by John Unrein
Lady Eagles Head Basketball Coach Randy Draper stared at his team as they sat on the bench prior to the start the second half, trailing on the scoreboard by 12 points. The message shared by Draper was direct and simple, “We have to attack the basket. Good things will occur if we do. We will get back into this game.”
Among those who took Draper’s message to heart were sophomores Annabelle Totta and McKenah Sears. Totta would receive passes at the elbow of the lane off cuts and attack the goal during the second half. Her efforts would garner 9 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 5 steals during the contest. The 5’ 5” guard was in the right place numerous times as her theft of the basketball created extra possessions for her team during the final two quarters of action.
Sears consistently used a nifty crossover dribble and quickness at the point to defeat pressure at midcourt down the stretch. Sears was also not shy about shooting, compiling a trio of three pointers during the game. The stat line for the 5’ 7” guard yielded a double-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 assists.
The valiant effort led by the youth of the Lady Eagles was not enough to prevail. The final score of the Class 6 District 7 Tournament matchup would tilt in favor of Battle High School out of Columbia, Missouri by a score of 51-45. The Spartans will advance to face the Lady Jaguars of Blue Springs South on March 1st.
“We tried to be tough in the second half. We should have started the game the way we finished it. We really wanted this win, and it didn’t end in our favor,” Totta said.
“The overplay by them (Battle) in our passing lanes secured the opening to the basket for me with my drives in the second half.”
Totta continued, “The roadblocks we faced in losing Finley (LaForge) and Grace (Slaughter) before getting Finley back have tested us. I am glad we got this far.”
Sears added, “We finally got things going in the second half. If we had played the whole way with that intensity, it would have been a game changer for sure.”
“We battled for every ball down the stretch. I think our nerves played a part in what happened in the first half and that’s no excuse.”
Sear concluded, “I love playing with these girls. They are like family to me now. We will miss Elena (Sanchez), who is our only senior, but the rest of us will be back and ready next season.”
The Lady Eagles, who were the third seed in the tournament, are left to think about what might have been had a plethora of first half shots that hit iron would have gone in. The opposite was true for the Spartans. Junior Kaelyn Johnson also came up big for Battle with a scoring output of 18 points, including a quartet of three pointers from behind the arc.
Coach Draper sat on the Lady Eagles bench after the game, speaking with members of the media and reflecting on the season. The veteran coach has seen another successful season at the helm in compiling a 20-5 overall record for Grain Valley this season. Draper was honest and hopeful in his postgame comments.
“We got great shots at the beginning of the game. We would take those shots any day and they didn’t go in for us. That put us behind the eight ball. We did find our way back into the game,” Draper said.
“They (Battle) ended up getting into foul trouble and that was because we attacked the basket and got offensive rebounds. Totta now, she is hard to keep in front of you. She took advantage of her sets tonight and showed that she is a special competitor and athlete.”
Draper finished, “We spoke after the game as a group about how we have to make this pay off for next year, with what we learned and the development. We had some players who had to grow due to the situation they were put into. When we get Grace (Slaughter) back to combine with the youth we have currently, there is going to be competition for spots, and you have to be excited about the future of this program.”
Lady Eagles head coach Randy Draper delivers a simple message as the team attempted to come back from a 12-point deficit at the start of the second half. “We have to attack the basket. Good things will occur if we do. We will get back into this game.” Photo credit: Valley News staff
Sophomore Annabelle Totta would receive passes at the elbow of the lane off cuts and attack the goal during the second half. Her efforts would garner 9 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 5 steals during the contest. The 5’ 5” guard was in the right place numerous times as her theft of the basketball created extra possessions for her team during the final two quarters of action. Photo credit: Valley News staff
Sophomore Finley LaForge attempts a free throw. Photo credit: Valley News staff
Sophomore McKenah Sears consistently used a nifty crossover dribble and quickness at the point to defeat pressure at midcourt down the stretch. Sears was also not shy about shooting, compiling a trio of three pointers during the game. The stat line for the 5’ 7” guard yielded a double-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 assists. Photo credit: Valley News staff
The sale of approximately 3.6 acres on the far north side of the Sni-A-Bar Farms property owned by the City to the Mid-Continent Public Library (MCPL) to construct a new branch is on a busy agenda for the the Board of Aldermen on Monday, February 28th. The purchase price of the land is listed at $320,000. The offer also stipulates MCPL will cover the cost to widen a portion of Buckner Tarsney Road for a center turn lane.
Also on the agenda are resolutions to amend the City budget for projects identified to be covered by ARPA funds received as a part of the CARES Act. Additionally, the City is seeking an approval to use a portion of the ARPA funds to work with the Missouri Main Street Connection on downtown revitalization.
The Board will meet at City Hall at 7:00pm on Monday, February 28th.
The Jackson County Reapportionment Committee has finalized the County's district map (below). After defeating a proposed map by Republican members of the committee, the committee unanimously passed the compromise map.
Jay Haden, Chief Deputy County Counselor, told the County Legislature during their February 22nd meeting the Reapportionment Committee maps were not completed in time to be used for this election cycle. The maps will be effective for the 2026 primary election. The Reapportionment Committee's report is on file with the Clerk of the County Legislature.
Photo credit: Jackson County
The Grain Valley High School Dance Team, the Tallies, head to state competition in St. Louis February 25th - 26th. Soloists compete Friday, February 25th, with the team competing on Saturday, February 26th.
After a successful competition at the Farmington Invitational at the end of January, where the team placed 1st in pom, 1st place in precision jazz, and 2nd place overall, they head to State competition this weekend. In addition to competing as a team in jazz and pom, four soloists will compete.
Team captains sophomore Ava Perry, junior Lily Cassidy, and senior Abbey Neer said the key to their team's success this year has been their support for each other. The trio choreographed the team's pom routine, and head coach Natalie Upton praised their hard work during a showcase for friends and family on Sunday, February 20th.
"Having our captains choreograph one of our competition routines is a very cool experience to watch them do something a little bit different and put their heart into that," Upton said.
Neer will compete as a soloist at State in addition to competing with the team and plans to continue her dance career in college. Neer plans to attend Barnard College next year to major in biology and hopes to join their dance team.
For updates, follow the Tallies on Twitter (@gv_tallies) and Instagram (@grainvalleydance).
Team captains (left to right) sophomore Ava Perry, junior Lily Cassidy, and senior Abbey Neer.
Photo credit: Valley News staff
Grain Valley High School's dance team, the Tallies, are headed to State competition this weekend. They performed for family and friends last Sunday at the high school.
Photo credit: Valley News staff
Tallies head coach Natalie Upton introduced team members during their showcase performance on February 20th. Photo credit: Valley News staff
by Phil Hanson, President & CEO, Truman Heartland Community Foundation
Sharon was working on her Certified Nursing Assistant certification (CNA) through Job Skills for New Careers; a collaborative community initiative focused on helping hard-working adults gain the skills they need to qualify for better paying, in-demand careers. As she prepared to begin the clinical portion of her training, she learned she was very much behind on her vaccinations. Hospitals require trainees to be current on all vaccinations. Without health insurance, the cost for Sharon to catch up on her shots would have been a substantial burden on her family. But she didn’t quit. She didn’t give up on her dream career. She knew there was support available to help her succeed.
The Job Skills for New Careers initiative is made up of five key organizations: Truman Heartland Community Foundation, Community Services League (CSL), Mid-Continent Public Library, KC Scholars, and the University of Central Missouri, utilizing each organization’s unique assets to offer trainings in fields that pay living wages and continue to be in high demand in the region. As a Job Skills trainee, Sharon was able to get all her vaccinations up to date and fully participate in her clinicals at the hospital because of the wrap-around services provided by CSL. She didn’t have to choose between paying a vaccination bill and other monthly bills, like rent, utilities, or food. Sharon got her CNA certification and is well on her way to providing a better life for her family.
Job Skills for New Careers is now in its third year. Last year, 45 Truman Heartland fundholders supported this initiative with grants from their Donor Advised Funds (DAF), which added $125,000 to the pool. While the support from our fundholders provides only a fraction of the total cost, our support is vital because it allows CSL to utilize our flexible dollars to provide the critical wrap-around services that enable these hard-working adults to successfully complete the training.
In 2021 the program had 94 graduates who earned certificates in Medical Coding and Billing, Phlebotomy, Certified Nursing Assistant, Welding, or Construction/Materials Handling. The Job Skills partners continue to explore additional training programs such as CDL Truck Driving, IT Support, and Automotive Repair. We hope to have new collaborations and training partners to announce later this year and our goal is to have 200 trainees and an 80% graduation rate.
The average cost per participant is $6,500, including the critical wrap-around services, which is a great investment in these families. This investment is truly life-changing as they move into a career that enables them to achieve financial stability for their families. Stable families build strong communities.
Please get in touch with any of the Job Skills partners to talk about how you can invest in your community through the Job Skills for New Career initiative. As a community-driven program, we want to hear from you.
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
When I entered first grade in the fall of 1952, my teacher was Miss Mary McQuerry. I was most anxious to be in her class, the room where my older brother had Miss Mary as a teacher in the fall of 1949. My mother was a room mother for Charles’ class so I got to attend their parties! In those days, we had a party nearly every month; Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter and the end of school bash! And this didn’t include those “special days” when your mother brought cookies and punch for your birthday.
But in first grade we also had a Fairy God Mother, Mrs. Preston. I’ll tell you more about her in a future issue, but for now I’ll just say that she would frequently appear in our classroom to read us a story and she often brought us cookies!
My class was the last to have Miss Mary as our 1st grade teacher. We were the last to have the revolving doors in front of our coat closet. Each door had a chalkboard on one side where we could “go to the blackboard” to demonstrate our math skills; “2 + 5 = 7” and later in the year, “12 + 9 = 21”, once we learned to “carry the one.” We had a piano in our room and we sang a lot! We also had a big closet in the northeast corner filled with puzzles and games for recess when the weather was bad.
In 1953, a bond issue was passed to build Grain Valley’s first elementary school and Mary McQuerry was selected to become the principal.
Mary M. Kelly was born on May 1, 1904 to Kate and Hiram Kelly. They live in Clay Township (named for Henry Clay, the Virginia Senator), Lafayette County, Missouri. She attended school there and graduated from Bates City High School in 1923. She attended college at the Normal School in Warrensburg, Missouri, eventually attaining a four-year degree in education. I cannot determine exactly when she began teaching in Grain Valley, perhaps as early as the mid-1920s.
On July 3, 1927 Mary Kelly was united in marriage to Robert Lester McQuerry. While Mary had only two older siblings, Bob was one of eleven surviving McQuerry children and so Mary Kelly McQuerry became instantly related to half the population of Grain Valley!
Her picture first appeared in the yearbook in 1940, however the three prior yearbooks did not have photos of the elementary students and teachers. The 1940 U.S. Census listed her as a teacher who worked 39 weeks during the previous year and received a salary of $630.
The photo above is an autographed page from my 1953 Treasurer Chest yearbook
which was dedicated to Miss Mary. (By the way, my parents purchased a yearbook
for both my brother and I so we could get autographs. The cost for the 60-page,
hardback book was $2. Today a high school yearbook is $80.)
After only 2 years as our principal, Miss Mary left Grain Valley at the end of the school year in 1955. She became the elementary principal in Odessa where they named a school in her honor. Like many students at the time, I looked upon her as a traitor to Grain Valley. We loved her so much, but hopefully it was a good move for her. And hopefully, she was paid much more than $630 or its’ equivalent in 1955.
Visit the Historical Society Museum to see more photos and artifacts from Miss Mary’s tenure as a beloved Grain Valley teacher. We are open on Wednesdays from 10 AM – 3 PM or by appointment. (Phone: 816-686-7582)
There has been a lot of talk about eating to live a long and healthy life. So what does a longevity diet look like? Researchers have looked at Blue Zones to find the answer. These regions of the world are thought to have a higher than usual number of people living much longer than averages and have lower rates of chronic disease. In fact, studies have found that these areas contain extremely high rates of people who live longer than 90 and 100 years. Five areas have been categorized as Blue Zones: Sardinia (Italy); Icaria (Greece); Okinawa (Japan); Loma Linda Seventh Day Adventists (California); and Nicoya (Costa Rica).
Blue Zones place an emphasis on eating mostly plant foods – 3-10 cups of vegetables per day! They get most of their protein from beans, nuts, seeds and fish. They eat whole grains and a lot of fruits and vegetables. Blue Zone individuals eat a balanced diet focusing on seasonality and variety. Their diet is most similar to the Mediterranean diet.
Blue Zone eating style:
Not ready for all of these changes to live longer? Start by picking the foods you enjoy and trying something new that you have never tried before. Diet is not the only thing that adds to these regions’ long lives. Daily movement, a feeling of belonging, and finding purpose also contribute to their longevity
Mediterranean Grain Bowl
4 cups kale
Juice of half a lemon
2 large sweet potatoes, skinned and chopped into 1-inch cubes
Extra-virgin olive oil spray
1 ½ cup of cooked chickpeas, or one can organic chickpeas, drained
½ teaspoon each turmeric, coriander, and cumin
¼ teaspoon each smoked paprika garlic powder and cayenne
1 cup uncooked quinoa, well rinsed and drained
1 ¾ cups water
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Sea salt to taste
A pinch of fresh-ground black pepper
½ cup of Lemon Tahini Herb Sauce
2-3 tablespoons sunflower seeds, for garnish
Dill, for garnish
Lemon Tahini Herb Sauce
½ cup tahini
1-2 garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1 small lemon
½ cup almond milk
2 tablespoons chopped dill
Sea salt to taste
Whisk together all ingredients
Tracey Shaffer is a registered dietitian and certified health coach and owner of KC Nutrition Coach in Eastern Jackson County. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning a healthy and nutritious meal that will bring your family to the table can be a challenging and time-consuming task. Research shows that having a plan makes it easier to stick to your health and wellness goals — so let your Hy-Vee dietitians help with the Healthy Habits menu plan program. The 4- week menu program includes weekly menus, recipes, grocery lists and one-on-one support from your Hy-Vee dietitian. Healthy Habits is for anyone wanting an eating plan to support a balanced lifestyle, weight loss or improved health.
The recipes included in the menu program are quick and nutritious, creating family-friendly dinners that are sure to please and ready in no time. Check out the recipe below from our Healthy Habits menu.
With any healthy meal try to include a lean source of protein, like pork. Pork is a great source of high-quality protein and rich in minerals like thiamin and selenium. Aim to fill half of your plate with veggies at lunch and dinner. Vegetables are high in fiber, helping you feel full longer along with containing valuable vitamins and minerals.
Head to hy-vee.com/health to connect with your local Hy-Vee dietitian, get more information and sign up for Healthy Habits. Still on the fence about signing-up? Try our recipe for Maple Glazed Pork Chops below; it’s a sneak peek at a balanced meal.
Maple Glazed Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans
All you need:
1 large sweet potato
6 oz fresh green beans
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 (5-oz) pork loin ribeye chop
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp butter, divided
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp pure maple syrup, divided
1½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ oz pecan pieces
All you do:
1.Wash and dry sweet potato. Peel and cut into ½-inch cubes. Place in a large pot with enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook until easily pierced by a knife, about 12 minutes. Remove from pot with slotted spoon. Place in a large bowl, keeping pot of boiling water on stovetop.
2.While sweet potato cooks, wash green beans and trim off ends. Peel garlic and mince. Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Season pork all over with salt and pepper. Add to pan and cook to 145 degrees, about 4-6 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. Add green beans to pot with boiling water and cook until tender but still a little crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and return to pot with ½ tablespoon butter and a pinch of minced garlic. Toss until butter melts and coats beans. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add remaining butter, cinnamon and half of maple syrup to bowl with sweet potatoes. Using a potato masher or fork, mash potatoes until mostly smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil to keep warm.
5. Heat remaining olive oil in pan used for pork over medium heat. Add remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Pour in balsamic vinegar and remove pan from heat. Let bubble and reduce until slightly syrupy, about 1 minute. Return to medium heat and add remaining maple syrup. Simmer until thick, about 2 minutes.
6. Add pork to pan and turn to coat in glaze. Remove from heat. Divide sweet potatoes, green beans and pork chops between plates. Sprinkle potatoes with pecans. Drizzle any remaining glaze over pork.
Recipe source: Hy-Vee dietitians
This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
I penned a column a couple years back about aging and the rather uncomfortable nature of it all. Maybe I hoped that just putting those words out in the universe would stop the clock.
In what may come as no surprise to most of you, the Universe was busy trying to figure out more important things, like how to protect itself from global warming and which Kardashian would move fat from one part of her body to another to plump it up; therefore, I am still going about the business of getting old.
So now what? Should I be happy I have survived and embrace my age? Should I work on developing an anti-aging potion and promote it in small town newspaper columns? I am guessing there are not enough herbal concoctions or unharvested seed pods in the remote parts of the rainforest to erase what has been happening since I first shared my concerns with you. Following that first writing, things have been on a decline, much like the ramp I am sure I will soon need at my house because steps will have become too difficult for someone my age.
I am pretty sure I first noticed I had become ancient, a dinosaur, a relic of another era—well, you get the picture—when I said out loud about a box, “Oh, that’s a good one. Let’s keep it.”
In my defense, this box was sturdy, a nice medium size, and had no visible markings. When I think of the many uses for that box, my spine tingles. Actually, I guess that could be the heating pad I am propped up on. But I digress, which along with my abnormal attachment to a heating pad, technically is another bit of evidence of my aging.
I hear people say they feel like they got old overnight. Not me. I can account for about a decade’s worth of a slow, tortoise-like crawl toward geriatric tendencies.
A hint might have been when I put the tasks for winterizing my house on my written, not digital, calendar. “Coil up outdoor hoses to go in garage,” said the entry on October 1. “Check the hardware store for window kit sale,” said October 10.
At the hardware store, I nodded to others, all of us in our sensible snap front windbreakers, collectively in pursuit of just a roll of plastic and some tape to keep out that bitter wind. We have lived through it. We know what’s coming.
It might have been a conversation some five years ago with a new bride who asked me about my recipe for homemade mac n cheese that cemented the idea I am aging. My recipe has pleased generations, and I do realize the irony of this entry, as bragging about a special recipe may itself be a sign of aging.
In a favorite game of old people, I was having her guess the recipe ingredients, delighting each time she was wrong. The bride sampled another bite of the pasta and said, “There is a little sharp taste that I can’t identify.”
I took the wadded tissue I had tucked inside the neckline of my shirt, because us old people want to be prepared, so we store a lot of things there, and I dabbed away a tear that came up as I chuckled, thinking about my secret ingredient. “Sharp, you say?”
She nodded and tried to describe the taste. I finally gave in.
“I use a smidge of dried mustard,” I said. “I stir it in after all the cheese is melted so it doesn’t cook off.”
“Smidge?” she said, confused. Who doesn’t know what a smidge is? Ahhhh. A young person, making me officially an old chef, one who eyeballs things and doesn’t measure, just like my grandmother did.
If you count the fact that I sometimes have the overwhelming urge to discipline someone else’s kids, alternating with crying when I hear a friend is a new grandmother, I would say you have an old person before you.
Evidence of my age exists in the physical world as well. I literally Googled last week what it takes to get a handicapped placard for my car. I don’t need it now, but I sure would like to be prepared and get it on my calendar along with that winterizing stuff.
My clothing choices may also be an indicator of the fact time is not standing still. It used to be when my husband and I got invited to a special party, I would head out to buy a new outfit. More recently, I have caught myself thinking, “I have that pair of nice black pants (I suppose as opposed to a not so nice pair). If I could just find a flowy blouse to wear with them.”
There is not an old woman who doesn’t own a flowy blouse or two to bring that really fancy element to the good black pants in her old woman wardrobe. Wedding? Nice black pants and light-colored blouse. Funeral? Nice black pants and dark blouse. Concert? Nice black pants and…wait just a minute. Likely not going to that concert because I don’t want to be out that late.
I also proudly own denim shirts in three colors and lengths that I wear over and under about everything. They have that lived in look, sort of like my face.
And due to that lived in look on my face, I have found myself paying more attention to plastic surgery commercials. But because I am old, I also have a mental notebook of friends’ and family’s terrible surgery outcomes, so I am likely too chicken to be a real candidate for any skin tightening upgrades.
Recently, I have been unable to find a couple of brands of items I really like. I asked the clerk about one item (and truly, clerks exist only for us old people, because everybody else has already Googled where to find items and has a QR and coupon code ready), and she told me they had stopped manufacturing it seven years before.
Wait. What? So the bottle of it I have is seven years old? Gross. And sad—that I won’t be able to get any more of it.
I have found myself starting sentences with anyone who looks to be under 40 with, “You may be too young to know about this, but…” and then plowing through my story anyway, not caring that they have no point of reference. Old. I wanted to use #old here to make me seem more hip, but really, what’s the point?
Some good things have come from getting older. For example, I am a bit more frugal than I once was. I use all my empty prescription pill bottles to store things in. Yes, now that I have typed that I do indeed hear how it sounds.
Maybe getting older has made me behave more responsibly. I don’t drive on the highway as much at night, and I actually weigh my fruit at the grocery, but that is mostly to double check on that darned young clerk who rings me up.
I suppose the culminating evidence of my advancing maturity is that my daughter now recognizes me in commercials, ones that are not for young people products for sure.
“Did you see that guy, Mom? He bought a shirt like one he already had. Remember when you did that?” Sometimes there is a bit more subtlety to her comment as she gently guides me into the past.
“This guy that is doing the commercial for the heart monitor (who is typically an actor with a shock of white hair and bifocals, wearing a brown cardigan)--- did he used to be famous back in the day? Was he on one of your shows?”
And occasionally her comment is more self-serving, or to give her the benefit of the doubt, maybe she just has a heart of gold and wants to save us some money.
“Do you and Dad get any discounts on things when we travel…like for your age? Maybe we could stay a couple of extra days on vacation this year.”
I have decided to take a positive attitude about my aging and just live in the idea that my age is merely the number of years the world has been enjoying me--wrinkles, comfy denim shirts, good black pants and boxes, prescription pill bottle collection, and all.
The following information is derived from the Grain Valley Police Department daily calls for service log for the week of February 16-21, 2022.