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Eloy to host Pinal voting rights event
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ELOY — The March On for Voting Rights event will be a gathering of people to raise awareness of voting rights for citizens in multiple locations around the country. There will be marches in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Phoenix and other U.S. cities. Pinal County will be hosting an event as well at Eloy City Hall.

The event will take place Saturday, which is the 58th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The event will include a breakfast in the morning, a lunch in the afternoon, guest speakers throughout the day, music and a chance to give people the information they need about voting rights in the state.

Vice Mayor Andrew Rodriguez represented the city of Eloy in a meeting with city officials from Coolidge and Casa Grande. It was decided that Eloy would be the ideal location to host this event.

“It’s important for us to have this event, because a lot of people are scared to vote, and there are people who lost their rights, and they don’t have access to the people that can help them,” Rodriguez said. “It is very vital for not only Eloy but Pinal County, because with everything that happens, you either have to go to Phoenix or Tucson. So having an event like this in Pinal County is great.”

Rodriguez also discussed his happiness about the event taking place in Eloy so residents of the city can get more information on voting.

“It’s going to be a really good event, I hope everybody comes out and shows up for a little bit just to see what’s going on,” Rodriguez said. “The whole point of this is to get people ready to vote, and give them information they need.”

The event will start at 9 a.m. Saturday at Eloy City Hall.

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Eloy skydiver wins bronze in Russia
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ELOY — Skydive Arizona’s reputation as a global destination for the sport has more to stand on after a local diver competed halfway around the globe.

Justin Price was born in Houston but has lived in Eloy and been a part of Skydive Arizona for the past 10 years. A veteran of the sport, Price has competed all around the world representing both Eloy and the USA.

Earlier this month, Price competed at the 2021 International Skydiving Commission World Canopy Piloting Championships in Kemerovo, Russia.

“I wanted to be a little noticeable, rep the USA flag, just try to stand out, and nobody cared. The people there were really nice,” Price said. “There was so much good hospitality, helping with the language barriers, providing us translators and stuff like that.”

Skydiving runs in Price’s blood — his parents competed in the sport, and he would regularly accompany his parents to drop zones to watch them perform.

“I know nothing better. Every weekend my parents would go have fun, doing formation skydives and teaching people. They became my first instructors,” Price said. “From there, after college, I had the chance to become a full-time skydiver and have been at it for the past 16 years. It’s been embedded into my life for quite a while.”

The Eloy skydiver made his first jump when he was 16, and although he had ideas of going into a different career field in college, he quickly realized that university life was not for him, and all he thought about was when he’d get the chance to jump again.

Fast forward to now; Price is one of the top competitors in canopy piloting, the ability to control high-performance parachutes and fly accurately. Price finished fifth overall in the speed portion of the event and finished 15th in the overall individual standings.

While an individual medal eluded him, Price was part of the Team USA group that left Russia with a bronze medal in the national team overall event. For Price, the chance to visit a new country and meet others from around the world with the same interests as him were all part of the experience.

“There is nothing more beautiful than being on the packing mat and you are just hearing multiple languages. There is just something that is beautiful about that,” Price said. “There is a lot of camaraderie in the canopy piloting world, different teams from different nations are helping each other out. It is a very cool vibe to be a part of.”

Although the competition is fierce between the competitors during events, Price mentioned that after awards are given out, it is all about having fun and enjoying the company of all of those in attendance, no matter what country’s flag they represent.

“At the end of the competition, we get awards, you get a medal, you get off stage and you take that medal and put it in your pocket. After the awards are over, we all have team uniforms, and we are all looking around seeing who we can trade with,” Price explained. “I traded my USA jersey for a Russian competitor’s jersey, my USA pants for a pair of Italian pants, and everybody was doing that. People would wear other countries’ jerseys just as proud. The people interaction is what makes competitions great.”

Price is all about having fun, but the dangers of his sport are not lost on the 36-year-old thrill seeker. He understands the risks but argues that there are risks in everything, and skydiving is not different.

“I think it is a common question from the public in general about people who jump out of airplanes, there’s got to be something a little loose. But from what I have seen from the sport, it is all calculated risks,” Price said. “People are successful because they take the appropriate steps and treat it like a marathon. Slowly learning, that way we are as safe as possible.”

Price plans to continue to compete around the world and serves as an instructor at Skydive Arizona in Eloy.

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Eloy officials and residents brainstorm ideas for Main Street
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ELOY — The city recently hosted a community visioning event to get public input for ideas of what should become of Eloy’s Main Street and downtown area.

The event Aug. 12 was held by the city of Eloy as well as Local First Arizona, a nonprofit organization that helps cities with community and economic development throughout Arizona.

Kimber Lanning, CEO at Local First Arizona, discussed how she can help Eloy establish its vision for the city.

“We are really trying to assist the leadership at this city to make critical decisions on how to grow Main Street and how to get people back to Main Street,” Lanning said. “In order to do that, you have to first hear from the community. What do they want? What do they want to see? All of those questions, so we can help shape a vision.”

One of the main activities discussed at the event was a five-year plan. Attendees were tasked with creating ideas of what they would like to see in the Eloy downtown area. Some ideas shared included a farmers market, more dining options and a community swimming pool.

Lanning was very happy with the responses from members of the community as well as the engagement from those who attended the event.

“My mind was blown. I was so excited about the turnout and the wonderful conversations,” Lanning said. “There were some really good ideas; all the way around it was a stellar event. We go to a lot of towns, this was an A-plus event.”

Eloy Vice Mayor and Executive Director of Eloy Chamber of Commerce Andrew Rodriguez was in attendance as well. The Eloy native spoke about where he wants to see Eloy in five years as well as the role he can play to help shape a better future for the city.

“All of the ideas that were brought up tonight are very realistic. I see Eloy doubling in size, both commercial and residential,” Rodriguez said. “That brings people, that brings family and guests, but we have to do it carefully. A lot of cities have done it fast, and they are hurting now. With these discussions and having these talks with the people, I believe it is all doable.”

While the plans for Eloy’s downtown and Main Street area will not happen overnight, many felt the community visioning event was a step in the right direction for shaping what Eloy can become.