HUACHUCA CITY — For the past two Saturdays, community members and volunteers have gathered at a Huachuca City property, once considered a blight on the town, to help enhance its appearance and prepare it for sale or lease.
The group transformed the Dusk till Dawn building, a former cabaret located in lower Huachuca City, from what business owner Jim Goad describes as a “grotesque dark red color” to much more appealing desert tones. Goad, who owns Huachuca City-based business Mr. Shed, organized the project, purchased the paint and supplies and paid his employees to help with the work.
The town of Huachuca City purchased the Dusk till Dawn property in 2019 as a resolution to a lawsuit, and now council members and town officials hope to sell or lease it.
“Repainting the building was fundamental in trying to get the building sold, but the town did not have the money or personnel to do that,” Goad said. “That’s why I decided to help. We had the equipment, skills and manpower to go in there and do the job.”
Goad paid five employees to work on the project Sept. 5, and four were at the site on the following Saturday to finish the job. Members of the town council and community volunteered to help. Huachuca City public works employees helped worked on the project as well.
In addition to painting the building, a solid, metal-based stage was demolished and removed with the help of Goad’s forklift and a tremendous amount of manpower.
“We are so grateful to Jim Goad for offering to do this for the town, and we’re grateful to his employees who are here working on this building,” Huachuca City Interim City Manager Suzanne Harvey said last Saturday while watching the demolition. “The property has a lot of potential, and these improvements are going to help get it sold.”
Building Official Jim Johnson echoed those comments.
“I’m thankful that Mr. Goad stepped up and offered to do this,” Johnson said. “He donated the paint, equipment and manpower for the project, and all the people involved did a beautiful job on that building. It completely changed the building’s appearance,” he said.
“Along with Mr. Goad’s employees, we had local volunteers, council members and public works employees who helped out with the project. This was a great community effort involving a business owner, local residents, employees and council members.”
Robert and Jessica Smith and their 9-year-old son, Robbie, a Huachuca City School fourth-grader, were among the volunteers last Saturday.
“We’re new to Huachuca City, and when we saw this community work project on Facebook, we wanted to help,” Jessica Smith said. “It’s exciting to see how much better the building looks, and we’re not even done yet.”
Some of the ideas for the building’s future uses that councilmembers Christy Hirshberg and Cynthia Butterworth tossed around include a daycare center, grocery store, restaurant, winery with a tasting gallery and event venue.
“I look forward to seeing what kind of business moves in here,” Butterworth said.
It took 110 gallons of paint to cover the 3,200-square-foot building as well as the eight-foot wall that surrounds a 2,800-square-foot patio.
“It was a great team effort, with everyone working well together to accomplish a common goal,” Goad said after the work was done. “We were able to transform a community eyesore into an attractive property that will help attract potential buyers. Now we wait and see what happens.”
Well known for his community outreach efforts, Goad started his Huachuca City business 30 years ago because he believed the town’s location would have tremendous potential for attracting new businesses.
“The problem is, there are a few property owners who have failed in their responsibility to maintain their properties,” he said. “The new businesses that have started up in Huachuca City in recent years have done a tremendous job of improving existing properties.”
“However, I believe that the eyesores along Huachuca Boulevard should have been addressed by the town’s officials years ago,” he added.
Goad attends most town council meetings and sometimes speaks during the call to the public. Several years ago, he launched Friends of Huachuca City, which he describes as “a group of concerned nonpartisan citizens whose only agenda is to clean up the town through enforcement of city codes and state laws.”
While quick to praise improvements he sees throughout the town, Goad also points to areas that could use more work.
“The town is making progress, but there’s still a lot more that needs to be done,” he said. “I just wish code enforcement could move along a little quicker for the sake of the businesses and people who live in Huachuca City.”
SIERRA VISTA — Elections officials in Georgia are investigating whether Cochise County judicial candidate Sandy Russell voted illegally in that state when she cast an absentee ballot in 2016.
In an email to the Herald/Review earlier this week, an official with the Georgia Secretary of State said that an investigation “has been opened.” The query is based on Russell’s absentee ballot from May 2016. The ballot was cast while Russell says she was living in Cochise County.
But Russell’s opponent Anne Carl, says Russell voted legally in Georgia.
In an appeal filed in the Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday, Carl, in part, contends that Russell voted in Georgia because she was a resident of that state and not a resident of Arizona. She is asking the Arizona Supreme Court to declare Russell ineligible for the office of superior court judge because she claims Russell has not lived in Arizona for five years, a requirement for that position.
Carl is appealing a decision made last week by Cochise County Superior Judge James Conlogue that Russell’s name could remain on the November ballot as a candidate for superior court judge for Division 5. Carl, also a candidate vying for judge, had filed a civil suit against Russell, claiming that Russell had not lived in the area long enough to qualify for the bench.
State law requires that a superior court judge candidate live in their county five years on the date they take office. That means Russell should have lived in Cochise County from Jan. 1, 2016 to Jan. 1, 2021.
The judge said Russell had proved she was a resident of Cochise County since before Jan. 4, 2016. Carl was asking for an injunction that would have prevented Russell’s name from appearing on the ballot. The day Carl’s complaint was heard, the ballots were being proofed at the printer, county officials said.
In her appeal filed Tuesday, Carl states that because Russell voted absentee in Georgia in May 2016, she was therefore a Georgia resident.
“There is simply no reading of Georgia law that can support the conclusion that someone other than a resident of Georgia can vote in a Georgia election,” Carl stated in the opening brief of her appeal. “Russell claims — in this case and on her statement of qualification — to have established her new residency in Arizona before the date on which she cast her ballot in Georgia. Not possible.”
“Casting her ballot in Georgia established as a matter of law that, when she was voting in Georgia, and Georgia was where she still maintained a home, work and some continued co-parenting responsibilities at, and by definition intended to remain, she could not at that time also be a resident of Arizona,” Carl added.
Russell meanwhile, called Carl’s appeal “frivolous” in a comment to the Herald/Review Thursday. She also said she is not worried about the investigation launched by the Georgia Secretary of State.
“I am unaware of any ‘investigation,’” Russell said in a text message Thursday. “If the ‘investigation’ becomes a legal proceeding, the proper place to respond to it would be in a courtroom with due process rights afforded.”
If it’s determined that Russell voted illegally in Georgia, she could be charged with a felony. According to the Georgia statute that state elections officials referred the Herald/Review to: “Any person who votes or attempts to vote by absentee ballot at any primary or election under Article 10 of this chapter who knows that he or she is not qualified to vote shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years or to pay a fine not to exceed $100,000.00, or both.”
Meanwhile, in an email Thursday, Carl explained her appeal hinges on a “very narrow legal issue.”
“If a person is straddling two states, and is registered to vote in and actually votes in one of the states, is that person a resident at that time in the state in which she voted?” Carl said. “Under AZ and GA law, one can only be a resident of one state at a time, and can only register to vote and vote in one state at a time.”
“She registered and voted in GA, and therefore — as a matter of law — she was a resident of GA in early 2016,” Carl said.
In her appeal, Carl is asking that if is a decision is rendered in the Arizona Supreme Court before Oct. 5, the county also include a notice in the mail-in ballots sent to voters.
“Appellant urges the Court to declare Ms. Russell ineligible for the office of Superior Court Judge,” Carl wrote in her appeal. “That Ms. Russell successfully concealed her lack of qualification until ballots were printed should not mean voters should not be notified of her ineligibility.”
According to the appellate case information sheet filed in the Arizona Supreme Court, Russell has until Sept. 21 to reply to Carl’s appeal. If Carl chooses to respond, she has to do so by Sept. 23. The matter will be decided without oral arguments.