Students of Des Moines’ first ever professional improvisational comedy school, Anything Improv, will graduate on March 24 at 5 p.m. at the Gas Lamp, but the ceremony is sure to be more colorful than the Gettysburg Address often recited by valedictorians at high school graduations. The graduates will celebrate with a comedy showcase performance for the public, as the school sets another generation of comedians loose on the city, creating comedy for Iowans by Iowans. Anything Improv’s comedy classes tripled its enrollment of aspiring comedians. This marks a new era in the central Iowa region for comedians to learn in a professional setting the same performance techniques usually found only in larger cities in a supportive and spontaneous atmosphere. Anything Improv’s next round of classes begin the week of April 1.
A recently-released Manpower Employment Outlook Survey claims that Des Moines and West Des Moines employers are expected to hire at a vigorous pace heading into spring and summer. From April to June, 24 percent of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees, while 3 percent expect to reduce staff. Another 73 percent expect to maintain their current workforce levels. This yields a Net Employment Outlook of 21 percent, third-best in the nation. For the coming quarter, job prospects appear best in construction, goods manufacturing, transportation and utilities, wholesale and retail trade, information, financial activities, professional and business services, education and health services, leisure and hospitality, other services, government — pretty much everything!
Des Moines police are looking for an unknown suspect who hit a 58-year-old homeless man early Saturday morning March 16. Clayton Payne was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street at Sixth Avenue and College. Police believe the hit-and-run driver may have had the right of way but left the scene rather than stop and render aid. Drivers of several other vehicles stopped to assist the victim until police arrived, but some of these potential witnesses left before officers were able to speak to them. Payne remains in critical condition at a local hospital where his family, who is from the Bettendorf area, is by his side. Polk County Crime Stoppers is offering up to $2,000 for tips leading to the arrest of the driver.
Tough times have plagued Estherville lately as residents have another to mourn. Staff Sgt. Steven Blass, 27, was one of five killed during a helicopter crash in Afghanistan last week. According to news sources, Blass was a helicopter crew chief who joined the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade last August. He had been in the Army since 2006 and was on his second combat deployment. He left behind a wife and son, who may never truly know the debt they are now owed by their fellow countrymen for this sacrifice. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Sometimes it’s good to go to a bar where everybody doesn’t know your name. Perhaps that would have prevented the alleged bar fight between two men in Cheers, a Western Iowa pub. Ben Wingrove, 28, was arrested last weekend and charged with first-degree murder after he reportedly followed Adam Lary, 29, out of the Dow City bar to fire several shots into the man’s car. Lary died at the scene, and his car crashed into a garage. Wingrove is being held on $1 million bond.
Don’t camp in central India. Six men were arrested last week following the gang-rape and robbery of a Swiss tourist there. The victim and her husband were on a cycling tour across India and had set up camp near a forest in the Datia district when a group of men allegedly assaulted them, beating the husband and raping the wife, according to police. This occurred after the gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi in December provoked outrage across the country and abroad. The accused are members of a local tribe. Investigators recovered a laptop computer, a cell phone and 10,000 rupees ($185), which were stolen from the couple. The woman, who was briefly hospitalized after the attack, alleges that four of the men raped her, while the other two men arrested by police are suspected of robbery. CV