ONEONTA – Rich was born on August 7, 1943 in Oneonta, NY to Leslie and Lucille (Mulford) Elderkin. He was raised on the family farm in West Laurens. It was there where he learned his strong work ethic and mechanical skills (“There were no holidays on our calendar”).
His father died when Rich was 16, which left him running the 100 head family farm together with the hired man, his mother and “little brother” John- not to mention attending school and playing football. Eventually they decided to sell and Rich joined the Air Force on May 21,1963. (“I went to see the army recruiter who wasn’t on duty that day. Lucky for me, the Air Force recruiter was there and I could not have made a better choice for my life’s work”).
It was 1897, the same year Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” was published and a gold rush lured scores of prospectors to the Klondike.
Here in Otsego County, Rick Brockway’s great-great grandfather Jesse was driving the final nails into his West Laurens’ dairy barn.
Now, more than 50 years since the family used the barn for farming, only the structure’s frame is worth saving.
“It’s been used as a family storage unit since 1970, but that is no longer economical,” Brockway said in an interview.
“I wanted to refurbish the barn to its original look, but it was too expensive,” he said. “It was a difficult choice, but I talked with my kids and brother in New Mexico before making the decision.”
According to Brockway, it would have cost $100,000 to restore the barn to working condition, “so we tried to sell it, but couldn’t give it away, until we posted it on Facebook in hopes of finding someone interested in salvaging it.”
Originally, the barn cost less than $800 to complete, and required a master carpenter and 13 assistants with room and board to build.
LAURENS – Ryan Storke, president of Storke Renewables LLC, confirmed today he intends to brief the Laurens Town Board at 7 this evening on plans for a 4-miles-square solar farm on 3,000 acres in West Laurens.
In an exclusive article Jan. 16-17 in Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal, West Laurens neighbors said they were being offered leases of $1,000 per acre per year to participate in what would be one of the largest solar projects in the state. The installation would feed electricity into the nearby Marcy South line to serve the New York Metropolitan area.
Storke is a SUNY Morrisville graduate who is planning a similar project in the towns of Concord and Sardinia, near Geneseo.