The Year in Photo Review | Cover Story | Salt Lake City Weekly

December 28, 2016 News » Cover Story

The Year in Photo Review 

A look back at some of the moments that shaped 2016.

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Our peace-loving British-born senior staff writer Stephen Dark gets knee-deep in Utah's gun culture. "Weapons are anathema to most journalists, unless you're a gun-toting gonzo writer like Hunter S. Thompson," Dark wrote. "Guns are about quelling violence, while reporting is about uncovering the root causes of violence so that it will end."

At the Eccles Library at Rowland Hall sits a painting by Peter Hayes emblazoned with his motto "Learning is Work." The educator's death in late 2015 dredged up fears that Red Butte Creek's 2010 oil spill not only harmed the waterway but also the health of those who live along its banks.

Despite new video footage, District Attorney Sim Gill, alongside newly sworn-in Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Police Chief Mike Brown, says at a press conference that officer Matthew Taylor's shooting death of snow shoveler James Barker was justified.


With the chant "Fuck the Police" as a preferred verse, more than 1,000 protesters march through Salt Lake City, clogging the city's busiest streets and ensuring that their calls for reductions in police violence are heard following the shooting of 17-year-old Abdullahi "Abdi" Mohamed.

Veteran sex worker Donna Steele is one of many who call SLC's budget no-tell motels home.

"I wanted to just, kind of, raise awareness," Frank Maea told City Weekly outside a bar he claimed denied him service due to his cultural heritage. "Racial discrimination is against the law."

Residents, developers find themselves at odds over future of Granite High School, a southside historic landmark.


Two high-profile political visits, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, attracted staunch supporters, and at least in one case, fierce protests. But who wore it best? 

"You are tired and I am tired of seeing videos of unarmed people being shot," Sanders said, following this statement by mentioning the name of Abdullahi Mohamed. The Vermont senator managed to pack a crowd of 14,000 onto This Is the Place Heritage Park.


We profile local photographer Guinnevere Shuster, who has given shelter pets a new lease on life with her viral, photo booth-style shots.

The city's gamble to install an eye-catching and pricey piece of public art on Regent Street hits a snag.

We remember the fiery Ethel Hale, SLC's "conscience," who passes away at age 94. During the 1950s and 1960s, Hale was one of Utah's most outspoken critics of war, racism and the injustices of the day. Her activities sparked the interest of the FBI, which compiled 700 pages about the single mother with brown eyes, who weighed 135 pounds.


We publish the Elizabeth Smart police report for the first time and Trevor Morse, whose father figure was Richard Ricci, speaks. Ricci died following a brain aneurysm inside his cell, after being considered the kidnapping's "top potential subject."

"I'm alive. I could have died," Abdi Mohamed tells City Weekly in an exclusive interview. He does not understand why two officers shot him. "They didn't have to, like, shoot me because I had a broomstick in my hand. They had many options; they had tasers, batons, they could have used other results, instead of shooting a 17-year-old kid with a broomstick five times, you feel me?"

Amid fanfare, 900 South becomes Harvey Milk Blvd.


Community members band together after the tragic shooting at Pulse, an Orlando nightclub catering primarily to an LGBTQ audience. Utah's lieutenant governor, Spencer Cox, becomes an unlikely viral hero.

Adult male fans of My Little Pony come out of the shadows.

The Mama Dragons, a group made up entirely of LDS women that wholeheartedly support their gay children, show you how it's done.


The #BlackLivesMatter movement picks up steam; eight women vie for the Mrs. Utah title in a dazzling display of brains, beauty and world peace; two months after purchasing and becoming publisher of The Salt Lake Tribune, Paul Huntsman announces that Editor Terry Orme, a 39-year veteran of the newspaper, was no longer employed there; revelrous Motos in Moab gathering aims to put Beehive motorcycle culture on the map; following a City Weekly investigation, Unified Fire Authority Deputy Chief Gaylord Scott steps down. Chief Michael Jensen resigns the following month; Majestic Meadows mobile home park residents like Chris Strafford struggle with unexpected rent increases.


Media chief Missy Larsen rises to chief of staff at the AG's office amid transparency concerns. Larsen said when she started at the AG's office, it "was in a state of extreme low morale. Many employees had been personally contacted by reporters and bloggers, even at their home, and expressed frustration."

City Creek Park holds fifth annual LDS mass resignation. "[H]aving support for those difficult moments in life is hugely important," Steve Holbrook, leader of the Utah Valley Post-Mormons support group, said.

After District Attorney Sim Gill announces that a pair of police officers was justified in shooting Abdi Mohamed, protesters gather to demand that Gill and Mayor Jackie Biskupski resign.

We take you inside Mexico City to hear what locals think of Trump.


"You can use health savings accounts; Thailand has offered loans for people to go have surgery," Sophia Hawes-Tingey, director of Judiciary Committee at Women's State Legislative Council of Utah, says of gender confirmation surgery. "As a software engineer, I borrowed from my retirement and have yet to pay it back."

Former AG Mark Shurtleff plans a second act and reflects on being radioactive, deliverance and medi-pot.

"The reason why you can get a glass of water today in Cache County has nothing to do with a water district," Zach Frankel, executive director of the Utah Rivers Council, says in "Bear River Blues."


U of U freshman Constance Caparas wavers when asked if she'll vote, admitting she might not if she couldn't find the polling location or get her hands on a mail-in ballot.

Mike Pence gets a warm Utah reception.

The prison system seems intent on ensuring that Rolf Kaestel, convicted of robbing $264 in 1981, dies in jail. "I see now that all of my life has flowed toward this end. And that's a very peaceful awareness," state inmate No. 137752 writes in a letter.

Tragic details of Brock Tucker's suicide in jail are brought back to life by his grandma's lawsuit.


Dark horse presidential candidate Evan McMullin strikes a pensive pose on Election Night inside The Depot.

Robert Hunter, a film student at Salt Lake Community College, recruited a couple relatives as well as classmate Weston Bury and headed for the Dakotas to document the escalating Standing Rock conflict.

U students Katie Kume and Lauren Radke compare T-shirts they received for pledging to intervene in situations they believe could lead to sexual assault.

Housing First is the salvation of Utah's chronically homeless. But for some, it doesn't work.


Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall says the time to provide low-income housing with long-term support for sex workers is now.

Six months after watershed speech, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox talks equal rights, family life and virality. "I think it's sad that a no-name, nobody lieutenant governor from a small state in the middle of nowhere gets all this attention just by saying, 'We should be nice to each other,'" Cox muses.

For a new football coach at West High School, and his team, life lessons prove as painful—if not more—than losses on the field.

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About The Author

Enrique Limón

Enrique Limón

Editor at Salt Lake City Weekly. Lover of sour candies.

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