Best Of

Best Of 2017 | PEOPLE

Jacob Greif

Best Budtender


A great budtender, more than a salesman, is a caring listener. Sergio DeLeon, Jr. of Lucky Leaf gets that; he's calm and personable, with an extensive knowledge of flower, concentrates and edibles, DeLeon is "a hard person not to like," says his boss, Shilo Morgan. He joined Lucky Leaf when the dispensary opened in Pasco in 2015 and followed the store to Spokane last March. "We were so happy when he decided to come with us," says Morgan. Clearly their customers are glad he did, too. (CONNOR DINNISON)

2nd PLACE: Josh Neumeier, BudCo Farms; 3rd PLACE: Angela Thompson, 4:20 Friendly

Best OrthodontistS


Inventors of the internationally used Damon System, the second generation of Damon dental care offer a patient-friendly orthodontics routine. Focused on lower friction and passive treatment, Damon Orthodontics offers a treatment that they believe requires less time and visits to their three locations — in North Spokane, the South Hill and Spokane Valley. (TUCK CLARRY)

2nd PLACE: Ellingsen Paxton Orthodontics, Dr. Rick Ellingsen and Dr. Diane Paxton; 3rd PLACE: Dr. Scott Ralph, Orthodontist; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Curtis Orthodontics, Dr. Erik Curtis, CdA & Post Falls

Best Chef


We say it all the time: Our region's culinary scene is in the midst of a major renaissance. In the past few years, local chefs have opened their own restaurants all over the Inland Northwest, introducing diners to new flavors, ingredients and food trends from around the world. When Chef Chad White, who competed on the 13th season of Top Chef, left San Diego and came back to his hometown of Spokane, the first thing he did was open Zona Blanca, the first designated ceviche spot in the region. And if he's following suit (we already hear he is) as have some of the other names at the top of this Best Of category, diners are certainly eager to find out what his next move will be. (CHEY SCOTT)

2nd PLACE: Jeremy Hansen, Santé and Inland Pacific Kitchen; 3rd PLACE: Adam Hegsted, Wandering Table and Gilded Unicorn; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Rod Jessick, Beverly's and Bonsai Bistro

Best TV Anchorperson


After last year's upset victory for her KXLY counterpart (Nadine Woodward), KHQ's Stephanie Vigil is No. 1 again. Readers have consistently voted Vigil as Best Anchorperson in the Inland Northwest for more than a decade. After more than 20 years as a broadcast journalist, Vigil has numerous other accolades to her name, including several Emmys. (MITCH RYALS)

2nd PLACE: Nadine Woodward, KXLY; 3rd PLACE: Kalae Chock, KHQ

BEST TV Weathercaster


It's March in Spokane, and you're standing at your closet, deciding between a heavy-duty fleece pullover, a lighter button-down shirt and a breezy T-shirt. This time of year, all are viable options. Where do you turn? Well, to Tom Sherry, of course. He's been racking up Best Of wins since before I was born. But Sherry does more than bring you the weather. Every year, Tom's Turkey Drive provides thousands of local families in need with Thanksgiving dinner. (MR)

2nd PLACE: Leslie Lowe, KHQ; 3rd PLACE: Kris Crocker, KXLY

Best Athlete


In his short time suiting up for the Zags, Nigel Williams-Goss has found a way to make a lasting impact. The junior transfer is a first-team Academic All-American, All-American team vote-getter, Wooden and Cousy Awards finalist and WCC Player and Newcomer of the Year. But the point guard perhaps will be remembered most for his efforts to push Gonzaga to another level, silencing naysayers and championing the collective chip on his team's shoulders. (TC)

2nd PLACE: Cooper Kupp, EWU; 3rd PLACE: Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga

Best Elected Official


On the night he was re-elected in 2015, Ben Stuckart let loose a triumphant roar from the balcony at David's Pizza — fists clenched, knees bent, head back. The determined City Council president has never been afraid to show you how he feels, or tell you what thinks. His big policy push this past year was mandating that nearly all Spokane businesses offer paid sick leave to employees. Stuckart has flirted with a mayoral run in the past, but now has his sights set on Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' seat in Congress in 2018. (MR)

2nd PLACE: David Condon, Spokane Mayor; 3rd PLACE: Cathy McMorris Rodgers, U.S. Representative; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Raul Labrador, U.S. Representative

Women Helping Women Fund: An Iconic Night at the Fox @ Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox

Tue., May 17, 4-6 p.m.
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