Each Tuesday and Thursday at the Grain Valley Community Center, a tight knit family of friends come together in the afternoon to play pickleball. On the court, it’s serious business, but off the court these friends say they’re a family. On Thursday, the group of friends celebrated a special birthday for one of their own.
Erika Davis turns 95 on Saturday, and a cake and decorations welcomed her as she arrived ready to play.
Davis joked she was actually turning 59. “I was 49 for many years, but now I’m 59,” Davis said.
Joe Thomas, who has played pickleball at the Center for many years, said Erika’s family has planned a party for her this weekend, but they felt the need to celebrate as well.
“We all said, we’re a family, let’s have one of our own,” Thomas said.
Thomas taught his grandson, who is now at West Point, to play pickleball and ping pong.
“Now I can’t beat him at either one. He told me, ‘Well, you did too good a job at teaching me’,” Thomas said.
As Davis chatted with fellow teammates, Patti Garrett and Michelle Rollins marveled at Davis.
Garrett, a retired school bus driver, plays nearly every day at either the Community Center or the Blue Springs Fieldhouse.
“She is such an inspiration to all of us. At 70, I want to continue to play pickleball for the next 25 years,” Garrett said.
Pickleball’s increasing popularity comes from the quickness in which it can be learned, the fast paced nature of the game, and its accessibility to players of all ages.
“It can get very serious, but it is fun. Several of us have had busted wrists, busted heads,” Garrett joked. “But when we do get knocked down, we all come together to take care of each other.”
Rollins agreed. “We are like family. When someone is out injured or sick, we all come together. One person says, ‘I’ll come over and take out the trash.’ Another says, ‘I’ll be the one to walk the dog.’ It’s as much about the camaraderie as it is the game.”
While it is a tight-knit group, and game time is serious business, both Garrett and Rollins are quick to say that new members are always welcome and everyone there is willing to teach newbies the sport.
Pickleball is held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00pm – 3:00pm at the Community Center, 713 Main. It is $2 per participant, and free for Silver Sneakers, Silver & Fit, and Renew Active members.
For more information on all the senior activities offered at the Community Center, visit www.cityofgrainvalley.org or call 816-847-6230.
Erika Davis (center in orange pickleball shirt) is greeted by friends for an impromptu birthday celebration. Davis turns 95 this weekend and plays pickleball at the Community Center twice a week.
Photo credit: Valley News staff
Erika Davis (fourth from left) celebrates her 95th birthday with her pickleball family on Thursday afternoon. Photo credit: Patti Garrett
Davis in the midst of a pickleball game. Photo credit: Patti Garrett
After more than a year hiatus due to the pandemic, the City of Grain Valley announced its Senior Luncheon will return on July 7th.
The event will be held from 11:30am—1:00pm followed by Bingo, with glucose and blood pressure screenings at 10:30am.
Michelle Hawkins will provide entertainment at the July event.
RSVP for the luncheon by calling
816-847-6293 or email
OATS bus service is available by calling 816-380-7433 to schedule a ride.
It’s easier than ever to handle our finances without setting foot inside a bank with so many advances in technology, but these changes have also made fraud and financial abuse a prevalent problem for older adults. Most elder financial abuse involves scams, forgery, identity theft, or undue pressure to give someone access to property or funds by simply providing information over the phone.
Older adults are often targeted for such exploitation because they may be perceived as trusting, they may be cognitively impaired, they may have more funds available after a lifetime of saving, and potentially less exposure to technological advances.
Alan Lefko, Chairman of the Bank of Grain Valley, encourages seniors and their family members to be aware of these attempts. Banks locally continue to encounter cases of attempted fraud and abuse of older adults, and the FDIC offers several tips for protecting against financial abuse and scams.
Tips for Protecting Finances
Seniors can protect themselves from financial abuse by making sure financial records are organized and being aware of how much money is in all accounts. In addition, you can protect your assets by talking to someone at your bank, an attorney, or a financial advisor to discuss your options for ensuring your wishes for managing your money and property are followed in the event you become incapacitated. Other activities to help protect yourself include:
Carefully choosing a trustworthy person to share your financial planning matters with so they can assist you with tracking your finances if you are unable to do so yourself.
Locking up your checkbook, account statements, and other sensitive information.
Ordering copies of your credit report to review for suspicious activity. (You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once every twelve months. To order your free annual reports, go to AnnualCreditReport.com or call toll- free 1-877-322-8228.)
Never providing personal information, including your Social Security number, account numbers, or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call.
Asking for details in writing and getting a second opinion from a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.
Paying with checks and credit cards instead of cash to have records of transactions.
Tips for Family and Friends
Family and friends can also help by being aware of the many ways in which an older person may be financially exploited. There are many scams and frauds that attempt to get bank account information or Social Security numbers from the elderly to steal their identity or money. Be on the lookout for signs of possible financial abuse, including:
Unexplained account withdrawals.
Another individual unexpectedly making financial decisions on the older person’s behalf.
Disappearance of funds or valuable possessions.
Unanticipated transfer of assets to another individual.
Sudden changes to a will or other important financial documents.
Suspicious signatures on checks.
You should also contact any bank or other financial institution involved to notify them of the potential abuse, and they may be able to assist you. They may not be able to provide you with specific information about accounts or transactions due to privacy laws, but they have the ability to review information for potential abuse as well as the resources to report abuse.
OATS Transit will be available to Grain Valley residents beginning June 1, 2018. The transportation service will offer door to door or curb to curb service for residents 65 years of age or older or ages 18-64 with a disability. It will be available in Grain Valley on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Trips will be limited to the city limits of Grain Valley and Blue Springs. The cost is $1.00 per one way trip. Fare cards may be purchased for $10.00 (10 one-way trips or 5 round trips).
City administration and staff worked with OATS personnel over the last several months to identify the need for this service through surveys and reaching out to community members.
“I am so happy that those in need of transportation will have this available to them at such a minimal cost per trip. City staff worked diligently to make sure this service was brought to Grain Valley,” said Mayor Mike Todd.
To schedule a ride, call 816-380-7433 up to two weeks in advance between the hours of 8:00 am – 3:00 pm.