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Photo by Isaac Harrell
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Photo by Isaac Harrell
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Photo courtesy Detroit Tigers
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Wittiest Local Twitter Feed:
@genecoxrva When he's not on WRIC-8 starting this month (we're still getting used to that), former WWBT-12 anchor Gene Cox is never any farther away than a computer or smartphone. Short statements — 140 characters, to be precise — are "the way my mind works," says Cox, "short, pithy thoughts, some of which are significant, some of which are metaphorical." And other times, he reports what sort of liquor bottles are in his neighbors' recycling bins. 2. (Tie) @FilthyRichmond ; @JasonRoop 3. @KarriPeifer
Best Way to Make Fast Cash in RVA (Legally):
Selling stuff on Craigslist
Another example of Richmond's century-long decline into vassalage: Craigslist isn't from here and doesn't have much to do with Richmond. As for making money quick, it seems consignment should lose out to mixology, especially if you know bartending jujutsu like in Cocktail .
RVA's Most Embarrassing Moment of the Past Year:
Transvaginal ultrasound legislation
The 140-member General Assembly (22 of them women) and Gov. Bob McDonnell approved the bill that made Virginia's news look like coming attractions for Margaret Atwood's dystopian The Handmaid's Tale . Riot-gear wearing police arrested women protesting peacefully. As for obesity: You going to eat those fries?
2. Arrest of women's rights protestors at the State Capitol
3. Being voted 2nd most obese city in the country
RVA's Proudest Moment of the Past Year:
Winning the bid to host the 2015 World Cycling Championships
Cycles outperform Spielberg's epic and Shaka's apparent sense of mission. The cycling competition, set for Sept. 19-27, 2015, could attract 500,000 spectators and be viewed worldwide by 300 million. So tuck in that shirt and comb your hair.
2. Filiming of Lincoln
3. Re-signing Shaka Smart
GA Legislation Likely to Get Us Mocked on The Daily Show Next Year:
Pre-abortion ultrasound legislation
It is likely that more reproductive-rights bills will be introduced next year, if we know state Del. Bob Marshall the way we think we do. But it will take something really special to regain Jon Stewart's notice. We're not encouraging Mr. Marshall to do this, but no state has a law requiring a fetus to swear an oath in the presence of a notary public, right? Something to ponder.
2. Anything re: reproduction, against women's rights
3. The personhood bill
RVA's Biggest Rabble-Rouser:
Occupy and Tea Party activists didn't come to mind to voters because Richmonders cannot quit Doug Wilder. Though he's not held office since 2008, his aggregate Best & Worst score is impressive. El-Amin's controversial council career ended amid legal troubles in 2003, but he offers occasional pronouncements. Morrissey, in the General Assembly since 2008, this year received a reinstatement of his law license, suspended in 2000 and revoked in 2003. Watch this space.
2. Sa'ad El-Amin
3. State Del. Joe Morrissey
RVA's Best-Kept Secret:
The James River and its parks
The ambitious Riverfront Development Plan went before the planning commission in July, and City Council gets final sign-off in September. Richmond also voted like crazy through Facebook to become Outside magazine's Best River Town Ever.
2. Restaurant scene
Richmonder Who Should Enter the 2012 Presidential Race:
Kaine is busy running for the U.S. Senate against another former governor, George Allen. Kaine was briefly bruited as a 2008 vice-presidential candidate. Gov. McDonnell could get a veep nod, and Cantor seems to like where he is — making laws we must live with.
2. Gov. Bob McDonnell
3. U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor
Best Place to Seek Shelter During a Hurriquake (Other Than Your Basement):
The August 2011 5.8 quake rattled bottles and glasses, and pictures swayed at Buddy's, but nothing broke. Capital Ale's downtown basement would be useful in a hurricane, maybe not for a quake. The Ashe Center is at least sizable. Legend and Joe's Inn can withstand a vigorous Saturday night, which may bode well for natural disasters.
2. (Tie) Capital Ale House; Joe's Inn
3. (Tie) Arthur Ashe Center; Legend Brewing Co.
Most Effective Local Politician in 2011-12:
Mayor Dwight Jones
The mayor's administration pushed an initiative to build four schools, planned a new jail, transferred $60 million from the Richmond Metropolitan Authority to the city (depriving the city of millions more, critics say) and advocated for the Virginia Capital Trail (though eastern Henrico County is currently a road block). He may secure political hegemony for the school board: His son Derrick seeks a seat. Jones entered the re-election cycle without a serious opponent.
2. U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor
3. Tim Kaine
RVA's Best Athlete to Make It to the Pros:
This native son and impressive pitcher for the Detroit Tigers (two no-hitters to date and honors including the American League MVP and Cy Young Award) says when reached for comment, "I'm honored to be selected, especially with so many great athletes that were considered." Verlander adds, "Richmond is and will always be my home, and it's exciting to represent the area in the sports realm."
2. Eric Maynor
3. Arthur Ashe
Best Local Television Anchor Team:
Gray Hall and Heather Sullivan, WWBT-12 morning team
It's easy for Heather Sullivan to get up and do her job in the wee hours because she's a morning person. Gray Hall, on the other hand, says he is now a morning person and goes to bed at 8 p.m. to keep a healthy routine. The anchors have been paired for more than two years now and look forward to a long-term partnership.
2. Curt Autry and Sabrina Squire, WWBT-12 evening team
3. ROb Cardwell and Reba Hollingsworth, WTVR-6 morning team
Best Richmond-based Tumblr Blog:
Cats abound on the Internet, but only one site boasts a cat joyously celebrating the lack of a line at Cook-Out. #WhenInRVA pokes fun at local institutions like the Boulevard's ban on (most) left turns, Ukrop's rainbow cookies and Caliente's stupid wings challenge, with the help of animated .gifs found around the web. Creator Paul Shank, a consultant who grew up here and lives in Bon Air, says the cultural mood and "a burgeoning sense of pride" have made the site a hit.
2. Dirty Richmond ( dirtyrichmond.tumblr.com )
Best Choice for Mayor in 2012:
Points for creativity! Still, Mayor Jones is destined to be Richmond's mayor again because he's uncontested on this fall's ballot — the registrar says Jones was the only candidate to turn in enough valid signatures. Unless someone runs an amazing write-in campaign, Jones is our guy.
2. Shaka Smart
3. Kathy Graziano
Worst Local Radio Ad:
Is it the dreadful singing, the infantile banter or the bad jokes? There are so many reasons to hate the copier company's ads, but Cobb is in on the prank. You can be, too, even if you don't listen to the radio; the ads are archived on cobbtechnologies.com. We "recommend" the one labeled "Cobb Song." So bad it's good.
2. (Tie) Haynes Furniture; Hot 100 ads bashing Q94
3. Sona Med Spa
Best Use of State Sales-Tax Money to Be Collected from Amazon.com:
Plenty of state institutions need financial help, but schools rise to the top of the list. Many are in dire need of more room, renovations, updated textbooks and computers, and the list goes on. Maybe we can even make a deal with Amazon to get cheaper books while we're at it. Or, better yet, Kindles for the kids so their overloaded backpacks don't damage their spines.
2. Fix roads/potholes
3. Refund/reduce/eliminate taxes
Best Local Traffic Reporter:
Tracy Lynn, WWBT-12
Lynn, who grew up in Henrico's East End, says she must have won this year because "I've been doing traffic longer than anyone else in Richmond." Before coming to NBC a decade ago, she worked for Metro Traffic on local radio beginning in the mid-1990s. Back then, she got to broadcast from an airplane occasionally, but now Lynn gets traffic info from a new computer system, plus sources at VDOT, 511, the Virginia State Police and many, many viewers.
2. Amanda Meadows, WTVR-6
3. Raymond Hawkes, WTVR-6
Best Richmonder to Lead Us to Safety When the Zombies Come:
Coach Shaka Smart has demonstrated he can lead VCU's basketball players, so our readers trust him to lead the rest of us when the zombies invade later this year (Mayan apocalypse, you know). Our question: If the zombies are going to run — rather than slowly stagger — after us, what exercises should we be doing in Seal Team training?
2. Andrew Freiden
3. Mark Holmberg
Most Desirable Last Name in Richmond:
Beyond the grocery stores, the bakery, the soccer field and the philanthropic pursuits, the name Ukrop also evokes Old Richmond, a place of gentility and loyalty between customers and businesses. Bobby Ukrop notes that his family, which started its first grocery in 1937, "has been very fortunate to be engaged in the life of the region." His goal now is to have every second-grader in the region know how to swim by 2020, through the Greater Richmond Aquatics Partnership.
Reason Why Shaka Smart Stayed at VCU:
Richmond and VCU are awesome.
You took your best guesses why Coach Smart has stuck around, despite offers from many other schools after the Rams' ongoing basketball success. Smart said after the 2011 Final Four run that "it wouldn't have felt right" to leave suddenly, and he and wife Maya and daughter Zora have carved out an active, involved life here and just purchased a home in the Fan. So they must agree that Richmond and VCU are indeed awesome.
2. Commitment, dedication, honor, integrity, loyalty
3. He's smart.
Local Newscast With the Most Local News:
All three news stations in the Richmond market pride themselves on their reporting, but two longtime features possibly make the difference for our readers: They include NBC12 On Your Side, which investigates situations like property blight or parking confusion reported by viewers, and the infamous (well, at least to some eateries) Restaurant Report, which examines health department ratings of regional dining establishments.
Most Distracting Billboard:
Any electronic/changing billboard
The good news is that digital billboards have not been determined to cause more accidents, according to studies by Virginia Tech and the Federal Highway Administration, but signs that change every six or seven seconds do draw more attention than normal billboards do. Although the Paper Moon sign on I-95 may be an exception to the rule.
2. ER wait times
3. Lottery/Mega Millions
Local Meteorologist Who Is Most Excited by Inclement Weather:
Andrew Freiden, WWBT-12
WWBT's energetic weatherman says "focused" or "intense" are more appropriate adjectives than "excited" to describe his demeanor when there's a storm a-brewing. He had plenty of work to do in late June and early July, with temperatures soaring into the 100s and storms knocking out power. Freiden says he lost electricity after an intense thunderstorm on June 25, but his family learned a lesson a few winters back — it's smart to have a generator.
2. Jim Duncan, WWBT-12
3. John Bernier, WRIC-8
Best New Voice/Personality on Local Radio:
Jack Lauterback, 103.7 FM The River
From blogger to Style Weekly columnist to morning radio host, Jack Lauterback is claiming a corner of Richmond media. Not surprisingly, the bartender finds the 6-9 a.m. slot with Melissa Chase a little challenging, but he says he's getting used to the early wake-up call. Chase asked him to try out for the alternative-rock station because "radio is moving away from big voices and cheesy personalities," Lauterback says.
2. Leland Conway, 1140 AM WRVA
3. Jackson Scott, Q&A
Best Neighborhood Blog:
Church Hill People's News
Founder John Murden escaped Richmond to marry The Roosevelt owner (along with Garnett's Café and Ipanema Café) Kendra Feather this summer in Italy, but the local neighborhood blog that started the trend in Richmond keeps on ticking. Lost dogs, riverfront plans and other news appear regularly on the blog.
2. Hills and Heights ( hillsandheights.org )
3. Fan of the Fan ( fanofthefan.com)
Best Radio Personality:
Bill Bevins, Lite 98 FM
It wouldn't be a Richmond magazine Best & Worst survey without Bill Bevins winning a category. The dean of Lite 98 (as well as appearing on Virginia This Morning on WTVR-6) has been on our list for the past 20 years, and Richmond audiences remain very loyal to him and Wake Up Show partner Shelly Perkins. "I always think about Harvey Hudson, who was my mentor," Bevins says of the late broadcaster, who worked in local radio for 70 years. "He was the consummate gentleman."
2. Melissa Chase, 103.7 FM The River
3. Jimmy Barrett, WRVA 1140 AM
Best Local Fill-in Host for Jimmy Barrett on WRVA:
WRIC anchor Conde (a Richmond magazine favorite, since we record our Sunday morning segments with him) started out in radio on Power 92, so he's a natural for this award. Conde acknowledges the distinction of being voted tops among the "thousands — no, millions" of guest hosts who come in for Barrett. He says he enjoys most the opportunity to engage with the public through a different medium than TV. Conde will be on WRVA again the mornings of Aug. 16 and 17.
2. Jason Roop
3. Andy Jenks
Richmond's Best YouTube Moment from the Past Year:
Ah, it's 2012, dear readers. Your votes are below, but here are some videos from the past year that you may want to look up: protester arrests at Capitol Square, protester arrests at Kanawha Plaza, Hanover High's REO Speedwagon video (that actually prompted the band to visit) and numerous flash-mob videos.
1. VCU basketball/Final Four — from March 2011.
2. "River City" rap — 2009. Really.
3. Rudolph balloon popping — 2010.
C'mon, check a calendar!
Nicest Person in Richmond:
Patience Salgado, aka Kindness Girl
Oprah Winfrey's O magazine recognized local mom, birth photographer and "kindness worker" Patience Salgado last October, but Richmonders knew about her first. Putting the slogan "Commit small acts of kindness" into action through her blog, kindnessgirl.com , Salgado says Oprah's stamp of approval connected her with a whole new group of people who are receptive to doing nice things. Meanwhile, the Kindness Captured event (like The Amazing Race , only with good deeds as missions) is scheduled Sept. 8.
2. Shaka Smart
3. Kat Simons, Lite 98
Best New Face on a Local Television Station:
Jake Burns, WTVR-6
Jake Burns started as a photojournalist for WTVR, mostly handling camera work, but he has been reporting stories since February. The 24-year-old says his favorite assignment so far was about speed skating at the Special Olympics, but he hopes to get into more investigative journalism. With Mark Holmberg and Catie Beck among his colleagues, Burns has good teachers.
2. Gray Hall, WWBT-12
3. Sarah Bloom, WWBT-12