Best of Utah 2006 | See: Media, Politics & People 

BEST TV PERSONALITY
Big Budah, Fox 13

Proof that substance trumps style, this substantial Samoan recently nudged out Shauna Thomas for top gonzo reporter billing on Fox 13’s morning show Good Day Utah. Big Budah dispatches his goofball shtick live from anyplace that’ll have him—City Weekly was so glad to oblige, staffers showed up for a 6 a.m. shoot with eyelids propped open by toothpicks! Throwing caution and clothing to the wind, Budah’s feats include diving off a cliff at the Mayan restaurant, and showcasing his 345-pound physique alongside Midnight Mirage belly dancers. Assuming he doesn’t opt for a brighter spotlight—King Kong atop the Empire State Building comes to mind—look for Big Budah to be a perennial BOU.
Weekdays, 6 a.m.
2. Allie MacKay, KUTV 2 3. Dick Nourse, KSL 5

BEST RADIO SHOW
Radio From Hell, X96

Not that they don’t love their devotedly voting fans, but maybe Kerry, Bill and Gina would more appreciate winning this Best of Utah award every year if Radio From Hell actually had some competition in the Salt Lake morning market. The X96 institution can’t even be effectively imitated, much less duplicated—try flipping around the dial and see if anything holds your a.m. attention like Kerry Jackson’s righteous rants, Bill Allred’s authoritative news voice and Gina Barberi’s … well, just Gina Barberi. Someday, they may even crack that Utah County market.
Weekdays, 5-10 a.m.
2. Chunga & Mister, 101.9 The End 3. Radio West, KUER 90.1

BEST UTAHN
Dave Matson, “The Flower Guy”

Since X96’s Radio From Hell campaigned to have their listeners vote for Dave Matson, pictured above second from the left, as Best Utahn, we asked the show’s Bill Allred to give us some background on their candidate: “We first met Dave when he started coming in to the coffee shop that used to be here at the studio. He would come in with his flower wagon, have something to eat and watch the show through the glass while listening on a headset radio. Then he’d head out to mow lawns at various businesses in the area. We learned that Dave is in his 40s and he grew up with cerebral palsy. We also found out what a remarkable human being Dave is; he doesn’t let his disability get him down. We admire Dave’s self-sufficiency, his sense of humor and his spirit. Radio From Hell is proud to call Dave Matson our friend.”
2. Rocky Anderson 3. Jon Huntsman Jr.

BEST REAL NEWS AT 9
Fox 13

Sorry, KUTV: Your farmed-out 2News on KJZZ 14 at 9 p.m. (which is essentially a half-hour promo for your own 10 p.m. newscast) is no match for the original early report, Fox 13’s inveterate News at Nine with Bob Evans and Hope Woodside. They, along with Jodi Saeland, Mike Runge and the rest of the gang, have gotten us informed and out the door to the nightclub (or back to the couch for The Simpsons) with newsy ease for years, and we’re not ditching them for a shiny new-but-inferior imposter. Stick to 10; leave 9 to the pros.
Nightly, 9 p.m.

BEST TV NEWS HAIR
Randall Carlisle, ABC 4

Forget Carlisle’s Emmy and his bachelor’s degree in speech. Cast aside his 30-plus years experience in broadcast media. Our readers would rather sing the praises of this man’s crowning (pun intended) success in what counts the most in broadcast success. That is, the permanent waves of hair on one’s head. Behold the stunning composition of Carlisle’s hair lipids. Marvel at his head’s vast array of resilient morphological components, and the fact that he drinks lots of water, a fundamental component of a healthy, broadcast-worthy pate. Cower in fear and watch the competition run when faced with the cuticles, epicuticles, and the virile arsenal of cortexes that lend his strands such impressive intercellular strength. Hair today, hair tomorrow, hair forever!
Weeknights, 5 p.m.
2. Roland Steadham, KUTV 2
3. Kerri Cronk, Fox 13

BEST TV FEATURES REPORTER
Allie MacKay, KUTV 2

She’s been back on the Utah airwaves for almost two years now, and it’s still obvious that 90 percent of whatever Allie MacKay says on 2News This Morning is flying right over anchors Ron Bird and Mary Nickles’ heads—therein lies the fun of watching. Of course, there’s also still the local contingent of uptight housewives who don’t appreciate MacKay’s unique wit and charm, and it’s nice to confirm that they don’t read City Weekly. How about a late-night Allie MacKay Show, between David Letterman and Craig Ferguson? Sounds like a tasty sandwich.
Weekdays 5-8 a.m.; noon-1 p.m.
2. Big Budah, Fox 13
3. Bill Gephardt, KUTV 2

BEST NAME RETURN
Salt Lake Bees

Thanks to a conciliatory Iowa franchise, which already had the name and boyhood memories of team owner Larry H. Miller, Salt Lake City’s ball club has its name back. The Stingers, briefly the Buzz, are now the Bees again, just as they were in 1915, just as they were as late as 1969 and just as they should be. Now, all that remains is to rename Franklin Covey Field, if not back to Derks Field, then to Mooney Field after the late Salt Lake Tribune sports editor and Utah’s greatest baseball lover John Mooney. Then, everything will be right with the world.
SLBees.com

BEST GUIDE TO YOUR NEW NEIGHBORS
Mormonism for Dummies

This book’s the one if you want to find out why Mormons can get away with drinking caffeine-rich Mountain Dew and what really goes on in a Temple ceremony. It’s written by LDS members, but that doesn’t stop it from being funny, in depth and providing rewarding insight into what folks next door in their white shirts and ties actually believe. Don’t let the fact that co-writer Jana Reiss penned What Would Buffy Do? The Vampire Slayer as Spiritual Guide put you off. We all have to earn our keep somehow.
Dummies.com

BEST NEW MINOR-MINOR-LEAGUE SPORTS START-UP
Salt City Derby

No, they didn’t start roller-skating because some chicks on A&E told them it was cool. Salt City Derby formed in 2005 out of pure passion for balls-to-the-wall competition on quad (never, ever blade) skates. The league, which invites women 18-and-up to join regardless of experience (although this period will end once they’ve got their rink legs), meets every Sunday and Monday without fail; look for a fall 2006 launch. The organizers are all business, so if you just want to skate because some chicks on TV said it was cool …
SaltCityDerbyGirls.com

BEST TV NEWS STATION
KUTV 2

Guess saturating Utah’s days and nights with over 30 hours of local news programming a week has finally paid off for KUTV 2 in the Best of Utah voting (which, as we all know, is far more important than Nielson ratings): Fox 13 has had a death-grip on this one for years, and it’s been flipped! Oh, the humanity! Being part of national television juggernaut CBS certainly didn’t hurt, but viewers wouldn’t stick around after CSI: [Your Town Here] every night if the quality weren’t there—which it is, undeniably. So, will KUTV snub our Best of Utah party again this year now?
2. Fox 13
3. KSL 5

BEST POLITICO BLOG
The Salt Lake Tribune’s Planet Legislature

Because we loathe mentioning “Dinky” Dean Singleton’s Salt Lake Tribune in anything but the snarkiest of terms, this nod goes exclusively to government reporters Glen Warchol, Rebecca Walsh and Matt Canham. Not constrained by the print edition’s pretense of objectivity, Planet Legislature offered a peek into the backbiting, cat-fighting and horse-trading that underpins democracy in motion. Then there were the puzzling gems, like Republican Syracuse Sen. Sheldon Killpack’s retort to another needling lawmaker: “If ifs and buts were candies and nuts, we’d all be Whitman samplers.” Alas, Planet Legislature went the way of the 45-day legislative session. Here’s to Warchol, Walsh and Canham reprising something like it for the 320-day lull.
Blogs.SLTrib.com/Legislature

BEST SPORT
Ken Jennings

Peter Sagal, host of National Public Radio’s quiz show Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, welcomed Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings to a Salt Lake City taping. Then he dredged up the wunderkind Mormon’s most inglorious moment during a storybook winning streak. Sagal replayed a clip of Alex Trebek hinting at a term for a “long-handled gardening tool” that can also mean “an immoral pleasure seeker.” Quick on his buzzer, Jennings replied, “What is a hoe?” The correct answer was rake. Sagal again tried to trip up the virtuous virtuoso, asking what the proper etiquette is when “you wake up in bed naked with somebody who’s name you don’t remember.” The unflappable one shot back, “So the question is not what has worked for me in the past?” Ba-dum-bum.

BEST WEBB-SITE
UtahPolicy.com

Utah Policy founder LaVarr Webb’s “information aggregator” is more than a blog. In two short years, Webb, a newspaperman-turned-lobbyist/pundit, has built a clearinghouse of indispensable information for decision-makers, policy-watchers and newshounds. Webb combs local and national newspapers for public policy and political news so wonks don’t have to. Sponsored articles let special interests bloviate without the mainstream media mucking up the message, and they put some coin in Webb’s pocket to boot. Though he’s known for politically conservative opinions and endeavors, Webb’s site gives equal air to all comers. He links to blogs, podcasts, press outlets and political parties of every stripe. And Utah Policy’s voluminous political calendar leaves no excuse for apathy.


BEST TV NEWS REPORTER
Chris Vanocur, ABC 4

The road to the governor’s mansion leads through Vanocur’s TV parlor. Host of On the Record With Chris Vanocur, the man with TV hair that just barely misses being declared the “best” by City Weekly readers brings Utah its own version of the Sunday morning politics show. Vanocur’s news coups are legendary. Most famous is his breaking of the Olympic spending scandal. Less heralded was his scoop during this year’s legislative session: a report on a plan to ban all tobacco products throughout Utah, which didn’t quite pan out. A constant fixture off the TV at charitable events, Vanocur is so deeply woven into Salt Lake City’s subconscious that there’s a salad named for him at Caputo’s.
2. Rod Decker, KUTV 2
3. Mary Nickles, KUTV 2

BEST SCHADENFREUDE
Dell Schanze

Before delighting too much in the recent collapse of “Super” Dell Schanze’s Totally Awesome Computers empire, keep in mind the repercussions. After toiling months or years for a maddeningly sophomoric eccentric, dozens of dedicated employees are out of work. Thousands of customers’ lifetime service guarantees may be cast in doubt. And perhaps most alarming, Schanze now has more idle time on his hands than ever. Remember lead-footed, gun-toting, arrogant, religious zealot Schanze? As much as it’s pained ordinary folks to watch the motormouthed wonder-geek ascend to fame and fortune, it’s the infamous Schanze we should all be concerned about now. As tempting as it might be to toast this demise, the better part of valor is to let Schanze drift silently into obscurity. Hopefully, he’ll oblige.

BEST NONPROFIT PROFITEER
KPCW’s Blair Feulner

NPR member stations KPCW in Park City and Salt Lake City’s KCPW never would have reached their elitist liberal zeniths without years of scantly rewarded dedication from general manager Blair Feulner. In fact, Feulner nursed those puppies from his own teats. Nonetheless, the public radio business ain’t a business. It’s funded by pledges from dedicated listeners. So when a newspaper reported that Feulner and his wife/co-manager Susan Feulner commanded combined salaries of $265,000, some in the public radio community were understandably outraged. That the Feulners pocketed another $895,000 on the sale of a station license held by KPCW didn’t help matters. As one annoyed listener pointed out, the director of Doctors Without Borders USA manages to eke by on $100,000.

BEST WEATHER GUESSER
Mark Eubank, KSL 5

Professionalism: That’s what you don’t expect to see much in local broadcast meteorologists any more. In a sea of forced chipperness, Mark Eubank comes off like someone who takes the job seriously. And there’s something about his smooth tones that suggests a hint of mystery, as though even he realizes all the Viper systems and Doppler images in the world bow before the ineffable majesty of Nature. In a state where weather affects not just daily commutes but the very economy, he’s more stable than any upper level high-pressure system.
Weeknights, 6 & 10 p.m.
2. Damon Yauney, Fox 13
3. Dan Pope, ABC 4

BEST RADIO VOICE INFLECTIONS
Bob Charles, ESPN Radio 1230 AM

Somewhere there’s a school where they teach on-air newsreaders that weird inflection pattern where sentences invariably end on a down pitch. And Bob Charles was there, taking notes on every syllable. The voice of ESPN Radio’s “traffic and weather together” and news updates, Charles sing-songs through his copy like an alien from Planet Broadcaster, wrapping with his trademark purr of “AM 12 thurrrdeeeeeeeee.” It’s barely human, and it’s hypnotic.

BEST UTAH CENSORSHIP (ENVIRONMENTAL DIVISION)
Girl Scout recycling commercial

Utah residents have grown sadly accustomed to not being able to view some things that people in the rest of the country can watch on TV. It’s rare when the kiboshed material actually originated here. As reported earlier this year by Paul Rolly in The Salt Lake Tribune, an ad campaign created by local Girl Scouts won Salt Lake City a U.S. Conference of Mayors award for creatively encouraging recycling. In the spot, a boy dancing with a girl in a dress made up of aluminum beverage containers tells his date, “Nice cans.” “Thanks,” she responds, “I recycled them myself.” Only viewers outside of Utah, however, got to see the risqué version. Complaints led to re-dubbing the lad’s line—”Nice dress”—for local consumption.

BEST SINGLE-ISSUE CASE FOR SECESSION
“If Utah Were a Country” 2006 Olympics Coverage

Yes, we all remember that Salt Lake City hosted an Olympiad four years ago. And yes, a disproportionate number of American winter athletes reside and/or train here. But if you judged by certain local media coverage, Utah could be pondering withdrawing from the union to set up its own duchy of winter-sports supremacy. “Here’s where Utah would rank in the medal standings if it were a country!” the stories breathlessly intone. Curiously, it’s approximately the same place Utah might rank in the standings for “goofy-ass news stories that make a place look ridiculous.”

BEST SPORTS REPORTER
David James, KUTV 2

To put it in sports terminology: Upset City, baybeeee! After years of staring at Mike Runge from the runner-up slots, David James got over the hump for a Best of Utah victory. He certainly gave 110 percent—likely drawing viewers both from his TV gig at KUTV 2 and his morning radio show on 1280 The Zone—and just took it one broadcast at a time. Actually, maybe it’s because he avoids such clichés—and keeps sports reporting smart and clever—that he’s so appealing to our readers.
Talkin’ Sports, Saturdays 10:30 p.m.
2. Mike Runge, Fox 13
3. Dave Fox, KUTV 2

BEST PERSISTENT MEDIA MISNOMER
Trib headlines describing Chris Buttars as a man with “morals”

In the Jan. 23 Salt Lake Tribune, a feature on Rep. Chris Buttars included a headline describing him as a “morals crusader.” Numerous letters to the editor justifiably took the paper to task for suggesting that a bully and bigot has anything to do with “morals.” But just a month later, a Trib story concerning the debate over legislation restricting gay-straight high school clubs featured the subhead, “Gay senator tangles with morals enforcer”—the former being Sen. Scott McCoy, the latter being Buttars. In the quest for pithy summations, how about not co-opting the far right’s Orwellian buzzwords?

BEST MORMON MOVIE, LIKE, PROBABLY EVER
States of Grace: God’s Army 2

Richard Dutcher was already the Godfather of LDS-themed cinema after the success of his original God’s Army in 2000 launched an entire subgenre. But he proved that the rest of the poseurs still can’t touch him when it comes to combining questions of faith with genuine filmmaking skill. This nominal God’s Army sequel crashed ignominiously at the local box office last fall, but that was probably because Dutcher was willing to take so many risks on his subject matter and wrapped it all up with a gut-punch of an ending.
StatesofGrace.com

BEST SPORTS RADIO STATION
The Zone 1280

There are plenty of options for national sports coverage, but nobody does local sports like The Zone—and with national-level quality, to boot. Readers clearly appreciate the on-air talent, assembled by director Ryan Hatch, of David James (see “Best Sports Reporter”), Patrick Kinahan, Gordon Monson, Scott Garrard and Dave Fox. Or maybe they appreciate the talent showcased in The Zone’s annual celebrity hottie contest “Road to the Final Babe.” Nah, it’s all about the sports, from breaking down the Jazz and professional soccer to arena and BYU spring football, as well as the best insights into the program that really counts: the winners at the University of Utah.
2. KFAN 1320
3. Hot Ticket 700

BEST AUTEUR HOSTS
Salt Lake City Film Center

It used to be that Utah film lovers could only count on Sundance’s 11 days in January if they wanted to meet and greet filmmakers. Thanks to the Salt Lake City Film Center, the directors and producers behind dozens of celebrated independent dramas and documentaries have made local appearances year-round. Ted Hope, Brian Henson, Marina Goldovskaya, Jared Hess, Liz Garbus and Frederick Wiseman are just some of the talented people who have shared their stories with local audiences—and you can bet that there are plenty more on the way.
746-7000, SLCFilmCenter.org

BEST PRO-ATHLETE SPOUSE
Masha Lopatova

Those razor-sharp cheekbones, that impossible-to-control mop of spiky hair—what woman isn’t dying to get a piece of Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko? At least, that must be the impression of Kirilenko’s wife Masha Lopatova, who announced in an article in ESPN the Magazine that she has given Andrei one annual get-out-of-trouble-free card for groupie nookie. See, she gets it—pro athletes are just different from you and me. Expecting them to abide by societal norms—and oh, by the way, Utah state law that makes adultery a class B misdemeanor—is just plain silly.

BEST SEXY RADIO VOICE
Gina Barberi, X96

The bane of morningwood sufferers the Wasatch Front over, Gina Barberi’s delicious bedroom inflections are veritable Viagra to the ears. Or so it would seem, given the Radio From Hell third wheel’s continued dominance in this category. Even when pregnant with a gargantuan baby, Barberi maintained the erotic mystique, coyly teasing listeners, “I had no idea I had such a memorable cervix.” Ohhh!
Weekdays, 5:30 a.m.
2. Artie Fufkin, X96
3. Bill Allred, X96

BEST EQUAL-OPPORTUNITY BIGOTS
Evangelical Demonstrators

Those wacky Bible-thumpers who blast Mormons with horribly offensive bullhorn commentary every General Conference? They’re the same ones who blast gays and lesbians with horribly offensive bullhorn commentary every Pride Day. Something in common!

BEST THEATRICAL PRODUCTION ABOUT AN EAST-GERMAN TRANNY
Salt Lake Acting Company’s I Am My Own Wife

David Spencer didn’t need to chew the scenery to bring antiques collector/Stasi collaborator Charlotte von Mahlsdorf to life in this January ’06 SLAC production. Spencer’s virtuosic performance in the one-man production revealed a seething intensity that went right to the top—and, somehow not over it.

BEST RETRO-FEELING TEAM NICKNAME
Utah Blaze

Once upon a time, we celebrated the move away from the ubiquitous “z” in Utah professional sports nicknames—the departure of the Starzz, the Buzz becoming the Stingers, the soccer team selecting “Real Salt Lake.” But truth be told, we kinda miss the droning sound of our team names. So hurray to the new Arena Football League franchise—the Blaze—for returning us to a bygone era when you couldn’t spell Utah sports without the last letter in the alphabet. It’s not too late for the “Bees” to become the “Beez.”
UtahBlaze.com

BEST YOUNG INVENTORS
Tyler Lyon, Daniel Winegar & Chad Thornley

Back in the day, high school amateur scientists designed hot babes on their home computers. This generation apparently has more vision. Three students in a Riverton High School physics class began a project in 2004 to create a more efficient automobile air-conditioning system. Their brilliant solution—involving the use of Peltier chips rather than Freon—may save not just the ozone layer, but nearly 4 billion gallons of fuel annually. A $50,000 Ricoh Sustainable Development Award is a nice recognition, but a place in engineering history doesn’t stink either.

BEST NEWSPAPER REPORTER
Thomas Burr, Salt Lake Tribune

And the runner-up is … Thomas Burr. No kidding. This category’s top vote-getter was actually City Weekly’s Bill Frost who pointed out rather crossly upon discovering as much, “I’m not a f—king reporter.” Hell of a columnist, yes. But Frost is not, oblivious voters, a newspaper reporter. That’s not to take away from Burr, who is quite deserving of the title he first won for investigative reports that all but toppled Salt Lake County government. Two quick promotions later, Burr landed in the Trib’s Washington, D.C., bureau, where he’s presently dogging Utah’s congressional delegation. Not too shabby for a plucky kid from Salina.
2. Shane Johnson, City Weekly
3. Mike Gorrell, The Salt Lake Tribune

BEST NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST
Bill Frost, City Weekly

After all this time, the readers finally got one right—last year and now. No disparagement meant, and hopefully none taken, but there really isn’t another columnist in town as prolific and entertaining nor as witty and acerbic as Frost. He writes half this paper, for cryin’ out loud. You want TV? He’s got TV. You want music? He’s got music. You want a smart-ass commentary? He’s got smart-ass commentary. You want haiku? He’s got haiku. Lesson to all aspiring columnists out there: Frost was once so shy he wrote under a pseudonym for SLUG. Now look at the famous heights he’s attained! You can do it too, kiddies!
Caucasian Idol?
Bill’s on top of Paula now.
TV on the brain

BEST PALEONTOLOGICAL FIND
Falcarius Utahensis

Dinosaurs aren’t only found in Utah’s Legislature. In 2005, researchers in the Cedar Mountain Formation found a treasure trove of remains of a 13-foot-long, probably feathered and sharp-clawed critter dubbed Falcarius Utahensis. The significance of the find? Falcarius was likely a transitional form from a meat-eating type (based on teeth and claws) to a plant-eating type (based on the fact that they were in a large herd, not typical of carnivores). “Stranger than strange” was the description by some paleontologists—which aptly describes many sorts of Utah dinosaurs.

BEST FINANCIALLY INEPT MILLIONAIRE
Larry H. Miller

You know this guy, right? He’s the local moneybags whose high-profile business decisions of late haven’t exactly set the world on fire. He gave Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer a $68 million guaranteed contract, only to see him lose nearly an entire year to injury. He financed the first two Work and the Glory films, only to see their $14 million combined budgets earn back just over $5 million at the box office. And he notoriously refused to show the critical (and box office) hit Brokeback Mountain at his Megaplex 17 theater in Sandy. At least he’s helping bolster the national sale of red ink pens.

BEST WHINER
BYU’s Jeff Judkins

The conversion from proud Utah Ute to sniveling BYU Cougar is now complete for Judkins—local high school hero, University of Utah basketball legend, NBA stint, and University of Utah assistant basketball coach under Rick Majerus. When the gnarly and nasty Majerus ran Judkins out of town, he ended up at BYU and became the head coach of that program’s women’s basketball team. This year was a good one for BYU Women’s Basketball, and they were favored to beat Utah in the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Surprise, though, Utah whipped them and whipped them good. After the game, Judkins accused Utah coach Elaine Elliot of running up the score on his poor girls, and she unmercifully left Utah’s best players on the court until the very end of the game. But, Judkins had his A-team in there, too, so what did he expect? That his team was preordained to win? To see Judkins whine like he did post-game means his conversion to a BYU crybaby is complete. Just deserts department: BYU was eliminated in the first round of the Woman’s NCAA Tournament, while Utah came within one point of the final four.

BEST LOCAL NEWS PODCAST
Jennifer Napier-Pearce’s InsideUtah.com

And you thought she was gone forever after hosting KCPW’s Morning Edition. Cynics might point out that Napier-Pearce’s InsideUtah.com may be the only local news podcast, and most of us may be content to use our iPods and MP3 players solely for music, but all that detracts from her reputation as a reporting and interviewing pro. Where else are you going to get stories and interviews from Latino leader Tony Yapias, local bookseller Catherine Weller, and citizen watchdog Claire Geddes? And where else are you going to get all that in a neat, 30-minute weekly wrap-up? Get ready to download.

BEST SEXY TV ANCHORMAN
Mark Koelbel, KUTV 2

Mark Koelbel is a man unfazed by the wind. In fact, his freakish good looks seem to hold up in all kinds of weather. We’ve watched the KUTV anchorman/accomplished drummer delivering news on Main Street, his helmet of silver hair baffling those who pass by with knotted locks. Did we mention his stature? The man is both diminutive and giant, according to whom you ask. Either way, he’s one solid stallion.
Weeknights, 10 p.m.
2. Dick Nourse, KSL 5
3. Randall Carlisle, ABC 4

BEST SEXY TV ANCHORWOMAN
Hope Woodside, Fox 13

What to say about a foxy lady? Is it even OK to label a professional female reporter as “foxy”? As far as Hope Woodside is concerned, the term in no way diminishes her stature as a respected journalist. In fact, the Fox 13 anchorwoman’s sex appeal has a whole lot more to do with function than form. Some say she’s the thinking-person’s news anchor. Thanks to free-flowing brunette locks and a Botox-free countenance, Woodside wins over viewers who typically shun talking heads. Or maybe it’s Maybelline.
Weeknights, 9 p.m.
2. Kerri Cronk, Fox 13
3. Mary Nickles, KUTV 2

BEST EXPOSÉ ABOUT SCARY GAY SEX
KSL 5’s “The Secret Side of the Playground”

In honor of May sweeps last year, KSL’s investigative reporter Debbie Dujanovic poked tirelessly through the bushes in the desolate Oxbow section of Jordan River Parkway. And what did she find there? A classic gay-panic feature lasting two nights. With the assistance of two hapless producers who had to stake out the park posing as gay men, she also found a few guys hunting for some hot, outdoorsy mansex.

BEST CALL-OUT
Brandon Griggs, Salt Lake Tribune

You can always tell a decent columnist by the amount of hair on his or her head. For instance, Holly Mullen at The Salt Lake Tribune and Dick Harmon at the Deseret Morning News—both with full heads of hair—are considered good columnists. So, too, is Brandon Griggs who writes about culture for The Salt Lake Tribune. Last fall, the Tribune moved its offices from Main Street to Gateway, underneath pitiable signage. When City Weekly chided the move and the sign and offered to pop for cocktails and beer to anyone able to prove us wrong, Griggs retaliated in his own column and called out City Weekly’s John Saltas for authoring the piece and presented photographic “evidence” that Saltas was wrong. Saltas is never wrong; he wanted somebody new to drink with. At any rate, Griggs alone stood up to the alternative-press meanie. He still hasn’t collected his drink, though.

BEST SPORTS WRITER
Michael C. Lewis, Salt Lake Tribune

Whether covering sports locally or nationally, Michael Lewis always gets it right. He writes clearly and efficiently. He knows his stuff. Some may say that’s not possible for a man losing his topside follicles, but Lewis does indeed do sports writing right. Sure, sure, one sports writer is hard to distinguish from the next, given that sports writing is often just a recap of what many other people saw. It’s one area where getting your facts right is a given since stat sheets can prove you wrong in a heartbeat. However, day in and day out, Lewis gets it right more often, and that’s all it takes. As in baseball, where just a few percentage points separate an All-Star from a third stringer, Lewis is simply better than the rest.

BEST MUSIC RADIO STATION
X96

If variety is the spice of life, mainstream radio is a bottle of ranch dressing—bland, familiar and easy to digest. Which is why most modern-day audiophiles turn to the Internet, satellite radio or good ol’ fashioned word of mouth to discover new sounds. X96, however, does a damned fine job of keeping up with fickle tastes. New programs like Todd’s iPod and Corey O’Brien’s 9 O’Clock Download feature somewhat obscure bands (or overhyped acts, depending on whom you ask) you won’t likely hear on other local frequencies. Speaking of local, Sunday night’s Live & Local highlights homegrown heroes including Red Bennies, The Brobecks, Magstatic, Fifi Murmur and more.
2. KRCL 90.9
3. 101.9 The End

BEST KEEPER OF THE LOCAL BLOGOSPHERE
Ethan Millard, SLCSpin.com

For the past year, SLCSpin blogkeeper Ethan Millard has attracted a loyal local following with his humorous and insightful rants on local politics and media. City Weekly staffers follow his blog; we’ve even asked him to write a feature or two for our paper. He’s a frequent guest on KPCW 88.3 FM’s Midday Metro. Here’s a fellow who founded a blog in the true spirit of the Internet. He did it not because it was his job or because his company wanted him to do it to attract more youthful readers, but as a citizen with an educated opinion. To our knowledge, he receives no pay. Or does he? Whose payroll is he on anyway? Please post your comments to his blog.

BEST DEDICATED PUBLISHER
Greta DeJong, Catalyst

As it relates to a publication’s content or purpose, defining the word “alternative” is always subject to speculation—alternative as in “gay?” “Liberal?” As in “alternative to the dailies”? But, what is not open to debate is who is the reigning queen of Salt Lake City’s “alternatives”: Greta DeJong, publisher of Catalyst. Catalyst was on the streets before this paper, and only Wasatch Sports Guide has been around as long. For each of the issues published for more than 25 years, Greta has been the driving force—work-ethically, emotionally, financially and of course, spiritually. With her partner and husband John DeJong, Greta has built a monument to the notion that new ideas and strategies—even very liberal, green ones; holistic or healthy ones—can take root in this high desert we call home. Home is better here thanks to the changes brought upon this scene by Greta. Need an insight to her vision? Who ever heard of a colonic irrigation before she came along?

BEST MIDNIGHT METAL
Maximum Distortion, KRCL 90.9

Actually, more like 1 a.m. Thursday mornings—prime headbangin’ time. John Forgach, right, and sidekick Cody D’s long-running Maximum Distortion is two-and-a-half late-late (or early-early, depending on your schedule) hours of hard ‘n’ heavy havoc that takes no prisoners and runs the gamut from old-school hard rock and thrash (Motorhead, D.R.I., Savatage, et al) to modern heavy metal, Euro-prog and beyond. Black candles and sacrificial goat optional.
Thursdays, 1-3:30 a.m.

BEST FUNKY VOLUNTEER
Sam Smith, KRCL 90.9

A KRCL volunteer for 23 years, Sam Smith makes sure the beat goes on. Originally hosting The Sounds of a Party, his day job as an Army staff sergeant sent him off to Kuwait for two years. When he returned, he had to wait for a new radio gig. He’s now host of Funk Radio every Friday. A shaker and mover in the community, Smith helped launch community celebrations like Salt Lake City Juneteeth and KRCL’s Day in the Park. He also spins tunes at school dances and for “30-and-over” parties at Club 90. Give some mad props to the DJ.
Fridays, 9 a.m.-noon

BEST ANTI-WARMONGERING
Pat Bagley’s Curious George Goes to WaR

When it comes to satirizing Utah, Salt Lake Tribune political cartoonist Pat Bagley laughs with, rather than at, state culture. His depictions of right-wing representatives and yuppie, outdoor enthusiasts are rarely vindictive. One might label him a softy if not for his aggressive campaign against President George W. Bush and the War in Iraq. Bagley’s weapon of choice is cutting wit, best deployed in Clueless George Goes to War. The clever book, which paints Cheney as “The Man” pulling the strings, continues to fly off the shelf, proving more than a few locals share his aim for peace—and common sense. Expect a sequel in 2006.

BEST TALK RADIO STATION
KUER 90.1

Wait, wait—don’t tell us! We can probably guess why KUER is considered Utah’s best talk radio station. Besides balanced reporting, the station offers a wide range of entertaining programs including Doug Fabrizio’s RadioWest, Fresh Air With Terry Gross, The Diane Rehm Show, Car Talk, The Splendid Table, Prairie Home Companion and other shows guaranteed to keep you in park.
2. KSL 1160/102.7
3. KCPW 88.3

BEST RADIO COMEBACK
Midday Metro’s Lara Jones

When KJQ switched formats and cleaned house two years ago, DJ Lara Jones was the last to know. In retrospect, she thought it was a bit odd to find workmen stripping off the radio station’s logo before her (final) shift. While irked by the lack of heads-up, Jones turned that frown upside-down and landed a sweeter gig with KCPW. Now, the morning-news anchor is respected by countless local NPR-tattooed liberals whose adoration might end should she ever again spin Third Eye Blind.
KCPW 88.3, 10-11 a.m. weekdays

BEST PREGNANT PAUSES
Radio West’s Doug Fabrizio

Most NPR nerds (you know who you are) think Diane Rehm is the most unique on-air personality—especially when a Google image search reveals she is not, in fact, 95 years old. When it comes to local programming, however, KUER’s Doug Fabrizio takes the cake. While often lauded for his keen interviewing skills—the guy can get anyone to talk—it is his vocal intonation that gives one, well, pause: “Is there anything, do you think, um, is it possible that … that when you decided to … well … to write this, this, this, well, pithy award … that your mind was completely blown?”
KUER 90.1, 11 a.m.-noon weekdays

BEST WASTE OF PRIME NEWS TIME
ABC 4’s “Diaperless Babies”

While it’s no surprise that local media outlets tend to favor meaningless stories over more pertinent happenings, namely the War in Iraq (yes, we’re still at war), some stations are particularly adept at serving up pablum. Take, for example, ABC 4’s February feature, “Diaperless Babies,” the promo that displayed an animated, googly-eyed tyke with a red heart strategically placed over its special parts. In the piece, Nicea DeGering hips viewers to Elimination Communication, a local business that encourages parents to potty-train children as early as 2 months old. The so-called parenting trend, touted as cost-effective and safe, is catching on. One woman even attended an EC meeting before getting pregnant. Apparently, it was more entertaining than watching TV.

BEST ONLINE RUMOR MILL
TheRockSalt.com

“It feels like high-school halls at times” reads one banner posted on TheRockSalt.com, a local Website whose informative posts typically boil down to juicy gossip about local bands and those who love and/or love to hate them. Comments left on one of many forums—from “F to the Orem” to the much more incendiary “Fight Club”—often include jabs at this very rag: “I saw your ugly mug in s—tty weekly along with the story on the rodeo clowns. Congrats.” TRS might encourage overgrown bullies, but it’s also an excellent resource for keeping rockers of all stripes up to date on the latest concert/album info.

BEST GINSBERG IMPERSONATOR
Alex Caldiero

Fifty years ago, Alan Ginsberg “saw the best minds of his generation destroyed by madness, starving naked hysterical in the streets.” The Beat poet recorded his observations in “Howl,” an epic work that continues to touch new generations of minds equally burdened by a world spinning out of control. In honor of Ginsberg’s tremendous contribution to society, local wordshaker Alex Caldiero recreated the first reading of “Howl,” channeling Ginsberg with chilling accuracy.

BEST BOOKSTORE TOME
Betsy Burton’s The King’s English

The world would be mighty different had Betsy Burton obsessed over, say, soccer or knitting. Fortunately for us, Burton is rather keen on literature. Avid interest in Tolstoy and Holmes led her to found The King’s English Bookshop which in turn led to The King’s English: Adventures of an Independent Bookseller. Part memoir, part how-to guide, the account details her 30-year career amid handy-dandy Top 25 reading lists for those equally turned on by the written word.
KingsEnglish.com

BEST LOCAL DOCUMENTARY
This Divided State

It’s been two years since Michael Moore and Sean Hannity faced off at Orem’s Utah Valley State College (on different dates no less), but the political melodrama lives on in This Divided State, a cinematic portrait of Red vs. Blue tensions climaxing in Happy Valley. While Steven Greenstreet could have just set his camera in one place and let the hilarity/horror ensue, the first-time director took great pains to create a well-crafted collection of particularly memorable moments set to local music by the Utah County Swillers and Vile Blue Shades. Highlight: Kay Anderson praising Orem as “Family City USA” as camera cuts to town welcome sign verifying his assertion.

BEST CREEPY CATCHPHRASE
“A full quiver of children”

Popularized by a pre-fab “natural-family” resolution which city councils were encouraged to adopt by its author and Sutherland Institute President Paul Mero, the term suggests that children are like arrows to be shot through the hearts of singles, secularists and selfish childless couples in Utah’s culture wars. The metaphor is nauseating enough to make anyone quiver—internally, at least.

BEST INTELLIGENTLY DESIGNED MISSIVE
Donald H. Feener Jr.’s letter to The New Yorker

Months before West Jordan Sen. Chris Buttars made his infamous “dat” remark, plenty of us already knew intelligent design was bunk. Count Salt Laker Donald Feener as among the first with his July 25, 2005, letter to the nation’s intellectual periodical of record: “Proponents of this movement know that they cannot achieve this revolution from within the scientific community. Instead, their aim is to manipulate public opinion and exploit the political process, with potentially devastating consequences for how science is practiced, taught, and funded in this country.” Bulls-eye.

BEST NPR SHOUT-OUT
Linda East Brady

Full disclosure: We’re going to get self-referential here. When Neal Conan of NPR’s Talk of the Nation hosted an interview last fall with New Times executive editor Mike Lacey and a whole host of collaborators and critics of his New Times Inc., national alt-weekly empire City Weekly got a brief, but much appreciated, shout-out from book author and Ogden Standard-Examiner feature writer Linda East Brady. Conan read her e-mail on air: “The writing is sharp, the voices diverse. I think if someone took over this particular paper from the outside, they would not understand the needs of the community represented by this paper.” Thanks, Linda. That should fend off the corporate takeover hounds for at least a while.

BEST GOLDEN PARACHUTE
Morgan Stanley’s $44 million payout to Philip J. Purcell

Socialists and class warriors used Morgan Stanley’s huge cash payout to former chief executive Purcell as evidence that Wall Street’s severance packages are out of control. What sore losers. They neglected to mention that the Park City resident, according to Bloomberg.com, also netted a total of slightly more than $190 million in salary, bonuses and stock options during his eight years at the company. Not bad for eight years running the company. Not bad at all.

BEST UNDERCOVER LAW ENFORCEMENT
Ron Stallworth

So what if this was 25 years ago? And so what if it took place in Colorado? Long before joining the Utah Department of Public Safety as an expert in gang crimes and investigation, undercover cop Ron Stallworth, now retired, joined the Ku Klux Klan’s Colorado Springs chapter. No big deal there, except Stallworth is African-American. Sending his very own white decoy to actual meetings, Stallworth didn’t exactly uncover any groundbreaking conspiracies, but he did get to have fun with David Duke over the phone.

BEST 120 LOCAL MINUTES
Live & Local, X96

As the lone remaining extended local music showcase on commercial Salt Lake City radio, Sunday night’s two-hour Live & Local could easily coast on X96 good will and leave it at that. Instead, the station has issued not one, but two compilation CDs of local rock bands and given away thousands of copies, and even throws a bit of on-air promotion L&L’s way—usually scarce for the locals. Plus, host Portia Early, all big-sis warmth and music-lover eagerness, actually sounds like she cares about what she’s doing, not just punching the weekend clock.
Sundays, 8-10 p.m.

BEST GUITAR-SLINGING MAYOR
Dana Williams

Sorry, Rocky, we know you’ve strapped on a Strat or two in your day. But Park City Mayor Dana Williams actually plays his guitar professionally with Motherlode Canyon Band. Besides, how many people can you think of who have won awards diverse as Summit County Farmer of the Year and 1999 Rotary Citizen of the Year, not to mention acclaim from Park City kids whose skateboard park he championed. Oh yeah, he sings too.

BEST 30 LOCAL MINUTES
Salt Lake Soundcheck, KBER 101.1

Helmut Von Schmidt will be the first to tell you—it ain’t the size, it’s how you use it. Now, about his show: At a scant 30 minutes, Von Schmidt’s Saturday-evening Salt Lake Soundcheck would seem too short to adequately spin some local bands, but he makes it work with no-sweat aplomb and always manages to somehow throw together a seamlessly slammin’ playlist of six-ish Utah (and sometimes Idaho) rock tunes. Imagine what HVS could do with a little more breathing room—come on, KBER, hook a brother up with an extra half-hour!
Saturdays, 6-6:30 p.m.

BEST SALT LAKER MAKES GOOD, AGAIN
Peter “Pedro” Yanowitz

Peter Yanowitz left the Salt Lake City music scene more than a decade ago for more promising musical pastures, most notably as drummer for Natalie Merchant. Now, as bassist for his own band Morningwood, with New York City chanteuse-cum-wailer Chantel Claret, Yanowitz enlisted former Pixies producer Gil Norton for his band’s debut LP during a recording session in London. As debut LPs go, it is, as several reviews have put it, “fun and trashy.” Ah, the life of an international rock star.
MorningwoodRocks.com

BEST REASON TO SLEEP IN
Wakin’ Up With Rebecca & Kurt, KUTR 820

If the plan behind “lady radio” KUTR 820’s morning show Wakin’ Up With Rebecca & Kurt was to make sister (get it?) station KSL 1160/102.7’s Grant & Amanda look like serious news, mission accomplished. Rebecca Cressman and Kurt Bestor’s three-hour a.m. puffball is little more than canned book promos, superficial self-help and forced chatter. Painful. Utah’s women deserve better, and so does our man Kurt.
6-9 a.m. weekdays

BEST SHOUT-DOWNS
The Rotten Musicians

Last year, local hip-hop crew Rotten Musicians put out the call for shout-outs—a standard feature on rap albums—for inclusion on their 2005 debut CD Make a Face. But, instead of self-aggrandizement and bling-flinging, they insisted on phone calls berating them for sucking like no band has ever sucked before. The result: An extended intro featuring a dozen or so hysterical “shout-downs” (combo shout-out and putdown) from local music-scene playas, including City Weekly’s own Bill Frost. And no, the Rotten Musicians don’t actually suck—far from it.
MySpace.com/RottenMusicians

BEST SUNDANCE COVERAGE
Park City TV

The little station that could pulled out all the stops when called upon to provide content for the Sundance Channel during the 2006 Sundance Film Festival—on top of programming their own station between sick snowboarding loops and pricey condo tours. Not only did they pull it off, but it was some of the liveliest stuff you’d ever expect from the Sundance Channel. Park City TV’s budget operation still resembles the old variety sitcom SCTV at times, but they’re probably more committed to providing local content than the big players down in the valley.
Digital Cable 102, ParkCityTV.com

BEST BULLY ON THE POLITICAL BLOCK
LAVAR CHRISTENSEN

The Utah State Office of the Guardian ad Litem represents children in abuse and neglect cases. The office’s most high profile case to date was dragging polygamist John Daniel Kingston and Heidi Mattingly, one of Kingston’s guestimated 14 wives, into court for an alleged decade-long pattern of abuse and neglect of their 10 kids. Never has the deeply secretive world of Kingston-style polygamy been held up to such scrutiny before. But instead of heralding GAL as heroes, Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, tried to restrict the appointment of their attorneys to criminal-abuse cases with his HB174. He also wanted their boss Kristin Brewer audited. Luckily, his bill, based on the Kafkaesque argument that the office was overworked and understaffed and therefore should be done away with, didn’t pass.

BEST CHIP TEASE
Micron

It’s been a decade since Micron swooped into Utah County with promises of thousands of jobs and economic stimulus. But in order to build a billion-dollar chip plant, Micron wanted a little help from its host city Lehi. So the city kicked in a complicated $70 million property-tax-rebate package to accommodate infrastructure for the plant. But before construction was completed, the chip market tanked, and the plant sat all but idle until earlier this year. Micron, this time in a partnership with Intel, is now ramping up production of a burgeoning doodad it projects will breathe new life into the Lehi operation. Left in the lurch once before, one might ask why in the hell Lehi agreed to put up another $62 million. Chock it up to faith.

BEST BASTIONS OF TOLERANCE
Utah High Schools

That’s right, from Provo to Bountiful and points between, gay couples have been tearing up dance floors unabated at high school proms. Of course, often that’s only the case after school officials reconsider moves to restrict gay couplings and then only after a stern prompting from the ACLU, but still. Even more amazing—in a state where lawmakers have tried or succeeded in banning gay marriages, gay clubs, gay parental visitation, benefits to gay partners and the word itself—a lesbian couple at Murray High School was voted “cutest couple” in that school’s yearbook. Hope abounds.

BEST BONEHEADED HIRE
Scott Shaw

In December 2004, former Preston, Idaho, Police Chief Scott Shaw found himself out of work and under indictment on seven felony counts related to official corruption. You may recall Preston’s other prodigal son: Napoleon Dynamite. Awaiting trial, Shaw landed a job as a consultant for the city of Draper, auditing its fledgling police force for efficiency. Last October, Shaw pleaded guilty to felonies of perjury and misuse of public funds and was sentenced to one to five years in state prison. Perhaps understandably, Draper officials have refused to release the results of Shaw’s audit.

BEST AMBASSADOR FOR ASPIRING ATTORNEYS
Heather Harris

Nationwide, advances in DNA testing and other sciences have exonerated a growing number of innocents. In many states, there’s no mechanism for compensating the wrongfully convicted, including in Utah, where several convictions for heinous crimes have been overturned in recent years. That it took Heather Harris, a third-year University of Utah law student, to point out the injustice to the Utah Legislature in a bill that would have paid the exonerated $40,000 per year spent behind bars, is sadly ironic. That those lawmakers opted for another year to mull it over is downright pathetic. The bill’s large fiscal note likely doomed the measure, but it probably won’t be the last time Harris comes up against pocketbook justice in her promising legal career.

BEST SILENT TREATMENT
Jim Matheson spokeswoman Alyson Heyrend

For City Weekly readers who’ve noticed a dearth of ink for Congressman Jim Matheson in these pages, know that we haven’t given up on the watered-down version of a regular Democrat. Alas, Matheson’s spokeswoman Alyson Heyrend won’t let her boy play with us. We’ve traced Heyrend’s tizzy to the 2004 election, when we took shots at Jim and brother Scott Matheson Jr. who, in their bids for office, snubbed invitations to be in the paper’s inaugural election guide. When Matheson’s office recently declined to participate in a survey about the pending Republican implosion in Washington, D.C., Heyrend cited President Bush’s sky-high Utah approval rating as their reason not to comment. For that, we ran a photo-illustration of Matheson, mouth duct-taped shut, alongside answers offered by Republican members of the delegation. Heyrend later condemned the piece as “immature”—intoned with a hard t—and told City Weekly not to bother calling again, ever.

BEST “DID IT FOR THE KIDS”
Sportsmanship seminars for hooligan soccer moms

What do censored sitcoms, accountants hired with Salt Lake Valley Health Department funds, video-game bans and arcane liquor laws have in common? All together now, “We-did-it-for-the-kids.” Twaddle! Tragically, there’s no bigger threat to the well being of your children than you. That’s why Lehi City won’t let kids register for youth sports until their parents watch a 15-minute video about why pummeling a pregnant referee isn’t going to win junior a D-1 scholarship. For once, it really is for the kids.

BEST REPUBLICAN
Jon Huntsman Jr.

It seemed just being governor and having a million-dollar smile was enough for Utah’s favorite millionaire, and that Mr. Moderate would be content to let the wackos in his party run things. That ended during the 2006 Legislature. When the hard right wanted to swipe children’s schoolbook money for tax cuts or to pass a litany of bills to humiliate gays, the governor came out swinging, even vetoing a few of the harshest bills. Huntsman still isn’t steering Utah’s Republican Party, but Utah’s governor is carving out a new way to be a Utah Republican. Republican without the meanness. Sort of like someone who’d be electable on a national ticket, maybe?
2. Orrin Hatch
3. Mark Shurtleff

BEST EXCUSE FOR CONFUSED UTAH COUNTY LAWMAKERS
The Street Signs

While state lawmakers on the whole consistently prove themselves nuttier than a stack of Payday candy bars, at least those hailing from Happy Valley have an excuse—ass-backward street signs. Can you blame them for not knowing whether they’re coming or going? From Alpine south to Provo, one zany Utah County municipality after the next insists on its own distinctive street coordinates. Driving from Cedar Hills to American Fork, 4800 West morphs into 900 East with no warning. One two-mile straight shot from American Fork to Pleasant Grove has three different numeric coordinates. Every city seems to have a main street or a center street, and their grids emanate accordingly. If Happy Valley’s traffic boondoggle was meant to confound the gentiles, mission accomplished, and screw you very much.

BEST LAWMAKER MELTDOWN
Sen. Howard Stephenson

Professional taxpayer advocate, big business lobbyist, and Draper Republican Howard Stephenson is known as an astute, if not diplomatic, parliamentarian. Impugn his integrity, though, and you better put the women and children to bed. When another lawmaker had the temerity to carry a bill that would lower the $50 disclosure threshold for lobbyist gifts to lawmakers, Stephenson launched an all-choked-up tirade against the mainstream media that would do Bill O’Reilly proud. The “mass media money machines,” he seethed, peddle “sensationalism,” “conflict” and the “appearance” of graft and corruption. And disclosing who wines and dines lawmakers would only oblige the press, which he deemed “a swarm of killer bees, using snide innuendo and invective to attack their prey.” Stephenson’s every bit as right, as he is a tool.

BEST MUNICIPAL FINANCIAL REPORTS
Sandy City

Perhaps you expect government agencies to cloud their money managing in gobbledegook and legerdemain (cough, Salt Lake County, cough). Not so in the south valley. Every year, the Government Finance Officers Association—representing the United States and Canada—recognizes government entities that publish easy-to-use financial reports. And for 18 consecutive years, Sandy City has been among the less than 2 percent of local and state entities to earn the organization’s highest honor. There’s at least one place where you can tell exactly where your tax dollars are going.

BEST POWER BROKER
Larry H. Miller

What Larry wants, Larry gets. Seemingly without the aw-shucks Utah Jazz owner lifting a finger, or shedding a famous tear, all the action in Utah somehow lands on Miller’s doorstep. Where should Utah locate a new taxpayer-backed soccer stadium? How about right next to Miller’s Jordan Commons. While we’re at it, how about a $2 million, federally funded TRAX station that dead-ends at Miller’s shopping mall? If UTA continues its pattern—TRAX stops at Franklin Covey Field, Delta Center, and Jordan Commons—soon, all roads will lead to a Miller-owned franchise. If only Miller could bring those same mysterious powers to create a winning Jazz season.
2. Jon Huntsman Jr.
3. Rocky Anderson

BEST CONFOUNDING LEGISLATIVE ACTION
LaVar Christensen works for hate-crimes compromise

We all thought we had Draper Rep. LaVar Christensen pegged—he’s the guy whose entire legislative agenda seemed to be based on the motto “no gay, no way.” But the same guy who supported restrictions on gay-straight high school clubs, gay parent rights and partner benefits became the point man for hammering out a version of a hate-crimes bill that actually passed the house. Even Rep. David Litvack, longtime advocate for hate-crimes legislation, appeared satisfied. No! Christensen … and something potentially beneficial to gay people! Does not compute!

BEST NEW HOME FOR THE HOMELESS
Christ United Methodist Church

When you were designing your new home, did you add a spot where temporarily homeless families could spend the night? That’s what the members of Christ United Methodist—part of the multichurch Interfaith Hospitality Network—opted to do. The church’s newly dedicated building includes living space for several transitioning families, eliminating the previous system of bouncing families to temporary quarters in multiple churches on a weekly basis. Families gain a stability they need as they seek permanent housing—and members get to know they put their resources into genuine Christlike service.
2375 E. 3300 South, 486-5473

BEST WOMAN SCORNED
Deeda Seed

When Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson fired his longtime aide-de-camp Deeda Seed, he opened a nasty can of worms. Anderson’s seventh communications director in five years accused him of, among other things, a hostile temperament that created an unfavorable workplace environment. Her accusations unleashed a flood of criticism by reporters, former employees and politicians who were itching for a reason to rip on Rocky—like they needed one.

BEST FUGITIVE
Warren Jeffs

He’s supposedly traveling in a convoy of white vans, he’s had the FBI on his tail for months, and yet Jeffs, the current prophet of the FLDS Church, is still at large. With so much talk of blazing guns and Waco, how badly do the feds really want him? While the hunt continues, buildings in one town (Colorado City, Ariz.) mysteriously move to another (Eldorado, Texas) overnight. Anyone for Monopoly?

BEST REASON TO FEAR ELECTION SEASON
Diebold

Utah’s new and expensive voting machines are manufactured by a company which not only refuses to reveal how the machines work, but whose CEO resigned in December amid allegations that they don’t. Work, that is. At least not well. Diebold crashes, glitches and paper jams wreaked havoc during California elections the previous year, and some computer scientists claim the machines are easily hacked, rendering election outcomes suspect, if not meaningless.

BEST DEMOCRAT
Rocky Anderson

Long before Donald Trump gave the world The Apprentice, Rocky Anderson gave Salt Lakers the most contentious mayoral administration of its history. Got a problem with that? Good, because if you do, well … you get the idea. Detractors abound, and his Taliban analogy to a U.K. newspaper counts as one of Utah’s greatest political flubs. Still, the fact remains that, as much as he’s played musical chairs with his staff, nothing’s stopped Mayor Anderson from saying what he wants, doing what he wants and standing up for what he holds dear.
2. Jim Matheson
3. Scott McCoy

BEST WAY TO GET REDNECK YAHOOS OUT OF UTAH
The Utah Minuteman Project

Last April, a wave of anti-immigrant hysteria prompted talk-radio-listening, trigger-happy, six-toed Cletuses—er, “patriots”—to stock up on ammunition and head for the Utah/Mexico border. Finding none, they continued on to Arizona. While these so-called “minutemen” said they were assisting the border patrol, it was obvious their real intent was to intimidate people crossing the border. Fortunately for Mexico—and unfortunately for us—they eventually came back.
UtahMinuteman.org

BEST LEGAL SETTLEMENT BETWEEN LONGTIME FOES
Anderson Development Co. vs. South Jordan activists Janalee Tobias and Judy Feld

On its face, this is certainly one of the more bittersweet legal draws ever to grace an attorney’s desk. The development Tobias and Feld fought, the proposed RiverPark Business Park at 10600 South, has already been built. Tobias and Feld absorbed legal fees of heroic proportions after having the audacity to speak out against Anderson Co.’s development before the South Jordan City Council years ago. But the Utah Supreme Court did declare last year that the developer’s case was a SLAPP suit—“strategi
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