SALT LAKE CITY — This week's Pioneer Park farmers market was about more than just produce and crafts. It was also about making Utah's air cleaner and safer.
During an awards ceremony Saturday, Gov. Gary Herbert, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, North Ogden Mayor Richard Harris and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon announced the second annual Clear the Air Challenge winners.
"We have beautiful blue skies and cleaner air because of what's happened here today," Herbert said.
This year's challenge helped reduce vehicle emissions by 2,135,755 pounds, eliminate single-occupancy car trips by 103,710, save 57,814 gallons of gas and save 1,272,040 miles. Nearly 9,000 Utahns participated in the challenge, but only the top conservers were honored with awards and prizes.
Top honors went to individuals, teams and companies.
"The competition was fierce this year," Becker said.
Team awards went to: ARUP Laboratories for reducing 88,107 pounds of emissions, Architectural Nexus for eliminating 4,764 trips, UTA Meadowbrook for having the most participants, the Utah State Tax Commission for the best integration of travel-wise strategies, and KUED Channel 7 was given the 2010 Corporate Role Model Award.
The businesses that were honored for going above and beyond were: Lloyd Architects, New Dawn Technologies and ADP, Inc.
Individuals were awarded for their impressive work toward cleaning up Utah's air. There were five grand prize winners who received various prizes, such as a lunch with Becker, a new bicycle, UTA passes and gift certificates.
Brian Parker saved more pounds of emissions than anyone else. He saved 277 car trips, 14,000 miles and 25,000 pounds of emissions.
Patricia Merlino saved 543 trips, 1,700 miles and 3,000 pounds of emissions. For her work, she received the award for saving the most trips in the competition.
Three awards were given for the most consistent participants.
Josh Crawford won bronze, Tina Finero walked away with silver, and Dina Hannah was awarded gold.
Clear the Air Challenge is a nationally recognized program created to help change the traveling habits of Utah residents.
"It's not over," Corroon said. "Keep on going."