Mayor breaks tie to move forward with planning process for new police station and renovation of City Hall
Citing concerns regarding staffing needs in the police department and the proposed location of the new police department building, three aldermen voted against a resolution to enter into an agreement with Hoefer Welker LLC for architectural services to plan and design a new police station and renovation of City Hall. Mayor Johnston broke the tie and the motion passed. The budgeted cost for 2021 is $70,000, with a bond issue planned to go before voters in 2022.
Alderman Stratton expressed her concern regarding plans to increase staffing for the department as well as concerns regarding the placement of the proposed new police department building.
“It is part of my decision making and if I’m ok moving forward with something like this knowing if we are or we aren’t looking to add to the department...over the course of three years, if we can spend $720,000 for the design of this building, what are we willing to spend to add to our police force,” Stratton said.
City Administrator Ken Murphy explained the limitations of bond funding, and that the design and construction of facilities and staffing needs of the department are two separately funded issues.
Alderman Bass echoed Stratton’s concerns, stating he supported additional staffing for the police department, with Alderman Knox once again noting that the funding of facilities through bond issues and the funding of salaries for officers are two separate issues.
Aldermen Bass, Cleaver, and Stratton voted against the resolution. Mayor Johnston broke the tie, voting in favor of the resolution.
The plan to be developed includes design concepts for a new approximately 14,000 square foot police station to be placed on land behind the current Community Center, and redesign of the current City Hall building.
Current police staffing levels and concerns regarding an increase in thefts in the City were a consistent theme throughout the meeting, with resident Jan Brill raising the issue during the citizen participation portion of the meeting, and Johnston addressing social media chatter during his comment period.
Brill questioned whether staffing levels at the police department should be increased in proportion to the increase in population shown in the recent census results. Johnston stated he felt the staffing levels at the department were adequate to serve the needs of the community at this time.
During Mayor and Board comments, Johnston pointed to statistics regarding the City’s crime rate and number of calls made to the department over the past few years as proof that social media debates about an increase in crime and concerns regarding staffing levels are unfounded.
Johnson stated the City has “the lowest crime rate of any of the regional cities”, and stated that in 2019 the department received. 4,284 calls, 3,935 in 2020,. and 2,826 so far in 2021.
“There isn’t the crisis that is being put forward on Facebook,” Johnston said.
In other business, the Board approved the final development plan and final plat approval for Creekside Villas and a development incentives agreement for the Mercado commercial development.
The next meeting of the Board of Aldermen will be held Monday, October 11th at 7:00pm at City Hall.
by Michael Smith
When talking about the history of the Grain Valley boys soccer program, it's hard not to bring up 2016 graduate Blake Desselle.
He was an all-state selection during the program’s first state final four appearance during his senior year in high school and was part of arguably the most talented trio to come through the program along with Alex Thiessen and Noah Espinosa.
It seemed like wherever Desselle went, winning followed. He went to Rockhurst for his first two years in college and got to take two trips to the NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Tournament as a reserve center midfielder.
After the success he’s had, he will go down as one of the best if not the best soccer player to come through the Grain Valley program, although there are a handful of players who have a legitimate argument for that honor.
That could be part of the reason why former Grain Valley girls and boys soccer coach Tyler Nichol asked Desselle to talk to the 2020 girls team before it made its trip to the St. Louis area for the state final four.
“I remember when we went to the final four, that was the first time Grain Valley went for either program,” Desselle said. “I was definitely honored for Coach Nichol to bring me in to talk to the girls, especially since that was his last year coaching.
“I played in a lot of big games in my life. One of my most memorable moments was going to the final four with Grain Valley, and that’s something a lot of kids don’t get to do. I just told them to have fun and it’s just another game. And I told them it was an experience they would never forget.”
After Rockhurst, Desselle transferred to William Jewell College to play three more years. Helped the Cardinals win the most games it ever had since moving from the National Association of Collegiate Athletics to NCAA Division II.
“I played a little bit during my sophomore year (at Rockhurst),” Desselle said. “Next year, I wasn’t sure what the deal was. I ended up transferring to Jewell and I ended up being a captain there and taking on a bigger role, which is cool. I had a blast there.
“When I got there, they were not very good,” Desselle said. “We turned the program around. We weren’t very good to be honest with you, but we were better than we had ever been since moving to Division II.”
Now Desselle has entered life after his storied soccer career.
Desselle graduated from William Jewell with bachelor degrees in physiological science and exercise science. He’s now a head sports performance coach at EXOS Physical Therapy and Sports Performance in Grain Valley, a position he started last May.
While there, he gets to go over exercises with athletes to help reduce the chance for future injuries and also assists with helping them get bigger, faster and stronger.
“I grew up training there when it used to be called Boost Physical Therapy and Sports Performance,” Desselle said, “and they got bought out two years ago by EXOS. Over the years, I worked there part time during college.
“As I went on and started to graduate. The head trainer for Independence and Grain Valley left, so they called me and wanted to hire me. I took the job.”
At EXOS, Grain Valley gets to see his friends as he gets to work with Grain Valley athletes.
“I worked with Cole Keller, who just graduated last year from Grain Valley,” Desselle said. “I work with Austin Schmidt who is the kicker for the football team and a great soccer player. He’s one of my best friend’s little brothers. Working with those guys is really cool.”
And he doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.
“I love what I do,” Desselle said. “I get to train high school and college athletes. I get to help them get to where they want to go.”
For anyone who would like to set up an appointment with Desselle at EXOS, you can contact him at (816) 719-5395.
The Grain Valley school board set the overall property tax levy rate at $4.9263 for 2021. The rate reflects a decrease of 17.96 cents compared with the year prior. In a release, the district noted the change was made to offset an increase in assessed valuation of property by $46,855,425 in 2021. The district also noted the rate is the second lowest in Jackson County.
Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots are available to eligible Missourians. The CDC recommends a Pfizer COVID-19 booster dose for those who are at highest risk for COVID-19 to increase their protection.
The Jackson County Health Department is offering booster clinics at their Ralph Powell Road COVID-19 vaccine clinic. To register, visit www.jacohd.org/booster-doses.
A Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event will be held Saturday, October 2nd from 8:00am—Noon or until trucks are full at Jackson County Public Works, 34900 E. Old US Highway 40. Residents of Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Greenwood, Lake Lotawana, Lone Jack, Sugar Creek, unincorporated Jackson County and other communities in the Regional HHW Collection program may attend this event free of charge. Proof of residency is required.
Accepted materials include batteries, paint, lawn and garden chemicals, automotive fluids, fluorescent light bulbs, and household cleaners.
Grain Valley Swim & Dive took first place on September 29th during a meet versus St. Michael, Truman, Van Horn, and William Chrisman at Henley Aquatic Center. The team placed first with 366 points. St. Michael placed second with 246 points.
(StatePoint) October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual opportunity to spend your dollars on products and services that benefit breast cancer advocacy, research and patient care services. However, experts say that the clutter of pink products on store shelves and online can make savvy shopping a challenge.
“Determining if a given product sold during October actually benefits a breast cancer charity, is not always easy,” says Sarah Rosales, vice president of Corporate Partnerships at Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization.
One way to ensure that your purchases are making the impact you think they will is by shopping with Komen’s Annual Live Pink program. This year, Komen has partnered with more than 25 companies, and the lineup of products and services available includes everything from specially designed clothing and skin care products, to bagels and bikes. By shopping with the brands in the Live Pink portfolio during October, you can help fund research and care services that support people through their breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and beyond. Program details are transparent on the Live Pink site. To learn more and to shop, visit, komen.org/livepink.
For other purchases you make this National Breast Cancer Awareness Month that make charitable claims, Susan G. Komen recommends asking the following questions:
1. What charity is the program supporting? Do promotional materials about the product or service clearly and conspicuously state this information?
2. How will the benefitting charity use the donation? You should be made aware where your money is going and what charitable programs your purchase will support. Funds raised to benefit Komen, for example, go to support the organization’s advocacy for breast cancer patients, investments in research and a number of direct patient care services.
3. How is the program structured? What percentage or exact amount of the proceeds will go to the charity? Will the company be making a minimum or maximum donation to the charity? Shop only with companies that offer transparency with regards to program details and how donations are structured.
By shopping savvy this October, you can support the fight against breast cancer and ensure your purchases are making the biggest impact possible.
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
If you attended first grade in the Grain Valley Elementary School between 1954 and 1978, you will no doubt remember the tile floor in your classroom. If you started first grade after 1978, you may have attended Matthews Elementary. By the fall of 2000, the old first grade room was a middle school science room, but the old tile floor had not changed!
After the reorganization of the schools in Jackson County in 1949, most of the rural, one-room , country schools were closed. Round Grove, Oak Hill, Stony Point and Oakland School had already consolidated with the old School District No. 3. With reorganization and the closing of Murphy School on Murphy School Road and Elm Grove School on Stillhouse Road, it became apparent that a new elementary school would be needed to house the increasing enrollment in the Grain Valley Reorganized School District #5.
I began second grade in the fall of 1953. Mrs. Fern Church was our teacher. Before Christmas we knew we would soon be moving into the new elementary school, built just north of our current school. We had been told that one or two classes would move each week beginning with first grade, then second, and so on, until all six grades and the principal had been moved. At that point, the cafeteria would open and feed all students, 1st through 12th grade.
As the greatly anticipated day approached, the floor tile for the first-grade classroom had not arrived. It was a “special order” for the “special” floor installed in the first-grade room. While the first and second-grade rooms both had their own doors leading to the playground, only the first-grade had an attached bathroom and a special floor. Do any of you remember the floor? It had a Hop-Scotch game in the center with the ABCs and numbers around the game. And around the outside, there were names –Dick, Jane, Sally (baby sister), Spot (the dog) and Puff (the cat); the beloved characters in our first-grade reading books! So, the second-grade got to be the first class in the new building. We were elated! We were there for at least two or three days before the third-grade joined us. As I recall, the first-grade may have been the last class to move.
If anyone has a picture of the old floor, I would love to get a copy for the Historical Society. I’m relatively sure none of the old tiles were saved. After all, they were probably full of asbestos!
I wasn’t in the special class with the special floor. However, my class, the Class of 1964, did have two distinctions. We were the first class to move into the 1954 Grain Valley Elementary School. And, we were the last class to play basketball in the gymnasium and graduate on the stage of the brick school built in 1926.
What was special about your class? The Historical Society invites you to join us for Coffee with Classmates –the Rock ‘n Roll Years (1950-1970) on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 beginning at 10:00 AM. We will reconnect, reminiscence, and share memorabilia from our days at Grain Valley! I hope you will join us.
MOSourceLink’s recently released Show Me Jobs report quantifies the impact of new and young firms to Missouri’s economy. The report takes a close look at new and young firms in Missouri, using the Quarterly Census of Employers and Wages.
The 2020 report highlights 36,686 new jobs were created by first-time employers in Missouri in 2020.
Employment and wage information is collected for workers covered by unemployment insurance laws and covered by the Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) program. This dataset contains information on employers and workers that can be explored to generate measurements of and insights into an entrepreneurial ecosystem.
New and young firms (startups) are defined as the first appearance of an establishment in the dataset. The report also provides year-to-year comparison data regarding job creation by new and young firms, wage growth and the industrial density of startup
These firms created an average of 37,270 new jobs in Missouri each year for the past five years. Considering the employees hired by these same firms in 2016 and in each succeeding year and accounting for job losses as well, first-time employers created 169,479 jobs from 2016 to 2020.
Consistent with nationally reported trends, this accounted for 79.7% of all new jobs and 6.7% of the total employment3 in Missouri each year.
In Missouri, new firms in the tech sector created an average of 863 jobs each year for the past five years.
To download the 2020 report, visit www.mosourcelink.com.
Missouri employers should be aware of a new law that recently went into effect that ensures victims of domestic and sexual violence receive unpaid leave.
The Missouri legislature passed House Bill 432 by Rep. Hannah Kelly, a Republican from Mountain Grove.
The law, which applies to businesses with 20 or more employees, allows victims or family members to take unpaid leave as they seek medical attention for physical for psychological injuries, get help from victim services organizations, seek counseling and obtain legal assistance.https://labor.mo.gov/sites/labor/files/DLS/LS_112_Poster_f_0.pdf
Companies with 50 or more employees must grant up to two work weeks of unpaid leave for these matters per year, while companies with 20-49 employees must grant up to one week of unpaid leave per year.
Employers are required to notify employees about this new law and it’s recommended that this change is added to employee handbooks.