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MALL VAULT: Fan And Athlete Favorite

From grocery stores to shopping malls, fans don’t know what or where the Drake Relays will strike next.

It was a full house at the Jordan Creek Town Center for the mall vault Wednesday evening.

World record holder Renaud Lavilleni didn’t disappoint clearing 18-feet-8-and-three-quarter-inches. Yarsley Silva won the women’s pole vault.

But they’re not the only ones hitting the heights. The event, now in its fifth year, saw a huge crowd.

The athletes say they also enjoy the novelty and the atmosphere the mall event brings.

“The atmosphere is quite special and the place is just amazing,” the Olympic gold medalist Frenchman Renaud Lavilleni told Channel 13.

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DRAKE RELAYS: Mall Pole Vault ‘Truly Unique’

A crowd gathered Monday to see high-jumpers at Hy-Vee in Waukee. Now shoppers are getting to see the pole vault at Jordan Creek Mall in West Des Moines.

Holding events away from the Drake Blue Oval gives new crowds a chance to see professional athletes in action.

This is the fifth year for the event at the mall and the athletes say they’re big fans.

“I think every year is more fun,” top 10 female pole vaulter Mary Saxer said.

“It’s my fourth time back and it’s always so exciting – the energy, the music before I even start warming up, people up on the balconies – it’s truly unique. We get paired up in teams. It doesn’t get old. There needs to be more events like this.”

WOMAN IDENTIFIED: ‘No Foul Play’ Involved In Death

West Des Moines police say foul play is not suspected in the death of a woman on Hoak Drive Sunday.

Officers were called to the 1300 block of Hoak Drive on a car fire. When they got there, officers found the body of 34-year-old Christina Dilworth on the ground next to the car.

An autopsy has been completed, but the cause of death has not yet been released.

Police say they do not believe any other people were involved in Dilworth’s death.

DATA CENTER: Microsoft Behind ‘Project Alluvion’

West Des Moines officials say the city will be home to a $1.1 billion Microsoft data center that will be one of the company’s largest centers in the U.S.

Officials made the announcement Friday morning about the data center, which had been previously referred to as Project Alluvion.

Microsoft plans to construct the building west of Highway 28 between Pine Avenue and Highway 5.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority board approved millions in tax credit for the project at its meeting Friday morning.

Construction will start this spring and the center will create more than 80 jobs.

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EASTER WEEKEND: Churches Preparing For Full Pews

While most stores are closed Easter Sunday this weekend means big business for churches around the world.

Saint Francis of Assisi in West Des Moines is Iowa’s largest Catholic parish. Its main church can seat around a thousand people. But church officials say they expect around six thousand people will visit the church over the weekend.

On Sunday, the sermon will be projected on two large screens in a separate overflow room that seats around 500. Officials at Saint Francis of Assisi say their attendance doubles almost every year over Easter weekend.

Father Ray McHenry says Pope Francis has inspired and excited many Catholics. According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center 85 percent of Catholics have a favorable view of Pope Francis.

While the poll indicates the Pope’s popularity has not brought more people to Mass, Father McHenry says he’s seen an increase especially around the holidays.

METRO MANHUNT: Inmate Escapes While In Transit

Police swarmed an Urbandale neighborhood Thursday evening searching for a convicted felon who managed to escape police custody.

The escaped inmate, 37-year-old Kenny Bevard has been on the run for several hours.

He managed to escape while being transferred from Polk to Dallas County sheriffs’  custody shortly before 5 p.m. near the Menards store on Hickman Road.

Police say Bevard was handcuffed, shackled and wearing a green and white jail jumpsuit when he slipped away.

Bevard then stole a car from the nearby Love’s truck stop.

That car was then located in the 7500 block of Hickman Road near the Buccaneers’ ice hockey arena.

Police immediately launched a massive search bringing in tracking dogs and using a DOT airplane.

DATA CENTER: New ‘Project Alluvion’ Details Friday

More details about a new data center project in West Des Moines are being released Friday.

Officials from West Des Moines and Polk County will join Gov. Terry Branstad for a news conference Friday morning to discuss Project Alluvion. The company behind the data center has been kept a secret.

The city has already approved a plan to provide infrastructure improvements and other incentives worth $18 million to lure the project to the area.

An 11:30 a.m. press conference will be held Friday, right after the Iowa Economic Development Authority board discusses state incentives for the business.