The recent frigid winter weather, which closed schools and businesses and caused headaches for many home owners with frozen pipes and rolling blackouts was on the mind of the Board of Aldermen during their regularly scheduled meeting, held virtually via video conference on February 22nd.
During the individual reports and comments portion of the meeting, each alderman and Mayor Johnston took the opportunity to praise the public works department for their efforts to keep the streets cleaned and water main problems tackled during the polar vortex, which gripped most of the nation the week of February 14th.
Public Works crews responded to a water main break on February 14th on Old 40 Highway, and another on February 16th on McQuerry Road. Road crews plowed roads as snow fell February 15th through February 16th.
The Board approved a resolution authorizing the City Administrator to enter into an agreement with Lamp Rynearson for engineering design of the Old 40 Highway water main replacement from Main Street to Sni-A-Bar Creek. The 2021 budgeted project has an estimated cost of $27,190.
The Board passed two resolutions addressing Public Works needs, including a resolution to purchase a coldplaner attachment for road maintenance and repair, and a resolution to purchase a 10-foot stainless steel salt spreader for snow and ice control.
The Board also approved a resolution to continue a lease agreement with the Grain Valley Assistance Council, located at 513 A&B Gregg Street in Grain Valley. The space is provided at no cost to the organization, which provides emergency assistance to residents of Grain Valley.
The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be Monday, March 8th at 7:00pm in the council chambers at Grain Valley City Hall.
Mid-Continent Public Library launched “Express Service,” allowing customers to independently browse and pick up items inside its branches, services that were previously unavailable due to COVID safety restrictions.
Customers, who must continue to wear a mask over their nose and mouth at all times inside MCPL locations, are now able to do the following:
Independent Browsing: Customers may select items from the shelves on their own and check them out using the self-check kiosks at the front of their branch.
Technology Services: Public computers, fax machines, printers, and copiers are available for use.
Pick-Up of Materials: Branches continue to operate curbside or drive-up window service to pick up materials that have been placed on hold, but customers can also retrieve them inside the branch.
Returns:: Items must be returned to an indoor or outdoor book drop. They will be quarantined for 72 hours before being checked back in; however, no fines will accrue from this additional time.
“The past several months have been very challenging, but our goal throughout this time has been to balance safety with customer service,” Steven V. Potter, MCPL Director and CEO said.
“We’ve implemented a number of new protocols that have allowed us to take this next step forward, including altering our staff schedules to reduce risk of branch closures, and we’re very pleased that these measures have been successful. We continue to look for innovative ways we can serve our community in a safe manner.”
Customers are still asked to limit their visits inside MCPL locations to 90 minutes or less to promote lower building occupancy rates for social distancing purposes. Public computers can be used for 60 minutes a day and are spaced to comply with social distancing recommendations.
Wi-Fi continues to be available outside the Library’s branches 24/7. In addition to maintaining social distance, customers are asked to wear masks inside the branches throughout their entire visit.
In-person library events, use of children’s computers, and meeting room rentals are still not available.
More information about the Library’s available services can be found at mymcpl.org/COVID.
GVPD Officer Matthew Arends was honored this week with the Mid-America Regional Council Grain Valley Police Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Officer of the Year award.
“Officer Arends received this award for his involvement and coordination of the Grain Valley Police Department CIT program. CIT trains officers in working with individuals who are dealing with a mental health or other type of crisis, by giving officers insight into the factors that contribute to crisis, and resources for treatment, counseling and other services. CIT is important as it helps officers recognize situations and behaviors that can be more appropriately handled by resources outside of law enforcement, such as health care or mental health providers,” GVPD Captain Jeff Palecek explained.
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
Last week I wrote about the first Valley News, a newspaper printed in Grain Valley during the 1980s. A day or two after I pressed “send” and sent the article to be printed, I found a copy of the newspaper at my house. I had saved the paper because it had an article about Sni-A-Bar, along with a photograph of my father and some other men who worked there.
The volume, number and date told me I was a bit off on the dates of publication. It must have begun in August of 1983 and ended before 1986. I did learn that the paper was $ .25 per week.
The yearly subscription rate was $7.50 per year for senior citizens (65 or older) $10 per year for residents of Jackson and Lafayette counties, $12.50 for residents elsewhere in Missouri and $15 per year for out of state residents.
Thirty-seven years ago the paper was available at nine locations; the Valley Inn, the Corner Store, Valley Hardware, The Country Stove Shop, Sho-Me Gun Shop, Bernie’s Liquor & Deli, Save-Rite Foods, Potters Liquors, and the Bank of Grain Valley.
It is interesting to note that of the nine locations only the Bank of Grain Valley exist today. Can you even remember all of those businesses and their location in Grain Valley? Before becoming the Historical Society, Sho-Me Gun Shop was doing business at 506 Main Street.
The August 15, 1984 edition of the paper welcomed a new Conoco station north of I-70 adjacent to the Hen House restaurant, (currently where Casey’s is located). It also welcomed Bud Young as Grain Valley’s new football coach.
Before the start of a new school year, the newspaper printed the R-5 annual newsletter, from Dr. Tom Hightower, superintendent, recapping the previous year. On the educational front, the highlight from the 1983-84 school year was notification of AAA classification by the State Department of Education.
On the financial front, “R-5 district is now a fiscally sound, growing district which will continue to improve and serve its students admirably.”
On the student front, the R-5 schools served an enrollment of 800 students during the 1983-84 school year.
And finally, on the professional staff front, Jim Jenkins will become the new high school principal, replacing Richard Burns who left to take a principalship in Westran, Missouri.
The newspaper ran a school supply list, anecdotes from the Democratic Convention, news of the re-enactment of The Battle of Lone Jack, a list of recent St. Mary’s hospital patients, and a bran-muffin recipe. (Yummy)
In addition to the full-page advertisement for the new Conoco station, one-half page of the 4-page paper featured an August Calendar announcing the events and meetings which would occur during the month. And, there was an advertisement for the Grain Valley Fair which would be held September 27-30, along with a story about the 2nd Annual House Show featuring 27 classes of competition.
Finally, an article which I found most timely today: College Students Should Plan Now for Ways to Repay Student Loans. In 1984 the average debt of a college graduate was $5,000, a burden that calls for monthly payments of $64 dollars per month over a 10-year period under the Guaranteed Student Load (GSL) program, which accounted for 85% of all education loans. Would $5,000 pay for a semester of college today?
As always, I invite you to visit the Grain Valley Historical Society on Wednesday from 10 AM – 3PM (or by appointment.) In addition to old newspapers, we have lots of photographs and interesting artifacts for you to enjoy!
Next Week: I really will write about The Pointe!
Visit the Grain Valley Historical Society at 506 S. Main on Wednesdays or visit us online at ww.grainvalleyhistory.com and Facebook (@grainvalleyhistory).
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
The first newspaper in Missouri was The Missouri Gazette first published on July 12, 1808 in St. Louis.
By 1820, five newspapers were published in the state, and by 1860 there were 154. One hundred years after the first newspaper was published, the University of Missouri School of Journalism was founded - the oldest professional school of its kind in the World.
by Phil Hanson, President and CEO, Truman Heartland Community Foundation
How the world has changed in the past year. I commonly hear people talking about time in terms of Pre-Pandemic time versus Post-Pandemic time. Covid-19 has certainly rocked the entire world; however, it has had the most dramatic impact on the lives of those most vulnerable in our community.
In February 2020, in pre-pandemic times, we had very low unemployment and a strong economy and your Community Foundation was launching our new Job Skills for New Careers initiative. The goal of this initiative is to provide job skills training to low-income families in our community to enable them to secure a job that has career opportunities and provides a path for their family out of poverty.
Launching this program during a pandemic was certainly challenging due to social distancing requirements that impacted how training could be delivered. Despite the headwinds we had 63 participants graduate and receive a certificate that will enable them to secure a job with a future.
We had 36 CNA graduates and 27 Welding program graduates. The initiative is a strategic partnership with Community Services League (CSL), Mid-Continent Public Library and the University of Central Missouri (UCM), combining each organization’s unique assets.
We also received strong support from fund holders at the Foundation who made grants to support this effort totaling $120,000 and a $60,000 grant from the Kauffman Foundation.
Many things continue to be unclear due to Covid-19 which I refer to as the COVID-19 fog. However, what is crystal clear is that the need for our Job Skills for New Careers initiative is even greater now than it was last February.
We have thousands of people in our community who were in low wage hospitality or retail jobs and barely making ends meet prior to the pandemic, that are now unemployed and struggling to keep their families housed and fed.
Many of these jobs are not coming back and now is the time for us to give these families a hand up so they can learn new skills and get that new career, a job with a future.
This year we will expand the number of training options for in demand jobs to appeal to more people and their career interests. We will expand from 2 career paths to 6 by offering training in Medical Coding and Billing, Phlebotomy, Sustainable Materials and Construction as well as CNA and Welding.
Our goal is 125 graduates from these programs. While we realize the need is far greater than the 125 we are able to serve, the impact this opportunity will have on these families will be dramatic, it will change their world.
Truman Heartland Community Foundation, along with our partners, continues to explore new ways to leverage funding and opportunities to meet the needs of the community. If you work with organizations that support at risk populations or know anyone who could benefit from this program, please share information about Job Skills for New Careers and encourage them to visit newskills.cslcares.org and complete a simple online application for Community Services League.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis with trainings starting throughout the year. Help us spread the word about this program.
We are also seeking to build relationships with employers who need employees with the skills obtained through these trainings. If you are an interested employer, we would be pleased to talk with you about how you can help ensure there is a job waiting for each trainee when they complete the program.
COVID-19 has rocked the world of these families. Now it’s our turn to give them a hand up so they can learn new skills and get that new career, a job with a future that will provide their family with a path out of poverty. I hope you will join us.
Phil Hanson is the president and CEO of Truman Heartland Community Foundation. Truman Heartland Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity committed to improving the communities in and around Eastern Jackson County through partnerships with donors and community members.
For more information on charitable giving, visit www.thcf.org or call Truman Heartland at 816-836-8189.
by Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert
Making sure your home and office wireless network is secure is important, especially if do sensitive work online. The last thing you want in this day and age is a stranger connected to your wireless router snooping on any sensitive information you may be working on.
Also, it's important to maintain your router as it acts as a firewall, protecting you from the many threats that are lurking online. It's hard to cover all of the settings for every brand of router in a short article, but I can share the basic settings you need to change to improve your home network's security using router settings.
1. Change the Router Login Credentials.
Most routers have administrative credentials that allow you to log into your router to change settings that work best for your environment. This includes turning on or off the firewall, monitoring who's connected to your wireless network, and updating the firmware (software) for your router.
For most brands of routers, you can Google the default username and password. When you don't change the administrative settings for your router, it allows anyone connected to your wireless network to go in and change settings. You can log into the settings of your router to change these settings. It's okay to leave your username as admin, but you really need to change the password.
2. Change the Network Name and Password.
Most brands of routers come with a default wireless network or SSID and password. Sometimes this information is printed on a sticker attached to the router. Default router settings can easily be looked up on the Internet allowing someone to access your home or office wireless network. This is especially important if you lease your router from your Internet service provider.
Look up the default password for your model to connect without your knowledge. Changing these settings differs by the router, but often you'll often find it under Wireless Settings, Wireless Security, or something similar. Once you make changes to your wireless network name and password, you'll have to reconnect all of your wireless devices.
3. Use Strong Network Encryption.
There are several encryption methods to protect your network. Most routers already have encryption methods setup out of the box, but it's always a good idea to log into your router settings to make sure yours is properly secured. Looking at wireless security settings, you will see the options such as:
None. This setting means you want your home or office network to be setup like your local coffee shop. You don't want this if you're exchanging sensitive information.
WEP. This stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy. This is outdated technology and provides little security, so you shouldn't use it.
WPA, or Wi-Fi Protected Access. This is the current security method used to protect routers. It comes in three flavors. WPA, WPA2, and WPA3 which became available in 2018, but isn't available on all devices.
4. Disable Your Wireless Network Name from Displaying.
If you want to keep your wireless network secure from prying eyes, it's best to just disable the broadcasting of your Wi-Fi network name or the SSID. If you've changed your default wireless name and make it invisible to your neighbors and other people in the area of your business, you've created the ultimate protection from hackers to your home or office Wi-Fi network. To make this happen, just go into the settings and choose the option to turn off SSID.
5. Keep Your Router Firmware Updated.
Firmware is the software that controls your router and just like your computer, smartphone, and tablets, your router needs to be updated from time to time. Security holes are discovered from time to time by router manufacturers and they release updates to fix these issues.
Your router should have a Firmware Update option in the main menu or you might have to visit a separate page to download the latest version and manually upload it.
6. Setup a Guest Network.
If you have frequent guests in your home or office and you want them to use the Wi-Fi, it's not a bad idea to set up a guest network that will allow them the luxury of having access to the internet and at the same time keeping your network safe and secure. Guest networks setup a separate network for people to use which keeps nosey visitors from seeing what's going on your personal network.
Not all routers have the option to setup a guest network, but to set one up on your router, you just need to go into settings and select the option to setup a guest network.
Hopefully, these tips will help you have a more secure router and reduce risks on your home and office network. There's no way that your network will be 100% bulletproof, but these common-sense methods will protect you against the most common methods used by cybercriminals to get into your network.
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by Tracey Shaffer, RDN, LD
February is National Cancer Prevention Month. Did you know that you can reduce your risk of cancer by following a healthy lifestyle?
Research shows at least 18% of all cancers and about 16% of cancer deaths in the U.S. are related to excess body weight, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition.
The American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention Reducing the Risk of Cancer with Healthy Food Choices and Physical Activity emphasizes healthy diet and exercise.
The four components of cancer prevention, as reported by the American Cancer Society, are:
Achieve and maintain a healthy weight throughout life. Keep your weight within the healthy range, and avoid weight gain in adult life.
Be physically active. Adults should get 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these). Getting to or exceeding the upper limit of 300 minutes is ideal. Limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching TV, and other forms of screen-based entertainment.
Follow a healthy eating pattern at all ages. Eat foods that are high in nutrients in amounts that help you get to and stay at a healthy body weight. Eat a variety of vegetables – dark green, red and orange, fiber-rich legumes (beans and peas), and others.
Choose fruits, especially whole fruits in a variety of colors. Make your grains whole grains. Limit red meat and processed meats. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and highly processed foods and refined grain products.
It is best not to drink alcohol. People who do choose to drink alcohol should have no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 drinks per day for men.
Source: American Cancer Society
NOTE: Researchers agree that there isn’t one single element in one particular food that can protect you from cancer. Eating a variety of foods is your best defense against disease. For more information on how the above foods may help protect you against cancer, contact a registered dietitian.
Try this quick-cooking Skillet Tilapia with Sautéed Spinach bursting with flavor and healthy goodness, including omega-3 fatty acids, iron, calcium, folic acid, and other healthy vitamins and minerals. Serve with brown rice for a complete meal.
The following information is derived from the Grain Valley Police Department daily calls for service log for the week of February 10-15, 2021.
Jackson County Health Department will offer the following COVID-19 testing locations March 1—5:
Monday: Lee’s Summit
This is a Drive-Thru
505 NW Blue Parkway, Lee’s Summit 64063
Registration link: https://jacohd.jotform.com/210316143014841
This is not a drive-thru clinic
The View: Grandview- The View Community Center 13500 Byars Rd., Grandview MO 64030.
Registration link: https://jacohd.jotform.com/210316415814851
Wednesday: Blue Springs
This is not a drive thru clinic
Vesper Hall 400 NW Vesper St. Blue Springs
Registration link: https://jacohd.jotform.com/210325278214852
Thursday: Lee’s Summit
This is a drive-thru
505 NW Blue Parkway, Lee’s Summit 64063
Registration link: https://jacohd.jotform.com/210316279314854
Not a drive-thru
Independence Uptown Farmers Market- 211 W Truman Rd., Independence MO 64050
Registration Link: https://jacohd.jotform.com/210325192714852