Write–ins may spark interest



NORTH READING – The late entry of three write–in candidates may provoke a little more interest in next Tuesday’s annual town election than would otherwise be expected. But voter turnout is still expected to be light, with most of the candidates for office on the May 5 ballot still unopposed.

Stephen O’Leary and Kathryn Manupelli are unopposed for election to two seats on the Board of Selectman and while O’Leary is a veteran incumbent, Manupelli is running for local office for the first time. She will take the seat being vacated by member Joe Foti, who is leaving after one three-year term.

There’s a new wrinkle in the election for School Committee, where incumbent Jerry Venezia and first time candidate Julie Koepke have been assured of their spots on the ballot for weeks. Two weeks ago local resident John Barrette announced his candidacy for the school board as a write–in. Barrette is running as an opponent of the controversial Common Core standards and PARCC tests.

There are three seats to be filled on the Community Planning Commission, all for three years. Incumbent planner William Bellavance is the only name printed on the ballot, but there are two write–ins seeking the other three-year term: former Selectman Joe Veno and Mark DeSimone of Linwood Avenue. Veno and DeSimone announced their candidacies as write-ins after the March 17 deadline for submitting nomination papers. (DeSimone made the effort to file nomination papers but came up a couple of signatures short of qualifying for the ballot.)

Three other candidates on the ballot are unopposed:

John Murphy, running for a one-year term as Town Moderator.

Patricia Romeo, an incumbent CPC member, running for a one year vacancy on the commission.

Mary Prenney, seeking re-election to a five year seat on the North Reading Housing Authority.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. There are 10,593 registered voters  eligible to participate.

All voters will cast ballots in the parish hall of St. Theresa Church on Winter Street.

Election day parking: Voters are requested to park only in the east side church parking lot, closest to the parish hall entrance. The west side lot closest to the rectory should not be used by voters so that the church and parishioners can have sufficient parking and access to the rectory.

Handicapped parking is located on the west side, directly adjacent to the parish hall.