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Favorite Local Celebrity

1st Place: Justin Vernon
2nd Place: The Gordy’s Guru (Matt Selvig)
3rd Place: Sarah Stokes Herzog

OK, Chippewa Valley, I think you had shiny record players in your eyes when you picked Justin Vernon in this category. While, I think the singer for Bon Iver, Volcano Choir, and the Shouting Matches is pretty awesome, I also think that the voice of a grocery chain is more well-known: After all, he is a guru. And I would venture to say that if you talked to people who didn’t vote in this poll (of which there were a couple) the results might flip. Rounding out this list is Sarah Stokes Herzog, one half of the married anchor team at WEAU 13 News. –Scott Morfitt

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Favorite Local Meteorologist

1st Place: LeAnn Lombardo (WQOW)
2nd Place: Doug Michaels (WQOW)
3rd Place: Darren Maier (WEAU)

To put the results in this category in meteorological terms, WQOW’s LeAnn Lombardo – who placed third last year – won the 2013 poll in a landslide caused by a torrential downpour of votes. She soared above the competition like a cirrus cloud, sizzling her fellow forecasters like a July afternoon, freezing out the also-rans like a February blizzard. OK, you get the idea: Lombardo now has the seal of approval from both Volume One readers and the American Meteorology Society. Second place went to Lombardo’s former Channel 18 colleague, Doug Michaels, who left the station (and the business) over the summer.  Finally, the forecast is sunny for Darren Maier, WEAU’s chief meteorologist, who debuts on this list in the respectable No. 3 spot. –Tom Giffey

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Favorite Local News Writer

1st Place: Tom Giffey
2nd Place: Eric Linquist
3rd Place: Julian Emerson

There’s a whole host of great journalists to choose from in the best local news writer game, but the top spot went to Tom Giffey. Good ol’ Giff’s been writing his heart out for years in the Chippewa Valley, first with the Leader-Telegram and now just across the Eau Claire River as co-managing editor at Volume One. Leader-Telegram special projects editor Eric Lindquist took second place. Lindquist’s ability to write for any section of the paper and about any area of the Chippewa Valley makes him a prolific local news writer, but it’s his easygoing demeanor that adds him to the Best Of list. Third places goes to the Leader-Telegram’s assistant local news editor, Julian Emerson, who’s not only a truly excellent writer but also a skilled investigative journalist. Emerson’s writing is often poignant and full of feeling, giving appropriate weight to the stories he covers. –Taylor Kuether

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Favorite Local Radio Show

1st Place: McKay and Donuts (B-95)
2nd Place: Alex and Cora (WAXX 104.5)
3rd Place: George, Matt, and Teri (I-94)

In an era of robotic radio stations controlled by distant conglomerates, it’s nice to know there are a few radio studios in the Chippewa Valley that actually contain human beings creating actual radio shows. Two of those human beings – or, to be more accurate, one human being and one tasty pastry – once again demolished the competition in this category. McKay and Donuts of B-95 wanted to win pretty badly – to our knowledge, no one in any category has performed a song specifically aimed at winning this poll, as the pair did this summer – so our hats are off to them. Alex and Cora, the morning team on WAXX (B-95’s rival country station) moved from third to second place this year, while the trio of George, Matt, and Teri who bring you “Today’s Best Variety” in the mornings on I-94 landed at No. 3. ­­–Tom Giffey

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Favorite Local Radio Station

1st Place: Hot Country B-95
2nd Place: WAXX
3rd Place: Z100

They’re perennially at the top of the local Arbitron radio ratings, so it only makes sense that B-95 and country music-playin’ rival WAXX would be the leading contenders in this category. But while WAXX typically edges B-95 in the ratings book, it wasn’t really a contest in our poll: B-95 gave WAXX a whuppin’ this year. Wherever your loyalties lie in that feud, it’s impossible not to notice that we like our country music ’round these parts. If cowboy hats aren’t your thing, however, you can tune in to the contemporary hits played on No. 3-ranked Z100 and feel like a teen (or maybe a tween) again. –Tom Giffey

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Favorite Local TV News Anchor

1st Place: Sarah Stokes (WEAU)
2nd Place: Judy Clark (WEAU)
3rd Place: Chris Herzog (WEAU)

As they have for the past five years, the team behind the desk and in front of the camera at WEAU 13 News swept the top three spots in this category. Sarah Stokes’ hard work (she co-anchors the 5, 6, and 10pm broadcasts) and winning personality earned her a solo turn as the Chippewa Valley’s favorite anchor. Last year, Stokes shared the top spot with her on-air co-anchor (and off-air hubby), Chris Herzog, who took third place this time around. Between them landed a seasoned and beloved broadcaster, Judy Clark, who has graced the airwaves for WEAU since 1990 and has anchored just about everyting. To the gang at WQOW News 18: Better luck next year! –Tom Giffey

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Favorite TV Smile, By Wattage

1st Place: Sarah Stokes (WEAU)
2nd Place: Judy Clark (WEAU)
3rd Place: Andrea Albers (WQOW)

With almost three times the votes of the second-place finisher, WEAU’s Sarah Stokes absolutely crushed her grinning competition for your favorite TV smile. And indeed, we swear you can see the light glint off her pearly whites with an audible ding as she engages in some witty repartee with the weather and/or sports dudes betwixt segments. In second place we find Sarah’s WEAU cohort Judy Clark – a local newscaster who’s no stranger to lighting up a room. In third place is WQOW’s Andrea Albers whose smile could moonlight as a moonbeam.  A beaming trio, to be sure, but we gotta be honest – we’re a tad disappointed Jerry Gallagher isn’t on it. That man’s got a grin that could teach a light bulb a thing or two. –Mike Paulus

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Most Luscious Radio Voice

1st Place: Tess Morgan (Clear Channel)
2nd Place: Bob Bosold (WAXX & WAYY)
3rd Place: Mike McKay (B-95)

Commercial radio is an interesting art form. You have to manipulate your voice into sounding like you believe that mundane things like having your station’s truck in the Burger King parking lot are actually big deals. You do this to build loyalty with your audience, which mainly likes to listen to you on their way to work. So it makes sense that Most Luscious Radio Voice goes to three commercial radio hosts. Leading the way is Tess Morgan, who can be heard on several Clear Channel stations, followed closely by Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Famer Bob Bosold of WAXX/WAYY, and morning man Mike McKay of B-95. –Scott Morfitt

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Radio Station We Most Need

1st Place: Oldies (’50s and ’60s)
2nd Place: Indie rock (a la The Current)
3rd Place: Modern rock

Chippewa Valley radio listeners have a bit of nostalgia, or maybe music really was better back then. The No. 1 radio station our voters want is a dedicated oldies station, playing the hits of the ’50s and ’60s. Beyond that, they also are in the mood for an indie rock station like Minnesota’s The Current, which would play the hippest music out there. Rounding out the list, people also asked for a modern rock station, maybe something that offers a bit more beyond what existing stations play. That being said, our own community radio station – WHYS – offers a lot of these kinds of shows already. But you can never have enough good tunes. –Thom Fountain

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