People at The Explorer were saddened to learn Monday of the weekend passing of Mary Elizabeth Evans, the Brit and tea authority who wrote a food column in our newspaper.
Mary Elizabeth penned "I Can Cook This," which we might have more appropriately labeled "You Can Cook This." Of course, Mary could cook it. Her point was that all of us could do so as well.
She had a stroke last year, and had to stop writing. Mary Elizabeth was never fully able to recover from that devastating health event.
Her recipes, always well explained, proved tasty and comfortable. The greatest tribute to a food columnist is that some of her recipes remain in the box or book, and are still in use today. We have several of them from Mary Elizabeth Evans.
One time, on these pages, she wrote a more expansive piece about Arizona's "dry heat" and food, and we found this excerpt as a remembrance. It read …
"After our meal, more often than not the wind has dropped off and I go and sit outside to watch the Catalina Mountains change to a blue-grey hue. I delight in our two young boxer dogs they have finally awoken from their day-long snooze. They zoom off all their pent-up energy chasing imaginary lizards around the yard. Hubby has finished his chores. He brings out a tray bearing a teapot, two mugs and two dog bowls. He pours out our tea. The dogs lap theirs up at an incredible pace. Hubby and I sip ours. We are all relaxed.
The mountains are peaceful, spiritual, awesome.
At this moment in time, I can think of no better place to be than here in beautiful sunny, dry heat, Arizona."
Don Emmons, the Oro Valley Town Council candidate who earned a berth on the general election ballot despite no obvious campaigning, has withdrawn from the May 18 ballot.
That's fine … although, if Emmons wasn't really planning to serve, perhaps he should not have run at all.
There's a less than fine consequence. The next top vote-getter from the March primary, K.C. Carter, does not advance to the general election ballot. That leaves three hopefuls, Lou Waters, Joe Hornat and Matthew Rabb, in competition for two remaining town council seats.
The intent of the primary election is to make sure there are not more than two candidates for one open, elected office. With Emmons' departure, there are 1.5 candidates for each slot.
Oro Valley voters are being given less of a choice when they go to the polls in May. They'd be better served if a fourth candidate, in this case the fifth-highest vote getter among the remaining candidates, would be placed on the ballot.
The vacancy further makes one wonder why the community incurs the expense of two elections, a primary and a general, when it could have made its decisions all at once.
People within the Amphitheater School District are rightfully worried about the next round of budget cuts they're going to have to make. It might be $6.8 million. It might be $13 million. It's going to be a lot of money, whether the May 18 sales tax passes or fails.
We've noticed that Superintendent Dr. Vicki Balentine, and Chief Financial Officer Scott Little, make regular pleas to parents, urging their attention and action in the face of Arizona's great budget problem.
Yet parents are already convinced of the need to adequately fund schools. Parents are the choir, so to speak. While parents need preaching for greater involvement, the much larger, more ambivalent audience is the public at large. Parents generally say "yes" to higher property tax overrides and sales tax increases for schools. It's the rest of the public, people whose children are grown and gone, or who spend part of the year in the community, who are less likely to agree with higher taxes.
If the May 18 sales tax is going to pass — and that's going to be some rough, dry-heat sledding — school and education leaders must expand their call to everyone, not just parents of school-aged kids.
And they might prove receptive. The majority of us are products of public education. Our parents and grandparents made sacrifices so we could succeed. We, all of us, have an obligation to pay that forward.