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National Gypsum one step closer to opening plant in Eloy
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ELOY — A company that manufactures drywall has dusted off plans to finally open an Eloy facility just under 14 years after first approaching the city.

In 2007, National Gypsum Company proposed a wallboard facility in Sunshine Industrial Park. During the 2007-09 recession, the company put its plans on hold, citing a decline in the Arizona housing and construction market as the main reasons why. Now, both National Gypsum and the city of Eloy have taken the first of many steps in securing the company’s plans for a facility in the city.

During Monday’s City Council meeting, staff introduced an amendment to the development agreement with the company, with the city providing terms and conditions to facilitate the construction for the planned wallboard facility.

City Manager Harvey Krauss and Eloy Mayor Micah Powell stated that the plans are not set in stone. Powell said getting the deal done could bring over 200 jobs to Eloy.

“We are all really excited to get this process going again, we are really happy with the progress,” Powell said. “This is giving our community an opportunity, nobody can (say) that we are not bringing jobs in. When you have something of this magnitude coming in, the city will do its part, so I feel like this is a chance to give back to the community and give the people an opportunity.”

The proposed $300 million investment is still in the early stages, with many hoops to jump through before action, but for Powell, bringing jobs to Eloy has always been a major focus. With companies like Vext Science and Owens Corning establishing roots in the city, it looks as though National Gypsum could be joining the fray.

“You always want to keep things local, you work here, you live here and you buy here, that’s what we want,” Powell said. “With a project like this, it can bring in both housing and jobs to the city. Now the focus can be on bringing in some retail. We are always looking at what we need to do to continue to give our residents the best opportunity.”

The mayor’s excitement for the deal was palpable, saying that it is a great feeling to have these plans in the works to benefit both the city and residents.

“It’s awesome that we are being looked at and considered. Before, we were just getting stepped over, now Eloy’s voice is being heard,” Powell said. “One thing that I have always wanted to do as the mayor is to help change the perception and the image of our city. Eloy has changed its course; you have to bring the energy back, and I think we have.”

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Skydive Arizona hosting national championships
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ELOY — Skydive Arizona is one of the top skydiving locations in the country, and the United States Parachute Association has taken notice of this, naming it as the host for their National Championships event.

The event will be on Friday, Oct. 15, through Saturday, Oct. 30. Like most large gatherings, last year’s championships were forced to cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, organizers felt as though now is the right time to get back in the air and competitors from around the country, as well as the world, will come together to compete for the top prizes.

USPA Executive Director and skydiver Albert Berchtold has been focusing on getting the competitors back in the air this year. He says that it is great to be back and can’t wait for people to see the talent on display at the event.

“Being able to have a nationals again is a great thing,” Berchtold said. “I think ... everybody else who competes in the sport is really excited about the opportunity to come together and compete and see all of our friends again.”

Berchtold will be both taking on his responsibilities as executive director and focusing on his preparations as a competitor. Berchtold is a 22-year skydiving veteran who has competed in the national championships for the past 16 years. Although he said it is a big undertaking for himself, he is ready to take on the challenge.

“I’ve been competing for a long time, I really love it, and don’t want to ever stop,” Berchtold said. “Now with my executive director role, in the more recent years, I have to work both of those in. But the nice thing is I have a really great staff at USPA that helps make it all happen, and I am able to balance those responsibilities and make sure that we run a great national championships, and also still manage to get a jump in myself.”

The national championships will also have an international feel, with Romanian skydiver Cornelia Mihai competing in the canopy piloting events. Mihai has been skydiving for 19 years and has traveled the world to showcase her skills.

One of the big reasons for Mihai’s appearance at the event is because of the pond that is at the Skydive Arizona facility, where Mihai will attempt to parachute just above the pond, just mere inches above the water.

“I never thought skydiving would take me on such a crazy route,” Mihai said. “The US Nationals is always one of my favorite competitions. It is a brand new pond out there in Eloy, so I am excited to check it out.”

With the competition coming up soon and running through the rest of October, Berchtold sees this as a great opportunity for people new to the sport to come out and see what a professional skydiving event is like.

“It is a really great experience,” Berchtold said. “So if you are in the area, or interested in coming to the area, you can come and see what the competition is all about — it is a very exciting time to be there.”

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Eloy 'wonder women' officers receive awards for their efforts
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ELOY — During the Sept. 27 Eloy City Council meeting, Eloy Police Chief Chris Vasquez presented to the council three Eloy Police officers who received awards for their work in keeping the people and streets of Eloy safe.

Detective Lizette Ybarra received the Detective of the Year Award from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Detective Ana-Alicia Mariscal received the First Responder Award from the Casa Grande Elks Lodge and Corporal Krysten Childress received the Early Riser Award from the Arizona Womens Initiative Network.

“In this time that we live in, when people look to celebrities as role models and professional athletes as heroes, people ought to be looking at these three women instead,” Vasquez said during the meeting. “There’s your role models, there’s your heroes. You know DC Comics has Wonder Woman, I have seven Wonder Women, and they all work for the Eloy Police Department.”

Vasquez thinks highly of all three women who come to work for Eloy PD, and is thrilled with the progress they have made since joining the force, and their tireless efforts to make Eloy as safe as possible.

“I feel just like a proud dad to be honest with you, I give them the tools and support for them to go out and do their jobs, and for them to excel and receive this state wide recognition, it makes me proud.” Vasquez said. “It makes me proud of the quality of law enforcement officers that we have here in the city of Eloy.”

Eloy Mayor Micah Powell showed his respect and admiration for the officers as well, saying how well these three women represent the city of Eloy and its values.

“It speaks volumes of who we are,” Powell said. “It’s not easy being a police officer these days, but we are very glad and are very proud that we have officers who go out of their way for our community and put their lives on the line for our community.

There is no doubt that with Detectives Ybarra, Mariscal and Corporal Childress a part of the Eloy PD, residents can rest easier knowing that these women’s first priority is keeping everyone safe.