by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
Following the demise of The Jackson County Democrat (1955-1966) ,The Jackson County Sentinel began publishing Grain Valley news. Just under the paper’s name we see the statement “Jackson County’s oldest newspaper – Since 1866.” According to the Missouri State Historical Society, this date refers to The Independence Sentinel which began publication in 1866.
Information from the January 7, 1971 issue of the Sentinel (50 years-ago) stated that it was published weekly by Kansas City Suburban Newspapers, Inc. and the publisher was Lois Lauer Wolfe.
A couple of years later, Information from the mask head of the Jackson County Sentinel, published on February 8, 1973 reads as follows:
Published weekly by
KANSAS CITY SURURBAN NEWSPAPERS
1105 Main St., Blue Springs, Mo., 64015
Second-class postage paid at Blue Springs, Mo. 64015
(combined with and continuing the Jackson County Democrat, Blue Springs Herald, Buckner Record, Sni-A-Bar
Voice and Wellington Free-Press.
All legal and mailing rights reserved.)
The conclusion I have drawn from my research is that community newspapers in many small towns went from syndicated stories of state and national news with some “local news” and “gossip” to an area newspaper written by professional journalists.
The Sentinel carried stories of interest to all of Eastern Jackson County but you could no longer learn who had dinner with whom on Sunday, who spent the day shopping in Independence or which relatives were visiting from out of town!
One of the big stories in 1973 was in regard to Missouri Attorney General John Danforth’s 8-point ruling for school districts who charged fees for classes such as industrial arts, home economics, and art supplies in elementary school. The ruling also covered rental of uniforms such as band, cheerleading, and sports, and the requirements for soft-sole shoes in physical education classes.
“The right to receive free instruction at a free public school,” said the opinion, “extends only to the right to be free from required charges imposed as part of the curriculum.” At the same time, students could be held responsible for library fines, lost books or destruction of property.
And on a lighter note, the January 7, 1971, edition had this photograph and story of Konstantine Kotzambasis, the Greek American Field Service foreign exchange student at Grain Valley High School during the 1965-66 school year.
Over the past 55 years, Costas has made several trips back to Grain Valley, and members of the Doty family have visited him in Greece and Australia, his current home. While on vacation in 2017 several members of the Grain Valley community visited with Costas and his children in Sidney.
In the 1971 article he said, “If anyone would like to come, I would like then to know they should feel welcome and find me. I will do my best to make them feel at home and have a good time.” As one of those travelers, I can assure you that he indeed did just that!
Next Week: Rippe’s Valley News
Visit the Grain Valley Historical Society at 506 S. Main on Wednesdays or visit us online at ww.grainvalleyhistory.com and Facebook (@grainvalleyhistory).