Best of Utah 2021 | Spreading the Love | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City
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Best of Utah 2021 

Spreading the Love

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It flirts with cliché, but it's also true: You don't always fully appreciate something until it's gone. For much of the past 18+ months, we've had to deal with a world in which a lot of things we took for granted weren't always available to us: favorite restaurants, well-loved live performance venues, the places we just went to get away from it all. Some folks and businesses came out on the other side of the worst part of the pandemic still kicking; not all of them did.

City Weekly's annual Best of Utah issue has always been, for more than 30 years, a celebration of community, and we've felt the need for that community more than ever lately.

These recognitions are a chance for all of us—those lucky enough to work for this publication, and those who read and support it—to pay our respects to the people and places that make our city and our state unique. We've always been a local voice, listening to other local voices, as they support still more local voices.

These pages are full of authentically Utah things, some 374 and counting, that the readers who voted and the staff who wrote about them authentically love.

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The 2021 City Weekly Best of Utah issue features a lot of the great things you've come to expect, plus a little bit more, including special recognition for some entities that went the extra mile during the pandemic in putting public health first. That's because love for the community is represented by how we help take care of one another.

Love for this community is why City Weekly exists, and why this issue exists. Thanks for reading, and for helping us spread the love.

—Scott Renshaw
Scott Renshaw is City Weekly's longest-tenured editorial staffer, serving as film critic and arts and entertainment editor since the early aughts. He's also written the book Happy Place: Living the Disney Parks Life.

Best of Utah contributors also include: Katharine Biele, Carolyn Campbell, Aimee L. Cook, Babs De Lay, Lance Gudmundsen, Erin Moore, Cat Palmer, Aspen Perry, Jenny Poplar, John Rasmuson, Mike Riedel, Eleni Saltas, Michael Saltas, Alex Springer, Megan Wagstaff, Benjamin Wood and Jerre Wroble.


Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall reads to school children - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall reads to school children

MEDIA & POLITICS | Readers' Picks

Best Elected Official
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall

It can be hard to understand the logic of state leaders who insist the best way to fight the coronavirus is to prevent any and all decision-makers from fighting the coronavirus. So, it's refreshing to see Mayor Erin Mendenhall's level-headed approach of following the recommendations of health professionals, ordering masks in schools, tracking the results with infection data and largely leaving lawmakers to hoot, holler and foam at the mouth from their Davis and Utah County homes. Punishment from the all-knowing Legislature is all but guaranteed, but Mendenhall doesn't seem to care. More of this, please. @slcmayor, slc.gov/mayor/staff/mayor-erin-mendenhall,
2. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox
3. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney

Best Weathercaster
Allison Croghan

It's not often that you get a chance to watch somebody grow into their passion on-air, but Fox 13's Croghan didn't come to Utah as a meteorologist. Instead, she spent seven years in training after joining the Fox 13 team, and in her role as midday meteorologist, she conveys all the energy that went into that education with a confident presence that puts to rest the old "weather-guesser" cliches. fox13.com
2. Kevin Eubank, KSL5
3. Alana Brophy, ABC4

Best Utahn
Angela Dunn, MD

In Greek mythology, Cassandra was a priestess whose unfailing prophesies were unfailingly ignored. Nowadays, a Cassandra is typically a physician or scientist. Some of them track hurricanes churning toward North America. They make dire predictions and issue evacuation orders only to be ignored by those who vow to "ride it out" (but expect others to risk life and limb to rescue them). In the COVID-19 pandemic, Angela Dunn took up the Cassandra portfolio. Her prophetic voice has been as clear as a trumpet in a cathedral while unvaccinated and unmasked Utahns bray and Republican politicians pander. Bone-weary doctors and nurses sing her praises. From the crowded hospitals comes the tearful chorus: "If only we had listened." Twitter @DrAngelaCDunn
2. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
3. Gail Miller, Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation

Best TV Reporter
Ben Winslow

Fox 13's Ben Winslow is the top dog, that is unless you're a lawmaker on the Hill hassling him on Twitter. Earning his cred as a radio, then newspaper reporter, Winslow is the one to follow on social media to learn about the legislative intrigue and backroom deals. He also keeps an eye on the DABC and lets viewers in on all the latest booze news. We love seeing what dapper mask he will don for the evening news. He's an informative class act and a snappy dresser to boot! @BenWinslow, fox13now.com
2. Alex Cabrero, KSL 5
3. Chris Jones, KUTV 2News

Best Nonprofit Organization
Best Friends Animal Society

In 1984, a group of animal lovers constructed a small shelter in Kanab, Utah, to house disabled and abandoned pets. What began as a labor of love eventually blossomed into the seat of a powerful movement to transform every shelter in America into a no-kill shelter. The good people of Best Friends Animal Society are truly earth angels who offer untold comfort and sanctuary to countless fur babies every single day. 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, 435-644-2001, bestfriends.org
2. Community Animal Welfare Society (CAWS)
3. Planned Parenthood Association of Utah

Best Social Cause
Black Lives Matter

How do Black Lives not matter? The fledgling activist group burst onto the Utah scene in 2014 after the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The 2020 killing of George Floyd gave BLM renewed drive to pursue police reform. But the local chapter's founder, Lex Scott, left Utah amid increasing death threats, and now, 30-year-old Rae Duckworth has taken the BLM reins with a broader focus on marginalized communities. 385-482-1172, blacklivesmatterutah.com
2. Clean air/climate change
3. Ending homelessness

Best Local Podcast
Cold

The KSL-branded Cold podcast was an instant sensation in 2018 when host Dave Cawley took a deep dive into the Susan Powell case. They returned strong in 2021 with another fascinating tale: The August 1985 disappearance of Joyce Yost after she reported being raped by Douglas Lovell, who ultimately confessed and was convicted of her murder. The podcast has even generated new leads in the search for her remains, helping on the road from a cold case to closure. thecoldpodcast.com
2. Geek Show
3. I Am Salt Lake

KUTV 2News anchor Mary Nickles - NIKI CHAN
  • Niki Chan
  • KUTV 2News anchor Mary Nickles

Best TV Anchor
Mary Nickles

Who doesn't love Mary Nickles, the weekday co-anchor of KUTV's 2News This Morning and 2News at Noon? Nickles embodies the grace and stamina many female anchors lack. Her public journey with breast cancer made her a local hero and solidified her news chops. But always, Nickles is the girl next door, your mom, your sister and your trusted source for the news. @KUTVMary, kutv.com
2. Mark Koebel, KUTV2
3. Kerri Cronk, FOX 13

Best Sports Reporter
David James

Next year, David James will celebrate his 30th anniversary covering sports in Utah, and his longevity is no fluke. Whether as host of his long-running Talkin' Sports program on KUTV2, or as co-host of 97.5/1280 The Zone's morning drive show, James brings an easy-going, accessible vibe to his knowledgeable takes on local and national sports, avoiding the bluster that characterizes so many sports-media personalities. It's a pleasure listening to someone convey that he loves sports, rather than that he loves letting you know how much more he knows about sports than you do. @DavidDJJames, kutv.com
2. Wesley Ruff, ABC4
3. Dave Fox, KUTV2

Best Real Housewives of Salt Lake City Member
Heather Gay
Bravo's Real Housewives of Salt Lake City definitely turned some Utah stereotypes upside-down, and like all reality shows, brought with it a cast that some viewers love and some love to hate. Heather Gay became a unique presence by offering openness about being a single mother to girls, and about her own divorce and eventual separation from the LDS church. That personality has resonated to the point where she's working on a memoir about her experiences, due for release in summer 2022. bravotv.com
2. Whitney Rose
3. Jen Shah

Best Radio Station
KRCL 90.9FM

There will always be the big media players, but KRCL 90.9 FM proves that the community loves the little guy. This listener-supported community radio station has that edge that keeps you coming back for the music and the politics. With shows like RadioACTive, Democracy Now, Loud and Clear Youth Radio and Smile Jamaica, where else can you breathe this kind of freedom? This is a local expression of you and for you. 535 W. 300 North, Ste. A, SLC, 801-363-1818, studio 801-359-9191, krcl.org
2. X96
3. KUER 90.1FM

Best TV Station
KSL 5

There's something about the known and comfortable. On the air since 1949, you can't argue with history and its family-oriented programming. The NBC-affiliate is owned by Bonneville International, the for-profit arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That affiliation has given KSL-TV the resources to reach around the Intermountain West, covering news and events like no other station can. 55 N. 300 West, SLC, 801-575-5555, ksl.com
2. Fox 13
3. KUTV 2

DEREK CARLISLE
  • Derek Carlisle

Best Political Scandal/Controversy
Sen. Mike Lee Compares Trump to Captain Moroni

Utah Sen. Mike Lee's true nadir came two months before the Jan. 6 insurrection, when he appeared at a rally in Arizona. Speaking before a crowd, Lee likened Donald Trump—whose vulgarities are too numerous and obvious to describe—to the Book of Mormon's Captain Moroni, a figure revered by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That the comparison is absurd and inappropriate doesn't matter. Lee's aim was to use a shared religious experience for secular gains, reminding Trump's audience that this was not a battle of political ideals but a battle of moral posturing. In so doing, Lee showed that nothing he claims to believe in is worth a damn. lee.senate.gov
2. AG Sean Reyes travels outside Utah to question other state elections and kiss Trump butt
3. Utah Legislature bans mask mandates

Worst Utahn
Sen. Mike Lee

Out of the thousands who have and will yet serve in the U.S. government, only an exceptional few are truly remembered—for good or ill. And while he may yet secure a legacy of his own, Utah's Republican Sen. Mike Lee is perhaps most useful as an embodiment of conservative politics during the twenty-teens. In 2010, the fury and rage of the nascent Tea Party carried the unknown, pocket Constitution-waving lawyer into the Senate. Since then, Lee has surfed that wave of sanctimonious anger and fragility through two terms, gleefully exacerbating the win-at-all-costs gamesmanship in Washington and turning a blind eye as the flames he helped fan crashed down on the U.S. Capitol last January. lee.senate.gov
2. U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart
3. U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens

Best Radio Show
Radio From Hell, X96

Whether they're together in the studio or collaborating remotely from home studios, the X96 morning radio team of Kerry Jackson, Bill Allred and Gina Barberi continue to be a haven of sanity, 25 years after the trio first united. For four hours, beloved segments like "Boner of the Day," "Geek News on the Radio" and "Beat Gina" offer fun and frivolity, all anchored by the chemistry and camaraderie of the hosts. x96.com/radio-from-hell
2. RadioACTive, KRCL 90.9 FM
3. Frankie and Jess, 97.1 ZHT

Best Newspaper Reporter
Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah doesn't have many recognizable journalists anymore. The days of Rolly & Wells and Robert Kirby are gone, but The Salt Lake Tribune has evolved. Robert Gehrke is the best part of that evolution. You might call him a columnist now, but Gehrke has 20 years of government and politics reporting under his belt, with time reporting in Washington, D.C. He holds our politicians accountable by his well-researched columns, and he's always relevant. @RobertGehrke, sltrib.com
2. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune
3. Katie McKellar, Deseret News

From hair to eternity: Gorgeous Jared’s new direction - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • From hair to eternity: Gorgeous Jared’s new direction

MEDIA & POLITICS | Staff Picks

Best Alternative Soul
Gorgeous Jared Gomez

Many readers recall Gorgeous Jared's previous BOU wins as hair stylist extraordinaire. His 22 years in the biz have garnered him loyal clients that flock to him for his color and styling chops but also to steal a glance at his sleeves of tattoos and sexy biceps. Unbeknownst to many, though, those big guns were dealing with challenging musculoskeletal maladies that tend to show up among hair professionals due to repetitive movements. The struggles spurred Gomez to return to college to pursue a master's degree in social work. Now in his third semester, he finds himself metamorphosing into someone new. Fear not, his return to academia has made him no less alternative. He still shows up for drag performances throughout town, donning stilettos and inspired attire certain to make a statement. Keep an eye on Gomez—we're guessing he'll continue to make life in the Beehive ever more caliente! IG: @gorgeousjared

Best NIMBYs
ADU opponents in the Avenues

Whether or not you like the look of Ivory Homes' planned Capitol Park project, objecting to its incorporating built-in mother-in-law apartments is among the shorter-sighted reactions to Salt Lake City's housing crisis. People like to complain about apocryphal Californian hordes scooping up homes in the city, but less attention is paid to the local homeowners who are forced to hand over their keys and cash out in the face of skyrocketing property values. Mother-in-law apartments and other accessory dwelling units (ADUs) offer a potential alternative, empowering longtime residents to capitalize on the housing demand without relocating. Ivory Homes should be applauded, not jeered, for pushing the city to loosen its zoning rules—yes, even in the Avenues.

Best Bridge Builder
Billy Palmer

You've likely heard of Billy Palmer if you live in Salt Lake City. He's known for his more than 20 years of empowering the community, building bridges and amplifying west-side voices. A radio host for RadioACTive, a staple in the community, he recently came in second place for a Salt Lake City Council seat. You can see him depicted in a mural by artist Blondine Jean-Packard at the Patagonia Outlet at 2292 S. Highland Drive in SLC. Twitter and IG @billypalmerSLC, billypalmerSLC.com

Best Made-Up Controversy
Critical Race Theory

The modern-day Republican Party has made an artform out of fabricating faux controversies out of thin air. First, they tried to protect us from the transgender bathroom predators and student athletes who don't exist. Then, they took a solemn stand against virtually every tool for ending this damned pandemic. And now, they're giving educators a new reason to hate their jobs by insisting that children never learn anything that might motivate them to strive for a more perfect union. It would be funny if it wasn't so terrifying.

Best Boundary Pushers
Decarcerate Utah

Do prisons deter crime or rehabilitate offenders? Does a police presence keep society safe? Those are the tough questions local abolitionist group Decarcerate Utah wants local citizens to start thinking about, as its members work toward more holistic means of addressing crime in our state—means that center on compassion, community and groundbreaking thinking. decarcerateutah.org

Best Podcast for History Buffs
Demolished Salt Lake

Making its debut in 2021, Demolished Salt Lake episodes provide a fascinating glimpse into life in Utah's yesteryears. From historic homes to hospitals, penitentiaries and brew companies, this podcast has something for everyone. While you can bounce around, we recommend listening from start to finish, as many episodes reference people or places from a prior show. anchor.fm/demolishedsaltlakepodcast

Best Kicking Against the Pricks
U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney

When Utah's Mitt Romney joined Democrats in the Senate voting to convict Donald Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors, he became the first senator in U.S. history to support the impeachment of a president from his own party. No surprise that Romney took heat from fellow conservatives on the Hill, but after a Trump-inspired mob attacked the Capitol, many softened their criticism. Now in the Biden era, Romney was the only Utahn to support the bipartisan infrastructure bill and looks to be the only member of the state's delegation willing to get anything done. romney.senate.gov

Best Joie de Vivre
Masuda Medcalf

By day, she's an administrative law judge with the Utah Department of Commerce, and by evening, she's a well-known and much-beloved fitness instructor at various rec centers. Whether she's splish-splashing through the moves of aqua Zumba at Cottonwood Heights Rec Center or getting her groove on as a kickboxing Bollywood dance and yoga instructor at Central City Rec Center, she brings smiles to the faces of those fighting for fitness and has them singing, hooping and chirping along with the beat. Her enthusiasm is truly contagious. Did we mention she's also an assistant to the stars at Star Trek conventions? Beam us up, Masuda. bollyx.com/instructor/masuda-medcalf

Best Media Upstart
Building Salt Lake

As legacy media organizations shriveled under declining revenue, they doubled-down—tripled-down? quadrupled-down?—on the three pillars of local news: politics, sports and weather. That leaves a lot of stories untold, particularly in the capital city where beaucoup Utahns still live when all the partisans, athletes and meteorologists head home. Most of the state's new media sites merely replicate the red-vs.-blue coverage being done better elsewhere, which makes Building Salt Lake's targeted focus on construction and development (kind of a big issue these days) a welcome alternative to the usual cacophony of hot political takes. buildingsaltlake.com

Best Excuse to Stop Driving
GREENbike's Electric Fleet

Biking is great exercise and good for the environment, but the prospect of showing up to your destination drenched in sweat can be a tough sell. That cost/benefit equation gets a welcome adjustment with the increasing availability of electric bicycles through GREENbike, Salt Lake City's nonprofit bike-share service. While you still need to pedal, the assist from an electric motor takes the bite out of SLC's sloping streets and makes a trip through downtown so breezy, you might just leave the car at home. greenbikeutah.org

Best Bellwether Towns
Henefer and Oakley

No doubt Oakley's town fathers took notice when a drinking-water shortage caused neighboring Henefer to suspend new home construction in 2019. Now Oakley, finding itself in similar straits, has followed suit with a moratorium on connections to the town's water system. The two towns in Summit County are bellwethers for all the state's fastest-growing counties. Utah's love affair with unlimited growth depends upon unlimited resources. Not only is water a limited commodity, Utahns squander it, consuming a gluttonous 170 gallons per person per day. Moreover, the population is projected to increase from the present 3.3 million to 5.5 million thirsty, lawn-loving souls by 2050. The handwriting is on the wall in Henefer and Oakley: Water will have the last word on future development.

Best Front Yard Hope
Little Free Library

The city's residential neighborhoods are fast being retrofitted with what look to be pedestal-mounted dollhouses. However, the miniature houses are actually weatherproof book exchanges. Installed close to the sidewalk, they are designed to tempt passers-by to take a book or leave one. The "little free libraries" are the stock in trade of a 12-year-old nonprofit, Little Free Libraries, based in Wisconsin. On its rolls are more than 100,000 "book houses." It's a hopeful development. Just when it seems that all is lost, just when it seems America is becoming ungovernable and mean, hope springs from the words, "Free books!" littlefreelibrary.org

UT.GOV
  • ut.gov

Best Schoolmarm
Natalie Cline

The Utah Board of Education has seen its fair share of cuckoo birds. But few have been as woefully misguided as Bluffdale's Natalie Cline, whose incessant diatribes against anything outside her black-and-white fantasy of "traditional" values culminated in an unprecedented formal reprimand from her board colleagues. There's a perennial debate at the Utah Legislature over whether the school board should be elected or governor-appointed. Maybe, thanks to Cline, removing voters from the equation isn't the worst idea. schools.utah.gov

Best BIPOC Women Networking
Melanin Squad

The professional and workplace experience of women of color comes with its own unique challenges and often a sense of wondering where you belong. Sarah Vaughn recognized a need to bring together those dealing with such challenges, and in 2019 created Melanin Squad as a hub for networking events and safe spaces for conversation so everyone can feel seen, heard and understood. From pre-pandemic live events to more recent virtual offerings—plus a directory of local businesses owned by women of color—it fills a gap in the local professional landscape. melaninsquad.com

Best at Illustrating Utah's True Colors
Pat Bagley

The Salt Lake Tribune's editorial cartoonist and author Pat Bagley has been ruffling feathers since 1979. Syndicated in U.S. newspapers and abroad, Bagley won the Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning in 2009 and was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2014. A local and national treasure (even when visiting Paris, he gets recognized!), Bagley's critics love to hate him and give him free space in their heads. His fans adore his brilliance and cannot wait to see what he comes up with next. No matter what, he has kept everyone talking for four decades. Twitter: @PatBagley, IG: @BagleyCartoons

Best Trip Down Memory Lane
Rachel Quist on Instagram

From posts on visits from Hawaiian royalty in 1875 to the racist ways of the Salt Lake Hot Springs Sanitarium at 52 W. 300 South in 1893, Rachel Quist tackles both Utah's light-hearted and heartbreaking moments. In addition to sharing vintage cards and catalog clippings—fancy a $57.50 fur from the 1919 Sears Roebuck catalog?—history at-a-glance has never been more fun. IG: @Rachel_SLC_History

Best Common- Sense Champion
Rep. Carol Spackman Moss

They say a woman's place is in the House. Too bad there aren't more of her. Moss has been in the House of Representatives since 2001, a Democratic Don Quixote as she pushes common-sense legislation against a largely myopic white, male majority. Who wouldn't want schools to teach that children cannot legally consent to sexual contact? Oh, those male legislators. She's worked to stanch opioid addiction, call out distracted driving and encourage immunization. It's all too sensible. 801-647-8764, csmoss@le.utah.gov

Utah’s SLUTWALK march calls for consent, not rape - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Utah’s SLUTWALK march calls for consent, not rape

Best Shameless March
SLUTWALK (The Walk of No Shame)

SLUTWALK is celebrating its 10th year. Originating in Toronto, Canada, and now spread worldwide, we're lucky to have a Salt Lake City SLUTWALK chapter. Focusing on fostering a consent culture while ending a rape culture, the 2021 march to the State Capitol took place in late September. Visit their Facebook page to learn how you can support their ongoing efforts. facebook.com/slutwalkSLC

Best Xeriscape Incentive
The 'Flip Your Strip' Program

As Utah suffers through a historic drought, many of us are looking for ways to address the new realities in a state where a lush green lawn might not be the best landscaping choice. For those who have been waiting to start the xeriscaping process, the state offers rebates of up to $1.25 per square foot for converting parking strips with a living lawn to approved combinations of mulch/gravel and drought-tolerant plants. Specific water districts and other geographic restrictions apply; visit the website to determine your eligibility and get the ball rolling. utahwatersavers.com

Best at Fighting for Fairness on the Hill
The ACLU of Utah and Equality Utah

Even though it was her freshman year, Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan, made herself known as someone who would come after the LGBTQ community. After the ACLU and Equality Utah brought pressure to bear, a Republican colleague finally shut down Birkeland's bill that discriminated against transgender kids. In fact, lawmakers, sensing how unfair it was, decided not even to vote on the bill. It's a good reminder for citizens to vote and get involved on a local level. And of course to support nonprofits like the ACLU of Utah and Equality Utah. acluutah.org, equalityutah.org

Best Cynical 'Locals'
The Salt Lake Tribune

After Spencer Cox defeated Jon Huntsman Jr. in the 2020 Republican primary for governor—to the embarrassment of Salt Lake Tribune publisher Paul Huntsman (brother of Jon)—heads rolled. Editor Jennifer
Napier-Pearce left and other senior editorial staff were displaced in favor of an out-of-state editor. No talent in town? Soon came a new out-of-state chief revenue officer. OK, we understand the "no talent in the building" rationale. But the CRO quickly hit the streets with an off-the-shelf "best of city" survey using out-of-state software replete with lame stock marketing photos (didn't they save any dining column photos?) culminating in a "locals" fete event produced by an out-of-state events planner, headlined by out-of-state musicians. But it's all about locals. Yeah, whatever. So on point for a "local" newspaper that even prints out-of-state. What's next, Paul Huntsman, a mid-week edition aimed at arts and entertainment, perhaps? sltrib.com

Best Way to Learn About Beehive Boss Ladies
This Is Her Place Podcast

This well-researched podcast covering Utah's badass boss ladies is an absolute must-listen. Each episode uncovers fascinating tidbits about the lives of women past and present who work in the same or intersecting industries as you or other women you know do. Whether you skip around to learn about the women in sectors you find the most intriguing or binge from start to finish, the 12 clever episodes will not disappoint. thisisherplace.org

Best Threat to Democracy
Utah Legislative Redistricting Committee

The dark cloud of redistricting has again descended on The Beehive State, and lawmakers are adamant they did nothing untoward in scattering the Wasatch Front to the four winds. Never mind the chorus of opposition. Never mind the blatant falsehoods about blending urban and rural areas together. And never mind the voting majority who asked for an independent redistricting commission. Expect more of the same for the next decade: entrenched incumbents; disenfranchisement; and laws that fail to represent the will of the state.

Best Exercise of Truthiness
Utah Legislature

In the exercise of truthiness, a feeling trumps all. Facts are superfluous. If something feels true—or if you want something to be true—that's good enough. No need for empirical evidence. Truthiness is next to godliness in the chambers of the Utah Legislature. It's on display as the elected hold forth on guns, marijuana, sex ed, elections, climate science, public health—no subject is beyond reach in the quest for probity. Earlier this year, legislators dredged up critical race theory and transgender athletics from obscurity. It was truthiness in action: solutions in search of problems. Alas, the post-truth result of such malarky is legislation shaped by emotion and personal belief, not reason and fact.

Best Microenterprise Spin-Off
Utah Refugee Goats

After eight years collaborating with the International Rescue Committee to develop a stockyard microenterprise, Utah's East African refugee community has launched a nonprofit corporation called Utah Refugee Goats. The business plan is straightforward: Operate a ranch a few miles from downtown Salt Lake City to meet the demand for affordable, halal goat meat. That 87-acre tract of land will accommodate 100 Boer goats. Nearby, the ranch's fast-growing northwest neighborhood includes an airport, an inland port and a new state prison. Of the four enterprises, only one epitomizes the American Dream. 1200 N. 6550 West, SLC, refugeegoats.org

Best Overdue Reality Check
City Newspapers Ceasing Their Daily Print Editions

Some problems simply can't be fixed, and anyone who has worked in media—or who has a basic understanding of supply and demand—has long known that the act of printing a comprehensive newspaper every day is a relic of a bygone age. That bell was finally rung in Utah, definitively, at the start of the year when the Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune ceased daily publication. Unfortunately, both newsrooms spent so long scraping the bottom of their budgets and delaying the inevitable that they were left with no clear plan for how to evolve. Here's hoping something positive fills the void on the local journalism podium.

Best Real Housewives Cameo
Valter Nassi

One of the best things about having a Real Housewives show set in Salt Lake is trying to guess the local set piece. The best instance of this visual scavenger hunt came in Season 1, Episode 5, when Mary Cosby and Jen Shah engaged in a tableside feud at Valter's Osteria in front of proprietor Valter Nassi himself—who looked relatively nonplussed at the whole affair, like the consummate professional he is. 173 W. 300 South, SLC, 801-521-4563, valtersosteria.com

Best Apocalyptic Flock Support
Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah

Just when you thought 2020's reign of terror had ended, along came 2021 with its extreme winds, flooding and simultaneously record droughts. This year's brand of climate extremes, along with the usual threats of rodent poison and human impacts, resulted in WRCNU treating 33 percent more sick, orphaned or injured wildlife than in 2018 and 2019 combined. Thanks to dedicated volunteers and staff, they were able to rehabilitate many of our feathered friends. For tips on what you can do for the birds in your hood, visit their website. 1490 Park Blvd., Ogden, 801-814-7888, wrcnu.org

Corrections

In City Weekly's Nov. 18 Best of Utah print edition, the dessert home-delivery service, Twisted Tiramisu, was inadvertently referred to by its former name, Tasty Tiramisu. The restaurant, Ivy, and the bar, Varley, were listed as separate entities, and we've since learned the establishment (located in Caffe Molise's old location on 100 South) is now known as Ivy & Varley. The website for V&R Bakery was incorrectly shown. It should have been vrbakingco.com. The Highlander Club is now known as Highlander Pub. These errors have been corrected in the online version.



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