Best TV Newscast 2016 | 7News at 10 p.m. | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

In mid-2014, when former 9News staffer Eric Kahnert took over as anchor of the 10 p.m. 7News newscast following the retirement of Mike Landess, media observers anticipated big changes. But while Kahnert is more intense than was the smooth, sophisticated Landess, the program has stayed true to its goal of presenting as much news as possible, including the tougher stories that TV outlets tend to ignore these days. The return of old-school investigator Tony Kovaleski aids in this mission, as does a veteran cast that includes co-anchor Anne Trujillo, sports snarkster Lionel Bienvenu and weather forecaster Mike Nelson. It's a broadcast that won't waste your time. Instead, it makes the most of it.

Readers' choice: 9News

Daybreak isn't your average morning show. Co-anchor Tom Green is the least perky person on the planet — which is a very good thing in this context — and his wry sense of humor and off-kilter way of viewing the world carries over to the other members of the team: fellow anchor Kim Posey, forecaster Chris Tomer, reporter Heather Mills, traffic pro Vicky Evans, and, especially, entertainment expert Chris Parente, the hippest man on Denver TV. The program delivers the important news of the day, but without falling into predictability — a seemingly impossible trick that the Daybreak crew pulls off on a daily basis.

Given that most weather forecasters draw from the same data, delivery is key. And in this respect, Greg Dutra excels. Yes, he's mighty easy on the eyes — something that can't be said about most weather pros. But he also has a wicked wit — watch YouTube for the reference to adult diapers that broke him up during a broadcast on the Iowa station where he worked prior to his 2014 arrival in Denver — and a relaxed rapport with his cohorts. He's worth tuning in for even when the weather isn't doing anything special.

Readers' choice: Kathy Sabine

Local TV hairstyles are typically so generic that we wouldn't be surprised to learn that staffers are all wearing the same wig, trading it off during commercial breaks. So give Melissa Garcia points for going her own way. Her auburn locks are long and so straight that it sometimes seems as if she's just climbed out of a pool. This is a high-maintenance coiffure that plenty of on-air journos would eschew for fear of looking weird during stand-up shots if the wind whipped up. But we've never seen Garcia appear anything other than totally put-together, no matter the circumstances. How does she do it? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.

Readers' choice: Kathy Sabine

Chris Parente, the engine that fuels CW2's Daybreak, last won our Best Hair prize in 2011 — and five years down the line, his coiffure is even more astonishing. Less-resilient follicles treated to what we can only imagine is a regular regimen of heavy-duty industrial styling products might have turned weird, kinky and unmanageable — or, worse yet, given up entirely. But Parente's proudly idiosyncratic 'do continues to stand tall season after season. It's an inspiration (and a challenge) to dudes everywhere.

Readers' choice: Kyle Clark

Inviting local successful women from an array of industries and disciplines to the stage to share their power moves is how Bad News Babes Club goes down. Business owners, butchers, artists and motorcycle-club leaders offer sold-out crowds insight into the work they do through bi-monthly conversations and Q&A sessions. The lecture series/party keeps it casual with drinks, snacks and a rotating selection of extracurriculars — such as chemical-free mani-pedis and on-the-spot tattooing — on deck. Serving to empower others through the experience and knowledge of fellow wise women, Bad News Babes Social Club is yet another great creation from Tran Wills. A longtime small-business owner herself, Wills has become a central influencer on Denver's retail, art and fashion communities and has designed a brand-new way to take the bore out of networking.

Bigfoot, Yowie & Yeti might just be Denver's wackiest boutique. As the name implies, it caters to a rare breed — the Bigfoot enthusiast — and, of course, it takes one to know one. Store owner Michael Johnson has a predilection for Abominable Snowman lore, and he helps lead Sasquatch hunts as a founder of Sasquatch Investigations of the Rockies, a group that — you guessed it — traipses about the Colorado high country in search of evidence that the mythical creatures are real and live right here in the Rockies (see evidence catalogued at Whether or not you're a true believer, a visit to Bigfoot, Yowie & Yeti should be made at least once in a lifetime, if only to stock up on yeti-centric T-shirts and hats, mugs, Sasquatch field guides, Bigfoot bandages and lunchboxes, and — this is a must — hairy Bigfoot slippers. It never hurts to have a great gag gift in the closet, and every item you buy helps fund further Bigfoot research.

2346 S. Colorado Blvd.

Just up the street from the home base of Animal Planet's Dr. Jeff: Rocky Mountain Vet is one of the city's best-stocked boutiques for pampered pets. At Mouthfuls, one of the main attractions is the signature "bone bar" that allows Chumley (or Rufus or Bella) to sample and approve exotic treats — cheese-and-liver stars, dinner-mint bones, you name it — before their owners shovel heftier portions into bags for purchase. You can also order mix-and-match samplers from a virtual bone bar online. Your canine companion may be leading a dog's life, but that doesn't mean it has to be ruff.

For more than twenty years, Jeff Lee and Ann Martin, two longtime Tattered Cover employees, used their paychecks to subsidize a dream: the Rocky Mountain Land Library. Today their dream is close to reality: Thanks to a planning grant from the Borgen Family Foundation, the historic Buffalo Peaks Ranch by the ghost town of Garo in Park County will soon boast a residential library as well as a repository for more than 32,000 books on natural history and the West. In the meantime, the couple hosts occasional pop-ups in metro Denver. Book 'em!

Buffalo Peaks Ranch
Park County

Libraries truly are for everyone. Ever responsive to its unique clientele, which includes homeless patrons seeking to plug into public computers, the Denver Central Library added social worker Elissa Hardy to its staff last spring to help match people on the street — or those who just have problems they can't afford to treat — with housing opportunities, counseling and services. "Sometimes our customers don't even know they need help, and that's where I come in — to assist them in ways that make them feel comfortable and supported," says Hardy, who is one of the first social workers in the nation to be employed by a public library. In a town where the homeless are constantly being shuffled around with no real place to go, this is a small step toward recognizing that the daily human tragedy taking place on our streets won't go away simply by ignoring it. Let's hope this is just the beginning of a national trend in public service.

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