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Putnam Officials Urge Fireworks Safety When Celebrating Independence Day

County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Sheriff Donald B. Smith and Commissioner of the Bureau of Emergency Services Anthony Sutton are warning residents that although this year marks the first time that certain fireworks are legal to purchase and use in Putnam County, it does not mean they are harmless.

“Independence Day is a joyous celebration of the beginning of our nation,” said Odell. “While we encourage our residents to observe the holiday with friends and family members at backyard barbecues and parties, we also ask that you be safe, follow the law and take the proper precautions.  Leave the fireworks displays to the professionals and be mindful when using sparklers or other permitted novelty items.”

Putnam County permits the use of sparklers and similar ground based, and hand held devices that produce a shower of white, gold or colored sparks.

“Fireworks are synonymous with our traditional celebration of Independence Day,” said Sutton, “But they are also very dangerous.  The truth is sparklers burn as hot as a blow torch (up to 2000 degrees) and accounted for 26 percent of the all emergency room firework related emergency room visits in 2014, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Thirty-five percent of those injured by fireworks in 2014 were under the age of 15. Eighty-one percent of those injuries resulted from fireworks that Federal regulations permit consumers to use”.

Deputy Emergency Services Commissioner Bob Lipton reminds parents to closely supervise children and teens when using these devices. “You can have a festive celebration and be safe by observing some simple precautions and exercising constant supervision,” said Lipton.

Some of those simple precautions are:

  • Never allow young children to light sparklers.
  • Never carry sparklers in your pocket.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over sparklers when lighting them.
  • Light sparklers one at a time.
  • Never point or throw sparklers at another person.
  • Always keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy case of a fire or a mishap.
  • Never light sparklers in a glass or metal container.
  • After the sparklers complete burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water.

 

“While certain sparklers are legal, all other fireworks remain illegal to sell, possess or use in Putnam County,” said Smith. “All too often, though, the happy holiday is marred—and sometimes very tragically—by the unsafe and unlawful use of fireworks.”

Under the New York State Penal Law, any person who possesses, uses, or explodes any prohibited fireworks is guilty of a violation. Violations are punishable by up to fifteen days in jail or a fine of up to $250 for each offense.

The criminal penalties are even more severe for people who offer fireworks for sale, or sell or furnish any fireworks to another person. Selling–or even giving away–fireworks to someone else is a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to three months in jail and a fine of up to $500. Offering to sell, selling or furnishing more than $500 worth of fireworks is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $1,000.

Selling or furnishing “dangerous fireworks”–which are defined by law to include larger firecrackers and sparklers more than ten inches long or one-quarter inch thick–to a person under the age of eighteen is a class A misdemeanor. A first offense carries a possible one-year jail term and a maximum fine of $1,000. A repeat offense committed within five years of a previous conviction is a felony under the law, which could result in a state prison term of up to four years and a fine of up to $5,000.

“One of the goals of the Sheriff’s Department, and what I consider to be an important part of its mission, is to educate our citizens about the law and to raise people’s awareness about safety issues,” said Smith.  “When it comes to fireworks and the Fourth of July, our message is not intended to dampen the community’s celebration in any way, but is meant to ensure that the celebration is lawful and safe for everyone.”

County Executive Odell reminds residents that there are many local professionally performed fireworks displays scheduled for the Fourth of July celebration.

“Please remain safe and attend one or more of these sponsored presentations,” she said.  “I also ask everyone to take a moment to remember all the Americans who served throughout our history to protect our freedom as well as defending those in foreign lands whose freedom and independence has been threatened. I ask that we especially remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our Country and for all those who serve today.”

To see a list of what fireworks are permitted by law in Putnam County visit: www.putnamcountyny.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Local-Law-No-4-of-2015.pdf.

To see a list of professional fireworks displays happening in Putnam County visit:  http://www.tourputnam.org/fireworks-displays-in-putnam/.

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Putnam Expands Carmel Senior Center Program Room

Carmel, N.Y. – To the delight of its seniors, the Carmel Friendship Center recently expanded their exercise room, which holds a multitude of classes and events. The project was promised to the seniors by Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell when she declared 2014 “The Year of the Senior.”

“If you want to know how your children will treat you when you grow old, remember they are watching how you treat your elders now,” said Odell. “So let’s show the generation behind us how we honor our elders – with gratitude and respect.”

Odell partnered with Fred Pena, commissioner of Putnam County’s Highways and Facilities Department to make this dream a reality.

“After reviewing the needs and the assessment of our seniors with the County Executive, our facilities and engineering staff have worked diligently to create a safe and enjoyable area for our seniors at the Donald B Smith Campus,” said Pena.”

The size of exercise room was increased from approximately 360 square feet to approximately 800 square feet. Pena made sure to address potential safety concerns by repairing the floors and adding an exercise bar for seniors who require extra stability.

The seniors are welcoming the change.

“I usually get 15 to 25 students in my class,” said George D’Alessandro of Carmel, chair fitness class instructor. “We used to have a waiting list of participants and I was limited before as to what type of exercises I could teach because of balance and safety issues. Now we have a balance bar and extra space so I have the freedom to teach a lot more.”

In addition to the chair fitness class on Wednesdays, the Carmel Friendship Center offers other fitness classes throughout the week such as Zumba, yoga, line dancing and Tai Chi.

Raphelaella Fattori, a resident of the Plaza at Clover Lake, is an active participant in chair fitness class, even as she nears her 101st birthday on July 7th. “I love coming to this class,” she said. “We have so much more room now.  It used to be too tight for us to do some of the exercises.”

Helping Putnam senior citizens stay active as they successfully progress through the “continuum of aging” is a role that the Office for Senior Resources Director Patricia Sheehy relishes.

“Seniors live healthier and happier lives if they exercise and participate in fitness activities,” said Sheehy. “We used to have to limit the number of classes a senior could attend to make sure that everyone had an opportunity to go. Now we encourage them to attend as many classes as they want.”

Sheehy and her staff oversee a myriad of opportunities which aid Putnam residents who are 60 years and older. Hundreds of seniors gather daily throughout the four Friendship and Nutrition Centers in Putnam County to enjoy exercise, arts and education programs, lunch and each other’s company.

“Seniors are among our most valuable residents,” says Odell. “We need to honor and embrace the wisdom that our seniors possess. They are our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. They are our veterans, first responders and volunteers. They are our teachers, our mentors and our business leaders as well as leaders in doing charitable work with our not-for-profits.”

According to the New York State Office for Aging, and based on information from 2010 Census, Putnam’s senior population, those aged 60 years and older, now account for 1 in every 4 residents in Putnam County. The county has the fastest growing senior population in the state.

The Carmel Friendship Center serves seniors in the Carmel, Kent, Patterson and Brewster communities. The county also has friendship centers in Mahopac, Cold Spring and Putnam Valley.

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Pro Hockey Team, Stateline Whalers, to Call Putnam Home

The Federal Hockey League (FHL) announced that a new team, called the Stateline Whalers, will be playing the 2015-16 hockey season out of the Brewster Ice Arena, located in Brewster, New York. The team is owned by long-time minor league hockey operator Barry Soskin, a Chicago native.

“Brewster is a fantastic location for our league,” said Sorkin. “We wanted to keep a team in the New York-Connecticut market and this fits our footprint.  This is a hockey community and the fans have given us a great response.”

The Brewster Ice Arena (BIA) has seating for 850 fans with additional second floor VIP areas to take the capacity to 1,000.  Built in 1997, the BIA features four sheets of ice which also includes one outdoor rink.  On the second floor of the venue, fans will enjoy the Players Club Restaurant & Sports Bar and banquet facility which offers a full menu and beverage selection.

The FHL has worked with BIA owner and operator Steve Santini to formulate a plan for the future.

“We are committed to this team and are eagerly looking forward to this season and hosting a professional hockey league,” said Santini. “We are in the process of exploring future seating options and envision an increase in the seating capacity with approval from the town.”

FHL Commissioner Don Kirnan is looking forward to the leagues expansion into Brewster.

“I have known Steve Santini and his for family for a number of years,” said Kirnan.  “He is a fantastic operator.  This is a hockey first facility which we love.  We have found a jewel in Putnam County.”

County officials think that having the Stateline Whalers call Putnam home will be a great economic opportunity for the region.

“Having the Stateline Whalers here in Brewster is very exciting for Putnam County and the benefits of a minor league team in the area are priceless.” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell.  “It will boost economic development, create jobs, increase tourism in the county and heighten an already strong sense of community.”

Leg. Joseph Castellano, who serves Putnam County Legislative District 7, which includes Brewster Ice Arena, is thrilled to see how much the ice arena continues to grow and meet the needs of the communities surrounding it.

“As a neighbor, it has been great to watch Brewster Ice Arena expand from a one-rink sporting facility to a four-rink ice arena that serves hockey players and ice skaters from not just Putnam but, northern Westchester, southern Dutchess and western Connecticut,” said Castellano. “With BIA hosting the home games of the Stateline Whalers, hockey fans now have an opportunity to see professional games at affordable prices right here in Brewster.”

NY State Senator Terrence Murphy, who represents Brewster as part of the NYS 40th Senate District, already is a regular patron of BIA, is looking forward to taking his family to see the Stateline Whalers play.

“Putnam County just scored a big win by having the Stateline Whalers call Brewster home,” said Murphy.  “I know my kids, who learned how to play hockey at the Brewster Ice Arena, can’t wait for the first game.  This announcement only adds to Putnam County’s resume as a great place to live, work and raise a family.  I applaud everyone’s efforts in this endeavor and look forward to the Whalers future success right here in our backyard.”

With hockey being such a popular sport for both athletes and fans in the region, Deputy Director of Putnam County Tourism Frank Smith sees the Stateline Whalers laying its roots down in Brewster as catalyst to increased tourism to the county.

“Having a professional sports team is an incredible opportunity for Putnam County,” said Smith. “Fans from Connecticut, northern Westchester and southern Dutchess will be traveling to Brewster to watch the games and will hopefully discover some of the other activities Putnam County has to offer. Brewster Ice Arena is already one of the top attractions in the county. Being the home rink of the Stateline Whalers will now make it one of the major destinations of the lower Hudson Valley and western Connecticut regions.”

With the team coming to Brewster, it crossed into the existing territorial rights for the Danbury Whalers.

“The official position on the Danbury Whalers is that the team is a member of the Federal Hockey League in good standing that is on in-active status,” said Commissioner Don Kirnan. “They are at an impasse with their landlord the Danbury Ice Arena.  In an effort to continue their commitment to the Federal Hockey League, the team has waived their territorial and naming rights to the Brewster franchise.  We back and support our league member and partners.”

The Whalers will play a 56-game schedule as part of the Federal Hockey League’s sixth season of operation.

In the coming weeks the team will be releasing information on ticket packages and pricing, fundraising opportunities, sponsorship, and the head coach.

Fans can sign up for the team newsletter at www.statelinewhalers.com

Entering its sixth season of operation, the Federal Hockey League is one of five professional leagues in the United States.  The FHL has promoted over 200 players to various other professional leagues including the AHL, ECHL, CHL, & European Leagues.  The FHL currently has teams located in Berlin (NH), Danbury (CT), Dayton (OH), Watertown (NY), Danville (IL), Berkshire (MA), and Port Huron (MI).  Last season over 100,000 fans watched FHL action live.  Check out the league at www.federalhockey.com

For further information, contact team general manager, Herm Sorcher 973-713-7547 or by email at hsorcher@statelinewhalers.com.

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Odell Honors Patterson Teen for Outstanding Volunteerism

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell recognized the efforts of 17-year-old Jasmine Rodulfo of Patterson, who completed more than 7,000 hours of volunteerism.

“A role model to us all, Jasmine has accomplished more in terms of volunteerism than most do in their entire lifetime,” said Odell, whose volunteerism was the foundation of her career in government. “Her leadership ability and desire to help others are traits that will take her far in life.”

This past spring, Rodulfo received the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement a Girl Scout can attain. Additionally, she received the Presidential Service Gold Award, a national award for those who commit their lives to serving others. Previously, the Brewster High School student earned her Bronze Award and Silver Award through Girl Scouts.

For Rodulfo’s Gold Award Project, she partnered with the ConKerr Cancer organization, to provide children at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital with colorful, bright and comforting pillowcases. Her dedication to thoroughly planning her project and putting it in effect brought insurmountable joy to numerous children with serious illnesses and injuries.

“Jasmine is truly an inspiration and her achievements display how Girl Scouts, like so many other local volunteer-based organizations, can assist young people in identifying their passions,” said Odell. “The mission of Girl Scouts is to help girls build the courage, confidence and strength needed to make the world a better place. Girl Scouts allows girls to discover where their talents lie and how they apply those talents to helping others”

The Rodulfo family moved to Patterson from the Bronx last year.

“I am thrilled that the Rodulfo family chose Putnam County as their new home,” said Odell. “As a community, we look forward to tracking Jasmine’s career and I would love to have her in our Putnam Invests in Leaders of Tomorrow program, also known as the county’s PILOT intern program.”

Rodulfo said that her mother Jessica taught her how to be a leader and inspired her to give back to the community.

“My mom has always encouraged me to do things for others through both her words and her own actions,” said Rodulfo. “When I started Girl Scouts 14 years ago, she was a parent volunteer. Then she became so involved that she became the membership manager for the Girl Scouts of Greater New York. When we moved up to Patterson she stayed with Girl Scouts and became the community development manager for the Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson.”

In her position, Jessica Rodulfo seeks volunteers, starts new troops and helps the Girl Scout community. She understands the impact that volunteerism has on a community and is proud of how Jasmine has devoted herself to making the world better.

“To see Jasmine, like her sister, receive all three awards is a huge accomplishment and I am very happy she invested as much time in this as I did.” She continued, “It is incredibly rare for a Girl Scout to receive all three awards, so I could not be more proud of my daughter.”

Jasmine Rodulfo’s accomplishments go beyond Girl Scouts. She has taken the stage in plays such as Les Miserable’s, Aladdin, The King and I and In the Heights. One of her dreams is to one day become an award-winning actress. Rodulfo expressed that she aspires to open a performing arts center for underprivileged children. In addition, she has posed as a cover model for Girl Scout Cookie Magazine.

Truly demonstrating beauty inside and out, Rodulfo currently reigns as Miss New York Teen 2015. In July, she will compete in the USA National Miss Scholarship Pageant in Disney World.

For more information about becoming a Girl Scout call Jessica Rodulfo at 914-747-3080 ext. 778 or visit girlscoutshh.org.

For more information about the USA National Miss competition visit USANationalMiss.com.

Photo Caption: Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell honored Jasmine Rodulfo, who has received many awards for her commitment to volunteerism and currently reigns as Miss New York Teen 2015.

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Odell Supports Astorino’s Plan to Improve Sexual Assault Bill

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell went to Manhattanville College in Purchase on Tuesday to show her support of a four-point plan proposed by Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to improve Gov. Cuomo’s campus sexual assault bill, which is pending in the State Legislature.

“While we can all agree with the governor that rape and sexual assault are serious issues on college campuses, I, like County Executive Astorino, believe more needs to be done to strengthen the rights of the victims and protect the integrity of cases,” said Odell who supported Cuomo’s bill when it was introduced.  “County Executive Astorino’s proposal is smart and addresses some of the finer points of the legislation. His plan is not adversarial to the pending bill, it enhances the bills effectiveness.”

Astorino said his chief concern with the proposed state bill id that it imposes an unworkable new standard of “affirmative consent,” which would then be adjudicated by campus “conduct commissions,” with the result of adding more confusion, rather than clarity, to an already complex issue. Cuomo has yet to receive the support of either party to either stale legislative body for his new paradigm that conflicts with state penal law. Astorino said his plan seeks to protect victims and prevent colleges from adjudicating sex crimes.

Under Astorino’s plan, colleges would be required to report an alleged rape or sexual assault to local police immediately. Failing to do so would result in a Class B Misdemeanor for any college employee that had direct knowledge of the alleged sex crime but failed to report it to police.

In addition, colleges would be required to provide for an independent victim advocate by entering into formal agreements with state-certified rape crisis agencies.  A 1-800 hotline phone number would be prominently displayed throughout campuses and provided to all students at the beginning of each school year. A student could directly call the IVA or would be put in touch with the IVA by college officials to ensure the victim receives support and advice from an independent advocate without any potential conflict of interest.

Also, Astorino is calling for police departments to be required to incorporate “Start by Believing” training into their instructional curriculum, which aims to improve trust and cooperation between victims and investigators.

Astorino is proposing a Victims’ Bill of Rights that addresses protocols on rape kits and exams, and interactions with the colleges, police and victim advocates.

“Colleges are good at educating young adults,” said Astorino. “They are not good at investigating and prosecuting violent felonies, especially sexual assaults.  That’s not their job. Not only are colleges ill-equipped to investigate such crimes, but an inherent conflict of interest exists when colleges attempt to do so. Colleges have a right to create their own code of personal conduct for students, but they no longer should be defining and adjudicating crimes. That should be left to police and district attorneys.”

While no college is located within the borders of Putnam County, Odell said that Putnam is just as invested in the protection of college students.

“Putnam County has an educated workforce,” said Odell, “I represent families who send their children to college. As a mother of two children who have gone to college, I can tell you that parents expect a college or university to give their child an education. If there is a crime, especially one of rape or sexual assault, you expect law enforcement to handle it, not a college official. I wholeheartedly think that an independent victim advocate should be readily available so a victim has immediate access to trusted support and advice. I also agree that the investigation of any report of rape or sexual assault should be handled exclusively through law enforcement agencies not college security officers.”

During the press conference Astorino cited recent alleged sexual assaults at Hobart& William Smith Colleges in Upstate New York and Stony Brook in Long Island, as examples of cases that were terribly mishandled by the colleges.

Sarah Tubbs, who was treated poorly by Stony Brook officials and even forced to “prosecute” her alleged attacker, attended the press conference and supported Astorino’s plan.

“I learned the hard way that colleges have no business handling rape cases. I honestly feel as though I was victimized twice, first by my attacker and then by the systemic failures of my college,” said Tubbs. “I also think having a caring, independent advocate on my side could have changed everything.”

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Putnam Legislature Votes Sutton in as Acting Emergency Services Commissioner

The Putnam County Legislature confirmed the appointment of Anthony W. Sutton as the acting Commissioner of the Bureau of Emergency Services at a special meeting held on Tuesday, May 12.

The commissioner position has been vacant since January when County Executive MaryEllen Odell decided not to reappoint former Commissioner Adam Steibeling. Robert Lipton, Deputy Commissioner of Emergency Services, has been performing the duties of his job as well as that of interim commissioner, while the Legislature decided whether to fill the position.  The Legislature voted 8-0-1 to appoint Sutton in an acting capacity until pending litigation with Steibeling is resolved.

“As elected officials it is our duty to protect and preserve the health, safety and welfare of our residents,” said Ginny Nacerino, Chairwoman of the Personnel Committee and Deputy Chairwoman of the Legislature. “I believe the decision to appoint Mr. Anthony Sutton, as Commissioner of Emergency Services, in an acting capacity, clearly speaks to our Legislative priorities.  My colleagues and I recognize having strong leadership at the Bureau, without further delay, is paramount.  Putnam County is fortunate to have someone of Mr. Sutton’s caliber on board.”

Sutton has a professional history in emergency service management. He served as the Deputy Director for Operations in the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) at the New York State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services (DHSES) from 2012 to 2014 where he directed NYS Emergency Operations Center activities for more than two months during Super Storm Sandy.

Sutton’s time in emergency services includes serving as a volunteer firefighter, as a Fire District Manager and consultant. Over the years, he has overseen Fire Training, Emergency Communications and Emergency Management as well as the oversight of Special Operations Teams and management of numerous disasters at both the county and state levels.

From 2000 to 2003, Sutton was the Deputy Commissioner of Emergency Services for Westchester County. He then served as Commissioner from 2003 to 2011, managing more than 300 career and volunteer Emergency Services members.

At the 2015 State of the County address in March, Odell named Sutton as her choice to hold the commissioner position in its full capacity. The selection of Sutton came after a special Selection Committee, primarily comprised of first responders, was charged with the task of finding a qualified leader to head up the Bureau.

“I am pleased to see that the Legislature is no longer willing to let litigation hold the county back from moving forward,” said Odell. “Commissioner Sutton brings knowledge and expertise to the Bureau, which it had been lacking for too long.  I appreciate all the work Bob Lipton has been doing for the Bureau over the past few months. I know that Tony and Bob will make a great team.

Sutton’s new role is effective Tuesday, May 26.

“I am honored that the Legislature agrees with County Executive Odell and has confirmed me to lead the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services. I believe my public safety career has prepared me to take on this critical responsibility,” said Sutton.  “I am committed to utilize all my experience as I assume my role and I look forward to building on the proven success of the Putnam Bureau of Emergency Services.

 

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Odell to Honor Veterans, Law Enforcement and Unveil New 9/11 Flag at Row of Honor Kick-off Breakfast

CARMEL, N.Y. –  Putnam County will launch its spring Row of Honor season with a pancake breakfast on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 16 at the Carmel VFW Hall, located on Route 52 in Carmel, N.Y. from 9 to 11 a.m. The Putnam County Joint Veterans Council is organizing the breakfast. There is a suggested donation of $8 per person or $12 per family.

County Executive MaryEllen Odell will host a ceremony along the shore of Lake Gleneida on Route 52 in Carmel at 10 a.m.to honor those who have served in the United States military as well as law enforcement officers and first responders. She will also unveil a new 9/11 flag that will be on display with the Row of Honor.

“Starting the spring Row of Honor season on Armed Forces Day and during Police Week makes sense,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Just like Armed Forces Day, our flags represent those who have served and those who continue to serve in our five U.S. military branches. We also recognize our law enforcement officers and first responders who protect us at home. The kick-off pancake breakfast is a touching way to bring out Veterans, along with their family members and friends, together as we honor the memories of lost soldiers and remember the sacrifice of all those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, law enforcement and emergency services.”

Known as the Row of Honor, over 100 flags with the names of Veterans, law enforcement officers and first responders line the shore of Lake Gleneida, twice a year to observe Memorial Day and Veterans Day. This historic observation has become a cherished tradition for residents and has drawn national attention to Putnam County.

With a $100 donation, the name of your loved one can appear on a flag. The proceeds will go toward the return of the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall to Putnam County Veterans Park in September.

To RSVP for the pancake breakfast or to order your flag call 845-808-1620 or visit PutnamCountyNY.gov/ROH. Checks can be made payable to the Joint Veterans Council to PC Veterans Service Agency, Donald B. Smith Government Campus, 110 Old Route 6, Bldg. 3, Carmel, N.Y. 10512.

District Attorney Adam Levy and Putnam Valley Town Supervisor Bob Tendy are each sponsoring the breakfast.

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Southeast Remembers Castelli as it Becomes a Purple Heart Town

A year after one of its most ardent advocates of Veterans died, Southeast became a Purple Heart Town and remembered the efforts of Denis Castelli at a Town Board meeting on Thursday, April 23. Eugene Lang and Neil Gross of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 21 New York, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and other elected officials participated in the ceremony.

Castelli, who died on April 19, 2014, served during the Vietnam War in the 1st Cavalry Division and received the Purple Heart in the line of duty. A Brewster resident, Castelli was instrumental in assisting Putnam County in becoming the first Purple Heart County in New York State. He also spearheaded the efforts to replace the Southeast Honor Roll on Main Street.

“We would not be here tonight if it were not for the passion of Denis,” said Odell. “He understood the importance of documenting our support of Veterans and acknowledging the sacrifices they made so we can be free. Becoming a Purple Heart community promotes patriotism and ensures that the soldiers’ legacies live on.”

Castelli served as Putnam County Historian from 2012 until his death, he also held the position of historian for the Village of Brewster. In addition, Castelli was a member of the VFW Post #672 in Brewster and assisted Congresswoman Nan Hayworth for two years as a Veterans advocate.

”Becoming a Purple Heart Town on the anniversary of Denis’ death is felicitous,” said Southeast Councilman Edwin Alvarez. “He, like so many Veterans, was the epitome of President John F. Kennedy’s quote ‘My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,’ “We are forever indebted to those who have served to preserve our way of life today. It was an honor and privilege to stand before members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and be of service to them.”

As a Purple Heart Town, Southeast recognizes Veterans who are recipients of the Purple Heart Medal. It also acknowledges the commitment and sacrifices made by military service members and their families, including Gold Star and Blue Star Mothers, and it pledges to continue to honor and support their contributions.

“Our Veterans are such a meaningful part of our communities,” said Odell. “They have defended our freedom and protected our values. Putnam County, as well as the towns that have been given the Purple Heart distinction, is honored to be able to do this small part in giving back to those men and women who have proudly served in the U.S. Armed Forces.”

Southeast was the third town within Putnam County to be designated a Purple Heart Town.  Carmel became a Purple Heart Town on April 1 and Kent on April 21. In 2013, Putnam County was the first county in New York State to be deemed a Purple Heart County.

“Having three towns follow the County’s lead in becoming a Purple Heart community shows how committed the people of Putnam are to our Veterans,” said Odell. “I hope that the other three towns and the three villages consider accepting the designation as well.”

Pictured: Art Hanley, deputy director of Putnam County Veterans Services Agency, Sheriff Donald B. Smith, Legislator Joseph Castellano, Southeast Town Councilman Edwin Alvarez, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Commander Neil Gross, Eugene Lang Sr., vice commander Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 21 and Karl Rohde, director of Putnam County Veterans Services Agency.

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Loyalty Day Celebrated at Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park

County Executive MaryEllen Odell joined Veterans, families and other elected officials in celebrating being an American and all that it represents at the Loyalty Day Jamboree at Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park in Kent on Sunday, April 26. The annual event, which is held on the last Sunday in April, was organized by the Putnam County Council Veterans of Foreign War. VFW Brewster Post 672 was host to this year’s event.

“Putnam County has a proud tradition of belief in liberty, equality and justice—values defended by our troops over the course of generations,” said Odell. “The people of Putnam County are inspired by the servicemen and women, the military spouses and family who stand by their loved ones and the countless individuals in communities who support them.”

Loyalty Day had its origins with the Veterans of Foreign Wars. It began with the VFW’s initiation of Americanization Day in 1921 as a counter to the Communist May 1 celebration of the Russian Revolution. It grew to the point where on May 1, 1930, ten thousand VFW members held a patriotic rally at Union Square in NYC. Then, in 1949, the VFW adopted a resolution and May 1 began its evolution into Loyalty Day.

Loyalty Day was made an official holiday by the U. S. Congress on July 18, 1958 and President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1959 as the first official observance of Loyalty Day.

“It is truly an honor to stand among you,” said State Senator Terrence Murphy, who represents the 40th Senate District, to the Veterans. “We are celebrating the freedom that you defended for us.  It is our duty to do right by those who have served and those who continue to serve in the Armed Forces.”

Putnam County will be recognizing Veterans and current military personnel at events throughout the month of May.

The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office will be christening its four marine vessels after the names of prominent local Veterans at Veterans Park on Thursday, May 14 at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, May 16, there will be the annual Row of Honor Kickoff Pancake Breakfast from 9 to 11 a.m. at the VFW Carmel Post 1374, located at 32 Gleneida Avenue in Carmel. The breakfast is the official start of the spring Row of Honor season.

Twice a year, for Memorial Day and Veterans Day, more than 100 flags with the names of Veterans line the shore of Lake Gleneida. The flag line has been recognized as the Row of Honor. This historic observation has become a cherished tradition for residents and has drawn national attention to Putnam County. 

With a $100 donation, the name of your loved one can appear on a flag. Proceeds will go toward the return of The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall to Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park in September.

To RSVP for the pancake breakfast or to order your flag call 845-808-1620 or visit PutnamCountyNY.gov/ROH. Checks can be made payable to the Joint Veterans Council to PC Veterans Services Agency, Donald B. Smith Government Campus, 110 Old Route 6, Bldg. 3, Carmel, N.Y. 10512.

 

Photo caption: Honoring the efforts of the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and other elected officials thanked the local Veterans for defending American values.

 

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A New Pair of Pigs Move to Tilly Foster Farm

Putnam County added a couple more pigs to the growing animal population at Tilly Foster Farm in Brewster. Levi and Lucy have joined Penelope and Ginger, who already call the county-owned farm home, in the pig pen. All of the pigs are Kunekune piglets that were purchased from Bel Canto Farm in Trumansburg, NY.

“Our family on the farm just got a little bit bigger,” said veterinary technician Teresa Delahanty, the caretaker of the animals at Tilly Foster Farm. “People have taken a great liking to Penelope and Ginger.  So, when we were given an opportunity to obtain two more Kunekune pigs the County decided that the time was right to expand our family.”

Levi, the sole boar of the team, is a year old. Lucy, who is five months old, was gifted to the County when Levi was purchased.

Delahanty stated that the Kunekune pigs were chosen for Tilly Foster Farm because of their friendly dispositions, their mini-esque size and their non-rooting and non-roaming characteristics.

“Kunekune are very friendly, easy to manage little pigs,” said Delahanty “and they will be able to feed mostly on pasture grass unlike other breeds.  They won’t grow to be taller than 24 inches, very child-friendly.”

After a consensus by residents at a set of public meetings last year, the County has been working diligently toward repopulating Tilly Foster Farm with small farm animals.

“We are fulfilling our commitment to our constituents,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We have brought back the animals to the farm for everyone to enjoy.”

Last June, newly hatched chicks were the first animals to move to the farm under the County’s intendance. Since then Tilly Foster Farm has welcomed four Kunekune pigs, four alpacas and two mini horses.

“We are adding animals strategically,” said Odell. “When Putnam County took over management of Tilly Foster Farm it adopted an animal acquisition plan that calls for a variety of low maintenance animals that have the least impact on the County financially as well as environmentally. We are balancing our fiscal liabilities with our social responsibilities.”

Tilly Foster Farm is located at 100 Route 312 in Brewster. The farm is open daily to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.