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Tusayan Town Council discusses fall, winter events; CCSO deputy gives incident updates

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — The Tusayan Town Council discussed upcoming fall and winter events, and options for the holiday décor for the Christmas season at their Sept. 14 regular meeting.

The council viewed some proposed decorations for a walk-through Christmas light display, as well as considered a holiday-themed drone show produced by the same company the provides the popular Fourth of July show.

The council decided that rather than have a competing drone show for the holiday season, the town should instead focus on a variety of other events.

The Town Council approved a consent agenda which included approval of $380,000 for salary/compensation for the Tusayan Fire District (council member Greg Brush abstained), authorization to release the Coconino Wash hydrology and hydraulic study and approval of an application for a formalized non-motorized or motorized trail grant.

After receiving the second disbursement of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, the council considered how the $75,000 in funds should be used. Under consideration was a proposal from Grand Canyon School requesting $5,000 to continue its free and reduced lunch program now that additional funding from the COVID pandemic has stopped.

The school would also approach other donors to help contribute as well. For the past two years, all students at Grand Canyon School have received free lunches through a government-funded initiative totaling about $30,000.

Because Congress recently chose not to continue that funding, the program has now reverted back to being available only for those who qualify based on income guidelines. Town manager Charlie Hendrix said that there is some fear in the community about applying for the program, so not all families that may need assistance are getting it. The council also discussed other ways it could help Tusayan families struggling with food insecurity.

Lieutenant Jason Lurkins from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office presented the council with a report of law enforcement activity within the town for the months of July and August. CCSO provided 101 area patrols and 75 business checks over the two month period, as well as responded to 227 calls for service.

Rader Lane, a Grand Canyon park ranger, gave a presentation on the park’s International Dark Sky Park status. Dark sky tourism draws thousands of people to Grand Canyon annually, and Lane said it would be advantageous for Tusayan to apply for Dark Sky Community status as well. Lane said the park was available to help to town by providing dark sky resources and project management, as well as recommending lighting changes and helping the community host the required two dark sky events annually.

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