Best Of 2001

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Best People 

Best TV Newscaster - Nadine Woodward, KREM
Since 1990, when this Vancouver, Wash., native first joined the staff at KREM, Nadine Woodward has been a community favorite. Along with bringing the news into your living room every weeknight, Woodward has lent her support to a variety of community concerns, from the Crisis Pregnancy Center to the Alzheimer's Association's Memory Walk. In May, former KHQ newscaster Randy Shaw will join Woodward and her partner Charles Rowe, creating a kind of local broadcasting dream team.

Second place: Randy Shaw, soon to be on KREM
Third place: Stephanie Vigil, KHQ

Best TV Weathercaster: Tom Sherry, KREM
Best TV Meteorologist - Tom Sherry, KREM
The biggest overall vote-getter, year in and year out, is none other than... Doppler the Weatherdog! Just kidding. Actually, while some may argue that Tom Sherry's allure is inextricably linked to his golden retriever, KREM's weathercaster did rack up more votes than any other winner in any other category this year. We actually looked up the word "regular guy" in the dictionary, and there was Tom Sherry's picture! And it's just that regular guy persona that makes him the one we trust to tell us whether we're getting the kind of weather we want.

Second place: Kris Crocker, KXLY
Third place: Mark Peterson, KXLY

Best TV Sportscaster - Dennis Patchin, KXLY
To paraphrase our winner, are you kiddin' me? After years of tussling back and forth with his partner Rick Lukens, Dennis Patchin has squeaked ahead of his TV teammate for first place in the hearts of sports lovers across the Inland Northwest. And we mean squeaked, as the margin separating the two guys makes what happened down in Florida look like a landslide. Okay, he won by a single stinkin' vote. Still, he's got bragging rights, and deservedly so. What pushed him ahead? Our scientific survey suggests that, yes, it was the addition of the hip goatee. Not only does Patchin get you to feel the thrill of sports in his enthusiastic relating of the day's events, but after 16 years at KXLY he is also comfortable enough to be willing to call something the way it is. No tiptoeing through the tulips of political correctness, here, as Patchin has registered his disgust with everything from the effects of big money in sports to Dennis Rodman's latest antics. And Patchin has developed into one heck of a play-by-play announcer, too, as anybody who listened to the Zags late-season heroics on KXLY-AM 920 can attest.

Second place: Rick Lukens, KXLY
Third place: Mark Holyoak, KREM

Best TV Reporter - Tom Grant, KXLY
In this era of meaningless live shots and proliferating pet stories on the TV news, it's refreshing to see a TV reporter who still does his homework. Over the past year, Tom Grant has tackled the not-made-for-TV River Park Square parking garage story and managed to boil down the basics for our short attention spans. And Grant has long shown that he is willing to play the devil's advocate and look at the other side of any story, as he showed when he was perhaps the only journalist who questioned the truth behind the so-called Wenatchee sex ring case (which, as Grant was first to report a few years back, was no sex ring case at all).

Second place: Gary Darigol, KHQ
Third place: Dana Haynes, KHQ

Best Radio Personality or Team - The Breakfast Boys and Molly, KZZU-FM
Dave Sposito and Ken Hopkins have been icons on the local radio scene since the '80s, and when they joined forces -- later adding Molly Allen to mellow out the testosterone -- to form the Breakfast Boys on KZZU, the airwaves have never been the same. Tune in over a bowl of corn flakes and you'll join a wide-ranging, often hilarious discussion that ranges from the ridiculous (lots of Survivor talk) to the sublime (the team has jumped on the Zags' bandwagon in a big way). Sposito, who now has his own separate show with Molly in the afternoons on KXLY-AM 920, traces his roots back to the good old days of KREM-FM, home of choice Pink Floyd cuts in the early-1980s. After a stint in the radio mecca of New York City, he returned to Spokane. Ken, a native of Idaho's Silver Valley, started with the Zoo in 1985. Molly, a transplanted actress from Los Angeles, joined the team on a whim in 1999 and hasn't left the microphone since.

Second place: The Radiomen, KKZX-FM
Third place: Jay and Kevin, KDRK-FM

Best Singer/Songwriter - Paul Brasch
He's mighty young to have the blues, but Paul Brasch has got 'em bad -- and the Inland Northwest is glad he does. Just shy of 26, Brasch has owned this category since he burst onto the local scene in the mid-1990s with his heartfelt, precocious brand of blues. Brasch is a throwback, fitting into the mold of a Robert Johnson or a Muddy Waters of the '30s and '40s more than the golden rock gods of more recent decades (although he does remind us a little of Chris Isaak). As he has matured as a musician and guitar player, he has written increasingly confident songs of his own, which you can hear on his Burnside Records CD, Find My Way. You can also check out Brasch, who has even taken up boxing in the past year, at the Rocket Bakery on Argonne this Saturday night. And watch the music listings in our "Sound Advice" section every week for other play dates.

Second place: Bing Crosby
Third place: Tim "Too Slim" Langford

Best Philanthropist - Bill Gates
Although the NASDAQ of late has been trying to get rid of his money for him, Microsoft's founder Bill Gates has been giving his fortune away in startlingly large chunks over the past few years. Gates believes that maxim that kids are our future (not to mention the one about not being able to take it with you), so the lion's share of his gifts have been going to education. And all of Washington state has benefited, not just the school districts around the Redmond campus of Microsoft. Spokane School District 81 has received gifts, as have private schools all the way down to little Cataldo School on the South Hill.

Second place: Bernard Daines
Third place: The Cowles Family

Best High School Coach - Wayne Gilman, Ferris
He's Spokane's version of Coach K at Duke, minus the smug little pinched-up face. Wayne Gilman has created one of the state's top basketball programs at Ferris High School. This year, the team was led by Eric Benzel and Sean Mallon out on the court, and Gilman orchestrated another run deep into the state tournament, coming up just short in the state championship game. People say, as they do about Duke, "Oh, Ferris gets all the good players." Yes, Ferris has some great players, but winning year in and year out is no fluke: Gilman gets the most out of his players through his coaching skill. And that's why the rest of the GSL can't wait for him to retire. On the female side of the ledger, the top girls' coach in the balloting was Linda Sheridan, the longtime volleyball and basketball coach at Shadle Park.

Second place: Craig Ehlo, Rogers
Third place: John Hook, former coach at Lewis and Clark

Best Politician/Public Official - Spokane Mayor John Powers
Last year at this time, you'd be saying "John who?" if we told you John Powers would be the Inland Northwest's favorite politician in 2001. But after leaving his law practice to compete for public office, he has apparently been doing something right, as he won this usually competitive category in a walk. Taking over as the city's first strong mayor was a bit of a long shot, as Powers had zero name recognition going into the race. But he overcame state Sen. Jim West in the primary and defeated incumbent Mayor John Talbott in the general election. Perhaps voters liked his upbeat, glass-is-half-full vision for the city, or maybe they just wanted to start the new form of government with a fresh face at the helm. Whatever the reason, our readers seem to be wishing him well as he tackles the seemingly intractable problems facing the city of Spokane in the next few years.

Second place: Steve Eugster
Third place: Roberta Greene

Previous Winners

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

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