Valley News: December 2, 2021

Page 1

Vol. 4 No. 49 | December 2, 2021 |


A love story that began on the football field enters next chapter with a proposal Valley News staff with expert assistance from Lori Arnold A love story that began at marching band practice entered its next chapter over Thanksgiving weekend at the spot where it all began. Cheyanne Arnold (GVHS 2017) and Andrew Craig (GVHS 2018) met for the first time as members of the Grain Valley Marching Eagles in 2014 on the 38 yard line during practice. Craig’s marching route on the field caused him to step on Arnold’s flag on the count of 1 as she was supposed to stand up from behind a box and begin her routine. The band directors told Cheyanne she had to hit count 1. She finally told them, “I can’t! The freshman’s on my flag!” The freshman was Andrew Craig at the 38 yard line. Craig surprised Arnold by proposing on Wednesday, November 24, 2021, on the spot on the 38 yard line where it all

began. Craig said he created an excuse to get Arnold out of the house by claiming he needed something from the grocery store. Once the couple headed out, their families headed over to the high school football field. As the couple left the store, Craig volunteered to drive and headed the opposite way toward the high school. Arnold was confused, but wasn’t really expecting a proposal, as she said both of their families had strongly suggested they wait until both graduated from college to become engaged. “When we got to the field and I found the spot where it all began, I told her this spot started the best 8 years of my life, and it was the best mistake I ever made,” Craig said. They began dating in December 2014 and

see PROPOSAL on page 2

“I told her this spot started the best 8 years of my life, and it was the best mistake made,”” Craig said. Photo credit: Tonya Craig I ever made,

Andrew Craig proposed to Cheyanne Arnold at the 38 yard line, where their love story began during band practice in 2014. Photo credit: Tonya Craig

Good News: Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays Contest to benefit Habitat for Humanity Join Truman Heritage Habitat for their 2nd Annual Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays Contest. Calling all supporters, bakers, artists, amateurs, children, seniors, and everyone in-between: join with other to build a house and raise money to help families in the community. Sign up your group: business, church, club, organization, friend group, or family. Set up your fundraising page, set your fundraising goal and build your gingerbread home. The public will “vote” for their favorite through their donation. All funds raised empower families to access safe, healthy, stable housing. The Gingerbread Houses will be displayed in

storefronts around Eastern Jackson County in the Gingerbread Homes for the Holidays Tour of Homes. You can show off your creation to friends and you win prizes! Visit the following link to sign up. Entry Deadline: December 8, 2021 Homes will be on display: December 9, 2021 – January 3, 2022 Homes locations: Independence, Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Sugar Creek, Raytown, Grandview. A complete list of display locations will be announced shortly. Gingerbread Home Winners and Top Fundraising Team and Individual Announced on January 8, 2022.

In This Edition: Looking Back: SniSni-A-Bar Elementary School


Business: The Gift of Generosity


Your Health: Tasty times together in the kitchen


Sports: Small Eagles Swim team looks for successful season


Cover Image: Grain Valley’ Valley’s Mayor Christmas Tree Lighting and Holiday Festival will be held Thursday, December 2nd at Armstrong Park. including visits with Santa, elementary choir performances, hot chocolate and cookies. File photo.

2 A note to our readers regarding our print edition: When we launched Valley News in 2018, our mission was simple: to affirm a sense of community through our publication, sharing news of interest to Grain Valley citizens, and helping each of us learn more about our neighbors. In order to reach as many people as possible, we provided news at no cost to our readers both online weekly and in print on the first and third weeks of the month. The advertisers and sustaining members you see throughout this publication make this possible. We remain committed to providing free access to fair, comprehensive coverage of issues affecting residents.

In studying readership trends and surveys of our readers, the vast majority access stories online. In order to best leverage the resources we have and continue our coverage of local issues, we have decided to discontinue our print publication at the end of the year. As always, all content included in print editions will remain readily available on our website and new content will be posted each Thursday and when breaking news occurs. We appreciate your readership and support and wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season.

Jackson County Executive announces reapportionment committee of the County Legislature Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. today issued Executive Order 21 -30 announcing the Reapportionment Committee of the County Legislature. In accordance with the Constitutional Home Rule Charter of Jackson County, County Executive White selected three nominees from a slate of six submitted by the Democratic and Republican County Committees. Each of the appointed committee members represent the six county legislative districts. Mr. Bobbie Hernandez (D) 1st Legislative District Ms. Shalonn “Kiki” Curls (D) 2nd Legislative District Mr. Paul Jungmann (R) 3rd Legislative District Mr. Ralph Munyan (R) 4th Legislative District Ms. Ruth Pirch (R) 5th Legislative District Mr. Phil LeVota (D) 6th Legislative District

more diverse,” Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. said. “In the last 10 years, we have grown faster than major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis City and St. Louis County. Additionally, I am proud to say that we are the most diverse County in the State of Missouri. As we work to build a better, more equitable Jackson County, the effort of this committee is critical to ensuring our residents have equal and fair representation for the next 10 years. I appreciate their service and my staff and I stand ready to assist as needed.” Following the opportunity to receive input from the public, the committee must issue a report detailing legislative districts that are “compact, of contiguous territory and as nearly of equal population as practicable.” The report shall be filed with the County Executive’s Office, the Clerk of Legislature and the relevant election authorities within 60 days of the Committee’s appointment.

Police Blotter

The following information is derived from the Grain Valley Police Department daily calls for service log for the week of November 17-23, 2021. November 17, 2021 800 Block San Kar 200 Block NE McQuerry Rd 200 Block Walnut 300 Block Walnut 1000 Block Burr Oak 1400 Block Hilltop 1100 Block RD Mize Rd 700 Block Main St 1100 Block McQuerry November 18, 2021 700 Block Main St Stolen Vehicle 700 Block Main St 2300 Block NW Hedgewood Dr 700 Block Main St

700 Block Main St 800 Block Thieme 1100 Block S Buckner Tarsney Rd 1100 Block NW Burr Oak Ln 100 Block Main St November 19, 2021 400 Block E Duncan Rd 1100 Block NW Sycamore 1100 Block SW Dean Dr

Alarm Motor Vehicle Accident Citizen Contact Citizen Contact Parking Complaint Parking Complaint Animal Complaint Citizen Contact Trespassing

1100 Block S Buckner Tarsney Rd

1st and Salem 700 Block Main St 600 Block Yennie Ave 1200 Block NW Willow Dr 700 Block Main St 700 Block Main St

Walk-in Report -

200 Block NW Barr Rd 1100 Block S Buckner Tarsney Rd 700 Block Main St

Agency Assist Jackson County Sheriff Agency Assist - OGPD Subject Posted Bond Disturbance Missing Juvenile Report of Threats Requested CJC for Medical Issues Walk-in Report Assault Peace Disturbance Suspicious Activity Citizen Contact

November 21, 2021 100 Block E Harris St EB I-70 1200 Block S Buckner Tarsney Rd 300 Block W Walnut 700 Block Main St 500 Block Main St 300 Block W Walnut 1100 Block S Buckner Tarsney Rd

Alarm Motorist Assist Water Main Break Citizen Contact Citizen Contact Business Check Stealing Citizen Contact

November 22, 2021 200 Block Barr Rd 600 Block BB Hwy 800 Block Meadowood 600 Block Joseph Cir 1500 Block Nicholas Dr 1200 Block Ashley Ln

Suspicious Activity Property Damage Disturbance Citizen Contact Area Check Open Garage Door

Citizen Contact Civil Issue Agency Assist Children's Mercy Hospital Citizen Assist Agency Assist - EMS Shoplifting Alarm Shoplifting

700 Block SW Orchard Ct 100 Block Sunny Ln 1300 Block NW Lindenwood Dr

Motorist Assist Citizen Contact Leaving the Scene of an Accident Alarm Residence Check Found Property Stolen License Plate Suspicious Activity Agency Assist - OGPD Parking Complaint Panic Alarm Noise Complaint Check the Welfare Notified of Recovered Stolen Auto by KCPD Open Garage Door Assault Disturbance

November 20, 2021 700 Block Main St 700 Block SW Eagles Pkwy 1200 Block NW Willow Dr

Citizen Contact Suspicious Vehicle Disturbance

100 Block SW Rock Creek 600 Block SW Westview Dr 700 Block Main St 1300 Block NW Valley Woods Ct 500 Block South St 1200 Block NW Phelps Dr 200 Block NW Barr Rd 200 Block NW Barr Rd 900 Block NW Willow Dr 800 Block San Kar 700 Block Main St

700 Block Main St

November 23, 2021 1200 Block NW Phelps Ct 1200 Block NW Persimmon 300 Block SW Crestview Dr 700 Block SW Lee Ann Dr 1200 Block NW Eagle Ridge Dr 900 Block SW Cross Creek Dr 300 Block W Walnut NW Woodbury / NW Pecan 700 Block SW Ginger Hill Dr 700 Block Main St

Agency Assist - DFS Animal Bite Suspicious Activity Citizen Contact Check the Welfare Leaving the Scene of an Accident Property Damage Area Check - Careless Driver Child Custody Walk-in Report Assault

Additional calls for service: Suicidal subject: 2 Order of Protection: 3

“Jackson County is growing larger and

PROPOSAL continued from page 1 have been together ever since. Arnold was a member of the Grain Valley Color Guard and Winter Guard. Craig played the trumpet in the Marching Eagles, pep, and concert bands. The couple were members of the 2016 GV Marching Eagles who traveled to New York City to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and were asked to perform on Good Morning America. Arnold graduated in 2017 and went on to K-State where she has obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture with an emphasis on Landscape Design and Greenhouse Management. She is currently employed by Ryan Lawn & Tree as a landscape designer. Andrew is a Senior at K-State and will be obtaining a Bachelor of

Photo credit: Tonya Craig

Science degree in Geology in May 2022. The couple is planning a Fall 2022 wedding.

G R A I N VA L L E Y N E W S Our advertisers support your local news. Support Small Business. Shop Local.

Looking Back


Looking Back: Sni-A-Bar Elementary School by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society As I continue to peruse the “Guide to Grain Valley” inserts from the late 1990s, I certainly see a reoccurring theme. The headlines from 25 years ago could be written today --“City expecting continued growth,” “More businesses have come in the last year,” “Police department trains to ward off crime,” Growing district changes Hackett’s

duties,” and “New elementary gives district four schools.” Well, maybe the last one is a bit dated. The last elementary, Stony Point gave Grain Valley seven schools, and most of them are still growing with new additions continuing to increase their physical size and student capacity. But soon we will celebrate 25 years since the opening of Sni-A-Bar Elementary School. When Sni-A-Bar opened (August 1997) it housed Parents as First Teachers, kindergarten and first grade; about 225 students. At that time, the district was divided by grade levels rather than living areas to avoid conflicts over attendance boundary lines. If you are relatively new to our city, you may not realize other ways it has changed. Twenty-five years ago we had a golf course on R.D. Mize Road, an antique mall on Main Street, and the United States Post Office still sorted mail in Grain Valley. As we look toward 2022, you can see that a few businesses have been erased from the landscape, several businesses have come and gone, but many more are here to stay. Twenty-five years ago

Sni--A- Bar Elementary School will soon celebrate its 25th year. Sni Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society we had just added Sonic Drive-In and expanded the Valley Ridge Industrial Park. State Bank of Missouri was about to open a new branch on Eagles’ Parkway and OOIDA was working to complete a $3.5 million dollar building that would bring about 50 new jobs to Grain Valley.

As we consider the history of Grain Valley, certainly the business community is one indication of how we have changed. But schools, and the education of our young citizens, tell the real history of how we have grown. So as we approach 2022, I hope the school district will celebrate 25 years at Sni-A-Bar, because Yesterday is History!

Grain Valley News is a free community paper, published weekly on Thursdays online at and on the 1st and 3rd weeks of the month in print. Cory Unrein | Co-Owner/Publisher John Unrein | Co-Owner/Production Manager Cathy Allie | Staff Writer, Proofreader John Overstreet | Contributing Photographer Michael Smith | Staff Writer, Sports

F irst Ba pt i st Ch u rch Gra i n Va lle y

Mail: PO Box 2972 Grain Valley MO 64029 Phone: 816.809.7984 Email:

Join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @grainvalleynews Sign up at to have Valley News delivered weekly to your inbox.


4 The gift of generosity by Phil Hanson, President & CEO, Truman Heartland Community Foundation These last two years have been extremely challenging for everyone. But as we approach the holiday season it seems like things may be returning closer to normal. We all look forward to family and friends gathering once again to celebrate the holiday season. One thing that has not changed throughout the pandemic has been the generosity of the donors of your Community Foundation. Our fundholders were very generous in 2020. We had a great response from our Donor Advised Fundholders in the spring of 2020 as we kept them apprised of the needs of nonprofits in our community responding to the Covid crisis. They made grants of more than $250,000 to help nonprofits in our community responding to the COVID crisis, during a time that was very scary

for all of us if you think back to April, May, and June of 2020. And these Covid response grants did not displace other grants. In fact, last year total grants from our Donor Advised Fundholders totaled nearly $1.8 million, an increase of 21% from 2019. Speaking of things returning closer to normal, your Community Foundation recently had our annual Grants Luncheon at the Midwest Genealogy Center. We had to forego the event in 2020 so it was great to gather with our board members and advisory board members, grants committee volunteers, fundholders, and Youth Advisory Council students, to present grants totaling $427,323 to 61 area nonprofits. We also had representatives from Junior Service League who continued their practice of tying their annual grant making into our community grants process. Endowed grant making funds

Businesses: Get on our 2022 calendar for a feature article Grain Valley Businesses! We are planning our editorial calendar for 2022, and we would like to feature your busiFollow Local First Grain Valley on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @localfirstgv.

ness. If you would like us to feature your business in an upcoming edition, email to get on our schedule.

entrusted to our board to steward provided approximately $330,000 of this total and once again our generous Donor Advised Fund Holders responded when asked to help close the gap between the amount requested by our grantees and available funds. We had 18 fundholders respond with grants over $90,000 to bring the total to $427,000, a new record. Once again, their generosity continues to grow. The Grants Luncheon was sponsored this year by Assel Grant Services and Mid-Continent Public Library, and we are very grateful for their support. At the luncheon we also formerly welcomed 19 new members of our Heartland Legacy Society who joined in 2020 or this year. The society now has more than 170 members who have made plans to make a gift through their estate to a fund at the Community Foundation. Legacy Gifts from members who have

passed away provided $291,000 of the grants presented at the luncheon this year through endowed funds created by their generosity. It's clear that our donors clearly recognize that here truly is no greater feeling than giving back to your local community. Their generosity is truly a gift to our entire community. Happy Holidays!

Phil Hanson is the president and CEO of Truman Heartland Community Foundation. Truman Heartland Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity committed to improving the communities in and around Eastern Jackson County through partnerships with donors and community members. For more information on charitable giving, visit or call Truman Heartland at 816-836-8189.



6 ways to unplug and recharge during the holidays by Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert Let's face it, we all love our smart devices and most of you probably can't imagine a minute without them. I'm even guilty of it, but we all need to unplug sometimes and take a break from technology, especially during the holidays. It's important to capture those special moments, but you don't have to post every photo on every social media site to show how your holiday was. This holiday season, focus on putting your phones down and interacting with the people around you. Need help? Here are 6 ways you can unplug and recharge this holiday season.

1.No Devices at Mealtime. Designate all mealtimes as periods where devices are put away and face-to-face conversation can be had. That's how our grandparents used to do it! 2. Discuss and write down goals. Let your kids be a part of setting the goals and sharing their input. Schedule (limited) time that both the kids and parents can use technology. 3. Stick to your guns. guns Like every good goal, it needs to be enforced. Parents, let your kids know you are serious and set tech time limits. Your kids can help keep you in line as well. 4. Use technology together. If you must have access to the Internet and use technology, use it together. Look for

games and activities on apps that everyone can play together. 5. Don't check it if there isn't a notification. Kids watch and learn from their parents. If you are constantly checking your phone, your kids will too. Think before you check; use downtime to improve family time rather than your relationship with friends and coworkers. 6. Go oldold-fashioned style. Challenge each other to have fun offline. Play versions of your favorite games that don't require technology. Get creative! Want to ask me a tech question? Send it to If you prefer to connect with me on social media, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and

Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on our YouTube channel. I love technology. I've read all of the manuals and I want to make technology fun and exciting for you. If you need on-site or remote tech support for your Windows\Macintosh, computers, laptops, Android/Apple smartphone, tablets, printers, routers, smart home devices, and anything that connects to the Internet, please feel free to contact my team at Integral. My team of friendly tech experts is always standing by to answer your questions and help make your technology useful and fun. Reach out to us a or phone at 888.256.0829.

Tips to gift your child with tech safely this holiday season (StatePoint) Are you wondering if this is the right year to gift your child a smartphone for the holidays? While age may seem important, maturity levels play a big role in letting you know if your child is ready to handle the responsibility of owning a connected device. It’s always important

to weigh the pros and cons. The benefits of a smartphone and internet access are that they offer a wealth of educational opportunities for students. Children are early adopters of the latest technology and in many cases, can absorb and digest information easier and much faster than adults.

The downside is that children have access to everything on the internet, including potentially inappropriate content. The good news is that there are many safety and monitoring apps and tools available, some at low or no cost to you. For example, T-Mobile offers Family Mode, an app that allows the primary account holder to monitor a child’s internet access when the app is downloaded on the device. T-Mobile also offers Family Allowances, an app that for a small monthly fee, allows you to assign allowances for the number of minutes, texts, downloaded content and money spent on downloadable apps. It also allows you to block your child’s use of their devices during certain times of the day, such as school, during homework, dinner time or at night. Google Family Link is another option that is free of cost and provides you with the ability to monitor your child’s web activity, limit daily phone access, and approve or decline downloadable app purchases. You can also check with

your internet provider or wireless smartphone provider to see what child safety features are available with your current plan. If your child isn’t quite ready for a phone, but you still want to have the ability to monitor and communicate with them, a connected smartwatch may be the next best option. T-Mobile recently launched SyncUP KIDS Watch, which features real-time location tracking, talk and text with approved contacts only, virtual boundary alerts, silent mode to use during school, and a help button that alerts pre-set emergency contacts when pushed. It has safety feature that parents want, but is also fun for kids, with a camera to snap and record moments, plus interactive games. To learn more, visit Having safety tools and features available at the swipe of your fingertips will put your mind at ease and help create healthy habits when your child navigates the digital world, with or without you around.

State News


Amid debate over sheltered workshops, Missouri pays people with disabilities less by Madison Hopkins, The Kansas City Beacon A new Missouri law allowing employers to continue paying some people with disabilities less than minimum wage has positioned the state at the forefront of a national debate over disability rights in the workplace. Part of a wide-ranging piece of legislation signed by Gov. Mike Parson in July, the rule directs the state to develop its own version of a federal program that allows wages as low as pennies per hour. Roughly 5,000 employees work at facilities with subminimum wage certificates in Missouri – called sheltered workshops because workers are kept separate from others. Missouri has the second-highest number of sheltered workshops in the country, with 95 operating locations. Though the New Deal-era law that governs such employment was considered progressive when it was enacted, it has come under increasing criticism in recent years. On one side of the debate are employers – along with many workers with disabilities and their families – who say the point of sheltered workshops isn’t pay, but rather the community and sense of purpose for people who wouldn’t succeed in the traditional workforce. They worry that without wage-law exemptions, sheltered workshops will be forced to close. On the other side, disability rights advocates argue the practice is outdated, discriminatory and unnecessary when many resources are available to help employees with disabilities succeed in integrated community environments. Paying people with disabilities less than minimum wage “devalues their time,” said Cassidi Jobe, president of the Missouri chapter of the Association of People Supporting Employment First and a mother of two teenagers with autism. “It sends a very clear message that their time is not worth the same amount as a person who doesn’t have a developmental difference.” The push to ban subminimum wage for people with disabilities has gained momentum in recent years. At least 12 states have done so, and several more are considering it. At the federal level, lawmakers have made several attempts to wipe out the exemption, but none has succeeded. Dan Gier, director of sheltered workshops for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said the new state law is meant as a failsafe for sheltered workshops in case a challenge to the federal law succeeds. “It would be quickly adaptable and there would be no change at the workshop level,” Gier said. “We feel very confident we can do that.” Missouri’s legislation could also end up serving as a guide for other states. New DealDeal - era sheltered workshops law In Missouri, 87 nonprofit organizations with 14(c) certificates – named for the provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act that authorizes the

subminimum wage payments – operate 95 sheltered workshops that employ roughly 5,000 people, according to DESE. The type of work varies. Employees at Southeast Enterprises in Kansas City take on tasks ranging from packaging cooking spices to attaching labels to medical marijuana products. Other workshops hold contracts to keep state rest areas clean or to operate recycling programs. Sheltered workshop employees are paid hourly or on a “piece rate,” meaning they are compensated for each time they complete a unit of work, such as packing and sealing a test tube kit. Individual pay rates are determined by comparing the amount of work a nondisabled employee completes to that of the person with disabilities. For example, if a nondisabled worker packages 100 sets of rubber gloves into boxes in one hour, but the employee with disabilities packs only 50 boxes, that worker’s pay is set at 50% of the prevailing wage for that task. As a result, not all sheltered workshop employees earn subminimum wages. According to DESE, pay in Missouri’s sheltered workshops ranges from $1 per hour to $18.13 per hour, well above the minimum wage. The average is $5.15 per hour. Kit Brewer, legislative chair for the Missouri Association of Sheltered Workshop Managers, or MASWM, said the wage scales are no different from other accommodations provided for workers to be successful, like a ramp for a worker with a wheelchair. The lower wage allows sheltered workshop employees to work at their own pace without the pressure to hit quotas or other standards. “Like it or not, the competitive employment world expects production,” Brewer said. “We may not all look at it as we’re being judged on our production levels every day, but I think deep down we all know better.” Yet a 2020 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report found that the process can also be “rife with abuse and difficult to administer,” pointing out that each year, subminimum wage employees have been owed back pay from 14(c) employers. Between 2009 and 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor found violations in 53 investigations of Missouri sheltered workshops, resulting in more than $780,000 in back wages for employees, according to the report. Stating that the federal exemption has kept “people with disabilities … from realizing their full potential,” the commission recommended the phaseout of 14(c), echoing other high-profile criticisms of the program in recent years. This year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found a host of barriers hindering employees transitioning away from sheltered workshops to integrated employment – a core goal of many programs. During his campaign, President Joe

An employee weighs items at Southeast Enterprises, a sheltered workshop in Kansas City on Nov. 16, 2021. Sheltered workshops are authorized to pay employees with severe disabilities below the minimum wage (Madison Hopkins/The Beacon). Biden promised to do away with subminimum wage for employees with disabilities, announcing support for the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act. If passed, the law would phase out subminimum wage exemptions and provide grants and other resources to help shift sheltered workshop employees to jobs integrated in communities. Despite bipartisan support, the bill stalled after it was reintroduced to Congress in April. Language to phase out 14(c) was also included in the American Rescue Plan Act passed this year to provide COVID relief funds, but lawmakers struck out the provision before passage. The ‘Missouri Model’ Model’ could spread Brewer, the legislative chair for the workshop managers association, said Missouri is the first state to pass a law like this, and it could serve as a road map for others. While he expects the law to be challenged in court, he said the state is in a good position to argue its case. First, the state’s current minimum wage offers some wiggle room. While the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, Missouri’s is $10.30 and will increase to $11.15 in 2022. Federal law won’t allow any payments below its minimum, but Missouri could still authorize smaller payments to people with disabilities than the rest of the state’s workers. Second, though Missouri is behind only Illinois in total number of subminimum wage certificates issued in the state, it is the only state that doesn’t accept federal funding for the operation or oversight of sheltered workshops. Instead, the workshops are supported by state and local funds, with the largest portion of their budgets based on revenue from the goods and services they produce, according to DESE. The absence of federal funding in Missouri sheltered workshop budgets is in line with the focus of the state’s program. The federal funds for sheltered workshops are meant for services to help employees gain skills and enter the competitive workforce, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

Services. While sheltered workshops in many other states are viewed as temporary training programs to teach employees key vocational skills before they enter the integrated workforce, Missouri’s program is all business. “Our main core is employment and jobs,” said Gier, the DESE sheltered workshop director. He said it goes back to the core values of the legislators who founded Missouri’s program in the 1960s. “Work brings dignity, brings pride, brings income, brings self-reliance, brings the ability to pick and choose, just as employment for the average American does.” Gier said nothing will change immediately as DESE works on developing rules for a state program. The goal of the new law is to be prepared in case the federal shift happens. In a recent survey by MASWM of its member shops, only 56% of the 39 that responded said they would remain open without subminimum wages. Many disability rights advocates argue that the financial fears are overblown and point to states like Vermont, which phased out 14(c) nearly two decades ago and integrated the majority of its workers into community-based jobs. Even in Missouri, some sheltered workshops are preemptively deciding to leave behind subminimum wages. In 2018, a Sedalia sheltered workshop transitioned its focus to provide employment support for those with disabilities. Reinhard Mabry, president and CEO of Alphapointe, a Kansas City-based nonprofit that employs people who are blind or visually impaired, said his organization ended subminimum wage payments years ago. Though it was a financial hit at the time, the organization decided it was time. “We saw it as daunting – I think that most nonprofits would,” Mabry said. “We just knew it was the right thing to do. So we had to. We had to make some tough decisions.”

University of Missouri journalism students Skylar Laird and Bolette Elsoee contributed to this report.

‘Tis the Season


Mid-Continent Public

Santa Bus Schedule

Library holiday programs

One of Grain Valley’s beloved holiday traditions, the Santa Bus, begins its tour this Saturday. Below is this year’s schedule. Santa would like to remind parents of babies or those with special needs who may not be able to wait outside or travel to the bus, to please let Santa’s helpers know. Santa will be glad to come inside for a visit. For more information, visit

Thanksgiving) Everything between 40Hwy and Eagles Pkwy including Cypress St & Broadway East of Buckner-Tarsney, and Winding Creek subdivision

(Yellow) Nov. 27th | 9:00 AM until approx. 7 PM (First Saturday after Thanksgiving ) Grayleigh Park, Rosewood, Whispering Park, and Woodbury subdivisions

(No Color) Dec. 12th | 10:00 AM until approx. 7 PM (Third Sunday after Thanksgiving ) Everything bordered by Buckner Tarsney on the east, by Sni A Bar on the south and west, and Eagles Pkwy (AA) on the north.

Mr. Stinky Feet's Christmas December 14, 2021 10:00am—10:45am Celebrate this festive season while singing along to holiday tunes! Jim will read from his book, Hark It's Harold the Angel. To enjoy this virtual program, go to our MCPL360 Facebook page at https:// at the scheduled day and time. Celebrate the Winter Solstice with Mr. Stinky Feet December 21, 2021 10:00am—10:45am Let's rock 'n roll and shake off our cabin fever! To enjoy this virtual program, go to our MCPL360 Facebook page at at the scheduled day and time. Frosty Morning: Sounds of Christmas December 21, 2021 7:00pm—7:45pm Get into the spirit of Christmas as Frosty Morning presents a collection of holiday favorites on Hammered Dulcimer and

Guitar. Registration is required. To enjoy this virtual program, go to our MCPL360 Facebook page at https:// at the scheduled day and time. Mad Science Holiday Show December 22, 2021 4:00pm—4:45pm Celebrate the season with Mad Science! Students will visit Santa Eggbert, defrost a snowman, and watch bubbling bubbles of fun in this wacky holiday adventure. Program registration will close 30 minutes prior to the start of the program. Participants will be emailed a Zoom access code 15 minutes before the start of the program. So please include your email in the registration. Please note: You must sign into the room prior to the start of the program. Admittance to the classroom will close five minutes after the program's start time. Space is limited. For more information, visit

(Green) Nov 28th 10 AM until appox 7 PM (First Sunday after Thanksgiving) Everything North of I-70 other than Grayleigh Park, Rosewood Whispering Park, and Woodbury subdivisions (Orange) Dec. 4th | 9 AM until approx. 7 PM (Second Saturday after Thanksgiving) Everything between 40 Hwy and I-70 (Purple) Dec. 5th | 10:00 AM until approx. 7 PM (Second Sunday after

(Blue) Dec 11th | 9 AM until approx. 7 PM (Third Saturday after Thanksgiving) Everything bordered by Buckner Tarsney on the east, Sni A Bar on the north, and Cross Creek Dr on the west.

(Red) Dec. 18th | 9:00 AM until approx. 7 PM (Last Saturday before Christmas) Everything bordered by Cross Creek Dr on the east, Sni A Bar on the northeast, and Eagles Pkwy (AA) on the north Dec. 19th | 10 AM until approx. 7 PM (Last Sunday before Christmas) *if needed* Any areas that were missed due to time constraints or weather.

KC Ren Fest presents Knights of Lights Celebration The Kansas City Renaissance Festival is proud to announce its 2021 Knights of Lights Holiday Celebration! Beginning on Black Friday, November 26th, at 5pm, the Festival grounds will become a wonderland of dazzling lights and scenes. Patrons will walk through the King’s Gate and Cotswold Common areas, enjoying food, beverages, vendors and performers. We’ll have activities for the kids and fun for everyone! Tickets are on sale at and will be available at the box office. Advance tickets are $14.95 for adults and $9.95 for kids 5-12. At the gate, prices are $18 for adults and $13 for kids 5-12. Children 4 and under are always free! Even your dog can enjoy the show for $5. Hours: Thursdays and Sundays: 5-

10pm, Fridays and Saturdays: 5-11pm, December 20th-24th: 5-10pm. Closed Christmas Day. On New Year’s Eve, we will be open for a special celebration from 5pm-1am! Our light show will be provided by Landers’ Visions, a local, family-owned company with nearly 35 years of experience creating beautiful decorative environments. Information is available at

Your Health


Tasty times together in the kitchen by Tara Sallee, MS, RD, LD, Hy-Vee Corporate Dietitian Did you know that kids who regularly help in the kitchen grow up confident to prepare their own meals? As a result, they’ll not only learn how to eat balanced meals, but they may become less picky, too. If there’s one thing that brings people together, it’s food – so choose a recipe, grab an apron, and reap the benefits of time together in the kitchen. How to include the littles? Let’s find out:

young as 2 years old can help. A mixing bowl and spoon can do wonders for the little ones, and asking school-age kids to help measure ingredients can promote concentration and math skills.

Come One, Come All: Little kids, big kids – there’s no age limit when it comes to cooking. Sure, the task will need to be different, but even a child as

Make, Taste, Enjoy: Who doesn’t love a little taste test? If you find that you have some picky personalities on your hands – helping in the kitchen is key.

Designate Special Tools: Colorful mixing bowls, nifty spatulas, a homemade apron – show kids that cooking should be fun and enjoyed. With their own gadgets and gear, they’ll be asking for homemade meals more often.

Kids are more likely to eat what the make. Therefore, bring out all the food groups and use them in different ways. The more exposure to foods, the better. Deciding Factor: Turn the trickiest question of the day around and ask your kids – “What’s for dinner tonight?” Allowing your kids to come up with meal ideas can help elevate some stress throughout the week. If you find that they only suggest their go-to foods (example: mac-n-cheese), offer a choice: Would you like spaghetti or tacos tonight? They’ll feel empowered that they got to make this mealtime call and their diet will be full of variety, too.

Customer in Training: Grab the little toddler cart and make your way through the grocery aisles together. A meal begins with a plan. Therefore, expose them to all the options within the grocery store. Have them pick up fun foods, yet look at healthier options, too. As parents, we pass many skills down to our children. Make sure the ability to cook is one of them (regardless if you’re a great chef or not).

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

New efforts are helping close the eye care gap for children (StatePoint) Healthy eyesight is critical for educational success. Studies show that children with vision impairment can experience lower educational achievement and selfesteem levels than their normallysighted peers. This is why it’s important for all children to receive an annual eye exam. However, due to a range of factors, including lack of insurance coverage and access to health services, not all kids are able to receive an eye exam. The global program Sight For Kids, co-founded by Johnson & Johnson Vision and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), is now aiming to eliminate these barriers in the United States. “The ability to see is not a privilege. It is a right owed to every single kid in our community and beyond,” says, Shlomi Nachman, company group chairman, Cardiovascular & Specialty Solutions Group and Johnson & Johnson Vision. As it turns out, teachers are frequently the first to notice a child needs vision correction. Teachers have a unique ability to identify behavioral changes and notice when children suffer socially and academically, which may be attributed to poor vision. According to a

recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology, students in grades 3 to 7 who received vision correction through a school-based vision program achieved better reading scores. This is why Sight For Kids provides teachers with training to deliver eye health education and mobilizes local Lions Clubs to screen for common eye conditions. Students identified with potential vision impairment or eye ailments are then referred to healthcare providers for a comprehensive evaluation. In an effort to reduce vision care inequities, the program also provides students with no -cost eye health education, screening, eye exams, glasses and special followup treatment and care, if necessary. “As teachers, if we notice the signs of vision problems, we can refer students and their families to the proper health care provider,” says Edna Johnson, a grade school teacher at St. Lucie County Schools. In the South Florida area, Johnson & Johnson Vision and LCIF are collaborating with the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired through its Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program to help

20,000 students facing inequities get much needed eye care, including educational eye health materials in four languages to meet the needs of diverse communities. “This program enables us to ensure children in our community have the eye exams and glasses they need to be successful in school and to potentially prevent serious eye health conditions before they cause permanent damage,” says Virginia A. Jacko, president and CEO, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program. Nearly 2,000 kids in South Florida have received an eye exam since September 2021 alone, thanks to Sight For Kids and 4 million have globally in the past year. Among those who’ve benefitted from the program is Rajiv who was prescribed his first pair of glasses. His mom knew his interaction in class was being affected due to poor vision, but she was unable to take time off work to get him an eye exam. Yensi’s parents don’t have insurance and couldn’t afford eye care, but through the program, Yensi received a referral for a free exam. Kimberly’s parents, who recently

immigrated to the United States, didn’t feel safe seeking eye care for their second grader. Thanks to Sight For Kids, Kimberly was prescribed her first pair of glasses in an environment where her family could feel safe and educated in their native language. Ruth’s family also recently immigrated. Diagnosed by the optometrist at the Sight for Kids screening, Ruth is back in class wearing glasses and keeping up with her classmates. “Many times, immigrant students do not have the access, ability, or insurance to cover vision exams and they struggle in school or socially,” says Ruth’s mother. One clear way to help children thrive in school is to make sure they get an eye exam. Are you a parent or a caregiver? Schedule an eye exam for your little one today. To find an eye doctor near you, visit Healthy vision is fundamental to overall health and educational success. Reducing inequities in eye care makes a huge impact for individuals, families and communities.

G R A I N VA L L E Y N E W S Our advertisers support your local news. Support Small Business. Shop Local. Online weekly at

9 5 ways to protect your holiday budget (StatePoint) It may be the season of cheer, but for many, the holidays are rife with anxiety about expenses. A recent survey shows that staying on budget is Americans’ top concern this holiday season, followed by incurring long-term debt, shipping costs and being charged late or hidden fees. Here are five tips to protect your holiday budget: 1. Set a spending cap with friends and family. Americans plan to spend $998 on gifts this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation. ‘Tis the season for giving, but make sure you don’t overspend. Know your budget up front and communicate that with loved ones. Another idea to limit spending is

to put everyone’s name into a hat. Each person draws one name and buys a gift for just the person they selected. You can add a bit of intrigue by keeping the identity of your recipient a secret until you open gifts! 2. Take advantage of deal days. Timing is everything for getting the best prices. Do your homework in advance to pay significantly less and wait for big sales days, such as Super Saturday before Christmas, which is great for last -minute gifts.

up closing, especially those still struggling during the ongoing pandemic. Erie Insurance is taking away that concern with gift card reimbursement coverage, which is provided to certain eligible homeowners at no additional charge. The coverage provides reimbursement for up to $250 per gift card at local businesses within 100 miles of a customer’s home if the business permanently closes within a year after purchase. Reimbursement coverage is limited to $500 per policy period.

3. Purchase gift cards with peace of mind. Gift cards are a popular, convenient gift, but some would-be buyers may hesitate to purchase them out of fear that the business may end

4. Track when products are discounted with a browser extension. Do you want the best deals but don’t have the time to spend searching for them? There are extensions you can download

on web browsers that will compare prices and even apply the best coupon codes at checkout. 5. Use credit card rewards. You’ve earned those points throughout the year and now is a great time to cash them in. The simplest way to use points is for gift cards, as it’s one of the top requested gifts and there are many categories to choose from, including restaurants, clothing and grocery stores. Another option is to take advantage of the money saved from a statement credit to cover the expense of holiday gifts. Being mindful of your spending now can help you have a low-stress holiday season and start the new year off on the right foot.


ACROSS 1. Pilgrim's destination 6. Make a scene 9. Rubik's puzzle 13. Hawaii environs 14. Toothy fish 15. Cone-shaped dwelling 16. White Swan in "Swan Lake" ballerina 17. ____-Wan Kenobi 18. *Decorate with wreaths and holly, e.g. 19. *Either dessert or source of heat (2 words) 21. *____ Day, or second day of Christmastide 23. Land parcel 24. Strauss of denim fame 25. Broadband access overseer, acr. 28. Clarified butter 30. Acute one and obtuse one 35. Southeastern Asian country 37. Jouster's breastplate 39. Shrewdness 40. Caspian basin river 41. *Pasadena's Tournament of ____ 43. Tel ____, Israel 44. Native American emblem 46. "Why not?" 47. Hitchhiker's quest 48. Omits when speaking 50. Hard to find 52. Bear's winter quarters 53. Hoodwink 55. Scepter's partner 57. *Number of days in Christmastide 60. *"Ugly" holiday party garb? 64. Prepare a letter 65. "Bingo!" 67. Hunger for 68. Pass-the-baton race 69. *Cranberry sauce sometimes comes from it 70. Same as tori 71. Raise the roof 72. German river 73. Stall sound

DOWN 1. Whiny and miserable 2. Shade of beige 3. Finish a ceiling, to a plasterer 4. Marlboro alternative 5. Not digital 6. Bug-eyed 7. Not Uber 8. Social group 9. Ghana monetary unit 10. Second word of many fairytales 11. Cause of Titanic's demise 12. Poetic "even" 15. Burdensome 20. Not this or that 22. Lab eggs 24. Time off 25. *Champagne holder 26. *Wassailing composition 27. Raccoon's South American cousin 29. Feeling of superiority, pl. 31. ____ gum, food additive 32. Furiously angry 33. Exclude or omit 34. *Number of candles in kinara, Kwanzaa 36. *Troika vehicle 38. "Will be," according to Doris 42. Asian goat antelope 45. Potpourri 49. Chevy Suburban, e.g. 51. Builds 54. *Popular holiday wish 56. Munchausen's title 57. *Bedecked arbor 58. Shakespeare, to his friends? 59. And others, for short 60. Minus 61. Tropical edible root 62. Anon's partner 63. Take a load off 64. Like some humor 66. *Traditional main holiday dish

G R A I N VA L L E Y N E W S Our advertisers support your local news. Support Small Business. Shop Local.


10 Small Eagles swim team looks for successful season by Michael Smith The Grain Valley girls swimming and diving team is heading into its fourth season, and just like the boys, it will be small in numbers. The Eagles will compete with a combined 14 swimmers and divers heading into the 2021-22 season. And after having one state qualifier last season, they hope to have more this time around. “We have a smaller team this year, we lost seven seniors from last year’s team,” Grain Valley girls swim coach Kara Liddle said. “That kind of hurt us this year. But with the girls we do have, I think we can have a really good season.” Madison Rogers leads the way for the Eagles as the lone state qualifier from last season. She actually made the Missouri State High School Girls Swimming and Diving Championships twice and as a junior she is hoping to crack the top eight at state this year after finishing 11th a year ago. In the offseason, she has been

working on improving with her club diving team called the Titans. “I have been pretty satisfied with my high school career so far,” Rogers said. “Last year was honestly a struggle but I have worked really hard, and I am ready to improve this year.” Since her freshman season Rogers said she has improved mentally the most. “A lot of things I struggled with before I was because I was scared,” she said. “Now I am more focused and that has been the biggest difference. “I definitely need to work on my twisters, and I have also worked on my doubles because that’s what judges focus on the most. I think finishing in the top eight at state is a reasonable goal as long as I keep pushing hard in practice.” Joining Rogers will be two freshmen who will be diving for the first time and senior Lauren White will also be a firsttime diver. She swam for Grain Valley

Grain Valley seniors: Ella Boyle, left and Alyssa Hanenkratt look to lead the Grain Valley girls swimming team for the 20212021-2022 season. Photo credit: Michael Smith during her first three years on the team and will be trying diving out in 2021-22. “She’s a cheerleader, so she has that gymnastics background, and she really seems to be enjoying it,” Liddle said of White. Leading the way for the swimming side of the team are seniors Ella Boyle and Alyssa Hanenkratt. Boyle said she swims every event but the 100-meter backstroke and Hanenkratt swims long-distance races like the 200 and 500-meter freestyle races. Freshman Riley Wade is a sprinter who could make some noise this year, as well. “My goal is to make it to state in any

event that I can,” Boyle said. “Our relays were really close to making state last year and we had some girls miss cuts by hundredths of a second.” Liddle said the team will have its first swim meet Wednesday and the regular season will cap with the Suburban White Conference Championships. “I think they are going to do really well in conference,” Liddle said of the seniors. “We are going to have one of the smaller teams in the conference because we don’t have very many people. We have our first meet on Wednesday, so I am excited to see how well we can do.”



Grain Valley uses press, fast-paced offense to roll to 61-30 win by Michael Smith Every day in practice, Grain Valley veteran girls basketball coach Randy Draper said he likes to have his players go at a fast pace most of the time. That’s because he will sometimes need his team to play fast during games and the Eagles showed they could do just that in Monday’s season opener against St. Joseph Lafayette. Utilizing a zone press and a motion offense that involved a lot of off-ball movement, Grain Valley cruised to a 6130 victory against the Fighting Irish in the first round of the Winnetonka Invitational. The Eagles advance to play Raymore Peculiar in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Winnetonka High School. “I think our skill level and our athletic ability will allow us to go,” Draper said. “We moved a lot in the second half and played with a lot more focus on offense in the second half.” “We practice fast. Because you don’t want to go to the game and do something new. We don’t always press that much but we needed to get it going.” After Grain Valley took a 17-11 lead after one period, the team utilized a zone press that gave Lafayette fits and helped create 11 turnovers and 14 fastbreak points. The Eagles won the quarter 18-5 and took a commanding 3516 lead into halftime.

“It’s something that really gets our legs going,” Grain Valley junior Grace Slaughter said. “If we realize we need to fall back into a zone, we can defend on how they’re handling the ball. We get ready to try and get some traps, some steals, and easy buckets. Added sophomore Finley LaForge: “When we get a couple of steals back to back, it gets us super pumped up. On offense, we are pushing the ball and it helps us play better.” In the second half, the Eagles didn’t use the press as much and went to a more motion heavy offense in the halfcourt and saw all four players who didn’t have the ball of their hands, moving constantly trying to get open and cutting to the basket. Junior Grace Slaughter and sophomore Annabelle Totta scored four points each on open layups received on backdoor cuts in the second half. Their team took a 45-18 lead into the fourth period and cruised to a 16-12 fourth quarter edge against the Fighting Irish. “When we are all moving and know we need to cut, we might get a couple of easy baskets when they are playing heavy on the ball side,” Slaughter said. “When Finley and I are on the same side, that backdoor is going to be open.” Added LaForge: “When we are moving off the ball like that, we are at our best.”

Grain Valley sophomore McKenah Sears prepares to shoot a free throw. Photo credit: Michael Smith

see GRAIN VALLEY on page 12

Grain Valley junior Ella Clyman drives to the basket. Photo credit: Michael Smith

G R A I N VA L L E Y N E W S Our advertisers support your local news. Support Small Business. Shop Local. Grain Valley junior Grace Slaughter gets tied up by a St. Joseph Lafayette defender while driving to the basket. Photo credit: Michael Smith

w w w. g ra i n va l l e y n e w s . c o m

GRAIN VALLEY continued from page 10 Slaughter led the Eagles with a game -high 32 points, including 21 points in the first half and including a trio of three-

pointers, all coming from the corner spots. Sophomore McKenah Sears added eight points.

Community Calendar December 2, 2021

December 13, 2021

Indoor Storytime Event for Families Blue Springs North Library 10:00am—10:30am Hear stories, sing songs, join in movement activities, and create memories together.

Board of Aldermen Meeting 7:00pm Grain Valley City Hall

Holiday Festival 6:00pm Armstrong Park Mayor's Christmas Tree lighting, including visits with Santa, elementary choir performances, hot chocolate and cookies.

Grain Valley sophomore Finley LaForge tosses up a shot on the fast break. Photo credit: Michael Smith

G R A I N VA L L E Y N E W S Our advertisers support your local news. Support Small Business. Shop Local.

w w w. g ra i n v a l l e y n e w s . c o m

December 20, 2021— 2021— January 2, 2022 Grain Valley Schools— Schools—Holiday Break

Add your community event free online at