Students attending Grain Valley Schools headed back to the classroom Monday, August 22nd. As of August 26th, Grain Valley Schools enrollment was estimated to have increased between 30-40 students. The attendance figures as of August 26th at each district school:
Early Childhood Center: 87
Matthews Elementary: 383
Prairie Branch Elementary: 590
Sni-A-Bar Elementary: 455
Stony Point Elementary: 480
North Middle School: 529
South Middle School: 575
Grain Valley High School: 1470
Just a few of the photos shared with Valley News via our Facebook page (@grainvalleynews).
by Michael Smith
One major concern Grain Valley head football coach David Allie had following last week’s preseason jamboree was turnovers.
In the preseason scrimmage against Liberty North and Lee’s Summit, the Eagles committed a total of four turnovers, and that was something the veteran coach wanted to clean up before Friday’s season opener against Fort Osage.
What happened in the jamboree seemed to carry over to the Eagles at Fort Osage High School. Grain Valley gave the Indians great field position throughout the game as it committed five turnovers in a 33-14 loss.
Grain Valley quarterback Caleb Larson completed 19 of 32 passes for 169 yards and also rushed for 54 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. However, he threw three interceptions.
Senior Keagan Hart and Larson each had a fumble after a Fort Osage defender punched the ball out of their grasp.
“Our No. 1 goal was to secure the football and we did not do that,” Grain Valley head coach David Allie said. “They scored on four of the five turnovers. It kills you.”
“You can’t turn the ball over because, one, it takes away our opportunity; and two, it gives them an opportunity and they capitalized on it.”
After both teams struggled on offense for the first few drives, Grain Valley struck first when it scored in a 49-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard scoring run by sophomore DJ Harris, who went into the endzone untouched on a run to the right side with 5:32 left in the second period.
Later in the half, Grain Valley quarterback Caleb Larson was pressured by three Fort Osage pass rushers and he tried to lob a pass to wide receiver Noah Olah, but the ball was intercepted by Fort senior Roman Tillman and returned to the Grain Valley 32.
That led to defensive tackle Brock Branstietter scoring on a 1-yard run to tie it at 7 with 1:49 left in the half.
Grain Valley immediately followed that up with another turnover as Larson threw a screen to senior Keagan Hart, who fumbled after getting hit and Fort Osage junior Devin Jennings recovered the ball at the Eagles 29. Sophomore running back Ryver Peppers later broke loose for a 20-yard jaunt, led by a block by Branstietter to make it 14-7, which was the halftime score.
We wore them down in the first half,” Allie said. “We were driving it and we threw an interception. Then we had another drive that led to nothing.”
Fort Osage increased the margin to 17-7 on its opening drive of the second half following a 42-yard field goal from Xander Shepherd. However, Grain Valley answered back with an 80-yard drive capped by Larson’s 4-yard TD run to narrow the gap to 17-14 with 7:30 left in the third.
After getting a stop on defense, Grain Valley made it into Fort Osage territory but the turnover bug bit it again as Larson threw another interception that was returned by senior Lorenzo Fenner to the Eagles 32, which eventually led to the 32-yard touchdown pass from Menne to Peppers on fourth-and-9, making it 23-14 after a failed 2-point conversion attempt.
Grain Valley had yet another turnover on the ensuing possession, which was recovered by the Indians. That eventually led to a 22-yard field goal from Shepherd with 7:30 remaining in the fourth.
“Our No. 1 goal was to secure the football and we did not do that,” Grain Valley head coach David Allie said. “They scored on four of the five turnovers. It kills you.”
Fort Osage then put the game away with 3:52 left when backup running back Jeffrey Alexander scored on a 41-yard run along the right sideline.
Despite the loss, Allie said he was pleased with his defense. Hart led the team in tackles with 11.5. Junior defensive lineman Colin Burd had a team-high 3.5 tackles for loss.
“Our defense played lights out but we had our defense out there for too many minutes,” Allie said.
Correction: Story corrected 8:10am 8/27/22 to reflect two fumbles were on Hart, Larson.
Grain Valley quarterback Caleb Larson completed 19 of 32 passes for 169 yards and also rushed for 54 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. Photo credit; Clara Jaques
Grain Valley struck first when it scored in a 49-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard scoring run by sophomore DJ Harris. Photo credit: Clara Jaques
Larson’s 4-yard TD run narrowed the gap to 17-14 with 7:30 left in the third. Photo credit: Clara Jaques
Photo credit: John Overstreet
by Michael Smith
The Grain Valley boys soccer team will have a few kinks to work out before its season opener Saturday against Liberty North.
The Eagles participated in a four-team jamboree Thursday at Blue Springs’ new soccer field that included Platte County, Blue Springs and Raymore-Peculiar.
Grain Valley didn’t face Platte County since both teams are in the same conference. The Eagles faced off against two tough teams from the Suburban Gold Conference, including a talented Wildcats team that made the Class 4 state final four last season.
The Eagles had two 35-minute exhibition games against Blue Springs and Ray-Pec and struggled as they yielded a goal against the Panthers and four against Blue Springs.
But despite not seeing the results the team may have wanted, head coach Brett Lewis noted that it was a valuable experience for his team.
“We see this jamboree and we are playing some bigger schools, ones that have 2,100 students. We see this as a great opportunity for growth. We established the pattern that we have to get better every day. We usually see tremendous growth from Game 1 in the jamboree to the final game of the season.
“Some of the guys are still trying to figure the rules out and we are still trying to build chemistry. We’ll get better. I have the expectation that later on in the season, we will be competitive and right there with Blue Springs.”
Against the Panthers, the Eagles surrendered a goal in the eighth minute and came close to scoring a goal when senior midfielder Austin Schmitt knocked a header off the post that ricocheted away from the goal.
When they played Blue Springs, the Wildcats scored four goals in the first 20 minutes as Grain Valley was shaky on defense. The Eagles had just one shot on that one, a 40-yard attempt that sailed over the Blue Springs goal.
In that game, any time the Eagles got into the attacking third of the field, Blue Springs stopped them and cleared the ball before a Grain Valley player could get a shot off.
“We were served a slice of humble pie today,” Lewis said. “We have to increase our intensity in practice because you are not doing your teammates any favors by going soft on them.”
“We struggled to make just an 8- to 10-yard pass tonight. I think our fitness had a little bit to do with that. We have to open up our midfield and make sure they are always open for the back four. We got to fix the movement with the front two a little bit.”
Junior goalkeeper Landon Jaynes was a bright spot for Grain Valley as he made a pair of diving saves against Blue Springs. He is competing for the start job along with seniors Isaac Laws and Ryan Lampe.
“We have three goalkeepers that are all really close to one another right now,” Lewis said. “I keep challenging them and telling them that I am waiting for one guy to step up and be the guy. I think Landon Jaynes made some strides today. This is really a goalie battle where the guys are neck and neck.”
The Eagles will play their first game at 2 p.m. Saturday against Liberty North in the Harrisonville Invitational.
The Board of Aldermen met for its regularly scheduled meeting on August 22nd, approving a resolution to enter into an agreement with Confluence Inc. to update the City's comprehensive master plan and develop a parks master plan.
Under Ordinances, the Board approved the first reading of an ordinance to approve the final plat of Eagle Ridge Estates and the first reading of an ordinance to renew the City's contract for water purchase with Tri-County Water Authority.
Following a number of residents expressing their concern during public comments for a proposed multi-family development east of NW Sni-A-Bar Parkway where NW Sni-A-Bar Blvd. dead ends to the east, the first reading of the ordinance to change the zoning to allow for the development of the Lofts at Creekside Landing was approved after a tie-breaking vote from Mayor Mike Todd.
The ordinance would change the zoning on approximately 7.53 acres from District R-3 PUD (multi-family residential district-planned unit development) to District R03P (multi-family residential district-planned overlay district). The proposed development will consist of four apartment buildings containing 24 units in each building; three four-plex buildings, and one duplex, with a total of 110 units on the property.
Alderman Skinner expressed his approval of the proposed project, citing the need for affordable housing for those who cannot afford single family housing at current market prices.
Alderman Arnold expressed concern over the project, citing the number of units planned and concerns for the impact on local schools.
Reached for comment following the meeting, Todd explained his reasoning behind the tie-breaking vote.
"I went back and forth on where I was at with this one. Had it not already been zoned R3 over a decade ago, I would have voted differently on it. The fact is when looking at the two plans I believe the apartment layout is better than the fourplexes that were part of the 2006 plan. With it being a parking lot and not a city street we won’t face the parking issues like we do in other parts of town where we have mostly duplexes and fourplexes. Parking on the street has been something we have struggled with in several of these locations," Todd said.
"Additionally, our vacancy numbers show that we are in need of this type of housing option. We don’t have a lot to offer residents who are not ready or who don’t want to spend northwards of 250 grand on a starter home. Unfortunately, at this time that is where the starter home market is at. We have young professionals, empty nesters, and newly married couples who are looking for this type of housing with the amenities that are going to be offered. With the already approved fourplexes you don’t have the amenities."
The next scheduled meeting of the Board of Aldermen will be held September 26, 2022 at 7:00pm.
Board of Education meeting recap: prepayment of bonds saves district $233,250, allows debt service levy to remain $1.70
The Grain Valley School Board met August 18th for its regularly scheduled meeting, approving prepayment of $1.725 million of the Series 2019B bonds. The approval allows the district to maintain a Debt Service Levy of $1.70, and will save the district $233,250 in interest. The debt service tax rate will be set at a later date, but prepayment of these bonds allows the district to keep the rate at $1.70, where it has been since 2017.
Under informational/discussion items, the subjects of teaching of controversial issues and dress code policies drew discussion. Superintendent Brad Welle opened the discussion, asking for board input regarding student dress code. Jeff Porter specifically pointed to the vague language of the current dress code policy, and shared information from another district's policy, citing restrictions on holes in jeans. yoga pants, and clothing or accessories that can be construed as costume wear. Board member Jeff Coleman suggested bare midriffs should not be allowed in school. After a lengthy discussion on proposed restrictions to include in a revised student dress code, Welle indicated leadership would look at changes to the dress code policy and bring back to the board for further review. The District's current policy on teaching of controversial issues will also be brought back to the board for further review.
Reached for further comment regarding the dress code concerns raised during the meeting, Jeff Porter stated he would hold comments for the board meeting.
To view the District's current policy on teaching about controversial issues, visit View Policy INB: TEACHING ABOUT CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES (eboardsolutions.com).
To view the District's current student dress code policy, visit: View Policy JFCA: STUDENT DRESS CODE (eboardsolutions.com).
During patron comments, several patrons continued to press for a board level response to the Stakeholder Engagement Report, which came as a result of the controversy this spring over the removal of "safe space" stickers. Additionally, a number of patrons rose to speak in support of the board.
Valley News reached out to district leadership regarding a board level response to the Stakeholder Engagement Report. Dr. Amanda Allen, Asst. Superintendent, School and Community Services, stated that the cover letter attached to the Stakeholder Engagement Report "was meant to represent all district leadership. As superintendent, Dr. Welle is the district spokesperson for the Board."
"An additional response to the Stakeholder Engagement Report will come in September with the adoption of annual priorities. These annual priorities reflect our Strategic Plan goals (2021-2026) and the commitments published by district leadership with the release of the CESO report. Through our annual priorities, the district will continue to pursue our goals of providing a learning environment that is collaborative, safe, and inclusive. These priorities will then be revisited three additional times this school year to monitor progress," Allen said.
The Grain Valley Police Department will host Cakes, Cops, & Conversations on Saturday, August 27th from 8:00am - 11:00am at Armstrong Park.
Chris Cakes will be serving up their famous all-you-can eat pancakes so residents can eat breakfast & get to know the officers who serve their community.
No RSVP is required, and this event is free to the public. Donations accepted to benefit GVPD's outreach programs.
We all know someone who is an amazing citizen—someone who serves on civic boards and planning committees, volunteers for special projects on evenings and weekends, and uses their position to make big changes in communities throughout the region. It’s not often that these community rock stars are recognized. Many prefer just to do their work quietly in the background, making their mark without any accolades or admiration. But Truman Heartland Community Foundation (THCF) deeply admires the efforts of these amazing citizens, and we strive to sing their praises throughout Eastern Jackson County and beyond.
I am pleased to present this year’s Citizen of the Year honorees. Area Mayors have selected a slate of impressive individuals to receive this prestigious award, individuals who have made a significant impact on their local communities. Honorees will be recognized at the 27th Annual Toast to Our Towns Gala, presented by Blue Ridge Bank and Trust Company, on Saturday, September 24, 2022, at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center. Although their areas of impact are varied, all the Citizens of the Year are united by a common goal, improving and enriching their local communities.
2022 Truman Heartland Citizens of the Year
Blue Springs – Nominated by Mayor Carson Ross
Keith is a retired schoolteacher who spent 40 years in education working for the Kansas City and Blue Springs School Districts. Keith’s work with the Blue Springs School District (BSSD), Blue Springs Parks and Recreation, students, the community, and the Missouri Department of Conservation helped to establish an Outdoor Classroom in Wilbur Young Park, complete with a stocked fishing pond. Various student-driven projects resulted in him being awarded the Presidential Environmental Youth Award from the EPA. In 2017, Keith was part of the committee which developed the first Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan and worked to pass the five-year dedicated Parks Sales Tax successfully. Keith has been on the Blue Springs Park Commission for 19 years and is currently the commission’s Chair.
Grain Valley – Nominated by Mayor Mike Todd
Robert (Bob) Headley selflessly served the City of Grain Valley in many volunteer capacities over his sixteen years as an elected official. His time as an Alderman for Ward 3 consisted of eight terms ending in April 2022. He was part of the board that steered and provided input that pushed the I-70 interchange project to completion, including securing funding for nearly $20 million in improvements. In 2022, before his final term expired, a $14 million bond issue for a new Police Station was approved, which was ultimately approved by voters. Bob believed in growth and preparing the city for future needs. Bob has been a big proponent of Parks and Recreation and has served as the Parks Board liaison for the Board of Aldermen for numerous years. Bob’s presence and thoughtful decisions will forever be a part of Grain Valley’s story.
Karen DeLuccie (posthumous)
Independence – Nominated by Mayor Rory Rowland
Karen graduated in 1982 from the Juris Doctorate program at the University of Missouri–Kansas City and would later return as an adjunct professor at the UMKC School of Law. Karen spent her 40-year legal career on The Independence Square, practicing law as a Family Law specialist. She was a member and past president of the Eastern Jackson County Bar Association, a fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and co-founder of the Independence Youth Court. As an AV-rated lawyer, Karen was a mentor to numerous young lawyers. Perhaps the greatest achievement of her legal career occurred when she helped author and pass the law that created the Family Court of Missouri, signed by then-Governor Mel Carnahan. The law completely transformed the Family Law Court system for the benefit of all parties by streamlining divorce and child custody cases. Karen also served 17 years on the City of Independence Planning Commission before her election to the City Council. She was a member of the Independence Square Tax Board, a trustee of Gold Bank, and the Advanced Reading Program director for eight years at her children’s school. Those who knew Karen know that every day with her was a true gift.
Lake Tapawingo – Nominated by John Sellars
Jayme Dean has lived a life of service. In addition to being an elementary school teacher, Jayme, and her husband, David, are foster parents. She volunteers at her church, Harvesters Food Bank, and has served five years as the President of the Lake Tapawingo Country Club (LTCC) Board of Directors. Other service to the City of Lake Tapawingo includes serving on the Board of Aldermen, Strategic Planning Committee, Election and Nomination Committee, Municipal Committee, Budget Committee, Lake Dredging Committee, and volunteering at numerous functions. Jayme was also named teacher of the year at Southwind Elementary School in the Raytown School District.
Dr. Elaine Metcalf
Lee’s Summit – Nominated by Mayor Bill Baird
Dr. Elaine Metcalf deserves recognition for her work educating, supporting, and mentoring the youth in the Lee’s Summit community. She has dedicated more than 34 years to inspiring and educating youth in the City of Lee’s Summit. After retiring from teaching, Elaine joined the Pro Deo Youth Center as executive director, continuing to create opportunities and positive outcomes for youth. She spends her free time volunteering for various organizations in Lee’s Summit, including the Sunrise Sunset Rotary Club, where she serves as president, and the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce. When so many teens find themselves disconnected, Elaine is stepping up to provide a safe, healthy environment where teens are encouraged to be their best selves.
The Fidler Family
Oak Grove – Nominated by Mayor Dana Webb
The Fidler family has positively impacted the Oak Grove community in many ways. At four separate locations in Oak Grove, the family has taken abandoned and derelict buildings and transformed them into thriving businesses that bolster the local economy. Fidler on the Roof, The Den, and Diakonos Counseling are Fidler family businesses. The family happily participates in the National Night Out each year, provides event sponsorships and other charitable donations, and are members of the Oak Grove Chamber of Commerce. Currently, they are working with the city to develop Trade Days for local youth to encourage young people to learn more about a career in the skilled trades as an alternative to a traditional college or university education.
Dr. Allan Markley
Raytown – Nominated by Mayor Mike McDonough
Dr. Allan Markley has been the Superintendent of Raytown C-2 School District for 14 years. Because of his belief that education starts early in children’s lives, he established Three Trails Preschool, open to all district children, ages 4-5. Allan headed the development of a community wellness center, led two bond campaigns for district-wide improvements, and was named the 2018 recipient of The Missouri Association of School Administrators Robert L. Award. He has led many educational groups in the Greater Kansas City area, most recently as Chair of the Board of the Greater KC Suburban Conference and Missouri Securities Investment Program. Allan has also been continually active in the Raytown Area Chamber of Commerce, Raytown Kiwanis, Raytown Rotary clubs (past president), and the Raytown Educational Foundation.
Sugar Creek – Nominated by Mayor Mike Larson
Jeff Shawhan is the type of business leader anyone would want on their team. Jeff was instrumental in designing the metal canopy roof for the Mike Onka Hall and proposed a design for the Sugar Creek Welcome Center. From the restoration of the facilities at Harris Park to a new gazebo design for Wells Park to replace the old traffic circle, Jeff uses his time and energy to make Sugar Creek a better place for everyone. He is passionate about community development, serving as Vice President of the Sugar Creek CDC and an active member of the economic development subcommittee. He is one of the brilliant minds on the CDC team developing the Sugar Creek Master Plan.
These days when we only seem to hear bad news, we encourage everyone to take a moment and celebrate these Citizen’s passionate dedication to the towns they love. Please join us at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center on September 24 to honor all our outstanding honorees during our annual celebration of philanthropy.
The 2022 Toast to Our Towns Cocktail Reception Sponsor is Truckmovers, and Community America Credit Union is the sponsor of the Mix, Mingle, and Music after party. Centerpoint is the sponsor of the private Citizen’s Reception which will take place a few weeks before the gala at the Swan Dive at Vivilore. Table sponsorships and individual tickets are still available for this year’s Toast to Our Towns gala. Last year we sold out two weeks before the event, so get your tickets now before they’re gone! www.thcf.org/toast-to-our-towns-gala or 816.836.8189.
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
As another school year begins, I wonder about all the “school” roads in and around Grain Valley: Oakland School Road, Owens School Road, Morland School Road, Oak Hill School Road and Murphy School Road, just to name a few.
Were the roads named before the schools or did the schools name the roads. Good question and one for which we may never know the true answer. I am not certain as to when or how Murphy School Road got its name. But, allow me to tell you what I do know.
John Camelin Murphy was born in Chillicothe, Ohio on July 13, 1837. It is not recorded if he came to Missouri alone or with his family. I did learn that in 1871 he married Agnus Hanna who was living with her family in Napoleon (Lafayette County) according to the 1860 United States Census. While their marriage was recorded in Jackson County, March 5, 1871, the birthplace of their older children and the 1880 United States Census still has them living in Lafayette County. The 1900 US census places the Murphy family in Sni-A-Bar Township, Jackson County, Missouri. We can only assume they lived on what is now Murphy School Road. They had five children. Daughter Eva died at age three. They had three other daughters and one son.
But here is the twist to the story. According to a history compiled by members of the Fort Osage DAR more than 30 years ago, Murphy School was originally Latimer School. It was built on land donated by John B. Campbell in the late 1880s.
The Murphy’s oldest daughter, Maggie Bell, was a teacher. Perhaps she taught there. Perhaps I’ll never know. “Bell,” as she was called, went on to teach in the Philippines, where she died in 1934. One daughter, Laura, moved with her family to Oklahoma. James moved to Jefferson County, just south of the St. Louis Metro. Rose Alpha Murphy married John William Kirby and remained in the area. Rose and John Kirby are buried at the Oak Grove (Missouri) Cemetery.
John, Agnus, and their son James are buried at Greens Chapel cemetery on Steinhauser Road, just north of Murphy School Road. John Campbell is also buried there.
So once again, I’m left with many more questions than answers. Who were the Latimers? When did the school’s name change? Why did the name change? When did the road become Murphy School Road? What was it called when the Latimer school was located there? If you are reading this article and have any information, PLEASE reach out to me. Meanwhile, I’ll keep trying to learn more about “the rest of the story.”
Personal note: I think Paul Harvey must have had many more researchers and lots more time to do the research!
The Murphy School. Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society
The Missouri Rural Water Association (MRWA) Apprenticeship Program is proud to recognize that Zachary Rios with Tri-County Water Authority has successfully completed all requirements to become a Journeyman Water Systems Operation Specialist. The MRWA Apprenticeship Program is a 2-year utility-based curriculum this is registered with the Department of Labor. The Apprenticeship Graduation was held on Friday, August 12, 2022, in Lebanon, MO.
A large crowd was on hand including family and friends to witness the accomplishments that concluded with awards given by the US Department of Labor (US DOL) Apprenticeship and Training Representative Tracy Laughery, along with Dave Waller MRWA President, Howard Baker MRWA Executive Director, Billy Everett MRWA Apprenticeship Coordinator and Donald Jones MRWA Apprenticeship Trainer.
Photo credit: Tri County Water Authority
The Missouri Rural Water Association (MRWA) Apprenticeship Program is proud to recognize that Alejandro Montoya with Tri-County Water Authority has successfully completed all requirements to become a Journeyman Water Systems Operation Specialist. The MRWA Apprenticeship Program is a 2-year utility-based curriculum this is registered with the Department of Labor.
The Apprenticeship Graduation was held on Friday, August 12, 2022, in Lebanon, MO. A large crowd was on hand including family and friends to witness the accomplishments that concluded with awards given by the US Department of Labor (US DOL) Apprenticeship and Training Representative Tracy Laughery, along with Dave Waller MRWA President, Howard Baker MRWA Executive Director, Billy Everett MRWA Apprenticeship Coordinator and Donald Jones MRWA Apprenticeship Trainer.
Photo credit: Tri County Water Authority