Best of Utah 2019 | Our 30th annual ode to the people, places and businesses that make life in the Beehive State great. | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City

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Best of Utah 2019 

Our 30th annual ode to the people, places and businesses that make life in the Beehive State great.

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  • Enrique Limón

Best Fringe-Clad Rapper

Armed with natural talent and sass for days, self-professed "Queen of Salt Lake," has a message to share—one filled with acceptance, body-positivity and unabashed fierceness. "I want everyone to be aware that although I'm a sweet Southern belle, I will show up and give you hell," the 27-year-old says with his trademark swagger. His latest music video for the poppin' "3, 2, 1, Vogue!" was shot over the summer at Metro Music Hall, a fitting setting as the song was born after a particularly memorable Metro performance. "I was performing there and being shaded by a few queens, because some of them were pressed about me showing up killing the scene," the West Valley-based performer says. All hail the Queen. (Enrique Limón)

Best Tireless Seeker of Public Office
Shireen Ghorbani

More a force of nature than a person, Shireen Ghorbani ran for office three consecutive times after realizing she was mad as hell, and she wasn't going to take it any more. After she lost her battle for U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart's seat, she pivoted and ran for Salt Lake County mayor. Once that didn't pan out, she successfully competed for Salt Lake County councilwoman. She wound up campaigning for a year straight, holding listening sessions and knocking on doors across the state. Not bad for a political neophyte. "You've gotta keep going," she said after winning the county council seat. "Just do absolutely everything that you can to build that future that you want." (Kelan Lyons)

Best Political "Upset"
Erin Mendenhall and Luz Escamilla Advancing to General Election

Calling it an "upset" might not be totally correct. Sure, former Sen. Jim Dabakis appeared to be polling well in the weeks leading to the primary, but he came in third, leaving the door open for Sen. Luz Escamilla and City Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall to battle it out in November. That resulted in the first Salt Lake City mayoral election pitting two women against each other. For some, it proved that you can't win an election on name recognition alone and Salt Lake voters were astutely tuning in to what each candidate had planned for when they enter office. (Ray Howze)

  • Enrique Limón

Best Loser
Jim Dabakis

From the very beginning of the mayor's race, Salt Lake Democrat Jim Dabakis was trumpeted as the candidate most likely to win—a hypothesis shored up by flawed polls and "conventional wisdom," all of which must've gotten to Dabakis' head when he made a losing bet to hold off on spending his $170,000 in contributions during the final stretch of the primary. He is now out of the race, but here's hoping Dabakis sticks around somehow: Everyone knows this guy's a true character, and his gift of gab on the campaign trail provided much insight and entertainment. (Peter Holslin)

Best Win
The People, Dammit

The people, rightly so, were outraged when the Legislature stepped in following the November 2018 election and put their grimy hands all over the Medicaid expansion and medical cannabis ballot initiatives. Lo and behold, less than a year later, those plans seemingly backfired. In September, the Legislature elected to back off the "central fill pharmacy" idea and wash their hands of the cannabis business, putting the program in the hands of private groups. In July, the Trump administration denied Utah's request for a waiver to partially expand Medicaid—something lawmakers repeatedly said they felt confident would be granted. As a result, the program reverted to a more similar program to what voters passed the previous election. Score 1 for the people! (RH)

Best Dressed at the SLC Mayoral Forums
Rainer Huck

Salt Lake City mayoral hopeful Rainer Huck was noticeably absent at some of the forums where fellow candidates faced off this summer in the lead-up to the primary. But when he did show up—wowza! At a June debate concerning issues on the westside, Huck distinguished himself from the other, formally-dressed candidates by showing up in shorts and a T-shirt. But it's his headgear that really won the show: He wore an earth-tone golf visor with his hair bursting from the top, like Gritty from the Philadelphia Flyers. No word yet on whether that was his real hair or a pre-season Halloween wig. (PH)

Best Dueling Jackies
Jackie Biskupski and Jackie Beat

Mayor Jackie Biskupski and drag legend Jackie Beat sharing the stage during the 10th annual Miss City Weekly was definitely a moment; one crowned by a special proclamation at the hands of Biskupski declaring City Weekly a "community asset." The fancy proclamation also invited residents "to celebrate and support the value of the independent and alternative voice" our publication has provided for 35 years. We're not blushing, you're blushing. (EL)

Best Force Enacting Change at the SLCPD
Black Lives Matter Utah's Lex Scott

Lex Scott leads the Utah chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement. "My chapter of BLM is independent because it is a movement, not an organization, and I don't need a certificate to validate my activism," Scott said earlier this year while speaking at Utah State University. Salt Lake City is currently the only Utah police department to have a body camera policy where footage is released to the public and Scott is working to change that. Scott's movement has also helped to get live data available about SLC traffic stops and a complaint button on the department's website. (Erick Graham Wood)

  • Courtesy Photo

Best Friend to Your Lungs
Rep. Patrice Arent

Known to her fellow air advocates as "the queen," Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, has been fighting to make our air cleaner since 2011. She founded the bipartisan Clean Air Caucus, bringing into the fold Republican colleagues like Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, and Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton. In the six years since the caucus' formation, lawmakers have passed more clean air legislation than in the state's history. Last legislative session, legislators allocated more than $29 million to improve Utah's air. "We've been doing such constant chipping away for so long," Arent told City Weekly in an April cover story. "It's been building up for years." (KL)

Best Clean-Air Crusader
Yoram Bauman and the Clean the Darn Air Act

It's no secret Wasatch Front residents want to breathe clean air. You don't (hopefully) see people out sucking tailpipes. While the Legislature has made gradual steps each year to promote clean air and energy, some think it hasn't been enough. Enter: economist and stand-up comic Yoram Bauman, who gathered signatures for the Clean the Darn Air citizen initiative to get it on the 2020 ballot. He and his group have to collect more than 115,000 signatures across the state and they lack wealthy backers. But Bauman didn't let that stop him as he showed up at just about every summer event wearing his signature bucket hat and sandwich board roaming for signatures. (RH)

Best Republican Legislator
Rep. Paul Ray

The Clearfield Republican deserves props for teaming up with two sex workers to introduce a state bill in the most recent legislative session providing immunity from prosecution when those in the sex trade report crimes committed against them. HB40 got passed with bipartisan support, and while it's too early to tell what the eventual results will be, at the very least it provides a framework for increased trust between sex workers and the authorities, while encouraging the public to think more critically about decriminalization. Here's hoping Ray's 58 Republican cohorts can learn from his approach. (PH)

Best Unique Candle-Blower
Mitt Romney

While the latter-half of this year's political discussions have been monopolized by a certain whistleblower, back in March, the country zeroed in on a different blower altogether: Mitt Romney. When the freshman Utah senator was surprised by his staff with a cake made out of his favorite snack—Twinkies—the 72-year-old let out a hearty "Holy cow!" That would have been enough to get some aw-shucks Twitter traction. Then came the candle blowing. With the finesse that only a suave multi-millionaire can posses, Romney proceeded to pick up and blow out each candle individually. Myriad headlines later, turns out the joke's on us. "These are all wishes I'm getting," he said. Yup, we've all been doing it wrong this whole time. (EL)

Best Political Tightrope-Walker
U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams

After narrowly beating Mia Love in her re-election for Utah's 4th Congressional District last November, Salt Lake County Mayor-turned U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams got to work balancing on the narrow line that separates his district's Republican and Democratic voters. Since taking office, the state's lone Democrat in Congress has played a classic Utah deep cut by proposing an amendment that would prohibit federal lawmakers from spending more than the country takes in every year; supported shoring up U.S. health care systems, but stopped short of coming out in favor of Medicare for All; and gave just the right amount of pushback to the president for planning on cutting visas for spouses of tech workers. It ain't easy being blue in deep-red Utah. (KL)

  • Peter Holslin

Best Wielders of Activist Anarchy
Civil Riot

Since April, Civil Riot co-founder Ethan Petersen and a consortium of other activists from various age groups and backgrounds have gone to spectacular lengths to disrupt the dealings of the Utah Inland Port Authority, a state board overseeing a development in northwest Salt Lake that they believe poses massive threats to the environment and social justice. A summer of increasingly confrontational protests reached such a fever pitch that Petersen almost got arrested at an inland port-related working group meeting in August just for showing up. The activists' willingness to risk arrest and more underscores the sheer stakes of what's at play in this controversial project. (PH)

Best Anti-Trump Twitter Rants
Vince Olson, Kane County Democratic Party Chairman

Nearly 65% of voters in Kane County swung for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, but that hasn't stopped Kane resident Vince Olson from going off about our orange-haired president every day on Twitter. Olson is chair of the Kane County Democratic Party, and online he goes by the cantankerous handle @SteelToeTruth, dropping pithily-worded insult bombs on Trump and his GOP cronies, coining colorful terms like "Trumpolini" and "Ghouliani" in the process. We're a little worried he'll end up with an ulcer from all this righteous rage, but somebody's gotta do it. (PH)

Best SLC-Based Twitter Follow

Do you often find yourself needing to take the edge off from reading our president and commander-in-tweet's feed? Than look no further than Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Gehrke's Twitter stream. Whether he's suggesting Trump looks as though "he's waiting for the band to play him off" the stage at a news conference, requesting someone nominate him for an honorary degree in dentistry, or claiming he, too, has surfed 115-foot wave, Gehrke's pithy 280-character (or less) take on local and national happenings is a wordsmiths delight in the twittersphere wasteland. #voteGehrke (Aspen Perry)

Best Inland Port Opponent
Deeda Seed

Civil Riot and other radical protesters have definitely stepped up resistance to the inland port, but they also endured a major backlash as a result of a now-infamous protest inside the Salt Lake Chamber offices that spiraled into chaos in July. Meanwhile, Deeda Seed and other members of the Stop the Polluting Port coalition have also carved out a place as major critics of the divisive project. A longtime player in city politics, Seed's eagle eye for details and determination to show up at every inland port-related meeting and event shows just how passionate she is when it comes to making sure the state development doesn't gunk up the future of the city. (PH)

Best Inland Port Advocate We Love to Annoy
Jeff Hartley

An oil and gas lobbyist connected to the inland port's stakeholders and legal team, Hartley for some critics embodies the crony capitalism behind this whole messy undertaking. His DGAF attitude and open disregard not only for inland port opponents but for the reporters who cover them makes Hartley an easy punching bag. But the guy deserves some credit—after all, he still takes our calls, answers our questions and makes his position clear while other embattled inland port proponents have preferred to address media scrutiny and outspoken activists with emailed statements and police backup. (PH)

Best Equality Crusaders
Kelly O'Hara, Christen Press and Becky Sauerbrunn

They're fast. They're strong. They're winners. Oh, and they're women. That's right, three players from the Utah Royals—Kelly O'Hara, Christen Press and Becky Sauerbrunn—starred on the U.S. Women's National Team at the 2019 World Cup in France. The squad went on to win gold for the second-straight World Cup and again showed the world how good they are. Their performance highlighted disparities in pay between the women's and men's teams (which has never won the trophy, cough cough). Upon their return, the three led the local National Women's Soccer League squad and remained strong role models for young female soccer players everywhere. (RH)

Best SLC Bromance
Joe McQueen & Brad Wheeler

The famed bromance of Obama and Biden has nothing on the local dynamic between the legendary sax player, Joe McQueen, and SLC's favorite disc jockey/harmonica player, Bad Brad Wheeler. In fact, the term bromance does not even do justice to a friendship that is sure to transcend all space and time. Alas, in the parlance of our generation, it is the best way I can pay homage to the SLC friendship that brightens my day, not to mention my social media news feed, as I scroll past photos of them off to gigs or simply celebrating each other in their everyday life. (AP)

Best Podcast Homies
The New Utah Podcast

"Buckle up while we tell you about the Utah your mama warned you about," The New Utah Podcast's mission goes. Uncovering the people, places and things that make our state uniquely cool, the crew composed by Chris Burch, Jeremy Gates, Bre Hollingsworth and Jessica Richardson have been doing their thing for the past three years. Episodes usually feature a who's who of guests and current issues rapport, including a recent mention on how Smith's parent company would no longer allow free publications (including City Weekly) inside their stores. Recognizing the "big, negative impact" this has on the little guy, the crew pleaded City Weekly's case and recognized its value in the community. The feeling is mutual, and we're glad to share this media landscape with you. (EL)

  • Derek Carlisle

Best Post-Tattoo Care Provider
Eric Marshall

It was a little bit of a dream come true last spring, when the BF and I got tattooed by Technicolor goddess Lolli Morlock during a trip to Seattle. Morlock hooked us up with a nifty medical-grade protective cover from a brand called SecondSkin that made our Lisa Frank-approved additions heal in record time. It was as early as the plane ride back, when I wished I would have gotten more SecondSkin products at the shop. Some swift Googling later, I came to find out the company is Salt Lake City-based, with Marshall, a lifelong tattoo collector and enthusiast at its helm. Apply freely and guilt-free, as most products are USDA-certified organic and vegan to boot. (EL)
On That Note,

Best Orthopedic Surgeon Who Gets It
Dr. Benjamin Williams

In what can best be described as a freak accident, I broke my humerus (that large, Flintstones-like arm bone) over the summer. After a series of painful emergency room X-rays, I was told the on-call orthopedic doctor wouldn't touch me, and that I had to be seen by a hand specialist. Given that I do most of my work over a keyboard, momentary panic ensued. Thankfully, Dr. Williams' calm demeanor set me at ease, though there was still the issue of the aforementioned tattoo—which as fate would have it, was smack in the middle of the surgical line of fire. While I was under, with no guarantees, the good doctor managed to circumvent the artwork while installing a metal plate and a dozen or so screws. "We saved it," the surgical assistant said as I came to, making the ensuing recovery process a tad more tolerable. (EL)

  • Steve Conlin

Best Queen For the People
Sister Molly Mormon

All hail Sister Molly Mormon (née Tyler Hillam), who, pretty in flamingo pink, was the victor at the 10th annual Miss City Weekly pageant. "I don't think that competition should ever be something to drive a wedge between our community," Molly said shortly after winning the crown. "I feel very honored to win and I hope that I'm going to be able to carry the crown in a positive way." With a performance-laden schedule, which includes regular shows at Club Try-Angles and Laziz Kitchen's drag brunch, it's clear she has. (EL)

Best People to Pierce All the Body Parts
The Folks of Abyss

Body modification of all sorts can be simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating. Everyone's heard the horror stories of body art gone wrong, so that's why you need to trust me on this. When you walk into Abyss Body Piercing, you'll feel the calm, quiet energy that'll ease your nervous mind. Staff here is informative before, during and after your piercing. If you're a bit of a hippie (like me) you'll love to hear what chakra your new bling opened up. From your ears and nose, to wherever you like, the folks at Abyss have got your back (and your front, too). (Kara Rhodes) 245 E. 300 South, 801- 810-9247,

Best Pride Purveyor
Project Rainbow's Dallas Rivas

From Provo to Logan and beyond, Project Rainbow has added a vibrant pop of color to yards across the state in the form of rainbow and trans-rights flags. A colective effort between the Utah Pride Center, the state's Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and Human Rights Campaign Utah, the volunteer-led project debuted last year with 750 flags. This Pride season, it grew to 1,300. "The biggest reward is watching the volunteers so excited to stake the flags, the connection we all feel and that we're all on the same page with spreading love and spreading visibility for all," Rivas says. "Especially in Utah, where so many gay or trans youth are silenced. With these flags, we are embracing them. Letting them know that we're taking care of them." (EL)

Best Cast of Characters
The Viva La Diva Cast

After residing in California and New York City, Magna native Jason CoZmo returned home with one clear mission: to elevate the Beehive State's drag standard. Be 'em Disney or Broadway themed, his Viva La Diva shows have done just that. They've also been a hotbed of local talent—from backup dancers to production managers to the headlining queens themselves. Do yourself a favor and check out their next Metro Music Hall show. And while you're at it, bust out a couple of singles and tip David Lorence's Cher, Jeremiah Del MarZ' Adele, Cody Rose's Taylor Swift, Jeremy Venuz' Gaga, Ben Morgan's Madonna, and, of course, CoZmo's double-take-worthy Dolly. (EL)

Best Homegrown Showgirl
Gia Bianca Stephens

Clad in feathers, ruffles, rhinestones and sky-high hair, Gia Bianca Stephens exudes top-tier glam. Be it on the Miss City Weekly stage or at an array of drag performances around town, the "Snatch!" songstress knows how to leave a lasting impression. Like your bugle beads with a side of bacon? Stephens is the brains behind the town's latest drag brunch, the aptly named "Quorum" at hotspot Tavernacle Social Club. Preach, sister. (EL)

  • Jake Penrose

Best Pasties-Clad Enlightenment
Madazon Can-Can

Madazon Can-Can has a clear mission: To push the envelope and challenge Utah's stodgy laws one pasties-clad performance at a time. Case in point, Genit-Hell Yeah, their one-person show birthed from a master's thesis, which, after being shooed away from The Gateway (booze and even hinted nudity don't mix, kids), found a home at Salt Lake Community College's Black Box Theatre. Starting with a self-birth—and employing miming, burlesque and drag—Can-Can's intimate and interactive staging made good on its promise to "play with everything you knew about gender, sex and being human." (EL)

Best Half-a-Lifetime Creative Dream-Come-True
Savannah Ostler's Twice the Dream
Alpine, Utah, native Savannah Ostler has been performing for more of her life than she hasn't—including beginning the idea for this script, about two sisters trying to fulfill their own artistic dreams, when she was still in high school. But a move to Los Angeles only led to frustration at her attempts to get anyone to take her seriously as the right person to direct her own script. She stood firm, and only after moving back to Utah was she able to put together the financing that saw Twice the Dream finally appear in local theaters. Sometimes, a dream is worth waiting for if you want to do it right. (Scott Renshaw)

Best One-Man Cast of Dozens
Austin Archer, Good Standing

Plan-B Theatre Co.'s world-premiere of Matthew Greene's Good Standing found powerful drama in a gay man being called before a Latter-day Saint "court of love" for possible excommunication after he marries a man. But much of the emotional force comes from the performance by Austin Archer, who plays not only the protagonist, Curt, but all of the various church members sitting in judgment of him. While the text probes into perspectives that show more than one homogenous opinion, Archer gives a remarkable depth of feeling to every one of the characters he portrays, complicating the question of whether following the perceived will of God is worth hurting actual people. (SR)

Best Band to Score a Midnight Seance
Choir Boy

This Salt Lake-based band has been busy touring the U.S. and Europe this year and they put on an amazing show at Gallivan Plaza this summer. Frontman Adam Klopp was trained to sing in his LDS church choir growing up and now he's using his Morrissey-esque, velveteen croon for rituals of another sort, conjuring images of sensitive vampire boys and evoking sensations of earthly transcendence. Next time you find yourself in front of a Ouija board, put on Choir Boy's album Passive with Desire to get the spirits doing the famous "stuck in my coffin" goth dance. (PH)

Best Repeat Offenders
Flaming Lips at Ogden Twilight

It was the performance that earned Ogden Twilight a distinction in last year's Best of Utah as Best Festival Glow-up. Being his Wayne Coyne-iest self, the Flaming Lips frontman came out holding a mylar balloon bouquet spelling out "F*ck Yeah Ogden," and aided by a special prop or 19, (who can forget that gigantic, inflatable hamster ball?) gave Ogdenites a show for the ages. Certainly, it couldn't be topped. Then came the sold-out July 18 show and the magic was relived, alongside a balloon message redux, a lifesize fiberglass horse and an effusive horde 7,500 strong. Here's hoping for an inclusion in the fest's 2020 lineup. Good things come in threes, the old saying goes. (EL)

Best Curly Hair Guru
Curly Co. Hair & Beauty Salon's Max Alexander

Curly-haired brethren, rejoice! Your hair and you have had a lifetime of ups and downs together—from using a straightener for too long to chopping it all off. Then there's the upkeep issue. Enter Curly Co. The salon is beautiful, clean and employs curly hair gurus to boot. These experts have mastered curls of all shapes and sizes and Max Alexander (one of the many gurus there) transforms hair (specifically mine) into twisty poetry. Do your mop a favor and give them a go. (KR) 777 E. 300 South, 801-359-4288,

Readers' Choice
  • Carissa Oscar

Best Nonprofit Organization
Best Friends Animal Society

It's heartwarming when "Scruffy" finds a forever home with a loving family. But Best Friends Animal Society is so much more. Now in its 33rd year, it's been at the forefront worldwide in defending unwanted and abandoned animals. When hurricanes strike, you'll find Best Friends on the front lines, caring for the frightened and vulnerable creatures. If you're driving through Kanab, visit its celebrated sanctuary—home to 1,700 critters. Maybe you'll take home a "Scruffy" of your very own.
2. Utah Pride Center
3. Planned Parenthood

Best Elected Official
Ben McAdams

In 1974, French aerialist Phillipe Petit grabbed global headlines when he strung a high wire between the then-standing Twin Towers and performed 1,312 feet above Manhattan streets. Move over, Phillipe. You've nothing over 4th District Congressman Ben McAdams, who's adroitly walking a political tightrope in his freshman term. The delegation's lone Democrat, McAdams has kept his moderate constituents happy with his middle-of-the-road (or rope) posture. Just don't slip, Ben.
2. Spencer Cox
3. Mitt Romney

Best News Station
Fox 13

It's been around for 41 years, but Fox 13 is the new kid on the block among Utah's commercial television stations. Over the past four decades, it's built a solid reputation as a source of accurate the unvarnished reporting from the likes of Kerri Cronk, Bob Evans, Dan Evans and Hope Woodside, who left the station last year after 23 years. Her departure ended the longest-tenured anchor team (with Bob Evans) in Utah TV history. And let's not forget the indefatigable Ben Winslow and reporters like Big Budah, the self-described "fat guy with a mic."
2. KUTV Channel 2
3. KSL Channel 5

Best Podcast
I Am Salt Lake

This popular podcast (it was last year's Best of Utah winner) just racked up its 400th episode. Hosts Chris and Krissie Holyfield—both originally out-of-staters, incidentally—scour the city to find intriguing folks. "Everyone," Chris says, "should have an opportunity to tell their story." Recent guests have included a retired cop, the general manager of a local Subaru dealership and a recovering addict. Now how's that for eclectic—with a capital "E"?
2. Geek Show Podcast
3. Cold

Best Political Scandal
Prop 2

Good God almighty! Can't the GOP-dominated Legislature keep its fingers out of anything? After voters last year OKed by a 53% margin a comprehensive medical cannabis ballot initiative, ever-meddlesome lawmakers couldn't wait to pass their own "compromise" measure. In signing the bill, Gov. Gary Herbert lauded it as "an example of how collaboration makes Utah the best-managed state in the nation." Of course, Gary. But whatever happened to "of the people, by the people and for the people?"
2. Inland Port
3. Gerrymandering in San Juan County

Best Radio Show
Radio From Hell

"The darkest places in hell." wrote Dante Alighieri, "are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality ..." In that case, Radio From Hell doesn't qualify for the nether regions. Hosts Kerry Jackson, Bill Allred and Gina Barberi are anything but neutral. They, along with their guests on the four-hour 96.3 FM show, titillate and bloviate with abandon. A perennial Best of Utah winner, they've been on the air in one iteration or another since 1986.
2. Frankie and Jess, 97.1 FM
3. Radioactive

  • Frankie grant

Best TV News Reporter
Ben Winslow

A master of multimedia, Fox 13's Ben Winslow has solid credentials as a purveyor of good, old fashioned, shoe-leather journalism. But he's almost simultaneously peppering the info-sphere with the modern equivalent of news bulletins—tweets—to the delight of a growing bevy of followers. He's won national accolades, too, as recipient of the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award. Underneath that youthful—and bearded—face is the essence of a grizzled news veteran.
2. Big Budah
3. Andrew Reeser

Best Social Cause
Banning Conversion Therapy

Once upon a time, Utah was poised to join 18 other states in banning so-called conversion therapy to change sexual orientation or gender identity among LGBTQ+ youth. A bill in the Legislature even had the tacit approval of the LDS church. Enter Rep. Marianne Lisonbee, R-Syracuse, with her compromise version—and the measure died. Regulators now are trying to craft new rules on banning the widely discredited practice. Contentious hearings are ongoing with no end in sight. Thanks heaps, Marianne.
2. Clean Air
3. Medical Cannabis

Best Radio Station

Another evergreen inductee. With an eardrum thumping 21,600 watts of raw power, X96 (96.3 FM) is the go-to place on your dial to hear the ultimate in contemporary rock. Rolling Stone, in fact, named it one of the five "awesome radio outlets" in America. Home of the wildly popular Radio From Hell, X96 annually mounts an all-day music festival, the Big Ass Show (BASh) spotlighting nationally touring alternative and punk bands. And they don't forget the plethora of local talent, either. The station's been bringing rock music in all its kaleidoscopic incarnations to Utahns since 1995.
2. KZHT 97.1 FM
3. KUER 90.1 FM

Best Sports Reporter
David James

KUTV Channel 2's David James is the go-to guy for all things sports. Since signing on with Channel 2 in 1992, the California native has earned a well-deserved reputation as the authoritative source of sports news. In addition to his two "Talkin' Sports" weekend shows, fans can hear his insights on a morning-drive talk show on 1280 The Zone. Did we mention he was named 1996 "Utah Sportscaster of the Year" by the National Sportscaster and Sportswriter Association?
2. Dave Fox
3. Bill Riley

Best TV Anchor
Mary Nickles

In 2012, KUTV Channel 2's Mary Nickles had a routine mammography as part of a story on women's health. Doctors found a malignant tumor. Her subsequent reporting—on the surgery, chemo, radiation (and even wig shopping)—earned an Emmy and endeared her to countless viewers. The plucky Washington state native joined KUTV in 1991 and has become an authoritative but ever-amiable source of news. A former professional volleyball player, she's the mother of twins—a boy and girl.
2. Shauna Lake
3. Bob Evans

Best Weathercaster
Allison Croghan

Don't mess with Allison Croghan. That's what a detractor learned this summer when he sent her a Facebook message saying, "You look fat in blue." Further: "You're not married because you're still digging for gold." Unfazed, the Fox 13 meteorologist responded, "Take it to a therapist," as her 10,700 followers applauded. The troll—an independent contractor for a local real estate outfit—lost his job. Hurricane warnings, anyone?
2, Sterling Poulson
3. Lindsay Storrs

  • Courtesy Photo

Best Utahn
Gail Miller

For decades, she stood in the formidable shadow of her late husband, businessman and Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller. When he died in 2009, Gail Miller emerged as 100% owner of 54 car dealerships, a movie chain and, of course, the Jazz—and Utah's wealthiest person with Forbes estimating her net worth at $1.2 billion. Other sources say $1.75. At 76, she's turned her philanthropic eye toward the Gail Miller Resource Center in South Salt Lake. The 200-bed facility provides a safe haven for homeless men and women. And she's found happiness with now-spouse Kim Wilson. Way to go, Gail!
2. Spencer Cox
3. Donovan Mitchell

Worst Utahn
Mike Lee

If you don't believe Utah's senior senator Mike Lee is a "Constitutional expert," just ask the guy. He'll be more than willing to tout his credentials. Ranked by The New York Times as the most conservative U.S. senator, the 48-year-old Lee (in)famously said the answer to climate change is to have more babies—while raking in a cool quarter-million bucks from oil-and-gas interests. He was one of two senators who voted to block a measure extending benefits to 9/11 responders. Hey, Mike, what about the part of the Constitution that talks about "a more perfect union?" Or did it conveniently slip your steel-trap mind?
2. Gary Herbert
3. Paul Ray


Location Details

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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