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Who should be The Salt Lake Tribune's Utahn of the Year?
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Which Utahn most shaped the news in 2013, leaving an indelible mark on our state?

Salt Lake Tribune editors are debating that question as we select our 17th annual Utahn of the Year.

Above all else, the person we choose will have been a newsmaker — for good or bad.

Journalists are widely said to be those who craft the first rough draft of history. Each December when we choose the Utahn of the Year, our goal is to identify which person in today's news reports is most likely to make it into history's final draft.

Our Utahn of the Year most often is an individual or a group recognized for motivating others, inspiring hope or contributing in a way that altered Utah's course.

You'll see numerous such individuals on the list below, which we ask you to peruse so you can weigh in.

You'll also see Utahns who made headlines for notorious or controversial actions.

Do any of them merit consideration as Utahn of the Year? Help us decide.

Select your choice for Utahn of the Year by completing this poll by Dec. 14. If you disagree with all of the 17 candidates we offer, you may recommend a candidate of your own.

We value your opinion and will factor it in as we make our selection, which we'll announce on Christmas Day.

In alphabetical order, candidates on our list are:

Geralyn Dreyfous • The Oscar-winning producer this year founded Gamechanger Films aimed at funding film projects by women filmmakers. She also earned the International Documentary Association's Amicus Award, whose only other recipients in the past 29 years have been entertainment lawyer Michael Donaldson, Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks and director Steven Spielberg.

Dan Farr • He founded Salt Lake City's inaugural Comic Con, which drew huge crowds in September. Attendance surpassed that of all the 600-plus other licensed events nationwide except for those in San Diego and New York City.

Sim Gill • A review by the Salt Lake County district attorney led to the dissolution of West Valley City's Neighborhood Narcotics Unit and the dismissal of more than 100 cases. Gill also surprised many when he determined two West Valley officers erred when they fatally shot Danielle Willard on Nov. 2, 2012.

Sarah Hendrickson • The reigning world champion ski jumper aspires to be one of the first Olympic gold medalists ever in ski jumping at the 2014 Sochi Games if she recovers from a knee injury soon enough to compete.

Hero beavers • The six beavers are credited with mitigating the environmental impact of a March diesel spill at Willard Bay State Park. Dams they created slowed the spill from reaching Willard Bay reservoir.

Jeremy Johnson • The indicted businessman's allegation that now former Utah Attorney General John Swallow helped broker what Johnson believed was a bribe to make a federal probe against him disappear sparked multiple investigations into alleged wrongdoing by Swallow.

Jason Kreis • The Real Salt Lake coach led Salt Lake City's Major League Soccer team to its second MLS Cup on Dec. 7.

Becky Lockhart • The Utah House speaker initiated a bipartisan House investigative committee to explore allegations against Swallow with an eye toward recommending possible changes to Utah law to prevent similar scandals.

Mike Lee • The Republican senator joined Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in leading the fight against the Affordable Care Act in Congress this fall that resulted in the 16-day partial government shutdown.

Ted Ligety • He won six downhill races on the World Cup circuit last season and is considered a gold-medal favorite in Sochi.

Rachel MacNeill and Alexis Somers • The sisters fought for six years to prove their father's guilt in their mother's murder before a jury in November convicted Martin MacNeill of Michele MacNeill's murder.

The 19-year-old female LDS missionary • LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson in late 2012 lowered the age when women can go on church missions from 21 to 19. The action led to a surge in applications this year by women who previously had made up only 1/5 of all missionaries but whose numbers accounted for about half of the new applications.

Pam Perlich • The economist at the University of Utah Bureau of Business and Economic Research, through demographics research and analysis, has become an authority on the changing face of Utah and a valued adviser to Utah policymakers.

Ricardo Portillo • The volunteer soccer referee died in May after a 17-year-old player punched him in the head during a game. Portillo became a symbol for the need to address violence in sports.

Robert Redford • The 77-year-old actor reached a career pinnacle with his acclaimed role in "All is Lost," which is widely expected to earn an Oscar nomination. The film already has garnered Redford a best actor award from the New York Film Critics Circle.

John Swallow • Utah's former attorney general announced his resignation on Nov. 21, a day before a state report alleged five violations of election law. Misconduct allegations, many of which are still under investigation, first surfaced four days after he took office in January and continue to dog him.

Glenn Taylor • He elicited international ire in October after pushing over a "goblin" rock formation in Utah's Goblin Valley State Park while a friend videotaped the action.

Lisa Carricaburu is managing editor. Contact her at lisac@sltrib.com or on Twitter: @lcarricaburu. —

Past Utahns of the Year

2012 • Mormons Building Bridges

2011 • Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank

2010 • Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart, her mother, Lois, and her sister, Mary Katherine

2009 • Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart

2008 • Utah entrepreneur and philanthropist Larry H. Miller

2007 • First responders to tragedies including the Trolley Square shooting rampage and the Crandall Canyon Mine disaster

2006 • Latino leaders Jorge Fierro, Andrew Valdez, Ruby Chacon and Alma Armendariz

2005 • Pamela Atkinson, advocate for the poor

2004 • Utahns killed in Iraq and Afghanistan

2003 • Gov. Olene Walker

2002 • LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley

2001 • 2002 Winter Games organizer Mitt Romney

2000 • Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson

1999 • The letter that sparked the Olympic bribery scandal

1998 • Mary Ann Kingston, who suffered a brutal beating after escaping plural marriage

1997 • NBA MVP Karl Malone

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