It was the Best Of times, it was the worst of times. As we, the editors of the Reno News & Review talked about how to make our Biggest Little Best of Northern Nevada even better in 2011, we saw a certain … fatigue in the heart of Northern Nevadans. We’re tired of hearing bad news, tired of hearing about budget cuts, and tired of hysteric claims of how bad things are.

First and foremost, we wanted this Best Of to celebrate the great things about this beautiful area in which we live—the people, enterprises and environment that make this the only place we want to be.

We also wanted to rejoice in the future of this place we call home.

Thirdly, we wanted to honor a segment of our society that helps make this a rich culture, a segment that’s often ignored in local media: The Hispanic culture that makes up 27 percent of our population. That’s a lot to ask of a simple poll of readers.

We enlisted Ricardo Olvera, a prominent local artist who originally hailed from Mexico City. On the heels of his successful show at the Shepard Gallery at the University of Nevada, Reno, The Bone Tarot, we asked him create an original series of artworks that would form the backbone of our Biggest Little Best Of. His pieces incorporate ideas of divination of the future through the tarot, and his Latino heritage through images of the Day of the Dead and the Loteria.

He fashioned a sequence of mixed media works that incorporate drawing, photography and technical wizardry into a single powerful and unifying statement.

We called upon you readers, as well, to bring your superior knowledge of Northern Nevada to us. You responded. And did you ever.

We’d like to thank all 3,888 of our verified voters for making this the best Biggest Little Best of Northern Nevada to date. With some 400 categories, we sure didn’t make it easy on you, but ultimately, you’re the reason we do this popularity contest every year.

We’d like to congratulate all our winners. You make this such a great place to live.

And isn’t it great to be the best?

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