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Fiestas scheduled to return to Eloy
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ELOY — The Corazon de Latinos Unidos has announced that the Fiestas Patrias will return this year after a one-year hiatus.

The Fiestas is scheduled for Eloy’s Main Street Park and will take place the Sept. 17-18.

The Fiestas was not held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

New board President Andrew Rodriguez also announced the new officers of the CDLU Board of Directors. They are Grace Lopez, vice president; Jose Garcia, secretary; and Gilberto Mendez, treasurer. New board members are anxious to plan for the Fiestas this year as many Eloy and county residents have noted they miss the Fiestas and inquired if the event would take place in 2021, Rodriguez said.

Vendor applications are now available for booths. Individuals interested in selling food, beverages, specialty items and games can obtain an application by calling Alexis Ramirez at 520-450-1474 or Natalie G. Valdez at 480-559-4937. The application can also be requested by emailing cdlu.vendors@gmail.com. Nonprofits or government organizations wishing to have an informational or fundraising booth must also complete an application.

Corazon de Latinos Unidos plans and conducts the Fiestas every year. The profits from the vendor booths help pay for the cost of putting on the event. Sponsors have also helped in defraying the costs of the Fiestas. Sponsorships are available and anyone wishing to be a sponsor can call or email one of the two individuals responsible for recruiting sponsors: Norrie Burruel, 520-560-2954, nburruel@ivtowersrealty.com or Ralph Varela, 520-466-7765, varela_ralph@yahoo.com.

Members of the organization are actively planning the traditional Fiestas parade and entertainment, purchased family or business banners, children’s activities and a car show.

Additional information on the Fiestas schedule, including the program, parade and entertainment, will be published as plans are finalized. Applications for the vendor space, sponsorship, banners, parade and car show can be obtained at Great Western Bank, 712 N. Main St., Eloy; Ivory Towers Realty, 13084 S. Sunland Gin Road, Arizona City; Pinal Hispanic Council, 107 E. Fourth St., Eloy; and CAHRA, 109 N. Sunshine Blvd., Eloy.

Another opportunity to support the Fiestas is by purchasing a pole banner supporting the event. The banner can be a personal, family or business message and can be purchased through Grace Lopez, grace.lopez@greatwesternbank.com, 520-413-1542.

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O'Halleran talks about child credit in Eloy
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ELOY — U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran hosted a Families and Kids Resource Fair and Town Hall on July 13 in Eloy to highlight family resources in Pinal County and answer questions about the new Child Tax Credit that went into effect July 15.

Representatives of agencies such as the Eloy Police Department and the Casa Grande Alliance were in attendance to meet with the representative as well as provide information on programs they hold for the people of Eloy and the area.

Mayor Micah Powell discussed what it means to have citizens of the Eloy area to be aware of these resources to help make their lives just a bit easier.

“We were reached out to by the congressman’s office to host this event, and our doors are always open to anybody who wants to come over here, especially anyone from the federal side with Congressman O’Halleran,” Powell said. “I think this is a great opportunity for people to know who we are, see what we are and see what resources we have out there for not only Eloy residents but everyone in between. So this is a great idea and a great opportunity.”

O’Halleran, D-Sedona, made it clear that he came to Eloy to understand the needs of the people he represents and make sure that they know who he is, and how he can best support them on Capitol Hill.

“First of all, I have to meet my constituents, and I have to get to know their issues. That is why I am out here, I respect their opinions,” O’Halleran said. “I have tons of mayors and supervisors and everything like that, but if I don’t meet with them and the public they serve, I can’t do my job appropriately in Washington. That’s the overriding issue, we have to listen to people and try to bring reality and a sense of calm to issues.”

After the resource fair wrapped up, O’Halleran and Powell ushered the public into the council chambers, where citizens were able to ask the congressman questions about the Child Tax Credit.

The credit, which is a part of the American Rescue Plan Act that was signed into law back in March, will increase the amount working families receive yearly to $3,000 per child, and up to $3,600 for any child under the age of 6. The expanded tax credit will also be fully refundable.

“Most of these families can’t afford child care, and that means that one of the spouses, or someone else in the family, has to stay home and not go out there and work, and we need workers in America,” O’Halleran said during the town hall. “This started out as a bipartisan idea in the 1990s. Now for some reason, it’s tied up in political problems, but we need to get over this. Our families have to be strong, we are going into a time where we as Americans have to overcome.”

Families received their first payment July 15 and will continue to get monthly payments on the 15th of each month, which will help roughly 10 million children.

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Eloy schools prepared for in-person learning
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ELOY — The COVID-19 pandemic caused students to transition to an at-home school situation for much of the 2020-21 school year. However, after a year of mostly at-home and online learning, Eloy Elementary School District students returned to in-person instruction Monday.

Students at Curiel Primary School, Eloy Intermediate School and Eloy Junior High School have been welcomed back with safety protocols and guidelines in place in order to keep all students and faculty safe from the virus.

EESD Superintendent Ruby James discussed the process of bringing students back to campus and touched on masks, quarantine stipulations and the safety measures that would be in place for the 2021-22 school year.

“The EESD Governing Board held two public hearings regarding safe school reopening protocol. During the public hearings COVID-19 related information was discussed,” James said in a press release. “The Governing Board’s decision was to encourage all students and staff to wear masks but will not make it mandatory for students and staff.”

Although masks will not be required for students and faculty for EESD schools, James noted that schools have enacted many safety guidelines in order to keep school grounds clean and sanitized.

“EESD has a mitigation plan that outlines safety protocols to ensure that we provide a safe and sanitized environment for students and staff,” James said. “Our facilities director has sufficient supplies available for custodial staff to clean and sanitize the schools daily. We will continue to adhere closely to all CDC and local health office guidelines.”

One of the big questions for parents is if students would be required to quarantine before the first day of school. While James said that students were not required to be quarantined before school started, students would be quarantined if they test positive.

Santa Cruz Valley Union High School Superintendent Orlenda Roberts said in a press release that the district will be following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arizona Department of Health Services guidelines.

Santa Cruz Valley students will return to campus on Aug. 2.

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Santa Cruz board makes face masks optional
  • Updated

ELOY — Before the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines for schools, the Santa Cruz Valley Union High School District board met on July 8 to discuss a proposed plan for a safe and healthy return to campus and in-person instruction.

The board held a work session before its regular meeting on Thursday and Superintendent Orlenda Roberts’ recommendation was to require face masks on the buses and in the classrooms as there is limited room for distancing or poor ventilation.

Additionally, face masks would be recommended but not required whenever students were outside on campus and during passing periods.

Board member Richie Reyes suggested that rather than making face masks a requirement during specific instances, it should be a recommendation for the students.

“I think it’s important that we have (face masks) available for those who want them,” Reyes said. “I think we continue to sanitize and do all those protocols, but it’s an individual decision. I think it’s our responsibility as a school, if that makes somebody feel safe then we’re obligated to do that.”

Board member Anna Bell Sauceda added that if it would be a recommendation for the students, then it should also be a recommendation for the staff.

The rest of the board agreed to make face masks a recommendation for all and leave the decision up to each individual.

Sauceda brought up a concern and asked what would happen if a teacher did not want to teach because the students were not wearing masks in the classroom.

Roberts responded by saying that with face masks optional, teachers still have the option to wear them.

“I’m OK with recommending it,” board President Elizabeth Flores said. “I think we need to look at our maintenance and that our cleaning protocols are followed.”

On Friday the CDC’s guidelines stated that fully vaccinated students and teachers do not need to wear masks in school. Unvaccinated people should continue to wear masks in school, especially when indoors and in a crowded setting.

During the work session the board also discussed making changes to various student and staff handbooks.

There was also a public hearing for the proposed budget for the upcoming school year. The budget was adopted after the public hearing during the regular board meeting.

District Business Manager Debi Tabeling told the board that revisions will be made as many other school districts will have to make them because the state Legislature did not have its budget set in time for the school districts to meet their deadline.

The proposed maintenance and operation fund for SCVUHS is $3.5 million and the total aggregate school district budget limit is approximately $6.7 million.

The primary property tax rate will remain the same as last year at $2.20 per $100 net assessed valuation.