News of Otsego County

Richfield Springs

News Briefs 03/16/2023
News Briefs

‘AI: Perils and Potential’
Discussion is Next Tuesday

ONEONTA—United University Professions Oneonta will sponsor a panel discussion program on artificial intelligence, “AI: Perils and Potential,” on Tuesday, March 21 at noon in Le Café, Morris Complex, SUNY Oneonta. The panel will consist of SUNY Oneonta President Dr. Alberto Cardelle, UUP Oneonta President and Professor of Africana and Latinx Studies and Political Science Dr. Robert Compton, and Dr. Kjersti VanSlyke-Briggs, coordinator, Ed Tech Program, and professor, English Education. Audience questions and discussion are invited after the panelist’s formal presentations. The program is free and open to the general public, including all segments of the college and Greater Oneonta community. UUP will provide a complimentary lunch. An RSVP at is required to allow for coordination of the lunch order. The RSVP should include your name and contact information.

Pathfinder Produce Celebrates Anniversary March 16

EDMESTON—Pathfinder Produce, a weekly greengrocer and delivery service operated by Pathfinder Village’s Adult Day Services, will celebrate its tenth anniversary on Thursday, March 16 during its regular market hours, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“The story of Pathfinder Produce has been one of empowerment,” said Tina Heyduk, Pathfinder’s chief administrative officer, who oversees the Pathfinder’s Day Services. “Our market began as a project to help curb childhood obesity, address adult health concerns, and improve families’ diets in conjunction with Bassett Research Institute’s 5-2-1-0 community programs. With our weekly market, area residents have enjoyed greater access to fresh produce. In many rural communities that are in USDA food deserts, families must travel over 10 miles to buy an apple.”

“Another way Pathfinder Produce empowers people is that it offers paid employment and vocational training for people with intellectual disabilities. ADS team members have grown in knowledge through their tasks organizing the weekly market and our grant-funded food deliveries,” added Mrs. Heyduk. “They give back to their community. Each team member takes pride in serving their friends and neighbors through our produce-related programs.”

During the March 16 market celebration at the Pathfinder Village Commons, there will be recipe samples, specially-themed baked goods, and customers will receive recyclable shopping bags as part of Pathfinder’s observance of World Down Syndrome Day, an annual global event held annually on March 21. To learn more about Pathfinder Produce, customers may visit the market’s website at or its Facebook page.

Crafters Wanted for
Two Popular Events

RICHFIELD SPRINGS—Applications are still being accepted for two popular craft events in Richfield Springs: the 42nd Annual Friendship Craft Festival to be held on Saturday, June 10 in Spring Park and the 3rd Annual Fall Craft Fair scheduled for Saturday, October 7 at the Cullen Pumpkin, 587 Cullen Road. Both events are sponsored by the Church Of Christ Uniting in Richfield Springs. For information and an application for both events, go to or call Carla at (315) 858-1451.

Morning Coffee Miracle: A Return to the Power of Local Community

Morning Coffee Miracle: A Return
to the Power of Local Community

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – When I first visited my husband’s family in Richfield Springs back in 2007, my new grandma-in-law, Joyce Zvirzdin, told me what a thriving place Richfield Springs had been, how bustling the downtown area used to be—the restaurants, the spas, the shops, the cafés. I told her I wished I could have seen it.

Fast-forward to May 31, 2021, when the whole Zvirzdin family went to see the Memorial Day parade march down Main Street. It had rained that morning and I was freezing. Although I thoroughly enjoyed watching the various community groups in the parade—and the copious amounts of candy they threw out for our kids—I desperately wished for a hot coffee.

‘Subatomic Writing’ Author Challenging Old Notions of Science Communication

‘Subatomic Writing’ Author
Challenging Old Notions
of Science Communication

Jamie Zvirzdin crafted her latest work in the Richfield Springs Public Library.


OLNEY, MD – Sitting alone in the back corner of the Richfield Springs Public Library, science writer and researcher Jamie Zvirzdin diligently crafted her latest publication, presumably with coffee in hand. It was October of 2018, six months since Zvirzdin and her son, Max, were forced to flee from Managua, Nicaragua following an outbreak of political upheaval that had flooded the capital’s streets with police and protestors. Her husband, Andrew, remained stationed there as one of the U.S. Embassy’s emergency personnel.

“I was teaching astronomy at the local college, and the president Ortega, started breaking up peaceful protests. It escalated very quickly, like within a week,” Zvirzdin explained.

Garden Club a Force of Nature

Garden Club a Force of Nature

Margaret Goodrich and daughter, Sarah, at the Garden Club of Richfield Springs ‘ Christmas for Children Open House held on December 4. (Photo provided)


RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Many communities across New York State have garden clubs. The thought of them might conjure an image of some local “dames de certain age” tending selected areas, resplendent in gloves and sun hats, for several weeks during the late spring and summer, doing their part to beautify their town. They then recede into the background until next year.

That vision bears little resemblance to reality for the Garden Club of Richfield Springs.

CUMMINGS: Polly Renckens Lauded for Service
Letter from Constance Cummings

Polly Renckens Lauded for Service

The Richfield Springs Food Pantry thanks and congratulates Mrs. Polly Renckens for her six years of devoted service to the Richfield Springs Food Pantry and its mission of ensuring that all members of our community have access to nutritious food. The Richfield Springs Food Pantry has made great strides since Polly Renckens began her leadership role with her husband, Jim, in 2017.

During the time of Mrs. Renckens’ service, the organization has expanded its reach from serving 100 households in 2017 to over 200 households in 2022. Mrs. Renckens had a central role in helping the pantry obtain a grant to purchase additional food and increase service to those in need from twice a month to a weekly basis. Her other responsibilities have included managing the volunteer schedule, ordering food deliveries, and serving as Vice President of the Board of Advisors.

The Richfield Springs Food Pantry’s volunteers and board members are grateful for Mrs. Renckens’ friendship and celebrate her numerous years of commitment to our local community.

Constance Cummings
Richfield Springs

NOTEWORTHY: Trust is Key to Success of Vertically Integrated Farm
News from the Noteworthy

Trust is Key to Success of
Vertically Integrated Farm

Teresa Labruzzo, co-owner of Dream Weaver Farm in Richfield Springs, admits she was not at all sure if there would be any customers when they opened their farm store two years ago. But in fact, market research wasn’t necessary after all…there is a huge demand for DWF’s products. This edition of “The Life of the Land” will explore some of the elements which make this an agricultural success story.

DWF builds upon agricultural expertise and local good will established by the Labruzzo family over generations. The good health of soil and water is a high priority. Although not certified organic, the farm utilizes sustainable practices such as crop rotation, composting, rotational grazing, and minimal tillage to reduce reliance on pesticides and herbicides. In addition to the usual corn and soy, crops such as buckwheat, oats, and rye play an important role in soil restoration and in the production of high quality animal feeds, hay and straw products, and honey.

SULLIVAN: Projects on the Horizon in Northern Otsego
Column from Dan Sullivan

Projects on the Horizon in Northern Otsego

Over the past several years, the Town of Richfield and Village of Richfield Springs have built a coalition of residents, civic groups, and local government officials to form a revitalization plan for the two municipalities. Momentum began to build back in 2015, with the formation of a Joint Town/Village Comprehensive Plan Committee. Working with a professional planning firm, under a grant secured by Otsego Now, a Joint Comprehensive Plan was adopted in late 2018 by both Town and Village. The Town then quickly followed with a Zoning Amendment in 2019. Both the plan and the amendment won New York Planning Federation awards for best in state in 2019 and 2020, respectively. The stage was set for grant seeking.

Positively Stunning

Positively Stunning

Photo by Mindy Baker

With the guidance of head librarian Mindy Baker, Richfield Springs Public Library has created a Positivity Rock Garden. Thanks to a generous donation of colorful aggregate from Ruby Lake Glass and assistance from students at Richfield Springs Central School, the library’s eye-catching Positivity Rock Garden will inspire and lift the spirits of residents and visitors to the community. The rock garden surrounds a tree on the grounds of the library and the large painted rocks of the garden bear quotes from famous authors and classic novels. Ruby Lake Glass colorful aggregates fill the center of the garden and act not only as a visual treat but as a sensory element, allowing individuals to run their fingers through the rocks to change the colors. Check it out before the snow flies and add your own painted rock to the collection

In Memoriam Bradley J. Myers July 28, 1989-Oct. 12, 2022
In Memoriam

Bradley J. Myers, 33

July 28, 1989-Oct. 12, 2022

RICHFIELD SPRINGS—Bradley J. Myers, age 33, of Lake Street formerly of Ilion, passed away peacefully on Wednesday October 12, 2022 at his residence.

He was born on July 28, 1989 in Cooperstown, a son to Donald J. Myers and Cheryl Bancroft Richardson. He was raised and educated in Richfield Springs. Bradley grew up on the family farm, later worked for Sadlon Farms in Richfield Springs, Caruso Cattle in Frankfort, and many construction jobs. He enjoyed time with his children, family and friends. Bradley was always the life of any gathering. In his free time, he enjoyed drawing and artwork.

A Fond Farewell to Fall

A Fond Farewell to Fall

Photo by Trista Haggerty

Otsego County and Central New York are expected to hit peak leaf peeping season in the coming days, with foliage estimated at 65 percent changed in Cooperstown last week according to the I LOVE NY “Fall Foliage Report.” This year, shades of orange and yellow seem to be outshining the reds, as shown here. The top photo showcases the view from Beaver Meadow Road in Cooperstown, the middle picture is a shapshot of Allen Lake Road in Richfield Springs and, below, a flock of Canada geese enjoy their layover in Otsego Lake on their way to points south.

In Memoriam Barbara Steckler, 88 July 2, 1934 – September 8, 2022
In Memoriam

Barbara Steckler, 88

July 2, 1934 – September 8, 2022

Barbara Steckler

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Barbara Steckler, 88, native of Richfield Springs, passed away on September, 8, 2022. She was born on July 2, 1934, the youngest daughter of Reginald and Mary Louise Joslyn. Barbara spent the majority of her life in the Village of Richfield Springs. In her youth she was active in school, both academically and in athletics, as well as performing in band and chorus. Barbara graduated from RSCS in 1952. Upon graduation she attended Cortland State Teachers College and Eastern School of Physician Assistants.

Barbara was united in marriage to William Bill Steckler in Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Richfield Springs, on November 24, 1954. They were a loving married couple for 51 years until his passing in 2007.

Craft show

‘Friendship’ craft show back in Richfield Springs

Geri Erwin, right, and her daughter Kristen Culkin saw to it that everyone enjoyed the bake sale goodies on offer during the Church of Christ Uniting‘s June 11 arts and craft show in Richfield Springs. The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta got there too late to buy a pie (“You have to get here right away in the morning for those,” said Mrs. Erwin), but nonetheless scored a plateful of delicious cookies. See more photos from the fun event — the first since 2019 — in this week’s edition of The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta!
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