by Michael Smith
While junior guard Grace Slaughter garners a lot of attention for the Grain Valley girls basketball team, there’s one aspect of the team that might be overlooked by some.
The Eagles have played great defense for most of the season.
Coming into Friday’s championship game of the Grain Valley Sonic Showdown against Raymore-Peculiar, the Eagles held their opponents to just 34 points per game.
Their defense really shined against the Panthers as Grain Valley held them to just 11-for-33 shooting from the field (33 percent) and helped create 21 Ray-Pec turnovers in a 64-35 rout.
Grain Valley used a zone press and aggressive halfcourt defense to get multiple steals. In fact, the team had a steal on Ray-Pec’s opening possession in the second, third and fourth periods.
Players like Annabelle Totta, McKenah Sears and Cameryn Bown made things difficult for the Panthers’ perimeter players.
The 5-foot-4 Totta has seven points, eight rebounds and five steals and Sears had eight rebounds and three steals of her own. The Panthers weren’t able to drive to the basket very often and had to settle for a lot of 3-point attempts.
“Annabelle has really stepped up with Finley (LaForge) being hurt,” Slaughter said. “That’s a huge step up. We put her and Cameryn Bown on their best players and we rely on them to stop the other team’s offensive threats.”
Grain Valley head coach Draper said he’s been impressed with the way Totta has played defense all season.
“I don’t think (Totta) is fun to play against. When you’re athletic and competitive, there’s a lot of things you can do. She’s really good and people are starting to find out how good she is."
“I think our defense is pretty good and it’s going to have to be to do what we want to do. That’s a pretty good team we shut down in the second half.”
Grain Valley led 19-11 after the first period and extended the lead to 33-17 at halftime. The Panthers never got closer than 14 points during the entire second half.
On offense, junior Grace Slaughter once again put on a show with a game-high 38 points.
The junior stands at 6-foot-2 and instead of using their 6-foot-3 forward, Abigail Hellums to defend Slaughter, Ray-Pec coach Jonathan Benson used his smaller guards to check Slaughter, even when she was posting up.
“Sometimes that’s what other teams like to do because they are quicker and can stay low,” Slaughter said. “But when I post up, they have a big girl behind to help, but that’s OK because we got some girls I can pass to who can shoot.”
The strategy didn’t work, though. Slaughter was able to score inside and on the perimeter. She shot 48 percent from the field and nailed four 3-pointers.
She also hit a baseline jumper with a hand in her face, made a hook shot over a double team and completely deked a defender with a head fake and buried an 18-footer from the wing. Anything the Panthers tried, did not work.
“People have tried about every way to guard her,” Draper said. “They have quicker kids who are aggressive with her then have the bigger girls behind to help at the basket. It’s hard to have a great plan because she’s really, really good.”
The Grain Valley girls basketball team poses for a photo following a 64-35 victory over Raymore-Peculiar in the championship game of the Grain Valley Sonic Showdown. Photo credit: Michael Smith
The Grain Valley girls basketball team celebrates with its fans after winning the Grain Valley Sonic Showdown tournament. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley junior Grace Slaughter fist bumps activities director Brandon Hart after being named to the Grain Valley Sonic Showdown all-tournament team. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley junior Grace Slaughter prepares to take a shot. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley's McKenah Sears drives to the basket. Photo credit: Michael Smith
2022 Individual Personal Property Declaration postcards will be mailed on January 2022. Please complete the online declaration by March 1, 2022
Declarations not completed before May 1, 2022 may be subject to penalty. This penalty will range from $15 to $105 depending upon the assessed value of your account.
If you have any questions about your Individual Personal Property Declaration or need help completing the declaration online, please contact the Jackson County Assessment Department as soon as possible: Declarations@Jacksongov.org or 816-881-1330
File Personal Property Declarations - Jackson County MO (jacksongov.org)
Missouri non-farm payroll employment increased from November 2021 to December 2021, and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by two-tenths of a percentage point. Employment, seasonally adjusted, increased by 16,700 jobs over the month, with job gains in both goods-producing and service-providing industries.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in December 2021, down from 3.5 percent in November 2021. Recovery from COVID-19-related layoffs continued with an increase of 77,600 jobs from December 2020 to December 2021.
Missouri’s smoothed seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by two-tenths of a percentage point in December 2021, dropping to 3.3 percent from the November 2021 rate of 3.5 percent. The December 2021 rate was 1.1 percentage points lower than the December 2020 rate.
The national unemployment rate decreased from 4.2 percent in November 2021 to 3.9 percent in December 2021. The estimated number of unemployed Missourians was 101,988 in December 2021, down by 6,373 from November’s 108,361.
The state’s not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate increased in December 2021, raising one-tenth of a percentage point to 2.7 percent from the November 2021 not-seasonally-adjusted rate of 2.6 percent. The corresponding not-seasonally-adjusted national rate for December 2021 was 3.7 percent.
Missouri’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment was 2,876,800 in December 2021, up by 16,700 from the revised November 2021 figure. The November 2021 total was revised downward by 3,200 from the preliminary estimate, producing a revised increase of 4,400 jobs from October 2021 to November 2021 and a revised increase of 70,100 jobs from November 2020 to November 2021.
by Michael Smith
The Grain Valley boys basketball team had a chance to pull off an upset.
The Eagles were the No. 5 seed and took on No. 1 seed Platte County in the semifinals of the Grain Valley Sonic Showdown Thursday at home.
They were tied at 46-all with the Pirates and had the ball with 11.7 seconds left. After a couple of passes, junior Keegan Hart drove baseline and tried to get a bounce pass to junior Jake Richards, but the pass went out of bounds with 1.6 seconds left as the game went to overtime.
Platte County put it away early in the extra session with an 11-0 run and Grain Valley missed its first six shots in the final 4 minutes in a 59-52 loss.
“I am proud of the guys,” Grain Valley head boys basketball coach Andy Herbert said. “They put themselves in position to beat a really good team. That’s why (the Pirates) are a really good team. They know how to win games.
“We tried to get (Hart) in isolation because he did such a good job attacking the basket. We wanted to make them have to help from the corner or the weak side block. We didn’t quite get it executed.”
After the Pirates led for most of the game, although mostly by a small margin, Grain Valley’s offense got going in the final period and it took the lead late. A pair of free throws by Richards tied the game at 40 apiece. After a couple of empty possessions for the Pirates, junior Owen Herbert received a pass from Nick Hooper and buried a 3-pointer from the left wing to put the Eagles ahead 43-40.
Platte County senior guard Jarrett Mueller, as he did all night, answered on the next possession. Judah Vignary missed a three, but an offensive rebound by the Pirates led to a wide open Mueller sinking a three from the corner to tie it.
After Hart made two free throws to make it 45-43, once again, Mueller buried a three to give the Pirates a 46-45 edge with 2:30 remaining. Hart made 1 of 2 free throws with 43.4 seconds left to help send it to overtime.
Platte County gained possession on the overtime tip-off and Grain Valley left Mueller, who had a game-high 23 points, open in the corner again for a 3-pointer that started the 11-0 run that put the game out of reach.
“We just had a miscommunication of who covers what,” Andy Herbert said. “Mueller is a really good player. They are all good players for Platte County. He got free a couple of times and that hurt.”
The Eagles didn’t score their first basket in overtime until there was 49 seconds left when Reece Troyer hit a three. By then, the Eagles had too big of a hole to dig out of.
Grain Valley led 13-10 after the first period, but the Pirates rebounded to take a 24-22 lead into halftime and led 37-32 going in the third.
Andy Hebert was pleased with his team’s balanced scoring attack, however. Junior forward Rhylan Alcanter led his team with 13 points, Owen Herbert and Hart added 11 and Hooper chipped in with eight.
“Rhylan is doing a great job inside,” Andy Herbert said. “And when the opposing defense helps on him, we have some guys who can hit shots on the outside.”
Grain Valley junior Rhylan Alcanter prepares to shoot a free throw during a 59-52 overtime loss to Platte County. He had a team-high 13 points. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain senior Cylas Brewer dribbles the basketball at the top of the key. Photo credit: Michael Smith
The Grain Valley Police Department is now accepting applications for its 2022 Citizens Police Academy. This is your chance to learn what it's like to be an officer with some hands-on exercises as well as classroom setting learning. Graduates of the academy are eligible to become a Volunteer in Police Service (VIPS) and assist in police functions.
Academy applications may be found by visiting https://bit.ly/3Al6W1j or stop by the police station at 711 Main Street.
The Board of Aldermen met January 24th, approving labor agreements finalized with the Fraternal Order of Police, approving the purchase of three patrol cars, and approving the first reading of an ordinance pertaining to neighborhood vehicles and utility terrain vehicles (UTV).
The Board approved labor agreements with the Fraternal Order of Police for sworn officers and sergeants through December 31, 2024. The agreement establishes a step plan for officers and sergeants, with the initial "swearing in" salary for officers set at $20.45, an annual equivalent of $42,542.19.
The Board also approved the purchase of three patrol cars and equipment at a cost of $124,354.68. The purchase is a budgeted capital item in the FY22 budget.
In other business, the Board approved the first reading of an ordinance allowing utility terrain vehicles (UTV) on City streets. Due to the increasing popularity of UTVs and the recent addition of two recreational vehicle dealerships in the City, Chapter 386 of the Grain Valley municipal code underwent a full review in the Fall of 2021.
Although golf carts and low speed vehicles have been legally allowed to operate on City streets since April 8, 2013, other recreational vehicles have not been legal. Police Chief James Beale reported citizens have expressed interest and inquired more about expanding the permissibility of which recreational vehicles which can be operated on City streets.
The proposed ordinance seeks to allow certain types of recreational vehicles, as defined in this chapter, to operate within our city limits with safety and traffic regulations similar to those required for golf carts.
The next meeting of the Board of Aldermen will be a workshop at 6:00pm on February 7, 2022 at City Hall.
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
With a few names to research, I began my quest to learn more about Grain Valley’s early educators on Ancestry.com. Having only a name, and sometimes only initials for first names, you can spend hours trying to locate just one person. The only dates I have to work with are the year(s) they might have been in Grain Valley. Based on when their name appeared on our collection of early diplomas, I have to estimate their birth and death dates. When I entered Delma L. Webb, there were several gentlemen with the name, but none were in the state of Missouri. On one of my attempts using a different birth year, I accidently hit “female” before pressing the “search” key.
And now, I am able to tell you about Delma L. Webb, perhaps Grain Valley’s first and only female superintendent. I retrieved her name from a 1921 diploma which hangs on the wall at the Historical Society Museum. That sent me to a collection of photos and artifacts from Birdie Potts Davidson (Valley News article, May 20, 2021.) I found this photo and recognized Birdie’s handwriting on the back.
Delma Webb was born on May 16,1894 in Grain Valley, Missouri. She was the only child of Maggie and James William Webb. Her paternal grandparents were Sarah and Larkin Morris Webb and her paternal great grandfather was Thomas Larkin Webb. Thomas Larkin Webb first acquired land in this area in 1834. He came to live here soon after. He was married three times (his first two wives died in childbirth). He had a total of 18 children! At one time, nearly everyone in the Oak Grove/Grain Valley area was related to a Webb either by blood or marriage.
Presumably, Delma was educated in Grain Valley during her primary years, however, she graduated from William Chrisman High School in 1913. She would have begun high school around 1909, about the time the first brick building was constructed on Main Street. At that time, Grain Valley did not have a four-year high school. It would be interesting to know if she went to live with relatives in Independence or just what arrangements were made for her to attend high school at Chrisman. The 1911 edition of The Gleam (yearbook) listed Delma as Sophomore Class treasurer. She was in good company as other officers included Fanny McCoy (McCoy Park), president; Nancy Cogswell, vice-president and Louise Bundschu (department store), secretary.
After graduation, Delma enrolled at the Normal School (now the University of Central Missouri) in Warrensburg, Missouri in the fall of 1913. While a student there, she was in the Debate Club, the cast of “She Stops to Conquer,” and president of The Campbells, a literary society noted for high academic standards. The 1916 Rhetor (yearbook) listed Delma Lillian Webb as a senior graduating with a degree in English Education.
We can only assume that her entire teaching career was in Grain Valley. I was able to find only a few more pieces of information about Delma. Her father died in 1919 from tuberculosis. Delma also died of tuberculosis on August 13, 1921, shortly after signing Birdie’s diploma. Her mother died in 1925. Article 9 of Maggie’s Last Will and Testament stated: “In loving memory of my deceased daughter, Delma L. Webb, I give and bequeath unto the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention the sum of five-thousand dollars, such funds to be designated as the Delma L. Webb contribution.
So while Delma taught five years, she was the superintendent who signed the diplomas in 1921. Was she Grain Valley’s first female superintendent? Was she Grain Valley’s only female superintendent? Stay tuned --my research continues!
Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society
As we enter into a third year of battling Covid, somedays its hard to not be discouraged. The spread of the omicron variant seems out of control as our hospitals continue to be stressed and our schools are struggling to stay open. We all want to be done with the pandemic, but it just keeps on hanging on. We are all longing for some positive news that will give us hope.
So, let me share some awesome news about charitable giving in our community. I am pleased to share that the total grants and scholarships from your community foundation in 2021 going to various charities and students reached an all-time high of $5.9 Million. That’s an increase of 9% compared to 2020. We know this will continue to increase this year since we added 64 new charitable funds last year that will be making an impact in 2021.
Many of the new charitable funds are Donor Advised Funds (DAFS). In 2021 the grants from these funds totaled $2.8 Million, nearly half or our total grants. And this total is up 47% compared to 2020. We now have approximately 300 Donor Advised Funds and look forward to another record year of support for charitable organizations.
You don’t have to be wealthy to set up a DAF you simply need to be charitable, and we have many charitable people in our community. So, if you are one of the many charitable people in our community who are generously supporting their favorite charities and find as you prepare your tax return you still cannot itemize your deductions, now is a good time to do some tax planning for 2022. Charitable Bunching utilizing a Donor Advised Fund is a tax planning tool that is growing in popularity. Like a charitable savings account, a Donor Advised Fund is just like having your own private foundation – only better and much simpler. In addition to enabling you to become more organized and strategic with your charitable giving, a Donor Advised Fund coupled with a "bunching" strategy provides a way for you to maximize your tax benefits.
Gifts to a Donor Advised Fund are immediately tax-deductible. With a "bunching" strategy, you can use your Donor Advised Fund to contribute multiple years' worth of donations in one calendar year, allowing you to itemize in that year. You then can maintain your regular support of your favorite charities through grants from your Donor Advised Fund over several years. You claim the standard deduction in the years you don't bunch your charitable gifts.
Let's look at the example of a couple with state and local tax deductions, plus mortgage interest deductions that total $18,000 per year ($10,000 SALT, $8,000 Mortgage). They are charitably minded and currently generously donate $7,000 to support their church and favorite charities, which gives them $25,000 total in itemized deductions. However, since the standard deduction is now $25,900, they cannot itemize. If they use a Donor Advised Fund to bunch their charitable giving and put three years' worth of contributions (or $21,000) into their fund, then they could itemize ($39,000 in deductions this year) and that provides an additional tax savings of $13,900. In the next two years, they would take the standard deduction on their tax return. They would continue to donate their typical $7,000 each year to their favorite charities through grants from their Donor Advised Fund. The Donor Advised Fund resources are invested and will have the opportunity to grow tax-free, resulting in more money available to support both their church and favorite charities.
Additionally, a Donor Advised Fund offers an opportunity to maximize the power of your charitable contributions with gifts of non-cash assets. By donating appreciated securities, such as stocks and mutual funds, directly to your fund (instead of selling the security and donating the cash), you can gain considerable tax advantages. You avoid the capital gains taxes and receive the charitable deduction for your gift's fair market value. You pay less in taxes and end up with more money to give to your favorite charities.
Talk to your financial advisor and do some tax planning now to ensure you have the most effective charitable giving plan to minimize your 2022 taxes and maximize your giving. Waiting until later in the year may keep you from taking full advantage of this tax-saving tool. So, while we may have to wait impatiently for Covid to subside and spring to arrive, now is a great time for your 2022 tax planning.
It isn’t that I don’t strive for perfection. The moments right before my company arrives for a party, when my perfectly clean, perfectly curated, perfectly scented house looks like it could be featured in a magazine are ones I treasure. But perhaps the most important word in the previous sentence is ‘moments’. Guests arrive, the party begins and ends, and a familiar mess replaces perfection.
I read about a hostess named Dana who had finally just thrown in the towel and decided that her brand of entertaining would be marked as Scruffy Hospitality, and I was immediately intrigued, not just by the cool name, but also the idea.
Her theory- that we were so worried about making our home looked unlived in before we had people over, that we were limiting ourselves from actually sharing our lives together- made a splash on social media. To Dana, Scruffy Hospitality meant it was time to stop worrying about what wasn’t in place and hungering more for good conversation and company. Is Dana who I want to be when I grow up?
The description of her house rang true to me. Too many things on the too small kitchen counter tops. A stack of books perched on the stairs that need to be carried to the bedroom. Eight pair of shoes for the three people that live there parked near her front door, casually kicked off and not retrieved. Mismatched deck chairs in use because one broke last season and this season there are no replacements like it available.
However, Dana has something I don’t…and it isn’t ingredients for delicious salsa or homemade bread in her well-stocked pantry. It is the ability to just let go.
I would not call myself a control freak. My family would call me that. Maybe my bosses- past and present- would call me that. But I would not call myself a control freak.
I do like things to be in their place. The eight pair of shoes by Dana’s front door? I would be quizzing my crew about the fastest route to get them put away in a closet or donated.
The mismatched deck chairs? I would be scouring Amazon and Marketplace for a full replacement set.
Dana’s friends sound like perfect fits for her Scruffy Hospitality model as well. They don’t fret when there is no meal plan or theme for the party. They don’t create a Sign-Up Genius with four slots for appetizers, a list of people’s allergies, and beverage pairings.
My friends tend to want a little more direction. Maybe it is because we are primarily educators or coaching wives, and we crave a little order. We would hate it if two people showed up with sour cream and onion chips and no one thought to bring barbecue chips, or if there were no soft tortillas and only hard taco shells for our tacos.
Dana also references the impromptu nature of their gatherings as a part of the need for scruffiness. Somebody harvested lettuce from the garden which ‘requires’ a salad be made, so the friends gather, despite the fact that dishes are still in the sink from lunch. Hard boiled eggs, and fresh tomatoes, and homemade croutons appear, and the party is on. Somebody just happens to have sun tea brewed and enough ice in the freezer for all the cups.
There is little that is impromptu with our group. My friends and I once celebrated a 25th wedding anniversary exactly 7 months to the day after it happened because it was the first time we could coordinate calendars to all be together. And even then we delayed a day because a funeral crept in to interrupt us. I remember being glad—not because someone had passed away—but because I had an extra day to clean and organize before guests arrived.
Perhaps the part of Dana’s Scruffy Hospitality that most intrigues me and yet I most struggle with, is the part where she says we should allow friends to pitch in and help us. If someone offers to run a cloth over the bathroom to make it company ready or swipe the stool, Dana says okay. I would not be okay.
A dear friend—and when I say dear friend, I mean one of over 50 years--- arrived early one night, miscalculating her drive time to the house. I was finishing up in the kitchen, and she offered to wipe down the counter. I struggled to let her. That friend? It was my sister. So, is somebody a little more peripheral wiping down my toilets? Probably not. Reference paragraph five for my supposed control issues.
I am guessing that I have provided unintentional scruffy hospitality on occasion, when my poor vision missed an area that desperately needed dusting, or the toppings for the baked potato bar were not as promised in my invitation, or a windstorm blew leaves and those gross, crunchy locust shells onto the patio where we were set to gather. And I appreciate the forgiveness I have been shown.
I am coining a new phrase; I will now be offering Standard Hospitality. It won’t be five star, and it won’t be scruffy. It likely won’t be impeccable, but I promise it won’t be insufficient. And I am guessing it won’t delightful, but probably not delinquent.
Please stop by…if your schedule allows, and if you were able to access the Sign-Up Genius sheet for what to bring, and you RSVP’d.
by Joe Jerek, Missouri Department of Conservation
Missouri turkey hunters can apply online during February for 2022 spring turkey managed hunts through the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) website at mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/turkey/turkey-spring-managed-hunts. Managed hunt details and application procedures are outlined on the webpage. Drawing results will be posted starting March 15.
The spring turkey hunting youth portion will be April 9 and 10 with the regular spring season running April 18 through May 8.
Detailed information on spring turkey hunting will be available in the MDC 2022 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available where permits are sold beginning in March.
To learn more about turkey hunting in Missouri, visit MDC's website at mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/turkey.
Buy Missouri hunting permits from numerous vendors around the state, online at mdc-web.s3licensing.com/ or through the MDC free mobile app -- MO Hunting -- available for download through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices.
Photo credit: MDC