Best of the Quad Cities 2002 Print
News/Features - Feature Stories
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Tuesday, 18 February 2003 18:00
For the seventh annual Best of the Quad Cities issue, we’ve gotten bigger than ever. We’ve added categories, and voting this year brought in the largest number of ballots we’ve ever had. (We allowed online voting for the first time. ) We’ve also made a commitment to showcasing Brian Barkley’s stunning photographs, allotting more room to pictures in this issue. Of course, the real attractions of the Best of the Quad Cities are the winners themselves. And while Biaggi’s continues its domination of the restaurant categories and is among several familiar winners, we have some new faces on top of the charts, too, Azteca, Exotic Thai, Loren Shaw-Hellige, and Jerry & Sparky’s among them. And with 101 categories this year, one might dub the 2002 Best awards a college course: Quad Cities 101.

Eats & Drinks

Restaurant
1. Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano
2. Texas Roadhouse
3. Blackthorn Pub & Eatery

Best Restaurant, Most Romantic Restaurant, Best Place to Take Clients to Lunch, Best Selection of Wine, Best Italian
After nearly three years in the Quad Cities, one might expect that Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano (at 53rd Street and Utica Ridge Road in Davenport) would be old news. Not true, based on the results of our readers’ poll, in which the restaurant captured five awards. That might be due partly to the ever-changing nature of Biaggi’s. The menu was re-vamped last summer, with another overhaul planned for June. One popular new appetizer is braised duck with dried cherries, and that shows “the edge we try to push,” said Steve Watermeier, director of operations for the restaurant. The reserve wine list was also recently changed, although much of it remains under $50 a bottle. And every night, Executive Chef Eran Salzman creates new dishes to tempt the taste buds. While the food is gourmet, the prices remain reasonable. “We like to think we’re still the best value in the Quad Cities,” Watermeier said. The restaurant also has three private rooms for parties or other gatherings, with capacities ranging from 16 people to 50.

– Jeff Ignatius

New Restaurant (Opened in 2002)
1. Royal Wok
2. Famous Dave’s
3. IHOP

Royal Wok, located at 4220 North Brady Street (next to Northpark Mall) in Davenport, has an all-you-can-eat buffet filled with more than 100 of your favorite items, as well as offering a menu of traditional Chinese foods. Some of the specialties on the buffet are Tender Chicken in Secret Sauce, Salty Garlic Shrimp, and a dish named Dragon & Tiger (jumbo shrimp and sliced beef with vegetables). Owners Tony and Wendy Chen pride themselves on quality; they want the food they serve to taste, look, and smell good. They keep the food on the buffet fresh, and they offer dishes that other restaurants don’t. The buffet bar changes daily and includes appetizers, soup, fresh salads, Chinese main dishes, American cuisine, desserts, ice cream, and much more. If you have little ones that prefer American food, the restaurant has pizza, chicken nuggets, and a variety of homemade desserts. Tony Chen has more than 10 years of restaurant experience working in both China and America. He and his wife have really done a great job of offering quality food at a reasonable price.

– Cheryl Phoun

Most Romantic Restaurant
1. Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano
2. The Dock
3. Steventon’s

Place to Take Clients to Lunch
1. Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano
2. Blue Cat Brew Pub
3. Blackthorn Pub & Eatery

Breakfast
1. Village Inn
2. IHOP
3. Tommy’s Café

Sunday Brunch
1. The Lodge
2. The Dock
3. Thunder Bay Grille

Ribs/Barbecue
1. Jim’s Rib Haven
2. Famous Dave’s
3. RJ Boar’s

Steaks
1. Texas Roadhouse
2. Outback Steakhouse
3. Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon

With its “Texas-sized” portions and mouth-watering steaks, Texas Roadhouse has been a welcome addition the Quad Cities restaurant scene. The Texas Roadhouse credo is simple: “Legendary food and legendary service through legendary people.” This has proven to be the right recipe as the Clarksville, Indiana-based chain has been growing like wildfire since the first location opened its doors in 1993. Celebrating its one-year anniversary on February 18, Davenport’s Texas Roadhouse (off 53rd Street and Interstate 74 in Davenport) has had more than a few satisfied customers. Table waits up to two hours on the weekends are a testament to the restaurant’s popularity. While the Ft. Worth Ribeye and Dallas Filet have proven to be the best sellers, patrons have a wide variety of dishes to choose from, including award-winning ribs, seafood, chicken, and more. According to one manager, it’s the seasoning that sets the restaurant apart from its competitors: “We use special seasoning to lock in juices.” Community involvement is also key for Texas Roadhouse. In the bar area, guests will find paintings depicting Chief Blackhawk and the Quad City Mallards, among others. Additionally, Texas Roadhouse supports many local charities and fundraisers.

– Mike Mathews

Pizza
1. Harris Pizza
2. Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream Parlors
3. Nancy’s Pizzeria

Burgers
1. Boozies Bar & Grill
2. Culver’s
3. Burger King

Deli Sandwiches
1. Subway
2. Hungry Hobo
3. Arthur’s Garden Deli

Desserts
1. Village Inn
2. Lagomarcino’s Confectionary
3. Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano

Ice-Cream Parlor
1. Whitey’s Ice Cream Store
2. Lagomarcino’s Confectionary
3. Dairy Queen

Cup of Coffee/Cappuccino/Espresso
1. Theo’s Java Hut/Theo’s Java Club
2. Coffee Hound
3. Panera Bread

Selection of Beer
1. Old Chicago
2. Blue Cat Brew Pub
3. RIBCO

Selection of Wine
1. Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano
2. Gendler’s Wine Cellar
3. Olive Garden Italian Restaurant

Locally Brewed Beer
1. Blue Cat Brew Pub
2. Front Street Brewery
3. Bent River Brewing Company

“Well, you can go to school, but I have an extensive background in science, so I just went to a one-day workshop, wrote down the essentials, and have been doing it ever since,” stated Dan Cleveland, co-owner and brewmaster at the Blue Cat Brew Pub, the Quad Cities’ mainstay for locally brewed beer. Along with his sister, Martha, Dan and company have been satisfying thirsty patrons for nine years. As a complement to the best beer in the area, the Blue Cat (located on 18th Street in The District of Rock Island) also serves upscale cuisine and gourmet dishes each month with its popular beer dinners, which pair the brews with a themed five-course meal. “There are three standard brews: Wigged Pig Wheat, Big Bad Dog English Ale, and Off the Rail Pale Ale, along with rotating varieties of stout and seasonal brews,” Cleveland said. “I like the Big Bad Dog, but it depends on the season. I’m also partial to a good hefeweisen, and I like Belgians a lot, but I tend to get myself in trouble; the alcohol content is usually between 7 and 9 percent.” No matter what your preference, the Blue Cat Brew Pub is sure to please. In the works is a draught line of QC Brews, a light, amber, and dark that will represent the area and will be available at other establishments, tentatively this summer.

– Tom Swanson

Martinis
1. Mac’s Tavern
2. Copia Martini & Wine Bar

Margaritas
1. Chi-Chi’s Mexican Restaurant
2. Jalapeno’s Mexican Cuisine
3. Chili’s Bar & Grill

Bread/Baked Goods
1. Panera Bread
2. Bread Basket
3. Great Harvest Bread Company

Vegetarian
1. Greatest Grains
2. India House
3. Exotic Thai
3. Heritage Café

Seafood
1. Red Lobster
2. The Dock
3. Captain’s Table

Mexican
1. Azteca
2. Rudy’s Tacos
3. Jalapeno’s Mexican Cuisine

Asian
1. Exotic Thai
2. Le Mekong
3. Yen Ching

Italian
1. Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano
2. Olive Garden Italian Restaurant
3. Trattoria Tiramisú

Culture & Entertainment

Casino
1. Isle of Capri Casino
2. Rhythm City Casino
3. Jumer’s Casino Rock Island

Bar/Tavern
1. Mac’s Tavern
2. Rusty Nail
3. RIBCO

Sports Bar
1. Halftime Sports Bar Pizza & Grill
2. Sports Fans Pizza
3. Rookies Sports Bar

Bar for Conversation
1. Copia Martini & Wine Bar
2. Blue Cat Brew Pub
3. Governor’s

Open for a mere eight months, Copia Martini & Wine Bar, in the District of Rock Island, is making its mark. Specializing in martinis such as “The Oceans 11” (a blue raspberry concoction) and “The Marilyn” (a white chocolate treat) along with fine wines and imported beer, this Rat Pack-themed lounge is quickly becoming a welcome addition to the Quad Cities nightlife. “We’re not really geared toward the college crowd. Our patrons are typically 30-plus, and enjoy a place where they can come and get a great product in a great environment,” said proprietor Mike King, who also owns the adjoining Hickey Brothers cigar shop. And, according to King, Copia isn’t just a great place for conversation. “I’d say for every glass of wine, we sell 20 martinis.” With numbers like that, there must be something to its formula. In the near future, look for the introduction of 10 new varieties to spice things up, and if you’re not sure what to choose, “Garth will set you up,” King promised.

– Tom Swanson

Concert Hall/Music Club
1. Mark of the Quad Cities
2. RIBCO
3. Adler Theatre

Local Musical Act
1. Spatterdash
2. Hot Commodity
2. Metrolites

Local Singer
1. Chris Sindt (Spatterdash)
2. Wicked Liz Townsend (Wicked Liz & The Bellyswirls)
3. Scott Morschhauser (Metrolites)

Local Rock Band
1. Spatterdash
2. Metrolites
3. Circle 7

Local Metal Band
1. Rust
2. Circle 7
3. Angelkill
3. SquareFace

Local Blues Band
1. Shane Johnson’s Blue Train
2. Whatever Blues Band
3. John Resch & The Detroit Blues

Local Jazz Band
1. Manny Lopez Trio
2. Josh Duffee & His Orchestra
3. River City 6

Local Country Band
1. Dani Lynn Howe Band
2. Bandits
3. Joey Hollywood
3. Stampede

Local MC/Rap Act
1. Commandiz Freez
2. Circle 7
2. Jimmy Keys
2. Scotti

Club DJ
1. Ground Zero
2. DJ Shane Brown
3. Darren at The Gallery
3. Johnathon Knight
3. Z-Man

Art Space/Gallery
1. Davenport Museum of Art
2. Quad City Arts
3. MidCoast Fine Arts

Museum
1. Putnam Museum & IMAX Theatre
2. Family Museum of Arts & Science
3. Davenport Museum of Art

Best Museum, Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests
When the IMAX theatre opened last March, it was seen as an integral part of the Putnam Museum & IMAX Theatre’s plans. Basically, the large-format movie theatre (whose screen is five stories by seven stories) was meant to goose interest and attendance at the museum, and thus help the bottom line. So far, it’s paying off. It was projected than its first year, the IMAX would generate attendance of nearly 250,000 for the Putnam. In 2002, the Putnam had 233,000 visitors, meaning that it’s right on track for its first-year estimates. The better news is that while 84 percent of visitors are visiting the movie theatre, 40 percent are also visiting the Putnam’s exhibit halls. “They thought we would capture 25 percent,” said Chris Reich, the museum’s director and CEO. “People are really embracing the whole facility.” Membership is also up, from 1,300 a year ago to 1,800 at the end of December. But the IMAX is just one of the attractions for residents and their guests. “The architecture itself makes it a showcase for the community,” Reich said, and the theatre balcony provides one of the best views of the Quad Cities. And don’t forget the museum itself, “a treasure house of the community,” Reich said.

– Jeff Ignatius

Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests
1. Putnam Museum & IMAX Theatre
2. John Deere Commons/ Pavilion
3. Isle of Capri Casino

Local Theatre Organization
1. Circa ’21
2. Playcrafters Barn Theatre
3. Quad-City Music Guild

Play in 2002
1. Annie (Quad-City Music Guild)
2. Tony & Tina’s Wedding (Playcrafters Barn Theatre)
3. Proof (New Ground Theatre)

Concert in 2002
1. Tool at The Mark
2. Cher at The Mark
3. REO Speedwagon/Styx at The Mark

Club Act in 2002
1. Black Label Society
2. Circle 7
3. Cheese Pizza
3. Jim the Mule

Annual Festival
1. Bix Weekend
2. Mississippi Valley Blues Festival at LeClaire Park
3. Ya Maka My Weekend at The District of Rock Island

Annual Family Event
1. Bix Weekend
2. Mississippi Valley Fair
3. Festival of Trees

Local Sports Team
1. Mallards
2. Steamwheelers
3. River Bandits

Public Park
1. Vander Veer
2. LeClaire Park
3. Scott County Park

Shopping & Services

Women’s Clothing Store
1. Ritzi Reruns
2. JCPenney
2. Von Maur

Men’s Clothing Store
1. JCPenney
2. Von Maur
3. Kohl’s Department Store
3. Ritzi Reruns

Kids’ Clothing Store
1. The Gap/Gap Kids
2. Ritzi Reruns
3. JCPenney

Used/Thrift/Vintage Clothing Store
1. Goodwill Store
2. Salvation Army
3. Ritzi Reruns

Bookstore
1. Borders Books Music & Cafe
2. Barnes & Noble
3. Waldenbooks

Record/CD Store
1. Co-op Records
2. Borders Books Music & Cafe
2. Best Buy

The recorded-music business has changed a lot in the 30 years that Co-op Records has been around. We’ve gone from LPs to CDs, and from independent record stores to big-box retailers and the Internet. But our readers haven’t abandoned Co-op, largely because the record store (with two locations, at 422 East Locust Street in Davenport and 3727 Avenue of the Cities in Moline) fills an important niche. It might not have dozens of copies of the latest pop-star releases, but Co-op is “a lot deeper in independent and alternatives releases,” said Reid Robinson, owner of the two Quad Cities stores for the past eight years. “I would like to help break the next guy in the market than sell another 50 copies of Britney Spears,” he said. Co-op also focuses on special orders (and a lot faster than other stores) and music accessories such as clothing. And people who’ve been shopping at Co-op often can’t imagine doing their music-buying somewhere else. “We have an incredibly loyal customer base,” Robinson said.

– Jeff Ignatius

Place to Rent DVDs
1. Family Video
2. Blockbuster
3. Hollywood Video

Bike Shop
1. Jerry & Sparky’s Bicycle Shop
2. On Two Wheels
3. Healthy Habits

Family-owned and -operated since 1966, Jerry & Sparky’s has established itself as the premier bicycle shop in the Quad Cities. With a wide range of bicycles, Jerry & Sparky’s can put anyone on two wheels. The selection at Jerry & Sparky’s includes mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrids, and even tri-wheelers. “We have bikes for anyone from two-year-olds to 80-year-olds,” said store manager Jerry Neff Jr. In addition to the wide array of bicycles, a variety of fitness equipment can be found at the shop, located at 1819 East Locust Street in Davenport. Treadmills and home gyms are among the body-shaping accessories available. Owners Jerry (Sr.) and Barb Neff find that an emphasis on service and selection has been the driving force behind their success. “There is no comparison in service,” said Jerry Neff Jr. With five full-time employees, four of whom are Neff family members, Jerry & Sparky’s continues a commitment to being the best in the area.

– Mike Mathews

Downtown Retail Store
1. Isabel Bloom
2. K & K True Value Hardware & Building Center
3. Lagomarcino’s Confectionary

Sporting-Goods Store
1. Dick’s Sporting Goods
2. Gander Mountain
3. Temples Sporting Goods

Jewelry Store
1. Rice Jewelers
2. Kay Jewelers
3. McGivern’s Fine Jewelry & Gifts

Hardware Store
1. K & K True Value Hardware & Building Center
2. Menards
3. Lowe’s

With the emergence of large, corporately owned home-improvement stores seemingly around every corner, it might seem surprising that a local hardware store can still thrive. K & K True Value Hardware & Building Center, however, is proof that the right ingredients make the right product. With its recipe of excellent selection and outstanding service, K & K has established itself as the Quad Cities’ top hardware store. Offering everything from power tools to sporting goods, K & K is a mainstay in downtown Bettendorf (at 1818 Grant Street). Of the more than 5,000 True Value stores nationwide, K & K continually lands in the top 10 percent in terms of sales volume. And its 100-plus employees keep things running smoothly day after day. Now in it’s 63rd year, K & K Hardware still leads the pack, and shows no signs of slowing down. Competing with the “big boys” doesn’t seem to bother store owner Don Keller. “We’ve had to do things smarter,” he said. “Buy smarter. Operate smarter. Service and quality products keep us going. We have a lot under one roof.”

– Mike Mathews

Liquor/Beer/Wine Store
1. Regal Liquor
2. Gendler’s Wine Cellar
3. Ron’s Town Liquors & The Wine Niche

Health-Food Store
1. Greatest Grains
2. Heritage Foods
3. General Nutrition Center

Car Dealer
1. Lujack’s Northpark Auto Plaza
2. Zimmerman Pontiac Cadillac Oldsmobile Honda
3. Dahl Ford of Davneport
3. Lindquist Ford

Florist
1. K’nees Florist
2. Hy-Vee Food Stores
3. Staack Florist

Auto-Repair Shop
1. Emeis Automotive
2. Ace Muffler Clinic
3. Wallick’s Auto Service

Longevity obviously has something to do with the standing of Emeis Automotive (at 218 Iowa Street in Davenport) as the best auto-repair shop in the Quad Cities. It opened in 1906, and Ben Hopkins bought it 16 years ago from the third generation of owners from the Emeis family. But that’s just one component of the shop’s success. “We do the jobs that nobody else will do,” Hopkins said. “People seek us out.” With 15 bays (most shops have two or three; “They rely on quantity,” Hopkins said), Emeis can spend extra time on difficult and time-consuming jobs. As a result, the shop specializes in electrical and electronic work – “anything electrical in the car,” Hopkins said – and air conditioning. And if your car is still performing poorly after a tune-up, chances are that Emeis can fix it.

– Jeff Ignatius

Child-Care Provider
1. Just Kids Child Care
2. Sue Bliss
2. Wee-Care Day Care Center

Local Internet Provider
1. Mediacom
2. Internet Express
3. Internet Revealed

Cell-Phone Provider
1. US Cellular
2. Verizon
3. Sprint PCS

Antique Store
1. Riverbend Antiques
2. Doodads & More
3. Banowetz Antiques

Art-Supply Store
1. Dick Blick Art Materials
2. Major Art & Hobby Center
3. Hobby Lobby

Since 1911, Dick Blick has been providing fine artists with the materials they need to create. Dick Blick was a sign-maker in Chicago who, interestingly enough, also belonged to the local window-dressers union and worked alongside Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum. Eventually he realized that artists needed a place where they could get quality products from people who knew what they were talking about. “We don’t really need to look for employees here,” said Bruce Carter, manager of the store at 4601 16th Street in Moline. “We just sort of recognize them when they come along.” With roughly 28 stores in the Midwest and on the east coast, the Galesburg, Illinois-based company has found a system that seems to work, and according to Carter, “You’ll get a lot of good advice when you walk into this store. Each one of our staff members specializes in their own area of art, from framing to calligraphy, and everything in between.” Along with a vast array of supplies for everyone from professionals to beginners, Dick Blick will also be introducing how-to workshops in June, focusing on things such as making art from found objects. “We’ll be hosting sessions with something for everyone,” Carter noted.

– Tom Swanson

Hair Salon
1. Storm Design Team
2. Blades Fifth Avenue Hair Sculpture
3. John Taylor Salon & Day Spa
3. William Wesley Salon & Day Spa

Barber Shop
1. Dutchman’s Barber Shop
2. Ron’s Barber Shop
3. Mike’s Barber Shop
3. Tony’s Barber Shop
3. Vance Haircutters

Dutchman’s Barber Shop, located at the corner of West 35th and Division streets in Davenport, has catered to generations of customers since 1968. Barbers John, Scott, and Paul know most of their customers by name and are familiar enough with them to talk about their jobs, hobbies, and families. The barbers don’t rush to get you done, out the door, and on to the next customer, as they make sure everyone gets the exact haircut he wants. Although the building is a bit on the small size, the businessmen, sportsmen, and retirees who make up a good portion of the shop’s customers would agree that the barber shop is “just right.” The walls of this three-chair barber shop are adorned with stuffed small animals and mounted fish. Any open spots on the walls are covered with posters of local high-school sports teams (both girls’ and boys’) and calendars. If you’re looking for a barber shop with skilled barbers, good conversation, and a friendly atmosphere, then Dutchman’s is for you. Just make sure you have a reservation, because there’s enough business to keep a walk-in customer waiting for a while.

– Rick Martin

Day Spa
1. William Wesley Salon & Day Spa
2. John Taylor Salon & Day Spa
2. New Body Image

Health Club
1. Golds Gym
1. YMCA
3. Bettendorf Life Fitness Center
3. Ultimate Fitness

Music-Equipment Store
1. Griggs Music
2. West Music
3. Music Go Round

Campground
1. Scott County Park
2. West Lake
3. Loud Thunder

People

Hair Stylist
1. Heath Morgan (Storm Design Team)
2. Heather Cummings
3. David Driscoll

Barista (Coffee Server)
1. Joe Gutierrez
2. Alex Hogg (Theo’s Java Club)
3. Greg Aronson (Coffee Hound)

Bartender
1. John Horvath (RIBCO)
2. Kim Richardson (Blackthorn Pub & Eatery)
3. Dana Soedt (Sancho’s)

Waiter/Waitress
1. Bret Heiar (Blackthorn Pub & Eatery)
2. Kim Carrillo (Su Casa)
2. Mike Mato (Blue Cat)
2. Mindy Robles (Sancho’s)
2. Stacie Brandle

Small-Business Owner
1. Sherry Hopkins
2. Denise Cundell-Day (Storm Design Team)
3. Al Gahagen (Downtown Deli)

Chiropractor
1. Dennis Hagemann
2. Dan Hoover
3. Michael Hahn
3. Theresa Illingsworth

Masseur/Masseuse
1. Judy Robuck
2. Deb Ferguson
3. Melissa Simmery (Storm Design Team)

Dentist
1. David Johnson
1. Michael Boblit
3. Peter Caras

Veterinarian
1. Abel-Keppy Animal Hospital
2. Michael O’Banion
3. David Brown
3. Fred Mulch
3. Kimberly Pines Veterinary Hospital

Insurance Agent
1. Mark Fensterbusch
2. Adam Roethler
2. Dick Voss
2. Jim Epperly
2. Jimmie Livermore
2. Kerry Stoudt

Local Two-Dimensional Artist
1. Loren Shaw-Hellige
2. Julie Townsend
2. Ward Olson

Loren Shaw-Hellige primarily works in two very different media: the portrait and the large-scale mural. “My love and my specialty is portraiture,” Shaw-Hellige said. “I love the human face. I love people.” But she also loves the process of transforming a room, often creating an atmosphere of another place or another time. The sheer size of those works gives her pleasure. “It’s like a dance,” she said. “You get to dance with your painting.” Educated at the University of Iowa and mentored by Carlo Wahlbeck, 56-year-old Shaw-Hellige said that one of the joys of her work – whether she’s working with a portrait or a room – is learning more about her customer. “You get to know people really well when you’re doing this stuff,” she said. And the two different types of work also ensure she doesn’t get bored or stuck in her habits. “It’s a nice balance,” she said.

– Jeff Ignatius

Local Three-Dimensional Artist
1. Eric Mart
2. Paul Algueseva III
3. Mark Fowler

Davenport-based sculptor Eric Mart came to art a little late in life. “I just did a little sketching and ceramics in junior high,” he said. But eight years ago, he began turning scrap metal into artwork, “a great way to vent some of my spilled-over intensity,” he said. “I was always drawn into working with metal.” One of the attractions of metal as an artistic material is its strength and durability, but a major challenge is bending it (so the speak) to his artistic concepts, “trying to put my vision into an iron form.” Over the years, he said, he thinks his work has become a “little more subtle.” Mart’s artwork was to some degree a matter of convenience; he had welding experience and worked in a scrapyard. He added that he relies on the scrap industry and area art educators to give him tips on where to find his raw materials.

– Jeff Ignatius

Local Writer
1. Jeff Ignatius
2. Julie McDonald Jensen
3. Max Allan Collins

Local Filmmaker
1. Kara Toal
2. Phil Dingeldein
3. Max Allan Collins

When Kara Toal learned that she was voted the Quad Cities’ best filmmaker in this year’s readers’ poll, she was a bit surprised. “I never really thought of myself as a filmmaker,” she noted. “I’ve always called it video.” Perhaps it was her accompanying footage to Air’s “Sexy Boy” at MidCoast Fine Arts’ Film Flam, or her piece at the Gemvision-hosted Kanga show last August that has drawn attention to the artist. “I look at my works as moving paintings,” she said. “They’re abstract. I like to capture natural images and distort them. Not with the computer, but by wearing the footage down or creating multiple generations – recreating fractions of things that I see.” Kara first got interested in filmmaking – er, video – when she caught a weird reflection in a sliding-glass door during her last month in school. “I don’t know if I have a short attention span, or what. I guess I’m always looking for another tool to use. That’s why I prefer installation art, because I can use so many mediums.” You can check out some of Kara’s influence and work at upcoming events like the Storm Design Team runway show in April as well as MidCoast Fine Art’s Creative Expo in May, a project that encourages high-school students to view art as a lifelong endeavor, not something that ends when you get a “real job.”

– Tom Swanson

Local Radio Personality
1. Dwyer & Michaels
2. Bill Stage
3. Dave Levora

Local TV News Personality
1. Paula Sands (KWQC)
2. Andrea Zinga (WHBF)
3. Sharon DeRycke (KWQC)

Local TV Weathercaster
1. Terry Swails (KWQC)
2. Neil Kastor (WQAD)
3. Erik Maitland (KWQC)

Public Official
1. Charlie Brooke (Mayor of Davenport)
2. Mark Schweibert (Mayor of Rock Island)
3. Lane Evans (U.S. Representative)
3. Rosemary Gordy (Bettendorf City Council Member)

Community

Community-Service Organization
1. Bettendorf Park Board Foundation
2. United Way
3. Rebuilding Together

Downtown-Revitalization Project/Plan
1. Davenport
2. Rock Island
3. Moline

Radio Station
1. KORB 93.5FM
2. KBEA 99.7FM
3. WLLR 103.7FM

Local TV News
1. KWQC
2. WQAD
3. KLJB

View of the Quad Cities
1. Riverview Terrace
2. Centennial Bridge
3. Flying above the Quad Cities Area
3. Museum Hill

Many people would not recognize the name Riverview Terrace as the place to get the best view of the Quad Cities. But call it by its more popular names, Lookout Park or Lookout Point, and almost everyone knows where you’re talking about. Located on the hilltop just east of the former Marycrest International University where Washington Street meets Clay Street in Davenport, Riverview Terrace offers a spectacular panoramic view. From the park you can see downtown and southwest Davenport, much of Rock Island, and several of the bridges that connect our towns into one large community. And, of course, one can see the Mississippi River in all its beauty, both in summer and winter. Riverview Terrace is a wonderful place to go to relax, take in the sights, and do some daydreaming. Residents of the Clay Street area enjoy a view of the park and the sights beyond it, obstructed by only a few trees. Take a short trip over to Riverview Terrace and find out for yourself why it was voted as the best view of the Quad Cities.

– Rick Martin