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Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011 02:56 am

Off the grid

art9256

BEST-KEPT SECRET
Free knife sharpening at Schnuck’s
1911 Sangamon Ave. E., 744-2012
2801 Chatham Road, 698-2980

Sorry, dear readers, but perhaps you did not understand the question. Much as we loved the place, Caitie Girl’s, the top vote getter, was not Springfield’s best-kept secret, given that the proprietor gave cooking demonstrations on television. And what kind of secret is will-we-ever-get-a-Chick-Fil-A’s? We’ll take the credit/blame for the winner here, which we picked all by ourselves. They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, which is probably true, but you can get your kitchen knives sharpened for free, no strings attached, by taking them to the meat counter at Schnuck’s, limit of three per visit. They promise a 24-hour turnaround. A razor-sharp knife in the kitchen is one of life’s simple, but essential, joys – kind of like getting new windshield wipers each fall. So, go ahead, treat yourself today. You have nothing to lose.

BEST THING. PERIOD.
Abraham Lincoln

Tip your top hat to good old honest Abe, this year’s all around best thing. Why do we love him? Is it the beard? The witty quotations? Perhaps the whole saving-of-the-country situation way back when? Whatever it is, Springfield’s crazy about him, and we think that if Mr. Lincoln were here the feeling would be mutual. Like he said in his farewell address: “To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born and one is buried.”
Runners-Up: D’arcy’s Pint, Horseshoes

BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO SPRINGFIELD THIS YEAR
Scheels Outfitters
3801 South MacArthur Boulevard, 546-5903

Best of voters are keen on Springfield’s newest sports store. Scheels, one of the first anchor tenants in the Legacy Pointe Town Center on the south end of MacArthur Boulevard, made headlines throughout the spring as anticipation built for its June 2011 opening. Two stories chock full of balls, bats, boats and more, the destination store also hosts a children’s play area, gift shop, aquarium, faux mountain, Ferris wheel, airplane and cafeteria. But retail wasn’t all IT voters were glad to see this year. Though not as popular as Scheels, Springfield PRIDE, the area’s new roller derby team and the new bike trail on the city’s west side all received respectable vote tallies.
Runner-up: Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s conviction, with Springfield’s change in mayors close behind

MOST UNDER-REPORTED NEWS STORY
All Things Davlin

From the late Tim Davlin’s “past practices” to the closing of The Barrel Head, readers overwhelmingly voted the declining fortunes of the late mayor and his brother, Kevin, the most under-reported news story in Springfield during the past year. Since Jan. 1, the State Journal-Register has published at least 14 stories on the late mayor, who committed suicide in December of last year, and his brother, Kevin, owner of The Barrel Head and Chantilly Lace, both of which have gone through foreclosure proceedings. Meanwhile, lawyers for the estate of the late mayor, the Catholic diocese and the late Margaret Ettelbrick spent the year in court. The late mayor was executor of Ettelbrick’s estate, but $340,000 is allegedly missing, and Catholic Charities is supposed to get the money. Stay tuned.
Runner-up: Good news in Springfield

BEST USE OF TAXPAYER FUNDS
Bicycle trails

Woo hoo! At long last, the Sangamon Valley Trail on the west side, dreamed of for years, opened last summer, and it was about darn time. At a cost of $3.6 million, mostly federal stimulus funds, for more than five miles of trail perfect for runners, cyclists and walkers, there is no bigger bang for a government buck, especially when you consider that all the running, cycling and walking might prolong a few tickers and lower the cost of health care. There is also the planet to consider, and Schwinns don’t generate greenhouse gases. Built on abandoned railroad tracks, the trail links Centennial Park with Stuart Park. Plans call for the trail to be extended north to Athens. Get cracking.
Runner-up: Education



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