Just like 2020, the year 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 also plenty of other news in 2021 – both good and bad.
In January, Utah began the New Year with a new governor. Governor Spencer Cox is sworn in at an outdoor COVID-friendly ceremony in Fillmore.
In February, Millcreek Canyon was the scene of the deadliest avalanche in modern history for northern Utah. Four off-piste skiers died.
Starting in May, a series of wolverine sightings made the news. Predators are so elusive that little is known about their population in Utah.
After a mild winter, spring 2021 saw little rain. In July, the Great Salt Lake reached its lowest level in recorded history. Scientists and state lawmakers are still wondering how to preserve the lake and its ecosystem, which has links 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, the country’s attention turned to Utah when Gabby Petito, 22, went missing. She and her fiance, Brian Laundrie, were documenting their cross-country adventure when he suddenly returned to Florida without her. Petito’s latest social media post was posted to Ogden. His body was later found in Wyoming. Authorities in Florida say Laundrie committed suicide as their investigation intensified.
In November, one of Utah’s oldest institutions changed its name. After much deliberation, state lawmakers came to the conclusion that the term “Dixie” had too many negative connotations, and Dixie State University is now Utah Tech University.
In December, security cameras filmed Maddie Allen, a 19-year-old Snow College student, leaving her dorm in Ephraim. Five days later, police captured the man who was holding Allen against her will and reunited her with her family.
Utah’s economy has roared. Only Utah and Idaho have more jobs now than before the pandemic, but there aren’t enough workers to fill those jobs.
âHelp Wantedâ signs were everywhere in 2021. But the âfor saleâ signs on homesâ¦ not so much. Demand for housing helped for the first time to push the average price of a home in the Salt Lake Valley past half a million dollars.
And finally, 2021 has been a great year for Utah college football with three teams earning trips to bowling games. Utah State closed an outstanding season by winning the Mountain West Conference title and the first-ever LA Bowl. BYU narrowly lost the Independence Bowl but finished with a stellar record, placing in the top 25 for most of the season. And the University of Utah is set to star in âEveryone’s Grandpaâ – the Rose Bowl on New Years Day.