Now that plans to convert the Thompson Community Center, or the "Old Yellow School," are out in the open, residents should not dismiss the proposal out of hand.

In some ways, Union is very fortunate because the "sides" in this issue have much more common ground than we are seeing in debates over projects and old buildings in other communities. For the most part, everyone wants to see the "Old Yellow School" preserved for years to come as a historic site in the community. In some communities, the argument is whether to tear down an old building in disrepair.

So the challenge here is that many enjoy the current uses of the building, including yoga, a food pantry and an important childcare center. In addition, this means changing the way this building has been administered for many years now.

However, the plan to contract with Penquis to create senior housing in the building has merit. The number-one factor in the discussion is that the plan, as it has been presented to us, would mean Penquis would repair, renovate and rehab the building at no cost to the taxpayers of Union. That's a pretty big win for the town, and it meets the needs of the majority who want to see the building preserved.

The fear is what would happen with the food pantry, the daycare and other operations there. The deal seems to allow for public access to the gym, and some of these community activities will be preserved. The food pantry and the daycare are certainly important enough that the community will be successful in bringing them through this change to continue providing important services. A daycare is not a building, but a skilled staff meeting an important demand. It will find the space it needs.

Most of the challenges here seem surmountable.

Leadership of the Thompson Community Center should consider what is best for the community as a whole and the future of the building and perhaps let go of the way things have been, because the alternative plan does not seem sustainable in the long term. That said, town leaders proposing the Penquis move should be careful not to use scare tactics or become strident in arguing for this. It's the community's school and center. Give them the information they need to make an informed decision and trust in your residents.

We trust the right decision will be reached.

Be aware of diabetes, bone marrow illnesses

November is drawing to a close, but we should mention that it was National Diabetes Awareness Month, and we certainly have friends and loved ones affected by this illness.

According to JDRF, the leading global organization funding Type 1 diabetes research: "Type 1 diabetes is a chronic, life-threatening autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults at any age. … T1D is not related to diet or lifestyle, and there is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and — at present — nothing you can do to get rid of it. In T1D, the body’s immune system destroys cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, meaning the body produces little to no insulin to regulate blood sugar and get energy from food. The onset leads to immediate insulin dependence and the need for injections. T1D requires rigorous 24/7 monitoring of blood glucose levels — even overnight — to avoid lethal highs and lows in blood sugar, and devastating complications like kidney, eye and nerve diseases, and heart disease. … The number of people with T1D is expected to grow to 5 million by the year 2050."

To learn more about T1D and to support JDRF’s mission, visit

"In Type 2 diabetes, your body does not use insulin properly," according to the American Diabetes Association. "…Some people with Type 2 can control their blood glucose with healthy eating and being active. But your doctor may need to also prescribe oral medications or insulin to help you meet your target blood glucose levels."

November has also been National Marrow Awareness Month to raise public consciousness of the nearly 10,000 U.S. patients who are waiting for a life-saving bone marrow transplant, according to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association.

If you have any concerns about any of these illnesses, talk to your doctor.