How can U.S. lead if it won't listen on Jerusalem?

I write this letter unsurprised but nonetheless pained by the United States' decision to exercise its 32nd United Nations veto on issues pertaining to Israel's violations of international law. The 32 vetoes total more than all the vetoes exercised by the four other permanent Security Council members combined in the UN's history. In this instance, the U.S. vetoed a resolution affirming the international community's stance that Jerusalem is an international city too steep in religious and cultural diversity to belong to any single state.

The world is calling on the U.S. to take a moral stance against injustice. Israel's continued occupation of Palestine, as recognized by the rest of the world for over 50 years, is against international law and sustained primarily by U.S. unilateral international support and, of course, the $10 million of military aid we provide Israel every single day.

To be a true leader, first, you must listen. If the United States is to ever regain the faith of the international community, we must listen to our peers. We must obey international law. We must acknowledge injustice, like 50 years of military occupation, and we must do so now.

Brenton Stoddart

Harvard

Quit tobacco in the new year

With the new year fast approaching, make a resolution for a healthier life for you and your family.


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If you use tobacco, quitting is the most important step you can take to protect your health and decrease the risk of lung disease, cancer, and even early death.

If you want to quit and tried in the past, don't give up. Many smokers say quitting is the hardest thing they've ever done. It often takes several tries before you can quit for good. However, with planning and support, you can become tobacco free.

* Fortunately, most health insurance plans cover nicotine replacement and other quit-smoking medicines.

* The Massachusetts Smokers' Helpline at 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) is also available for free coaching 24 hours each days, seven days a week (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) to support you through quitting tobacco. In addition, now you can enroll online through KeepTryingMA.org. Online supports include quit planning tools, peer support and motivational text messages.

* You can get four weeks of FREE nicotine replacement help from patches, gum or lozenges at the Helpline (with medical eligibility). The combination of free coaching and cessation medication can make you three times as likely to quit for good as those who try to quit on their own!

Quitting can be hard--here are five ways to make it easier:

1. Set a quit date. Choose a quit day in the new year, give yourself about two weeks to prepare.

2. Tell your family and friends you plan to quit. Share your quit date with important people and ask for their support. Daily encouragement and planned activities can help you stay on track. For example, a smoke-free lunch date or game night could help distract you.

3. Anticipate and plan for challenges. The urge to smoke is short--usually only three to five minutes. Those moments can feel intense. Before your quit date, write down healthy ways to cope with cravings so you can get past them.

Healthy choices include:

* Drinking water

* Taking a walk or climbing the stairs

* Calling or texting a friend

4. Remove cigarettes and other tobacco from your daily routine. Throw away your cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays. Clean your car and home. Old cigarette odors can cause cravings.

5. Talk to your doctor about quit-smoking medications. Over-the-counter or prescription medicines can help you quit for good. Your quit coach and pharmacist can also provide support.

For more information, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit: KeepTryingMA.org.

Make the choice to quit today, making the holidays and New Year tobacco free and healthier than ever.

Tina Grosowsky

Central MA Tobacco Free Community Partnership

Victim: I have forgiven Cardinal Law

I am one of the people involved in the Catholic Church scandal and one of the abused. 

I would like it known that I have forgiven Cardinal Bernard Law and all those priests involved in the church scandal. I believe that the friends and family of Cardinal Law should know that there are people who are capable of forgiving even the worst of crimes.

It's more important that they know that I believe he knows that forgiveness is possible, and that the family and friends deserve to know that the scandal is not going to be his legacy -- let my forgiveness be his legacy.

Long ago I was taught by my parents how to let go and how to forgive being one of ten children. That's an important lesson to learn.

It has taken some time, there was pain. I don't condone any of the actions.

I have recently watched too many people saddened over the death of their loved ones and I've even been to a Mass at the church in which I was abused. Each night I ask for forgiveness of my sins for the mistakes that I've made. Why is it that I should ask to be forgiven if I'm not able to forgive myself?

There is much more to be said on this matter but let the family of Cardinal Law know that there is at least one person who grants his forgiveness and sends his condolences and wishes that he rest in peace forever In the arms of God.

And let he who has not sinned at all cast the first stone.

Edward Bergeron

Lowell

Christmas spirit lives on locally

Over the last few weeks the Salvation Army has been conducting boot drives in Fitchburg, Leominster, and Lunenburg.

This past weekend the Salvation Army conducted the fundraising drive at the center of Lunenburg.

When the call went out to help, you, the citizens of our community came out in force. I have been volunteering for the Salvation Army for over 30 years and this outpouring of response from you has touched my heart.

Despite the coldest weather so far this year, the people of Lunenburg showed why I am proud to live here.

People have asked me where the money we collect goes.

All money collected goes directly back to our community via programs such as "Bridging the Gap," a program which helps teenagers with life skills. We also provide summer programs, that include lunches, for families in need. Our food pantry also helps feed families throughout the year. Our emergency response team is also ready to help where needed providing hot meals and drinks during emergencies, fires and power outages and helping set up a shelter at the middle school in Lunenburg when needed.

Most of all the Salvation Army is there for you. If you know or have a need please call them at 978-342-3300

I would like to thank all of the volunteers and the Lunenburg Police Department for all of their support.

Thanks to the Dragonfly Café for giving our helpers much needed hot chocolate, and a big thank you to Applebee's for supplying lunch to all of our volunteers.

I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year.

Dave MacDonald

Salvation Army