News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


Richfield Springs news

Walter J. Hribar, 84; Korean War Vet, Worked In Frankfort

IN MEMORIAM:  Walter J. Hribar, 84;

Korean War Vet, Worked In Frankfort

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Walter J. Hribar, 84, a Korean War veteran and longtime Richfield Springs resident, passed away peacefully on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, in his home. He had the comfort of his loving family at side.

Walter was born on March 6, 1935, in Fly Creek, son of the late Anthony and Anna Pope Hribar.

A lifelong area resident, he was educated at Richfield Springs Central School.

Mary Jane Jackson, 63; 35-Year Nurse’s Aide At County’s Meadows

IN MEMORIAM: Mary Jane Jackson, 63;

35-Year Nurse’s Aide At County’s Meadows

RICHFIELD SPRINGS — Mary Jane Jackson, 63, a nurse’s aide at the county’s Meadows Nursing Home for 35 years, passed away on Tuesday evening, Nov. 12, 2019, in Bassett Hospital. She had the support and comfort of her loving family at her side.

Mary was born on Aug. 5, 1956, in Amsterdam, daughter of the late Victor B. and Dorothy R. Damulis.  A lifelong area resident, she was a graduate of Richfield Springs High School.

Republicans Keep County Board Majority

Republicans Keep

County Board Majority

Rick Brockway, center, the victor in county board District 3, is flanked by fellow Republicans Scott Harrington, left, and Len Carson, at the Oneonta Vets’ Club after ballots were tallied Tuesday, Nov. 5. (Ian Austin/


The Republicans rained on the Democrats’ parade on Election Night, Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Republican Rick Brockway won Laurens-Otego’s District 3, 697-548, turning back a Democratic effort to take control of the county board for the first time in memory.

“Otsego County is red,” declared a jubilant Republican County Chairman Vince Casale. “It has always been red. It will always be red. People in Otsego County will always reject the extreme liberal agenda that is attempted to be forced upon them.”

County Democratic chairman Aimee Swan had this riposte: “Otsego County is purple. Otsego County voted for (Congressman Antonio) Delgado in 2018. Democrats can win here. Democrats do win here. And Democrats will win here. If Otsego was so red, we would not have a split board.”

During a victory celebration at the Oneonta Vets’ Club, Brockway said, “I’m exhausted. I’m glad it’s over. And I feel really good.” He added, “My family’s always been in politics in Laurens. I was a councilman for eight years. It’s a logical step to go to the county.”

If the margin in District 3 holds, Brockway’s victory over Democrat Caitlin Ogden assures the Republican, allied with Conservative county Rep. Meg Kennedy, Mount Vision, will continue to control county government for another two years.

However, Kennedy can ally on individual issues with the Democrats and shift the majority in that direction, as she likely will as main architect of the county manager form of government.

The county board was expected to vote Wednesday, Nov. 6, on approving a public hearing for its December meeting, after which the concept of professional management could be implemented.

The Democrats had appeared bullish about Ogden’s chances – a Laurens resident, she is a grantsman at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown – particularly following a stealth write-in campaign that knocked Brockway off the Independent line in the June 26 primary.

Brockway, a farrier and newspaper outdoors columnist, would succeed Republican Kathy Clark, a former county board chairman.

In other county races, as expected, incumbent Democrat Michele Farwell, District 2, decisively held her seat over Marcia Hoag, 636-246. And Democrat Jill Basile, District 14, beat Libertarian Wilson Wells, 199 to 48.

“This community has served my family well,” said Basile. “And now, I can serve them back.”
In the City of Oneonta, Republicans Len Carson won the Ward 5 Common Council seat, and Scott Harrington, Ward 6, doubling GOP representation in City Hall. Both are former Otsego County Representatives.

“My goal was always to get here,” said Carson. “I’m going to work hard, not just for my ward, but for the whole city.”

Both pledged to hold Town Hall meetings. “The best way to represent is to get feedback,” said Harrington. “I want to be very open.”

In other races in the Democratic city, two Democrats beat two Republicans: It was Kaytee Lipari Shue over Jerid Goss 157-22, and Mark Drnek over Josh Bailey 102-73.

“This is something I’ve always dreamed about,” said Shue. “I got to shake the mayor’s hand and we started our partnership together. 2020 will be here before I know it!”

And in the Town of Richfield, a Republican triumvirate, Nick Palevsky, Fred Eckler and Ed Bello Jr., turned back one Democrat and two other non-affiliated candidates tied to the Protect Richfield neighbors.

In Richfield Springs, while Palevsky, the former supervisor, led David Simonds, 296-291, the Republican pointed out its only five votes.

“I hope it holds,” he said, noting there are 100 absentee ballots out there. “That’s the only thing I can say right now.”

Usually, it takes a week to count the absentees and affirm the results; this year, he said, with all the changes the state Legislature made in election laws this year, it is expected to take two weeks.

Of Palevsky’s fellow Republican runningmates, incumbent Fred Eckler, with 326, was reelected, as was newcomer Ed Bello Jr., with 363.

Simonds runningmates, Democrat Jeremy Fisher (203) and incumbent Kane Seamon (284), who lost the June 26 Republican primary, both lost by sizeable margins.

Palevsky was drawn into the race for supervisor by a comprehensive plan and zoning code developed by adherents of the Protect Richfield moving to stop the five-turbine Monticello Hills Wind Farm.

Born To Run

Born To Run

Dryland Sled Dog Challenge

Arrives In Richfield Springs

Water-logged trails and a lot of mud didn’t seem to slow down 82 teams of dog racers in Richfield Springs this morning during the Dryland Sled Dog Challenge, part of the International Sled Dog Racing Association. Landowner Steven Davis, seen above driving a team during the six-dog event, is an 11-year veteran of dog racing and hosted the event on his land on Millstone Road. Teams came from Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, as well at the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. While racers waited for their turn, they could stop by the concession stand and grab a burger made by Danny Garbera, Richfield Springs, and Dennis Dorn, Springfield Center, (inset photo), who were representing the Canadarago Snow Toppers. Also helping out with dog handling were members of the Richfield Springs Youth Sports group. The races continue tomorrow starting at 8am. (Ian Austin/

IN MEMORIAM: Betty Jo Chase, 69; Nurse’s Aide At Bassett

IN MEMORIAM: Betty Jo Chase, 69;

Nurse’s Aide At Bassett Hospital

Betty Jo Chase

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Betty Jo Chase, 69, a native of Florida who served for many years as a nurse’s aide at Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, passed away following a brief illness Saturday afternoon, Oct. 26, 2019, at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown.

Born Jan. 29, 1950, in Milton, Fla., Betty was one of nine children of Clarence and Leona (Mack) Richardson. Raised in Santa Rosa County, Fla., she graduated from Milton High School and then attended nursing school in Pensacola.

Revisit Richfield Comp Plan: Elect Palevsky, Eckler, Bello


Revisit Richfield Comp Plan:

Elect Palevsky, Eckler, Bello

Nick Palevsky for Richfield town supervisor

In the lead-up to the Richfield Town Board adopting a new Comprehensive Plan & Zoning Code, people said they want to see the town come together.

People observed that “nothing’s happened” in the Richfield Springs area in the past 20 years (or longer).

Send Political Letters


By noon Monday, 10/28

People mourned the decline in enrollment of the Richfield Springs Central School, which graduated 29 seniors on June 29.

These emotions are easily understood.

But to conclude, as some did, that the town’s new comp plan and code, hatched without the knowledge of the community at large with special interests in mind, will accomplish any of those things is likely mistaken.

While polite, meetings leading up to the final decision – a public hearing Sept. 23 on the zoning code, and the town board meeting Sept. 30 where members of a clique, 3-2, jammed through the undigested document – were angry.

The reasons have been spelled out in our news pages: West End neighbors, their lawsuit against the five-turbine Monticello Hills Wind foiled, took control of the process of revising the comp plan and zoning code.

Fred Eckler for Richfield Town Board

By the time the community at large became aware of what was going on, the neighbors controlled the Zoning Commission, the Planning Board and three of five seats on the Town Board.

In addition to banning wind turbines, and original comp plan virtually prohibited any development along Route 20, the major commercial thoroughfare through the town.

After an outcry, and more measured inputs by people like Andela Products President Cynthia Andela, that was revised.  On the whole, though, the plan pushed through Sept. 30 envisions the Town of Richfield’s future as agricultural – as dairying disappears – and residential.

That ensures “nothing” will happen, new people won’t move in, commerce will remain stagnant, school enrollment will continue to ebb.

The Republican Town Board slate – former Supervisor Nick Palevsky, incumbent Town Board member Fred Eckler and newcomer Ed Bello Jr. – object to the new comp plan and code.

Ed Bello Jr. for Richfield Town Board

They deserve voters’ support Tuesday, Nov. 5.  Polls will be open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the town and across Otsego County, where local elections will be held.

If elected, a first step being considered would be to revisit the petitions signed by landowners in the town to require a super-majority – a 4-1 vote – to pass the zoning code.  If found valid after all, and Sept. 30 vote is moot.  The code is no more.

If that happened, it would have to be just the beginning.  A process – the particulars are unclear; this is a rare occurrence – would have to be pursued to come up with a new comp plan and zoning code that truly reflects the widest possible consensus among townsfolks.

Done correctly – not by any special-interest group, but by community leaders guided by only the good of the whole – a new broad-based plan might very well achieve what everyone wants.

That’s a community that’s come together, not torn apart, where “something” can happen in terms of jobs and commerce, where RSCS will indeed flourish again.

Robert ‘Woody’ Woodrow, 82; Army Veteran, Richfield Springs Post Commander

IN MEMORIAM: Robert ‘Woody’ Woodrow, 82;

Army Vet, Richfield Springs Post Commander

Robert “Woody” Woodrow

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – The funeral is Saturday, Oct. 26, for Robert William “Woody” Woodrow Jr., 82, an Army veteran and former local veterans post commander who passed away peacefully Saturday morning, Oct. 12, 2019, in Folts Brook Skilled Nursing Facility, Herkimer.  He had the love and support of his devoted family by his side.

Woody was born on Sept. 14, 1937, in Cooperstown, son of the late Robert W. Sr. and Mildred Jackson Woodrow.  He was raised in Garrattsville and was a graduate of Morris High School.  He furthered his education graduating from SUNY Canton Technical.

Richfield Candidate Looks Forward To 11/5

Richfield Candidate

Looks Forward To 11/5

By JIM KEVLIN• Special to

Richfield supervisor candidate Nick Palevsky looks forward to Election Day. (Jim Kevlin/

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – The action now moved to Nov. 5, Election Day.

Monday, Sept. 30, after two somewhat acrimonious hours of discussion, the Richfield Town Board, 3-2, approved a new zoning code that bans wind turbines and defines most of the town as agricultural/residential.

Voting aye were three opponents of the Monticello Hills Wind Farm, Larry Frigault, Rex Seamon and Kane Seamon. Voting nay were Supervisor Paul Palumbo, who isn’t running again, and Fred Eckler. All was as expected.

Town of Richfield Comp Plan, Zoning Showdown Tonight

Town of Richfield

Comp Plan, Zoning

Showdown Tonight

Anti-Windmill Faction Plans Vote


RICHFIELD SPRINGS – A showdown is expected this evening between two factions on the Richfield Town Board when a vote is due on a comprehensive plan and zoning code that grew out of the opposition to the the Monticello Hills Wind Farm.

The board meets at 7 p.m. in the Richfield Springs Central School cafeteria.

Fate Uncertain In Richfield Over Divisive Comp Plan 3 Wind-Farm Opponents Seeking To Push Vote Through, But Election Could Erase It

Fate Of Richfield’s

Divisive Comp Plan

Uncertain For Now

3 Wind-Farm Opponents Seeking To Push

Vote Through, But Election Could Erase It

At the start of this evening’s hearing, Richfield Town Supervisor Paul Palumbo, center, reads a statement of his position on the comp plan and zoning code. He asked town board members to do the same. Fred Eckler (tan shirt), Palumbo’s ally did, but the other three board members, from left, Rex Seamon, Larry Frigault and Kane Seamon, did not. At right is Town Clerk Maggie Young. (Jim Kevlin /

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

At tonight’s hearing, town supervisor candidate Nick Palevsky said, “I call on the town board to suspend this public hearing and delay next week’s vote.”

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – The fat’s on the fire in the Town of Richfield, and may be until a new town board is installed after Jan. 1.

About 70 people descended on the RSCS cafeteria this evening for two hours of polite but divided opinion on a new comprehensive plan and associated zoning code.  Some say the plan and code were developed by West End neighbors to block the five-turbine Monticello Hills Wind Farms, and that the resulting documents are too restrictive.

About 20 people spoke. Then the action began.

Hearing over, a town board meeting was called to order, and it surfaced that three West End allies – Council members Larry Frigault, Rex Seamon and Kane Seamon – have scheduled a meeting for 7 p.m. next Monday, Sept. 30, to push through a vote on the new law and code before the Nov. 5 election, when they may lose their majority.

IN MEMORIAM: Val Frank Oliver, 67; Veteran, Devoted Family Man

IN MEMORIAM: Val Oliver, 67;

Vietnam Veteran, Family Man

Val Frank Oliver

WATERVILLE – Val Frank Oliver, 67, a Vietnam veteranpassed away peacefully after an extended illness on Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 in Bassett Medical Center, Cooperstown.   He had the support and comfort of his loving family at his side.

He was one of 22 children. Hwas born on Feb. 14, 1952 in Ilion, son of the late Frank E. and Ruth McCumber Oliver.  He was raised and educated in Brookfield.  He first worked on his family’s farm.

Ida Marie Miller, 94; She, Husband Warner, Celebrated 70th

IN MEMORIAM: Ida Marie Miller, 94;

She, Husband Warner, Celebrated 70th

Ida Mae Miller

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Ida Marie Miller, 94, who celebrated her 70th wedding anniversary with husband Warner last week, passed away peacefully on Saturday evening, Sept. 7, 2019, in her home after an extended illness.  She had the support and comfort of her loving family at her side.  

She was born on Feb. 4, 1925, in Little Falls, daughter of the late Antonio and Sarafina Evangelista BiscontiA lifelong area resident she was raised and educated in Little Falls.  

50 Runners Mark 20th Of Route 20 Challenge

50 Runners Mark 20th

Of Route 20 Challenge

Lafayette-To-Duanesburg Relay Unites

Participants In Smaller Runs On Stretch

Participants line up at Clancy’s Banquet Hall in West Winfield Saturday morning for the the Route 20 Road Challenge 20th anniversary run, a relay from Lafayette to the west and Duanesburg from the east.
“The Rockin’ Chicks,” who ran 20 relay laps, are cheered on reaching their destination.

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – The Route 20 Road Challenge marked its 20th anniversary Saturday, and 50 runners in small communities along the route took part in a relay covering the entire distance of the Route 20 Scenic Byway between Duanesburg to Lafayette..

“We first heard of this at a planning meeting for the (Road Challenge) banquet, said Kevin Hoehn from Rome, the Road Challenge’s unofficial ambassador.  Bill Kosina of Richfield Springs, co-chairman, “comes up with some great ideas and really carries them through. It’s amazing.”

Dennis C. Mang, 69; Worked At Remington, Bassett, ARC

IN MEMORIAM: Dennis C. Mang, 69;

Worked At Remington, Bassett, ARC

Dennis C. Mang

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Dennis C. Mang, 69, of Richfield Springs, passed away unexpectedly on Friday Aug. 9, 2019, in Cooperstown.

Dennis was born on Jan. 2, 1950 in Cooperstown, the son of the late Charles F. and Elsie Mae Cardarelli Mang. A lifetime resident of the area, Dennis attended Richfield Springs Central School before serving in the Air Force from 1969 to 1973.

Dennis was employed with CP, Remington Arms, Bassett Hospital, Sitrin Home and the ARC.

Elliott M. Helfand, 100; Ran Department Store In Downtown Richfield


Elliott M. Helfand, 100;

Ran Department Store

In Downtown Richfield

Elliott M. Helfand

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Elliot Meyer Helfand, 100, proprietor of Ruby’s Department Store here for many years, passed away on Sunday morning July 28, 2019, in Windsor of Venice Hospice Care, Venice, Fla., with his loving wife, Marty, at his side.  They resided in Englewood, Fla.

He was born on Jan. 12, 1919, in New York City, son of the late Reuben and Rose Osowitz Helfand.  He was educated in Brushton, Franklin County, where his parents also operated a department store, and went on to Michigan State University and Clarkson University. where he earned a bachelor’s.

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