If 2001 is, in America, the Year That Changed Everything, the same label might apply to the past 12 months in the Quad Cities, but for much different reasons.

Rightly, one day in 2001 casts a massive shadow over the other 364.

My sadness appears to know no bounds in 2001. So many truly marvelous people have passed. None more so than Larry Jonson, our friend and mentor, who died in his home December 11, at the age of 73, after a long illness.

As the record industry cools down the factory boiler for the holidays, let me share with you my picks for the best of 2001. Favorite Single: Sugarcult, "Stuck In America" (Ultimatum Music). An energetic power-pop anthem that mixes up 1970s punk and 1980s power-chord pep spiked up with new-millennium swagger.

Unless the public relentlessly watches Channel 13 to observe the conduct of Davenport's elected officials, they unfortunately miss those things that exemplify some of the manipulative pettiness that prevails. Mayor Yerington, who is still the presiding mayor for those aldermen who obviously need reminding, petitioned to fill a vacancy on the Plan and Zoning Commission left by Tom Melchert after he resigned due to job constraints on his time.

• It's time for holiday music to get the mood - or the party - started right. No muzak or Mitch Miller here, mates. So allow me to share my highlights of this season's funkiest new Christmas CDs. Cut right to the chase of the bitchin'-est of the bunch: the power rawk girl-power duo of Evil Beaver and its Smells Like Christmas Spirit on the Johann's Face record label.

Undoubtedly Dvorak’s Cello Concerto is the most famous piece of its type ever written. In fact, composers such as Brahms – upon hearing Dvorak’s piece – lamented that they hadn’t written a cello concerto themselves.

• Cuts in Iowa's state budget have affected many programs and state agencies, but those to the Department of Human Services (DHS) could be devastating to the most vulnerable families in the state. Cuts in staff at DHS will result in an increased workload for remaining personnel, which will affect services to families.

With a robust musical tradition to draw on, the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) has released its first full-length CD, an assembly of movements and snippets drawn from recordings by Augustana’s WVIK public-radio station.

• Despite crummy weather, more than 200 people showed up to help mark the "ground staking" for new Trinity North Campus in Bettendorf. Civic leaders and hospital employees, doctors, and auxiliary members used ceremonial mallets to drive in stakes along a symbolic perimeter for the 58,000-square-foot hospital off Utica Ridge Road.

• Painfully poignant as today's headlines bring us closer to adopting a Robocop reality, I beg of everyone to stop and listen to a simple question: "What's Going On?" A star-studded re-mix CD posing Marvin Gaye's soulful question has just hit store shelves, a puff of hope and harmony from the lips of the next generation to keep the dream of brotherhood afloat.