The Purple Peace Foundation for Epilepsy Awareness hosts the annual “Cruise for Consciousness” car show annually to raise funds for its programs which provide resources and support for families impacted by epilepsy.
The 2020 car show was canceled due to COVID-19, which makes this year’s event even more exciting for event organizer Stacey Perry. Perry has missed the car show participants, her “car show guys”, just as much as she’s missed the in-person programs hosted by the Purple Peace Foundation.
The event returns on Sunday, August 1st at Armstrong Park from 11:00am—3:00pm. While it remains to be seen how ongoing COVID-19 related restrictions will impact the event, Perry promises a good time for car show participants and the public.
The first 100 vehicles to pre-register will receive a goodie bag and dash plaque. All registrants will be entered into participant-only drawings throughout the day.
A popular part of the event, and a major ingredient in the success of the fundraiser, are the raffle baskets featuring items from local businesses.
Perry is mindful of the toll COVID-19 has had on small businesses, and has a suggestion for those who would like to support the cause and do some good for local businesses.
Gift cards and products are needed for raffle baskets, and Perry suggests donors support local businesses while supporting Purple Peace Foundation by picking up a gift card or item for the raffle from a local business.
“The businesses benefit immediately from the purchase, and we’ll raise money at the event from people buying raffle tickets to win these great items,” Perry said.
Volunteers are also needed to help spread the word to local car enthusiasts at area car shows, and Perry will equip volunteers with all the materials and directions to help market the event.
For more information on the “Cruise for Consciousness” car show as well as the programs and services the Purple Peace Foundation provides for families impacted by epilepsy, visit www.purplepeacefoundation.org. To volunteer or for information on registering to participate in the car show, call Stacey Perry at 816-847-6856 or email
First Baptist Church Grain Valley welcomes Blake Wyatt as Minister of ROCK Student Ministries (6th-12th grade). Blake has served in various capacities of youth ministry for several years and is a student at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminar completing a degree in youth ministry. Kelsay, Blake's wife, is graduating this semester with her Master of Social Work degree.
Blake says, "I'm excited to be a part of what God is doing in the Grain Valley community and excited to serve students and their families at First Baptist." Blake and his wife, Kelsay, have been married for a little over a year.
An accident, resulting in the death of a Blue Springs man, on the afternoon of Sunday, April 18th in the area of R. D. Mize & Stillhouse Rd in eastern Jackson County is being investigated by Jackson County Sheriff’s Office detectives and troopers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Richard Allen Hearn, Jr., 20, of Blue Springs was killed in the crash.
According to a spokesman for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, the vehicle was said to have lost control in the area of the accident. There were four occupants, and one subsequently was killed as a result. The investigation is yet ongoing and details will be made available by the department as they are uncovered.
The Grain Valley Police Department will host a Drug Take Back event on Saturday, April 24th as a part of the national Drug Take Back effort.
This annual event is a great reason to clean out your medicine cabinet and keep loved ones safe. Unused prescription drugs can often find their way into the wrong hands, resulting in dangerous and often tragic situations.
Residents are encouraged to come to this free event in the parking lot of the Grain Valley Police Department on Saturday, April 24th from 10:00am—2:00pm to safely dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications. No syringes will be accepted.
The City of Blue Springs recently announced Amazon plans to open a delivery center in Blue Springs. The delivery center would be located at 2400 NE Coronado Drive, in the former Haldex facility.
“We are thrilled to announce that Amazon is coming to Blue Springs,” said Blue Springs Mayor Carson Ross. “This facility will not only bring jobs to Blue Springs but it also fills a vacant industrial building in our community. We are proud to see companies like Amazon investing in our community and creating more opportunities for our residents.”
The existing facility is approximately 70,000 square-feet and is currently being remodeled to accommodate Amazon’s process of receiving and sorting product for final delivery to customers.
A 30,000 square-foot overhead canopy will be constructed to the rear of the building for loading. An additional 357 parking spaces will also be added to the rear and side of the building for van parking.
“We look forward to becoming part of the fabric of the Blue Springs community and are thrilled to be able to expand our operations in Missouri,” said Nikki Wheeler at Amazon. “Amazon is a great place to work and grow professionally. We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from local and state leaders and look forward to creating new, full-time jobs for the local community.”
With its location just outside Grain Valley city limits, traffic impacts on nearby residential areas and wear on Grain Valley roads are a concern.
Reached for comment on the development and projected traffic impacts, Grain Valley Community Development Director Mark Trosen stated the City “did not have any conversations with Blue Springs or have we been a part of any discussions/planning of the Amazon facility.”
Grain Valley Mayor Chuck Johnston commented on the development at the April 12th Board of Aldermen meeting.
“There’s already a lot of people with concerns about traffic. I addressed that with Mr. Murphy (City Administrator Ken Murphy) tonight, and we are going to try to make contact with Amazon to see what we can get them to do, because I’m real concerned (about delivery trucks on R.D. Mize).”
Valley News reached out to the City of Blue Springs for details on projected traffic impacts. Per a study done for project, the following is expected at the site:
34 AM peak hour trips (one truck, 33 passenger) and 36 PM peak hour trips(two trucks, 34 passenger) are projected;
157 total vehicles are projected for the Weekday Average Daily Traffic (46 trucks, 111 passenger);
Line haul truck deliveries are anticipated daily, primarily between the hours of 10:00pm and 8:00am.
Trip distribution is anticipated as follows:
35% to/from the west along I-70;
5% to/from the east along I-70;
10% to/from north along Adams Dairy Parkway;
35% to/from south along Adams Dairy Parkway;
5% to/from west along Coronado;
10% to/from east along Coronado.
The facility will operate 24/7 to support delivery of packages to customer locations between 11:00am and 9:00pm.
Amazon plans to be fully operational by the end of 2021. The company expects to start hiring about two months before the facility opens. Those interested in jobs should visit https://buff.ly/2PIwliY.
Shaley Elizabeth Harper from Grain Valley, daughter of Daniel and Chandra Harper has been selected to participate in the 2021 Miss Missouri USA pageant. The pageant will take place May 1st at B&B Live Theatre in Shawnee. She will be competing as Miss Mizzou and will compete in swimsuit, evening gown, and personal interview.
The pageant has two age divisions, and the winners will represent our state in the 2021 Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageant. Miss USA goes on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant. The Miss USA pageant system stresses good morals, physical fitness, communication skills, social awareness, and community involvement.
Harper is a freshman at the University of Missouri-Columbia, studying journalism with a minor in textile apparel management. Harper aspires to work for E! as a red carpet correspondent.
The recent frigid winter weather, which closed schools and businesses and caused headaches for many home owners with frozen pipes and rolling blackouts was on the mind of the Board of Aldermen during their regularly scheduled meeting, held virtually via video conference on February 22nd.
During the individual reports and comments portion of the meeting, each alderman and Mayor Johnston took the opportunity to praise the public works department for their efforts to keep the streets cleaned and water main problems tackled during the polar vortex, which gripped most of the nation the week of February 14th.
Public Works crews responded to a water main break on February 14th on Old 40 Highway, and another on February 16th on McQuerry Road. Road crews plowed roads as snow fell February 15th through February 16th.
The Board approved a resolution authorizing the City Administrator to enter into an agreement with Lamp Rynearson for engineering design of the Old 40 Highway water main replacement from Main Street to Sni-A-Bar Creek. The 2021 budgeted project has an estimated cost of $27,190.
The Board passed two resolutions addressing Public Works needs, including a resolution to purchase a coldplaner attachment for road maintenance and repair, and a resolution to purchase a 10-foot stainless steel salt spreader for snow and ice control.
The Board also approved a resolution to continue a lease agreement with the Grain Valley Assistance Council, located at 513 A&B Gregg Street in Grain Valley. The space is provided at no cost to the organization, which provides emergency assistance to residents of Grain Valley.
The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be Monday, March 8th at 7:00pm in the council chambers at Grain Valley City Hall.
Mid-Continent Public Library launched “Express Service,” allowing customers to independently browse and pick up items inside its branches, services that were previously unavailable due to COVID safety restrictions.
Customers, who must continue to wear a mask over their nose and mouth at all times inside MCPL locations, are now able to do the following:
Independent Browsing: Customers may select items from the shelves on their own and check them out using the self-check kiosks at the front of their branch.
Technology Services: Public computers, fax machines, printers, and copiers are available for use.
Pick-Up of Materials: Branches continue to operate curbside or drive-up window service to pick up materials that have been placed on hold, but customers can also retrieve them inside the branch.
Returns:: Items must be returned to an indoor or outdoor book drop. They will be quarantined for 72 hours before being checked back in; however, no fines will accrue from this additional time.
“The past several months have been very challenging, but our goal throughout this time has been to balance safety with customer service,” Steven V. Potter, MCPL Director and CEO said.
“We’ve implemented a number of new protocols that have allowed us to take this next step forward, including altering our staff schedules to reduce risk of branch closures, and we’re very pleased that these measures have been successful. We continue to look for innovative ways we can serve our community in a safe manner.”
Customers are still asked to limit their visits inside MCPL locations to 90 minutes or less to promote lower building occupancy rates for social distancing purposes. Public computers can be used for 60 minutes a day and are spaced to comply with social distancing recommendations.
Wi-Fi continues to be available outside the Library’s branches 24/7. In addition to maintaining social distance, customers are asked to wear masks inside the branches throughout their entire visit.
In-person library events, use of children’s computers, and meeting room rentals are still not available.
More information about the Library’s available services can be found at mymcpl.org/COVID.
Santa and his crew are loading up the bus and hitting the streets of Grain Valley beginning Saturday, November 28th. This annual tradition will be modified due to COVID-19.
This year, children will greet Santa outside the bus, and Santa and his helpers will tossing stuffed toys and gifts to visiting children. Pictures with Santa will be allowed with social distancing in mind. Residents are asked to not gather in groups of more than 10 people.
The Santa bus will visit neighborhoods in Grain Valley each weekend beginning November 28th. A full schedule and maps of Santa’s route can be found at www.gvsanta.com and on the GV Santa group on Facebook.
Upcoming routes for the Santa Bus include:
November 28th, 9:00am—approximately 7:00pm:
Grayleigh Park, Rosewood, Whispering Park, and Woodbury Sub-Divisions
November 29th, 11:00am—approximately 7:00pm
Everything North of I-70 other than Grayleigh Park, Rosewood Whispering Park, and Woodbury Sub-Divisions
December 5th, 11:00am—approximately 7:00pm
Everything between 40 Hwy and I-70
December 6th, 9:00am—approximately 7:00pm Everything between 40Hwy and Eagles Pkwy including Cypress St & Broadway East of Buckner-Tarsney, and Winding Creek Subdivision
Ongoing squabbles on social media among current Mayor Chuck Johnston, former mayor Mike Todd, and Grain Valley resident and Planning and Zoning Commission member Scott Shafer over the recent mayoral campaign and community campus bond issue grew even more heated in mid-September.
Former Mayor Todd posted criticism of Mayor Johnston to his former Mayor Facebook account, renamed “Grain Valley Community Advocate Michael Todd” on September 16th. Todd criticized Johnston for not lowering the City’s property tax rate after Johnston stated during the mayoral campaign that the tax should be lowered further than cuts made under Todd’s administration. Johnston replied to Todd’s statement with the following statement:
“I’m sure that the former Mayor knows that the Mayor can’t reduce taxes he can only try to influence the Board of Aldermen in those decisions. It is ultimately their decision. He also fails to mention that the City’s accounting firm had made the recommendation to the BoA (Board of Aldermen) to maintain the existing tax levy which in turn would pay off the entire city debt a year earlier and create a substantial savings in interest over the remaining term of the debt.”
Todd, Johnston, and Shafer continued to argue via Facebook, with Shafer posting a screen shot of a 2015 lawsuit filed by Diane Adams vs. Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Inc. (OOIDA) in Jackson County Circuit Court.
Valley News was subsequently contacted by Shafer, who shared a copy of the suit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court. Shafer stated he felt compelled to visit the courthouse and request a copy of the suit after receiving emails and calls about the case from unnamed sources.
The case was filed in October 2015 and dismissed by both parties in March 2017. The suit states the plaintiff, Ms. Adams, “was subjected to an unwelcome, hostile work environment including physical and verbal harassment by supervisor Chuck Johnston, causing PTSD, anxiety, and depression.” The suit also alleges the plaintiff registered several complaints with OOIDA President Jim Johnston, and was notified Chuck Johnston would be terminated. The suit alleges Chuck Johnston was reinstated and returned as an employee on January 7, 2015.
Reached for comment, OOIDA shared the following statement regarding the case:
“Diane Adams, a former employee of OOIDA, filed a lawsuit against OOIDA in 2015 alleging that she was subject to disability discrimination in connection with her employment. OOIDA denied Ms. Adams’ allegations and vigorously defended against the lawsuit. OOIDA and Ms. Adams agreed to resolve the lawsuit after approximately more than a year of litigation, with no admission of liability by OOIDA. Because the matter has been resolved by the parties, OOIDA will not provide further comment on this matter.”
Johnston declined to comment in detail regarding the suit.
“Ms. Adams didn’t file a lawsuit against me. Her claims were against OOIDA. However, because this matter involves personnel issues relating to OOIDA and because I’m still an employee of OOIDA it would be inappropriate for me to provide any further comment on this matter,” Johnston said.
Reached for comment regarding the recent arguments via social media, Shafer and Todd point to unmet campaign promises and lack of communication on the part of Johnston as their source of frustration.
“Let’s just say people that live in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks. You never know who’s going to throw it back,” Shafer said.
“Mr. Johnston to start with ran a campaign on a lot of misleading information on the new complex. Mr. Johnston ran on a platform of better communication, better leadership, lowering taxes, cutting wasteful spending, and how he was not only going to fix more streets, but get it done at a faster rate. So far I have not seen any of this happen, in fact the city just passed the tax levy with no change. Under Mr. Johnston’s leadership, as for wasteful spending, Mr. Johnston has ran for Mayor three or four times in the past on how he was going to stop the wasteful spending. But when asked, no reply on where the city has and is wasting tax payers money,” Shafer said.
“After asking him questions on his Mayor (Facebook) page which, he said he would reply to, I’ve not received any reply other than criticizing my spelling. I attended a City meeting, asked questions with no reply other than ‘thank you’. Whether Mr. Johnston likes me or not, I do pay taxes and should get some answers to my questions. After all, he is the one that made all these accusations and promises. I think it’s only fair he should give answers.”
“My disagreement with him is that for years he had constant complaints about me. He said I wasn’t a leader and just a yes man. He said that everything that happened in town would have happened regardless of me and that I didn’t have a part in any of it. He also complained that I wasn’t on the Residents of Grain Valley Page to respond to residents and that he didn’t like the responses I gave to citizens during the citizen comment time at Alderman meetings. He ran on a platform of better communication with residents, lowering taxes, better streets happening faster, and cutting wasteful spending,” Todd said.
“He will have been in office 100 days as of September 30 I believe, and I haven’t seen any of that. Actually, I have seen the exact opposite of that in pretty much all of those areas. I would argue that his communication has been well below what mine was. On his Facebook page he has made very few posts since becoming Mayor and most of them are him complaining about what someone has said about what he is or isn’t doing or a conflict of interest he may or may not have. He also is not responding on Residents of Grain Valley (a Facebook group) and is hiding behind the social media policy that is in place.”
“I guess the bottom line is that I spent 10 years as Mayor and Grain Valley means a lot to me. It bothers me that he ran on all these promises and we haven’t seen action towards any of them and in most cases, we have seen actions that are direct opposites of what he said. He first ran for Mayor 10 years ago so he had lots of time to prepare for this, so he should have hit the ground running on day one with his ideas, and that is not what we have seen at all. I guess I call it like I see it and right now I’m not seeing anything that he sold the citizens of Grain Valley on,” Todd said.
Public posts and comments from the trio have been quiet in recent weeks. Johnston shared he plans to discontinue responding to posts on social media to the issues raised.
“Regarding Mr. Todd and Mr. Shafer, they are private citizens and entitled to their opinions. I have already spent too much time addressing their personal attacks on me and I will not spend any additional time responding or commenting on those issues. There are too many good things happening in Grain Valley and I intend on devoting my time and efforts towards working on those and additional improvements to our City,” Johnston said.