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Willcox voters say no to school bond

WILLCOX — The ballots have been counted, and the unofficial results show that Willcox voters aren’t ready to approve a bond so the local school district can make repairs and upgrades to facilities.

“It’s highly disappointing,” said Willcox Unified School District governing board member Gary Clement. “It would have been nice to help all the schools, refurbishing and supplying them with the needed infrastructure.”

The all-mail election saw 1,284 ballots cast. The bond was defeated with 672 (52.42 percent) voting no, while 610 (47.58 percent) voted yes. One ballot was cast early, and one was returned blank.

Voter turnout for the single-issue election was 36.39 percent.

The Willcox Unified School District proposed a bond that would have increased its primary property tax levy. On a home with an average value of $100,000, the bond would have cost that homeowner $135 per year and would have generated about $17 million for the district over a 20-year period.

The only other election in Cochise County on Tuesday was in Tombstone. Those voters also rejected a bond for their schools, 933 to 745.

To view election results go to https://www.cochise.az.gov/elections/election-results.

Dual tasting room opens in Willcox

WILLCOX — The Willcox Commercial building now hosts a dual-hosted wine tasting room for Golden Rule and Copper Horse vineyards, the first dual tasting room in the state.

On Saturday, Willcox Commercial was bustling thanks to a grand-opening ribbon-cutting.

The building is owned by winemaker Mark Phillips, who told the Range News that the location in vicinity to other tasting rooms all played a part in the idea of housing two vineyards.

“The historic nature in the downtown area, I’ve always liked it a lot. And there’s a couple other tasting rooms within walking distance. And that is sort of my ideal situation for a tasting room, is when you can walk around a little bit and get some food, too. Willcox has the potential to be a great wine tasting destination, but what comes first?” said Phillips.

“I think I would like to have a place where you can kind of take a step back in time, when you’re in the building it feels like you’re back there in Willcox when it was a rail stop and look out the window and look at the railroad. I have a philosophy about critical mass when it comes to tasting rooms or other amenities like that. The more you have the more draw it is for people.”

Both vineyards have a wine-tasting booth on either side of the spacious room, which boasts a large historic mural depicting the town in the early years of its creation.

The tasting room has historic decor such as old typewriters, books and artwork. The building itself was constructed in 1879.

Willcox Mayor Mike Laws told those in attendance that he was very proud of the local wineries, the entrepreneurship of the owners and all the contests that Willcox wineries win.

Cochise County Public Information Officer Amanda Baillee said that the county has been working hand-in-hand with the wine industry on infrastructure improvements, and that the industry itself is making a big difference for Willcox.

“What is coming out of this area is amazing, the wine is award-winning, I think we have the best wine in Arizona, and we’re competing with California and we just need to keep buying more wine,” Baillee said.

Willcox Commercial Building Tasting Room Ribbon Cutting photo gallery