Top Utah news stories of 2021
Just like 2020, 2021 will always be associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, Utah has lost nearly 3,800 people to the virus.
But there was a lot of other news in 2021 – both good and bad.
In January Utah started the new year with a new governor. Governor Spencer Cox was sworn in at an outdoor COVID-friendly ceremony in Fillmore.
In February Millcreek Canyon hosted the deadliest avalanche in modern history in northern Utah. Four skiers died.
From May onwards, a number of glutton sightings hit the headlines. The predators are so elusive that little is known about their population in Utah.
After a mild winter, little rain fell in spring 2021. In July, the great salt lake reached its lowest level in recorded history. Scientists and state lawmakers are still busy conserving the lake and its ecosystem, which is linked to Utah’s air quality and industries.
Summer rains fell in southern Utah, causing flooding in parts of St. George, Cedar City and Enoch, where a state of emergency was declared on August 2 and about 200 homes were damaged.
In September, nation’s attention turned to Utah when 22-year-old Gabby Petito went missing. She and her fiancé Brian Laundrie were documenting their cross-country adventure when he suddenly returned to Florida without her. Petito’s last social media post was written in Ogden. Her body was later found in Wyoming. Florida authorities say Laundrie committed suicide when her investigation intensified.
In November, one of Utah’s oldest institutions was given a new name. After much deliberation, state lawmakers concluded that the term “Dixie” had too many negative connotations, and Dixie State University is now Utah Tech University.
In December, security cameras caught Maddie Allen, a 19-year-old student at Snow College, leaving her Ephraim dormitory. Five days later, the police arrested the man who was holding Allen against her will and reunited her and her family.
Utah’s economy was booming. Only Utah and Idaho have more jobs now than they did before the pandemic, but there aren’t enough workers to fill those jobs.
“Help wanted” signs were everywhere in 2021. But “for sale” signs on houses … not so much. Housing demand helped the average price of a home in the Salt Lake Valley rise above half a million dollars for the first time.
Finally, 2021 was a great year for college football in Utah, with three teams earning travel to bowl games. Utah State crowned an outstanding season by winning the title of the Mountain West Conference and the first-ever LA Bowl. BYU narrowly lost the Independence Bowl, but finished with an outstanding record and was in the top 25 for most of the season. And the University of Utah will play in the “grandfather of all” – the Rose Bowl – on New Year’s Day.