Hippie Game Hawaiian Shirt
Hippie Game Hawaiian Shirt


The Union’s 17th annual “Best of Nevada County” contest concluded this week with the annual winners’ luncheon Tuesday and the special magazine inserted in the newspaper Thursday.

The 56-page magazine publishes the winners and runners-up in an easy-to-read format. It’s the ultimate testimonial for products and services in western Nevada County.

This year the voting was strictly tallied online. We didn’t include a printed ballot in the paper, as we did in prior years. This online voting allowed for a more accurate and fair process. Even without the printed ballot, The Union had almost 3,700 individual voters, which was over 300 more than last year.

The Tuesday luncheon event was a blast. Winners received plaques and banners to share their success with the community. The “Best of” winners included hotels, grocery stores, restaurants, dentists, day spas, animal rescue, yoga studios, florists and many more — 200 categories in total.

Even with all these categories, I still feel we are a few shy of a comprehensive list. So for the second year I feel compelled to share my proposed “Best of” categories.

Even with all these categories, I still feel we are a few shy of a comprehensive list. So for the second year I feel compelled to share my proposed “Best of” categories.

Best cop to have a beer with: Chief John Foster. Although now that he’s retired, can I call him John instead of Chief? John likes a good microbrew. So do I. I don’t like DUIs. John doesn’t like to have to call his cop friends. So a beer with John keeps you under the limit. Seems like a good strategy.

Best Tom Selleck impersonator: Mike Bratton. Have you ever seen Mike with a Hawaiian shirt? That’s Magnum P.I; I’m telling you.

Best full-sized bumper cars: Grocery Outlet parking lot. Until they removed those park benches, it was fun to sit and watch the cars swerving and dodging each other and, in some cases, “bumping” into each other. If you shop at Grocery Outlet, you know what I mean.

Best driving mix-up: Watching people drive the Olympia Park Circle roundabout in front of Grocery Outlet. Some drive around, some straight through. Either way, honking and yelling ensues.

Best past publisher hair cut: Tie. Jeff Ackerman and Peter Starren. Stop by The Union office sometime. All the past publishers’ photos are in the lobby. Could be an ad for the hair club for men.

Best local blogger: Nevada County Scooper. I only added this category to make nice with the folks responsible for this satire website. They pick on me a lot. But it’s crazy funny.

Best cop dancer: Colin Nelson. Hands down. If you haven’t seen his “Napoleon Dynamite” dance routine from last year’s Dancing with Our Stars, run, don’t walk, to the Center for the Arts and buy a DVD. Colin was fantastic. Seriously.

Best place to see PJs at 5 p.M.: Downtown Grass Valley Safeway. And yes, this includes me.

Best city council person: Grass Valley City Council Member Howard Levine. Howard is an artist, philanthropist, community volunteer, teacher, historian, past hippie and simply just a cool dude.

Best weather predictor: When spring is here, Kenny Bond takes off his parka. The Union’s weather department finds this more reliable than the groundhog method.

Best landmark no one is aware of: The Grass Valley Clock Tower. “Let’s meet at the clock tower,” I say. The usual response is, “What clock tower?”

Best dressed man: Sean Metroka. This guy has style. Words like “dapper” and “gentleman” come to mind when I see Sean. Suit and tie. Suit and bowtie. Collared shirt and sweater. He pulled off his handlebar mustache phase with elegance. He inspires me and our community to up our game. Except during PJs hour at Safeway.

Best weekend parking in Nevada City: Juror parking near the courthouse. That’s all I’m saying. I want to keep this secret for myself.

Best advertisement in the “Best of” magazine: Don Adams Satellite. Each year they create a movie poster-themed ad. This year was “The Godfather.” Past years they dreamed up satellite themes for everything from “Three Amigos” to “The Hobbit,” from “Ghostbusters” to “Dog the Bounty Hunter.” I suspect people vote for them just to see what they’ll come up with next.

Best indicator a man is not from around these parts: He is wearing a tie. Unless he’s Mr. Metroka. Sean gets a pass.

Best fifth season: Girl Scout cookie season. You can’t miss it. Girl Scouts are everywhere. If a groundhog peeks from his hole and can’t see the sun, it’s because a folding table loaded with boxes of cookies is blocking his view. Winter, spring, summer, fall and Girl Scout cookies. It’s wonderful to live in a place that has defined seasons.

Best place to listen to impromptu live music: The corner of Broad Street and North Pine Street. People sit on the sidewalk and watch folks perform on the balcony above The Chocolate Shoppe.

Best place to run into Marty Lombardi: Tie. Nevada Union High School, Lazy Dog, Starbucks, Grass Valley Chamber office, Kane’s, anywhere in Grass Valley or Nevada City. OK, if you leave your home, you will see Marty Lombardi.

Best eligible bachelor: Daniel Swartzendruber. This young guy owns his own business and is president of the hospital foundation board. His community volunteer contributions are endless. He is also the nicest guy around and looks a lot like my younger brother-in-law, so I feel compelled to look after him.


Hippie Game Hawaiian Shirt
Hippie Game Hawaiian Shirt

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