, Salem, MA

Local News

December 31, 2013

Tragedy and hope in 2013

Top stories of the year a mix of highs and lows

It was a year of change, stained by murder.

“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones,” according to Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.” Likewise, it was evil that made the strongest impact on the North Shore. Not only were our people on the scene of April’s horrifying Boston Marathon bombings, but a few days later, a former Salem State University student, MIT police officer Sean Collier, was said to have been shot to death by the bombers.

Homicide came closer still with the October slaying of a popular, young Danvers teacher, Colleen Ritzer, allegedly by a 14-year-old student. Not unlike the bombing, this event, so brutal and so inexplicable, rocked this community and the world beyond.

Politics brought natural changes this past year, with Beverly selecting Mike Cahill to take over for the retiring, veteran Mayor Bill Scanlon and Republican Leah Cole shocking the experts by winning a three-way race for state representative in Peabody. Salem’s school board produced more surprises when two incumbents got bumped by newcomers.

If the Bard was correct regarding evil, however, he may have underestimated the value of the good. Beverly’s Angie Miller made the point, singing her way to the finals of the national “American Idol” program and reminding us all what can lift a community’s heart and take it past tragedy.

Beverly, Salem lead way in church reorganization

Salem and Beverly were in the first wave of a sweeping reorganization announced in January by the Archdiocese of Boston.

Rather than close Catholic parishes as it did in 2004, a controversial move that sparked protests, the archdiocese decided it will group its 288 parishes into 135 “collaboratives,” or small clusters, a process that will take several years.

The archdiocese formed collaboratives to strengthen parishes at a time of fewer priests and dwindling resources. It is the foundation of a long-range plan to grow the church through evangelization.

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