesight.” X96.com
2. BullShattuck.com
3. SLCSpin.com

BEST LOCAL POLITICS BLOG
SLCSpin.com
Jokes about Utah’s unique political climate might seem to write themselves, but there’s a unique wit to Ethan Millard’s SLCSpin.com. The unapologetically left-leaning site weighs in seriously on matters like last fall’s U.S. Senate election but also has featured such clever touches like an up-to-the-second running clock of Orrin Hatch’s time in D.C. (more than 11,000 days, in case you’re curious). And how priceless was his note on the change in classifying a planet—”has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a ... nearly round shape”—followed by photos of Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan and Salt Lake City Councilman Randy Horiuchi? SLCSpin.com

BEST LOCAL NEWS WEBSITE Readers’ Choice
KSL.com
Without a doubt, this is the best way to keep up-to-date on KSL’s radio and television offerings. Want the latest on that local carjacking, LDS missions and Zions Direct Stock Report? It’s all here in one easy to navigate, clear-as-a-bell format. The folks behind this site clearly know what they’re doing, too, by adding a full menu of linking Web resources.
2. KUTV.com
3. SLTrib.com

BEST TAKING THE CLEANERS TO THE CLEANERS
Film Sanitizing Shutdown
A U.S. District judge handed down the decision in July 2006 that editing “bad” language, sex and violence out of movies and reselling them as sanitized family fare is an “illegitimate business” that infringes on the rights of Hollyweird. “Their [studios and directors] objective ... is to stop the infringement because of its irreparable injury to the creative artistic expression in the copyrighted movies,” the judge said. “There is a public interest in providing such protection.” That meant DVD-editing companies like Utah County’s CleanFlicks had to keep their hands off Kate Winslet’s Titanic boobies (the perky catalysts of the film-scrubbing biz) and quit hiding behind the “It’s about choice!” slogan. Unfortunately, the issue arose again recently in Orem due to an “educational” loophole, so this may never die.

BEST UNTOLD STORY
Andrew Valdez: No One Makes It Alone
Third District Court Judge Andrew Valdez’ autobiographical account of his early years gives blow-by-blow coverage of him rising out of a disadvantaged youth with the help of an elderly mentor and his own tennis skill. But when you come to his tale’s end, you’re left wondering how a mother’s tough life impacted the values of a youth who would later become one of Salt Lake City’s highest profile juvenile judges. Perhaps Valdez will answer these questions in a sequel. Signature-Book.com

BEST SWINGER
Jake Millard
Watching Orderville High School student Jake Millard, 17, play second base in baseball or point guard in basketball is humbling. Jake’s right arm is 4 inches shorter than his left due to pre-birth complications. When he catches a baseball with his left-handed mitt, he lodges the mitt in his right armpit, pulls it off, then throws the ball with his left. It’s a minor miracle of speed, coordination and determination. But then his mother Julie says defeat’s not an option. She watched her then-3-year-old one New Year’s Eve spend hours in a hall with a ball until he was able to dribble it. Julie’s only complaint is she wasn’t at the field last year when he scored his first home run.

BEST REDNECKS ON PARADE
The Utah Minuteman Project’s “Wake Up America” Rally
At the Utah Minutemen’s “Wake Up America” rally on May 1, 2006, at the City & County Building in Salt Lake City, the media equaled or even outnumbered the 100-ish illegal-immigration protesters who wanted to be rid of Mexican “gangs,” “drugs” and “crime” (“Deport, don’t support”) so we can get back to using “prope language” (actual spelling on one sign, bulleted with Jesus fish). The Latino community was unfazed, but the white folk? Frightened, embarrassed, take your pick.

BEST USE OF A PART-TIME JOB
Rae Meadows
While most college kids wait tables or sling coffee to fund their education, Rae Meadows moonlighted at a local escort agency fielding messages from gentleman callers. The then University of Utah grad student answered a classified ad for a phone manager at an “entertainment company,” knowing full well it might inspire her creative writing pursuits. Meadows, who quit just months into the gig, eventually used her brief encounter with sex work as fodder for Calling Out, a fictional account of a Salt Lake City woman who—unlike the author—actually transitions from receptionist to escort. Entertainment Weekly listed Meadows’ debut novel as one of 2006’s Hot Summer Reads. Sometimes it really pays to pay your dues.

BEST ARTISTS IN ACTION
TRASA Urban Arts Collective
It took time to communicate the message—five years, to be exact. Visionary partners Kristina Robb and Brandon Garcia are teaching Salt Lake City residents how art can be a catalyst for community action and dialogue. Since the symbolic rebirth of TRASA Urban Arts Collective in its west-side home, The Pickle Company, the nonprofit organization has hosted multimedia installations and a week of events with performance art troupe La Pocha Nostra including Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Roberto Sifuentes and Violeta Luna. Don’t miss another opportunity to connect where art and politics intersect. 741 S. 400 West, 450-8977, ThePickleCompany.org

BEST RADIO TIME TRAVELERS
Drive-Time Imposters (KRCL 90.9 FM)
When Renee and Dawn left their post as KRCL’s Local Imposters, devoted listeners feared the worst. What meaning could life possibly have without the radio hostesses’ dry, witty banter? Turns out all the worry was for naught. The DJ-duo simply jumped timeslots, from Wednesday evening to Wednesday afternoon, a move that actually improved on perfection. As Drive-Time Imposters, they can add more on-air performances by touring acts to an already stellar set of recorded indie, punk, post-punk and classic-rock sounds. Wednesdays, 3-6 p.m.

BEST ACADEMIC RELOCATION
Jeffrey Nielsen
Welcome to the marketplace of ideas. Jeffrey Nielsen only wished to share his view of gay marriage—which happened to oppose the LDS Church’s official position—in a newspaper forum. What he wrote in The Salt Lake Tribune, however, got him fired from his adjunct philosophy teaching position at Brigham Young University. It’s nice to know that while some institutions restrict academic freedoms, others celebrate them. Soon after being fired, the still-faithful LDS member was hired to teach philosophy at Westminster College and Utah Valley State College.

BEST OSCAR WINNER WITH A HEART
Geralyn White-Dreyfous
White-Dreyfous is founder and executive director of The Salt Lake City Film Center which offers free community screenings and discussions, outreach programs, and visiting artists and professionals — many through the Salt Lake Public Library. She brought home an Academy Award for her documentary Born Into Brothels and produced another documentary, The Day My God Died, on the child-sex-slave trade narrated by Tim Robbins. If you’re looking for films with meaningful social content and artistic excellence, you need look no further than White-Dreyfous’ Salt Lake City Film Center as it looks to “provide forums for underrepresented groups, and to develop new audiences for film.”

BEST WTF?
Frank Gehry Designed Super-Project in Lehi
World-famous architect Frank Gehry, whose marvels include the Walt Disney Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles and the Guggenheim in Bibao, Spain, unveiled designs for a development in Lehi that would include Utah’s tallest building, a 12,000-seat arena, wake-boarding lakes and … wait. Lehi? “It’s subtle how culture translates into architecture,” said Gehry, “and there is a culture in Utah.” It’s unclear how “subtle” a 12,000-seat arena could possibly be—but with Gehry attached, at least it will be unique. Now, having that said, you may now resume griping about the City Creek Center.

BEST ALL-AGES REBRANDING
Discovery Gateway
The Children’s Museum of Utah had long been a favored destination for families and schools—but the name alone suggested that anyone who had reached puberty might not find much to entertain them. When it moved to a new location in The Gateway, a new name was also born: “Discovery Gateway.” Not only does it offer a catchy double meaning, but it welcomes the adventure-minded of all ages into its exhibits and activities (provided you’re an adult willing to bring a child along). Now just keep the little rug rats away from me while I create my comic strip … 444 W. 100 South, 456-KIDS. DiscoveryGateway.org

BEST PR BONANZA
Park City Names Official Cocktail
After placing ads to declare the resort town had officially seceded from Utah, Park City’s chamber of commerce and restaurant association decided to adopt a moniker for its new “independent republic.” The groups went with an official cocktail instead of a flag to emphasize that it is possible to get a drink in Utah, at least in Park City. We’re sure that the winner of the contest to become the official drink of the 2007-08 ski season—a “blueberry mojito” created by Deer Valley bartender Bonnie Ulmer—will also catch on.

BEST ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT QUESTION
Swift vs. Subway
When the migra raided the Swift plant in Hyrum, hundreds of Hispanics were rounded up and deported, while the Feds patted themselves on the back for a job well done. But walk into any fast-food place in Utah, and the only English spoken by Hispanic staffs are menu items. Question: Were the large numbers the undocumented arrested in Hyrum strictly for show?

BEST LOCAL ECCENTRIC ON THE STREET
Norman Wayne “ Pink Man” Jordonsen
You’ve seen him at Liberty Park. You’ve seen him at the local coffeehouse. And, unless you’re not paying attention while driving around Salt Lake City, you’ve seen him on the street. He’s “The Pink Man,” donned in various combinations of his favorite color, from shoes to socks, shorts to shirt, and dyed hair to hat. Ask Jordonsen himself why he goes to these lengths in ode to his favorite color, and he may offer an explanation like this: “It’s a repeat of answers of questions or issues of other people’s issues that brighten your day.” Whatever, all we really know is the man’s favorite color.

BEST AMBASSADOR FOR A RAINBOW SALT LAKE CITY
John Amaechi
It was a huge national news story when former NBA player—including a stint with the Utah Jazz—John Amaechi announced in his autobiography that he was gay. But it caused an even bigger stir locally when Amaechi made the even more surprising observation that Salt Lake City was the “hippest, gayest city east of San Francisco.” And all this time we were worried that businesses might not relocate here because they feared an unwelcoming environment for the differently lifestyled. The state flag might bear the motto “Industry,” but it looks like the city flag should announce “Fabulous.”

BEST RESOURCE FOR LOCAL GROCERY SHOPPING
Utah’s Own
Sustainable living starts with staying as local as possible—shorter transport means less energy consumed, and your purchasing dollar builds the local economy. This program—run by the state of Utah—gives residents information about in-state producers of their favorite foods, allowing them to build a shopping list that stays close to home. Your next trip to your neighborhood supermarket can fill your pantry with great stuff made not so far from your neighborhood. 538-7108, UtahsOwn.utah.gov

BEST ACCORDION INNOVATOR
Paul Pasquali
Not all accordions are created equal, no matter what the casual listener may think when watching old Lawrence Welk shows on KBYU. Salt Lake City resident and Bingham Canyon native, Paul Pasquali designed and created the Concerto, the first ever digital/acoustic accordion and sells them through Accordions International. And when he’s not making custom models for those who need them, he also serves as presenter of the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention. All hail Utah’s king of the squeezebox.

BEST LAST BLAST
Dell Schanze
You thought you’d heard the last from Super Dell when he shut down his Totally Awesome Computers stores last spring? Like this dude would ever go quietly. When he was finally sentenced to probation in August for making false statements to police after a speeding incident and gun-brandishing confrontation with Draper residents, Dell went on the offensive in a radio interview. “The governor should be fired because he should have stepped in and done something,” quoth a guy who clearly needs a civics lesson in which government officials can be “fired.” “Draper City should lose its ability to be a city because they’re complete bumbling, incompetent idiots,” he continued. And, apparently for the same reason, he lost his ability to be an entrepreneur.

BEST LOCAL LETTER TO A NATIONAL PUBLICATION
Charles Tripp takes Ford down a notch in Time magazine
With the deaths of President Gerald Ford and soul king James Brown—plus Saddam Hussein’s hanging—the early part of 2007 was a short lesson in mortality. The lauding of Ford was especially worrisome for those who remember his regrettable pardoning of Richard Nixon following the Watergate scandal. There to remind the nation in the letters section of Time’s Feb. 5 edition was Salt Laker Charles Tripp. “The pardon blocked application of the rule of law to a President who committed criminal acts while in office and was intended to save Nixon and the Republican Party from further legal scrutiny,” Tripp reminded us. “It will forever sully Ford’s record as President.” Tripp’s letter was a history lesson we’d all be mindful never to forget.

BEST POLITICAL TRIP WORD
“Clean”
Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., caught mighty flak in January for his comments about presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., being, “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean …” One of the lesser-known gaffes by our own Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of June last year, however, was his remark that a constitutional ban on gay marriage was supported by “good, clean, decent Americans.” A reporter for The New Republic took down Hatch’s words verbatim, then noticed the subsequent deletion of the word “clean” in the official Congressional Record. So while homosexuals may not be dirty, exactly, they still don’t qualify as “good, decent Americans.” Nice.

BEST EDITORIAL BACKGROUND CHECK
LDS Church’s Ensign magazine
Ensign had a particularly nasty surprise when it discovered that one contributor, Ukrainian convert Oleg Barabash, was sentenced last August for two class A misdemeanors of lewdness involving a child. Barabash’s editorial contribution to the October issues of Ensign and Liahona magazines, about reactivating his LDS faith, made it to the pages, but the editorial department was swift in alerting the public. Turns out they run thorough background checks on contributors but that Barabash gave in to Satan only after cashing the check. “Ensign editors regret that this story was published after the status of the author had changed,” a church statement read. Does this mean past contributors can expect more background checks before current issues of Ensign make it to microfilm?

BEST UTAH-THEMED ART EXHIBIT YOU NEVER SAW
John Arndt’s “Empire” exhibit at Chicago’s Gallery 400
Don’t believe it when people tell you Wendover’s Utah side is nothing but trailer homes and one suffocating blanket of depression. True, Chicago artist John Arndt had to venture far out from his artist’s residency at the old military base and into the desert salt flats to find what he was looking for. He found them all the same, then assembled it all for his Empire exhibit, one part fascinating found objects with other parts a haunting sound-recording and photo exhibit. Yeah, maybe an old typewriter, “Preserved,” and tire, “Bonneville Flat” (get it?), encrusted in crystallized salt do more for big-city Westerners, but give the man credit all the same. We can only hope Arndt might one day take the exhibit back closer to its origins.

BEST DOWNTOWN SLC RESTORATION
The Stratford Apartments at 2nd & 2nd
Except for the low-income tenants who lived there, not many people shed a tear when the old Stratford Hotel was gutted by a June 2005 fire. Now, thanks to developer Ben Logue and a partnership grant from the city’s housing and development department, the Stratford has been restored and revamped, pleasantly and surprisingly, into one of downtown Salt Lake City’s small crown jewels of old architecture. In fact, this project is so spiffy, you’d hardly guess it was restored for its old purpose of low-income housing. Solar panels on top of the roof are a nice bonus, too. In short, the Stratford is everything we could hope for in a redevelopment project: classy, “green,” and something good for the disadvantaged. Kudos all ’round. 175 E. 200 South

BEST MIDSUMMER DOWNTOWN TART-UP
Main Street Planters
Mindless consumers may have abandoned downtown’s remaining shops and businesses to the tender mercies of the LDS Church real-estate juggernaut, but those of us with taste are still mindful enough of Main Street’s (potential) charms. Therefore, we offer our thanks to the city for providing and maintaining eye-catching planters up and down the street during the warm season. One particularly attractive container featured a simple yet effective mix of asparagus fern and fibrous begonia—it bloomed the entire season. We suppose the irksome and commonplace zinnia/lobelia mix featured at The Gateway suited some people, but we’re glad to work and shop downtown.

BEST ASHTRAY SUBSTITUTE
Main Street Planters
Trashcans are flammable and throwing your butt on the sidewalk is tacky, tacky, tacky. What’s an addict to do? Fortunately, until merchants start once again providing ashtrays for their customers instead of passive-aggressively omitting this genteel service, those lovely Main Street flower containers are available. Sure, it looks like hell, but it’s better than quitting. And, apparently, tar and nicotine aren’t as poisonous to asparagus ferns and fibrous begonias as they are to human lungs.

BEST WILD THING
Jan Henderson
A wildlife artist for nearly 20 years and one of the top colored-pencil artists in the country, Jan Henderson’s work captures the personality of animals like few can. Animals literally come to life for her. “You just can’t get the softness of fur with oil or acrylic that can be achieved with colored pencil,” she says. Her work has been reproduced as posters, limited edition prints, wallpaper borders, puzzles, T-shirts, needlecraft kits, and greeting cards. Pet portraits are her specialty. Draw her wild work into your life. JanHendersonArt.com

BEST MAGAZINE MAVEN ON MAIN
Peter Marshall
As owner of the jam-packed Utah Book & Magazine, Marshall is one of Main Street’s most colorful characters, selling used general-interest and out-of-print books, vintage adult magazines, old comics and Mormon books. Marshall, rumored to be related to the Hollywood Marshalls (Garry and Penny), is the third generation to run the shop (his granddad founded it in 1916). After 43 years, Marshall must love what he does; he works from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Watching who shows up to browse at 6 a.m. can be a pastime in itself. Utah Book & Magazine, 327 S. Main, 359-4391

BEST DEMOCRAT Readers’ Choice
Jim Matheson
Yeah, a lot of people get up in this man’s grill for voting like a Republican more often than a Democrat. But this is Utah, where we call that an “independent” political mind-set and “reaching across the aisle” more often than “traitorous, opportunistic bait-and-switch” politics. And what would you rather have instead? A Republican in both word and deed? Nah. Take this 2nd Congressional District U.S. Rep. for what he is and, more importantly, may yet become if more Democrats take power in coming years. And here’s a shout-out to Matheson’s gnarly communications director Alyson Heyrend: Someday you, too, will return City Weekly’s press call.
2. Peter Corroon
3. Pete Ashdown

BEST MORMON ARTIST
Annie Kennedy
When Annie Kennedy isn’t teaching art to school kids at the Kimball Art Center in Park City, she’s making extraordinary pieces exploring her relationship with the LDS Church. Her exhibition last October and November showcased her use of traditional Utahn imagery such as the sego lily, the beehive and the angel Moroni using various textiles, fabrics and surfaces such as Veil (pictured above) which is salt crystals grown on felt. At times celebratory, at others ambiguous, Kennedy brings a sharp, fresh eye and a vivacity to her belief system that makes Mormonism so much more accessible than any number of trips to Temple Square. AnnieKennedy.ShawnRossiter.com

BEST BILLABLE HOURS
Hutchings, Baird & Jones
Hiring the law firm that House Speaker Greg Curtis recently joined turned out to be money well spent for developers. The Legislature gave easy passage to a slew of laws to smooth the way for Curtis’ private legal clients, particularly Anderson Development. Anderson, gearing up to build homes on land once home to Geneva Steel, won passage of a law that lets it out of costs of cleaning up the old Geneva site (costs that may be borne by the public thanks to another Anderson-friendly bill), as well as laws that strip Park City of power to stand in the way of Anderson’s plans to pave over Summit County wetlands. It’s good to have friends in high places.

BEST PROPOSED HABITRAIL
Main Street Skybridge
To protect views of the mountains from downtown, Salt Lake City planners years ago imposed a ban on skybridges across Main Street. But when mall developers proposed just such a bridge, the city decided it didn’t really mean it. The reversal may have something to do with the facts that one of the partners in the planned bridge-linked mall connecting either side of Main is the LDS Church and that city leaders are beside themselves with glee that anyone is willing to invest in a downtown on the brink. Mall developers have promised a raised people mover everyone will love except, of course, the poor, who will have to use the sidewalk.

BEST REASON TO CUT UTAH’S BIRTHRATE
4th Congressional Seat
It’s the idea that just refuses to die: Like we need to send yet another yahoo from the sticks to Washington, D.C., and give him or her a say in how the nation’s business should be run. Proponents of a 4th Congressional District are mainly bitter over the fact that missionaries living abroad during the 2000 census weren’t granted special status and counted as if they were living here instead. Still, a fourth seat seems inevitable after the 2010 Census, unless we drastically cut the birthrate now. Sure, it’s a high price to pay, but it could avert the national disaster that would surely result if we were, for instance, to give somebody named LeVona LeBaron a controlling vote on the Judiciary Committee.

BEST NEWSPAPER REPORTER Readers’ Choice
Heather May (Salt Lake Tribune)
Since Heather May will be switching story beats after her baby’s birth in July, it’s fitting that she caps her fifth year covering Salt Lake City with exclusives like RSL stadium going to Sandy, which she co-penned with Derek Jensen. May is the epitome of a nose-to-the-ground, well-connected journo. Whether it’s Rocky’s latest antics or the LDS Church’s ongoing bouts with City Hall, she’s kept their feet to the fire with admirable aplomb. Whoever is taking over for her has some big boots to fill.
2. Ben Winslow (Deseret Morning News)
3. Thomas Burr (Salt Lake Tribune)

BEST SELF-CONGRATULATORY PLUG OF UTAH’S SLOGAN
Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.’s post-flight debriefing
During the dedication of a hang-gliding flight park at Point of the Mountain, Huntsman took an impromptu flight with paraglider pilot Mark Gaskill. Upon touching down, the Guv mugged for the cameras and said, “Now that’s life elevated!” That kind of smug, cornball goofiness is becoming scarcer each year, even among Utah Republicans who practically invented it. Still, not to be outdone, Natural Resources Department Director Michael Styler followed up with a Star Trek reference: “I can safely say he has gone where no other governor has gone before.”

BEST POLITICAL CAUSE Readers’ Choice
Education
Wee almost hed to rubb our eyes in disbeleef when Guv. Jon Huntsman Jr. and the Legisleechur said they reelly reelly cared about edukation of Utah kids by writing the largest chek ever—$460 million!—for public scools and stuff. Man, it was like a wit dreem! Where we actuallee in Utah? Yep, urine in Utah, al right! It did warm the heart and mind quit good. Edukation, as every intelligant person now nows, is second only to Middal est wars against muslin terrists. But maybe there mistake wil be realized next yeer, when our decripate roads we’ll get the dollars they truly dessert.
2. Global warming
3. Animal rights

BEST PORN STAR/CONGRESSMAN
Chris Cannon
You’re probably all-too-familiar with the work of Utah 3rd District Congressman Chris Cannon, but it’s entirely possible that you didn’t know there’s a porn star named Chris Cannon. His well-endowed oeuvre of nearly 1,000 adult films includes Asswoman: The Rebirth, Cotton Panties Half Off, Fluff & Fold, Pimped by an Angel, Sodomania, Wetter the Better and many other fine selections. Far as we can tell, he’s actually accomplished a greater body of work than our Chris.

BEST POLITICAL PROTEST
Dignity March
Precipitated by a wave of anti-immigrant hysteria, the peaceful April 9, 2006, march (which happened only days after the publication of last year’s Best of Utah issue) filled State Street with thousands of Latinos and sympathizers—and a few indignant Minutemen. The fact that the self-described “silent majority” of anti-immigrant people were outnumbered 66 to 1 didn’t seem to faze them, but it did show that Latinos in Utah are a political force to be contended with—especially if get-out-the-vote efforts by organizers like Tony Yapias prove successful.

BEST CONSTRUCTION-WORKER HUMOR
EnergySolutions Arena sign
Like Rome, the EnergySolutions Arena sign wasn’t built in a day. While changing it over from the old Delta Center sign, workers made it halfway through the middle word before punching the clock and going home for the day, having painstakingly placed the letters S, L, U and T in the word “Solutions.” Inspiring dozens of cell-phone photographers, the gesture obviously was a loving tribute to S(alt) L(ake) C(ity), UT(ah) … or was it?

BEST POLITICAL JOKE Readers’ Choice
Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan
You pretty much know any politician, not just a minor lawmaker in Utah, has touched bottom—excuse the pun—when he starts bothering himself about what consenting adults do to each other’s, ahem, anuses. True, Sen. Chris Buttars wasn’t first to raise the topic of Utah’s sodomy law, already unconstitutional since a 2003 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. That was raised by Sen. Scott McCoy, someone Buttars once affectionately called “the gay.” But the fact that Buttars would join other state lawmakers in blocking a public hearing of McCoy’s bill to remove sodomy laws from the books reveals his silly nature. This is, lest we forget, a man who likened evolutionary theory to cats, dogs and the “dat.”
2. Rocky Anderson
3. Chris Cannon

BEST BIG LOVE ANTIDOTE
Tapestry Against Polygamy
One-time polygamy refugees turned anti-polygamy advocates, Vicky Prunty and Rowenna Erickson have had a patchy year. A long-anticipated state raid on a well-known polygamist family fizzled into nothing. Paperwork issues were exposed by Brooke Adams in The Salt Lake City Tribune. And then there was HBO’s Big Love doing more PR for the pro-polygamists than a thousand rallies of earnest children speaking up for their parents’ choices could ever do. Yet just by TAP’s continued presence, by Prunty and Erickson speaking out, they’ve ensured that the other side of polygamy—the child brides, the sexual abuse, the darkness attendant to this particular set of religious beliefs—is not forgotten. And for that they should be enshrined as local heroes. 259-5200, polygamy.org

BEST SEPARATION OF CHURCH & STATE
Bramble’s Reluctance to Bow His Head
Senate Majority Leader Curtis Bramble, R-Provo, had a rocky start to this year’s legislative session in the form of a week’s stay in the hospital. His health problems, however, brought out the caring side of low-income advocates. Throughout the session, advocates, including two Holy Cross Ministry’s nuns, offered to kneel with Bramble and pray for his future good health. Despite the printed prayers handed out each week by concerned advocates, Bramble was sadly not persuaded to put knee to floor outside the Senate chambers.

BEST NAME CHANGE
Utah Pride Center
For the most part, acronyms are great time savers. Why clog your e-mails, snail mail or even verbal conversations with lengthy words (Taking Care of Business) when just a few simple letters will do (TCB)? Of course, there are limits to their usefulness. Take the organization formerly known as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Utah. While more concise, GLBTCCU is still a mouthful. That’s why we jumped for joy (JFJ) when the local nonprofit morphed into Utah Pride Center, a shift in name only. Representatives wisely changed the center’s name in conjunction with National Coming Out Day to better reflect—possibly even brand—the GLBT movement’s battle cry. Simple and recognizable, Utah Pride Center is on its way to becoming synonymous with equality, connectivity and progress. 361 N. 300 West, 539-8800, UtahPrideCenter.org

BEST AMBASSADOR FOR CATHOLIC CHURCH TOLERANCE
Msgr. Robert Bussen
Heaven knows the Roman Catholic Church has taken a beating in recent years for actions that suggest more concern about its public image than about ministering to its members. Park City pastor Robert Bussen took action in support of a more inclusive approach, launching a monthly service at St. Mary of the Assumption intended to welcome gays and lesbians. Not surprisingly, pressure from unappreciative parishioners and higher-ups led to the cancellation of the program after only three months, but it was a rare attempt by a church organization to say something to queer people besides, “You’re going to hell.”

BEST NARROW ESCAPE FROM ECONOMIC CATASTROPHE
Delta Air Lines SLC hub
It was looking pretty dicey for Salt Lake City’s largest air carrier this past December and January, as US Airways launched a hostile takeover bid that would have left the future of the local hub in question. But creditors rejected the takeover attempt, and in February, a bankruptcy judge approved Delta’s own reorganization plan for exiting bankruptcy. For the moment the hub appears not only safe but is actually increasing direct flights.

BEST CIVIL SERVANT PROTEST
Ogden Police Officer Matthew Jones
Freedom of speech: Don’t think it applies to you if you draw a government paycheck. When Ogden police officer Matthew Jones questioned whether the number of traffic citations written should be part of an officer’s pay-raise evaluations, he didn’t do so quietly. “Welcome to Ogden City, home of [Ogden Mayor Matthew] Godfrey’s Ticket Quota,” read a sign on a moving van driven around town by Jones’ wife. The fact that Jones was placed on administrative leave that same day for an “unrelated matter”? Purely coincidental, of course.

BEST REPUBLICAN Readers’ Choice
Jon Huntsman Jr.
Handsome in that toothy, all-American way that goes so well with slogans and pin buttons, and a master of spin and tactics when it comes to getting his way with the Legislature, the Guv seems to land on his feet in most endeavors. Although his passion for multiple overseas adoptions might strike some as odd, somehow it works into the packaging of a progressive, caring Republican that seems to be the way forward for the GOP, if last year’s election results were any indication.
2. Orrin Hatch
3. Keith Christensen

BEST LOW-INCOME ADVOCATE
Anti-Hunger Action Committee Director Bill Tibbitts
Advocacy is all about the voice. Listen to Bill Tibbitts talk about the impact of bus fare hikes on the poor or discuss the Republican agenda when it comes to the future of Medicaid, and there seems no room for argument or debate. The quiet, constant passion of his tones leaves you convinced this is the only problem and this, the only solution. His penchant for slightly geeky dress—a bulky yellow jacket stood out in the Capitol during the legislative session like a beacon—seems only to add to his beguiling humility. His is a determination that seems unstoppable in its quest to give voice to the voiceless.

BEST REASON TO VOTE DEMOCRAT
State Sen. Scott McCoy
In the run-up to the November 2006 election, The Salt Lake Tribune’s endorsement of health insurance guru Dr. Joe Jarvis over Democrat incumbent Sen. Scott McCoy for Utah Senate District 2 suggested to some he was in danger of not holding on to his seat. Underpinning Jarvis’ universal health-care platform was the long-held argument that a vote for Democrats in a Republican-dominated Legislature was a wasted one. Voters, however, didn’t agree and returned McCoy. In the last legislative session, McCoy fought the straight-gay club ban, sponsored a constitutional amendment for basic, affordable health care, and got five pieces of legislation passed. His political confidence and the respect he earned in the Legislature underscore that a vote for Democrats like McCoy is far from wasted.

BEST USE OF THE WORD “SYCOPHANT”
Rocky Anderson’s War Protest Speech
Whatever your qualms are about Salt Lake City’s roving Mayor Ross “Rocky” Anderson, the controversial politician deserves mad props for sticking to his guns during an anti-war protest last August. Disgusted with the administration and its misguided policies, Anderson more or less called President Bush a fawning parasite. That’s not to say his speech relied on schoolyard taunts—far from it. Anderson shouted, in meticulous fashion, what many believe but are too afraid to articulate.

BEST POSITIVE USE OF UTAH LIQUOR LAWS
Riverton Gets a Utah State Liquor Store
Since there are only three Salt Lake County liquor stores south of 2100 South and west of Interstate 15 (!), the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control was actually mandated by the state in December to build a new store to service the citizens with a perfectly legal substance, even though the Riverton City Council is vehemently opposed to having a hooch hut in its fair city. “They are a commercial venture for the state of Utah, but they do not have to follow any of the rules other commercial ventures follow,” Riverton Mayor Bill Applegarth told the Deseret Morning News. “That’s of great concern to me.” Yeah, tell us about it.

BEST CAMPAIGN SIGN RECYCLING
Pete Ashdown
XMission founder Pete Ashdown, Democratic challenger to Utah’s incumbent-senator-for-life Orrin Hatch, fought the good fight and came closer to victory last November than many expected, and you may have noticed that his campaign materials did not list a specific year: Hold on to those lawn signs—Ashdown may take another run at it.PAshdown.org

BEST CAMPAIGN FOILER
Satan, Re: John Jacobs
Republican 3rd Congressional District candidate John Jacobs’ assertion that none other than Satan was thwarting his primary campaign against five-term Rep. Chris Cannon may have ultimately sunk him last election season, but when it hit Drudge.com, it at least generated some funny blog chatter: “The devil is impeding his efforts? How self-important can you get?” was answered with “Bush sent Laura out to campaign for [Jacob’s] opponent—Chris ‘Open Borders’ Cannon—so maybe it’s the ‘devil in a blue dress’ he’s talking about.”

BEST POWER BROKER Readers’ Choice
Jon Huntsman Jr.
He shot down nukes in the west desert not once but twice, sweet talked the Legislature into putting money in schools and resurrected a soccer stadium deal everyone thought was dead. Junior’s best power play may yet prove to be going against the Utah grain to endorse John McCain for president over golden boy Mitt Romney. Not that we subscribe to the conspiracy theory that McCain was brainwashed in Vietnam to run for president as a “Manchurian candidate” and Huntsman is his Chicom handler. Then again, Huntsman does speak Mandarin …
2. Larry H. Miller
3. Dave Checketts

BEST USE OF POLITICALLY EXPEDIENT FAUX STUPIDITY
Salt Lake County Republican Party Chairman James Evans
In his speech at an Aug. 30, 2006, anti-Bush rally, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson accused pro-war Republicans of “slavish, blind obedience” to President George W. Bush. James Evans wasted no time in purposefully misinterpreting the mayor, saying, “I can’t believe he just called me a slave,” and demanding Rocky’s censure by the City Council. When a Washington, D.C., mayor fires a staff member over his use of a racist-sounding but innocent word, it might just possibly be attributed to ignorance—but Evans is too smart to think he can get away with acting stupid just to make political points.

BEST LONE DEMONSTRATOR
Larry Bergan
It’s one thing to march en masse against George W. Bush during an anti-war rally in downtown Salt Lake City. It’s another, several months before the war rally, to get out on the streets carrying a sign demanding Bush’s impeachment—by yourself. Bergan has walked 400 miles up and down Salt Lake City streets over the past four years making his lone protest against the U.S. war in Iraq. Now he stands on street corners collecting, he says, as many thumbs up as he does birds. The 54-year-old out-of-work optician has lost three signs to irate citizens but that hasn’t stopped his urgent sense of civic duty one iota. He’s Utah’s last angry man, it seems, and we’re all better off for him.

BEST CHILD SUPPORT
Guardian Ad Litem
Guardians, state-appointed attorneys who represent children in court cases, often find little favor with the right or left. But spend time watching then-GAL (now Commissioner) Anthony Ferdon, one of boss Kristen Brewer’s 31-strong legal crew, and you’d see passion in action. It became clear quickly that a GAL at the top of his game has only one thing on his agenda: looking after children betrayed by the one love that should have protected them. While a GAL can’t undo that betrayal, he or she can at least help ensure it doesn’t happen again.

BEST TAX DOLLARS IN ACTION Readers’ Choice
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