The town common was one of three locations suggested for building an ice rink next year. Bethel Citizen photo by Samuel Wheeler

BETHEL — Last week, selectmen approved putting a proposed Food Sovereignty Ordinance on the town meeting warrant. The ordinance will be voted on in June at the annual town meeting.

Bethel resident Alyssa Howe brought the proposed ordinance to the town and briefly highlighted some of its details. The purpose of the ordinance is to: “provide citizens with unimpeded access to local food; enhance the local economy by promoting the production and purchase of local agricultural products; protect access to farmers’ markets, roadside stands, farm-based sales and direct-patron sales; support the economic viability of local food producers and processors; preserve community social events where local foods are served or sold; preserve local knowledge and traditional food ways.

The ordinance will be reviewed by the Ordinance Review Committee and the towns attorney before being added to the warrant.

More than 80 towns in Maine have approved the ordinance so far, according to Howe.

Ice rink

Selectmen addressed questions on building an ice rink in Bethel next year.

One of the questions was on location, where The Common, Ethel Bisbee School grounds and Davis Park basketball courts were all floated around as possible places. Selectman Pete Southam said he thought the common would be a good spot.

“The common was sort of neat because it was front and center, a lot of people used it,” Southam said. Ice rinks in the past have been built on the common.

Select Woman Michele Varuolo Cole said the location should also have good lighting, noting that some of the maintenance that will need to be done will likely happen after its dark.

Another concern for insurance purposes, was having someone responsible for rink maintenance, either as stipend position or as an hourly employee. Powers said the idea of having a Public Works employee do it had been discussed, but that most of them are already extremely busy doing other winter related work.

Cost estimates for the project so far include liner ($1,000), building materials ($1,000), miscellaneous equipment ($500) and pay for the ice rink employee ($500). Other needed items are for a snowblower, and water for an initial fill and then a continuous supply throughout the season.

“I think figuring out insurance and employee questions are the two biggest things to start with,” Southam said.

Cole said she thought there was enough interest for the board to seriously pursue having a rink in the future and said another step is to explore ways on how the town can start allocating money for the rink.

The idea of building a rink this year had been tossed around, but the Rec Board ultimately decided to postpone efforts until next winter because of COVID-19 concerns.

Other business

In other business, selectmen unanimously approved appointing to Felicia Dumont to the ORC and Rachael Guay to the Recreation Board for a two-year term.

Selectmen also approved allowing Malinda Gagnon to hold a “snow boots yoga class” Saturday afternoons this winter. The class will run from 2 to 2:45 p.m.


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