by John Unrein
Grain Valley Eagles junior defenseman Gage Levell took slow and deliberate strides towards the soccer ball during the last attempt of the penalty kick shootout. Levell’s hips centered with his final step and the placement of his right foot on the ball sent it careening with a low trajectory to the left bottom corner of the goal.
The result was an Eagles win over a conference rival in the Fort Osage Indians by a score of 6-4 on October 27th. Those in attendance on the chilly night for Grain Valley were on their feet and loud with celebration following the dramatic win.
Levell was preceded by junior midfielder Micah Siems, sophomore midfielder Owen White, sophomore midfielder Austin Schmitt, and senior forward Alex Engram in making all five penalty shots for the Eagles that secured the victory. The penalty shootout was a necessity as neither team could untie the score during the two ten minute overtime periods.
“I try to take longer on my approach to see what the goalie’s positioning is on penalty kicks. That allows me to see what side the goalie favors, and I try to bury it the opposite way. I work on penalty kicks every day after practice for this occasion in trying to be perfect,” Levell said.
“Tonight, was a dog fight with Fort Osage. They played well, but we definitely wanted it more. Our determination and will pushed me to control the ball as much as I could.”
Levell’s touch passing and timely dribbling through opponents allowed Grain Valley to keep close to equal control of the ball during the first half and limit what could have resulted in more shots on goal by Fort Osage. Grain Valley would produce 15 shots on goal during the contest to 16 by Fort Osage. The Indians lone goal would occur 29 minutes into the first half.
Sophomore goalkeeper Ryan Lampe was another difference maker for the Eagles. Lampe started the game in goal prior to being relieved by sophomore Isaac Laws. Lampe would return to relieve Laws due to him being kicked on a save attempt in the second overtime period. The penalty would result in a red card and disqualification from the contest for the Fort Osage player.
Lampe was able to save the first penalty shot attempt by Fort Osage during the shootout. Lampe went to his right upon contact with the kick and was able to get both hands on the ball and punch it away from the goal. It was Lampe’s second big save of the night with the other coming two minutes into the second half thwarting an Indians attempt on goal. Other denials on goal by Lampe would come with critical saves at the end of regulation and as time expired in the second overtime.
“Coach (Lewis) told me the guy I made the save on always goes to his left, which would be my right with the shot. I said okay, I’ll trust him and sure he enough Coach (Lewis) was correct, and I made the save,” Lampe said.
“The first half I made another save but felt like I could’ve done better. I didn’t get to the ground fast enough to stop the ball on the goal they (Fort Osage) scored (prior to overtime). I also should have talked more in giving instructions to my teammates. It does feel great to get this win though.”
Grain Valley’s other goal came during regulation on a free kick by Schmitt to forward Kade Compton who’s nifty boot of the ball found net twenty minutes into the second half. Compton’s play was part of a rotation of substitution used by Lewis to keep as many fresh players on the field as possible throughout the game. A strategy that paid dividends for Grain Valley as the game progressed.
Lewis reflected on the culminating efforts of his team’s victory after the game.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to get and review film on some of our opponents. Right footed kickers typically have a tough time opening their hips and that causes them to typically shoot to the left side of the goal. I told (Ryan) Lampe that the first guy is likely going to his left. That was fortunate and Lampe made my advice look better than it was,” Lewis said.
“Gage (Levell) is a penalty kick expert. He’s the best on this team at it and that’s why he kicks last in the lineup during a shootout. He does practice it regularly and that’s why we expect him to deliver.”
Lewis continued, “Kade Compton was originally rostered as a JV (junior varsity) player and he’s been super impressive this season, which has earned him some varsity time in recent games. His goal tonight leveled the field for us and got us into overtime.”
“Our possession of the ball also improved as the game progressed tonight. I have confidence in our mid three (midfielders). Their play created more opportunities for us up top during the second half and they kept the ball a little longer. It allowed us to get the ball to our guys in their width and whip balls towards our opponent. Luckily, we finished.”
The win moves Grain Valley to a 6-11 record. The Eagles will next be in action when they host the Truman Patriots at 6:30 pm on October 29th prior to Grain Valley playing in the Class 3, District 8 Tournament starting on November 24th.
by John Unrein
The postgame team address by Grain Valley Eagles head football coach David Allie received the loudest cheers of all following their victory over the visiting Belton Pirates by a score of 22-0 on October 23rd.
Allie informed the team they could give themselves three claps for the victory, a shutout, a share of the conference title, and for not having to come in on Saturday morning for film review of the game. The last of which drew a raucous cheer from the team, culminating with senior defensive tackle Quincy Jones jumping to his feet to come and hug coach Allie, prior to patting him on the back.
The well-earned respite for the Eagles meant that they would get to sleep in on a Saturday morning prior to returning to practice the following Monday. Such are the spoils received by the victors of games in late October high school football.
Midfield with the scoreboard in the background was the next destination for an Eagles celebration. Grain Valley’s black shirt defense wanted to commemorate their shutout. Jones and senior linebacker Hunter Newsome provided posing directions and humor to assure smiles as cameras snapped their shots.
“I feel like I’m back at one hundred percent after my shoulder injury. I have to occasionally work out the soreness, but we only have upwards to go and I’m not going to miss this. We have to keep pushing,” Jones said.
“The key to success tonight up front was to beat the offensive lineman in front of us. That limits space for the running back and frees up our linebackers to come down hill.”
Newsom added, “We were prepared tonight. We learned from last week and fixed what we needed to in practice. This was going to be a dog fight and we won the battles that we needed to.”
“Our defensive lineman did a great job of holding down blockers and that freed us up at the second level to flow freely to the football. Our challenge was to bring more energy in practice and step up the physical nature of what we do.”
“I’ve been playing with a lot of guys on this team for a long time. Tonight is great because we continue to grow as a team.”
Newsom and Jones each contributed 11 and 2 tackles respectively. They were joined by sophomore Eagle free safety Keegan Hart, who turned in a gem of a game with 4.5 tackles and 2 timely interceptions. Hart continues to get himself in the correct position during his drops while reading the quarterback. The football IQ and maturity displayed by Hart is past his years and helps to secure the last line of the Grain Valley defense.
Hart’s first interception came with 7:40 left in the second quarter. That be followed by another pick with 25 seconds left in the game. Hart successfully timed his approach and jump for the ball on both occasions.
“The pressure applied to the quarterback by our defensive line helped me be successful tonight. My coaches also have faith in me. That has allowed me to celebrate with my team and enjoy this moment,” Hart said.
“We continue to do our thing. Coach (Dominic) Giangrasso has helped me with my footwork and understanding the game as a whole.”
It was the second week in a row that Grain Valley had faced a double wing “flexbone” offense. Correct alignment, assignment, pursuit, and tackling are essential to control this type of offense. Winning one on one battles at the line of scrimmage also doesn’t hurt. The Eagles were prosperous with both, permitting the shutout against a previously undefeated Belton football team, and improving on errors from the previous week against the Raytown Blue Jays.
Offensively, the Eagles found success on the ground against the Pirates. Isolation or “Iso” runs with Newsome lead blocking for senior quarterback Cole Keller were successful, as were “G” or pulling guard sweeps to junior running back Jaxon Wyatt.
Both Keller and Wyatt had space cleared for them by the Eagles offensive line made up of starters Cooper Terry, Jack Bailey, Donovan McBride, Landen Hinton, and Connor Heitman. The quintet utilized knowing the snap count to their advantage in getting off of the football and successfully executing blocks for Eagle ball carriers. The reward was Grain Valley racking up 270 rushing yards on 46 attempts, good for a 5.9 yards per rush average.
A joyous Keller was all smiles after the game. A chorus of “congratulations, Cole” was abundant as the Eagles signal caller waited for them to die down in gathering his thoughts prior to his postgame interview. The victory helped his team secure a share of the Suburban Conference White Division title as both Grain Valley and Belton end the regular season with a 7-1 record.
“There was a lot riding on this game. We wanted a bye week (that would come with an Eagles victory entering the district playoffs). A piece of the conference championship was also on our mind with this being our first time in Class 5 (at the state level). We have 23 seniors on this team that play their hearts out every single game,” Keller said.
“We want to keep going and this win puts us in the best situation possible moving forward. I am proud of this team and we will enjoy this (moment).”
Allie was delighted with his team’s performance after the game. Especially, the play of both his offensive and defensive lines up front. The later of which helped to secure the shutout for the Eagles and limit the Belton offense to just 183 total yards of offense.
“Tonight was about us running the football and stopping them from doing so. We put forth a total team effort in this win. Guys (linemen) that are unheralded and typically don’t get a lot of love took over this game and are a big reason why we won,” Allie said.
“To be as resilient as we have been all season, including the loss last week, and to put that behind us with how we played tonight is special.”
“Tuesday, we had a good, but not great practice. Wednesday morning the captains met before school about what we can do to have more ‘juice’ and that afternoon we had an early season type practice. It allowed us to get out of the monotony of the grind that you are in at this point of the season.”
Allie concluded, “They (Belton) play a tough 3-3 Stack defense. We used motion and quarterback ‘iso’ to help us get into successful situations offensively. The bye week is huge. We will not gather rust. We will watch film and tweak what’s needed. We will be ready for the next game we get to host here.”
Grain Valley’s victory gives them the top seed in the Class 5, District 7 football playoff bracket. The Eagles will next play on November 6th at Moody Murray Stadium. Grain Valley will host the winner of Ruskin and William Chrisman who will face each other on October 30th.
The Eagles could possibly face either Raytown or Belton again as they are in the adjacent bracket and part of the Class 5, District 7 bracket along with Truman and Sedalia Smith-Cotton.
Top: Running Back Jaxon Wyatt fights for yards against the Belton defense. Bottom: Quarterback Cole Keller follows the lead block of Hunter Newsom.
Photo credit: John Overstreet
At a time when it seems difficult to find issues everyone can agree on, we think most will welcome the end of election advertisements, mail, and signs after Election Day next Tuesday, November 3rd.
In-person Absentee voting will continue through 5:00pm on Monday, November 2nd. Absentee voting requires that you have a reason for voting absentee. Anyone who is 65 or older automatically qualifies for this election as they are in an at-risk category for COVID-19. The Absentee Voting Office is at 110 N Liberty in Independence.
If you’ve requested a mail-in ballot (one that did not require a reason for requesting it), you must mail it back to the Jackson County Election Board and the envelope must be notarized.
If you have an absentee ballot that was mailed to you, you can mail it back to the Jackson County Election Board or drop it off at the Absentee Drop-off Office at 112 N Liberty, Independence. There is no drop box. You must go in and present your ID.
The Election Board must receive your ballot by 7:00pm on Election Day.
The Jackson County Election Board will have special accommodations on Saturdays and on Election Day for individuals who have tested positive or who are quarantining because of COVID-19. Drive-through voting will be available from 1:00pm-3:30pm on Saturday and all day on Election Day behind the Absentee Office at 110 N Liberty in Independence. Any voter who has tested positive for COVID-19 and has an absentee or mail-in ballot that needs notarization may also use the special drive-through hours on Saturdays.
Voters can find their polling location and their sample ballot on our website at www.jcebmo.org. Click on “VOTER LOOKUP.”
The Jackson County Election Board reported the following statistics as of October 23rd:
2020 – 244,454 total registrations
2018 – 224,452 total registrations
2016 – 230,465 total registrations
2012 – 216,459 total registrations
2008 – 234,109 total registrations
2020 – 49,983 Absentee/mail-in applications processed (18,285 in-person) – as of 8am on 10/23/20
2016 – 16,321 Absentee applications processed (9,694 in-person)
2012 – 14,222 Absentee applications processed (8,453 in-person)
2008 – 16,167 Absentee applications processed (10,122 in-person)
The Election Board reports over 10,000 more registered voters than our previous record in 2008. The Election Board has processed over 3,000 more absentee applications (in person and by mail) than they processed for all three of the last presidential elections combined as of October 23rd.
Polls are open for those who plan to vote on Election Day from 6:00am—7:00pm.
The Board of Aldermen voted October 26th to approve the issuance of tax increment refunding revenue bonds not to exceed $2,425,000. The bonds will refund the previously issued Industrial Development Authority of Grain Valley Tax Increment Revenue Bonds from the Grain Valley Marketplace redevelopment project series 2012 bonds.
The primary benefit of the refunding revenue bonds for the City is to remove the annual appropriation backing by the City for the Series 2012 bonds. The refunding will provide a slight reduction in interest rate, from 4.329% to 4.1%.
The Board also approved a resolution to enter into an agreement with CFS Engineers to construct a pedestrian bridge at Blue Branch Creek. The bridge will provide pedestrian connectivity between he high school/Sni-A-Bar Elementary campus and the Sni-A-Bar Farms residential subdivisions.
The City was awarded $119,210 in Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) funds for the construction and installation of the bridge.
Parks and Recreation Director Shannon Davies reported 315 children were able to participate in fall softball and baseball.
“When so many communities decided not to provide programming, we were pretty happy to be able to provide something and have a successful season,” Davies said.
Community Development Director Mark Trosen reported the street maintenance program, originally scheduled to start Tuesday, October 27th, was delayed until Friday, October 30th due to rain. Door hangers notifying affected residents will be placed prior to the start of the project.
The next Board of Aldermen meeting will be held Monday, November 9th at 7:00pm at City Hall.
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) officials began distributing thousands of rapid COVID-19 tests this week, enabling districts to test symptomatic students and staff in 15 minutes.
Nearly 330 districts/schools applied to participate in Missouri’s BinaxNOW Antigen Testing Program for K-12 Institutions, requesting a total of nearly 583,000 test kits for use among symptomatic students and school personnel. These minimally invasive nasal swab tests must be administered by a health professional (e.g. a school nurse), and yield results in just 15 minutes. Many districts/schools will perform these rapid tests onsite, after receiving the appropriate consent from the staff member or the student’s parent/guardian. Some districts/schools have partnered with their local health department or another medical provider in their community to assist in administering these tests. Positive and negative test results will be reported electronically to the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) within 24 hours.
Grain Valley Schools Superintendent Marc Snow reported during the Board of Education’s October meeting that the district had applied for 5,000 testing kits and has 5 district nurses who can administer tests.
“The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) continues to work hard to make any and all resources available to school leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven said.
“We believe these rapid antigen tests, in conjunction with other mitigation strategies, could be instrumental in helping schools provide onsite learning opportunities safely. We appreciate colleagues at DHSS and the State Emergency Management Agency for working quickly with our team on this important initiative.”
Districts/schools that applied will receive the number of test kits requested (up to one test per student and staff member, due to limited inventory) in incremental shipments over the coming months. In the state’s current inventory, there are approximately 240,000 test kits available to distribute to K-12 schools that have provided the required assurances and documentation.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services prioritized public and private K-12 schools to receive the Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen test kits free of charge, along with higher education institutions and long-term care facilities. Missouri is expected to receive a total of 1.84 million Abbott BinaxNOW antigen test kits.
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
The Grain Valley Board of Aldermen were discussing some major issues in 1995. Included were the possible purchase of the Golden Strings Theater for a new City Hall, Police Department and Community Center; the possible purchase of the Valley Hills Golf Course on R. D. Mize Road, possible discussion of a water park swim center and other water facilities; and possible construction of a solid waste disposal plant.
In 1995, Grain Valley had a population of 2,733 up from 1,890 in the 1990 census, an increase of 44% in the last five years. At the time O’Fallon, Missouri (near St. Louis) claimed to be the fastest growing city in the state with a 41 % increase. That is when Grain Valley realized they were growing!
In 1994, overall building permits showed $7.1 million in new residential and commercial construction. But through July 31, 1995, permits already totaled $7.7 million.
Construction included $3.5 million for converting the Grain Valley Middle School into the first phase of Grain Valley High School which at the time had less than 400 students. And 1995 was when the first Casey’s General Store was built at a cost of $350,000.
Some other happening in Grain Valley 25 years ago included:
The Police Department received “Special Mention” for the decals on their police car from a contest sponsored by Law and Order magazine and the 3-M Company.
After months of “talks” Grain Valley rejected a jail being built in our community.
State Bank of Missouri purchased 9.8 acres of land from the Grain Valley School District at a cost of $230,000.
This allowed for construction of a new bank on land that was previously use by the school for their central office (In the old Armstrong Home), football stadium and bus garage.
The following fall, Moody Murry Field was dedicated at the site of the new high school on Eagles’ Parkway.
By 2000, the population had grown to just over 5,160 and by the 2010 census the population had reached 12,854.
Jackson County voters will be asked to decide if the statues of Andrew Jackson located outside the Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas City and the Historic Truman Courthouse in Independence should be removed. The statues have been discussed by the legislature for nearly a year. Calls for the statues of the country’s seventh president to be removed intensified this summer in the wake of protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
In a June statement, County Executive Frank White called for their removal.
“Countless men, women, and children come through the doors of our courthouses every day. And every day, racism and discrimination are staring them in the face,” White said in the statement.
County legislators voted to put the question on the November ballot. White vetoed the decision, with legislators overriding the veto 6-3.
A simple majority is required for passage of the measure.
Polls are open 6:00am—7:00pm on Tuesday, November 3rd. Absentee voting in person continues at 110 N. Liberty, Independence. The absentee drop off location is located at 112 N. Liberty, Independence. For more information, visit www.jcebmo.org.
The Jackson County Health Department will offer COVID-19 testing at the following sites the week of October 26th—October 30th:
Monday, November 2, 2020:
City of Lee’s Summit,
616 NE Douglas St., Lee’s Summit 64081
Tuesday, November 3, 2020:
Metro Christian Fellowship Church
2217 High Grove Rd. Grandview
Wednesday, November 4, 2020:
Vesper Hall 400 NW Vesper St. Blue Springs MO.
Thursday, November 5, 2020:
Connection Point Church
10500 E State Route 350 Raytown
Friday, November 6, 2020:
Friday: Uptown Farmers Market- 211 W Truman Rd., Independence MO - https://form.jotform.com/202945807575162
Pre-registration is not required but highly encouraged. Due to increased demand, we can not guarantee openings for walk-ins.
Drive Thru Flu Clinics will also be offered at the Health Department located at 313. S Liberty St., Independence on the following dates:
Friday October 30th
Friday November 6th
Pre-registration is required for flu clinics. Clients will be billed $15 or $30 based on their insurance coverage.
Healthy and Halloween typically don’t go hand in hand, but I assure you candy isn’t the only thing to get you into the spooky spirit.
Transform your typical frightening foods into something fresh and hauntingly delicious while celebrating Halloween! But, before we get to the good stuff, let’s talk about some ways to ensure your household doesn’t go into a sugar coma come November 1.
Curb the Candy Craze:
Reduce the temptation to snack while trick-or-treating by eating a balanced meal beforehand.
Choose a smaller candy collector and encourage kids to take one piece of candy per house.
Some houses may pass out trinkets, such as stickers or temporary tattoos. Others may have snack-size packages or popcorn, mixed nuts, or 100% read fruit leathers. Encourage your kids to look for something besides candy.
Decorate oranges or bob for apples for fun, fall activities leading up to Halloween.
Trick or EKK - Too Much Sugar?
Let your kids keep enough candy to have once piece for 1-2 weeks.
Pair candy with a healthy snack, like an apple or celery with peanut butter.
“Buy back” candy from your child with tokens they can trade in for a fun activity: a day at the zoo, going ice skating, or an afternoon at the park.
Use it for holiday baking or give it out with Valentine cards.
Have no fear – you’ve got this. Let’s make Halloween fun, spooky and a little healthier, too.
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
Megan Callahan is one of your Hy-Vee Corporate Dietitians. She is dedicated to helping people live healthier and happier lives. Megan received a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Missouri State University. She completed her dietetic internship at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where she also received her Master of Science degree in dietetics and nutrition. Megan has been working with Hy-Vee full-time for 10 years. With a passion for nutrition and wellness, Megan is dedicated to educating customers and promoting healthy lifestyles to our Hy-Vee community. Megan lives in Lee’s Summit with her husband Matt, and their 2 children Kennedy (4) & Carsyn (2).
During this COVID-19 year, teamwork has never been more important. Your Community Foundation has certainly had to call many audibles at the line of scrimmage to make our new initiative a success. Earlier this month, we gathered on Zoom with donors and friends of the Community Foundation for a Virtual Behind the Scenes event, focused on progress made by the Job Skills for New Careers initiative.
Teamwork was a central theme, highlighting the partnerships that have helped this program meet increased demand and continue to serve the community during this health and economic crisis.
The Job Skills initiative’s goal is to break the cycle of poverty and provide a path to financial stability for our hard-working neighbors in Eastern Jackson County. Targeted to adults in low wage jobs with no benefits, this program connects them with training in fields that pay living wages and are in high demand in the region, including healthcare and skilled industrial trades.
We want to enable them to truly have a career and not just a job. We knew that we couldn’t accomplish this goal alone. The initiative is a strategic partnership with Community Services League (CSL), Mid-Continent Public Library and the University of Central Missouri (UCM), combining each organization’s unique assets.
In addition to covering the cost of training, the program provides wraparound support services, including public benefits counseling and financial coaching that will help remove barriers that may prevent program participants from reaching their goals both during the program and for the future.
Launching during a pandemic has brought unexpected challenges, but it’s also been a catalyst for new opportunities. When nursing homes and hospitals increased restrictions for visitors, students in the certified nursing assistant (CNA) program weren’t able to complete required practicum training hours. This led to important conversations and valuable partnerships with local healthcare employers.
Now, partnering employers like John Knox Village hire CNA candidates prior to their training and ensure a successful job placement after graduation. This investment and participation by employers is game changing and will allow us to scale this effort in ways we never imagined.
As the coronavirus continues to impact our lives and economy, it’s clear that these types of partnerships are essential for the future of our community.
Kick-started by $120,000 in support from Truman Heartland fundholders and a $60,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, even amidst the coronavirus storm, the Job Skills initiative helped 95 participants so far this year. As we approach the second year of the program, we anticipate demand to continue to grow.
The lower income families that this program serves have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. In fact, many low-wage restaurant and retail employees - who were barely making ends meet before the pandemic – are still struggling to return to work. And while jobless rates have dropped in recent weeks, many labor economists argue that data doesn’t account for the people who have completely dropped out of the labor force, whether due to the current state of the job market or because of rising concerns about safety or childcare duties.
This program helps people in this space and the segment of workers who have returned to work but are eager to make a change, find a career and start building a stronger future for their families. Join us in this effort by visiting www.thcf.org/job-skills to learn more about the Job Skills for New Careers initiative and ways to help.
Truman Heartland Community Foundation, along with our partners, continues to explore new ways to leverage funding and opportunities to meet the needs of the community. If you work with organizations that support these at risk populations or know anyone who could benefit from this program, please share information about Job Skills for New Careers and encourage them to visit newskills.cslcares.org and complete a simple application.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis with trainings starting soon. Help us spread the word about this program.
Phil Hanson is the President and CEO of Truman Heartland Community Foundation. Truman Heartland Community Foundation (THCF) is a 501(c)(3) public charity committed to improving the communities in and around Eastern Jackson County through cooperation with community members and donors. THCF serves the region with assets of more than $54 million and annual grants surpassing $4.8 million. For more information on charitable giving, visit www.thcf.org or call Truman Heartland at 816.836.8189.