rest in peace

Odell Orders Flags at Half-Staff to Honor Fallen Police Officers

Odell Orders Flags at Half-Staff to Honor Fallen Police Officers

As a sign of commitment and appreciation to the first responders who risk their lives every day to keep our communities safe, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell has ordered the flags to be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, Dec. 23 to honor the two New York City police officers killed in the line of duty in Brooklyn on Saturday.

Police Officer Wenjian Liu and Police Officer Rafael Ramos were ambushed, shot and killed while sitting in their patrol car at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Thompkins Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Their assassin has been identified as a gang member from Baltimore, Maryland, who had traveled to New York City specifically to ambush police officers. The man had published his intentions on social media prior to the shooting. The killer subsequently committed suicide.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of the fallen heroes as well as and all members of the New York City Police Department,” said Odell. “The murders of officers Liu and Ramos were heinous acts that remind us, as a society, the possible dangers that law enforcement officials face every time they walk out the door. Putnam County is made up of first responders – career and professional, and we stand united with the men and women in blue in the NYPD and throughout the country.”

Putnam County Sheriff Don Smith concurred with Odell’s sentiment.

“All of us who serve in law enforcement are both troubled and deeply saddened by the horrific killing of two of New York City’s finest police officers, yesterday in Brooklyn,” said the sheriff. “On behalf of all the members of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and Correctional Facility, we extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to all the members of the Ramos family and the Liu family on the passing of their brave loved ones. We also send our condolences to all of our brothers and sisters in the New York City Police Department on the loss of their heroic colleagues. ”

To further demonstrate the county’s solidarity with law enforcement officers, the historic Putnam County Courthouse will be lit up blue for the remainder of the month as part of the national “Lights On” vigil for officers Liu and Ramos.

Odell is also asking the towns and villages within the county to display their flags at half-staff to honor the service and sacrifice made by law enforcement officers.


Counties Team Up to Offer Virtual Job Fair for Veterans through Dec. 31

December 17, 2014

Online platform connects veterans with job openings

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino are teaming up for the third consecutive year to match employment seeking veterans from their counties with businesses ready to hire by sponsoring the Veterans Virtual Job Fair. The online event runs through December 31 and provides an easy-to-use platform through which employers and job seekers may connect. 

“Our veterans can be the greatest asset a company could hope to have. The professional training they have had and the skills they have learned while in the military transfer well into the business world,” said Odell. “With the tax credits and training subsidies available to businesses today, now is a great time to hire our veterans.”

Businesses can qualify for up to $8,000 in federal tax credits for each veteran they hire. In addition, businesses can obtain up to $20,000 to train the qualifying employees they hire through the Hire Westchester program. 

“This is really a wonderful opportunity for our veterans,” said Putnam’s Veteran Service Agency Director Karl Rohde. “When a service member comes home and there are no job opportunities, things look bleak and depression can result.  Veterans need support from those of us who remained protected because of his or her service.  We have to help them to get jobs so they can continue to support their families and remain a viable part of our society.”

Elmsford-based SolarCity, a solar power business, is looking to hire installers, electricians, engineers and others through the program. “We’re proud of our history of hiring veterans here in New York and across the country,” said Leon Keshishian, regional vice president, east coast operations, for SolarCity. “The Veterans Virtual Job Fair is a great tool for us to connect with qualified workers, especially for our growing Westchester County operations.”

The online job fair is available free of charge. Putnam and Westchester employers can register their available positions and search online profiles, while veterans can post their resumes and search for jobs. To date, approximately 60 businesses have posted positions available, many at entry level although some are seeking professionals in their field as well.

The jobs available through the online portal include positions in sales, retail, IT, accounting, financial services, graphic arts, custodial and more. Specific positions include clerks, butchers and managers for ShopRite, CNC operator for Fenbar Precision, property manager for Trion Real Estate Management and more.

“We are honored to employ many veterans at our company. Each veteran brings a unique set of skills to the organization, and their dedication and life experience sets a great example for our associates to follow,” said Tom Urtz, vice president of operations for ShopRite Supermarkets, Inc. “Our partnership with the Veterans Virtual Job Fair has allowed us to reach new heights, and we couldn’t be prouder to employ some of the bravest and most loyal men and women who truly understand our mission statement of caring deeply for others.”

Putnam and Westchester businesses interested in hiring a veteran and veterans looking for employment should visit



County Finance Dept. Receives Highest Award for Accounting, Reporting

December 11, 2014

The 10 wood framed plaques line the narrow hallway leading to Putnam County Commissioner of Finance William Carlin’s office; six eye level rectangles in a row before his doorway, four on the wall just beyond his office. Each frame holds in it a Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting and each has been awarded to the Putnam County’s Department of Finance.  The first is dated December 31, 2001; the most recent award is memorialized with a brass medallion dated 2013 which denotes the close of the 2013 fiscal year. The 2013 medallion is directly under the department’s 2012 award. 

“Commissioner Carlin’s department has received so many of these awards. He keeps his eyes firmly focused on our finances and we are certainly better for it as a county,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “It is a testament not only to Bill’s great talent but to that of his outstanding staff. We couldn’t be more proud of our people in the Finance Department. ”

Carlin would not take credit for the award. Rather, he said, it was the result of a group effort throughout County government.

“The credit for this recognition goes to all the fiscal staff throughout County government that daily carry out our commitment to open and transparent government,” he said.

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting and represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.   


Photo caption: Member of Putnam County’s Finance Department gathered in County Executive MaryEllen Odell’s Office as she congratulated them on receiving the 12th GFOA Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.  From left to right are: Deputy Commissioner of Finance James McConnell, Commissioner William Carlin, County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Chief Deputy Commissioner Anita Gilbert. The certificate was awarded to the Department of Finance for the comprehensive annual financial report filed for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2013.  


VA Eligibility & Enrollment Workshop in Mahopac

December 4, 2014

Trying to wade through the Veterans Administration sea of rules and regulations can be daunting. Standing in long lines can be frustrating.  And the VA knows it. That’s why on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 the VA Hudson Valley Health Care System is presenting their 4-hour workshop, “Navigating the VA: Eligibility, Enrollment and My HealtheVet” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Mahopac Public Library Computer Lab. The creative and innovative workshop will show veterans how to accomplish their business with the VA online.

The Office of the County Executive often gets phone calls from veterans or their family members who are seeking assistance and don’t know where to turn.

“This is a great opportunity for our veterans, their family members or caretakers to educate themselves on the easiest and most efficient ways to handle their VA business. And it’s a local class so no one has to travel very far to attend,” said Odell. 

The program is sponsored by the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Vet2Vet Program of Putnam County. A light lunch will be served.

“This workshop is going to be a wonderful learning experience,” said Putnam’s Veterans Service Agency Director Karl Rohde. “We are trying to reach out to as many veterans as we can. I think this class will be very helpful.”

To reserve a seat for the workshop, contact Jessica Mazzucco at (845) 278-7600 ext. 214 or email her at

The Mahopac Library is located at 668 Route 6 in Mahopac.




County Gets Permission to Improve Lake Gleneida Shoreline

Owners of row boats located on the shores of Lake Gleneida in Carmel will have easier access to their recreational vessels and visitors to the Hamlet of Carmel will be able to enjoy an unobstructed view of the lake now that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) has issued Putnam County a permit titled “Lake Gleneida Shoreline Vegetation Restoration and Management Plan.”

The permit was issued after County Executive MaryEllen Odell met with representatives from the NYCDEP to discuss developing a vegetative management plan for the eastern shoreline of Lake Gleneida.

“Lake Gleneida is such a beautiful spot, the central focal point here in the Hamlet of Carmel. I am really thrilled that the NYSDEP has given us the go-ahead to manage the prolific growth that has become detrimental to the scenic, environmental and recreational benefits Lake Gleneida offers,” said Odell.

District 5 Legislator Carl Albano was pleased to learn that the NYCDEP had issued the permit.

“Once the plan is put into motion, residents and visitors are actually going to be able to see the lake. Keeping the shrubs at a manageable height is going to enhance the beauty and esthetics of Lake Gleneida,” said Albano.

Commissioner of Highways and Facilities Fred Pena is now reaching out to all NYCDEP Boat Tag holders who have permission to keep their crafts on Lake Gleneida to invite them to a public presentation regarding this newly approved restoration and management plan for the lake. The presentation is free and open to the public.

“My department will be hosting a public presentation on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 at 7 pm at the Carmel Firehouse located at 94 Gleneida Avenue, to inform boat owners, civic groups, fishermen, and other interested parties of our plans for this beautification project and to welcome their input,” said Pena.

The County will develop two new boat areas that for boat storage, boat stanchions for securing the boats and improve the parking and boat launch areas.

“This project will help make the fishing and boating experience on Lake Gleneida a more positive experience for everyone,” said Pena.




Thanksgiving Comes Early to Area Seniors

Frozen turkeys and bags filled Thanksgiving meal side dish food items were presented to Gloria and Martin Szabo by County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Office for Senior Resources Director Patricia Sheehy  yesterday. The Szabos are residents of Hughson Commons, an affordable apartment community located in Carmel. Each year the OSR holds a food drive to fill Thanksgiving baskets and bags with turkeys, canned goods, pasta and other non-perishable items for area seniors. This year, Sheehy said her office expects to deliver 125 baskets throughout the county. 

“It is always a wonderful time of the year when we deliver food to our seniors for Thanksgiving,” said Sheehy. “Many of them have given so much to our community and to our country. It is good to have the chance to give back to them.”

Sheehy expressed her thanks to “those at the schools, the Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Motor Vehicles and other county departments and employees” who have joined in the annual effort by making food donations. 

“Our seniors are often left home alone for the holidays and having us come to their door with a basket of food goes a long way in bringing them some warmth and caring during this season,” Sheehy said.

Odell echoed Sheehy’s sentiments about her pleasure in having the opportunity to give back to the seniors, many of whom do an enormous amount of volunteer work within the county. 

“It may not seem like much that we are doing today, but it is one way we can say ‘Thanks!’ for all that you have done and continue to do for Putnam,” said Odell. “Each year we reach out to as many people in our community as we can and provide them with the items they will need to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal,” said Odell. “We are so very grateful to have so many involved seniors. Delivering the food, meeting them in their own homes is always a pleasure for me.”

Earlier in the day, Odell attended the Great Thanksgiving Feast held annually at Matthew Paterson Elementary School in Patterson. Along with the meal at MPES, senior citizens who reside in the Carmel Central School District were treated to a free and hearty Thanksgiving meal at Carmel High School, George Fischer Middle School and Kent Primary School courtesy of the Carmel Teachers’ Association.

Children’s choir sang America the Beautiful, very patriotic and appreciated- regardless-Putnam remembers our responsibility to our country.

The Thanksgiving luncheon consisting of roast turkey with gravy, stuffing, whipped potatoes, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, mixed vegetables, pumpkin pie and apple crisp, is an annual event that delights both the students who serve or visit their guests during their lunch hours and the seniors who enjoy not only the roast turkey with all the traditional trimmings but also the cheerful company of the youngsters.

While the menu is the same at the Patterson school, the preparation of the meal dates back several hundred years. This feast mirrors the one first held in Plymouth, MA and is a living history lesson for the third graders who roast turkeys over an open pit fire at the school, a task that was not lost on the County Executive.

“The students and staff at Matthew Paterson prepare their Great Thanksgiving Feast much in the same way as the Pilgrims did. It’s such an exciting way to learn history for the third grader. And what a thrill for the seniors who are truly thankful for the opportunity to enjoy the meal – and the students,” said Odell.

Before she left, Odell wished the students, staff and seniors a Happy Thanksgiving. 


Photo caption: County Executive MaryEllen Odell (left) and Office for Senior Resources Patricia Sheehy (right) present a Thanksgiving turkey and a bag filled with traditional Thanksgiving trimmings to Gloria and Martin Szabo of Carmel. Sheehy said the OSR will deliver approximately 125 Thanksgiving baskets to area seniors this year. Photo submitted




Veterans to Present Legislative Forum

Veterans to Present Legislative Forum

The Putnam County Veterans Task Force will hold their 2nd Annual Veterans Legislative Forum from 9 a.m. until noon in the Bureau of Emergency Services auditorium in Carmel on Saturday, Nov. 15.

The Task Force is committed to providing information, referrals, and access assistance to related systems of care for veterans and their families within their home community. Resource information will be available at the forum.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our veterans and their families not only to speak to their elected representatives about their concerns, their ideas, their problems, but to obtain updated resource information,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell who will be among those officials in attendance.

Joining Odell will be federal, state and other local elected officials or their representatives. Among those invited to attend are U. S. Senators Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, State Senators Greg Ball and Terry Gipson, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, Assemblyman Steve Katz, Putnam’s Commissioner of Health Dr. Allen Beals, Legislative Chairman Carl Albano and Commissioner of Mental Health/Social Services Michael Piazza, Jr. Serving as moderator for the event will be Putnam County Legislator Sam Oliverio.

“This was a popular and well attended event last year. It’s not often we get a large number of officials together at one time so it is an opportunity that our veterans and their family members should take advantage of,” said Putnam’s Department of Veterans Services Director Karl Rohde.

Anyone wishing to speak should register by contacting Rohde at (845) 808-1620, ext. 46019 or email him at Attendees will have the opportunity to address their officials between the hours of 9:30 and 11 a.m. after which the officials will have time to respond.

The Bureau of Emergency Services auditorium is located on the Donald B. Smith Government Campus, 112 Old Route 6, Carmel, NY 10512.


Putnam Eateries Draw Diners in During Hudson Valley Restaurant Week

Restaurants throughout Putnam County are showcasing their cuisines as they participate in Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, which runs from Nov. 3 through Nov. 16. Nine different restaurants in Putnam are participating in this semi-annual event: Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill in Cold Spring, Char Steakhouse in Mahopac, Chophouse Grille in Mahopac, Clock Tower Grill in Brewster, Hudson House River Inn in Cold Spring, Ramiro’s 954 in Mahopac, Riverview Restaurant in Cold Spring, Terrace Club in Mahopac and Valley Restaurant at The Garrison in Garrison.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week features prix fixe, three-course dinners for $29.95 and lunches for $20.95  plus beverage, tax and tip. The reduced prix fixe pricing structure allows diners to experience fine dining at affordable prices. Patrons can explore a variety of international flavors with a local flair.

In Putnam, the dishes range from the Italian-styled menu items at Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill to the steakhouse offerings of Char Steakhouse and the Chophouse Grill, the nuevo Latino meals at Ramiros 954, seafood menu at Terrace Club and the American dishes at Clock Tower Grill, Hudson House River Inn, Riverview Restaurant and Valley Restaurant.

“People are attracted to the culinary offerings offered in Putnam County,” said Libby Pataki, director of Putnam County tourism. “Putnam’s restaurants attract local patrons as well as diners from the surrounding counties of Dutchess and Westchester, our neighbors in Connecticut, as well as people who travel up from New York City. Hudson Valley Restaurant Week provides an incredible platform to further highlight the amazing cuisine offered in Putnam.”

Tables fill up quickly during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week so reservations are strongly recommended.

Janet Crawshaw and Jerry Novesky, owners of the Valley Table Magazine, launched Hudson Valley Restaurant Week in 2006 with a distinguished board of advisors, including chefs, restaurateurs and tourism leaders. The two-week culinary event premiered with 70 restaurants. Today, with nearly 200 participating restaurants spanning seven counties it is among the largest Restaurant Week events in the country, involving farmers, growers, wine makers and chefs. Participating counties include Dutchess, Westchester, Columbia, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Ulster.

A complete list of participating restaurants is available on:

Photo caption: Several County employees enjoyed a Restaurant Week lunch at Clock Tower Grill in Brewster. Front row L to R: Terry Oliver, Adrienne Spadacini, Jennifer Bumgarner and Patricia Simone (standing).

Back row:  Faith Ann Butcher, James McConnell, Anita Gilbert, Libby Pataki, Marty Collins, Frank Smith and William Carlin.


WWII-Era Swing Dance in Patterson

It’s all about vintage 1940s, “1944 D-Day” to be exact, at the Patterson Recreation Center when Swing N’ Patterson rolls around again on Saturday, Nov. 15. The rich, jazzy music reminiscent of Benny Goodman, the “King of Swing,” and other Big Bands and orchestras, such as Count Basie, the Dorsey Brothers and Artie Shaw, and performed by The Big Band Sound Orchestra, will sweep and soar and fill the center calling to each guest and making it almost impossible not to step out in time to the lively swing music. Participants are encouraged to wear vintage attire.


The Big Band Sound is a popular 20-piece jazz orchestra that plays hundreds of compositions ranging from jumping jive to slow and sweet, and brings the brassy big band era boisterously to life. While based firmly in the classic swing era of the 1930s and 1940s, they also perform music from the 1950s through today while still maintaining the big band musical traditions. 


Deputy County Executive Bruce Walker and his wife, Lisa, are regular attendees.


“Lisa and I enjoy ourselves at this event every year,” Walker said. “Brian Benedict and his military and history buffs go all out and host a delightful evening with fabulous music from that bygone but still popular era. I would encourage everyone to get their tickets. It’s a great and affordable evening.”


Brian Benedict, proprietor of The Duffle Bag, a military surplus supply store located in Patterson, and his daughter, Jean, plan the popular dinner and dance event each year.


As is customary, Patterson Rec will be suitably decorated with WWII memorabilia. Antique military vehicles will be placed throughout and special living historians will be present dressed in the original uniforms worn by the United States and British military as well as the Allied Forces.  


Doors open at 6 p.m. for those who wish to enjoy a delicious buffet dinner before the dancing begins at 7 p.m.  Dinner tickets ($35 per person) must be purchased in advance at either the Recreation Center or at The Duffle Bag, 1270 Route 311, Patterson. General Admission tickets ($20 per person) will be available at the door starting at 7 p.m. or in advance at the both locales. The evening’s festivities will end at 11 p.m.


The Patterson Recreation Center is located at 65 Front Street, Patterson, NY. For more information, call (845) 878-7106 or visit:


Photo caption: Deputy County Executive Bruce Walker and his wife, Lisa, enjoyed themselves at last year’s Swing N’ Patterson at the Patterson Recreation Department.



Putnam Seniors Get Into the Halloween Spirit

There were more treats than tricks last week when Mahopac, Carmel, Cold Spring and Putnam Valley senior citizens were guests at a Halloween Luncheon hosted by Office for Senior Resources Director Patricia Sheehy and her staff and held at the Putnam County Golf Course in Mahopac. Seniors from Mahopac and Cold Spring celebrated Halloween during their lunch on Monday, Oct. 27 while Carmel and Putnam Valley seniors enjoyed their Halloween festivities on Wednesday, Oct. 29.


County Executive MaryEllen Odell visited with the seniors each day. Many of them, in keeping with the spirit of the annual event, came in creative costumes. There were plenty  of clowns, ghouls and ghosts. One couple came dressed as thermometers.  Even Elvis was there. 


“Halloween certainly isn’t just for kids. Our seniors totally love to celebrate this fun holiday,” said Odell who handed out her own treats to those in attendance.


As she walked among the seniors commenting on their costumes and chatting with them, Odell stopped to comment on one gentleman’s leather hat. Noting that it resembled an aviator’s cap, Odell asked 92-year-old Frank Giampa about his hat. 


“I wore this when I flew into China and Burma in 1944,” he said proudly. Odell then introduced the World War II veteran to Congressional candidate Nan Hayworth who was present and enjoying the event.



Photo captions:



County Executive MaryEllen Odell was greeted by a pair of thermometers on Monday’s Halloween Luncheon for seniors at Putnam County Golf Course.


County Executive MaryEllen Odell thanked “Elvis” for entertaining the guests at the Office for Senior Resources Halloween Luncheons held last week.


Unusual costumes like this worn by a senior were admired by Office for Senior Resources staff who were also dressed for Halloween.