ROH 2014

Odell Announces Row of Honor Press Conference

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”   George Washington


County Executive MaryEllen Odell will hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. on the shores of Lake Gleneida on Tuesday, Oct. 21 to announce the opening date for this year’s Veterans Day Row of Honor as Putnam County recognizes those who have served in the military this Veterans Day.  The Row of Honor is an installation of American-made flags that border Gleneida Avenue on the shores of Lake Gleneida in the Hamlet of Carmel. 


“Each Veteran’s Day, we assemble our Row of Honor to give residents the opportunity to publicly acknowledge and thank those who have served their country. In turn, funds are raised to support programs run by our Joint Veterans Council,” said Odell. 


The Row of Honor project is a group venture of the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council, Putnam County Tourism and Putnam County Executive and the Legislature. While each branch of the American Armed Forces has been represented in the past, additional organizations have asked and received permission to have their flags added to the Row of Honor as well. The flags will remain on display through the 21st of November.


Sponsorship of the American-made flags is meant to raise awareness and funds for various veterans’ projects which Odell said would “assist our veterans and the veteran community within the county.” In the past, the sponsored flags have borne the names of loved ones who died while serving in the military, those presently serving on active duty or simply messages of thanks to area veterans from friends and family.   


Odell first initiated the Row of Honor in May of 2013 when the stars and stripes were erected shortly before Memorial Day. Since then, the flags have stood colorfully along Gleneida Avenue for each Veterans and Memorial Day. It is a tradition Odell feels strongly about supporting.


“While setting aside a particular day to honor our veterans is important, I don’t believe it is something that should be done only once a year. As the recipients of the rights and the freedoms they have helped to preserve, we should appreciate and thank our veterans daily,” she said.


Veterans Day is commemorated each year on November 11 and is a federal holiday. It marks the official anniversary of the end of World War I when hostilities with Germany ceased on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.


Sponsorship for a Row of Honor flag is $100. To order a flag, e-mail: or call Mimi at Putnam County Veterans Service Agency at (845) 808-1620. 


Alpacas Poised to Meet & Greet at Tilly Foster’s Pumpkin Palooza

The newest livestock additions to Tilly Foster Farm, a black-coated alpaca named Sinbad and his dark fawn-colored alpaca pal Raphael, were photographed while whispering excitedly to each other about the upcoming Pumpkin Palooza, a free and family-oriented festival to take place on Saturday, Oct. 25th from noon to 5 p.m. at the Brewster farm.  The two said they were looking forward to meeting and greeting visitors during the event which includes pumpkin picking and painting, a costume parade, hayrides, a pie tasting contest, food and live entertainment. For more information on Pumpkin Palooza or to learn more about Tilly Foster Farm, visit: or 


County Mentoring Deemed a Success

October 16, 2014


Disability Mentoring Day in Putnam County came to a close yesterday after a dozen participants spent their morning working in various County departments. One participant even received an offer of a job. 


“The day was a total win-win scenario,” said Tina Cornish-Lauria, director of CAREERS for People with Disabilities. Cornish-Lauria was the lead coordinator for this year’s Mentoring Day.


“Our clients and those from PARC and Carmel High School received the enthusiastic support from County Executive MaryEllen Odell and her staff as they do every year.”


Participants were assigned to numerous offices including the County Executive and County Clerk, Health, Probation, Purchasing, Sheriff, Tourism, and the Youth Bureau. The young men and women were assigned tasks appropriate to the needs of each department and to the participant’s capabilities. Office tasks included filing, setting up binders, copying, scanning or shredding documents and picking up and delivering inter-office and post office mail.  Those assigned to the Highway or Transportation departments were involved in landscaping, gardening and car or bus cleaning. 


“Everyone, from department heads to maintenance supervisors, made our Mentoring Day participants feel welcomed, needed and appreciated all morning,” said Kathy Gilliland-Nichols, the PARC coordinator.


At the close of the day, all who participated gathered indoors at Cornerstone Park to evaluate their experiences.


“The evaluation results reinforced what we already know – this event is valued by our clients and as much as it is by County staff. Both sides learn from the other,” said Cornish-Lauria.


Survey comments received from mentors and mentees included statements such as “I liked learning new things.”, “Not enough time.”, “You should do four a year.”, and “I liked everything.”


Odell was present for the evaluation at Cornerstone Park.


“It never ceases to amaze me how impressed our County employees always are by the young men and women with whom they have had the privilege to work. It truly gives all of us a feeling of deep satisfaction to know we may, in some small way, be helping a disabled person to find their place in the working world,” said Odell.


The day ended on a particularly high note as one of the disabled students from Carmel High School was offered a job working at Scoops N More, a favorite frozen yogurt, ice cream, burger and fries hangout near the school, during her visit with Rob Morris in the Health Department. 


“I simply can’t thank MaryEllen enough. She and her wonderful staff truly make a real difference in the lives of our participants. And each of us, myself, Kathy and Kimberly (Coleman Yedowitz, the CHS coordinator) thank you for your long-standing support of, and appreciation for, our programs for Putnam’s disabled,” said Cornish-Lauria.


Photo caption: County Executive MaryEllen Odell and CAREERS for People with Disabilities Director Tina Cornish-Lauria (far left) pose with County employees, PARC and Carmel High School coordinators and the young men and women who participated in this year’s Putnam County Disability Mentoring Day program.

Teresa, Steve Katz, Ginger & Penelope

Katz Volunteers As Tilly Foster Farm Veterinarian

October 14, 2014

Assemblyman Steven M. Katz (R,C -Yorktown) has volunteered to be the veterinarian of record for Tilly Foster Farm. While the daily care of the animals falls to veterinary technician Theresa Delahanty who resides on the 199-acre property, Katz will donate his time and provide free medical coverage when necessary for the farm’s livestock.


“We are thrilled that Dr. Katz has offered us his veterinary services,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “This is just another example of ‘If you build it, they will come.’ And having an official veterinarian of record will go a long way in keeping our insurance premiums to a minimum.  We know the farm animals will be in the best of hands with Steve and Theresa in charge of their health.” 


A general practitioner and owner of the Concourse Animal Hospital in the Bronx, Katz has been working with animals since 1972. He decided to become a veterinarian after rescuing a man from a 23-foot long reticulated python that had escaped from its cage at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.  Katz earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Science from Cornell University in 1976 and became a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1984 when he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. During his studies, he served as a field researcher mapping sea turtle nesting beaches for the World Wildlife Fund in French Guiana and Galapagos.  He also served as the assistant director of the Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in Israel.


“I love the idea that Putnam County is bringing animals back to Tilly Foster Farm and I am more than happy to serve as their veterinarian,” said Katz. 


A native of Nassau County on Long Island, Katz lives in Yorktown with his wife, Nicole, and their four daughters. A business owner, Katz and his wife opened Concourse Animal Hospital in September 1995. In 2009, he founded the Bronx Veterinary Center. He was elected Assemblyman for the 99th Assembly District in November of 2010. His recently redrawn district, the 94th, covers Yorktown, Somers, Carmel, Putnam Valley, Southeast and Patterson.


Photo captions

Steve Katz as vet student

Steve Katz volunteered with the World Wildlife Fund while a student of veterinary medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Steve Katz 

Dr. Steve Katz examines a patient at his Concourse Animal Hospital in the Bronx before he was elected to represent the 94th Assembly District in New York.


Dr. Steve Katz examines Tilly Foster Farm’s young rooster, Walker.

Teresa, Steve Katz, Ginger & Penelope 

Tilly Foster Farm animal caretaker Teresa Delahanty assists as Dr. Steve Katz examines piglets. 


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 7, 2014


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month


Each October, the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center and People Against Domestic Violence remind us that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As they do each year, the PNWWRC and PADV will host special events throughout the month not only to remind people that domestic violence is a problem but also “to honor the strengths, struggles, creativity and courage of those who strive for peace in their hearts, peace in the home and peace in the world. “


“The most important thing we can do is to keep the conversation about domestic violence going,” said PNWWRC Executive Director Ann Ellsworth. “It’s an on-going journey and those participating in it need our continued support. What we have to be is a loud voice for change,” she said.


Bringing voices together in song is one of the programs that PNWWRC will host when they present their annual A Woman’s Voice: Singing for Our Lives concert. This year the musical evening will be held on Thursday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. at The Winery at St. George, 1715 E. Main Street in Mohegan Lake. Scheduled performers include the John Bates Band, Arkie Bermiss, Hailey Knox, and Open Book. Tickets for the always well attended concert are $50 per person and may be purchased on the PNWWRC website at:


And, as they do each October, People Against Domestic Violence will hold their Candlelight Vigil on the steps of the Historic Putnam County Courthouse on Monday, Oct. 27 starting at 6 p.m.


County Executive MaryEllen Odell looks forward to the day when the candlelight vigil is no longer needed; the day when domestic violence comes to an end.


“While I fully support the work of those involved with the Women’s Resource Center and People Against Domestic Violence, and I commend them for their all-out efforts to make the public more aware of the number of domestic violence incidents right here in our own County, I do hope that someday we will not have to hold vigils recalling those who have been traumatized or even killed in domestic disputes,” she said. 


Putnam residents are urged to wear purple throughout the month to show support for the work against domestic violence. Wednesday, Oct. 15 is the official Wear Purple Day and people are asked to take photos of themselves and others wearing purple and share their photos on Facebook and Twitter. The PNWWRC Facebook page contains 31 Points to Ponder about domestic violence.


Ellsworth said donations are always welcomed by the staff and volunteers at PNWWRC.


“Donation to help us continue to offer programs and services to the women, children, and men in our community,” she said.


For more information on October events and the year-round work of PNWWRC or to make a donation, or to make arrangements to volunteer, visit their website at:  or call them at: (845) 628-9284. The Putnam Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center is located at 935 South Lake Blvd., Suite #2, Mahopac, NY 10541. 


Photo caption: Putnam County employees dressed in their purple T-shirts showed their support for October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and gathered on the stairs of the Historic County Courthouse in 2012. 


Putnam County Highlights Disability Mentoring Day

Expect. Empower. Employ.

Putnam County Highlights Disability Mentoring Day

More than two dozen County departments will welcome individuals with disabilities as they take part in Putnam County Disability Mentoring Day on Wednesday, October 15, 2014. Coordinated for the third year by Tina Cornish-Lauria, Executive Director of CAREERS for People with Disabilities, the annual event is much-anticipated by County staff and clients from participating agencies.

County Executive MaryEllen Odell invites the media to meet with participants at Cornerstone Park at 1 p.m.

“Disability Mentoring Day allows students and jobseekers with a disability to spend part of their day visiting a government agency to not only target career skills for improvement but to also explore possible career paths,” said Odell. October is National Disability Employment Awareness month, with organizations around the country hosting events on October 15th with the national theme, “Expect. Empower. Employ.”

The goals of Disability Mentoring Day are fourfold:

  • To enhance internship and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
  • To dispel employers’ fears about hiring people with disabilities
  • To promote disability as a central component of diversity recruitment for a more inclusive workforce and,
  • To increase confidence among students and job seekers with disabilities.

County agencies participating in the program include the Office of Emergency Management (IT Dept.), Consumer Affairs, County Clerk, County Executive, Health, Finance, Highways, Industrial Development, Law, Personnel, Purchasing, Sheriff, Tourism, and Youth Bureau.

Participants include individuals from CAREERS for People with Disabilities, Carmel High School and PARC.  To participate, please call Tina Cornish-Lauria at CAREERS, (845) 225-8007.


Tilly Foster to Host Family Friendly Pumpkin-Palooza: Saturday October 25th

September 19, 2014

Tilly Foster to Host Family Friendly Pumpkin-Palooza



Area families will want to save this date, Saturday, Oct. 25, because Halloween fun starts a little early this year. Get the kids dressed in their costumes as Putnam County and its Tourism Department hold their first Pumpkin-Palooza, an afternoon of family friendly fun to be held on the grounds of Tilly Foster Farm, 100 Route 312 in Brewster  from noon to 5 p.m.


What exactly is a pumpkin-palooza? Well, according to Tourism Director Libby Pataki, it is a way to celebrate the autumn season and bring more families out to see the farm and its animals.


“Pumpkin-Palooza is intended to be a free festival that we will hold at the farm each year,” said Pataki. “This year we will feature hayrides, family pumpkin painting, a costume contest, a pie tasting contest plus other fresh foods, cider and live entertainment.” 


Families will also be able to visit with the farm’s flock of chickens and its two KuneKune piglets, Penelope and Ginger.


County Executive MaryEllen Odell noted there will be a welcome area where the immediate and long-term plans for the 199-acre farm can be viewed by the public.


“The vision for Tilly Foster Farm is to be a Putnam County owned property and facility that fosters financial, environmental, social and historical stewardship through a variety of program offerings by means of public-private partnerships,” she said. 


To follow the latest news concerning Tilly Foster Farm, visit For a complete list of events, things to see and places to visit in Putnam, visit the Tourism Department website at:





Gold Star Mothers to be Honored on September 28th

September 19, 2014


Gold Star Mothers to be Honored on Sept. 28

West Point Garrison Commander to Attend


Putnam County Joint Veterans Council, the Veterans Service Agency, County Executive MaryEllen Odell and the County Legislature invite the public to attend Gold Star Mothers’ Day starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 28 at Veterans Memorial Park off Gipsy Trail Road in Kent. 


Special guests from West Point will be in attendance for the ceremony including the West Point Garrison Commander Col. Dane D. Rideout and his Deputy Wilfred Plumley Jr., as well as Raul Lopez, the program manager for West Point Army Survivor Outreach Services, a support organization for Gold Star Families.


Gold Star Mothers was loosely organized in 1925 by Grace Darling Siebold of Washington, D.C., who lost her son, George, during World War I.  Following his death, Siebold devoted her time and efforts to not only visiting hospitals where returning veterans were recovering but also to extending the hand of friendship to other mothers who lost their sons during the war. She named the organization

for the Gold Star that families of deceased veterans hung in their windows.


Then, on June 4, 1928, 24 of these special mothers met Siebold in Washington, DC to establish the national organization American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., a nondenominational, non-profitable and nonpolitical organization.


On January 5, 1929, the organization was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia. The Charter was kept open for 90 days during which membership escalated to 65. Today, there are approximately 1,000 Gold Star Mothers across the nation.


“Since their very beginning, these remarkable Gold Star Mothers have reached out to women who lost a child while in service to their country. They have dedicated their lives to visiting and caring for all veterans, especially those hospitalized,” said Odell.


Just as when it was founded, Gold Star Mothers continue to provide emotional support to its members, do volunteer work with veterans and in veterans’ hospitals, and generally foster a sense of patriotism and respect for all members of the Armed Forces.


Antique Farm Machinery, Vintage Vehicles at Tilly Foster Show

September 4, 2014


Antique Farm Machinery, Vintage Vehicles at Tilly Foster Show


Once again – and back by popular demand – the Putnam County Antique Machinery Association (PCAMA) will host their annual show on the grounds of Tilly Foster Farm in Brewster. The free exhibition of working and non-working machinery from yesteryear will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13 and Sunday, Sept. 14.


In the past, the show has featured rows of vividly colored age–old tractors in bright hues of red, yellow and green plus a selection of fine antiques such as a 1920’s era McCormick Deering, an 1891 well-drilling machine, a Rider Ericcson Hot Air Engine from the late 1800’s. Horse plows, gas engines and a variety of fascinating early farm implements will also be available for viewing.  New to this year’s show will be the addition of antique cars and trucks.


Patterson resident and professional well driller Jeff Hyatt has managed the show and led the Putnam County Antique Machinery Association since its inception. An avid collector of antique machinery, Hyatt loves showing today’s tech-savvy youth what technology looked like in the previous century.


“We have a 25-foot tall water well drilling machine from 1891, antique tractors and hit and miss engines, a corn sheller and grinder that date from the 1890s,” he said.


According to Hyatt, PCAMA’s show is a learning experience for all ages.


“Folks of all ages enjoy seeing the equipment. Older folks can reminisce and youngsters are fascinated by seeing how things were done ‘back in the day,’” Hyatt said. “Children are very attracted to the hand water pumps, the corn sheller and the corn grinder. Each of these is a people powered machine.  Kids love to see an instant result from their work.  They also love sitting on the tractors and imagining they are driving out to the back forty.”


In addition to the tractors, cars and machinery, there will be live music to enjoy. Avalon Archives is sponsoring The Knox Sisters and Petey Hop. 


Attracting people to visit county-owned Tilly Foster Farm has been a project Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Deputy County Executive Bruce Walker started last July when thousands of people came to the farm over the July 4th holiday weekend to attend a Country Fair. Visitors have also returned to welcome the newest farm animals and have helped to give them names. To date, the farm is now home to a flock of 21 chickens of various breeds (most now boasting names) and a pair of KuneKune mini-piglets named Penelope and Ginger. Additional livestock is expected later this month.

“This show is wonderfully educational and the fun thing about it is that it relates directly to the history of the farm,” said Odell. “I think visitors to this show walk away with a whole new respect for farming in Putnam County’s early days when so much was done by hand or by horse or oxen pulled vehicles.”


Tilly Foster Farm is located at 100 Route 312 in Brewster, NY between Route 6 and Exit 19 on I-84.  


Suicide Prevention Week

September 2, 2014


Suicide Prevention Week


To the Editor:


This week (Sept. 8-14) is Suicide Prevention Week. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death according to the Center for Disease Control. It is a national health issue and it is on the rise. Most Americans were stunned just recently when word of comedian Robin Williams’ suicide became known. Suicide has no boundaries – men, women, and young people can all fall prey to the depression that leads to their taking their own life.


We will mark Suicide Prevention Week with special colored night lighting in front of the Historic County Courthouse in Carmel.


In Putnam, we have invested in suicide prevention research and created a free downloadable app, Putnam County Cares, for smartphones.  On this app, there is an icon titled S.P.E.A.K. which stands for Suicide Prevention Education & Awareness Kit, where users can find very helpful information about suicide symptoms, thoughts and behaviors. I strongly urge everyone to download the app and to become familiar with the information it contains.


The Mental Health Association in Putnam County offers training seminars for caregivers who want to prevent the immediate risk of suicide. They can be reached at (845)278-7600.


One death by suicide is one death too many.


Another place to turn is our Putnam County Crisis Hotline at (845) 225-1222. In addition, you can visit such sites as the Westchester/Putnam Suicide Prevention Coalition (west/ and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (


Education is the key for suicide prevention and it is needed in our schools, our communities, our workplaces and, especially, in our families. Please take a moment to download the free Putnam County Cares app and educate yourself on suicide prevention today.


MaryEllen Odell

Putnam County Executive