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Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006 01:55 am

Illinois Times presents

Best of Springfield 2006

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THE FRANCHISE
You know the drill: Every year you give us your best, and we tell you why. This year’s “Best of Springfield” has new categories, but — surprise, surprise — you’ll spot many familiar faces in the winners’ column. When you have a good thing going on, why change?

VOTER TURNOUT
We received and tabulated nearly 1,350 votes this year — a 70 percent increase over last year and a record response. Online voting nearly doubled: Springfield, it appears, has embraced the Internet with a vengeance. You know what’s next: online gambling, cyberporn, streaming audio, and the end of civilization. Of the 80 ballot categories, we’d like to say that our question about the butter cow attracted the most responses, but the truth is, Best Pizza, Best Sub Sandwiches, and Best Radio Station for Music led the categories, as usual.

PATRIOTS AND MALCONTENTS
Some of you are so serious. Some of you are so not. A self-described disabled veteran declined to provide his name and address, explaining in a letter: “I regard this as a secret ballot as guaranteed by law.” He continued: “To force anyone to vote giving name and address shows deep disrespect to those who have ensured our freedoms, both living and dead. Do you want this on your conscience?” Well, gosh, no, we don’t. A different sort of complaint came from “Lincoln Lincoln Lincoln,” who mailed us a ballot with the word “none” written in every category. Doesn’t Mr. L.L. Lincoln know that people died for the right to vote in the “Best of Springfield”? And what about the fellow who voted for former TV anchor Don Hickman in every category, including Best Asian restaurant?

MAJORITY RULES
This year we bow to the wisdom of our readers, who, with the exception of Mr. L.L. Lincoln, are smarter than we are. So, in all but two categories, the winner is the top vote-getter.

BOARD OF ELECTIONS
This year’s “Best of Springfield” is written by Illinois Times regulars Marissa Monson, R.L. Nave, Dusty Rhodes, Job Conger, Phil Funkenbusch, Tom Irwin, and Roland Klose. Photographs are by Job Conger and Ginny Lee, among others. Designers Joe Copley and Dave Janes put together the newspaper. Becky Austwick set up our online voting. A special shout-out goes to Mike Manning, winner of the Best Artist category, who contributed illustrations.

FINAL WORD
All results are final. Complaints or suggestions? Write a letter. Here’s the address: Editor, Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705. You may also send e-mail to editor@illinoistimes.com.

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