News of Otsego County

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



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


They Love Their Jobs

5 Believe They Have Found Careers

Of Their Dreams In Otsego County

Profiles by LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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/
Springbrook Names SUNY President, Ommegang CEO To Trustee Board

Springbrook Foundation

Names SUNY President,

Ommegang CEO To Board

The Springbrook Foundation named their 2019 Board of Trustees on Friday, Aug, 30.  At left is Stacey Grady, Springbrook Foundation director of development.  Then, from left, are the Springbrook Foundation Board of Trustees: Patricia O’Brien, Jim Kelsey, Doug Campbell, Patricia Kennedy, Amanda Mirabito (vice president and secretary), John Anderson (board president), Patrick Prior (board treasurer), and Barbara Jean Morris.

MILFORD CENTER – SUNY Oneonta President Barbara Jean Morris and Ommegang CEO Doug Campbell are among the new board members of the The Springbrook Foundation, the fundraising affiliate of Springbrook NY Inc.

Dr. John Anderson, former Millersville University president and past Hartwick College provost, was named as board president. “One of the most rewarding experiences of my career was serving over 12 years as a board member, and at times an officer, of Springbrook,” he said. “This new opportunity is a tremendous honor. I am absolutely delighted that I can help support Springbrook in this new position.”

Springbrook Cuts Ribbon On New Oneonta Clinic

Springbrook Cuts Ribbon

On New Oneonta Clinic

Springbrook CEO Patricia Kennedy gets help from one of the organization’s residents, Ken Goodrich in cutting the ribbon, officially opening Springbrook’s new clinic at 438 Main St., Oneonta. State Senator Jim Seward, R-Milford, told the 100-member audience before the ribbon-cutting that Ms. Kennedy convinced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to open a seventh Care Coordination Organization (CCO), an arm of the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities that partner with providers of services for individuals with developmental disabilities to help them receive Medicaid support and other efforts. From left to right: Frank Panzerella, COO, Bassett Medical Group, Assemblyman John Salka, R-121, Mayor Gary Herzig, Sen. James Seward, Kennedy, Goodrich, Springbrook COO Seth Haight, Springbrook residents Bryan Holt, Steve Nechis, and Brian Weeks, and Clinical Officer Kathy Ramiza. In back are Derek Jackson and Southern Tier Connect’s Executive Director, Meghann Andrews. (Jennifer Hill/


LWV: Can Democracy Be Achieved Politely?


LWV: Can Democracy

Be Achieved Politely?

How can we debate the issues of our Democracy in a civil way, particularly in the current atmosphere?  Today, that was the question before “A User’s Guide For Local Democracy,” a morning of presentations and discussion in Springbrook’s Family Center, organized by the Cooperstown and Oneonta chapters of the League of Women Voters.  Tom Pullyblank, above, Catholic Charities director of Planning & Mediation Services, outlined discussion circles – literally, chairs in a circle – and how a moderator can assist a group in reaching a consensus.  CGP Professor Will Walker, seated at left, detailed how open-ended questioning has helped his students elicit valuable and detailed oral histories across cultures. He also introduced students Georgia LeMair and Kirbie Sondreal, seated to his left, who have used Walker’s methods to develop community conversations:  In Cooperstown, for instance, on Women’s Suffrage and the Centennial of the 19th Amendment.  Inset is the New York State’s executive director, Laura Ladd Biermann, who conducted a training session on keeping debates on topic.  “The moderator is in charge,” she said.  “If it gets out of line, you’re the one who has to bring them into line.” Cooperstown’s Maureen Murray and Oneonta’s Steve Londner organized the program. (Jim Kevlin/

League Of Women Voters Plans ‘User’s Guide For Local Democracy’ Panel

League Of Women Voters

Plans ‘User’s Guide For

Local Democracy’ Panel

Public Welcome To Participate April 27

Laura Lee Bierman

MILFORD CENTER – Oneonta and Cooperstown’s League of Women Voters chapters are planning “A User’s Guide for Local Democracy: Skill Building for Active Organizations and Individuals,” 8:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at Springbrook’s Family Engagement Center on Route 28.

Panelists will include Laura Ladd Bierman, executive director the League of Women Voters of New York State.

The workshop is designed to build attendees’ skills and confidence in planning and holding successful public and organizational events and meetings, according to a press release.  “We will look at ways to be more effective in listening to divergent opinions, and contending with stridency, in the search for meaningful consensus,” the release said.

David T. Evans, 76;Milford Man Retired From Springbrook

IN MEMORIAM: David T. Evans, 76;

Milford Man Retired From Springbrook

David T. Evans

MILFORD – David T. Evans, 76, of Milford, who retired from Springbrook (Upstate Home for Children) after 25 years, passed away Monday, Feb. 25, 2019, at his home.

He was born Sept. 22, 1942, in Oneonta, the son of the late Glenn H. and Ruth (Martindale) Evans.

David worked at Gladding Del-Rey, the travel trailer maker in Oneonta, and then as a carpenter and roofer,  and finally at Upstate Homes for Children (Springbrook) for 25 years until his retirement.

Springbrook To Host Special Olympics Basketball Team Tryouts

Special Olympics Basketball Team

Tryouts To Be Held at Springbrook

ONEONTA – The Springbrook Scorpions are looking for players to join their 2019 Special Olympics basketball team during tryouts Monday-Wednesday, Jan. 28-30

The Springbrook Special Olympics Program is open to individuals who are 8-years-old and older, have been identified by an agency or professional as having an intellectual disability, a cognitive delay as determined by standardized measures, or face significant learning or vocational challenges resulting from cognitive delays that require specially-designed instruction. Athletes do not need to receive services from Springbrook in order to participate.

At Springbrook, Bassett’s 21st School-Based Clinic To Open

At Springbrook, Bassett’s 21st

School-Based Clinic To Open

COOPERSTOWN – Bassett Healthcare Network has partnered with Springbrook to open its 21st school-based health center: The Marian & Paul O’Brien Medical Clinical Suite at The School at Springbrook.

Residential and day students, ages 8-20, in the GEMS Program, Tom Golisano Center for Autism and Kids Unlimited Preschool, will be eligible for treatment.

A reception celebrating the opening is planned at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 at The School at Springbrook.  RSVP by calling 286-7171, ext. 271 or emailing


Fly A Kite At Cherry Valley Fest


KITE FESTIVAL – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. All day outdoor kite fly for all. Includes Rev Riders Team Performances, Fighter Kite Battles, more. Admission, $5/adult. Campbell Road, Cherry Valley. 607-264-3080 or visit

BLOCK PARTY – 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Benefit for Family Resource Network features free hot dogs, vendors, children’s activities, opportunity to dunk Pastor Paul, 3 tries/$1, Noon – 12:30 p.m. Bring friends, meet more. Atonement Lutheran Church parking lot, 1 Center St., Oneonta. 607-432-6852.

Pamela Stewart, 62; Residential Aide At Local Institutions

IN MEMORIAM: Pamela Stewart, 62;

Residential Aide At Local Institutions

HARTWICK – Pamela J. Stewart, 62, a residential aide at The Meadows, Arc and Springbook, passed away peacefully Tuesday night, Aug. 14, 2018, with family by her side at her home on Buchanan Drive in Hartwick following a courageous battle with cancer.

She was born July 2, 1956, in New Berlin, a daughter of Franklin Jay and Wanda L. (McLean) Stewart.  After graduating from Cooperstown Central School with the Class of 1974, she attended college.

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