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Feeding Young Minds: Making School Lunches Fresher (and More Local) Isn’t Easy, But It Can Be Done PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 13 May 2010 05:04

When Jodee O'Tool's son entered kindergarten in the Bettendorf Community School District in 2008, she was troubled by the meals the school offered.

"I started looking at the menu," she said. "I am in the field of nutrition, so that's something that's important to me.

"It's mostly processed food," she said. "Not much fresh food. ... A lot of it is hot dogs. ... A lot of chicken nuggets. Fried food ... ."

The Bettendorf elementary menu for May is a good illustration. The 20 lunches include three meals anchored by chicken nuggets, one with popcorn chicken, and one with a breaded chicken patty. One entrée is a hot dog; another is breaded mozzarella sticks.

On the fresh side are days with orange wedges, bananas, apple slices, watermelon wedges, grapes, celery sticks, "carroteenies," and freshly made salads.

While these meals meet federal nutrition standards, O'Tool said they're not particularly good for students overall. And she's trying to change the way the Bettendorf Community School District feeds its children.

 
Best of the Quad Cities Spring 2010 Winners PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Feature Stories
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 31 March 2010 11:09

Here you'll find the Best of the Quad Cities in 63 categories, including articles on 11 winners. Voting was open from mid-January to mid-March, and our readers submitted nearly 500 valid ballots. (Reasonable responses to 20 of the 63 questions were required.) The winter balloting covered the areas of Food & Dining; Civics & Government; Media; and Recreation. (Summer balloting will cover the areas of Arts, Culture, & Entertainment; Night Life; Shopping & Services; and People.)

For winners from previous years, check out our Best of the Quad Cities archive.

 
The Face of Arizona Wine: Tool’s Maynard James Keenan Talks “Blood Into Wine,” Screening February 19-26 at the Capitol PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 11 February 2010 09:42

Maynard James KeenanMaynard James Keenan -- the frontman for prog-metal gods Tool, the co-leader of A Perfect Circle, and the founder of Puscifer -- isn't the type of person you'd expect to see as the subject of a thorough documentary. He has a reputation for being reclusive, and for jealously guarding his privacy. As he says in the movie Blood Into Wine, "I'm not much of a people person."

Yet Keenan, along with his wine-making partner Eric Glomski, is at the center of that documentary, a freewheeling but thoughtful mix of wine primer, underdog story, buddy picture, and sketch comedy. The movie is fun and gently didactic, and thankfully it engages in little idolatry. (Those hoping for a Tool movie will be disappointed; although Blood Into Wine doesn't ignore Keenan's music career, it's at best a tangent.)

Keenan often looks uncomfortable in the movie, but that could be a function of once being filmed on the toilet, and of being hectored by a pair of wine-hating talk-show hosts. (More on those things later.) But he is apparently committed enough to his cause -- fostering an Arizona wine country, and combating the idea that the state's climate and terrain can't produce good grapes and wine -- that he's willing to subject himself to all these indignities, and the public spotlight.

As Keenan told me in an interview last week: "This is an important thing we're doing up here. If we're successful with what we're doing, it's going to set up a future for more families than we can number. ... If you plant vines in this valley, they're going to taste a certain way; they're going to be very specific to where they're from. It's not a business that you can move to Mexico or China. It's from here. This is the definition of sustainable and local."

 
Best of the Quad Cities Archive PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Feature Stories
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 09 February 2010 09:45

2011 Spring Balloting Results

2010 Fall Balloting Results

2010 Spring Balloting Results

2009 Fall Balloting Results

2009 Spring Balloting Results

2008 Balloting Results

2007 Balloting Results

2006 Balloting Results

2005 Balloting Results

2004 Balloting Results

2003 Balloting Results

2002 Balloting Results

2001 Balloting Results

 
A Clear Sense of Purpose: “charity: water” Founder Scott Harrison Visits the Quad Cities, November 21-23 PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 10:30

Scott HarrisonClarity is important for water, and it's also true for charity.

When Scott Harrison founded charity: water in 2006, he was targeting people who were "disenchanted with charity," he said in an interview last week. "Most of my friends said the main reason they weren't giving to charity is because they didn't know how much of their money was actually going to go to people in need."

Harrison's solution was to connect donors to their gifts. "We'll never do a [water] well unless we can get a GPS, a photo, a name, and population ... and publicly place them all on Google Earth for transparency," he said.

And 100 percent of donated money from the public goes to water projects in developing nations. Harrison didn't have this worked out initially but has developed the concept of "The Well," in which benefactors give $1,000, $2,000, or $5,000 a month to support the charity's operational costs. That allows the organization to use public donations exclusively for water projects.

charity: water also places an emphasis on design. "I wanted charity to look like Apple," Harrison said. "Why shouldn't we be telling stories with sophistication, with elegance, with authenticity? And telling them in a newsy way?"

Water for Christmas, a local fundraising campaign for charity: water, will be bringing Harrison to the Quad Cities for a number of events November 21 through 23, including an Iowa Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce dinner. (See the schedule here.) Water for Christmas has raised more than $100,000 for charity: water in the year it's been active.

 
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