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News of Otsego County

Springbrook

Springbrook celebrates program graduates

Springbrook celebrates program graduates

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Springbrook, an organization that provides services and support for the developmentally disabled, held a graduation ceremony at its campus in the town of Milford on Thursday, June 24.

There were 15 graduates, the largest ceremony Springbrook has had, because of the coronavirus pandemic it was held in an outdoor ceremony, which was a first.

Another first included the first set of graduating siblings, Jessica Miller and Stephanie Miller.

Traci Lanner, the residential school director at Springbrook, thanked the parents and staff at Springbrook.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have you here on this campus on this beautiful day,” Lanner said.

She said the graduates spent between three and 11 years at Springbrook. The graduates had a love for music as well as having a “large number of Disney fans” in the group, she said. 

Lanner acknowledged the difficulty of COVID but praised the dedication of the staff.

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all,” Lanner said, quoting the movie Mulan.

“They don’t always bloom at the same time. … But when they do bloom they are all beautiful,” Lanner said. “I know I speak for the entire staff today that those blooms make us smile and remind us why we do this.” 

Herzig: For city to thrive, jobs and housing are issues that intersect

Herzig: For city to thrive, jobs and housing are issues that intersect

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA — Housing and jobs remain high priorities for the city of Oneonta. Both are needed and, according to Mayor Gary Herzig, need to be gradually increased at the same time.

“You can’t have a thriving community, you can’t have a good economy, if you can’t provide people with good housing,” Herzig said.

According to Herzig, housing is “desperately” needed at all levels including low-income, middle-income and high-income.

One of the problems with housing in Oneonta is that it is hard to compete with student rentals if you are a family in need of rental housing.

Herzig said there are “not a lot of incentives” for familyrentals. “We have to be creative with what we do.”

However, there have been some steps taken on the housing front in Oneonta. Most notably, the artist lofts being created on Dietz Street and, more recently, the pending purchase of the Ford Building by Springbrook to create 22 to 24 market rate apartments, which Herzig called a “very exciting project” that he said was certain would be approved by the Common Council.

City of the Hills: June 3, 2021

City of the Hills

Common Council eases mask rules

Mayor Gary Herzig relaxed the mask ordinance in downtown Oneonta during the Common Council Tuesday, June 1. Masks will no longer be required on Main Street.

Also a motion on a payment to Springbrook to build a walk way connecting Main Street to Water Street and the parking garage was passed unanimously. Springbrook is planning a development on Main Street for professional housing.


Otsego Outdoors to offer
summer activities challenge

Otsego2000, the Otsego County Conservation Association and the Otsego Land Trust will offer another outdoor activities badge, this one geared to summer activities.

The activities include hiking, kayaking, cycling, canoeing and more.

Those who successfully complete eight of the 16 activities will be awarded an Otsego Outdoors Summer Octet badge.

Go to otsegooutdoors.org for more information.

Springbrook Tells Staff: Get Vaccinated, Get $500 Bonus

Springbrook Tells Staff:

Get Vaccinated, Get $500 Bonus

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

With 35 percent of its employees not yet vaccinated, Springbrook is offering a $500 enticement to encourage them to get the COVID-19 vaccine shot.

“This is important, this is safe,” said Springbrook CEO Patricia Kennedy. “It’s going to get us back to where we want to be, being with the people we want to be with and doing things we want to do.

That’s my message for all our employees and the community.”

There’s a distinction between new employees we put in place in January.”

As for the residents on the Milford Center campus, 95 percent have been vaccinated.

Then, He Painted Springbrook; Today, He’s Benefactor

HARTWICK ALUM FUNDS NURSE DEGREES

Then, He Painted Springbrook;

Today, He’s Benefactor

If we cement relationships by giving, not getting, Bob Spadaccia’s relationship with Springbrook began in the 1960s when, then a Hartwick College freshman, he and two other new Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity brothers painted at the Upstate Home for Children three Saturdays in a row.

A couple of years later, while still at Hartwick, a deer jumped in front of his car.

“Any chance I can give it to the orphanage?” he asked the investigating trooper.

“Yeah, sure,” was the reply, and the youngsters at the Upstate Home, today greatly expanded into Springbrook, enjoyed stews, venison steaks and other goodies over the winter, thanks to Bob Spadaccia’s largesse.

Bob graduated from Hartwick in 1970, and went on to a successful insurance career, rising to CEO of Fairfield County Bank Insurance Services in Fairfield, Conn.

In the 1990s, he was recruited onto the Hartwick College Board of Trustees, and soon met Seth Haight, a Hartwick grad who had recently joined Springbrook as COO.

Now retiring, Spadaccia still remembers his Hartwick days fondly, and Oneonta. “I got to know a lot of people,” he said, “delivering sandwiches for Jet Subs and Jerry’s.”

Springbrook Manager To Lead OFO’s $4M Head Start Program

Springbrook Manager To Lead

OFO’s $4M Head Start Program

Cashman

ONEONTA – Nicole Cashman joined Opportunities for Otsego today as Head Start director, OFO Director Dan Maskin announced.

For the past five years, she has been director of Community Homes at Springbrook.

She brings OFO nearly 20 years’ experience in the non-profit sector and a solid background in program operations, strategic planning, and financial management, Maskin said.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Cooperstown Reflects Series ‘On Racism In Healthcare’ 10-28-20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28

Cooperstown Reflects Series

‘On Racism In Healthcare’

14-19eventspage

COOPERSTOWN REFLECTS – 7 p.m. Join panel on Zoom to for ‘Cooperstown Reflects on Racism and Healthcare’ discussion with Reggie Knight, Spine Care Institute; Dr. Subashini Daniel, Attending Surgeon, Cardiac Surgery; Dr. Jim Dalton, Director of Medical Education, Bassett Healthcare; Vince Solomon, Psychiatric Social Worker; and Candice Shannon, Social Psychologist/Sociologist. Presented by Cooperstown Village Library. Visit fovl.eventbrite.com to register.

VOTE – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Voting open. Meadows Office Complex, 140 Co. Hwy. 33W, Cooperstown. Visit www.otsegocounty.com/departments/board_of_elections/index.php for info.

With 4 Grants, Plus Lofts On Dietz, 100 Units Come To City

ONEONTA ANTICIPATES RENEWAL

With 4 Grants, Plus

Lofts On Dietz, 100

Units Come To City

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – At New York Conference of Mayors’ Winter Legislative Meeting Feb. 7-9 in Albany, Mayor Gary Herzig heard one refrain from the mayors of successful cities.

Joe Grigoli shows one of his apartments above Oneonta’s Sal’s Pizza that will be renovated with the held of a $65,000 city grant. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

“The biggest factor in downtown revitalization is creating new options for downtown living space,” he said. “It’s all about people. Stores open when there are enough customers to shop there.”

Back home on Wednesday, Feb. 19, Herzig announced that four Main Street building owners will receive $2.3 million to upgrade and create upper-floor housing.

In all, 32 new apartments would be created, and another eight upgraded with new fixtures and electric. The proposed Arts On Dietz lot will add 64 units, for a total of 96 new apartments.

“That’s at least 100 people added to our downtown,” said Herzig. “Just imagine the impact that will have.”

And the winners are:

  • Springbrook, $600,000 for 22 apartments at 186-212 Main St., above Key Bank.
  • Peter Clark, $275,000 for 10 apartments at 250 Main St., above the Shops at Ford & Main.
  • Joseph Grigoli, $65,000 to upgrade four apartments at 285 Main St, above Sal’s Pizzeria.
  • Russ Scimeca, $20,000 to upgrade four apartments at 177 Main St., above Roots Brewing Company.
Unwilling to wait until the city grants came through, Grigoli got started, and shows off one of the apartments above Sal’s that’s near completion.

“We had a girl who came to us, she was dying for an apartment on Main Street, and we just didn’t have anything for her,” said Lisbeth Rose, Clark’s general manager.

Though Clark is known for student rentals, Rose said that these apartments would be market rate. “We’re putting in higher-end finishes, on-site laundry and all utilities included,” she said. “We want to appeal to young professionals.”

She said they had worked with The Working Kitchen on previous projects, and may do so again with the new building.

They are also applying to put an elevator at the back of the building, making it more accessible, as well as updating electric and plumbing. “We’re hoping to get started this summer,” she said. “And hope to finish within a year – or maybe this year!”

In December, when this piece of the story broke, Springbrook’s COO Seth Haight said its goal is also to serve young professionals.

“People are coming to the area for a job, whether it’s at Springbrook or Fox or one of the colleges, and they can’t find housing,” he said. “It puts us at a disadvantage. No one wants to live in the middle of nowhere.”

In December, Springbrook was also awarded a $1 million CFA grant through the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council for the project.

Joe Grigoli, the retired owner of Sal’s Pizzeria (and brother of Sal Grigoli, who ran Sal’s in Cooperstown until his retirement last summer), said, “I had heard there was money from the city, so I filled out a lot of paperwork. I didn’t hear anything, so I started doing the work myself, and then two days later, I got the letter saying I’d received the award!”

One of his four two-bedroom apartments is currently vacant, and he is completely renovating it, including updated electrical and plumbing, and all-new appliances. “For years I had students, but now, I’m doing more year-‘round rentals,” he said.

The tenants will be allowed to stay in their apartments while the work is being finished. “It’s a nice thing the city is doing,” he said.

Similarly, Russ Scimeca, Roots Brewing owner, said, “The apartments are all in various conditions. Some need new flooring, others need new bathrooms. We’ve tried to do what we can, but repairs are expensive.”

He has one three-bedroom apartment and two three-bedroom apartments, and all are currently occupied. “These will be market-rate apartments, so no students,” he said. “They’re for young families.”

The Downtown Improvement Fund, part of the Downtown Revitalization Fund, designated $2.3 million in grants for downtown businesses. In March 2019, 50 awards were made to various businesses, including Roots and Sal’s Pizzeria, primarily for signage and facades, with several of the projects scheduled to begin this spring.

Leftover funds were returned to the Downtown Improvement Fund and designated for upper floor housing.

All Downtown Improvement Fund applications were reviewed by a Project Selection Committee chaired by

former mayor Kim Muller. Committee members also included Sandra Eighmey, Tom Wise, Joan Fox, Rachel Jessup and Alan Cleinman.

“These projects will both provide much needed new housing options and energize our downtown,” said Herzig.

“I’d love to see an extra 100 people downtown,” said Rose.

Springbrook, Roots, Sal’s Receive Funds For Upper Floor Housing

GRANTS KEY TO DRI SUCCESS

City Hall Funding

4 Projects To Install

Upstairs Apartments

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The upstairs of the Shops At Ford and Main, owned by Peter Clark, will be renovated for apartments. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

ONEONTA – City Hall this afternoon announced funding to renovate the upstairs apartments on four downtown buildings, a key step forward in the $10 million state-funded Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) now entering its fourth year.

Apartments will be built above Joseph Grigoli’s Sal’s Pizzeria, 285 Main St.; Peter Clark’s Shops at Ford and Main, 250 Main St., Russ Scimeca’s Roots Brewing Company, 177 Main St., and Key Bank, a project proposed by Springbrook earlier this year, at 186-212 Main Street.

“I congratulate the recipients of the Round II Downtown Improvement Fund awards,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “These four local businesses have demonstrated a willingness to invest their time, energy, and resources into the revitalization of our downtown.”

Springbrook Envisions Upscale Apartments In Historic Ford Building

Reprinted From This Week’s

Hometown Oneonta, Freeman’s

Springbrook Envisions

Upscale Apartments In

Historic Ford Building

Springbrook CEO Patricia Kennedy and COO Seth Haight survey the bright and airy space of the Ford Block. The windows also provide panoramic views of Muller Plaza and Main Street, Oneonta. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Springbrook’s Patricia
Kennedy and Seth Haight with the Ford Block keys.

ONEONTA – Springbrook CEO Patricia Kennedy, got the good news a few nights before Christmas.

Her proposed Ford Block Revival – 22 apartments for executives and professionals above 186-212 Main St. – has been awarded a $1 million CFA grant through the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council.  The three-story building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

“It’s not just our Christmas present,” she said. “It’s our gift to the community.”

The Oneonta plan came about last year, as Springbrook completed Century Sunrise, a 120-apartment complex in the former Endicott-Johnson Shoe Factory that provided housing for people with developmental disabilities.

“We realized that this was our first step in working in housing development,” said Kennedy. “We believe we’re a good partner.”

Springbrook Envisions Upscale Apartments In Historic Ford Building

Springbrook Envisions

Upscale Apartments In

Historic Ford Building

Springbrook CEO Patricia Kennedy and COO Seth Haight survey the bright and airy space of the Ford Block. The windows also provide panoramic views of Muller Plaza and Main Street, Oneonta. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Springbrook’s Patricia
Kennedy and Seth Haight with the Ford Block keys.

ONEONTA – Springbrook CEO Patricia Kennedy, got the good news a few nights before Christmas.

Her proposed Ford Block Revival – 22 apartments for executives and professionals above 186-212 Main St. – has been awarded a $1 million CFA grant through the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council.  The three-story building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

“It’s not just our Christmas present,” she said. “It’s our gift to the community.”

The Oneonta plan came about last year, as Springbrook completed Century Sunrise, a 120-apartment complex in the former Endicott-Johnson Shoe Factory that provided housing for people with developmental disabilities.

“We realized that this was our first step in working in housing development,” said Kennedy. “We believe we’re a good partner.”

THE JOB SCENE: 5 Believe They Have Found Careers Of Their Dreams In Otsego County

THE JOB SCENE

They Love Their Jobs

5 Believe They Have Found Careers

Of Their Dreams In Otsego County

Profiles by LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

KRISTEN QUIGLEY
Springbrook Assistant Manager

A high-five, Kristen Quigly recognizes, can change someone’s whole day around.

“I love that, with the people I work with, it doesn’t matter if they’ve had a good day or a bad day, you can make that day better with a high-five, some music or even a favorite sensory toy,” said Quigly, the Assistant Manager, Springbrook Swart Hollow Home.

As the assistant manager, she is responsible for coordinating staff, meal planning and shopping, cooking, scheduling medications, and organizing outings for seven adults with developmental disabilities.

Quigly came to Springbrook eight years ago, when she was still at Unatego high school, working at a residential home alongside her aunt. “I kept moving up,” she said. “I went to BOCES for early childhood, but the more I did this, the more I realized I wanted to work with adults.”

In her first home, when she was just 18, she learned what she considers one of her most valuable lessons. “There was a man there who was old enough to be my grandpa,” she said. “And he taught me a lot about how to treat him so that I could help him achieve his goals with the time he had left. He knew his time was coming, and he wanted to do things on his time, not ours.”

The residents go to a day program, but when they come home, Quigly is there waiting. “I’m all about making sure life goes smoothly for them,” she said. “And I wouldn’t trade what I do for the world.”

PAM MORRISSEY
JCPenney Manager

Pam Morrissey’s two passions are people and fashion, and as the manager of JCPenny’s at the Southside Mall, she’s able to make a career out of both. “I love serving our community as the local department store,” she said.

Since coming to Oneonta at 18 to work at Ames and, later, Harold’s Army/Navy, she has made a career out of retail. “I’ve been in retail forever,” she said. “I love clothes and I love the public!”

She worked at JCPenny’s for 15 years, starting as an associate in the children’s department and working her way up to the  visual advertising department until the company did away with the position.

For a time, she worked at Rue 21, also in the Southside Mall, where she was a manager before returning to JCPenny’s in 2015 when the previous manager retired.

And with 43 employees working for her, she strives to make sure that they have as good an experience as she’s had, including making a full Thanksgiving dinner for the employees who work the pre-Black-Friday sales. “Thanksgiving is becoming our biggest day,” she said. “Even more than Black Friday.”

GREG PECK
Unalam Beam Fabricator

For Greg Peck, taking a job at Unalam helped him put his family first. “I was a production manager at another plant, six in the morning until six, seven at night,” he said. “My wife and I had a new baby girl, and I was just never there, and I was getting burned out.”

He had grown up with the Van Cotts, including serving on the volunteer fire squad with Leif, and they offered him a job in the yard. “I went in at six a.m. and got off at 2:30,” he said. “I felt like I had a whole other day!”

Though he started doing a variety of jobs in the yard – helping to pull lumber needed for the day’s project, learning how to visually grade which pieces will go outside and inside of a beam and running the three-part “scarfer” operation to get the beams to the right size, he was named a yard foreman earlier this year.

Now he is in charge of moving the raw materials into the yard, hand-selecting “uppers” – the wood deemed of high enough grade to go on the outside – and “inside,” which may not be as visually appealing but can make up the core of the Unalam beam.

“I’m a hands-on type of worker,” he said. “And although the motions are always the same, every project is different, every beam is different, so you’re doing the same thing, but it’s not the same thing.”

He is also able to keep up as a volunteer firefighter. “Craig (Van Cott) is all about the community,” he said. “He still gives us our pay and our attendance bonus if we have to take a call.”

MOLLY MYERS
Fenimore, Farmers Museum
Development Associate

Molly Myers wants to make sure that everyone coming to the Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers Museum is able to make the same happy memories she did as a kid.

“I think it’s so cool what they offer here for people of all ages,” she said. “I have so many memories of coming here as a kid, and I want to make sure that others have that opportunity too.”

Myers, who started in January as a development associate for the museums, moved back to her Cooperstown hometown from Albany. “I missed the community,” she said. “I’m very passionate about younger people moving back to the area, and the museums really help with that.”

Though she coordinates with museum supporters and puts together fundraising calls year-round, her biggest task this year was putting on the annual Gala, which had a Rock & Roll theme this year to coordinate with “Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits” exhibit.

“We let people have a backstage tour of artifacts we don’t normally have in the museum, all these great auction items and a band,” she said. “It really helps bring in local and non-local support for the museum.”

MAURICE ODAGO
SUNY Oneonta

Chemistry professor Maurice Odago came to SUNY Oneonta to fill in for a professor on sabbatical, and never left.

“I came in 2010, then in 2011 I was a visiting professor,” he said. “In 2012, I was put on the tenure track.”

He taught chemistry in Kenya for three years before he got his PhD at SUNY Binghamton, where he also taught for a short while before the job opened at SUNY Oneonta. “The chemistry department is a fabulous place to work,” he said. “We have excellent and supportive colleagues, and the students are great as well. You are so proud of them when they succeed after graduation.”

The college, he said, also fosters inter-disciplinary work. “We’re not all bundled up in our little alcoves,” he said. “You will see departments working together, such as chemistry and biology, but also across disciplines, like physics and philosophy.”

In addition to the high academic standards the college has, he said he also enjoys how the school encourages students – as much as faculty – to think outside of the classroom. “We have an open-door policy with our students, but sometimes they just want to come in and talk about their soccer game or the music they play,” he said. “It makes for a much more well-rounded student.”

Congressional Candidate German Tours Springbrook Campus

General With Eye On Office

Tours Springbrook Campus

Maj. Gen. (ret.) Tony German of Oneonta,  a Republican candidate to challenge U.S. Rep. Anthony Delgado, R-19, toured Springbrook Tuesday, Oct. 1.  Here, Traci Lanner, director of the Tom Golisano Center for Autism. describes the services it provides. “It’s important to know all the local businesses in the 19th district,” German said. “Springbrook has deep ties to the colleges in the area, and it’s important to understand how to draw young people from them to work at great organizations in the area like Springbrook.” Jeff Edelstein, right, GEMS School director, also briefed German. explained his program’s services to German as well. (Jennifer Hill/AllOTSEGO.com)
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