Different experiences cause us to view the issues of the day through different prisms. But we should all be able to agree on some fundamental right things. Like treating everyone with care and respect. Seeking to humbly understand before clamoring to be understood. And giving others the benefit of the doubt, assuming their heart is in the right place even if we think their viewpoint is skewed.

The right thing isn't always obvious. Sometimes, there are no perfect solutions or responses. In times like these, when doing the right thing gives us pause because the way forward is murky, maybe doing the next right thing is good enough for now.

Doing the next right thing makes life simpler. It breaks interactions, decisions and quandaries into manageable chunks.

Can't see eye-to-eye with someone? Maybe a nod and affirmation "I understand" will keep you on the path toward common ground. Facing a dilemma and not sure how to proceed? Perhaps it's time to open your mind to an alternative point of view. Stuck in the paralysis of analysis? Temporarily letting go of the problem might be more fruitful than forcing a solution.

Each day presents us with dozens of chances to do the next right thing. Day by day, moment by moment, a relentless resolve to do the next right thing lays the foundation for a life well led.

I hope you had a joyous holiday season and invite you to join me in practicing an attitude of gratitude throughout the New Year.

Ed Manzi Jr.


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Chairman & CEO

Fidelity Bank, Leominster

SAT: Safe Animal Tips during cold snap

With this unprecedented cold snap we are experiencing, it is crucial that there be an ALERT for all "pets and their people" as they don't know what they don't know.

There are Safe Animal Tips "for pets and their people" during these dangerous temperatures that we are all experiencing.

Pets are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia just like humans are. Their paws can blister from the de-icing materials used on our sidewalks and roadways. Gastrointestinal issues can occur as well if these ice melts are ingested. Even salt mixed with sand can be harmful to them.

PLEASE contact your veterinarian for Safe Animal Tips to ensure your pets' well-being during these Winter months. "Your pets will thank you"!

Lynda Moore

Moore Happy Tails

Groton

Support the Safe Communities Act

Especially in light of the false information recently mailed to households across the state concerning this legislation, I would like to express the reasons for my support for the Safe Communities Act (SCA).

The SCA protects the civil rights, safety and wellbeing of all residents by drawing a clear line between immigration enforcement and public safety. Sponsored by State Sen. Jamie Eldridge (S.1305) and State Rep. Juana Matías (H.3269), it ensures that our tax dollars are not used to help the Trump administration deport immigrant families or create a Muslim registry.

The SCA would make us more safe by barring police from arresting or detaining a person solely for federal immigration enforcement purposes, or participating in ICE investigations or raids based solely on immigration status.

When police act as ICE agents, victims and witnesses of crime are afraid to call for help, which makes us all less safe. The SCA focuses resources on local needs, rather than deportation. It would also prohibit agreements to deputize state and local officers as federal immigration agents, co-opting and taking away resources from local communities.

The SCA also ensures that constitutional principles are upheld equally for citizens and non-citizens by requiring a warrant to arrest a person on behalf of ICE, and requiring notice to immigrant detainees of their legal rights.

In addition, it prohibits Mass. law enforcement agencies and the RMV from providing information to any federal registry program based on religion, national origin or other protected characteristics.

The SCA strengthens our communities. Immigrants-both documented and undocumented-are part of our Commonwealth's social and economic fabric. They are workers, business owners and active members of our communities. Most have lived here over 10 years, and many have U.S. citizen children. In the face of anti-immigrant rhetoric and hostile federal policies, it is important to send a strong message that in our communities, we value all residents, regardless of where they were born.

The SCA does not break the law or jeopardize federal funding. It does not make Massachusetts a "sanctuary" jurisdiction as defined by Attorney General Sessions. It expressly complies with the federal statute regarding the exchange of information about citizenship or immigration status (8 U.S.C. § 1373), and would not impact the Commonwealth's eligibility to receive federal funding.

The bill also would not stop police from doing their everyday work, arresting people in the course of a criminal investigation, or even working together with federal agencies to fight crime. It only limits their otherwise-voluntary collaboration with immigration enforcement.

Please join the over 100 organizations and nearly half the Massachusetts Legislature in supporting this bill.

Dina Samfield

Shirley

Fitchburg downtown is primed for a renaissance

The city of Fitchburg's downtown corridor is primed for a renaissance.

At Fitchburg State University, we have begun a multimillion-dollar renovation of the Main Street theater block that we purchased in 2016. The first phase of the project will include an interdisciplinary idea lab that will nurture collaboration among students, faculty and the community. Following the restoration of retail storefronts on the block, we will begin the renovation of the theater itself, a project that has transformative potential for the campus and our host city.

Nearby, the university is supporting the redevelopment of the former B.F. Brown School into a live-work community for artists. This project, backed by NewVue Communities and the Fitchburg Art Museum, will bring renewed vitality to the heart of the city.

We believe the restoration of Fitchburg City Hall is an important element in the broader vision of a revitalized downtown. The entities making significant investments in this corridor will inspire further private development, and our elected officials now have an opportunity to lead by example. In addition to reclaiming a historic building, the restoration of City Hall will send a clear message that Fitchburg is a smart investment.

Richard S. Lapidus

President

Fitchburg State University