by Michael Smith
The Grain Valley boys basketball team needed a big basket.
The Eagles were trailing Blue Springs South 52-50 with less than 30 seconds in Friday’s non-conference contest at home.
Grain Valley freshman Eli Herbert missed a 3-pointer but the ball went off a South player, which gave the Eagles the ball back with 13 seconds left.
Veteran head coach Andy Herbert designed a play which had the team set a screen to help Eli Herbert get open for a three. The Jaguars (3-4) overcommitted to guarding him behind the arc, so junior Jack Schoen fired a pass to a cutting Troyer who was fouled as he made a layup for his first points of the game, sending the crowd into a frenzy with 6.1 seconds left.
He made the ensuing free throw to put Grain Valley ahead by one point. The team proceeded to get a big defensive stop to end the game and earn a 53-52 victory.
“It was just a basketball awareness play,” Herbert said of Troyer’s game winner. (Schoen and Troyer) both have a high basketball IQ and it showed up at a really important time.”
Troyer said he doesn’t remember the free throw but had a good feeling when he approached one of the biggest free throws of his high school career.
“I blacked out, I don’t really remember anything,” Troyer said of his big free throw. “I didn’t remember my routine when I shoot a free throw. I felt like I have never shot a basketball, but after the first one, I had a feeling it was going in.”
After Troyer put Grain Valley (5-1) one, the team came up big defensively. For most of the game Grain Valley sat back in a zone defense to help prevent South players from scoring in the paint.
However, as South inbounded the ball to guard Michael Brooks, the Eagles defense used a press at half court, which flustered the senior and caused him to call a timeout with 1.2 seconds left.
The Jaguars inbounded the ball just past halfcourt but the ball was deflected and senior forward Rhylan Alcanter dove on a loose ball as time expired.
“I think they weren’t expecting it,” Troyer said of the press at the halfcourt line. “We had been playing back so much so when we were playing up, it kind of discombobulated them.”
Grain Valley pulled off the victory after South led for the majority of the second half. The Eagles led 14-9 after one period behind eight points from Alcanter. Grain Valley led by as many as 12 points in the second period but the Jaguars ended the half on a 14-4 run to tie the contest at 25-25 at halftime.
In the third period, South got a big performance from senior Akol Ngor, who had 12 of his 18 points in the quarter, including a pair of rim-rattling dunks – one on a putback slam and another on the fast break.
The Jaguars went into the fourth up 43-40 and kept the lead until the 3-minute mark thanks to a timely 3-pointer from Brooks and a driving layup from Collin Dobson. But Herbert helped keep his team in it by scoring 13 of his team-high 17 points in the second half, which included a trey and two free throws in the fourth period.
Schoen gave Grain Valley the lead with 3 minutes left when he lost control of the ball after receiving a pass, saw a wide-open driving lane on the left wing, and took it to the hoop for a layup and a 49-48 advantage.
“Jack has been amazing, his passing is top two on the team,” Troyer said. He’s one of the best passers I have ever seen and he plays underrated defense.”
A few possessions later, South senior forward Logan Willis, who had a game-high 19 points, with 17 coming in the first half, made a driving floater to put his team ahead by two points. On the next possession, Alcanter got an offensive rebound off a 3-point miss from Schoen and was fouled. He made 1 of 2 free throws to tie the game at 50-50.
On the following possession, Ngor leaped above the outstretched hands of Alcanter to make a driving floater to put South ahead by two. Troyer was fouled after that but missed the front end of a 1 and 1. Luckily for him, Brooks also missed a free throw in a 1 and 1 situation, which set the stage for his heroics.
“That was a great play,” Eli Herbert said. “I knew I was going to come out (behind the 3-point line) and they were going to jump it. The slip was wide open and it was and Jack made a great pass.
“We love Reece. He is that glue guy that does things right defensively. He always plays so hard.”
The Grain Valley boys basketball team celebrates after getting a big defensive stop at the end of a 53-52 win over Blue Springs South Friday at home. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley senior Reece Troyer looks to inbound the ball. He had the game-winning 3-point play with 6.1 second left in the win. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley senior Rhylan Alcantrer, white jersey, looks to catch an inbound pass. Photo credit: Michael Smith
by Michael Smith
It was dead silent.
Grain Valley senior Grace Slaughter was fouled and made a left-handed layup early in the fourth period in Thursday’s girls basketball contest with Lee’s Summit North.
It was almost as if the crowd at Grain Valley high School knew something special was going to happen.
That’s exactly what happened as Slaughter made her free throw and veteran head coach Randy Draper called a timeout. After that, it was announced that Slaughter scored her 2,000th career point, joining a small list of players in the history of Missouri high school girls basketball to accomplish that feat.
She scored a game-high 30 points as the Eagles thumped the Broncos 68-33.
The Grain Valley cheerleaders held up a banner with the number 2,000 on it. The crowd cheered and Slaughter high fived her teammates. After the game, she signed an autograph for a young fan and a fellow student handed her a printout to commemorate her 2,000th point.
“I didn’t know about it and didn’t know if I was close,” Slaughter said. “These things are just a number. It’s just a fun thing to do. I wouldn’t be able to do this without my teammates. We’ve been working so hard in practice and have been working on putting the pieces together.”
The print had a custom made video game cover that had “Grace2K” on it with a photo of the senior shooting a reverse layup. The cover was a spin off the popular NBA2K video game series that has been around since 2001.
Draper called Slaughter “special”, and he was in awe of the feat that the talented forward was able to accomplish.
“She missed some of last year and still got there,” Draper said. “To be on that list is special and she didn’t know she was. It was great. It was a surprise to her. Two-thousand is a ridiculous amount of points.”
Slaughter is someone who is in the gym constantly working on her game. She often comes to the Grain Valley High School gym after a wrestling, volley or boys basketball event and gets some shots in. She is someone who dedicates a bulk of her time getting better at basketball.
So what is it that motivates her to work so hard and so often on her game?
“A couple of quotes stick out to me and one is from ( former Boston Celtics plater and Basketball Hall of Famer) Larry Bird,” Slaughter said. “I remember him saying, ‘There is always someone out there working.’ I just want to do the same thing.”
“Another quote is from Jordan Roundtree. She played at Mizzou. She got asked if she sometimes gets nervous when she is on the court. She said, ‘You don’t get nervous if you work on everything and you prepare for the games.’ I just have that mindset to do everything I can to prepare for the games.”
That hard work has paid off as she will likely enter the top 15 list for career points scored in Missouri history. Slaughter now has 2,009 points. She needs just 144 more points to pass Gracee Smith of Arcadia Valley for 15th on the all-time list. She is on pace to do that in just five games.
North made things tough for Slaughter in the first half as the Broncos held her to just nine points in the first 16 minutes. Two to three Broncos were guarding Slaughter in the paint any time she caught the ball. There were even a few times when the senior was getting double teamed when she didn’t have the ball.
“I have been seeing that sometimes,” Slaughter said of getting double teamed off ball. “For our girls to be able to hit their outside shots make a big difference. That doesn’t allow them to guard us like that.”
Even with the North defense hyper focused on stopping Slaughter, Grain Valley still led 13-11 after the first period and 24-13 at halftime, With the attention Slaughter was getting that helped players like juniors Annabelle Totta and McKenah Sears to get open looks. Totta added nine points while Sears had eight.
In the third period the Eagles pulled away as Slaughter scored nine points in the frame, including a layup at the buzzer to make it 50-27. She then exploded for 12 points in the fourth period, including the conventional 3-point play that got the senior to 2,000 points.
Meanwhile, Grain Valley defense was firing on all cylinders, too, as the Eagles held the talented Broncos duo of Elauni and Emani Bennett to just nine points combined.
“We prepared for them,” Slaughter said of guarding the Bennett sisters. “Just watching film. We thought that maybe the others weren’t as strong of shooters as them, so we focused on them on defense. We double teamed them a little bit and we always helped off to them whether they were dragging or shooting.”
Grain Valley senior Grace Slaughter, right, scored her 2,000th career point and had a game-high 30 points in a 68-33 rout of Lee's Summit North Thursday at home. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley senior Grace Slaughter gets high fives from her teammates after it is announced that she scored her 2,000th point. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley junior Annabelle Totta tries to drive by a Lee's Summit North defender. Photo credit: Michael Smith
by Cory Unrein, Co-Owner/Publisher, Grain Valley News
In what has become an annual tradition, we close out this year with the reprinting of one of the most famous newspaper editorials of all time, reprinted in dozens of languages and gracing countless posters, books, stamps, and other media.
In 1897, eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon went to a trusted source, New York's Sun, with a burning question. The unsigned response, penned by newsman Francis Pharcellus Church, became an instant classic and rightly so. Each year, I am surprised at how emotional I become by reading this piece and find something new to cling to in this hectic time of year.
A look at our inbox messages could easily see how I might be attracted to Church's passage about "the skepticism of a skeptical age". But this year, it is this passage that called to me:
"Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding."
We will be taking a holiday break until January 2nd and look forward to continuing to serve the Grain Valley community in the new year. We are so appreciative of your readership, and wish you a 2023 full of faith, fancy, poetry, love, and all things real and abiding.
DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
“Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” | Newseum
Congratulations to the Grain Valley High School cheer team for bringing home the Class 4A Large State Championship trophy following their performance in the Missouri Cheerleading Coaches Association State Championships in this past weekend. Photo credit: Grain Valley Cheer
by Clara Bates, Missouri Independent
The Missouri Housing Development Commission has approved over $40 million worth of federal and state tax credits to help developers build 1,791 low-income housing units around the state.
In a meeting last week, the commission agreed to issue half the credits on an accelerated basis — the second year they’ve adopted the approach, which proponents say will make the program more efficient.
Missouri has two types of low-income housing tax credits, and the more expensive and sought-after by developers is awarded in conjunction with federal credits.
Missouri is one of 25 states operating a state version of the low-income housing tax credit program to supplement the federal program. Missouri matches up to 70% of the federal credits for the kind of tax credits most highly sought after.
To qualify, developers must agree to reserve a portion of rent-restricted units for lower-income tenants, and the project must remain as low-income housing for 30 years.
The state’s program has been criticized in the past for its inefficiencies and over the amount of funding that actually ends up put into affordable housing.
Developers sell the tax credits for less than face-value to investors, who then redeem the credits over ten years to offset their income tax liabilities. In return, developers receive equity to help cover construction costs.
The state previously matched up to 100% of the federal allocation. A 2014 audit found only 42 cents of every tax credit dollar went to construction of low income housing.
In 2017, former Gov. Eric Greitens successfully stacked the commission in order to kill the state’s tax credit program, and as a result, for three years Missouri issued only the federal credits. The program was reinstated in 2020, two years after Greitens resigned from office, and the match rate was capped at 70% amid pressure to make the program more efficient.
Last year, the commission put half of tax credits on a faster redemption plan, an idea pushed by State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick that was based on a report that found investors were willing to pay more for the credits when they could be redeemed sooner. The average price investors paid was roughly 58 cents per credit in 2020, but rose to around 68 cents in the accelerated redemption pilot, according to the state’s pilot program data.
Developers on the accelerated plan receive around 71% of their credits within the first five years rather than only half within that time period.
The effects of new projects on general revenue won’t be known for roughly two years from the approval date, MHDC Executive Director Kip Stetzler told the commission last year, because of the time it takes to finalize the sale of tax credits and then construct the units.
This year, Missouri’s housing development commission received 115 applications for the tax credits and approved 33.
Projects are divided into four regions. Applicants compete among those in their region and are scored on measures including the site location and level of cost-burdened tenants in the region. The housing development commission also holds community public hearings. In Jefferson City this year, none of the four projects competing for the tax credits were approved, in part due to local opposition, the News Tribune reported.
The projects approved to receive the highest amounts in tax credits include:
The low-income housing tax credit was the second-largest tax credit program based on annual redemptions in fiscal year 2022. Over $113 million in the credits were redeemed, second only to Missouri Works, an incentives program for creating jobs in the state.
Over half of publicly-supported rental homes in the state are supported by low-income housing tax credits, according to data from the National Housing Preservation Database. Missouri has 43 affordable and available rental homes per 100 extremely low income renter households, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s report from this year.
In the next five years, roughly 9,000 publicly supported rental homes in Missouri are at risk of loss, according to the National Housing Preservation Database, because developers are only required to maintain the units as low-income housing for 30 years. The LIHTC program in Missouri started in 1990 to supplement the federal program which started in 1986.
MCPL and the Sylvan Learning Center have partnered to provide free practice ACT tests, including a free practice test sesson on Saturday, January 14th at the Grain Valley branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library.
Advance registration is required for the session to be held January 14th from 10:00am - 2:00pm. Registrants will need to bring a #2 pencil, a calculator, a watch, and a valid email address to receive your results.
This is a full version of the ACT and will last about four hours. The test will begin right at the program start time, and no late arrivals will be allowed to participate after the test begins.
For more information and to register, visit Free Full-Length, Diagnostic Practice ACT Test | Mid-Continent Public Library (mymcpl.org).
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
Does anyone remember the Turkey Dinners put on by the Christian Church and the Methodist Church each year in December? They were not only an annual fundraiser for the women’s groups at both churches, but they were also a community social event.
I am guessing that many communities held similar event. Over the year’s I can recall Chili Suppers, Ham and Bean Dinners, Pancake Breakfast, and of course, the grandest meal, the annual Turkey Dinners. As I recall, the Christian Church held their dinner in November, just before Thanksgiving and the Methodist Church held their dinner on the first Saturday in December.
In addition to the meal, there was also the Christmas Bazaar. The ladies would prepare for weeks knitting hats and mittens, crocheting potholders and doilies, sewing fancy Christmas Aprons and assembling Christmas decorations; all to make extra money for their society.
Putting aside the money that was raised for each women’s group, they were BIG social events. The attendees dressed up. We are talking men in suits and ties and the ladies in their best dress, heels and hose! Even the youth who serve the beverages and extra rolls wore dresses and suits! Dinner was served in the fellowship hall, but the sanctuary was opened for visiting well past the meal.
About the meal, really never varies; roast turkey, homemade noodles in the early days, real stuffing made from cornbread and dried breadcrumbs, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, dinner rolls and, of course, homemade pies. When I was young, I remember people liked mincemeat and goose berry pies. Chess pie, made from squash, and raisin pie were also popular, along with pumpkin and pecan. What ever happened to chocolate meringue coconut cream?
I recall these events from my earliest memory, the early 1950s, until I was an adult. I particularly remember 1959. My mother was at home baking pumpkins pies on Friday night, December 9, when she got the phone call that our family hardware store was on fire. The store and the building next door (on the East side of Main Street, just north of the railroad tracks—it’s a parking lot now) burned to the ground that night.
In the latter years, the dinners had grown so large we moved the event to the Grain Valley Elementary School. This would have been in the early 1990s. I’m not exactly sure when the Methodist Church had their last Turkey Dinner. But I do remember, I got asked to cut and serve the homemade pies the last few years. THIS WAS A GREAT HONOR!
When I was young only my grandmother or Mrs. Snodgrass were allowed to cut the pies. You had to get them out of the pan and onto a plate looking good! By the time I was asked, I’d been teaching Home Economics for several years, but it took those years of practice to prove worthy of the task.
When you gather with family and friends this holiday season, I hope you will share your memories of the past. Whether in Grain Valley or elsewhere, I hope they put a smile on your face!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The aprons were made by my mother and sold at the Christmas Bazaar. These were three of the extras she made for us. They usually sold for $2 or $3, a high price in those days. I believe they may have sold the hand embroidered Santa face apron for $5.
Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society
Winter squash, tubers and root vegetables are in great abundance this time of year. Another not-so-common winter root vegetable is parsnips. A member of the Apiaceae family, parsnips are a ‘cousin’ to carrots and share their long taproot characteristic, though they tend to grow larger and thicker.
The creamy white vegetable also has a central ‘core’ that can become tough as it grows to full maturity and may need to be trimmed down prior to preparation. Parsnips have a sweet, earthy flavor that is not fully developed until the roots have been exposed to near-freezing temperatures for 2 to 4 weeks in the fall and early winter. This cold-weather growth results in the starches changing into sugar.
Parsnips are believed to be native to the eastern Mediterranean region. In Roman times the parsnip was regarded to have medicinal as well as food value. While there is no evidence that the Greeks and Romans cultivated parsnips, they commonly used wild ones for food. The British colonists introduced parsnips to North American in the 1600’s. Parsnips are grown primarily in northern states, with Michigan, New York, Washington, and Oregon leading in production in the US.
Parsnips, bring a variety of nutrients to the table, including Vitamins C, E, and K, folic acid, potassium, magnesium and both soluble and insoluble fiber. These nutrients support cardiovascular, immune, and digestive health, aid in wound healing, and reduces the risk of neural tube defects in developing babies in utero. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.
Before the cultivation of sugar beets and cane sugar, parsnips were commonly used as sweetener. Roasting parsnips brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetable and is a common preparation method. Cutting parsnips into strips (resembling french fries) and combining with similarly cut carrots makes for a tasty side dish when tossed with olive oil and roasted in a 400-degree oven.
Boiling parsnips with potatoes and mashing them together will give your mashed potatoes a tasty surprise for your holiday table. For a sweet and savory combination, try this roasted ‘root and fruit’ combination.
Maple Roasted Parsnips
1 ½ cups parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 ½ cups sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup apple, chopped (Fuji or Gala are good)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Nutrition information: Calories: 120, Total Fat: 2.5g, Saturated Fat: .2g, Sodium: 7mg, Carbohydrates: 25g, Fiber: 3.5g, Protein: 1g
Recipe adapted from Seasonal and Simple, analyzed by verywellfit.com
Enjoying the holiday season and staying on track with your health goals can feel complicated – especially when attending holiday gatherings chocked full of delicious treats. You may have seen the increasingly popular butter board trend this holiday season. So how can you take this trend and amplify the nutrition? Hy-Vee registered dietitians are here to breakdown how to build a more nutrient-dense board perfect to share at your holiday gathering and help keep you on track with your health goals!
Holiday Greek Yogurt Board
All you need:
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
½ cup pistachios (or substitute chopped pecans or walnuts)
½ cup pomegranate arils
2 tbsp Hy-Vee honey
Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
To dip: Apple slices, pear slices, graham crackers
All you do:
Recipe source: Hy-Vee dietitians
This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
Missouri non-farm payroll employment increased by 8,200 jobs from October 2022 to November 2022, and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by one-tenth of a percentage point. Private industry employment increased by 7,600 jobs and government employment increased by 600 jobs. The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.7 percent in November 2022, up from 2.6 percent in October 2022. Over the year, there was an increase of 72,800 jobs from November 2021 to November 2022, and the unemployment rate decreased by 1.2 percentage points, from 3.9 percent in November 2021 to 2.7 percent in November 2022.
Missouri's smoothed seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by one-tenth of a percentage point in November 2022, rising to 2.7 percent from the revised October 2022 rate of 2.6 percent. The November 2022 rate was 1.2 percentage points lower than the November 2021 rate. A year ago, the state's seasonally adjusted rate was 3.9 percent. The estimated number of unemployed Missourians was 83,000 in November 2022, up by 4,132 from October's 78,868.
The national unemployment rate remained unchanged over the month. Missouri's unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for the last five years.
The state's not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged in November 2022, holding at October’s 2022 rate of 2.4 percent. A year ago, the not-seasonally-adjusted rate was 3.2 percent. The corresponding not-seasonally-adjusted national rate for November 2022 was 3.4 percent.
Missouri's labor force participation rate was 62.5 percent in November 2022, four-tenths of a percentage point higher than the national rate of 62.1 percent. Missouri's employment-population ratio was 60.8 percent in November 2022, nine-tenths of a percentage point higher than the national rate of 59.9 percent. Missouri's unemployment rate of 2.7 percent in November 2022 was one point lower than the national rate of 3.7 percent.
Missouri's non-farm payroll employment was 2,940,300 in November 2022, up by 8,200 from the revised October 2022 figure. The October 2022 total was revised downward from the preliminary estimate with a decrease of 400 jobs.
Goods-producing industries increased by 4,200 jobs over the month, with mining, logging, & construction gaining 2,700 jobs and manufacturing gaining 1,500 jobs. Private service-providing industries increased by 3,400 jobs between October 2022 and November 2022. Employment in private service-providing industries increased in leisure & hospitality (2,600 jobs); financial activities (1,700 jobs); professional & business services (900 jobs); and educational & health services (100 jobs). Employment decreased in trade, transportation, & utilities (-1,300 jobs); information (-400 jobs); and other services (-200 jobs). Government employment increased by 600 jobs over the month an increase in local government (900 jobs) and a decrease in federal government (-300 jobs).
Over the year, total payroll employment increased by 72,800 jobs from November 2021 to November 2022. Most major private-sector industry groups that shared in the increase, with the largest gain in professional & business services (24,600 jobs); followed by leisure & hospitality (12,900 jobs); mining, logging, & construction (11,900 jobs); educational & health services (9,900 jobs); manufacturing (6,200 jobs); financial activities (5,000 jobs); and other services (3,000 jobs). Employment decreased in trade, transportation, & utilities (-1,400 jobs) and information (-300 jobs). Government employment increased over the year, with a gain of 1,000 jobs. Government employment increased in local government (2,000 jobs) and state government (1,600 jobs). Employment decreased over the year in federal government (-2,600 jobs).