BUCKFIELD – Lights going up on the ball field at Bessey Field are going to stir up a lot of bees, according to bee farmer Tony Bachelder. And the buzz about this issue consumed more than an hour at Tuesday night’s selectmen’s meeting.

Bachelder, who has lived and raised bees for 33 years at property next to the ball field, said the lights would cause problems with his bees, particularly when he brings them to his field for transport.

A letter from Anthony Jadczak from the Maine Department of Agriculture stated that Bachelder’s concern may be justified under conditions such as moving the bees.

Bachelder told the board if the lights were out by 9 p.m., he would have no problem. But David Chabe from the Recreation Department said plans are for two night games to be played, which would make a 9 p.m. lights-out a problem.

The Recreation Committee has arranged for adult leagues to play at the field because of the promise of lighting. The leagues will be charged a fee that will cover the expenses associated with the lights.

Bachelder was also concerned about the noise and drinking from the field after games.

Chabe said they would post signs and meet with the team captains to address the noise and drinking issue. The department also plans to put up a high fence to help with the light issue.

“If you put up those lights and I move in bees, I can guarantee that the field will be covered with 50,000 to 100,000 bees and someone will get stung,” Bachelder said.

Jillian Chabe said the idea of adult games was a way of extending recreation to the adults of the town and not just the children. “The lights can also benefit the children’s games as well,” she said.

Selectman Chip Richardson said the games, which will run Monday through Friday, also benefit the businesses in the town, which aids economic development.

Dick Piper said that recreation is not protected by state law in Maine, but farmers are.

Nick DiMaio said he is for exercise, but Bachelder was giving the town fair warning about the danger. “You’re asking him to change his way of living after 33 years. He should be able to do what he wants on his property,” he said.

Selectman Oscar Gammon said, “It’s a matter of timing, according to Bachelder and maybe the recreation committee can come up with time closer to 9.”

Chabe said they would be willing to work with the leagues on the issues brought up in the meeting, and said that usually the games are over between 9 and 9:30.

Warren Wright suggested the town contact the Maine Municipal Association to check on the legalities.

Town Manager Glen Holmes said he would invite the Recreation Department and Bachelder to the next board meeting for further discussion.

In other business Holmes discussed the cuts he has made to the budget that the town requested in the annual town meeting.

Wright, who is on the budget committee, said he would like to see cuts made in places where it was not critical to the operation of the town, such as road equipment. Holmes said the cuts he had made in the Highway Department budget were not really feasible, but the town voted that $32,085 be cut from that budget. “The need for a town loader is critical because we have to clear the roads in winter, according to law,” Holmes said.

Selectmen held a workshop before the regular meeting with Minot’s Public Works director to discuss the possibility of sharing his services.



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