Best of Utah 2017 | Our annual celebration of the Best our state has to offer is here! | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City
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    Best tireless advocate
    Lex Scott

    Last September, when United Front Party founder Lex Scott spoke to a group gathered outside the Public Safety Building to demand the body-cam footage from the fatal officer shooting of Patrick Harmon be released, she described the pain stemming from the incident as "a new hurt." Tireless, vocal and passionate, Scott is as much a permanent fixture at Black Lives Matter and Utah Against Police Brutality rallies as she is at regular Community Activist Group meetings with the SLCPD. "We've created a lot of change. We have data collection now, we have de-escalation training now, we have diversity training, diversity hiring," she says of the twice-monthly meetings. "My hope is that the police get the message that we want accountability and transparency." (Enrique Limón)

    Best resilient smile on Main and Third
    Dennis Gray

    We gave a Best of Utah to Dennis Gray several years ago to recognize the glory that is his smile. Three years later, that smile has seen better days. Many of the folks he relied on to buy the copies of Salt Lake Street News he sold on the corner of Main and 300 South each day left, he says, after the landlord upped the rent on nearby offices. He's battling cancer, but such is his grit and determination—not to mention his need—he's out there on Main when he can muster the strength, still doing his little shuffle and smile when he sees someone he knows. Gray is a reminder of the humanity that lies behind the word "homeless." While the city cracks down on panhandling and downtown becomes a playground for Goldman Sachs, Gray asks us to remember those who are far less fortunate than ourselves, and dig a little deeper in our hearts to return that smile. (Stephen Dark)

    Best silence on inauguration day
    Jan Chamberlin

    Rather than sing at Donald Trump's inauguration, five-year-member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Jan Chamberlin quit the band. So what's one less voice? Well, it made a sharp statement that drummed up more attention than the actual performance she skipped out on. Actually, the MoTab sang a mellifluous rendition of "America the Beautiful" and is a deserved point of pride for the state. But so is Chamberlin for opting not to participate in a celebratory concert for a man who proved on the campaign trail to be boarish, shallow and demonstrate a set of values polar opposite to those espoused at Temple Square. Less than a year in, it might be too early to conclude whether Trump will be the discordant, cacophonous, tone deaf—though never silent—president he's shaping up to be, but Chamberlin clearly had her pulse on something. (Dylan Woolf Harris)


    Best former Utah congressman who's the doppelganger of a fired White House chief of staff
    Jason Chaffetz

    One can't help think that as Jason Chaffetz shook Hillary Clinton's hand on inauguration day, he had a heavy lump in his throat. Here, after all, was his favorite punching bag that would have propelled him further into GOP stardom as he launched laborious investigations against the most preeminent Democrat. Instead, Clinton lost the election and left the political arena. Keeping up appearances, Chaffetz knocked down any notion that the cordial handshake meant he wasn't going to keep gunning for her. "So pleased she is not the President," he explained "... Investigation continues." But despite all the posturing, Chaffetz never rose to be her political rival, and Clinton, apparently, didn't even recognize the congressman, she claimed in her new book. The Democratic candidate thought she was engaging with Reince Priebus, who was about to start his short-lived tenure as a top aide to President Trump. (DWH)


    Best illustration of the merits of taking the high road
    Bad Brad Wheeler

    Did your parents or some other older-wiser ever tell you to handle conflicts by being the bigger person? We know it's good advice. But the urge to indulge fantasies of disintegrating the offending individual with heat vision, or mortally wounding their inner child with a page or two of withering prose, is strong. In his exit interview with City Weekly, beloved ex-KRCL personality Bad Brad Wheeler could've been a whistleblowing' Scarface, spraying his former employers with bullets forged from their own alleged misdeeds. Instead, Bad Brad went to a Buddhist Zendo every morning and heeded the gurus there. He meditated and elected to deny himself fury, to refuse to contribute to the chorus of invective directed at station general manager Vicki Mann, vilified as the source of KRCL's turmoil. Days after the article ran, she quit. What does it mean? I dunno. Consult the Zendo. (Randy Harward)

    Best preacher for hire
    Rev. Bad Brad Wheeler

    Weddings can be a real bummer sometimes. Not for those involved, I'm talking about us poor schmucks that have to sit through the evangelical teeth-pulling that goes on before the real party begins. Enter the Rev. Bad Brad Wheeler. This radio personality and blues musician turned part-time accredited vow-enumerator manages to take the occasional jittery and teary bonding ceremony and turn it into the happy gathering all weddings should be. He does it through considerate wit, vague pop-culture references and the occasional amen. (Mike Riedel)


    Best Utah tweeter
    Evan McMullin

    Look, Evan—our man, Egg McMuffin, as it's said colloquially—we owe you an apology. Not many took you seriously. I remember when you visited my university. I laughed and contributed to the chorus of McDonald's breakfast jokes the rest of the more liberal-leaning students made. Now, however, on behalf of myself and the rest of the state, there are two things to say to you: We're sorry and you are the mothereffin' man on Twitter. In a time when a threat to democracy is lit-er-al-ly the President of the United States, and his avenue for debauchery is 140 characters, it's comforting to know there are people like you with experience and political sway fighting back and tweeting like hell. You've got hella clout, as the kids say, which will serve you well, should you ever take another crack at winning the president's seat. (Jordan Floyd)

    Best muscle whisperer
    Massage therapist Sarah Jensen

    You might think of Sarah Jensen as compassionate and kind. You might think of her as professional and well-trained. She is all those things. But once you're on her table, the gloves come off. She might speak pleasantly about the weather, but her hands proceed to show your knots and wayward muscles who is boss. "Resistance is futile," her hands seem to be telling your misaligned fascia and filaments. This is not pampering. This is getting the most for your massage dollar. Seeing Sarah once a week is the best gift you can give your muscles. (Jerre Wroble) Mountain View Physical Therapy, 6770 S. 900 East, Ste. 100, Midvale, 801-996-3626,

    Best Utah literary leading lady
    Logan Poet Laureate Star Coulbrooke

    If there's anyone who could be the face of the grassroots literary culture in Utah, it's Star Coulbrooke. Having been one of the chief editors of the recently published Helicon West Anthology, directing the 10-years-standing, twice-monthly reading series from which the anthology was born, writing her own collection of poetry titled Thin Spines of Memory, and all while serving as the poet laureate of Logan and coordinating the many literary events that come with the ol' title, Star has been busy this past year solidifying herself as an essential piece of Utah's literary scene. Props to you, Star, for rage, raging against the (supposedly) dying light of literature. We love hearing you howl. (JF)

    Best Twitter sports fireworks
    Gordon Hayward free agency announcement

    On an eventful Independence Day for Utah NBA fans, Utah Jazz star forward Gordon Hayward was reportedly going to sign as a free agent with the Boston Celtics. Then he wasn't. Then maybe he was staying. Or then again maybe not. For more than five hours after a noon tweet by an ESPN reporter that Hayward was Boston bound, reports and counter-reports swirled, including a denial by Hayward's agent, Mark Bartelstein, that Hayward had made his final decision. Fans fretted, fumed and speculated wildly on social media, right up to the moment Hayward announced his departure for Boston at 5:48 local time, making for a crazy despair-hope-despair Jazz fan roller-coaster. (Scott Renshaw)

    Best LGBTQ elders advocate
    Richard Starley, SAGE Utah

    Consider the challenges faced by the elderly—housing, health care, socializing, general age discrimination. Now add on the myriad problems that LGBTQ Utahns often experience. These unique barriers can be too much to face on one's own. That's why Richard Starley dedicates so much of his free time to improving life for the aging LGBTQ community as head of SAGE Utah, part of the Utah Pride Center. "When you become ill or vulnerable, you tend to go back in the closet a little bit. You don't let everybody know you're gay," he says. Though SAGE Utah has been inactive over recent years, under Starley's wing the group has seen more events in 2017 than ever before. From organizing events to collaborating with other agencies to visiting local nursing homes, he does it all with unwavering resilience and a humble sense of pride. (Andrea Harvey)


    Best end-with-a-whimper trial
    John Swallow

    For all the millions of taxpayer dollars that went into the federal and state investigations and prosecution of former A.G.s Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow, the net result was one dismissal and a trial that seemed to go on forever. So many allegations, so much finger pointing, so much salacious news copy—and all Utah finally had to show for it was a badly besmirched A.G's office and the question of who was going to pick up the legal bills. For those who attended court, it seemed as if the two sides were painfully mismatched, Swallow's phalanx of attorneys again and again enjoying field days with the state's witnesses. At times you almost wished someone would put the state's case out of its misery. And then the jury did just that with a speedy acquittal. Will we ever know the truth behind this convoluted saga? (SD)

    Best Republican storming of the Democrat heartland
    Speaker of the House Greg Hughes

    When you have a power-block of Democrats occupying key positions in both Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County, all should be well in our liberal domain. Two mayors, the sheriff and D.A. all recognizing the need of presenting a united front to a Republican Legislature deeply unsympathetic to liberal values. But from when tensions and spats between Mayor Jackie Biskupski, former county sheriff Jim Winder, and the two mayors over the chaos of Rio Grande became public, fellow Dems cringed at the unseemly bickering. Never in their wildest nightmares, however, would they have imagined that Speaker of the House Greg Hughes, the man largely credited with denying Medicaid expansion for the state's poor, would stomp into the heart of the liberal homeland and take charge. While tensions between Biskupski and Hughes boiled over on a Doug Wright KSL radio show, the various parties found a sense of public decorum to present at the Rio Grande press conferences charting the police crackdown on crime. But as the fisticuffs-loving Hughes both drove and shaped Operation Rio Grande, the question might well become at what price to the homeless? (SD)

    Best gals you want on your side in a scuffle
    Wasatch Roller Derby

    Seriously, don't mess with these ladies. Attend one of their bouts and you'll see why. There are bruises and scrapes aplenty as each team's jammer tries to outrace the other and get through the pack to rack up points. Hearing player names like Makillda and Jane Accostin' is just as fun as watching these gals dodge, duck, dip, dive and pummel their way around the track. You yourself can learn the fierce art of roller derby by dropping by a crash course, and there's a league for kids ages 6-17 as well as a men's team. Or you could just sit and enjoy the show from the relative safety of the bleachers. (Sarah Arnoff)

    Best NIMBY muscle flex
    The hordes of Draper

    In a year where neighborhoods uniformly agreed that the homeless need help, sure, just don't put them by me!, you had to dramatically up your NIMBY game to stand out. Cue the City of Draper. In a rancorous explosion, residents of Draper—an affluent city in the south end of the valley that is fixing to see more riches once the prison is relegated to the Salt Lake City hinterlands—responded full force at Mayor Troy Walker's offer to add two Draper sites to the list of possible homeless shelters. City residents showed up at a town hall session and booed their larynxes sore, aiming their ire at Walker, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, and most awkwardly, at a homeless man who bravely asked that folks don't rush to judge those less fortunate. Yeah right, guy! (DWH)

    Best geriatric convict-at-large
    John Baptiste

    As the old saying goes, "You can only rob so many graves before the living try to hang you in Salt Lake Cemetery." This was a lesson that, in 1862, John Baptiste learned the hard way. Because of desperate perversion or miscalculation, Baptiste, the then local gravedigger, began stealing personal effects from the bodies he buried—numbering near 300 individuals. Once in legal custody, Baptiste was shipped off to the Great Salt Lake's Fremont Island, to live in total seclusion. After a six-week incarceration, Baptiste vanished, leaving vague hints of escape—now we are left to wonder, is Baptiste currently in Friendship Manor plotting his next escape? (Zac Smith)

    Best awful mic cut
    The old straight men who run an Eagle Mountain ward

    If you've ever witnessed one, you know that LDS Fast and Testimony meetings inspire as much awkward, rambling, pseudo-religious anecdotes as they do rote drivel. How refreshing, then, to hear last June a 13-year-old step to the mic and bear testimony to her congregation in Eagle Mountain that she knew God loved her and had a plan in store even though she is gay. The taped speech might serve as inspiration for other LGBTQ youth who often struggle to reconcile their sexual orientation with a faith that's been slow to shake off its homophobic past. But listeners can only guess what other meaningful things she had to say because the bishopric cut the sound halfway through her prepared statement, and well before she could gush forth the obligatory name-of-Jesus-Christ-amen. (DWH)

    Best sympathy for the Orange Devil
    Jeremy Johnson

    For a man who had once courted governors and attorneys general, and flown aid into earthquake-ravaged Haiti, the sight of one-time telemarketing multi-millionaire shackled in an orange jumpsuit while attorneys haggled over his right to not incriminate himself in the John Swallow trial, was an oddly maudlin affair. Johnson, after all, was a critical state witness, but he was also the focus of a federal prosecution that was far more troubling in terms of the conduct of the feds and the judge than anything the ridiculously overcharged Johnson was convicted of. As Johnson was repeatedly dragged out into court and asked if he would testify, it was hard not to feel a little sorry for a man who once seemed to have more money than even the devil would view as decent. (SD)

    Best Brazilian fisticuff match
    The anonymous Mormon pummeler

    Let's get this out of the way from the get-go: We are thankful that no one was seriously injured when a bandit pulled a gun in March on a pair of Mormon missionaries in Manaus, Brazil. But this crook stuck up the wrong elder, a young man the LDS Church declined to identify, who, evidently, went to Brazil to chew açaí and kick ass—and he was all out of açaí. Grainy surveillance video footage shows the assailant first rummage through the Mormon pairs' pockets. But then the burlier companion with lightning reflexes snatches the pistol, tosses it into the weeds, and begins hammering the robber with right hooks until the knocked-around man scrambles away, leaving the elder posing in the street with his fists clenched and chest puffed as if he were commander of the Army of Helaman. (DWH)

    Best Pint-sized culinary prodigy
    Penelope Lorenzana, Park City Culinary Institute

    This local culinary rising star with the sobriquet "Chef Moppy" has had cooking segments featured on Fox 13's "The Place" with Big Budah, and "Fresh Living" and "Inside the Story" on CBS affiliate KUTV. She has her own YouTube channel featuring her recipes, travels and interviews with fellow chefs, and has almost 2000 followers on Instagram. The first under-18 applicant accepted into the Park City Culinary Institute program, Chef Lorenzana has developed her own line of chef's knives scaled to fit smaller hands. Oh, and this entrepreneurial prodigy is just 11 years old. Keep an eye out for Chef Moppy's whisk-wielding whirling dervish of fun via all the social media streams and at Park City Culinary Institute events at the Salt Lake academy location. Her motto: "Inspiring junior chefs to create amazing food and memories by cooking with their family." You go, girl! (Darby Doyle) @chefmoppy

    Best local music WTF
    Mr. Hull

    In June, I saw this weird-ass electro-noise duo Mr. Hull at Boing! At least, I think it was Mr. Hull. I can't find them online, aside for something I wrote in this paper. If it weren't for that and the six minutes of video I shot, I'd wonder if it even happened. "It," by the way, was two guys throwing a squelchy-squawky, half-hour tantrum about as musical as modem tones from behind a vanguard of plastic bottles filled with apple juice or something far more acidic and sickeningly yellow. One Hull drank some, then threw the uncapped bottle into the crowd. What was their first band meeting like? Hull 1: "We need a gimmick." Hull 2: "Meet me behind Diabolical Records—and bring all the plastic bottles you can find. We're totally gettin' booked for an NPR Tiny Desk Concert." (RH)


    Best former governor to get duped by an internet prankster
    Jon Huntsman Jr.

    In July, CNN ran a light, inconsequential story about a mischievous Brit who sent out emails to members of President Trump's inner circle pretending to be other members of the Trump team. Huntsman, the newly nominated ambassador to Russia, received an email purporting to be from Trump's least-likely adult son to meet with Russians for dirt on the Clintons—Eric. Huntsman thanked (fake) Eric Trump for his encouraging words (in this exchange, the prankster didn't publish on his Twitter page the fake email he sent, only the response), and then clarified that his father is actually the Jon Huntsman who authored the book Winners Never Cheat. In another entertaining bogus email, this time sent to the shortest-tenured White House communication director Anthony Scaramucci, the prankster, posing as Huntsman, refers to the Trump sons as "dumb and dumber," which seemed to faze Scaramucci not at all. (DWH)

    Best display of solidarity
    Mexico relief radiotón

    Thoughts and prayers can only get you so far. If you're the staff at La Gran D 102.3 FM, Salt Lake's premier Spanish-language radio station, you put your money where your mic is, and organize a radiothon to raise funds for those affected by the 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico. Many braved the elements on a rainy Sunday morning and swung by the station's west side HQ to give. I was invited to be on-air that day, and choked up more than once at the selfless displays of solidarity—little kids, lunch money in hand, dropped in; an older gentleman who had undergone heart surgery just a week prior came by, pesos at the ready. Best part is, all the money gathered (more than $8,000 total) is going straight to the hands of those in need. Check out their blog section for the compelling images. (EL)

    Best (and only) bards in the West Desert
    Grantsville Performing Arts Council

    Utah's West Desert is the exclusive home to aliens (probably), three-eyed jack-rabbits and a fabulous group of thespians operating under the moniker Grantsville Performing Arts Council. The group has only been around for a few years, but they've put their shoulders to the performing-arts wheel, so to speak, and have performed a number of shows, most recently, the fab, literally-on-a-farm rendition of Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat. Perhaps what was most fulfilling at this summer's GPAC show was to see the ol' idea of art bringing a community together animated. If you, dear reader, are looking this coming summer for some theater art, make the jaunt out west on I-80 to Grantsville and see a GPAC show. You'll be pleased to find a beautiful town and a group of people doing something they love simply for the love of it. Oh, and the productions are pretty damned good, too. (JF)


    Best volunteer groundskeepers
    Friends of Gilgal Garden

    Recognized as the must-see destination for Salt Lake City's quirky Mormon-esque sculptures, Gilgal Garden is much more than the rock edifices that distinguish it from other public spaces in the city. The 3-acre park also has a carefully curated garden, the upkeep for which falls on the shoulders of a group of volunteer gardening experts. In the warm months, these do-gooders can be found at Gilgal Garden every Tuesday morning, pulling weeds, pruning trees, spreading mulch or resting in the shade. A few of the gardeners also serve on the Friends of Gilgal Garden board, which guides other park decisions. (DWH)
    749 E. 500 South,

    Best patron saint of book arts and cussin'
    Dana Knight aka Debra Entendre

    Maybe you've met Dana Knight before, volunteering at the University of Utah's Book Arts Program or slinging coffee at Publik Coffee Roasters or by way of her devilish Chihuahua-mix pups, Hambone and Biscuit. Knight is a multi-media artist specializing in the use of vintage type fonts, advertising imagery and printmaking as a means to redefine personal narratives concerning gender roles and sexuality. Most recently working on a collection of male pinups, she hopes to re-examine an overtly sexualized art form, creating images that both women and men can admire. Visit the Marriott Library's Special Collections to see her reduction linocut, word-play based cookbook, the Stor-Bot cookbook. With a killer '50s fashion sense and a mouth to beat a sailor, Knight is keeping us humble—and I'm f*cking thankful! (ZS)

    Best dedication to Utah's architectural past
    Preservation Utah

    Formerly the Utah Heritage Foundation, Preservation Utah started its campaign to protect historic buildings statewide in 1966 (the first organization to do so in the western U.S.), after its passionate founding members got sick of seeing beautiful building after building demolished. Their mission to "keep the past alive, not only for preservation, but to inspire and provoke a more creative present and sustainable future" is apparent in buildings across the Salt Lake Valley, including the City & County Building (which they helped restore in 1989), Trolley Square, the McCune Mansion and many more. You can show your support and love of historic architecture by hopping on one of their next Thirst Fursday Historic Pub Crawls. (SA)
    375 N. Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, 801-533-0858,

    Best photographer of modern-day nostalgia
    Lyndi Bone

    I'm struggling to find a less creepy way to say this, so I'll just go for it: I am obsessed with this photographer's work. At the Urban Arts Festival this past September, I didn't want to leave her booth—ever. Her shots are such perfect depictions of modern-day nostalgia, exploring the many ways our culture, upbringing and surroundings affect the innocence and curiosity of our youth. The simplicity of each image, though, is the best part. It doesn't necessarily offer an answer, as we have yet to truly find out. She says it best in an online artist statement for her photo series "Robot Friend": "Will children look back on their technology-filled childhood in fondness, the same way we reminisce about ours?" (AH)


    Best proponent for Utah's minority entrepreneurs
    James Jackson III

    In 2009, born-and-raised Utahn James Jackson III founded the Utah African American Chamber of Commerce, a key resource for small businesses owned by minorities. "The first five years were tough because it was just me, but now I have an active board, so that helped a lot," Jackson told City Weekly in an interview in February. The organization has grown exponentially over the past couple years, though, thanks to volunteers like him who've been successful in their mission of fostering accessibility, networking and education. (AH)

    Best colon gazer
    Dr. Edward Frech

    No one likes to ponder the yards of snake-like intestines within one's own gut, and even less when you hit that age of going to a doctor to have it checked out. But when your doc says it's time, finding Dr. Frech waiting for you in the op room as the anaesthesiologist lines up those glorious drugs is as close to a pleasure as this situation allows. He's charm and gentleness itself and makes such a journey—albeit one of which you are blissfully unaware—a more-than-pleasant time. And, for those folks who swear by the "claret and cobalt," he's a diehard Real Salt Lake fan who will happily wax and wane over their ups and downs as you drift off into la-la land. (SD)

    Best disappointing "feminist"
    Becca Olea, "The Republican Unicorn"

    Feminism can often be difficult to define. But one thing's for sure: True feminists are selfless; they support one another, and are proud to do it. So it's more than disappointing to see someone appropriate the movement, using it as personal branding without upholding those values—like Becca Olea, national committeewoman for Utah Young Republicans, who dubs herself as "The Republican Unicorn." From social media and YouTube videos aimed at political recruiting, to the cutesy products she sells on her website that just launched in September, she presents herself as a political enigma: millennial, Latina, "feminist" Republican. Her website claims to "empower women" yet offers only advice on beauty, fashion and health. Among hundreds of selfies, I couldn't find a single one of her supporting recent feminist causes, such as Women's Marches. Perhaps one can be a Republican and a feminist. But not like this. (AH)

    Best three-song suckerpunch
    Tom Bennett EP

    Although his name and face popped up a lot, it took a while to finally listen to local singer-songwriter and one-man-band Tom Bennett. In fact, it wasn't until he sent a download of his new three-song EP, I Am Everywhere that I finally did. It was only a few bars into the first song that I was kickin' myself for waiting so long. The fresh-faced former missionary's songs, voice, guitar, harmonica, story and back catalog pack quite a punch. (RH)

    Best verve for your nerves
    Craig Campbell Chiropractic

    Enter in the inner sanctum of Dr. Campbell's offices and you'll sing the body electric. The communal treatment room buzzes softly with vibrating tables and chairs. Even the kinetic sculptures and playful toys at the doctor's desk attest to the calm but animated atmosphere of his practice. "It's all energy," he says. With more than 40 years under his belt and an arsenal of modalities at his disposal, the doctor is half old-school chiropractor/half intuitive shaman who knows the best approaches to alleviate wrenching nerve and muscle pain. His unique foot neuropathy treatment offers promising results. (JW)
    115 E. Fort Union Blvd., Midvale, 801-566-4357,


    Best hairstylist to chat existentialism whilst styling a new 'do
    Stephen Millis of Lunatic Fringe Holladay

    If you're like me—an odd duck with introvert tendencies that dreads idle salon chatter—then you'll love Stephen Millis. As a reformed pre-med major, his love of science, anthropology and general quest for enlightenment make him an absolute delight to chat with. As can be expected from someone who enjoys studying culture and society, Millis is willing to take on trendsetting styles most stylist are not—hence why I was sitting in his chair for the time consuming task of getting a perm. Yep, you read that right. Perms are back bitches and though they still smell like the '80s, they're better than ever! Whether you want to chat about your own existential crisis or existentialism in general, Millis can hang, all whilst making your hair beautiful. (Aspen Perry)
    4640 S. Holladay Blvd., Holladay, 801-432-8533,

    Best female-forward political group
    Utah Women Unite

    Imagine climbing a steep, snowy canyon wall. You've been at it all day. Your knees are trembling, your fingers are numb and you just drank the last of your water, but you're not worried because you can see it now—there's nothing stopping you from reaching the top. You're celebrating prematurely, overwhelmed with joy as you reach for that edge, when suddenly an orange man in a suit and tie appears, tells you you're doing it wrong, stomps on your hand and watches you fall. For so many women in the U.S., that's what the November 2016 election felt like. But the volunteers behind Utah Women Unite didn't waste any time with self-pity. The grassroots organization formed that month and has been working ever since to "protect and advance the rights of all Utah women, girls, marginalized and non-binary people" through education, direct legislative action and community organizing with events such as the Women's March to the Capitol in January. Utah needs more people like them. (AH)

    Best book purveyor turned Ghostbuster turned Governor
    Peter Marshall

    Main Street can be a bit overwhelming, right? Lots of sights and sounds. Luckily, Utah Book & Magazine and owner Peter Marshall provide solace for the weary—just beware the horde of ghouls. "I've got 22 ghosts and one demonic in the basement," Marshall says. Before you ask, yes, he knows each ghost individually—from the mob gooney, to the bride, to his older brother Skip. For the past 31 years, Marshall has opened his doors at 3:30 a.m. to welcome book-lovers and spirits alike—a dedication that has his neighbors calling him the Governor of Main Street. And, just to be clear, Marshall plans to keep his ghosts, "They're good company! I'm tryin' to get them to put the books away." (ZS)
    327 S. Main, 801-359-4391

    Best nail duo
    Tammy and Tony at Radiant Nails

    You know the lyrics, "It takes two to make a thing go right"? Nowhere is that more true than at Radiant Nails, where Tammy and Tony team up to make any pedicure a peak experience. Tony does the prep work, soaking and scrubbing your feet to newborn-baby softness. Then Tammy swoops in with her mad nail-polishing skills. You'll strut out the shop with a spring in your step thanks to the impeccable service of this mom-and-pop team. Yes, the salon is clean and tidy, the chairs comfortable and the prices fair, but it's Tammy and Tony's friendly banter that will keep you coming back for more. (JW)
    715 E. Fort Union Blvd., Midvale, 801-255-0450

    Best canine ski shop greeting
    Sonic the border collie at 7even Skis

    Alright, alright, we theoretically understand why watershed purists vigilantly cling to limiting canine cohabitation in Big and Little Cottonwood canyons. But a ski shop just doesn't feel like a mountain town locals joint without a shop dog, right? Case in point is perennial SLC favorite 7even Skis, where all tasks are performed under the watchful eye of Sonic, owner Todd Herilla's sweet-as-can-be border collie. She's as comfortable greeting groms of all ages as she is dogging Todd's side-country tracks in the shoulder season. That's just one of the many reasons we love buying a custom-made pair of boards or getting our current skis professionally hand tuned by Herilla and his trusty team of edge-sharpening experts. Karma request? In the next life, we'd like to come back as a 7even Skis pro pooch, pretty please. Also, this entry is in the people section, because dogs are people too, mmkay?(DD)
    25 W. Louise Ave., 801-856-0291,

    Best lavender enchantress out of Cache Valley
    Peggy Nelson

    "We have a saying—hard things make you strong," says Peggy Nelson, owner of The Lavender Apple. Nelson, along with husband Mike and their children, have weathered the storms of living abroad (spending some time in France) and building a lavender farm from scratch. You might recognize Nelson as the kind, lavender surrounded presence from the Salt Lake City Downtown Farmers Market. By hand harvesting (with a little community help) each and every one of her 80 apple trees and 1,000 lavender plants, Nelson has created some of the most delicious and therapeutic tonics and treats—ranging from lavender apple jellies ($8) to fast-selling lavender soaps ($6) to carefully distilled lavender body oil ($10). Needless to say, by now, the Nelsons are strong indeed. (ZS)
    Downtown Farmers Market, Saturdays, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.,

    Best lively group that'll help you with your Linkedin profile
    Young Professionals Salt Lake City

    Hosting regular mixers where young professionals rub elbows and network with like-minded folks, this group also promotes volunteer opportunities. Even if you have little interest in networking, their get-togethers provide a good opportunity to leave the house and meet new friends. The makeup of the organization is diverse, many of whom are transplants from other states or countries, having moved out West for work. And if you run into the YPSLC crowd on a weekend, make sure to tag along because it's sure to be a fun night. (DWH)

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