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Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009 01:40 am

Best of Springfield 2009 continued

Brandi Booker, C-Note, and Bondsy of Kiss FM
PHOTO BY PATRICK YEAGLE

MOST ENTERTAINING RADIO STATION

Kiss FM 99.7FM

Playing the country’s chart-toppers may be nothing new, but some Top 40 stations in the area tend to leave hip hop behind. Not Kiss FM. Popular hip hop tracks make the rounds during daily airplay, and every Saturday night, DJ Captain rolls out his Bad Boy Hip Hop Show, featuring the best in the genre, from the old school on. The rest of the week sees one of Springfield’s favorite radio personalities, Bondsy, hosting his morning show, The Morning Grind. Our favorite part of The Morning Grind is that if you miss it in the morning because you slept in (you slacker), you can catch it online via their UStream video channel. While you watch the video, you can chat with Bondsy in the window on the right. Music to party to and they’re tech savvy? Genius.

MOST ENTERTAINING RADIO STATION (runner-up)

WDBR 103.7FM

In second place, holding its own against the likes of similarly formatted radio stations and tornadoes, WDBR has earned its longstanding claim of “Springfield’s #1 Hit Music Station.” Playing top 40 pop and rock hits, what sets WDBR apart is its array of on-air personalities, such as Dave and Dina in the Morning and Bob Parrish, and its events, often with nonprofits like Children’s Miracle Network. Not into the new pop music the kids today seem to like? Well then ’90s at Noon is for you, a very fun throwback to the ’DBR of the olden times (as in 10 to 19 years ago). Mmm bop!

MOST ENTERTAINING RADIO STATION (runner-up)

Alice 97.7FM

Tied for third are Alice and WQNA, so here are some words about each. Alice is hard to define. The standard term is “adult alternative,” but program director Susan Groves says it best. “Alice is just Alice. It’s made just for Springfield, by our listeners for our listeners. It’s not cookie cutter.” In any given car ride, you can hear the latest Death Cab, followed by a live Sister Hazel track, then a Talking Heads tune. It’s as though your own iPod was plugged and broadcast all over Springfield. They even get in “moods” just like the rest of us, with “You Can Call Me Al” or “Under the Milky Way Tonight” playing every single day for a week. This is awesome. Also awesome? Unlike other morning shows, Alice’s Molson & Josie in the Mornings actually play songs in between talking, meaning a full day of music just rockin’ enough to make you dance a bit in your car (yes, we’re “that driver”).

MOST ENTERTAINING RADIO STATION (runner-up)

WQNA 88.3FM

And “all hail Metal Chris” was their rally cry. WQNA, operated out of the Capital Area Career Center, is a completely non-commercial station, run chiefly by students and volunteers. Their more open format allows air play for music that other stations largely ignore, such as reggae, folk, real jazz and soul, electronic, classic country, and best of all, according to you, METAL! “WQNA is the only station in central Illinois that plays heavy metal! True underground metal that other radio stations have probably never heard of, and they play local metal bands.” Thrash on, friends, thrash on.

BEST BIKE TRAIL

Lost Bridge Trail

The Lost Bridge Trail has been called a “nice rural escape in the middle of an urban area” by one of our favorite local bicyclists. The five-mile, paved trail connects Springfield to Rochester via an old railbed. Built in 1995, the community’s oldest bike trail begins near the Illinois Department of Transportation building on the east side and continues further east through dense trees and cornfields and over the Sangamon River. Rochester added offshoots to its community park and baseball complex on its end; future developments on the Springfield side call for extending the trail southeast to Taylorville and Pana.

Runner-up: Interurban Trail

BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE WATCH

Illinois State Fair

Illinois State Fairgrounds

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 700,000 people attend the Illinois State Fair each year, making it the perfect venue to see and be seen. The fair, created in 1853 to celebrate the state’s agriculture industry, pulls in families in a 100-mile radius to participate in various activities from the hog-calling contest to the new demolition derby and wine-tasting. If the crowd’s still not diverse enough for you people-watchers, head over to the Ethnic Village, where you’ll find food from 14 different countries and a daily lineup of stage performances from area cultural music and dance groups.

Runner-up: Washington Park

BEST ANIMAL RESCUE GROUP

Animal Protective League

1001 Taintor Rd., 544-7387

Looking to adopt a new furry friend? Nearly 950 voters — the most who voted in any category — want you to check out the Animal Protective League. The nonprofit makes adopting easy, giving you immediate insight into potential pets. For example, Richie, a hound mix, was chained outside and abandoned for a year, so the APL lets you know that he’s skittish around kids, cats and tiny dogs. Its Web site quotes Richie saying, “But I have so much love to give. Everyone who gets to know me says that I am a delightful, charming gentleman.” The APL finds permanent homes for 2,000 animals annually; all of them are up-to-date on shots and spayed/neutered. They’re located behind the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Taintor Road, across from Gate 6.

Runner-up: Illinois Humane Society

BEST RESALE SHOPPING

The Kids Closet

130 S. John St., Rochester, 1-888-537-2578

Since Kitty Boyce launched The Kids Closet 18 years ago the store has matured. Though she no longer sells items on consignment, she gives in-store credit to those who bring in freshly laundered clothes three years old or less in good condition. Her customers range from Petersburg to Pana. Times were rocky from February to mid-May this year when a federal edict forbade sales of toys and baby furniture. Though some toy sales are permitted today, baby furniture sales are permanently discontinued due to lead and chemical concerns. The Closet has also expanded, offering ladies and juniors clothing, home décor, furniture and books. “Jeans are hot these days, from newborn to plus-size ladies and young men student sizes. We can never get enough,” she says. “Depending on the brand, they sell for from 25 percent to maybe half of retail for new.” Their Web site is also worth a look-see: www.thekidscloset.net. Second and third behind the top vote recipient were Sojourn Resale and Just Kids.

Runner-up: Sojourn Resale

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