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Cover Story: People making a difference

Our annual look at those individuals committed to creating a better Central Iowa

Often times, you are simply too oblivious - leading your life, raising your kids, paying your bills, trying to score - to notice, or to actually care. Hopefully you try to leave your mark, to excel, to help make this tiny corner of the world we share a better place, to somehow make a difference. But most of the time, most of you, most everyone, is looking out for number one, which, in all actuality, is a big part of what life's about: survival.

Well, when Jerry Maguire said we live in a cynical world, he was right. Optimism is in short supply these days, as are people who are optimistic. And it snowballs a little more everyday, gathering up more and more of us, catching people caught up in themselves and their stuff and how they are going to get a leg up on everyone else, paying little attention to the fact that scorched earth and making one's mark are far from being the same thing. >> more

Jon Gaskell: Less is more

Sherman has right plan for Court Avenue

Court Avenue has always seemed to need saving. It has been underdeveloped. It has been underappreciated. It has been under the thumbs of many of the wrong people. And, most notably, it has been underwater. Court Avenue has also lived for decades at the end of a question, as in, "What should we do with Court Avenue?" Many have tried to answer this question, of course, offering up big, shiny ideas to pull the district from its perceived cross, to help sweep up the supposed tumble weed. And many have failed. >> more

Civic Skinny: Where's the follow up?

Insider: 'Stier killed IDOT editorial'

Despite sagging readership numbers, The Des Moines Register has enjoyed some success with its investigative reporting (see Clark Kauffman's Cass County corruption piece), which in turn has been followed up by sometimes a nauseating number of self-congratulatory editorials where the publication's leaders get to hop on their high horse and preach to the populace about what should be done to right the wrongs. So when the recent three-day series by reporters Bert Dalmer and Tim Higgins on Bill Knapp, Dennis Elwell, Mark Wandro and the rest of the seemingly shady Ankeny Interchange deal that left the citizenry calling for heads and some lawmakers pushing for an investigation by A.G. Tom Miller didn't warrant any ink by the Register Editorial Board, employees there got to talking - and the rumors as to why are not pretty. "I think it's logical that a follow-up editorial would run. We've done so with regularity in the past; but while you can't kill the news, you can kill >> more

Food Dude : Cracker Barrel

By Jim Duncan

Its gas pumps have long since been removed, but Cracker Barrel still broadcasts the vibes of a Tennessee truck stop. This is where grandmothers in miniskirts and high-heeled leather boots spend their lunch breaks. Where else in Des Moines do you see families holding hands and saying grace before dinner? For voyeurs of the American scene, this is improvisational theater. As a dining choice for suburban soccer moms, it is the Grand Ole Option. And in these fickle times, consumers polled by the national trade magazine Restaurants and Institutions named this chain the best family restaurant in America 15 years running. >> more

Scene Scribe : Lesser Known Saint pays tribute to 'Dimebag' Darrell

By Michael Swanger

There is a lot of distance between the members of Lesser Known Saint when it comes to their influences and geography, but their shared love of late metal guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott will close the gap Saturday in Ames when they pay tribute to the former Pantera ax-man. >>more

City Sounds : Like a complete unknown

By Michael Swanger

Veteran singer-songwriter BeJae Fleming prefers the road less traveled

There are days when BeJae Fleming locks herself in a room and plays guitar for hours on end until her fingers wear out in a futile attempt to cool her creative fires. Those days don't occur as frequently as they used to, but when they do, they are more rewarding for the veteran singer-songwriter, who has embraced the autumn of her career. >>more

Rant & Rave:

You think you know something we don't know? Think we suck? Think other people suck? Think you can lead us to the promise land, or do you just want to spout off some serious lip? Then grab that thing in your hand (No, the thing in your other hand) and double-click right here. After we check to make sure you aren't wanted by the authorities and that you have your facts as close to straight as possible, we'll post it right here. Then other people sitting in their cubicles -- just like you -- can bask in your wisdom.

Oh, and if you're really funny, or enlightened or wonderfully horrible, we'll print what you've laid down in next week's issue of Cityview. So go ahead, what are you waiting for? >>more