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4:57 a.m. From left to right, NBC12’s Andrew Freiden, Gray Hall, Heather Sullivan and Tracy Lynn take their places. Ash Daniel photo
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Kevin McFadden illustration
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Steve Hedberg photo
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Kevin McFadden illustration
Best Thing About Richmonders:
Friendliness, niceness, hospitality, charm
When you're turned around, we'll give you good directions. Stuff does get turned in to the GRTC lost and found. Some of us still say hello when passing by on the sidewalk, occasionally startling visitors, and Sauer's makes the town smell of nutmeg. Welcome.
3. Pride in where they live
Worst Thing About Richmonders:
The DMV's stats indicate that in 2010 Richmond accumulated 4,661 crashes compared with Roanoke's 1,901. In AAA Mid Atlantic's yearly survey, members were convinced other drivers are distracted by cell phones. "But they had a ‘Do as I say, not as I do' attitude," spokesperson Windy Van Curen says. "It's the other drivers who can't talk and drive at the same time."
2. (Tie) Conservative; traditional; resistant to change
3. (Tie) Snobby; clique-ish
Richmonder Best Suited to Join Fox's Lineup as a Cartoon Character:
Readers, we are way ahead of you. In 2005, we portrayed the Governor-Mayor as a character from The Simpsons. Though Wilder left public office in 2008, he still issues occasional pronouncements on current events. Our question: Why does anybody still care?
2. Gene Cox
Best Choice for Mayor in 2012:
Mayor Dwight Jones
Is Jones the once and future mayor? "I'm encouraged that people feel we are moving in the right direction," he says of his win. "Many thanks to your readership for this affirmation of our efforts and accomplishments."
2. Shaka Smart
3. Kathy Graziano
Best Local TV Morning Show:
NBC12 News Today
Anchor Heather Sullivan has been getting up at 2:30 a.m. for most of her career. Although she says it's very quiet and peaceful that time of morning, we're the ones who really benefit. In severe weather, Richmonders turn to Sullivan's show first for information. "That's when you know viewers are really depending on you to give them the information they need."
2. CBS 6 WTVR/ Virginia This Morning
3. WRIC-TV 8/ Good Morning Richmond
Worst Local Financial Scandal:
French is the latest in a parade of Richmond bilkers, but his tactic was new: abusing historic tax credits to the tune of $12 million. His spectacular rise and ignominious fall recalls that of the late Clyde Pitchford Jr., the suave stockbroker turned fugitive who was convicted in 1988 of stealing a mere $1.1 million.
2. (Tie) Richmond City Hall; City Council; city employees; the city budget; anything the city does
3. The Goochland County treasurer accused of embezzlement
Local Print/Online Reporter Who Does the Most Meaningful Stories:
Bill Lohmann of the Richmond Times-Dispatch
Back in 1998, Lohmann wrote a piece about 5-year-old Molly, born with cerebral palsy. She was undergoing much needed physical therapy until her insurance company cut off funding. In 2010, Lohmann received a letter from Molly, telling him she wanted to be a writer and asking him for a weeklong internship. He was honored to make it happen.
2. (Tie) Mark Holmberg, CBS 6; Michael Paul Williams, R T-D
3. (Tie) Harry Kollatz Jr., Richmond magazine; Andy Thompson, R T-D
Best Candidate for a Monument Avenue Statue:
As long as you don't portray the VCU Rams' head coach holding a basketball in one hand and textbooks in the other while trying to quell over-excited fans, we're fine with it.
2. Doug Wilder
3. Maggie Walker
Worst Local Political Scandal:
The ongoing saga started in January, when City Council liaison Jennifer Walle, assigned to Councilman Bruce Tyler, made accusations of groping by liaison David Hathcock, who works for Council President Kathy Graziano. Hathcock ultimately accepted community service in exchange for the commonwealth dropping charges of misdemeanor assault and sexual battery, though a civil battery lawsuit is pressing in September. As of June, the city's legal defenses had cost $52,000 of taxpayers' money.
2. Anything Doug Wilder did
3. City Council in general
Person Making the Biggest Difference in the Community:
Even after the family sold its grocery chain to Martin's in 2010, the region remains grateful to the Ukrops for their good works over the years. Elder brother Jim, former company chairman, remains devoted to helping Richmond maximize its potential as "a destination for tourists, young professionals and companies wanting a creative and well-educated workforce. I'm also passionate about helping [Richmond's] school system to someday be recognized as our nation's premier school district."
2. Shaka Smart
3. Dwight Jones
Best Richmond Ambassador:
Shaka Smart and VCU men's basketball team
The explosion of Rams fever on national television due to the team's unexpected rise in the Final Four caused March Madness to live up to its name. It was great to see everybody so happy about their success, and Richmond basked in the reflected glow.
2. Ukrop family
3. Tim Kaine
Richmonder Most Likely to Overshare on Twitter:
Gene Cox @genecoxnbc12
Gene Cox might walk the line between inscrutability and satire on the social media platform, but he's also not afraid to tell it like it is. When it comes to oversharing online, he says, "foursquare people annoy me ... if I wanted to know they were at the hardware store, I would call and ask."
2. Liz Ogren (@LizOgren)
3. The Checkout Girl (@thecheckoutgirl)
Most Annoying Local Tweeter:
Jason Guard @RVAfoodie
Is it the content or the frequency of tweets that annoys Richmonders so much? Jason Guard, publisher of the blog Caramelized OpiNIONS, courts controversy among local foodies and at times provides a voice of reason in fever-pitched online conversations.
2. (Tie) Jason Roop (@JasonRoop); Gene Cox (@genecoxnbc12)
3. Café Darkness (@cafedarkness)
Best Pants-on-Fire Political Moment:
According to PolitiFact Virginia, Cantor's pants-on-fire moment came during an appearance on The Daily Show last fall, when he claimed (falsely) that Democrats "spent more money than this country has spent in the last 200 years combined, in the two years since [the beginning of the economic crisis]."
2. Ken Cuccinelli
3. Kathy Graziano/David Hathcock incident
Best Side-Street Parking:
No zones. No stickers. South of Cary, there's often no time limit. The streets tend to be tree-lined and shady, good for the summer heat and also protective if you're dashing to or from in the rain.
2. The Fan
3. Monument Avenue
Best Local Columnist:
Michael Paul Williams of the Richmond Times-Dispatch
After 19 years of writing columns, it isn't easy for Michael Paul Williams to pick his favorite. "Any column that makes someone's day better, or generates random acts of kindness, is meaningful to me," he says. Williams doesn't shy away from controversy, either. "Part of my job is to provoke."
2. Jeff Schapiro, Richmond Times-Dispatch
3. Bill Lohmann, Richmond Times-Dispatch
Worst Side-Street Parking:
Zones. Time limits. You can tell longtime residents by the number of Fan District parking stickers amassed on the back of their cars. It's like counting the rings of a fallen tree. We have advice for some of the complainers. If you can, take the bus.
2. Cary Street
Most Memorable Richmond YouTube Moment:
Watching these videos now, months after Smart and the Rams delivered their star performance in Houston, brings back happy memories of a time when Richmond had undeniably hit the big time. Here's hoping we get back there again, on and off the basketball court.
2. Rudolph float incident in the Christmas parade
Newsperson Most Likely to Accept Your Friend Request on Facebook:
Beloved across the region, Gene Cox has only 192 friends on Facebook, so you may be out of luck. The man has a private life, after all. Thankfully, his Facebook fan page is open to all, and you can get a regular dose of the retired NBC12 newsman there. Cox is one for whom the term "avuncular" was created.
2. Andrew Freiden
3. Sabrina Squire
Biggest Claim to Fame for Richmond:
VCU Rams in the Final Four
The Rams' surprise emergence created an excitement in Richmond that the city hadn't experienced since maybe Spirit of St. Louis aviator Charles Lindbergh's visit in 1927. Or hometown singer Elliot Yamin's run on American Idol in 2006. Still, the most recent events tend to block the past. Yes, it's a great thing for Richmond, for right now.
2. Civil War/capital of the Confederacy
Biggest Claim to Shame for Richmond:
Civil War/Capital of the Confederacy
UR president Ed Ayers, Civil War scholar, notes that for years after the war, Richmond garbed defeat in the clothing of victory, venerating military exploits but failing to acknowledge slavery. Today, more people live in Richmond who aren't as attached to the old version of our history. The Lumpkin's Jail site and the Negro Burial Ground can complement a greater narrative." Ayers says.
2. (Tie) Crime; violence; the murder rate; Richmond City Hall
3. (Tie) City Council; city politics
Worst Road for Speeders:
Listen up, leadfoots: State Police spokesman Sgt. Thomas J. Molnar explains that Interstate 95 from Parham Road in Henrico County to Bells Road in Richmond is a General Assembly-mandated Highway Safety Corridor. "Violators stopped in this stretch of Interstate 95 and found guilty in court could face enhanced fines," he says.
2. Interstate 64
3. Broad Street
Best Way to Tell You've Turned Into a Richmonder:
The sliding-diphthong Richmond dialect that turns house into hüse and makes about into "aboat" is all but gone in native Richmonders under the age of 50. "Rivah" and "y'all" these days border more on affectation than colloquialism, and "Powhite" is probably a 17th-century misinterpretation of Powhatan (making Pow-ite the least incorrect choice).
2. Your attire
3. You still miss Ukrop's
Best Way to Get Lost in Richmond:
Go downtown — the one-way streets, the expressway, etc.
The one-way streets — about 65 percent of downtown's lane miles are one-way — were cited in the 2007 Downtown Master Plan for choking off pedestrian accessibility and increasing speed, thus causing more accidents. So far, the city remains, as it often is, paralyzed about changing anything. That said, if you're getting turned around in downtown Richmond, you probably don't go there too often.
2. Go to the Fan
3. Go to South Side
Worst National News Moment for Richmond This Year:
VCU Rams loss/riots
Yes, out of the thousands of people leaving the Siegel Center after the game, a few got stupid — really stupid. But if you think this was a "riot," take a look at what happened in Vancouver, B.C., when they lost the Stanley Cup in June.
2. Death of Taylor Anderson in Japan earthquake/tsunami
3. Ken Cuccinelli's activities
Best Morning-Drive Radio Show:
Bill Bevins and Shelly Perkins of Lite 98
Perkins' first official day at the station was on September 11, 2001. "Looking back, it was, in an ironic way, a bonding experience that helped us both get through the day," says Bevins, "and cemented our relationship in ways that would have taken years, not days, to develop."
2. NPR/Morning Edition
3. 102.1 The X/Elliot in the Morning
Best Local Breaking News Online:
Lara Malbon, assignment manager at NBC12, doesn't treat breaking news online differently from breaking news in any other medium. "Our goal is to let our viewers know about it right away, whether it's through television or smaller screens like nbc12.com, the NBC12 app, our Facebook page or Twitter," she says.
2. CBS 6 (WTVR)
3. Richmond Times-Dispatch
Best Website to Get the Scoop on Richmond:
The oddest entry in the partially user-administered Richmond.com calendar was for a coed, bikini mud-wrestling event. "Hey," says Editor Karri Peifer, "if it's happening in Richmond, we want our users to be able to find out about it." Sadly, Peifer says, "The event was canceled at the last minute."
Most Knowledgeable Local Sports-Radio Host:
Greg Burton of ESPN 950
After 20 years in the business, Greg Burton is steeped in sports knowledge. Nonetheless, he's still learning — the most important lesson, he says, is that everyone's views matter. "Just because I have the microphone doesn't mean my opinion is more important than the listener['s]. More voices and opinions make for a more interesting show."
2. Big Al Coleman, ESPN 950
3. Chip Tarkenton, WRIC-TV8 [who left the station in May after 23 years]
Local TV Reporter Who Does the Most Meaningful Stories:
Mark Holmberg of CBS 6 (WTVR)
He walks tall through the city (literally and figuratively), tracking down leads and peering into the dark corners of Richmond to see what might be lurking there. Think of a Raymond Chandler detective with a ponytail and a microphone instead of a hat and a gun.
2. Sabrina Squire, NBC12 (WWBT)
3. Ryan Nobles, NBC12 (WWBT)
Best Local Flash Mob Within the Last Year:
At Fox Elementary's Strawberry Street Festival this spring, a flash mob of more than 60 parents and faculty burst into dance. Participant Amy Harr says, "The kids went nuts when we started dancing." The number was professionally choreographed, and the group communicated privately via Facebook and email. As for next year? "We aren't telling," says organizer and parent Wendy Martin.
Best Local Public Radio Show:
Out O' the Blue Radio Revue, WCVE 88.9
After more than 25 years on the Richmond airways, the Out O' the Blue Radio Revue is no more, following host Page Wilson's death this year. "Page was a real presence in the community," says WCVE's Bill Miller, and the show, a blend of folk, country and blues, "was a unique radio program, made so by its one-of-a-kind host."
2. A Moment in Time, WCVE 88.9
3. Jazz with Peter Solomon, WCVE 88.9
Best Thing for Richmond Tourists to See/Do:
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
200 N. Boulevard, 340-1400
Readers urge visitors not to miss the VMFA, but VMFA director Alex Nyerges highlights a few of the museum's often overlooked treasures, such as a teapot and stand made by Paul Revere; famed illustrator Maxfield Parrish's painting Little Sugar River at Noon, which now hangs in the American gallery; and the 4,000-year-old mummy, Tjeby.
3. The James River
Best Radio Personality/DJ:
Bill Bevins is a modest man despite continuously winning in this category for two decades. "After 20 consecutive years of winning awards in Richmond magazine," he says, "I think it's safe to say that people have a pretty good read on what Shelly and I are all about, and we are grateful they listen in spite of it!"
2. Melissa Chase, 103.7 The River
3. Elliot in the Morning, 102.1 The X
TV Anchor You'd Like to Invite to Your Backyard Barbecue:
Gene Cox, formerly of NBC12
He may have retired, but it's doubtful anyone holds that against venerable anchor Gene Cox. He's a pretty easy backyard-barbecue guest, too. "I normally bring myself to barbecues, eat a hot dog, drink a Pepsi and slip quietly away." See, Richmond? Now none of us has any excuses for not having Gene over this summer.
2. Andrew Freiden, NBC12 (WWBT)
3. Sabrina Squire, NBC12 (WWBT)
Best Radio Station:
The Liberty promise: We play anything. "Our regular playlist is three or four times larger than other commercial stations. We're not just focused on one style or era of music," station manager Dave Dillon says. That unexpected song that might pop out in the mix is what keeps Richmond listeners tuned in.
2. Lite 98
3. 103.7 The River