This month's Unsung Hero is Stephanie Kallas, whose work to bring therapy dogs into Grain Valley Schools and four dogs in outside districts, provided an avenue to honor her brother Michael.
When Kallas began working to bring therapy dogs into schools, she was the Behavior Interventionalist at North Middle School.
"I worked with students who were struggling with a lot of issues, but mainly it was working with students to help them when their emotions were big. A lot of times, I found myself thinking 'Gosh, if I could have a dog here to work with them', because I'd seen the power of that with my own kids."
For four years, Kallas worked with building and district administration, working through many hurdles in order to be able to begin training the first dog, Bruce, to work in the school. Bruce is a Woodle, a combination of a Wheaton Terrier and Poodle, both hypoallergenic breeds due to their lack of shedding.
Just as Kallas had completed training with Bruce and was preparing to start the school year, her older brother Michael passed away.
"He struggled with mental health his entire life, and the one time I ever saw him comfortable in his own skin was when he was with a dog."
The way to honor her brother's memory became clear when she began thinking about the lengthy path she endured to get Bruce into the school.
"There's got to be some way I can help teachers get a therapy dog, because it was a really long, hard journey. You don't know what you don't know until you start getting into it."
So Kallas began Michaels Peaceful Paws to help other teachers with the training, insurance, supplies, and medical costs involved in taking on a therapy dog. The nonprofit organization has assisted in the training and placement of therapy dogs at each of Grain Valley's schools, and each dog's name honors Kallas's brother in some way.
Bruce is named after Bruce Springsteen, one of Michael's favorite artists, and Norah at the Early Childhood Center is named for another favorite artist, Norah Jones. Harold, at Grain Valley High School, is named after their grandfather.
When Kallas first introduced Bruce, she thought he'd be working with "the 2-5% of students that really struggle with mental health issues".
"What I really saw was kids were really motivated to work because they got the reward of getting to work with him. Kids felt more regulated. Kids who struggled to get to school were getting to school because they were motivated to get to see him, and help make sure he had water in the morning. Kids who were home sick would email me and say, 'Please let Bruce know that I am home sick, and I'll see him tomorrow.'. It just shocked me how much of a difference he makes," Kallas said.
"There have been a few instances where kids had to receive bad news, and Bruce was able to be there with them."
Kallas, who receives 10-12 inquires a week from other teachers and districts interested in having their own therapy dogs, is now focused on creating resources for teachers and districts interested in bringing therapy dogs to their schools. In addition, Kallas is also interested in developing a certification program for therapy dogs to ensure the handlers understand what it takes to advocate and care for the dog.
"A dog can't say, 'I'm exhausted'. And they absorb all of emotions they're taking in during the day. I worry that it gets to be such a fad, that there are not the standards and protections needed for the dogs."
Kallas emphasizes that therapy dogs are not service dogs, who are highly trained to complete a set of tasks for one person. "Therapy dogs are simply pets who are trained to help a lot of people make their day better."
To learn more about Michaels Peaceful Paws and follow along with Bruce's adventures, follow Kallas and Bruce on Facebook at Michaels Peaceful Paws.
Stephanie Kallas with her therapy dog Bruce relax at the end of a school day at Grain Valley North Middle School. Photo credit: Valley News staff
Missouri Good Neighbor Week, which begins on National Good Neighbor Day (Sept. 28) and goes seven days in Missouri (Sept. 28 to Oct. 4 in 2022), was established to foster compassion and respect for our neighbors as well as lasting relationships.
Missouri residents are invited to participate in the 10,000 Acts of Neighboring Challenge. Acts of neighboring are often simple gestures that help us be a good neighbor, lift up others, or make our community a place we love. The goal is for Missouri residents to document 10,000 acts of kindness toward neighbors. Those reporting their Acts of Neighboring via the survey link (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MoGoodNeighborWeek(opens in new window) are elibible for prizes.
Second, you can also nominate someone in your county for the "Neighbor of the Year" award. Preference will be shown to nominees who are engaged neighbors or neighborhood connectors –- meaning they connect others through events, service or social interaction. Recognition of the nominated "Neighbor of the Year" in each county will be presented in Missouri cities and counties that have a partnering individual or organization.
Finally, residentes may nominate individuals for the Most Engaged Neighbor Award
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/EngagedNeighborNomination(opens in new window)
Special Statewide Neighbor Awards will also be presented in recognition of the Missouri Neighboring Project of the Year, Diversity Award, Best of Rural Missouri Award, and the Judges Choice Award.
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
It has been sixty years since Grain Valley had a Blue Springs football team on their schedule. And it had been sixty-four years since Grain Valley defeated a Blue Springs football team. Charlie Richard quarterbacked the 1958 team that defeated Blue Springs. With Grain Valley’s victory last Friday night, that losing streak is HISTORY!
This week, I visited with Richard Danner, the quarterback from the 1962 team. I truly believe that football players, regardless of their age or the number of years that have past, remember every game they ever played. Richard was quick to tell me the Eagles lost that game by a score of 0-6. He also remembered that the Blue Springs quarterback had the same last name, Danner.
Richard played in several varsity games his freshman year, filling in for the QB, Bob Richard (Charlie’s younger brother).
Danner told me he never wanted to be the quarterback. Instead, it was his wish to be a running back like his classmate and good friend, Frank (McMillian). Ron Martin was supposed to be Grain Valley ‘s quarterback in 1962, but a preseason ankle injury sidelined Martin, so Richard took over, again.
Coach Bill Beam, (1958 Grain Valley alumnus) told him he could finally be a running back his junior year. However, due to a tragic swimming accident during the summer of 1963, Stanley Vose, the designated QB drowned.
Once again Danner was moved from half-back to quarterback for the 1963 season. Grain Valley had moved to a new athletic conference in 1963 and the Grain Valley-Blue Springs rivalry ended until last Friday night. This time, the Eagles came out on top!
The 1962 Eagles Football Team
The 1962 Football Captains
Editors’ note: Richard Danner was also the quarterback for the 1964 season,. He may be the only four-year varsity quarterback in Grain Valley football history. He and Frank McMillian shared the Napier Award in 1964. It remains the only time in the 75-year history of the award that there were two winners!
Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society
The Board of Aldermen met for its regularly scheduled meeting on September 26th, approving the tax levy for calendar year 2022 of $1.4494 per $100 of assessed value.
The Board also approved the second reading of an ordinance allowing for a zoning change at the proposed Lofts at Creekside Landing. The proposed development, generally located east of NW Sni-A-Bar Parkway where NW Sni-A-Bar Blvd. dead ends to the east, will consist of four apartment buildings containing 24 units in each building, three four-plex buildings, and one duplex, for a total of 110 units.
Alderman Arnold once again spoke out against the zoning change, raising concerns regarding the lack of green space, raising concerns regarding the impact on schools, and questioning the need for apartment housing in the city.
Alderman Cleaver spoke in support of the project, stating that there was a need for apartment options for residents. Aldermen Mills and Skinner also spoke in support of the project. The motion passed with Aldermen Arnold and Bass voting against the ordinance.
In other business, the board approved a resolution authorizing the installation of new network cables in City Hall. The board also approved resolutions authorizing the installation of streetlights in the Eagle Ridge Estates 5th and 6th plats, and Eagle Ridge multi-family 3rd plat subdivisions.
The next meeting of the Board of Aldermen will be held at 7:00pm on Monday, October 10th at City Hall.
(StatePoint) As fall sports heat up for kids, so do 5Ks, marathons and golf tournaments for adults, leading to ankle sprains for athletes of all ages.
“Both serious athletes and weekend warriors often underestimate how serious a sprain can be, and they rush back into action without taking time to rehabilitate the injury properly,” Michael J. Cornelison, DPM, FACFAS, foot and ankle surgeon and president of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) said. “While no one enjoys being sidelined from the physical activities they love, quickly diagnosing and treating an ankle injury expedites the healing process. It also reduces the chances of long-term, chronic ankle pain.”
To help people manage this painful injury properly, the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons is sharing some important insights and facts:
What is an ankle sprain? An ankle sprain is an injury to one or more ligaments, usually on the outside of the ankle. The severity depends on whether the ligament is stretched, partially torn or completely torn, as well as on the number of ligaments involved. Ankle sprains are not the same as strains, which affect muscles rather than ligaments.
What are the causes of ankle sprains? Sprained ankles often result from a fall, a sudden twist or a blow that forces the ankle joint out of its normal position. Sometimes ankle sprains occur because of congenital conditions or previous injuries.
“I always recommend that those who’ve suffered sprains and injuries in the past get their ankles checked for chronic instability as they start new fitness routines,” Dr. Cornelison said.
Do ankle sprains require a doctor’s visit? Those with ankle injuries should see a foot and ankle surgeon any time there is bruising or the inability to bear weight on that foot. Receiving a correct diagnosis is essential as different injuries require different treatment. An examination can determine if there is a fracture — which involves a crack or break in the bones that form the ankle joint. It can also differentiate between a high ankle sprain and a lateral ankle sprain.
Can an athlete play through the pain? Whether training for a 5K or quarterbacking for a high school team, getting back in the game is often a patient’s top concern, and athletes may experience pressure from teammates and coaches to play through pain. But rehabilitation of a sprained ankle needs to begin right away. If rehabilitation is delayed, the injury may be less likely to heal properly, and may lead to chronic ankle instability, which is not only painful, but can increase the risk of additional ankle sprains down the line.
How are ankle sprains treated? Most ankle injuries require no surgical intervention, according to Dr. Cornelison, who stresses that foot and ankle surgeons will always choose the most conservative treatment for the best long-term outcomes. In addition to rest, ice, compression and elevation, (also known as RICE) doctors may also recommend physical therapy to promote healing and range of motion, as well as NSAIDs to reduce pain and inflammation. In more severe cases, or in cases where the injury was initially neglected, surgery may be required to repair the damaged ligaments. The foot and ankle surgeon will select the procedure best suited to the type and severity of the injury.
For more ankle sprain information and to find a foot and ankle surgeon near you, visit FootHealthFacts.org, the patient education website for the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
The following information is derived from Grain Valley Police Department daily calls service log for the week of September 20-27, 2022.
September 20, 2022
1100 Block S Buckner Tarsney Rd Contact Process Server
PHQ UTV Inspection x2
PHQ Walk-in Report - Harassment
PHQ Citizen Contact
Buckner Tarsney / SW Rock Creek Ln Check the Wellbeing
PHQ Walk-in Report - Internet Scam
500 Block SW Joseph Ct Harassment
1100 Block S Buckner Tarsney Rd Check the Wellbeing
100 Block Main St Motor Vehicle Accident
Sni-A-Bar / Sni-A-Bar Check the Wellbeing
September 21, 2022
500 Block of Joseph Ct Citizen Contact
Broadway & Main Tree in Roadway
1200 Block of SW Eagles Pkwy Welfare Check
900 Block of S Ryan Rd Area Check-C & I Vehicle
1000 Block of Sandy Ln Area Check-Suspicious Person
800 Block of Meadowood Stealing
PHQ via phone - Animal at Large
600 Block of Yennie Disturbance
September 22, 2022
500 Block Broadway St Found Property
500 Block SW Eagles Pkwy Truancy
500 Block Broadway St Disturbance
PHQ Citizen Contact
PHQ Citizen Contact
1100 Block SW Ephraim Dr Stealing from Auto
1000 Block NW Woodbury Dr Stealing
500 Block Hudson Agency Assist - Buckner PD
900 Block NE Deer Creek Rd Suspicious Person
1900 Block NW Hedgewood Dr Agency Assist - CJC/EMS
PHQ Agency Assist - Highway Patrol
September 23, 2022
Buckner Tarsney / Duncan Rd Motor Vehicle Accident
300 Block NE Hoot Owl Dr Civil Standby
PHQ Citizen Contact
1100 Block S Buckner Tarsney Rd Stealing
100 Block NW Barr Rd Stealing
S Outer Belt Rd Citizen Assist
1800 Block NW Hilltop Ln Suspicious Activity
1300 Block NW Honey Locust Ct Verbal Disturbance
SW Eagles Pkwy / Garden St Motor Vehicle Accident
1100 Block NW Baytree Dr Threats
1100 Block SW Christie Ln Attempt to Contact
1100 Block S Buckner Tarsney Rd Verbal Disturbance
1400 Block NW Sycamore Dr Citizen Contact
September 24, 2022
1000 Block SW Clover Ct Missing Person (Located)
1300 Block NW Lindenwood Dr Area Check - Block Party (approved)
PHQ Agency Assist - Blue Springs PD
PHQ Citizen Contact
Buckner Tarsney Rd / RD Mize Rd Possible Drunk Driver (Unfounded)
600 Block Main St Suspicious Activity
200 Block Parker Disturbance
1400 Block NW Hilltop Ln Animal at Large
NW Eagle Ridge Dr Suspicious Person
September 25, 2022
200 Block E Harris St Agency Assist - CJC Structure Fire
800 Block Main St Motorist Assist
800 Block SW Graystone Dr Disturbance
US 40 Hwy / OOIDA Dr Object in Roadway
Main St / SW Eagles Pkwy Found Property
1100 Block SW Foxtail Dr Area Check - Person knocking on doors
600 Block Main St Suspicious Activity
400 Block SW Montana Ridge Dr Suspicious Activity
1100 Block NW Persimmon Dr Disturbance
800 Block NW Hickory Ridge Stealing
1000 Block NW Willow Dr Agency Assist - Blue Springs PD
1200 Block NW Hilltop Ln Open Door
1100 Block RD Mize Rd Barking Dog Complaint
300 Block Minter Ave Suspicious Vehicle
September 26, 2022
PHQ Walk-in Report - Sexual Assault
KCPD East Patrol Prisoner Pick-up
400 Block SW Oakwood Ln Agency Assist - CJC Structure Fire
600 Block NW Yennie Ave Harassment
200 Block NE Hannah Ct Property Damage
1200 Block NW Ashley Dr Verbal Disturbance
PHQ Stealing - Follow up
100 Block NW Parker Dr Stealing
400 Block SW Montana Ridge Dr Suspicious Activity
September 27, 2022
Ray County Prisoner Pick-up
PHQ Citizen Contact
1000 Block E Ryan Rd Alarm
SW Nelson Dr / SW Ridgeview Dr Suspicious Person
300 Block SW Crestview Dr Verbal Disturbance
PHQ Walk-in Report - Online Scam
1200 Block NW Phelps Ct Property Damage
1400 Block NW Aspen Cr Alarm
Duncan / NW Rosewood Dr Area Check - Vehicle on side of roadway
Additional calls for service:
Suicidal subject: 2
by Michael Smith
The Grain Valley boys soccer team had multiple opportunities.
In Monday’s Suburban White Conference match with William Chrisman, Grain Valley dominated possession; however, goalkeeper Trevor Jolley made it tough on them.
The Eagles had six shots on goal in the first half and were unable to get one past the talented goalkeeper as he stopped all five shots.
But in the second half, the Eagles broke through as junior Ethan Galvan and Alexander Luna put shots in the back of the net to help the team earn a 2-0 victory at home.
“We probably had 17 or 18 shots,” Lewis said. "We made a lot more passes and kept more possessions than they did. For the flow of the game, we dominated. We just had to focus on being clinical and making that last run through.”
In the first half, Eagles senior Austin Schmitt had a sharp kick from just outside the box stopped by Jolley on a diving save. The sophomore goalkeeper also stopped a pair of close-range shots from Grain Valley senior Owen White, which included a challenge that Jolley won where he dove and blocked the ball as White shot it.
After both teams went into halftime tied at 0, Galvan said he and the team was confident that it would break through. He helped the Eagles do just that when he received a through ball from White and made a run through the middle of the Chrisman penalty box and powered a shot through Jolley and into the net for a 1-0 lead in the 62nd minute.
“We dominated possession, so it was only a matter of time before we got behind the back line and put one in,” said Galvan, who scored his second goal of the season. “We caught their back line slipping, one of their guys was out of position, so I just ran in open space and scored.”
The Bears had a couple of opportunities to tie it, with the best opportunity coming on a shot from Giovanny Salas Andrade from the far left side of the field. He hit a rocket that appeared to be headed inside the left post of the Grain Valley goal. However, Eagles goalkeeper Landon Jaynes made a diving save to help his team keep the lead.
Sophomore Alexander Luna, who had recently been getting more playing time, made a run in the middle of the Chrisman box and he also got a through ball from White and was able to punch one into the right side of the net in the 71st minute for a 2-0 lead.
“I am super happy, it’s my first goal of the season,” Luna said. “It was a really good pass from Owen White.”
Lewis noted that Luna missed the first two weeks of the preseason due to being in Mexico and has worked his way into soccer shape.
“He came back late. He was in Mexico for most of the summer, so I haven’t seen him play a whole lot,” Lewis said. “He hadn’t played since early June. It was about me seeing him play and seeing where he’d fit when he came back.”
“He wasn’t super fit when he came back from Mexico. I think he knew that I saw him in an expanded varsity role, but I think he knew he needed to get his fitness up and get his legs under him. I have been using him more and more the last couple of games.”
Both Luna and Galvan credited White for their goals as they praised their senior teammate for being a key playmaker for the Eagles (5-5, 1-1 White Conference).
“Owen has been crazy for us this year,” Galvan said. “He’s been handling the ball a lot and scoring a lot of goals. He’s dominating out there.”
Added Lewis: “(Austin Schmitt and Owen White) are the ones who create the most opportunities for us and they often put the pass in that leads to a goal.”
Goalkeeper Landon Jaynes made a diving save to help his team keep the lead. Photo credit: Clara Jaques
Sophomore Alexander Luna, who had recently been getting more playing time, made a run in the middle of the Chrisman box and he also got a through ball from Senior Owen White and was able to punch one into the right side of the net in the 71st minute for a 2-0 lead. Photo credit: Clara Jaques
by Michael Smith
Blue Springs South seemed to have the game wrapped up.
The Jaguars were leading the Grain Valley football team 21-17 with a little more than 2 minutes remaining in the game. South had just converted third-and-10 at its own 19 after a 12-yard screen pass from quarterback Cash Parker to wide receiver Tommy Lapour.
All the Jaguars had to do was run out the remaining time on the clock as Grain Valley had no timeouts. The Eagles defense made big plays the entire game, so did it have one more left in them?
Senior middle linebacker Brody Baker forced a fumble after a Theodis Thomas run up the middle, and the ball was recovered by senior defensive end Jake Allen at the South 35-yard line with 2 minutes and 4 seconds remaining.
That eventually led to a 5-yard touchdown run by quarterback Caleb Larson with 28.6 seconds left as the Eagles won a 24-21 thriller Friday at home.
The win was Grain Valley’s first over a Class 6 team.
“That’s huge,” Grain Valley head coach David Allie said. “We’re growing and someday soon, we are going to be at that level. You have to test yourself.”
The fumble recovery breathed new life into the Eagles and gave them a chance when it seemed like the game was all but over.
“I just recovered it, Brody was the one who stripped the ball,” Allen said. “I got a double team and I tried to split it. That didn’t work so I spun off of it and the ball landed right in my hands.”
On the final drive, Grain Valley (3-2) had the ball at the South 17-yard line after a pair of 2-yard runs and an incomplete pass.
On fourth-and-6, Larson dropped back to pass and rolled to his right. No receiver was open so he tucked the ball and ran to pick up 9 yards and a first down after being pushed out of bounds. Following a Ty Williams 3-yard run to the 5, Larson, who had a monster game with 174 yards on 23 carries, punched it in with a run up the middle after a fake handoff to put the Eagles up 24-21.
“I want to give a huge shout out to my offensive line and my running backs and Ty Williams for blocking for me on those quarterback runs,” Larson said. “He takes a beating for me, without him, I wouldn’t be able to do that.”
With just 28.6 seconds left, Parker managed to get the Jaguars down to the Grain Valley 19-yard line. South place kicker Jack Brickhouse had a chance to tie the game with a 36-yard field goal attempt, but it was short as the Eagles crowd, coaches and players were sent into a frenzy.
The Grain Valley defense stepped up big to limit an explosive Jaguar offense that came into the evening averaging 42 points per game. It held South to 388 total yards, forced three turnovers and sacked Parker three times.
“Our front line was able to get pressure on the quarterback and our (defensive backs) had great coverage on their receivers,” Allen said. “Their quarterback has some crazy stats, but I think our defense held him to half the yards he had been getting.
“I do think we were the best defense that they have seen (this season).”
Keagan Hart intercepted a Parker pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage late in the first period and junior defensive end Rhylan Alcanter may have made the play of the night for Grain Valley.
Blue Springs South (3-2) had the ball at the Grain Valley 36-yard line and was ahead 14-10. Parker tried to hit a receiver on an out route but Alcanter tipped his pass, stumbled and caught the ball and returned the interception for 36 yards for a TD and a 17-14 lead with 2:38 remaining in the third.
“I saw it was going to be an out route or a screen, so I knew I had to get my hands up,” Alcanter said. “I am so excited right now. I saw the ball and I tipped it and thought, ‘Oh! This is catchable! The love I got from my teammates; you can trade that for anything.”
Added Allen: “That was the most athletic play I have ever seen in my life. Without that play, our momentum would have been totally different.”
Allie has high praise for Alcanter and the play.
“How about that?” Allie asked rhetorically. “That shows his athletic ability. He was stumbling, I thought he was going to go down. He kept his feet and took it into the end zone. That was probably one of the best plays I have seen a (defensive lineman) make.”
South scored on its opening drive of the game when a screen pass from Parker to Lapour went 58 yards and set up a 1-yard TD run for Parker to put South up 7-0.
Grain Valley responded on its first drive when Larson found a big hole up the middle, shed one tackle and rumbled 51-yards for a score to tie the game at 7-all at the 7:09 mark in the first.
Brickhouse missed a 47-yard field goal for South with 50.9 seconds left in the first quarter, but Grain Valley place kicker Austin Schmitt nailed a 27-yard attempt to give the Eagles a 10-7 lead, a score that held until halftime.
South scored on its first possession of the second half, as well, when a 56-yard screen pass from Parker to Lapour set up a 1-yard TD run from Thomas to make it 14-10 with 5:56 left in the third.
After Alcanter’s interception put the Eagles back up by three, Parker responded when he hit Malachi Howard on a fade route for a 23-yard touchdown pass to put South up 21-17 with 1:30 remaining at the third.
The Jaguars nearly put the game away late in the fourth, but the Eagles defense and Larson had other ideas.
“That’s history breaking for us,” Alcanter said when asked about Grain Valley getting its first win against a Class 6 program. “I am so happy for our coach. He deserves it. All of our coaches do.”
Larson heads toward the end zone for an Eagles touchdown against Blue Springs South.
Photo credit: John Overstreet
Ty Williams breaks through the defense in the Eagles victory over Blue Springs South.
Photo credit: John Overstreet
Larson runs the ball into the end zone as the Eagles score against Blue Springs South in the final seconds of the game to take the victory 24-21. Photo credit: John Overstreet
Photo credit: Clara Jaques
The Board of Education met for its regularly scheduled meeting on September 22nd, approving the tax rate levy for the 2022-23 school year. The rate for the 2022-23 school year is set at $4.9271, a $.0008 increase from the 2021-22 school year ($4.9263).
Dr. Nick Gooch, Assistant Superintendent, Support Services, presented details on assessments, debt service, and operating levies in advance of the meeting.
Breakdown of the $459,728,481 total assessment:
$99,824,697 personal property
The operating levy rate for 2022-23 increased slightly to $3.2271 from $3.2263 in 2021-22. The proposed debt service levy of $1.70 remains the same as the 2021-22 school year.
During administrative dashboard reporting, Gooch also reported on several items, including the anticipated decrease in school lunch participation once universal free lunch concluded in the spring.
School lunch participation is down 19% (from 66% to 47%), coming off of two years of free lunches provided through COVID-19 pandemic related funding. Breakfast dropped from 29% to 11%. Free & reduced lunch participation is up (currently 26.11%). 200 students qualify on a carryover basis from last school year – these students have until October 5th to reenroll in the program.
The food service department experienced challenges at the start of the year, losing nine employees, including a manager at the high school. Three more have been hired since the start of school, but the department is still 6 short of a full staff of 35.
Construction on the district’s new central office is proceeding as scheduled, with interior/exterior metal framing complete. Roofing should begin in next 2 weeks, with initial asphalt for parking lot scheduled for the week of September 26th.
Gooch also reported safety bollards will be installed at the entrances of each district building.
Per board request, the technology department priced four options for classroom cameras and microphones. Gooch reported to equip each classroom in the district, 270 kits would be needed. The cost to equip each classroom ranges from $573,750 to $2,889,000.
Board member Jeff Coleman asked for a per classroom cost, stating the estimates “went to the extreme with every classroom in Grain Valley”. Gooch shared the per classroom cost, not including installation based on the cheapest option, would be $2125. The costs for installing cameras and microphones in each high school classroom would be $133,875 for the cheapest option; equipping middle school classrooms would be an estimated $146,625. The topic of classroom cameras will be brought back to the board for further review.
Gooch also reported the district’s E-Sports program is off to a strong start, with 60 students participating at the JV and varsity levels.
Dr. Beth Mulvey, Assistant Superintendent for Academic Services, reported a new law recently signed by Governor Parson ensures that students earning a score of 3 or higher on AP exams will automatically earn college credit at in-state public universities.
Dr. Amanda Allen, Assistant Superintendent, Student and Community Services, reported the high school and middle schools recently completed the Signs of Suicide (SOS) program.
The suicide prevention program educates students on the connection between depression and suicide and encourages students to seek help for themselves or others through a trusted adult, using the programs ACT message:
Allen also pointed to the increase in families requesting assistance through the BackSnack program. 183 families are currently being served in the program. A food drive for the program will be held next week.
The district also received 7,000 pairs of Bombas socks through a partnership with the Community Services League. Socks will be distributed to students and staff in the district.
Superintendent Dr. Brad Welle highlighted the fentanyl crisis and educational efforts the district is undertaking to inform students and families of the risks. The district is investigating acquiring Narcan (Naloxone), used to treat narcotic overdose in emergency situations. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is offering Narcan to districts with medical provider oversight.
The Board also reviewed three board policies, which Board President Jared English explained to an unusually large audience for a board meeting, is an ongoing effort of the board to regularly review all policies.
No changes were made to the student dress code policy, but Welle explained language currently articulated in middle and high school handbooks will be added to elementary level handbooks. Welle reported all building principals worked with administration to review the current policy, which was last reviewed in 2005. Board member Jeff Porter that the policy be brought to the board once more for further review.
Additionally, the board policy regarding teaching about controversial issues was asked to be returned for a second review. Administration recommended no changes to the current policy.
Finally, the board reviewed the current policy and process for public concerns and complaints, which will also be further reviewed at a future meeting.
The Board canceled its October workshop in order to tour the Fort Osage Career & Tech Center (CTC).
This is an editorial: An editorial, like news reporting, is based on objective facts, but shares an opinion. The conclusions and opinions here have been derived by the guest contributor and are not associated with the news staff.
I am pleased to announce that the Missouri House and Senate passed the Missouri Agriculture Tax Credit. This not only helps Missouri farmers but those that consume Missouri agricultural products. Any time we can lower and help farmers (big and small) that creates a ripple effect to our communities. We all have eat! Support your local farmer!
House Advances Measure to Support Missouri Farmers (HB 3)
Lawmakers returned to the State Capitol building this week to give their support to legislation that will support and promote key areas of Missouri’s agriculture industry. House members approved HB 3 as part of the special legislative session called by Gov. Mike Parson.
Parson called the special session after vetoing HB 1720, which created and renewed a number of agriculture incentives that would sunset after two years. Parson asked lawmakers to return to Jefferson City to approve a version of the bill that would give the programs a six-year sunset.
The bill approved this week by the House extends and creates several agriculture tax credit programs. The sunset for each program would be for a minimum of six years. If approved by both chambers and signed into law by the governor, the bill would:
The bill approved by the House contains all of the provisions called for by Gov. Parson. The House did add an additional four provisions that technically fall outside the governor’s call. The four provisions pertain to land surveys, commercial log trucking, anhydrous ammonia, and the state’s soybean producers assessment. Lawmakers believe the governor will expand the special session call to allow the four additional provisions.
The bill’s sponsor said it has a price tag of $40 million for an agriculture industry that generates $94 billion in economic activity. He noted that agriculture is one of the state’s top revenue producers and that one out of every 10 jobs in Missouri is related to the agriculture industry.
The sponsor concluded by saying, “There’s good stuff in here. I think it gives small businesses, the small farms, an opportunity to compete in the arena with the big farms and the big businesses. I would ask that people really think about this and do what’s best for the small business farmers in our state.”
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. The Senate sent identical legislation (SB 8) to the House this week. The two chambers will work on the bills next week with the hope of sending one or both of them to the governor to be signed into law.
Senate Sends Tax Cut Plan to House (SB 3)
The members of the Missouri Senate also met this week to work on a tax cut plan that will allow Missourians to keep more of their hard-earned dollars. The tax cut was called for by Gov. Mike Parson, who asked legislators to help Missourians keep more of their hard-earned dollars.
Parson asked legislators to reduce the individual income tax rate, increase the standard deduction, and further simplify the tax code. His proposal would reduce the top individual income tax rate from 5.3 to 4.8 percent. It would also increase the standard deduction for individuals by $2,000 and by $4,000 for married joint filers, and eliminate the bottom income tax bracket.
The plan approved by the Senate would reduce the state’s top tax rate to 4.95 percent. It would also add four future reductions that would be triggered by revenue growth. If fully implemented, the Senate plan would make the top tax rate 4.5 percent. The Senate bill does not increase the standard deduction as requested by Gov. Parson with his special session call.
The bill now moves to the House where members will have the opportunity to pass the bill in its current form or make changes that will require further negotiation with the Senate. The House is expected to take the bill up next week.
Veto Session Concludes
While legislators were back in Jefferson City to convene for special session, they also wrapped up work on their annual veto session. Veto session gives lawmakers the opportunity to consider override motions to put bills into effect as law despite the governor’s objections. This year the House and Senate had three vetoed House Bills and one vetoed Senate Bill to consider, as well as line-item vetoes in eight appropriations bills. House and Senate members chose not to attempt any veto overrides on the first day of veto session, which was held September 14. The annual veto session officially concluded on September 21 when lawmakers again opted not to attempt overrides on any of the governor’s vetoes.
Recognizing Farm Safety and Health Week
During the same week the members of the Missouri House worked to advance legislation supporting the state’s agriculture industry, the Missouri Department of Agriculture announced the celebration of Farm Safety and Health Week. Established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, the third week of September is officially set aside to recognize that fall harvest time can be one of the busiest and most dangerous seasons of the year for the agriculture industry. This year’s theme established by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) is Protecting Agriculture’s Future.
Missouri is blessed to serve as home to 95,000 farms and employs nearly 460,000 people in agriculture, forestry and related industries. Agriculture remains the state’s number one economic driver, supporting both rural and urban communities from farm to fork. In turn, farm safety and health is of utmost importance throughout the state.
The director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture said, “The safety of our farmers and ranchers remains a top priority for my team each year. We live in a fast-paced world, and an equally-fast-paced industry. Reminding farmers to slow down, pay attention and take care of themselves is something I emphasize as the director of agriculture.”
In an effort to help protect agricultural health and safety professionals, healthcare providers, extension agents, producers, farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers, the AgriSafe Network is hosting daily webinars throughout the week. Topics include tractor and roadway safety, grain bin safety, wildfire and heat safety, workplace sexual harassment prevention, injury prevention, and mental health help for youth and adults.
Mental health is equally as important as physical health in the agriculture industry. The Missouri Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the AgriSafe Network, has launched the AgriStress Helpline for Missouri to provide Missouri farmers and ranchers a free and confidential mental health service. The Helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Producers can call or text (833) 897-2474 to speak to a healthcare professional.
For more information on National Farm Safety and Health week, visit https://www.necasag.org/nationalfarmsafetyandhealthweek/. To learn more about the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visit Agriculture.Mo.Gov.
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