The last year has been unforgettable. Let’s reflect on some of the spectacular and appalling moments we shared together (just in case you did forget them).

Extreme Wind

Skateboarder uses broken sidewalk as a jump after a windstorm in Rose Park
Rose Park after the storm; Photo by Colt Morgan

Not many things turned our gawking heads away from pandemic coverage in 2020, but, that September, hurricane-force winds certainly did the trick! Speaking of tricks, when the 100+ mph winds uprooted as many as 1,000 trees in Salt Lake City, some local skateboarders knew a golden opportunity when they saw one, using the ripped-up sidewalk in the Rose Park neighborhood to get some air. On the flip side, the state estimated the extreme wind resulted in $9 million in damages. 

The Day The Music Died

We all knew 2020 was going to be an absolutely ludicrous year when right as we were heading into lockdown, a 5.7 earthquake knocked the horn right out of the hands of angel Moroni (the golden statue cake topper on the LDS Salt Lake Temple). The epicenter of the earthquake was about 10 miles west of Salt Lake City in Magna, which saw the most destruction. We all got plenty of practice diving under tables and into doorways during the 2,600 or so aftershocks that followed, sticking the state with the $629-million bill for damages. 

The Monolith

A monolith that mysteriously appeared in Southern Utah's red rock country
The monolith; Courtesy Utah DPS

Nothing says “we are not alone” quite like a mysterious metallic monolith appearing deep within the alien landscapes of Southern Utah’s red rock country. On Nov. 18, 2020, the Utah DPS Aero Bureau and DWR were counting bighorn sheep when they spied the shiny object from the air. People were quick to call the structure “Kubrickian” in its appearance, and many sought it out, but no one stepped up to take credit for it. The mystery of the monolith only deepened when it disappeared sometime on the evening of Nov. 27. Earthly authorities warned visitors (extraterrestrial or otherwise) to Leave No Trace next time they venture onto public lands. Still, it was kind of cool.

I’m Glad I’m Not In Dixie 

Dixie State University is getting dragged (into the 21st century, that is). Shockingly, having “dixie” on the resumé hurts alumni job prospects. Some defend the name on a historical basis, but the word usually refers to the 11 southern states that seceded, kicking off the American Civil War. So, what connection did “dixie” ever have to Utah other than nostalgia for the slave-owning South and failed enterprises? Now, there’s a committee in charge of proposing a (hopefully) less racist name. 

Sold To The Only Bidder

Who could forget the time the Utah Coronavirus Task Force, led by now-governor Spencer Cox, overspent millions of taxpayer dollars by circumventing the normal public bidding process for state contracts? The state spent more than $108 million using “emergency procurement.” Some of those purchases drew the side-eye from lawmakers (including $4 million on a failed phone app), inspiring audits and an investigation. It also inspired a 2021 bill that puts time limits on the length of future no-bid contracts. 


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