Odell Supports Scuccimarra’s Push for Post Office Info

March 16, 2015

As plans for the Butterfield project move forward in Cold Spring, Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra, who represents Philipstown residents, is still waiting for confirmation from postal authorities as to where their final site choice may be for the Cold Spring Post Office. At present, residents seeking to mail letters and purchase retail materials use a handicapped accessible temporary trailer located in the Foodtown Shopping Center next to where the original post office was once situated at 51 Chestnut Street. The post office relocated to the trailer following the expiration of its 12-year lease in 2013.

Early last month, the United States Postal Service (USPS) real estate specialist Joseph Mulvey revealed there were four possible sites for a new post office. In a letter sent to Cold Spring Mayor Ralph Falloon dated February 2, Mulvey mentioned the sites which include the VFW building at 34 Kemble Avenue, 159 Main Street, an expansion of the present site, and a new building proposed at the corner of Route 9D and Paulding Avenue. Mulvey stated that no decision would ultimately be made for a minimum of 30 days.

That she has not heard back recently from USPS Customer Relations Service Representative David Letourneau has Scuccimarra more than a little annoyed.  

“This has been going on for so long,” said Scuccimarra. “Time and time again I have requested updates and information as to where the new post office might be located and I have yet to hear back from any of the postal authorities. This is ridiculous.”

Leturneau explained that no decision had yet been made in an email response seeking his comments.

“The public comment period on the selected sites ended on March 4th. The Post Office will be reviewing these comments prior to rendering a decision. Once a decision has been made, we will be notifying the public,” he said.

County Executive MaryEllen Odell noted Scuccimarra’s frustration and expressed support for the District 1 legislator.

“I think our Cold Spring residents have been wonderfully patient during this whole long process,” said Odell.  “Historically, the residents in western Putnam have been underserved and we are moving forward in trying to alleviate that by planning to have several County government satellite offices located in the new Butterfield complex. Legislator Scuccimarra has been a champion for that project as well as for the village location of a new post office,” she said.

According to Title 39 CFR 241.4, the process for relocating a post office is clearly stated. Designed to ensure transparency and to maximize input from the community, the law states that presentation of plans by a postal official are to be made at a public hearing, advertisements soliciting for a new site are to be made, notices soliciting written public comments are to be available in the postal lobby and announcements are to be made to the media.

“I don’t expect the postal authorities to put me at the top of their notification list, but, and considering the number of times I have called and contacted them, you would think someone would have the courtesy to reach out to me about any and all information concerning the village post office,” said Scuccimarra.



County Leaders in Hudson Valley Support Governor Cuomo’s Farmland Preservation Proposal

March 10, 2015

HUDSON VALLEY, NY—Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Patrick Grattan, Greene County Legislature Chairman Kevin Lewis, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen Jimino, Rockland County Executive Ed Day, Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matthew Veitch, Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Scott B. Samuelson, Washington County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jim Lindsay and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino are signaling their support for a state investment of $20 million for farmland protection in the Hudson Valley. The funding was proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his executive budget, and the 11 county leaders are calling for support from the New York State Legislature to ensure the funding makes the final budget, due to be enacted in April. The county leaders state that preserving farmland offers numerous economic, public health and agriculture benefits, and also helps provide more fresh, local food to meet growing demand in the Hudson Valley and New York City.

Approximately 11 million New Yorkers, half the state’s population, rely upon Hudson Valley farms as a source of fresh produce and foods. Some of the state’s fastest growing counties—including Orange, Rockland, Saratoga and Westchester—derive food that comes from Hudson Valley farms. Hudson Valley agriculture is an $800-million industry that is ripe for expansion in part because the unmet demand each year for valley-grown food in New York City approaches $1 billion annually. Hudson Valley farms also are recognized for the role they play in maintaining scenic landscapes, rural heritage and quality of life, all of which help drive a multibillion-dollar tourism industry and fuel economic growth.

The public is made healthier by preserving Hudson Valley farms. Family-owned farms in the region are important to secure as a source of nourishing food and conserved farmland also safeguards wildlife habitat and environmentally sensitive areas, including local aquifers and drinking-water supplies. Finally, eating healthier foods that don’t travel across the nation or world to reach consumers improves people’s health and the environment.

Despite rising consumer interest in farm-fresh food, the valley lost dozens of farms over the last five years. The high cost of land here makes it impossible for most farmers to buy land to expand their operations or for younger farmers to enter the business. The $20 million in state funding would join substantial monies being allocated to farmland preservation by county and municipal governments as well as private groups such as Scenic Hudson. Over the past two decades, conservation easements—paying farmers a portion of their land’s market value to ensure its permanent protection—have provided more than $100 million to valley farmers. Farmland protected by an easement is made more affordable and helps promote the next generation of sustainable agriculture.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Protecting our farmland is critical to preserving our community character and promoting local agriculture. Agriculture is one of Dutchess County’s primary industries, with enormous potential for expanded growth. We are hopeful the state legislature will support Governor Cuomo’s proposal of $20 million for Hudson Valley farmland protection.”

Ulster County Executive Mike Hein said, “As someone who was born and raised on a working farm in Ulster County, I have a special appreciation for farmland preservation and the importance of agriculture to our regional economy. The Governor’s initiative provides critical support towards achieving a more sustainable and resilient local food system while protecting the quality of life for residents across the Hudson Valley.”

“Orange County’s agricultural sector is critical to our economy and local heritage,” said Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus. “I applaud the Governor’s commitment to farmland preservation as a way to enhance the quality of life in the Hudson Valley and increase economic growth through agritourism and other rural initiatives.”

“Growing our economy while preserving the environment requires striking the right balance between commerce and nature,” said Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino. “Farmland protection strikes a smart balance by preserving land, putting healthy food on tables, promoting jobs, saving our agricultural traditions and keeping local businesses strong.”

“Saratoga County has a great history of Farmland and Open Space protection. As a fast-growing County within New York, it is critical that we preserve as much open land and farms from the encroachment of suburban sprawl upon our landscape. For 2015, we restored our Open Space and Farmland Protection fund with $250,000 and additionally appropriated $100,000 for trail development,” said Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matthew Veitch.

“I am pleased to support this investment in farmland protection as Albany County, with over 71,000 acres of land devoted to farming, has been doing and will continue to do,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “In 2013, we reopened Lawson’s Lake, our 420-acre park, giving the public the opportunity to appreciate the benefits of land preservation; Albany County has passed an Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan, a County Right to Farm Law, and adopted a resolution to purchase a portion of its food from local farmers and markets. Last month, the town of Berne purchased 350 acres in the Helderbergs to preserve the natural beauty in the hill towns. Albany County is working to enhance our open space and agricultural opportunities and this new investment will further protect family farms.”

“The future of agriculture in Columbia County looks very bright. Many farm products such as cheese are now sold throughout the eastern United States,” said Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Patrick Grattan. “We must encourage the growth of the Farm to Market enterprises in Columbia County.”

The governor’s commitment to farmland protection in the Hudson Valley is in addition to a $30-million commitment to six counties in the state’s Southern Tier for agricultural protection and related economic development, and $14 million in funding for farmland protection statewide to be funded via the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.

An enhanced state commitment to preserving Hudson Valley farms aligns with numerous state policies and plans. The draft state Open Space Conservation Plan, the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda and Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council and Capital District Regional Economic Development Council identify preservation of the valley’s working family farms as a priority.



State of the County Address Set for March 12th


Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell will present the State of the County address at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, at Putnam County Golf Course, 187 Hill Street in Mahopac.  Prior to the address, there will be a Family Wellness Marketplace which will open at 5:30 p.m.

As she has in the past, Odell has chosen to highlight a particular theme as she starts her first full term and fourth year as County Executive. 

“This year will be ‘The Year of the Family,’” said Odell. “While Putnam has long had the reputation for being a great place to raise a family, and many consider the Putnam community itself a large family, we are going to focus on how we can help maintain the family as a unit as we move forward making our fiscal and social decisions.”

Among the topics Odell will discuss will be the One Army on the War on Addiction, the Donate for Life initiative to increase life-saving organ donations, Putnam’s financial status, the effects of this severe winter’s weather on county infrastructure and facilities, updates from Tilly Foster Farm, and breaking news from the Bureau of Emergency Services.

The Expo will highlight businesses, organizations and not-for-profits throughout Putnam and showcase the number of services offered for families through various county departments such as Health, Social Services, Youth Bureau, and Tourism.  Among the nearly 200 restaurants participating in this year’s Hudson Valley Restaurant Week (March 9-22) are several family-friendly and popular dining establishments in Putnam, some of whom may be represented when lite fare and refreshments are served following the State of the County address. A complete list restaurants celebrating HVRW can be found at

Odell said she would welcome any organization that would like to participate in the Family Wellness Marketplace and asks that a representative contact her office at (845) 808-1001.

For further information about Putnam County’s many services and departments, residents may visit the County website at:



Soil & Water Dist. Offers New and Improved Tree and Seedling Sale

In spite of the fact that the area remains buried under several inches of snow, the Putnam County Soil & Water Conservation District (PCSWCD) is announcing the start of its popular Tree & Shrub Seedling Sale. Each year, the PCSWCD offers a variety of native trees, shrubs, groundcovers, grasses and flowers as well as bat, bird and owl houses for sale as part of its conservation efforts. 

“Spring will come. It will,” said Senior Environmental Planner and District Manager Lauri Taylor. “Now is actually a great time to plan or redesign your garden or property and order seedlings. And this year, we have a whole new menu of available trees, shrubs and flowers to choose from. We’re really very excited.”

A four-page color brochure providing plant and tree information plus an order form is available online at New to this year’s roster are Eastern Hophornbeam, Lowbush Blueberry, Meadowsweet, Nannyberry, Snowberry, Summersweet, Swamp Rose, Washington Hawthorne, Blazing Star, American Cranberry, Concord Grape and Bonanza Daylily.

Taylor suggests orders be placed as early as possible as quantities are limited. All orders must be accompanied with payment and be received by March 25. Orders may be mailed to Putnam County SWCD, 841 Fair Street, Carmel, NY 10512 and checks should be made payable to Putnam County Commissioner of Finance. 

Participants may pick up their orders at Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park, 201 Gipsy Trail Road in Kent on Friday, April 24 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and on Saturday, April 25 from 10 a.m. until noon. A postcard will be sent out to all as a reminder of pick-up dates and times.

The PCSWCD was established in 1967. It consists of a five member Board of Directors comprised of two Legislators and three community members. The District works in conjunction with the Department of Planning, Development & Public Transportation. The District concerns its with a range of soil and water resource conservation concerns including protection of streams, floodplains and wetlands and land disturbing activities in order to minimize the impact on surface water quality and stormwater runoff.



Transportation Advisory Council Reviews 2014 Accomplishments, 2015 Updates

The Transportation Advisory Council, a group whose mission is “to provide transportation needs for those who utilize a public transportation system” and to “provide reliable and affordable transportation for the people of Putnam County,” has achieved much in 2014, according to Chairman Vincent M. Tamagna.

“The year zipped by and we have accomplished many great things during 2014,” said Tamagna. “We passed a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) review with flying colors, improved operations, transitioned through a new operator, MV Transportation, and added a new MV-1 ParaTransit vehicle to our fleet. We are currently reviewing a Request for Proposal  (RFP) in order  to award a contract for technology and software for our public transportation and ParaTransit systems.  We also have launched a successful marketing campaign.”

The Putnam Moves marketing campaign to attract advertisers whose information can be placed in, on and around the buses has been wonderfully successful with Putnam Hospital Center joining the ranks of area advertisers. County Executive MaryEllen Odell was pleased to welcome PHC President James Caldas as they posed alongside one of the bright blue refurbished buses.

“It’s wonderful that Putnam Hospital Center, Putnam’s largest employer, has recognized the advertising potential we present with our Putnam Moves transit system,” she said. “Advertising on the buses is smart and affordable and we’re thrilled that businesses are coming on board with us in this venture.”

Caldas was quick to announce his pleasure at having the opportunity to have the hospital’s services advertised so easily.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to benefit from the county’s revitalized transit program by advertising on the newly renovated buses,” said Caldas. “It is an attractive means of building public awareness of our high-quality, patient-care services.”

Tamagna expects 2015 to be equally successful for the county’s public transportation system.

“We are revving up for a great 2015 with prospects of comprehensive bus routes that make better connections, additional fleet enhancements and the introduction of much needed bus shelters,” he said.

Persons or businesses interested in advertising on the buses should contact the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce at: or by calling (845) 228-8595.

Photo caption: County Executive MaryEllen Odell welcomed Putnam Hospital Center President James Caldas as he announced the hospital is now advertising its many services on the newly refurbished Putnam Moves transit buses.

021015 Plow Pack 3

Herrlich Kids Surprise Unsung Heroes in Highway Departments

February 11, 2015

A group of young children reached out recently to thank those responsible for removing all of the snow from town and county roads in Putnam. Youngsters registered in Camp Herrlich’s Before and After School programs chose to celebrate the ‘unsung heroes’ in area highway departments by creating special Plow Packs for the drivers. 

The project came under the direction of Matthew Paterson Elementary School Site Director Beth Mahoskey, Camp Herrlich After School Program Site Director Doreen Smith, and Kent Elementary School Site Director Heather Duben. The Before and After School participants ranged in age from kindergarten through 8th grade and their families contributed to the undertaking by donating the items to be assembled in the Plow Packs. 

“Each Plow Pack contained things like snacks, bottles of water, packs of tissues, hand warmers, and other items that we thought would help our highway department workers get through the long shifts ahead of them in a winter that is forecasted to be cold and snowy,” said Mahoskey.  “The students also wrote thank you notes that were included in the bags.”

The children assembled 100 gift bags that were then delivered to the highway departments for the towns of Kent, Carmel, and Patterson, and Putnam County. 

“All of our highway workers, whether the county team or the crews in our towns, were well deserving of the thoughtful thank you gifts from the children,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “These drivers have a huge task in front of them each time they go out in a storm. How nice that they’ll have some extra goodies on hand as they plow us out.” 

“The bright blue bags were received with gratitude and students enjoyed giving back to the people who help keep us safe on the roads,” said Camp Herrlich Program Director Jessica Vanacoro, LMSW. “Many thanks to everyone who contributed!”

Photo caption for Plow Pack 3: From left to right: Putnam County Highway Department snowplow drivers Joseph Petti, Dean Hanaburgh, Craig Moran and Carl Frisenda show off their Plow Packs and the colorful thank you notes created by children in the Camp Herrlich After School Program.  Photo submitted by Putnam County Highway Department.

021115 After School Kids 1

Photo caption for After School Kids 1: Children participating in Camp Herrlich’s After School Program at the Kent Elementary School helped to make Plow Packs for highway department drivers. Photo submitted by Camp Herrlich.

Photo caption for After School Kids 2: It was thumbs up for highway department personnel as Camp Herrlich After School Program participants at Matthew Paterson Elementary School gathered to make Plow Packs for the snowplow drivers. Photo submitted by Camp Herrlich.

Photo caption for After School Program 3:  After School Program students at Camp Herrlich in Patterson show some of the donated goodies that were used in making Plow Packs for highway department snowplow drivers.  Photo submitted by Camp Herrlich.



Community Leaders Discuss Challenges at Annual Men’s Club Breakfast


The Men’s Club of Temple Beth Shalom held its 16th annual Millennium Breakfast Sunday morning at its synagogue in Mahopac where guest speakers from both the political and religious spectrum discussed the challenges that lay ahead in 2015, particularly the heroin epidemic that has plagued the region for the past several years.

Men’s Club President Joel Greenberg said the group began holding the event in 2000 to provide a forum for local leaders to discuss current events and issues that face the community. Sunday’s speakers included Putnam County  Executive MaryEllen Odell, Putnam County Family Court Judge James Reitz, Deacon John Scarfi of St. John the Evangelist Church in Mahopac, Rabbi Sarah Freidson-King of Temple Beth Shalom and State Senator Terrence Murphy (R–Yorktown), who represents the 40th District.

Judge Reitz discussed Putnam County’s drug-treatment court, which gives drug offenders an option to seek treatment and avoid jail time. He said the program has been a resounding success thus far.

“It’s about getting people help and getting treatment and making good decisions,” Reitz told the audience. “We just had seven people graduate who otherwise would probably be dead.”

Reitz said there are currently 110 people in the treatment court program.

“We hold them accountable,” he said. “They will be working and productive and off of public assistance.”

Reitz said he’s fortunate to work in a community that has been supportive of programs such as the treatment court, but added that more people need to know about it. “This is a great community,” he said. “It’s a privilege to serve as a judge here. But the treatment court should not be a well-kept secret. People should know that there is a $20,000 savings for each person it keeps out of county jail.”

Odell said she recently attended a treatment court graduation.

“It was really wonderful,” the county executive said. “I had the privilege to be at the first one. I didn’t even know they existed. Itwas an incredible eye-opener. They are literally giving these kids a second lease on life.

Murphy, who was elected to the senate seat last November, was appointed chair of the New York State Legislature’s Heroin Task Force.

“We have a major problem here and kids are literally dying,” he said. “There are no boundaries [to the heroin epidemic]. No one is immune to this.”

Murphy noted that 28 regions throughout the country have been labeled as “highdensity drug-trafficking areas” by the federal government and four of them are here in the mid-Hudson Valley, including Putnam County. He said  his goal as a state senator is to craft legislation to help combat the drug problem.

“It’s been an ongoing lesson for me [since elected],” he said. “But the No. 1 issue is to combat this heroin issue. I am all in on this.”

Odell’s speech focused on the need for better communication between the county, its agencies and its citizens, in order to spark new ideas and grow the economy.

“We weren’t communicating with each other, which is a shame because the county has so much to offer,” she said. “It’s about sharing ideas. Where do we see us going? My ideas come from sitting in forums like this and talking to people standing on line at the grocery store.”

Odell noted that Putnam County is at the hub of the Hudson Valley, which gives it the opportunity to reach out to its neighbors in Connecticut and Dutchess County.

“We have the opportunity to bring in our neighbors and get them to spend their money here and help increase our sales tax revenue,” she said. “Main Street is what drives our economy.”

In her speech, Rabbi Friedman-King noted that she was marking her fifth month as rabbi for Temple Beth Shalom, and said that during that time she’s discovered how kind and supportive the Mahopac community is.

“People here go above and beyond,” she said.” There is so much support in Mahopac. Everyone wants to know how they can help the community flourish. As a Jewish community, how do we get to know each other and celebrate each other?”

The rabbi noted that several congregations from Westchester and Putnam counties recently came together to celebrate Hanukkah at the Jefferson Valley Mall and light their new giant menorah.

“It was an opportunity to celebrate our Jewish identity together,” she said. “But unfortunately, the commitment to organized religion is down. We need to be constantly adapting and changing. The Jewish community does well at building connections. I hope to deepen those connections and expand them. I am impressed by the way this community holds and embraces each other. Everyone is willing to jump in and help out. That’s not a small thing.”

Deacon Scarfi noted that Temple Beth Shalom is one of the top contributors to his church’s food pantry, but said the community needs to continue to work towards helping out those in need.

“The biggest challenge we have is how to build and support families,” he told the audience. “When there are family structures, problems decrease dramatically. Right now, we have serious social issues and we have to

reach out, no matter what religion you are.”

Besides hunger, Scarfi noted that housing and heating continue to be problems in the region.

“Some are starting to run out of [heating oil] and there is no way to help them,” said the deacon. “What do people do—freeze? We must come together and do our part. I will do everything I can, but our bank is not unlimited. We need to work hard to keep this community the way we feel it should be. I wish I had a crystal ball that would show me a rosy picture.”


Graduates of Putnam County’s Treatment Court Share Inspirational Stories

CARMEL, NY – “Our journeys are all different, but we all ended up with addiction anyway,” said Jason Fell of Mahopac, a graduate the Putnam County Judicial Diversion/Treatment Court Program, at the January graduation ceremony held at the county’s historic courthouse in Carmel. “We all have the same goal—to beat addiction and have a life worth living.”

Fell was one of seven graduates this month from the Drug Treatment Court program, an alternative to incarceration program where a coordinated team effort of the assigned judge, court staff, prosecution, defense counsel, probation, sheriff’s department, mental health, social services and treatment professionals actively intervene and break the cycle of substance abuse, addiction and crime. Participation is offered to those who would otherwise be facing for offenses that are drug or alcohol related. The program takes about two years for a participant to complete.

This session had graduates from various walks of life. There were several young people some with typical childhoods and others who were brought up in less than stellar conditions, a successful seasoned professional and a war hero.

Fell is a U.S. Marine who honorable served his county from 1990-1996, where he participated in combat in Operation Desert Storm and Somalia.  After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Fell decided to re-enlist and was honorable discharged in 2008.

Fell had no prior history of chemical dependency until he was wounded in action and was prescribed opioid medications to treat the pain of his injuries. Subsequently, he became addicted and towards the very end of his battle with addiction resorted to using heroin.

Since being in treatment court program, Fell has been dutifully following the program and has turned his life around. He completed all phases of treatment at Montrose Veteran’s Hospital—including inpatient, residential and outpatient substance abuse and mental health services. He is working full-time for a home improvement company and continues to attend recommended treatment.

“I can tell you first hand that addiction has taken me down lower than I have ever been,” said Fell. “Through the past couple of years I found a life worth living for.”

Another graduate, who was skeptical of the program when he entered it two years ago, offered words of wisdom to the participants still going through the treatment program.

“I would recommend that the current participants take full advantage of the opportunity before them.” He said. “They may never get it again. They need to devote themselves to the program and the help available to them.” Talking directly to the program participants he added. “However, change must come from within you. You must change yourself; others around you are just there to help you along the way.”

Judge James Reitz, who oversees the program, is passionate about giving people who are willing to work on themselves a second chance and an opportunity to stay out of the prison system.

“Many enter the program and are uncertain that they have what it takes to go through the program, but they choose to do it to avoid going to state prison,” said Judge Reitz. “Then over the next two years they get our full-team support. We support them as long as they make the effort to continue in the program. It is not always easy and at times there are some bumps along the way. The people who graduate transform their lives along the way. They make the decision to be sober. We cannot force anyone. It has to be something they chose to do on their own. We just give them a fighting chance.”

Fell feels that Judge Reitz does not give the drug court treatment team enough credit. “I know you say that we, the graduates, did it ourselves and I saved my own life, but all of you, the drug treatment court team, were a big part of saving my life.”

County Executive MaryEllen Odell has been an advocate for the Drug Treatment Court since she took office in 2011. She made the drug treatment court coordinator position a full-time county position when Albany cut the funding for the program. Odell also attends the graduation ceremonies every month and is always inspired by the stories of those completing the program.

“Every person who graduates from the Drug Treatment Court has a story,” said Odell. “To hear about the obstacles each one overcame and the steps each one took to be a productive member of society confirms my belief on the importance of education and treatment. On Oct. 1, my administration announced our 2015 budget and we basically said that this county would declare itself as the One Army on the War on Addiction and Substance Abuse.  We are committed to combating the addiction epidemic on multiple fronts—through education, awareness, treatment and law.”

State Senator Terrence Murphy, who has been named the chairman of the NYS Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, was impressed with the program.

“This type of initiative needs to happen everywhere,” he said.  “Here we stand before seven heroes who have committed themselves to sobriety and turned their lives around.  They remind us that addiction knows no boundaries. It hits people of any ethnicity, age, gender or profession. We need to do whatever we can to get the people who suffer from addiction the help that they need and make our penalties for traffickers much stricter.”

The next graduation ceremony will be held in March.

Photo caption: Jason Fell, a Marine veteran, was one of seven people to graduate from the Putnam County Judicial Diversion/Treatment Court Program in January. From left to right: Judge James Reitz, Senator Terrence Murphy, Putnam’s Director of Veterans Affairs Karl Rohde, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Jason Fell.



Carol Donick MaryEllen Odell Otto Romanino closeup

Kent Library Expands its Reach with New Program Room

The Kent Public Library will now be able to host popular events without worrying about having too many attendees, thanks to the opening of its new program room on Sunday, January 25.  Previously the library could not entertain more than 21 people in a program. The new room will more than double the allowed occupancy.

“With our old program room we often had to turn away people on a waiting list because we just didn’t have room enough for everyone who wanted to attend,” said Carol Donick, Director of the Kent Public Library. “We are delighted that the room will allow us to offer more programs, which can be attended by more than 21 people at a time.” 

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell attended the grand opening with Leg. Carl Albano and Leg. Toni Addonizio. She is excited about the opportunity the new space affords to the library.

“Our libraries a vital resources to our communities,” Odell said.  “They offer a variety of programs that are tailored to the needs of the people. They often act as a conduit between people and the resources they need. This new room will ensure that the Kent Public Library will not have to turn people away from programs they want to participate in. It encourages people to be more engaged in the community to take advantage of the resources we have available.”

Donick noted that the idea for the new room was the birthed from the feedback the library had received from the community.

“When we asked patrons to give us up to 5 words to describe the way they would like the Kent Public Library to be 10 years in the future, the words mentioned most often were ‘community’ and ‘Books’,” Donick said.  “After that were ‘programs’, ‘variety’ and ‘communication’.  The room will help us build community by offering a variety of programs.”

The room will also allow the library to host more frequent used book sales.

One of the first events to take place in the new program room will be “The Lives of Hamilton Fish,” a film-song by Rachel Mason, on Monday, Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. “The Lives of Hamilton Fish” (2014) is a film whose story is told entirely through songs and which is based on real people who lived in New York during the Great Depression.

Two men were pronounced dead on the front page of a newspaper in 1936 – one was a statesman from one of New York’s most prominent families and the other was the world’s most notorious serial killer of children. Both were named Hamilton Fish. In this story, a newspaper editor steps into a fantasy world attempting to comprehend the coincidence.

In live performances, Mason sings all of the film’s songs in costume, performing in sync to the film’s backing soundtrack, and is often accompanied by guest performers.

People can register to attend the performance online at

Photo Caption: County Executive MaryEllen Odell (center) joins Kent Library Director Carol Donick and Library Board Member Otto Romanino for the opening of the new program room at the Kent Public Library.



Putnam Seniors to Benefit as Serino Named Chair of Aging Committee

For Immediate Release
County Executive MaryEllen Odell
January 30, 2015

Putnam Seniors to Benefit as Serino Named Chair of Aging Committee

CARMEL, NY—Putnam County has the fastest growing senior population in New York State, so it is only right that a state senator representing the county be appointed chairman of the Senate Committee on Aging. State Senator Sue Serino, who represents the towns of Kent, Putnam Valley and Philipstown in Putnam County as well as a portion of Dutchess County, was recently named the chairwoman of the Committee on Aging.
Serino, who has a district office located within the Putnam Valley Senior Center, will head up a critical committee charged with considering legislation that has a direct impact on New York State’s seniors.
“This is an extremely fortuitous situation for the seniors in Putnam Valley and Putnam as well as the entire state of New York,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Putnam County has the fastest growing senior population in NYS and the fact that Senator Serino has chosen to house her district office at the Putnam Valley Senior Center, not only confirms her commitment to this important segment of our population, but it also provides the opportunity for those seniors and veterans who regularly visit our center to have easy access to Senator for resolution of any needs that they may have.”
Office for Senior Resources Director Pat Sheehy, who is the chair of the legislative committee of the New York State Association on Aging, is pleased to learn that Serino was named to the NYS Senate Aging Committee.
“Having an office within the Putnam Valley Senior Center provides the Senator first-hand knowledge of the effectiveness of the tax dollars that are spent to provide socialization, wellness programs and nutrition to so many of our seniors who would otherwise be isolated in the rural areas of our beautiful county,” said Sheehy. “The Senator will also become familiar with the importance of well operated adult daycare programs and various other programs essential to keeping our seniors healthy at home as long as possible. This is truly a perfect match!”
“I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to chair the Aging Committee,” said Serino. “It is essential that we, as lawmakers, work together on behalf of our state’s seniors and this committee will be the perfect vehicle to do just that.”
Serino continued, “Residents across New York, and in my Senate District especially, should know that I will fight tirelessly to ensure that bills passed through this committee do all that they can to empower and improve quality of life for our seniors.”
Putnam County Legislator Barbara Scuccimara, who along with Legislator William Gouldman, advocated for the Legislature to approve the lease permitting the Senate office within the county-owned senior center in Putnam Valley, believes that Serino leading the Senate Aging Committee could be truly beneficial to the county.
“There are real issues affecting the senior population,” said Scuccimara. “To know that we have someone up in Albany who can help facilitate solutions puts the county in a positive position. I look forward to actively working with Senator Serino in finding ways to make the lives of our seniors healthier and happier so they can stay in Putnam County.”
Putnam Valley Deputy Town Supervisor Jackie Annabi welcomes Serino to the area.
“I can’t remember the last time one of our state representatives had his or her office in Putnam Valley,” said Annabi. “It is a great privilege to have Senator Serino take notice of our community. It is also fitting that she, as the chairwoman of the Committee on Aging, has opened her district office at the Putnam Valley Senior Center. I am honored to have been asked by the Senator to be part of her team in serving the people of Putnam Valley and Putnam County.”
In addition to chairing the Committee on Aging, Serino has also been named to the following committees: Children and Families, Education, Higher Education and Judiciary.