2020 was certainly not the type of year we expected when it started. If you lost a loved one, a job, had other financial setbacks or any other misfortune my family sends positive energy to you. If you made it through 2020 mostly unscathed then I congratulate you and also send positive energy. Wearing a mask through the year is a small sacrifice to help keep our friends and neighbors healthy. But I believe this town has more that we can do. I’ve heard about small businesses on the brink or shutting down permanently. I see many locally owned businesses still in our town. And as we distribute vaccines and hold hope for more stimulus money to come so we can rebuild our economy we need to pay particular attention to where that money goes. If you are doing well please spend your money locally. If you receive financial relief from the government or other organizations then please spend it at a local business. That money stays in the community, it pays for someone’s child to go to preschool or play a sport. It keeps their income going so they can support their family. When you spend your money at a big box store it ends up on Wall Street or in a bank account in Arkansas. Please, let’s keep our streak going. Keep helping your neighbors. Keep supporting small businesses. Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Butler was left behind by big banks, automation and bad trade deals long before I ever knew what any of that was. I was born in 1980. We haven’t had anyone swoop in and save us yet. Don’t hold your breath. It is up to us. You, me and the people you are wearing a mask for. Let’s spend our money wisely and work towards a better future in this small town that we all call home.