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Fall 2011 Best of the Quad Cities: Deadline Extended! PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 14:15

For years, we’ve asked our readers to complete Best of the Quad Cities ballots with dozens of categories. We’ve always been gratified by the response, but we’ve often felt that something was missing – the obscure, the unconventional, the idiosyncratic.

For the fall 2011 Best of the Quad Cities, we’re scrapping the traditional popular-vote format and allowing nominations by Twitter, video, and essay.

Our “winners” this time around will be the nomination authors – the people who offer the most creative, the most authoritative, and the most compelling arguments and anecdotes in the 20 categories listed below covering the areas of arts, culture, and entertainment; night life; shopping and services; and people. (Each submission should cover only one category, and you’re welcome to submit in as many or as few categories as you want.)

In the interest of getting more entries, we've extended our deadline. All entries must now be received by 5 p.m. Central on Friday, December 2. Our Best of the Quad Cities issue will be published on December 22.

Submission Guidelines

Twitter: Include the hashtag #BestQC followed by a space and the category number. Example: “This is my best argument for the best art exhibit, and I’m making sure that it’s 140 characters or fewer. #BestQC 7” (For some sample submissions, visit

Video: Submissions must be two minutes or less. Post to your favorite video-sharing service and send a publicly accessible link to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with “Best of the Quad Cities” as the subject line. Include your name and a daytime phone number in the e-mail. If you want, also post a link in the comments of this article. Be sure to specify the category in the video or its posted metadata. (For a sample video submission, click here or here.)

Essay: Submissions must be 200 words or fewer and sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with “Best of the Quad Cities” as the subject line. Include your name and a daytime phone number in the e-mail. You may paste your essay into the body of the e-mail or attach it as a text, RTF, or Microsoft Word document. Alternatively, you can post your essay on some publicly accessible corner of the Web and send a link to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it using the same rules as above. (If you want, also post a link in the comments here.) However you choose to submit, be sure to specify the category.

Fall 2011 Categories

1) Local band
2) Local venue that books the best bands
3) Local venue with the best sound system
4) Local stage production
5) Local stage performance by an individual
6) Local visual artist
7) Art exhibit
8) Educational exhibit
9) Local festival
10) Best-kept Quad Cities secret for arts, culture, and entertainment
11) Place for drinks
12) Bartender
13) Waiter or waitress
14) Place to meet people that isn’t a bar
15) Place for a first date
16) Place to dance
17) Locally owned store with things you can't find at chains
18) Antiques/collectibles/resale store
19) Auto service
20) Place for a wedding reception

Expressions of Survival: The Quad City Phoenix Festival and Christian Care's "Walk the Walk" Raise Funds for Domestic-Violence Awareness PDF Print E-mail
Local News
Written by Mike Schulz   
Friday, 29 July 2011 06:00

(A sidebar about Christian Care’s August 6 “Walk the Walk” event can be found here.)

Quad City Pheonix Festival organizer Emily JawoiszA celebration of survival in the face of seemingly unbearable hardship, August 7’s Quad City Phoenix Festival – taking place in Rock Island’s Schwiebert Riverfront Park – will find local performers, artists, self-defense instructors, and guest speakers raising funds for area shelters, halfway houses, and domestic-violence awareness programs. And as the phoenix is a mythological bird that famously rises from the ashes to become a newer and stronger version of its previous self, the festival’s name, says organizer Emily Jawoisz, is perfectly apt.

A GPS for Better Nutrition? Looking Under the Hood at Hy-Vee’s NuVal System PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 21 July 2011 05:51

Since the NuVal food-scoring system was introduced at all Hy-Vee stores in January 2009, my family – both consciously and subconsciously – has changed the way it buys and eats.

There are times when we’ve discussed whether to buy this yogurt or that yogurt, and the decision was based on nothing more than the higher NuVal score. (Sometimes, we look at the nutrition panel to try to figure out why a certain score was higher. Sometimes, we succeed.) And I’m certain there have been times when, without thinking about it, we’ve grabbed one food item instead of the lower-scoring version right next to it.

The funny thing is that until I began researching this article, we took it on faith that NuVal scores meaningfully and accurately reflected the nutritional content of the food we were buying.

Conceptually, the system is intuitively understood. It’s a number from 1 to 100 (on top of NuVal’s joined-hexagon logo) on the shelf tags of a vast majority of edible items in Hy-Vee. The higher the score, the better the food is nutritionally. Fresh blueberries get a 100, and nearly all fresh fruits and vegetables score in the 90s. Scores for hot dogs generally range from 6 to 16, while sugared sodas get a 1.

Of course, you already know that fresh fruits and vegetables are good for you, and hot dogs and sugared sodas aren’t. Where NuVal is most instructive – and fascinating – is within a given food group. In its simplest form, NuVal is about deciding between two or three or 10 products jostling for your attention on the same supermarket shelf. As Dr. David L. Katz – the chief architect of NuVal and director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center – said in an interview last month: “Any aisle of the supermarket where you were already going to buy something, go ahead, but try to buy the most nutritious version that satisfies your wallet and your palate.”

A Lifelong Commitment to Iowa: Zachary Michael Jack, July 21 at the Bettendorf Public Library PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 14 July 2011 07:24

Zachary Michael Jack

Author Zachary Michael Jack is a seventh-generation Iowan – the son of a farmer – who lives in Jones County, and like many people with deep roots in the Hawkeye State, his identity is intertwined with his home.

“It’s a state that we imprint very strongly on where we’re from and [that] we consider a lifelong commitment,” he said in a phone interview this week. “Each person manifests that advocacy in different ways. ...

“If you do love a place, part of that love ultimately evolves into advocacy for that place. ... Kind of put your weight behind things that are homegrown.”

The 37-year-old Jack – who will speak and read from his creative-nonfiction book Native Soulmate (scheduled for September release) at the Bettendorf Public Library on July 21 – is throwing his weight around in writing. An associate professor of English at North Central College, he has edited Iowa: The Definitive Collection and Letters to a Young Iowan: Good Sense from the Good Folks of Iowa for Young People Everywhere.

But with last year’s What Cheer, Jack started on a new path. It was his first novel, and a mystery wrapped around a love story – in the conventional man-and-woman sense, but also reflecting a love of the Midwest and of traditions and things nearly lost to time.

THIS IS THE POLICE. DROP THE CAMERA: Illinois’ Eavesdropping Law Turns Smart-Phone Owners Into Felons PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Larry McDonald   
Thursday, 09 June 2011 05:47

In Illinois, you could get a lighter sentence for killing a cop than recording one.

Section 14-4 of the Illinois criminal code reads: “The eavesdropping of an oral conversation ... between any law-enforcement officer ... while in the performance of his or her official duties ... is a Class 1 felony.” Under Illinois law, a person is “eavesdropping” when he or she “knowingly and intentionally uses an eavesdropping device for the purpose of hearing or recording all or any part of any conversation” without the consent of all parties to the conversation.

A Class 1 felony is punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment. My irreverent sense of the humor often gets me in trouble, but I just can’t contain it here: You could get a lighter sentence for killing a cop than recording one. When Jonathan Posey was convicted of reckless homicide in the 2001 dragging death of Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Stanley Talbot in Rock Island, he only got a five-year sentence for that crime. Good for Mr. Posey, he wasn’t videotaping.

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