by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
During the 1980s, the good citizens of Grain Valley depended on area papers for their news. Often you would find Grain Valley stories in the Buckner Villager or the Oak Grove Banner. The Central and North Kansas City Star was a weekly insert in The Kansas City Star. It was during the late 1980s that the Independence Examiner seemed to expand their coverage to include more news from Eastern Jackson County.
For a year, possibly two years, around 1986 the Valley News was published in our community. I have not been able to learn very much about this newspaper. I contacted a few people to gather information; only one remembered the paper, others did not. I was only able to learn that the owner/publisher was Richard J. and Becky A. Rippe. I found an address on Vesper in Blue Springs. They were only married a few years from 1982 to about 1988. I believe the paper may have ended with the marriage.
Among all of the papers from the 1980s, the stories all shared one central theme –the growth of Grain Valley. The real estate section in the want ads featured many new homes and acres of land for sale all around the town.
If you lived in Grain Valley in the 1980s you may remember some of these stories.
After a petition by a group of citizens, home mail delivery increased by 117 new locations.
After the death of Ken Ramsey, Valley Fair Daze chairman, an attempt was made to build a horse show arena south of town.
A flying club was established at the East Kansas City Airport and many local residents began flying lessons.
In 1985 a group of citizens and the city fought to lower the cost of telephone service to the metropolitan Kansas City area. Residents were paying $8 more per month than Blue Springs residents for the same service.
To meet the ever-increasing population a 1985 school bond issue added classrooms at Matthew Elementary and increase the size of the cafeteria at the middle school, junior high and high school.
In 1988 the school purchased nearly 60 acres on AA Highway (now Eagles Parkway) from Steve and Debbie Gildehaus for $142,000. Don’t you wonder what that same land would cost today.
Remember the acid leak from the railroad tanker car in April of 1985. Thirty-five homes were evacuated and the airport was closed until the acid could be cleaned up.
In 1988 we almost got a weather station on Monkey Mountain. Not everyone was in favor! The weather station was built in Pleasant Hill.
Of course, the Valley News always carried lots of high school sports. 1986 was an outstanding football season. We lost the Class 2A district title to Penney High School in Hamilton, MO.
But I think my favorite story had to be, “New Neighbors Create a Stink in Grain Valley.”
The story appeared in August of 1988. It appears that seeking food, a number of skunks had come to town. The subject was brought up and discussed by Winona Burgess, Ward 1 councilwoman at the monthly meeting. The city administrator sought advice from the Missouri Department of Conservation. It was decided that the homeowner would have to take care of the problem themselves. However, it was announced that skunks do not like to get their feet dirty. Therefore a mixture of roofing tar and creosote would discourage the skunks and once they left your property you should “plug up the holes in your foundations and sheds.”
Next Week: The Pointe
Visit the Grain Valley Historical Society at 506 S. Main on Wednesdays or visit us online at ww.grainvalleyhistory.com and Facebook (@grainvalleyhistory).