News of Otsego County

pathfinder village

Pathfinder Village graduates eight in training program
Program graduates (from left) Heather McCoy, Amanda Piech, Ashley Townsend, Rose Davis, Brittany Bond, Jeanette Nutt, Tammy Meyer and Christina Gregory. (contributed)

Pathfinder Village graduates eight in training program

STAFF REPORT • Special to

Eight staff members of Pathfinder Village graduated from training programs on Friday, July 1 from the new Direct Support Professional 3.0 Training Program.

Brittany Bond, Rose Davis and Christina Gregory were among the eight who graduated.

“This program teaches that you need to look at all aspects of a care situation, put yourself in the shoes of the person you are working with,” Amanda Piech, graduate from the program, said in a press release. “You need to understand what they may be feeling but are not able to tell you.”

Piech has been with Pathfinder for 15 years.

Pathfinder Village is an open access community for people living with disabilities and down syndrome in order to help them live an independent lifestyle.

Pathfinder forerunner, ‘The Otsego School,’ helped three imprisoned Japanese-Americans during WWII
The Otsego School. (Edmeston Museum collection).

Pathfinder forerunner,
‘The Otsego School,’
helped three imprisoned
Japanese-Americans during WWII


An Edmeston school for children with Down syndrome welcomed three Japanese Americans in 1943, who had been imprisoned by the Federal Government for no other reason than their heritage.

The Otsego School provided employment opportunities for these three women.

The school in Edmeston has evolved through the years.  Its successor is Pathfinder Village, which today provides a variety of educational and support services for people with Down syndrome.

The Oneonta Daily Star reported June 17, 1922, “The Chesebrough place at Edmeston has been remodeled and will soon be opened as the Otsego School for (children with Down syndrome).” The article indicated Susanne Jones and Florence Chesebrough were in charge of the school.

In early 1943, the Otsego School welcomed three new employees – Mary Hiroshige, Hisae Jeanne Mori and Rose Yasui.

Pathfinder Village celebrates staff service
Pathfinder Village service honorees

Pathfinder Village celebrates staff service

STAFF REPORT • Special to

Pathfinder Village celebrated the service of its staff on Thursday, June 17.

Eight employees had five years of service each while 18 other employees had a combined 200 years of service.

In total, the employees had a combined service of 280 years for Pathfinder residents and students.

Pathfinder is an organization that supports those with Down Syndrome and other disabilities.

“Today, we’re going to take a moment and give thanks to you and be grateful for your efforts,” Paul Landers, CEO of Pathfinder Village said in a press release. “It is important that we acknowledge your milestone achievements as members of our ‘Five Plus Club’.”

Those honored included classroom aide, Patty Slosek, for 40 years, facilities manager Kris Tilbe for 35 years, Kathy Roberts for 25 years and others.

Pathfinder has been supporting those with Down Syndrome and other disabilities since 1980. It is an open access community dedicated to providing those who serve with a chance for an independent and fulfilling lifestyle.

World Down Syndrome Day Celebrated With Happy Feet


World Down Syndrome Day

Celebrated With Happy Feet

NYCM Insurance’s Jeremy Bolton, left, presents Pathfinder Village Ambassador Andrew H. with a sampling of 739 pairs of polka-dotted socks Sunday, March 21, to mark World Down Syndrome Day. In what’s become an annual tradition, NYCM Insurance employees raised $2,097 for the effort this year. “We hope it put a smile on every resident’s face,” said Dan Robinson, NYCM Insurance president/CEO.  The date, 3-21, represents the triplication of the 21st chromosome in the human genotype, which causes 95 percent of Down syndrome cases.  (Lori Grade photo)
Pathfinder Village Names Hand Bell Choir Director

Pathfinder Village Names

Hand Bell Choir Director

Paula Schaeffer Retires After 23 Years
Paula Schaeffer, the outgoing Pathfinder Village Bell Choir director, leads the ensemble during a 2003 performance at the Baseball Hall of Fame. (Milo V. Stewart Jr./Baseball Hall of Fame)
Maisy French

EDMESTON – Maisy French of West Edmeston has been appointed director of the Pathfinder Village Hand Bell Choir, and is planning a virtual concert later this year, it was announced this morning.

She succeeds Paula Schaeffer of Fly Creek, Pathfinder director of Enrichment Services, who has retired after 23 years in the role.

Jean D. Holbert, 82; Survived by 10 Children
In Memoriam

Jean D. Holbert, 82;

Survived by 10 Children

Jean D. Holbert

EDMESTON – Jean D. Holbert, 82, a former farmer who worked at Pathfinder Village, died Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.

She was born on Nov.1, 1938 in Olyphant, Pa., the daughter of Bertha & Frank Ceresko.

On Aug. 17, 1957 she married George E. Holbert in Heart Lake, PA.

Jean worked alongside of George on the family farm for many years until the farm was sold in 1991. She then went to work as a care provider at Pathfinder Village and Homer Folks in Oneonta.

Jean was an avid baker, cook and preserver. She loved cooking all the holiday meals, baking the apple and pumpkin pies and serving her pickles. She had a green thumb when it came to growing a garden. She enjoyed putting puzzles together, reading cook books, watching the Buffalo Bills or just sitting around visiting with a cup of coffee and some baked goods. She was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

She is survived by her 10 children; Edward Holbert, David (Sue) Holbert, Beverly Fagan, George (Deanna) Holbert, Joseph (Beverly) Holbert, Carol (Greg) Thomas, Nancy (Bryan) Johnson, Roger (Kristen) Holbert, Susan (Art) Holbert, Catherine (Wayne) Holbert, Cindy Holbert, 22 grandchildren, 27 great grandchildren, her sister, Ginger and many nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her husband George of 60 years, son-in-law Robert Fagan and daughter-in-law, Elsie Holbert, brothers; Lloyd & Andrew, sisters; Fran, Lottie & Eleanor.

Jean was one of the strongest, kindest persons you’d ever want to meet. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

Calling hours were held on Monday, December 28, 2020 at the Dakin Funeral Home, LP, New Berlin, NY. Proper social distancing practices were in place.

A private funeral service was held for the family with Father Kris Boretto officiating.

Arrangements are entrusted to the Dakin Funeral Home.

Pathfinder’s Health Food Helps Everyone

Pathfinder’s Health Food

Helps Customers, Residents

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Pathfinder Produce team members Brandy M., Andrew H. and Eric M. prepared to pack a Mobile Market truck.

EDMESTON – For Pathfinder Village CEO Paul Landers, the “secret sauce” in Pathfinder Produce boxes isn’t the recipes, or even the fresh produce.

It’s the notes the workers tuck inside.

“Each delivery comes with a ‘feel-good card’ that our individuals make,” said Hannah Baulch, ADS coordinator. “And it makes them feel good to write them.”

“I always get voicemails from people telling us those notes make their day,” said Landers. “It’s a message of hope, of love. With our residents, one of the greatest qualities they have to share is joy.”

Pathfinder Produce and The Mobile Market, a micro-business of Pathfinder Village, Inc., has received the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Breakthrough Business of the Year from the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s a business with a mission,” said Landers. “Our primary goal is always to find employment opportunity for our folks, but this isn’t just a job. They’re serving their community, and they feel that every time they do this work.”

The produce delivery service started three years ago, when Pathfinder Village realized there was a need in the area – a “food desert” – for fresh produce.

“We hijacked the concept that healthy food delivery services like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh pioneered,” said Landers. “But we brought a feel-good quality to it.”

Every week, five employees – all Pathfinder Village residents – sort and pack 120 bags of produce for one, two or three people in a household – and deliver them, Tuesday through Friday, to low-income families, free of charge.

“We wanted to reach families who just don’t cook, but instead buy frozen food or go through the drive-thru,” said Landers.

Baulch said as many as 300 people a week eat the fresh produce delivered to their door.

“It’s about improving rural health outcomes,” she said. “To have something like this that’s accessible, where we can go out and get people these fruits and vegetables, we can help them improve their health.”

And for the Pathfinder residents packing the food, it helps them too. “They improve
their social skills, fine motor skills, and they learn about their own health,” she said. “They’re impacting people in their community.”

Though much of the produce is ordered from Sodexo, the food-service company, Pathfinder Village does run several greenhouses, growing and harvesting lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and more.

“It takes a lot of time to harvest, and moreso now with COVID,” said Baulch. “But it’s great for the residents.”

Landers knew that food without education would go to waste, and every week “Chef Eric,” as he’s known around the Village, researches and creates new recipes to pack with the produce so that families can try different ways of preparing their food.

“He found a role for himself, a pride and purpose,” said Landers.

Others, like Andrew, make short work of packing bags for deliver. “He’ll pack at least 50 bags,” said Baulch. “He loves going into the cooler, following the list and packing it all carefully so the soft items are on the top.”

“They are always ready to come into work,” said Landers. “You never have to drag them!”

Frank E. Mullet, 99, Edmeston; 18-Year School Superintendent


Frank E. Mullet, 99, Edmeston;

18-Year School Superintendent

Francis E. Mullet

ONEONTA – Frank Emerson Mullet, loving husband and father, and retired 18-year superintendent at Edmeston Central School, passed away peacefully on Sept. 14, 2020, at the age of 99.

Raised in Spencer, Mass., he received a sports scholarship to catch for the Bates College baseball team in Lewiston, Maine, where he majored in physics. During college, Frank traveled to California and worked at Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank.

After World War II began, he enlisted in the Navy, where he served as a signalman on destroyers protecting convoys traveling to and from Europe and North Africa. He received several medals and an honorable discharge in 1945.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Virtual Splash Path To Support Pathfinder Village 05-30-20

Virtual Splash Path To

Support Pathfinder Village


SPLASH PATH – Run/Walk through your neighborhood to support Pathfinder Village. Then upload a photos sharing run/walk, personal color bursts with confetti, colored water, colorful running costume, more. Unleash your imagination. Visit for info & registration.

Pathfinder Village Aims To Calm, Inspire Residents On Lockdown

Pathfinder Village Aims To Calm,

Inspire Residents On Lockdown

Paul Landers, Pathfinder Village CEO, dons a mask on his rounds through the residences. With the campus on lockdown, Landers can only peer through the window and wave, but he makes sure to do so frequently.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

EDMESTON – Like many people, Laurie enjoys going to her favorite coffee shop – the Pathfinder Village Bakery – in the morning.

But with COVID-19 closing down the campus and confining the residents to their homes, the bakery is closed. But her house manager, Jamie Miner, set up a coffee shop on her back porch, complete with a freshly brewed pot and coffee shop cups.

“She pours her own coffee and pays for it, then sits at her dining room table, happy and content,” said CEO Paul Landers. “That’s love in action.”

Pathfinder Van Crashes; 7 Injured

Pathfinder Village

Van In Crash; 7 Hurt

At around 2:30 this afternoon, a van carrying Pathfinder Village residents collided with another vehicle at the intersection of Route 205 and 30 in the Town of Otsego. (Jim Kevlin/

COOPERSTOWN – A Pathfinder Village transport van was involved in accident in the Town of Otsego, Lori Grace, director of development at Pathfinder, confirmed a few minutes ago.

According to Rob O’Brien, Otsego County 911 operator, state police and and Cooperstown Fire Department responded to the scene of a two-car accident at the intersection of Route 205 and Route 80 in the Town of Otsego at 2:17 p.m. this afternoon.

Hall Of Famer Lee Smith Returns For Golf Tourney


Hall Of Famer Lee Smith

Returns For Golf Tourney

Hall of Famer Lee Smith and wife Dyana, in back row, toured Pathfinder Village yesterday, along with Hall President Tim Mead, back left. Smith is celebrity host at the Pathfinder Village-Hall of Fame Celebrity Tournament underway today at the Leatherstocking Golf Course.

COOPERSTOWN – Class of 2019 Hall of Famer Lee Smith has returned this week to the scene of his Induction as celebrity host for the Pathfinder Village-Baseball Hall of Fame Golf Invitational, which begins today at the Leatherstocking Golf Course.

The former Chicago Cub will join 23 amateur foursomes on the 18th to support a golf event that raises scholarship funds for Pathfinder Village, the residential community in Edmeston for people with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities.


Cooperstown Community Band

To Perform At Lake Front Series


CONCERT – 7 p.m. Cooperstown Lakefront Concert Series presents the Cooperstown Community Band, featuring local musicians performing everything from marches to showtunes, more. Bring chairs, picnic and relax in Lakefront Park, Cooperstown.

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