We've come to the end of Salem Patch's first full year of existence and with it we've chosen the top 10 stories that shaped the year in town.
This will be the first of a three-part series detailing the 10 stories, which will be presented in loose chronological order.
Thanks for reading.
Giordano Arrested on Drug Charges
While the arrest of former Zoning Board of Adjustment Chairman Ronald "Tony" Giordano took place in 2011, the story broke just after start of 2012. Giordano resigned almost immediately from his position on the board after his arrest.
It's been alleged Giordano "knowingly sold a quantity of the controlled drug oxycodone to a cooperating individual working with the Salem Police Department," among other charges according to court documents.
Giordano, a former state representative, reportedly also served time in state prison in Massachusetts earlier in his life.
Curbside Pickup Stokes Record Election Turnout
Who knew trash would be a lynch pin for civic involvement? Months of rancorous debate about whether or not the town of Salem should provide trash and recycling pickup for residents came to a head at the March election.
Over 6,800 people cast ballots for the non-binding referendum on curbside pickup, with the vast majority saying no. The referendum received 5,353 votes against and 1,466 in favor.
Election officials only printed 6,500 ballots for the election, causing chaos throughout town as officials raced to print off new ballots that would need to be hand-counted. As a result, election results weren't available until nearly 2 a.m.
A record turnout happened again the following Saturday when a binding warrant article on curbside pickup was tabled at the last-ever second deliberative session of Salem's town meeting.
School Renovation Bond Fails
Along with the huge turnout at the election came the failure of a $21.5 million renovation bond for the Fisk, Haigh and Soule Elementary Schools, the three elementary schools in Salem that are not yet renovated.
Like with curbside, there had been months of debate before that fateful vote about the best course for school renovations in town.
Ultimately the bond to renovate all three came just short of receiving the 60 percent needed at the polls to pass.