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Best of the Quad Cities 2004: Civics and Media PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Feature Stories
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Tuesday, 22 February 2005 18:00
Community service organization 1. United Way of the Quad Cities Area 2. Gilda’s Club Quad Cities 3. American Red Cross of the Quad Cities Area Best Community-Service Organization />With its wide reach, it’s little surprise that United Way of the Quad Cities Area was voted the best community-service organization in our reader poll. The organization is best known for its financial support of 110 programs within roughly 50 agencies. Through its funding-application process, designated pledges to specific agencies, and community-partnership grant fund, the local United Way gives away more than $5 million a year in four focus areas: “helping our children achieve success, strengthening our families, improving our health and self-reliance, and working to build a caring community.” “It’s a pretty wide net,” said John R. Kiley, president of the United Way of the Quad Cities Area. “It’s a balanced portfolio.” But it’s not just charity; organizations need to prove that their programs address real needs, are effective, and will use United Way money to leverage other funds. “We like three- or four-legged tables,” Kiley said. Beyond that, the local United Way is extraordinarily efficient. It doesn’t take a cut of donated funds, for one thing. “We’re one of the few United Ways that doesn’t charge for that convenience,” Kiley said. And its administrative costs represent only 12 to 13 percent of its budget. “We think we’re a pretty lean organization already,” he said. Kiley stressed that the United Way is about more than money; the group recently organized 90 local dentists to provide services for 500 children, for example. “We mobilize people and resources,” he said. “We have to do more than write checks.” For more information on the group, visit (

Charitable event
1. John Deere Golf Classic Birdies for Charity
1. Race for the Cure
3. APQC Red Ribbon Dinner
3. Festival of Trees

Best Charitable Event (tie)
“I don’t think there’s anybody out there who hasn’t been touched by breast cancer,” said Dee Westfall, president of the Quad Cities affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. That’s probably a big reason Quad Citians voted the Komen Quad Cities Race for the Cure the best charitable event in our reader poll. In its 15 years, the race and affiliated events have raised more than $3 million for breast-cancer detection, follow-up, and research. The bulk of that money has gone to fund vouchers responsible for 1,500 mammograms a year, and 75 percent of raised money stays in the Quad Cities area. (A quarter goes to national breast-cancer research.) In addition to mammograms, Komen helps pay for things most insurance doesn’t cover, such as prosthesis, ID bracelets for lymphedema, wigs, diagnostic mammograms, and compression garments. Even people with insurance might avoid getting mammograms because they can’t afford them, and that’s the gap the local Komen affiliate tries to fill, said Linda Rymars, voucher-program coordinator. “How big the need is … I don’t think anybody knows,” Rymars said. “Their insurance might cover it [a mammogram], but it doesn’t pay” because of deductibles. The Komen Quad Cities affiliate covers an eight-county area. For more information about the Komen Quad Cities Race for the Cure, visit ( For information on the organization’s voucher program, call Rymars at (563)421-7620. The 2005 race will be held June 11 at the John Deere Commons. Westfall noted that the local Komen affiliate is entirely volunteer-run, with between 400 and 450 people donating their time each year. (Photo courtesy Komen Quad Cities Race for the Cure.)

When the golfers do well, so do charitable organizations. That’s the premise behind the John Deere Classic’s Birdies for Charity program, which last year gave $1.43 million to more than 400 local and regional charitable organizations. Donors give to the program based on the number of birdies during the four-day PGA tournament and its Wednesday pro-am. For instance, a person who pledged a penny last year ended up giving $18.79. (A total of 22,000 people pledged contributions in 2004.) In addition to collected pledges, the John Deere Classic often adds “Bonus Bucks” – $130,000 in 2004. Since its inception in 1993, Birdies for Charity has raised $7.3 million. Kristy Ketcham, director of Birdies for Charity, noted that the John Deere Classic is number one on the PGA tour in terms of charitable donations per-capita, at roughly $3.75 per person. The 2005 John Deere Classic will run from July 4 to 10 this year, at the TPC at Deere Run course. For more information, visit ( (Photo courtesy John Deere Classic.)

Local issue needing attention
1. Education
2. Jobs
3. Roads

Use of empty retail stores
1. Art studios/galleries
2. Antique stores
2. Apartments/lofts condos

Thing the Quad Cities need most
1. Live music or theatre venues
2. Better, high-paying jobs
3. Cinemas/movie theatres
3. New bridges

Elected local official
1. Lane Evans
2. Charlie Brooke
3. Steve Ahrens

Use of public funds
1. Schools and education
2. River Renaissance
3. Streets and roads

Waste of public funds
1. Skybridge/skywalk in Davenport
2. West Locust Street
3. Parking ramps, meters, and fines

Best Waste of Public Funds
It was part of the River Renaissance application in 2001, and was pitched as a way to connect the Davenport riverfront with the city’s downtown by going over River Drive. But our readers think the skybridge is the biggest waste of public funds. The $6.9-million project will allow people to walk from the courtyard next to the River Music Experience to a spot a stone’s throw from the entrance to the Rhythm City Casino. The state is chipping in $3.5 million for the project, the City of Davenport $500,000, the Riverboat Development Authority $1 million, and the Isle of Capri $1.8 million. But what was originally envisioned as a needed connection is starting to look like a way to feed bodies to Rhythm City, with the casino proposing a “one-stop shop” casino hotel on the riverfront. As one letter to the Quad-City Times said, “This development only serves the casino’s interests, and should have only been paid for by the casino.”

Local controversy
1. Phil Yerington’s dismissal
2. Rhythm City Casino hotel
2. Skybridge skywalk

Urban renewal project
1. Downtown Davenport/River Renaissance
2. Davenport Lofts
3. Downtown Moline

Local TV news anchor/reporter
1. Paula Sands, KWQC
2. Mike Mickle, KWQC
3. Sharon DeRycke, KWQC

Local TV news station

Radio station
1. WXLP 97X FM (96.9)
2. KCQQ 106.5 FM (Q106)
3. WLLR FM 103.7

Radio personality
1. Dwyer & Michaels, KCQQ 106.5 FM
2. Wicked Liz Townsend, WXLP 97X FM
3. Dave Levora, KORB 93.5 FM

Best Radio Personality
Don’t let the jokes fool you. Greg Dwyer and Bill Michaels, the morning-show guys for KCQQ 106.5 FM, are seriously loyal to one another. They’ve been partners for 15 years, first in Peoria, then at 97X in the Quad Cities, and for going on 10 years at Q106.5. They talk about their partnership as if they were married, right down to the “you complete me” talk – with a twist. “He and I together function as one human being,” Dwyer said. “It’s not dissimilar from a marriage at all.” And neither can imagine working without the other. “I’m one wing, and he’s the other wing,” Dwyer said. The men worked together in college at Illinois State and talked regularly during their overnight shifts at different radio stations. They often discussed what they’d do if they had their own morning show. So when Dwyer was offered the morning slot in Peoria and was asked to pick a partner, he chose Michaels. Like all good comedy teams, the pair is a study in opposites: Dwyer has always been a rebel who likes to skate by, while Michaels is a student of radio. Their chemistry evolved, they said, and there’s no doubt it’s been successful. In the last ratings book, Dwyer & Michaels got a 30.4 share in the coveted 25-54 age bracket, and were number one in all measured demographics. They even seem to like what they’re doing. “We still find ways to entertain each other,” Dwyer said. As for working for a classic-rock station, both hosts said they try to play as few tunes as possible. “If we play music, we’re not really doing our jobs,” Michaels said. And neither seemed concerned about satellite radio or the Internet eating into their audiences. “They’ve been predicting the death of radio since television,” Michaels said. “Our show is priced right,” Dwyer added.

Local newspaper columnist/reporter
1. Bill Wundram
2. Barb Ickes
3. Sean Leary
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