The Board of Aldermen met for its rescheduled regular meeting via videoconference on December 21st. Under New Business, the Grain Valley Fair was at the top of the agenda, with Mayor Johnston requesting a motion from the board to request financial records from the Grain Valley Fair board for all years the Fair received funds from the City. Johnston outlined several accusations related to the Fair Board, including misrepresentation of who actually serves on the Fair board and misuse of funds. Johnston stated current City Administrator Ken Murphy is listed as a board member, but Murphy was not aware he was a board member and had not attended meetings.
Johnston accused Mike Todd, Fair board member and former mayor, of misuse of Fair funds, including diversion of fair funds for personal use. Additionally, Johnston questioned whether the Fair board was authorized to use funds received by the City in 2020 for food trucks that participated in the modified September 2020 Fair.
Alderman Knox stated if money was used for food trucks in 2020, “they were doing what they could to salvage what they could do for the fair”.
Pressed to disclose the source accusing Todd of misusing funds for personal use, Johnston stated former City Administrator Ryan Hunt shared the accusation with him during the mayoral campaign.
The Grain Valley Fair received $5,000 in 2020. Due to the cancellation of the majority of the Fair due to COVID-19, funds received in 2020 will be used for the 2021 fair. Murphy indicated a new contract needed to be completed to outline this understanding for 2021. Alderman Cleaver asked how long the Fair has received funds from the City. The Fair began receiving annual $5,000 allotments in 2016, for a total of $20,000 through 2020.
Johnston suggested the City request records for each year the Fair board has received funding. Johnston stated the City Attorney felt there was precedent to request financials related to the 2020 contract, but questioned whether the Board had a right to request records for all years the Fair received funds from the City. Murphy added Todd sent a monthly reconciliation report in spreadsheet form for 2020.
Alderman Stratton referenced ongoing disagreements between Johnston and Todd and asked if the request for a motion was related to the “ongoing spat between you and the Grain Valley Board president”.
“How much is coming from personal (issues) and how much is really there,” Stratton asked.
“I feel we have definite grounds to question,” Johnston said.
Once again, Johnston outlined his concerns regarding the confusion regarding who actually serves on the board versus the board listing provided on reports to the State of Missouri.
“We have a duty to see what the money is going for,” Johnston said.
Reached for comment during the meeting, Todd shared his response to the accusations.
“As for the food trucks, there were expenditures for Food Truck Friday Nights from the Fair bank account. The thing is, no city money was spent on the food trucks. We had some sponsors for the food trucks and that money came from there and from other Fair Sponsors. The Fair doesn't depend on just the City money, so we do raise other money as well. To say we were in violation of a contract with the City because we spend some money on food trucks is stretching it. Under that thought, any money spent by the Fair could be micromanaged by the Mayor,” Todd said.
“As for the board members, we have always had the City Administrator as a board member since there was a donation from the City. It must have been a verbal agreement back when we started this, because after looking into it further, it doesn't say it is a requirement from the City's contract. If the city doesn't require a rep on the board, that is totally fine, and I will make that change or see if an elected official wants the spot.”
“As for the accusations of stealing money from the Fair, I'm completely blown away. I gave the board our reconciliation form for the year and have the bank statements ready for their review as well, so they can see everything matches up if they want. To accuse me of being a thief in a public meeting based on hearsay from a former employee who was unhappy with me is borderline slander, if not slander. This ‘info’ was apparently given to him to use against me in an election that was supposed to occur last April. I really don't know what more to say about it. I'm pretty upset about it,” Todd added.
“The bottom line is that I feel this is political retaliation on his (Johnston’s) part. It's no secret this isn't his first time going after me for something.”
Johnston asked for a motion to request financial records from the Fair committee and was answered with silence from the Board. Hearing no motion, Johnston stated he was “disappointed that you don’t feel that we should review city spending and contracts,” and moved on to the next agenda item.
In other business, the Board approved several resolutions and ordinances, including:
While this year’s Grain Valley Fair will be missing the traditional carnival and parade, organizers have made an effort to provide plenty of family fun this weekend.
Dubbed the “Not Fair” Fair in recognition of the modifications required due to COVID-19, the event will still feature many of the typical fair favorites at Armstrong Park. The Grain Valley Fair committee is utilizing the generous space available at Armstrong Park to allow for plenty of social distancing for attendees.
Grain Valley Fair committee member Mike Todd said the biggest obstacle this year was working to ensure Jackson County would approve their plans and allow the fair to continue.
“We had to submit a pretty detailed plan to them in order to get the approval and that plan has changed a couple of times over the last couple of months. We were really thinking when this all started at the beginning of summer that the requirements would be eased some, but in some cases things have gotten more strict,” Todd said.
Food Truck Friday Night will kick off the event from 4:30pm—7:30pm. Todd said there will be more trucks than usual this Friday than usually featured at the Friday night event.
The Grain Valley Partnership will host a modified beer garden on Friday and Saturday.
Local band, Lake Love, will perform at 6:00pm on Friday.
“Lake Love is composed of local Grain Valley High School students. They are playing for tips only so let's make sure Grain Valley shows them the love,” Grain Valley Partnership Executive Director Tasha Lindsey said.
The “Not Fair” Fair continues Saturday, September 12th, with a selection of non-food vendors from 11:00am—5:00pm and food vendors from 11:00am—7:30pm.
“For a lot of these vendors, this is one of only a few events that they can do this year, so we would love to be able to support them. Most of them are local,” Todd said.
“We have timed our activities to help with the crowd size. The activities are spread apart to ensure that we cover as much of the area as possible and limit the amount of people in an area at one time,” Lindsey said.
“We need to make sure that we are thinking of others. Wear a mask, social distance and have fun. We are very fortunate that we are able to have this event so let's all play by the rules.”
“Bring your yard chairs or blankets for a picnic. There are tables available and we will be spacing those to meet the requirements so that we can be social distanced. We will be disinfecting the tables to ensure that we are providing a safe and clean environment for everyone. Even though we can't bring in a carnival or activities for the littles, we have the park and feel this is a great family event,” Lindsey said.
To make light of a tough year for fairs, carnivals, and just about any public gathering, the Grain Valley Fair Committee asked residents to suggest a new name for this year’s modified fair. Many suggestions were offered via social media with similar themes involving social distancing, masks, and the unfairness of the situation.
Natalie Knox suggested “The No Fair! Fair” and won a $50 dining credit at the fair for her creativity.
The Grain Valley Fair is scheduled for Friday, September 11th and Saturday, September 12th at Armstrong Park. The carnival and parade have been canceled, as have most of the non-food related vendors. Food trucks will be on site on Friday evening and Saturday. A select number of non-food related vendors are planned for Saturday as well.
The 3rd Annual Grain Valley 5K is accepting registrations for both its in-person and virtual options. For more information on the Fair and the 5K, visit www.grainvalleyfair.com.
A request by the Grain Valley Fair and Grain Valley Partnership to continue their Food Truck Fridays event through September 12th was the most discussed item on a light August 10th Board of Aldermen agenda.
Mike Todd, representing the Grain Valley Fair committee, and Tasha Lindsey, Executive Director of the Grain Valley Partnership, requested an extension of the Food Truck Friday event, which originally ended Friday, August 7th.
The event has proven popular, with the organizers receiving many requests to continue the event. The pair requested the Food Trucks be allowed to resume Friday, August 21st and run each Friday through the Grain Valley Fair, which will be held Friday, September 11th and Saturday, September 12th.
Additionally, the organizations requested the use of the parking lots behind the community center to allow more space for food trucks and patrons. The Board approved the request.
Todd also updated the Board on revised plans for the Grain Valley Fair. The parade and carnival have been canceled, as have much of the non-food related vendors and activities. An expanded Food Truck Friday event will be held on Friday, September 11th. A beer garden, sponsored by the Grain Valley Partnership is being considered if proper social distancing protocols can be ensured. Food trucks will return on Saturday, September 12th with a small number of non-food vendors, spaced in separate tents throughout the original fair grounds.
In other business, the Board approved an ordinance approving the final plat of the Bush Business Park Re-Plat as well as an ordinance approving the final plat of Greystone Estates Phase II.
The Board also approved a resolution to enter into a funding agreement with STAR Acquisitions, Inc. to provide funding in the amount of $20,000 for costs incurred by the City to research and establish a Community Improvement District (CID), Transportation Development District (TDD), and other services to administer Development Incentives applications for the property located at the NW corner of Jefferson and MO BB Highway.
Parks and Recreation Director Shannon Davies reported 350 registrants have signed up for fall sports programs.
The next meeting of the Board of Aldermen will be held Monday, August 24, 2020.
The Grain Valley Fair begins Friday, September 6th with a full slate of activities on Friday and Saturday.
Local radio personalities Jayme and Wickett from 98.1 KMBZ will do a live remote from 10:00am—2:00pm, followed by KMBZ hosts Dana and Parks from 2:00pm—6:00pm. The beer garden, sponsored by the Grain Valley Partnership, opens at 2:00pm and the carnival midway and vendor booths open at 4:00pm.
FOCUS for Grain Valley will offer bingo on Friday evening and Saturday, and a full slate of activities at the fairgrounds are listed on page 2 of this edition.
The 2nd Annual Grain Valley Fair 5K begins at 8:00am on Saturday. Registration for the race continues until race day.
The following roads will be closed or have limited access from 7:50am—9:30am to allow for the Grain Valley Fair 5K:
-Main Street from James Rollo to
-Eagles Parkway from Main Street to
Cross Creek Drive
-N. Cross Creek Drive from Eagles
Parkway to Broadway
-Broadway from N Cross Creek Drive
to NW Parker
-NW Parker from Broadway to NW
-NW Willow from NW Parker to Kirby
-Kirby from NW Willow to Yennie
-Yennie from Kirby to Main Street
-James Rollo Drive
The Grain Valley Parade begins at Noon on Saturday.
The following roads will be closed or have limited access from 11:55am—2:00pm during the parade:
-Eagles Parkway from Kirby Road to
-Main Street from Eagles Parkway to
-Walnut Street from Main Street to
-Kirby Road from Walnut Street to
Several bands are scheduled to perform Saturday evening at the Pavilion behind the Community Center and fireworks will begin at 9:30pm.
Security at large public events is increasingly a concern, especially given recent shootings throughout the country. Mayor Mike Todd said the Grain Valley Fair committee has taken another look at security measures for the festival and feels confident in their plans.
“During the evening hours of the Fair both nights we have two off duty Grain Valley police officers who are brought in to patrol the fair grounds. They do that by foot and via one of our UTVs we have. Fair staff is able to communicate directly with them via radio and in turn they can communicate with our other on duty officers via radio if they were to need additional assistance,” Todd said.
“In addition to that we have VIPS (Volunteers in Police Service) volunteers who also patrol the fair grounds and parking lots as well. Another thing we have going in our favor is that the police station is adjacent to the Fair as well so that is a deterrent plus helps out with response times if we were to need additional assistance.”
For more information on the Grain Valley Fair, including a listing of vendors and schedule of events, visit www.grainvalleyfair.com.
The Grain Valley Fair Parade begins at Noon on Saturday, September 7th.
Photo credit: Diana Luppens, Switch Focus Studios
Registration for the Grain Valley Fair Parade is now open. The Grain Valley Police Department’s Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) program is organizing this year’s parade, which will take place at Noon on Saturday, September 7th.
“This is our first effort in organizing the parade. Mayor Todd and staff had the structure well in place. We are doing only one thing different this year, in that we are charging entrants excluding 501c3 entities. The registration fees support our Law Enforcement Scholarship Fund,” Cindy Bell, VIPS Secretary said.
This year’s parade theme is "Broadway Shows". The parade categories are: Specialty, Best Dance Routine, Most Humorous, Community Spirit, Best Youth Group, Best Float and Best Automobile. The community parade also serves as the high school homecoming parade.
“We have 24 active members on our roster. It will take as many VIPS as available on Sept. 7th to man the intersections, direct vehicle and foot traffic and just be visible to the public for safety and questions. The Boys Scouts are the biggest help in lining up the parade entries.,” Bell said.
Parade forms and entry fees can be mailed or delivered to the police department and must be received by Friday, August 23rd.
An entry form for the parade can be found on the Grain Valley News website, www.grainvalleynews.com.
Photo credit: Diana Luppens, Switch Focus Studios
by Mayor Mike Todd
Things are hopping in Grain Valley, and we will be bringing you some exciting things right here in the Valley News this summer. Believe it or not, planning for the Grain Valley Fair on September 6th and 7th has been ongoing for several months now.
We are striving to continue to make it a great event for the entire family with some great returning events and some new additions as well. Of course the Carnival will be back along with a great selection of vendors. Vendor signups are up from where they were this time last year and our food choices look to be growing as well.
Not only will you still be able to enjoy a great tasting burger from the Burger Barn, but you can also enjoy some Kettle Corn, a corn dog, some great BBQ, and lots of other choices. New this year will be fresh made Pork Rinds and returning to wash it all down will be Keck’s Root beer.
One of the returning events this year will be the Fair 5K on September 6th. We had a great turn out last year and hope to grow that number this year. If you aren’t into running, that’s fine, you can always walk the course if you prefer.
New this year as part of the 5K will be a Kid’s Fun Run. It is a shorter distance for kids to run, but they still get all the cool stuff that comes with the 5K. For more information including what the shirts and custom medals look like check out the registration at https://runsignup.com/Race/MO/GrainValley/GrainValleyFair5K.
After a one year hiatus we are also excited to announce that 98.1 KMBZ will once again be broadcasting live from the Fair on Friday September 6th. Jayme and Wickett will be live from 10 AM-2 PM and Dana and Parks will be live from 2 PM-6PM.
That will be followed by Grain Valley Idol, which is a new event being put on by the Grain Valley Partnership. If you have ever wanted to be a Superstar make sure to keep an eye out for more information regarding Grain Valley Idol to be coming out.
And that is just the beginning. On Saturday September 8th, we still have the Grain Valley Community Parade. It is one of the highlights of the weekend and this year the Grain Valley VIPS will be heading it up. Keep an eye out for more information regarding the Parade to be coming out from them in the near future.
In addition to the Parade there are tons of things happening again on Saturday at the Fair. The cornhole tournament will be making a return with some exciting changes, live music will once again be the entertainment highlight at the Pavilion, and new this year will the addition of an Exotic Petting Zoo. Young and old alike will enjoy feeding the camels, zebras, and bison.
If you like live music, make sure to check out our schedule online for our complete list of bands performing on Saturday September 7th. We try every year to bring in something for everyone. Our headliners this year start with the Tom Petty tribute band Petty Theft.
As for our main headliner. Make sure to break out the Aquanet to get that hair as big as you can, dig those leg warmers and ripped jeans out of the closet, and let’s see those mullets as Member’s Only will rock the stage with recognizable hits of the 80s.
Finally, closing the whole weekend out will be our Fair Fireworks Show on Saturday night. It will bring a great end to a great weekend of fun in Grain Valley. If you want to stay up to date as to what is happening with the Fair and keep an eye on the schedule of events the best places to are our Facebook page Grain Valley Fair and our website www.grainvalleyfair.com. We look forward to seeing everyone there and hope for some dry weather.