, Salem, MA

Local News

December 31, 2013

Tragedy and hope in 2013

Top stories of the year a mix of highs and lows


Salem and Beverly were in the first group of a dozen communities to form collaboratives, which will have one pastor, a pastoral team, a parish council and a finance committee.

Salem’s four parishes — St. Anne, Immaculate Conception, St. John the Baptist and St. James — are working together as a group. It’s the same in Beverly, where St. Mary, St. Margaret and St. John the Evangelist make up a single collaborative.

By summer, new pastors arrived to head the collaboratives: the Rev. Daniel Riley came to Salem from Weymouth; and the Rev. Mark Mahoney moved from Topsfield to Beverly.

Cole wins rep seat for GOP

Republican candidate Leah Cole defied the odds in April, winning a special election in Peabody to succeed the late Joyce Spiliotis in the state House of Representatives.

The results shocked political observers, but it likely wouldn’t have happened if Cole hadn’t been running against two Democrats.

City Councilor and lapsed Democrat Dave Gravel entered the race as an independent, pulling votes, in a light turnout, from nominated Democrat and school board member Beverley Griffin Dunne. Between the two, they garnered more votes. But the youthful Cole won with a plurality, gained with the strong support of GOP party regulars, many from outside of Peabody.

She was not long on Beacon Hill before she demonstrated the difference a political party can make, voting against a tax hike — on computer services and gasoline — that passed with strong Democratic support. Legislative leaders later backtracked, ditching the computer tax when they realized the harm it might have done to one of the state’s leading industries.

Cole, who had no previous experience in government, is expected to run for re-election this year, with a stronger claim on office as an incumbent but against Democrats who believe she will be vulnerable given a one-on-one race.

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