1. Can you say retirement income?

The value of property suddenly takes on a whole new dimension when owners realize that they are being courted by Kum & Go LC, the convenience store empire builder that wants to locate its corporate headquarters in the Western Gateway and, in the process, improve the ambience of the neighborhood. Here's an example; a Kum & Go-related entity paid $2 million earlier this month for Scotty's Body Shop, located on a long strip of property at 1432 Linden St., according to Polk County property records. Christopher Scott Buchanan paid $225,000 for the property in January 2000. At the time of the sale, the property and building had an assessed value of $195,000. Kum & Go bought the property from Buchanan through Linden Street Investments LLC.


2. We love our pets, we love them not

The Animal Rescue League of Iowa will have a red tag sale this weekend to trim the record number of 1,200 pets that have fallen under its care. The number grows every day, so the ARL is offering discounted adoptions at $25 each. Meanwhile, a house on display this weekend and every weekend this month at the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines' Home Show Expo will feature a special room for the family pooch.


3. Words we never tire of hearing

If we're not the best, we're at least in the top 10 on some pretty enviable quality-of-life and economic development lists. So it probably shouldn't have come as any surprise when private equity firm Eberhart Capital LLC took a look at Greater Des Moines and decided to pick up local company Contractor Sales & Service Inc., an aerial equipment rental company. "Iowa, particularly Central Iowa, has seen tremendous population and GDP growth, and we expect this pattern to continue," said Dan Eberhart, managing director for Eberhart Capital. Say it again, Dan.


4. Rejected in Greater Des Moines, welcomed in Jefferson

A mixed crew of Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino loyalists and gambling opponents brought out the battering rams when Gary Kirke's Wild Rose Entertainment LLC considered building casinos and event centers in Ankeny, Urbandale and Norwalk. Prairie Meadows supporters claimed the competition would cut into the racetrack-casino"s revenues and funds it turns over every year to local governments and nonprofit organizations. Prairie Meadows supporters also opposed Wild Rose's bid to build a casino in Greene County, but voters and public officials extended a welcoming hand to the West Des Moines company. Just as noteworthy is that the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved a license for a casino in Jefferson after rejecting a license for a Cedar Rapids operation. On Thursday, the first shovel of dirt was turned for Wild Rose Jefferson, a $40 million casino, events center and hotel that will generate an estimated  275 full-time jobs as well as payroll and benefits of $7 million annually for the local economy.


5. This dog can hunt 

Urbandale-based BirdDog is a local business that just seems to quietly do its job, a part of which is helping contractors deal with complicated state and federal employment regulations. On Thursday, the company announced that it has completed a $4 million round of funding that was led by Des Moines-based venture capital firm Next Level Ventures, which joins prior investor Bridgepoint Investment Partners, also based in Des Moines. The company currently has 27 employees serving about 700 customers with recruitment and application tracking software. President and CEO Todd Skokan said in a release that BirdDog plans to grow to more than 75 employees over the next three years and expand its product offerings and customer base.