1. Des Moines is getting its 'hip' on ...

Des Moines has been recognized by Fortune as one of five U.S. cities with an up-and-coming downtown. Leigh Gallagher, author of "The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream is Moving," says Des Moines is No. 1 on her list. "Des Moines is often known as the No. 1 spot for U.S. insurance companies, but the city is also getting its hip on too," Gallagher says. Meanwhile, we dropped to No. 2 on the Forbes "Best Places for Business and Careers" list in 2014.

 

2. ... but we're not big on belly laughs

Apparently, Greater Des Moines smiles aren't breaking out all over, according to a happiness index compiled by two university professors and a doctoral candidate. In a working paper intended to find the happiest and unhappiest cities and states, Des Moines ranked No. 83 out of 318 metropolitan areas. Dubuque came in at No. 82 and Iowa City at No. 87. Read more

 

3. This should make some of us feel a little better

Two health insurers in Iowa will refund more than $1.75 million in premiums to more than 15,000 policyholders in the state this year, under a provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires insurers to issue rebates if they don't spend at least a majority of their premium revenue on health care services and quality initiatives. Read more

 

4. Urbandale looks to Des Moines Social Club to liven things up

The city of Urbandale hopes to use a collaboration between it and the Des Moines Social Club as a draw to attract residents and businesses to the community, as well as provide more recreational and cultural opportunities to those who already live there. Read more

 

5. Commercial real estate construction is healthy

The construction of commercial real estate properties generated $3 billion last year in Iowa, landing the state the No. 5 overall ranking in a national analysis of development activity. Iowa ranked No. 2 in construction of industrial properties and No. 5 in office development, according to the report from NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. Earnings by construction workers also ranked No. 5 in the nation.