At the request of the Association of Village Council Presidents, Mayor Richard Robb introduced a resolution Tuesday night to create a task force aiming at addressing alcohol related issues in Bethel and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta; the resolution passed. The push for the task force started after Cezary Maczynski’s Kusko Liquor was awarded Bethel’s third and final package store liquor license by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board last year.
Villagers, including Mike Williams Sr. of Akiak, showed up to voice their support for creating such a task force.
“I think the task force could do a lot of good in starting the conversation,” said Williams.
A conversation, he says, that impacts families like his own in really tough ways.
“We’ve been witnessing and burying a lot of young men lately. My cousin, my nephews, and they’ve been in the news,” Williams said. “So I’m imploring that you support the task force and get it started immediately.”
The resolution passed unanimously. The Mayor of Bethel, or a designated person on the Mayor’s behalf, will chair the task force. It is open to participation from the entire community, especially from, “the AVCP, Alaska State Troopers, Bethel Police, alcohol vendors, Tundra Women’s Coalition, Bethel Search and Rescue, and others.”
The Council’s hesitancy on this issue can be seen in some of the language in the resolution, such as, “Council members will not make any binding commitments for the City of Bethel at this task force; [and that] any Council actions will need to be at a regular or special meeting.”