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2014 Best of Des Moines- BEST OF THE REST


For more than 20 years, we have called upon you, our readers, to vote in our annual “Best Of Des Moines” contest. And every year it gets stronger in every way: More categories are added, more networks are joined, and more social media buzz and excitement is stirred. So it’s clear this contest truly means a great deal to our local community and its people — the business owners, professionals and service providers who take pride in their hard work and innovative ideas. It’s also important to local consumers to know their own hard-earned dollars are going to the best and their choices as consumers are informed ones.

Cityview readers cast a record 6,000-plus votes in 2011. Our elation over that number now seems silly, as we counted more than 11,000 votes in this year’s Best Of Des Moines poll — our strongest yet. The Cityview you are holding is typically one of our largest issues in page count each year, and, as such, gives our staff some aching migraines. But we couldn’t be more proud.

Now here are the choices our readers voted as the best in shopping, dining, nightlife, sports and recreation and everything else the Greater Des Moines metro area has to offer. Congratulations to our winners and the runners-up.



CNA - ImmunizationsCNA - Stop HIV Iowa




Best Elected Official

Terry Branstad

Terry Branstad was once again voted as Des Moines’ “Best Elected Official.”

Terry Branstad was once again voted as Des Moines’ “Best Elected Official.”

The country’s longest-running governor may take that same title for this category. Whether it’s his stance on reducing the cost of government, creating new jobs for Iowans or a blatant disregard for Iowa traffic laws, Cityview readers agree, the man with the moustache really does it for them.

Runners-up: Des Moines Mayor T. M. Franklin Cownie; Des Moines City Councilman Skip Moore

Best TV Station for News

KCCI Channel 8

KCCI once again takes home the title for “Best TV station for News.” Although KCCI and WHO have battled it out over the years, it seems KCCI is breaking free from its competitors, as this is its third consecutive win. Whether it’s in the morning, after work or late at night, KCCI has our readers covered.

Runners-up: WHO Channel 13; KCWI

Best TV Station for Sports

WHO Channel 13

WHO Channel 13 won “Best Station for Sports” this year. It was runner-up to KCCI for “News” and “Weather,” but who cares? They’re prettier. Dan Winters and Erin Kiernan both took “Best Looking Media Personality” for male and female.

WHO Channel 13 won “Best Station for Sports” this year. It was runner-up to KCCI for “News” and “Weather,” but who cares? They’re prettier. Dan Winters and Erin Kiernan both took “Best Looking Media Personality” for male and female.

When our readers want the best sports coverage available, they turn to the WHO sports team, led by iconic sports director Keith Murphy. Murphy leads his team like a veteran quarterback highlighting in-depth stories peppered with plenty of laughs. Murphy knows he is only as good as his team, though, which adds to the top-notch coverage, including the anticipated weekly installment of “SoundOff” every Sunday night, allowing local sports fans their chance to be heard.

Runners-up: KCCI Channel 8; WOI Channel 5

Best TV Station for Weather

Kevin Cooney, you ol’ devil. He did it again — he won over the hearts and minds of his viewing audience and seduced them with his charm, charisma and sober approach to the news and to take the title yet again for “Best Local TV Anchor” for KCCI Channel 8.

Kevin Cooney, you ol’ devil. He did it again — he won over the hearts and minds of his viewing audience and seduced them with his charm, charisma and sober approach to the news and to take the title yet again for “Best Local TV Anchor” for KCCI Channel 8.

KCCI Channel 8

Hey, KCCI, ya mind if we could NOT have all four seasons in one week, please? Unlike Iowa weather, our voters are not fickle when it comes to who they think is the best in meteorology — they turn to Channel 8. It’s safe to say that KCCI weatherman John McLaughlin knows a thing or two about weather. A repeat winner, the KCCI weather team has all the weather-related info you need. Whether there is rain, snow or extreme humidity, KCCI will fill you with weather knowledge before you walk out the door.

Runners-up: WHO Channel 13; WOI Channel 5

Best Local TV Anchor

Kevin Cooney (KCCI Channel 8)

The NBA has Jordan. Central Iowa TV news has Kevin. For the 14th consecutive year, Kevin Cooney has been Cityview readers’ favorite anchor to watch on broadcast television. Cooney has been a fan favorite since he became an anchor in 1982 and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

Runners-up: Erin Kiernan; Dan Winters

Best Looking Male Media Personality

Dan Winters (WHO Channel 13)

Dan Winters, news anchor for WHO TV-13, has won “Best Looking Male Media Personality” every year since he succeeded John Bachman on the evening news.

Dan Winters, news anchor for WHO TV-13, has won “Best Looking Male Media Personality” every year since he succeeded John Bachman on the evening news.

The boyish charm of Dan Winters wins over Cityview readers once again, as this is his third straight win in the this category. It may be his kind smile or his reassuring eyes, but Dan’s the man with the looks to back up his award-winning talents.

Runners-up: Frank Scaglione (KCCI); Patrick Dix (WHO)

Best Looking Female Media Personality

Erin Kiernan (WHO Channel 13)

It’s hard to focus on what’s coming out of those red lips sometimes, as Erin Kiernan delivers the top local news with moxie and poise. She was voted Best Looking among the women on local news stations by our readers for a second year in a row.

Runners-up: Elizabeth Klinge (KCCI); Jackie Schmillen (KCWI)

Best Self-rightous Media Hog

Steve Deace

Another year and another self-righteous media hog award goes to Steve Deace. (That makes four in a row, but who’s counting?) Deace runs his conservative talk radio site with an iron fist, letting people know what they should be worried and fearful about. The site is filled with a plethora of media, including articles, videos and podcasts. The motto on his website says it all, “Fear God. Tell the Truth. Make Money.”

Runners-up: Bob Vander Plaats; Chris Diebel

Best Local Sports Commentator or Columnist

Rekha Basu

Drop the name Rekha Basu in any intellectual or social issues conversation, and you’ll get a mixed reaction. But that’s how opinion-editorial writers are supposed to be received. Cityview readers love mulling over the thoughts posed by Rekha Basu in her Des Moines Register column. She presents her points with intelligence and personality, and they consider her the best at it.

Runners-up: Andy Fales; Eric Hanson

Best Meteorologist

Ed Wilson (WHO Channel 13)

Everyone loves Ed Wilson and his smiling mug. Wilson started with WHO in 1988 and has been the Chief Meteorologist for almost 20 years. Not only is Wilson knowledgeable about the weather, but his calm, humorous ways soothe audiences whether it’s 100 degrees outside or 5 feet of snow falling. Regardless of the weather, Wilson and his storm team help our readers feel safe, and he’s picked up this win several consecutive years.

Runners-up: John McLaughlin (KCCI); Jason Parkin (KCWI)

Best Local Talk Radio Show

Murph and Andy (KXNO)

Cityview readers want to hear more about sports than the morning drive-time radio, as this is Murph and Andy’s second consecutive win in this category. Murph and Andy’s tit-for-tat banter on all things sports — nationally and locally — combined with their on-air personalities make them our readers’ favorite for local talk shows.

Runners-up: A Rebels Cause; Van and Bonnie

Best Radio Voice That Turns You On

Scott Montesano

There’s something about that energy behind Scott Montesano’s voice that just seems to do it for people — at least, for our people, the Cityview readers. Listening to Montesano lay it down on all things hockey from his station in Waterloo, brings two fingers to twist that volume knob up a little every time.

Runners-up: Jillian Sonksen (KFMG); Clutch (KGGO)

Best Radio Station

KFMG 99.1

Repeat winner KFMG 99.1 is a low power community radio station, broadcasting to the city of Des Moines and suburbs with tower, transmitter, studios and offices donated by and located in The Hotel Fort Des Moines, and our readers love it. It ne’er leaves the top spot in this category. “Your Community Voice” helps make central Iowa a better place to live by providing information about arts, entertainment, culture and the music Iowans love. And our readers say they do it well.

Runners-up: 1040 WHO; Star 102.5

Best Radio Personality

Scott Montesano

Perhaps it’s the fact that his voice “turns them on” so much, but Scott Montesano’s personality on air seems to do it for people, too. He succeeds Ron Sorenson in this category, picking up two wins with our readers this year all together.

Runners-up: Ron Sorenson (KFMG-LP); Dan Frye (A Rebels Cause Radio)

Best Library

Franklin Public Library

For the second year in a row, the little neighborhood library on Franklin Avenue has been the choice over the bigger options in the metro by Cityview readers. A couple of years ago, it underwent some upgrades, but its convenient location, friendly and intelligent staff, scheduled book-signings and touts of local authors all likely play their parts. Or just maybe it’s simply the incredible selection of books that can open up a whole new world of imagination.

5000 Franklin Ave.

Runners-up: Des Moines Central; Urbandale

Best Nonprofit

Animal Rescue League

The Animal Rescue League always fares well with Best Of voters, this year winning “Best Non-Profit,” among other awards.

The Animal Rescue League always fares well with Best Of voters, this year winning “Best Non-Profit,” among other awards.

The Animal Rescue League of Iowa’s (ARL) takes home the win in this category again. The ARL has grown dramatically since its founding in 1926 and works hard at promoting animal welfare, developing the human animal bond and preventing the overpopulation of pets.

5452 N.E. 22nd St., 262-9503.

Runners-up: Hope Ministries; Puppy Jake Foundation

Best Place to Worship

Lutheran Church of Hope

Although we believe there isn’t a bad place to praise, our readers really seem to enjoy the Lutheran Church of Hope, a repeat winner in this category. The church offers plenty of worship services including Saturdays at 5 and 6 p.m. and Sundays at 9:15 and 11 a.m., as well as 5 p.m. in the Worship Center. They also host a young adults ministry called “re:vive” on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

925 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, 222-1520,

Runners-up: Plymouth United Church of Christ; Westminster Presbyterian Church

Best Realtor

Seth Walker (ReMax)

For the second year in a row, our readers trust Seth Walker as the best real estate agent. For more than 10 years, Walker has proven to the home-buying and -selling public that he can help them achieve their dreams without losing a fortune.


Runners-up: Rachel Harms/Brandon Patterson; Bob Eisenlauer

Best Automotive Salesperson

Ken Scarpino Jr. (Willis Auto Campus)

Outdoing former winner and colleague, two-time winner Mitch Dunn, comes a new favorite with our readers, Ken Scarpino Jr. He’s the new man with a plan when it comes to Cadillac sales, according to our readers.

Runners-up: Ben Williams (Hummel’s Nissan); Jeff Nelmark (Stivers Ford Lincoln)

Best Tweeter

Iowa Barnstormers

Apparently our readers like to stay as up-to-date as possible on all the stats, roster changes, news tidbits, scores, fan offerings, game scheduling and more, as the Iowa Barnstormers is the new favorite in this category. The updates are frequent, and the Twitter page is full of life. Follow it at @iabarnstormers.

Runners-up: Jeremy Bingamen (@iowaradioguy); Scott Siepker (@iowaniceguy)

Best Facebook Fan Page

Animal Rescue League

Updated daily with pics of adorable pets in need of good homes, it’s no wonder our readers continue to favor the ARL Facebook page year after year.

Runners-up: Des Moines Buccaneers; Iowa Barnstormers

Best Local Website

Animal Rescue League

The Animal Rescue League takes home the “Best Local Website” award for the fourth year in a row. And we can see why our readers enjoy it so much. Its site is an informational overload of adoptable animals, pet care, upcoming classes and programs and volunteering opportunities.

Runners-up: Raygun; Eat, Play, Love Des Moines

Best Do-Gooder

Rhonda Harvey (Pulley Chiropractic)

In almost a decade of work at East Village Chiropractic, Rhonda Harvey has helped a lot of people. She’s come to be cherished by her employer and loved by all. So she rightfully is awarded the title of “Des Moines Best Do-Gooder” by our readers, succeeding the Animal Rescue League, last year’s winner.

Runners-up: Rick Durant Jr.; Robert Ikelberry/Mongo

Best Local College

Drake University

Cityview readers voted Drake University as their favorite local college for the second year in a row. Home to reputable colleges of study in journalism, pharmacy and law, to name a few, Drake students often go off to make Iowa proud. Of course, the illustrious Drake Relays likely wins over a few votes, too.

2507 University Ave., 271-2011,

Runners-up: Grandview University; Des Moines Area Community College

Best Place for Continuing Your Education

Des Moines Area Community College

Whether high-school graduate wanting to explore academia or adults changing careers or looking for something more, DMACC is the best for continuing education, according to our readers for the second year in a row. DMACC’s small classes, satellite campuses and talented teaching staff afford the best opportunities without racking up debt.

Multiple locations,

Runners-up: Drake University; Grandview University

Best Local Photographer

Tim Vorland Photography

When folks in Des Moines are looking for those proverbial “thousand words” to say with one photograph, they turn to Tim Vorland Photography for the best, according to Best Of voters. Whether for major life events such as weddings and graduation or for portraits or prom, Cityview readers trust Tim Vorland Photography.

Runners-up: Ben Easter; Sarah Ripperger

Best Family Planning Services

Planned Parenthood

For nearly 100 years, Planned Parenthood has grown to become the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate, working to improve health and safety of clients, prevent unintended pregnancies and advance the right and ability of individuals and families to make informed and responsible choices. That’s why Cityview readers love it as the best in its field.

Multiple locations,

Runners-up: Agape; Mid-Iowa Fertility

Best Chiropractor

Braxton Pulley, was voted for his second year in a row as Des Moines’ “Best Chiropractor.”

Braxton Pulley, was voted for his second year in a row as Des Moines’ “Best Chiropractor.”

Braxton Pulley (Pulley Chiropractic Health Center)

Got a bad back, pulled muscles, aches, pains? Cityview readers recommend Braxton Pulley in the East Village. With nearly a decade of experience working in chiropractic medicine, Dr. Pulley’s unique style of combining chiropractic with other soft tissue styles has helped create an overall biomechanical approach to patients’ healing. Cityview readers swear by him, and this is the second year in a row they’ve done so.

300 E. Locust St., Suite 140, 288-8050,

Runners up: Wherspan Chiropractic; Quentin Huston

Best Doctor

Dr. Eugene J. Cherny, MD

As director of Heartland Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Dr. Cherny has been recognized for excellence in Plastic Surgery many times and by many organizations. He’s served locally since 1989 and is Board Certified in Plastic Surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, has been awarded three times as one of “Americas Top Surgeons” by the Consumers Research Council of America and thrice earned the certificate of Advanced Education in Cosmetic Surgery. He’s the best, according to our voters.

Runners-up: Dr. Randall Kavalier; Dr. Ed Steinmann

Best Eye Doctor

Dr. Bradley Hammer

This is Dr. Hammer’s second consecutive win as Des Moines Best Eye Doctor. Our readers like him, because he helps them see, obviously, but at Des Moines Eye Surgeons he specializes in LASIK laser eye surgery, which means he has to also have their trust.

5901 Westown Parkway, Suite 200, West Des Moines, 225-3546,

Runners-up: Westrum Optometry; Dr. Sam Whitmore

Best Hospital

Iowa Methodist Medical Center

Home of the Blank Children’s Hospital and the John Stoddard Cancer Center, Methodist Medical Center serves thousands of Iowans daily, employs more than 4,000 people and has 370 staffed beds. Our readers have put their faith in Methodist for more than 112 years, voting it as the best hospital in Des Moines year after year.

1200 Pleasant St., 263-5612,

Runners-up: Mercy Medical Center; Blank Children’s Hospital

Best Veterinarian

Oaks Vet Clinic

Taking the top spot from now runner-up Starch Pet Hospital, last year’s winner, Oaks Veterinary Clinic, offers general and emergency pet care services that our readers say they can trust.

2030 27th St., 279-3654

Runners-up: Anderson Animal Hospital; Starch Pet Hospital

Best Physical Therapist

Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers

Cityview readers voted Accelerated into this inaugural top spot likely because of the many programs and specialized services it offers, which help patients get back on their feet and moving again. Voters trust the respected employees are committed to patients’ health, their well-being and quality of life.

Multiple locations,

Runners-up: Rock Valley Physical Therapy; West Des Moines Physical Therapy

Best Landscaper

Garden’s Grace

Kenna Neighbors started what our readers consider the best landscaping service in the metro in 1996 in pursuit of her life’s passion. It serves as a horticultural resource, offering clients a full range of services from design to installation and landscape care while using organic material and environmentally safe methods whenever possible.


Runners-up: Ted Lare; Kaldenberg’s

Best Chamber of Commerce


The Urbandale Chamber of Commerce is known for being active in connecting, promoting, protecting and assisting the businesses that make up the organization, which has now has grown to include more than 700 business members and more than 18,000 representatives. No wonder Cityview readers consider it the best.

Runners-up: Downtown Des Moines; West Des Moines CV


  1. Jim Jones says:

    Your website link for best eye doctor didn’t work. I looked it up and yours had typos in several places of the URL. Here is what it should have been:

    1. Tyler Nash says:

      Should be fixed. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

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