When we decided to break up our 2009 Best of the Quad Cities into two sections, the change had several benefits. For one, it allowed us to include more categories while making it easier for people to participate by cutting down on the number of categories on each ballot. And it allowed us to write articles about more winners.

This second half of balloting covers Arts, Culture, & Entertainment; Night Life; Shopping & Services; and People. (Food & Dining; Civics & Government; Media; and Recreation were covered in our April 1, 2009, issue. Those results can be found here.)

Over the course of two issues, our readers have voted on the best of the Quad Cities in roughly 120 categories, and we've written articles about almost 30 winners. In two rounds of voting, we had nearly 750 valid ballots. (This time, we required participants to provide reasonable responses in 20 categories.)

We also decided, with our summer balloting, to release the results online first, and readers have used the comments section over the past few weeks to debate the inclusion of certain categories (gay bar), the scope of certain categories (actor/actress), and the winners (band). That feedback is valuable in crafting future ballots, but we hope it also it encourages future participation. If you don't like some of the results this time around, make sure you and your friends vote the next time.

On Saturday, October 3, the Deere & Company world headquarters in Moline will be one of nine historic sites honored by Landmarks Illinois as part of the 15th-annual Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards. Situated on 1,400 acres of land and spanning a man-made ravine, the Deere & Company headquarters was designed by architect Eero Saarinen and is an icon of the Modern movement. Completed in 1964, the original seven-story office complex was the first architectural design to use Cor-Ten steel as a primary building material. For more information on the awards, visit Landmarks.org/awards.htm.

At the beginning the school year, in a chemistry class at St. Ambrose University, Professor Margaret Legg offered students the option to buy a less-expensive e-book instead of the usual physical textbook. No one opted for the digital version.

Kelsey Berg, a sophomore majoring in biology, said she had already bought the hardcover edition. Had the e-book been offered before she bought it, Berg said she still wouldn't have purchased it. "I don't like reading on a computer. It's hard to concentrate," she said, adding that it wasn't worth the cost, either, because one can't sell an e-book back.

Many college students are embracing digital and open-source textbooks, which are accessed through computers and digital readers such as Amazon's Kindle. For some, it provides a more convenient way to carry multiple textbooks. Beyond being easier on students' backs, e-books are also better for the environment, because no natural resources are used in the production or transportation of a physical book.

But the major selling point is a lower cost compared to new textbooks. Textbooks cost an average of $900 per semester, according to the federal Government Accountability Office. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has been advocating for reducing the prices of textbooks, which they say have risen faster than the rate of inflation in the past several years.

Although e-books are often 50 percent less expensive than unused print editions of textbooks, the cost evaluation isn't quite so clear-cut. In many cases, there's little or no cost savings to students in the long run.

And some people, like Berg, resist e-books for other reasons.

The Rock Island Preservation Commission has spent the past nine months surveying post-World War II subdivisions, researching the homes of some of Rock Island's most prominent historical citizens and comparing the architectural merit of hundreds of buildings, all for the purpose of identifying Rock Island's "100 most significant unprotected structures." These 100 structures represent the best of Rock Island's historic buildings that aren't already designated a Rock Island landmark or located in the Highland Park Historic District. The complete list is organized by address and by name and can be downloaded at RIGov.org/pdf/headlines/2009/091709MoSUS.pdf.

Brewmaster/Blue Bastard Dan Cleaveland

The Blue Cat Brew Pub opened 15 years ago this year, and given its institutional status in the Quad Cities, it's hard to believe that starting out, its proprietors knew next to nothing about how to brew beer or run a brewpub.

As co-owner and brewmaster Dan Cleaveland tells it, his sister Martha wanted to open a bar/restaurant, and after she learned about the brewpub model, she saw a business opportunity: There were no brewpubs in the Quad Cities.

Dan had never brewed beer. "She thought I'd make a good brewer," he said last week. Why? "I was a scientist, I guess."

Christian Care, a faith-based not-for-profit organization in Rock Island, has provided food and shelter to record numbers of men, women, and children this year. So far in 2009, Christian Care has served 32,377 meals to residents and the community and provided 6,177 nights of lodging, a 30-percent increase from last year. Because of limited capacity, there is a waiting list at the Domestic Violence Shelter, putting women and children at risk while they remain in dangerous situations. Christian Care has two facilities, the Domestic Violence Shelter for abused women and children and a Rescue Mission for homeless men, where it also has a community meal site. For more information, contact Margaret Babbitt at (309)786-5734 or visit ChristianCareQC.org.

To borrow a phrase from the New York Culinary Institute: "Forgive us if we celebrate the end of summer." Sure, the bounty from the farm shines in the warmer weather; asparagus, berries, and delicate greens abound. But late summer brings its own windfall. This is really when the summer yield reaches its peak.

In the Quad Cities, there is a farmers' market nearly every day of the week, and you will find grocery stores bringing more seasonal, locally grown food into their produce sections. Taking advantage of the abundance of the harvest is a must. The following are seasonal food and beverage suggestions -- starting with the wine.

Humility of Mary Shelter invites the community to join it in celebrating its first birthday. Genesis Health System is sponsoring an open house at the RiverCenter's Iowa Room, 136 East Third Street in Davenport, on Monday, September 21, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Talk to Humility of Mary Shelter staff, meet the co-directors, and see a slide show. For more information, contact, Melanie Jones at melanie.jones714@gmail.com or (563)322-8065. For more information online, visit HumilityOfMaryShelter.com. The shelter will also host a community meeting on Thursday, September 17, at 2 p.m. People will learn what it will take to keep the shelter open along with having the opportunity to share input. The event will be held in classrooms 1 and 2 at the Heart Institute on the Genesis East Campus, 1236 East Rusholme in Davenport.

Tony WagnerTony Wagner, the author of The Global Achievement Gap, will speak in the Quad Cities on September 17. He conducted scores of interviews with business and education leaders and observed classes in some of the most highly regarded public schools. Wagner concluded that despite the best efforts of educators, many students are leaving high school ill-prepared for post-secondary training and ill-equipped to compete in the global marketplace. Wagner will present his findings and strategies for change during a presentation on September 17. "Choices, Changes, & Challenges: Meeting the Needs of 21st Century Students" will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center, 2021 State Street in Bettendorf. The $40 registration fee includes print materials, continental breakfast, and lunch. Register online at SolutionWhere.com/mbaea/cw/main.asp or by contacting Donna Brase at (563)344-6481.

Representatives from roughly 60 arts, culture, heritage, and festival organizations on August 26 agreed to create what's tentatively being called the Cultural Marketing Resource Center to facilitate coordinated marketing for Quad Cities attractions and events.

Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Joe Taylor will apply for grants to jump-start the program, with a goal of opening the center by the beginning of 2010. Taylor said that if enough money isn't raised by November, the opening will be delayed. He added that the center could be funded for two years - including the salary of a director dedicated to arts and culture events - for $150,000. Other sources of revenue discussed at Wednesday's meeting were hotel/motel taxes, membership fees, and contributions from private and public sources.

Pages