No Gruff from the New Kids at Tilly Foster

SOUTHEAST, NY – Tilly Foster Farm, which reopened to the public on June 3, 2017, continues to foster the historic farm’s heritage with the addition of Sophie (pictured left) and Juliet (right), two new Nigerian Dwarf goats. The pair, procured from Good Hope Farm in South Salem New York, will join fellow goats, Calvin and Hobbes, who came to Tilly Foster last December.

“We are excited to welcome Sophie and Juliet to the herd,” said Teresa De Angelis, veterinary technician and animal caretaker at Tilly Foster Farm. “The goats are acclimating to their new home and will be available for viewing by the public before the end of July.”

“The public reopening of Tilly Foster Farm makes available 199 acres of beautiful pastoral vistas, a hiking trail, community garden, charming farm animals and Tilly’s Table, a new event-based farm-to-table dining experience,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We are proud of this achievement and delighted to add Sophie and Juliet to our growing farm.”

Part of the revitalization of Tilly Foster Farm has been the return of small farm animals. Visitors can observe a beautiful array of chicken breeds, including Frizzle Cochin Bantams, Silkies, Polish, Red Stars, Barred Rock, Austrolorps, Brahmas and Ameraucanas, which lay blue eggs. The farm features friendly Kunekune pigs, Penelope, Ginger, Lucy and Levi, four Huacaya Alpacas named Honey, Isabella, Sinbad and Raphael, two miniature horses, Sultan and Sunny, and four Nigerian Dwarf goats, Calvin and Hobbes, and new friends, Sophie and Juliet.

Tilly Foster Farm is open to the public seven days a week, except for certain holidays. For more information and to make reservations for Sunday Brunch at Tilly’s Table, visit www.putnamtillyfoster.com or call 845-808-1840.

 

An Intern’s Perspective: The Importance of Balancing Theoretical Learning with Real Life Career Exposure

An Intern’s Perspective: The Importance of Balancing Theoretical Learning with Real Life Career Exposure

Guest Column by Kristen Reilly, Marist College student and Putnam County PILOT Program intern

As a rising junior at Marist College, I can personally attest to the importance of internships, shadowing opportunities, leadership programs, and everything in between.  This summer, I joined the privileged ranks of 44 other students as an intern with Putnam County Government.  As part of the PILOT program, also known as Putnam Invests in Leaders of Tomorrow, we were selected from a pool of 109 applicants to be placed in varying departments within Putnam County.  Established by County Executive Odell in 2013, the program was designed to give students an opportunity to work or intern in local government to gain experience and knowledge for their future careers, and to keep young talent in the county.  Among this year’s list of 109 applicants, 45 students were selected, including seven high school students, 36 college students, and two graduate school students.  The hosting departments ranged from the County Executive’s Office, Legislature, Finance, Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney’s Office, among others.

As a Political Science and History major, I had the distinct honor of working with the County Executive’s Office.  Witnessing the day-to-day management of the county and what an elected official juggles on a daily basis was an invaluable experience.  Far from the stereo-typical intern duties, featuring lackluster filing and “gopher” assignments, my experience was challenging and interesting. I was never left without something to do or learn, and the significance of my workload increased along with my tenure to include communications with constituents, running resolutions down to the Legislative Department, and working on projects to make my coworkers’ jobs easier.

Personally, the PILOT program provided me an outlet to either strengthen my interest in politics or prove to me that this wasn’t my career path. Fortunately, the experience strengthened my passion for politics and government, which has further motivated me to stay the course. I’m happy that the experience has confirmed my inclinations, but even if the opposite had been true, the experience would have been equally, if not more, valuable in exposing me to a career choice that may not have been an ideal fit.  School can’t teach you that.

As my internship with the County Executive’s Office comes to a close, I am not only grateful for the opportunity, I feel indebted to those who gave me the chance to work within my field of interest, in a professional and respected setting. A special thank you to County Executive MaryEllen Odell for creating an internship program, in conjunction with Putnam County Departments, that pushes students like me to pursue a career that both suits their interests, and allows them to grow and develop as an employee and individual.  I look forward to reapplying to the PILOT program in 2018!

Wireless Zone of Brewster and Mahopac Take Part in 5th Annual School Rocks Backpack Giveaway

Two Hundred Backpacks to be Given Away at Brewster and Mahopac Wireless Zone Kids Day Events

PUTNAM COUNTY, NY (July 6, 2017) – Wireless Zone, the nation’s largest wireless retail franchise offering exclusive Verizon products and services, is partnering with The Cellular Connection (TCC) and Culture of Good to donate backpacks full of school supplies to needy children across the United States through the brand’s fifth annual School Rocks Backpack Giveaway. The giveaway, taking place at participating Wireless Zone locations nationwide, is bigger than ever before with more than 235,000 backpacks full of school supplies expected to be delivered in 2017.

“We are excited to bring this back-to-school initiative to Putnam County for the first time,” said Dave Robles, franchise owner, Wireless Zone of Brewster and Mahopac. “After nearly 15 years of servicing the wireless phone needs of the Putnam County community, it feels great to give back in a way that helps families and children who need a little support.  Every kid deserves a new backpack on their first day of school,” added Robles.

More than 1,300 participating Wireless Zone and TCC stores across the U.S. are inviting local families and their children to visit these select locations on Sunday, July 23 between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to pick up a backpack filled with various school supplies, including pencils, paper, a pencil box, folders and glue. One backpack per child present will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.

On July 23rd from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., families in the Putnam County area may visit the participating Wireless Zone stores in Brewster and Mahopac, NY, to collect a backpack for their child. The child must be present to receive the backpack. The stores are located at 111 D Independent Way, Brewster, NY, and 129 Route Six, Mahopac, NY. Each participating Wireless Zone store will donate 100 backpacks. All leftover backpacks will be donated to local schools.

Brewster Wireless Zone Hosts Special Event and Attractions for Kids

In addition to giving away 100 backpacks, the Brewster Wireless Zone store will host a Kids Day at the store location featuring a Fire Truck tour and Fire Prevention presentation, face painting and FREE ice pops. The event was made possible through the generous support of sponsor, Putnam Bright Smile Dentistry.

In 2015, the National Retail Federation predicted the average person with children in grades K-12 would spend $97.74 on school supplies such as notebooks, pencils and backpacks. With more than 16 million children in the U.S. living in poverty, Wireless Zone and TCC are working to alleviate the rising costs of school supplies through this annual program.

Supporters of the School Rocks Backpack Giveaway are encouraged to use the hashtag #cultureofgood on Instagram and Twitter to help spread the word.

ABOUT WIRELESS ZONE

Founded in 1988 as “The Car Phone Store”, the Wireless Zone® system has become the nation’s largest wireless retail franchisor and was ranked the No. 1 franchise in its category by Entrepreneur magazine. All stores are independently owned and operated, exclusively offering Verizon Wireless products and services. The Wireless Zone® system has been honored with Verizon’s “Best Customer Service” award each consecutive year since 2011 and is franchised and operated by Wireless Zone, LLC. For more information, visit www.wirelesszone.com.

ABOUT TCC

Founded in 1991, TCC is the largest Verizon Authorized Retailer in the U.S., operating more than 800 locations in 38 states from coast to coast. The company is guided by its Virtuous Circle of Success—a belief that employees, customers and communities matter equally. TCC’s nationally-recognized Culture of Good movement encourages employees to give back in every community it serves. For media inquiries, contact Mallory Sturgeon at 317.202.2280 XT. 26 or email her at mallory@dittoepr.com. To learn more about TCC or to find a location near you, visit www.TCCRocks.com. For more information about TCC’s parent company Round Room LLC, visit www.RoundRoom.com.

Tilly’s Table Marks Fresh Start at Tilly Foster Farm

BREWSTER, N.Y. –  The opening of the Tilly’s Table, a farm-to-table restaurant and catering venue, at Tilly Foster Farm begins a new chapter at the Putnam County-owned property. ­­ Tilly’s Table, which is the latest public-private partnership for Putnam County, showcases local culinary talents and features ingredients grown in the Hudson Valley. It celebrated its grand opening the weekend of June 2.

“Based on the success we have had at Putnam County Golf Course, having a public-private partnership at Tilly Foster Farm with Homestyle Catering is a fiscally sound decision that allows the county to also be social responsible,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Chef Sandra Marinelli is working with Chef Christopher Devine, the corporate chef of Ace Endico, both of whom are Putnam residents to develop delicious menus that make Tilly’s Table be a culinary destination in the Hudson Valley.”

Marinelli of Mahopac, who is heading up the restaurant’s kitchen, has been trained at Marymount College, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and The Natural Gourmet Institute in Manhattan. She carved a niche for herself, nourishing and cooking for others as she does for her family. Her belief in the healing power of food and its ability to nourish not just physically but emotionally is based on the Ayurvedic principles of what you put into your body creates who you are, inside and out.  This holistic approach will be incorporated into all she creates at Tilly’s Table.

Devine, a Brewster resident, attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and has over 30 years of experience as a leader and pioneer in the culinary world.  Recently, he has held the role of executive chef and general manager at Trump Tower, where he directed numerous events and catering services for 15 years. During his tenure with the Trump Organization, Devine also opened and operated six restaurant divisions including The Trump Grille, Trump Café, Trump Bar, Trump Store and the Trump Ice Cream Parlor. As an esteemed colleague for the Trump Organization, he recently had the honor of working directly with White House staff to ensure a smooth transition of all culinary services and amenities. Following his respected career with the Trump Organization, Devine is currently the corporate chef and product specialist for Ace Endico, a Brewster-based fine foods distributor.

“I have been driving past the farm watching all the progress the county has made on the property and when they announced that they were opening Tilly’s Table I knew I wanted to be part of it,” said Devine. “Tilly’s Table will be a go-to destination in the Hudson Valley.”

Tilly’s Table opening manifests Putnam County’s vision to turn the deteriorated property into a treasured resource that all the people of Putnam can enjoy.

“Three years ago, we embarked on the journey of making Tilly Foster Farm an economically viable county asset,” said Odell. “After listening long and hard to the public about they wanted to have happen at the farm, we developed the farm’s mission, which is that the farm fosters financial, environmental, social and historical stewardship through a variety of program offerings by means of public-private partnerships.”

Putnam County purchased the 199-acre Tilly Foster Farm in 2002. The county took over management of the property in 2014. Odell and the Putnam County Legislature had the county utilized the strengths and talents within its own workforce to repair, modernize and rebuild the property.

“First, we brought the chicks back, then the pigs and the other animals,” said Odell.  We invested in our infrastructure because we understood that we needed a sound foundation if we were going to reach for the stars. Plus, we formed a partnership with BOCES and now have vocational training now being taught at the farm.”

Odell credits the Putnam County Highway and Facilities Department for most of the physical labor and craftsmanship that has done throughout the farm, especially in the rehabilitation of the lodge.

“Look at the flooring and chimney work in Tilly’s Table,” said Odell. “The creativity and skills of the highway department workers can be seen throughout the venue. It leaves a lasting impression. Generations from now will still talk about the craftsmanship and work that was put into this place.”

Fred Pena, P.E., commissioner of Putnam’s highway and facilities department is proud of his team as well. In addition to making the property achieve code compliance and have general safety and usability, the department had to enhance or replace things associated with the water supply, power supply and septic system.

“We found strength through every obstacle and grew from it,” said Pena. “We strategically outsourced and effectively used our resources to an extremely effective result.”

Legislator Ginny Nacerino, chair of the Putnam County Legislature, believes that the rejuvenation of Tilly Foster Farm is one of the government’s most significant accomplishments since she has been on the Legislature.

“The revitalization of Tilly Foster Farm is a true testament of what can be done when we work together toward a common goal,” said Nacerino. “I know that Tilly Foster farm will prove to be the jewel of Putnam County For generations to come. We affectionately call Tilly Foster Farm the people’s farm because indeed it is.”

Odell agrees.

“The success of Tilly Foster Farm does not belong to one person, but to all the people of Putnam County,” said Odell. “Together, we have been able to revitalize this property and make it a destination for everyone in the Hudson Valley to enjoy.  We have saved this historical icon of Putnam’s farming heritage, while making it an economically viable county asset.”

Tilly Foster Farm is located at 100 Route 312 in Brewster. The farm is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tilly’s Table is open for- Sunday brunch and private events. For reservations or for more information about Tilly’s Table, call 845-808-1840.

 

Row of Honor Stays through July 4th Weekend in Commemoration of Flag Day

CARMEL, N.Y. – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced today that the Row of Honor will stay in place through Independence Day weekend in honor of Flag Day. The United States flag was adopted on June 14th, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.

Now in its fourth year, the Row of Honor is an installation of over 200 American flags on Lake Gleneida, which honors the men and women who served, or continue to serve, protect, and defend our freedom. Emblazoned with the names of veterans, law enforcement officers and first responders, The Row of Honor is on display twice a year in observance of Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

“The United States flag is a portrait of our country’s historical past and symbol of freedom around the world,” said Odell. “Continuing to display the Row of Honor through Independence Day appropriately commemorates our history, our freedom and our service men and women who guard our freedom and uphold our democracy.”

County Executive Chairs First Panel Session to Work on Putnam County Shared Service Property Tax Savings Plan

County Executive Chairs First Panel Session to Work on Putnam County
Shared Service Property Tax Savings Plan

Meeting at TOPS Center Draws Quorum of Representatives from County’s Six Municipalities

CARMEL, NY – On Thursday, May 18th, 2017 Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell initiated a county-wide planning session designed to save money for taxpayers through increased efficiencies across government services. As mandated by Governor Cuomo, Thursday’s panel included supervisors and mayors or their designated representatives from Putnam’s six towns and three villages. Representatives from the Carmel, Mahopac and Putnam Valley Central School Districts, municipal Highway Departments, and the county legislative body, were also in attendance among others at the public hearing.

County Executive Odell presented details associated with the initiative, which includes a narrow execution timeline. An initial Shared Services Plan, including certification as to the accuracy of tax savings, must be collaboratively developed with the panel and submitted to the county legislature before August 1, 2017.  Upon review, the legislature will provide an advisory report and the County Executive may modify the plan and resubmit it no later than September 15, 2017.  Also within this timeline, the panel, Putnam County Legislature and County Executive will accept input and testimony on the plan from the public via two additional public hearings, which are scheduled for June 20th and July 18th, 2017 at the Putnam County Training & Operations Center (TOPS) in Carmel, NY.

“Putnam County has the lowest portion per tax dollar of any of New York State’s 62 counties, and my administration is proud of that fact,” said Odell. “We got there through diligent fiscal responsibility, including sharing services wherever possible. I am optimistic that by working together toward a shared objective that Putnam County will continue to drive innovative cost-saving strategies that reduce duplicative services and share resources wherever practical.”

The County Executive opened the meeting by asking the municipality representatives if they were already implementing shared services strategies.  The overwhelming majority of panel members raised their hands in the affirmative.

Odell raised the issue of school taxes, which comprise 0.71cents of every tax dollar paid by Putnam County residents.  “As co-chair of the New York State Association of Counties, our goal is the reduction of property taxes in New York State, but in order for a realistic discussion to take place, school taxes and how public education is funded must be part of the discussion,” said Odell. “We keep chasing the small money and we need to address the areas that cost big money.”

Several current initiatives and new ideas were discussed, including the East of Hudson Watershed Corp., which is a collaboration of 19 municipalities charged with meeting storm water regulations in a cost effective and efficient manner; the Putnam County Commission for Fiscal Vision and Accountability, which has been focusing on fiscal vision for Putnam County since 2014; and Video Court Appearances, a new alternate method of arraignment that was started by the Commission for Fiscal Vision and Accountability. The county has implemented this on a limited basis successfully and has proven that it will save the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“In order to fully implement an electronic video court appearance option across the county, we need legislation from Albany,” said Odell. “We have two bills awaiting the Governor’s approval to move forward on this plan, which will significantly reduce overtime, and wear and tear on transport vehicles while ensuring safe, judicially sound, and efficient arraignments.”

A video recording of Thursday’s panel meeting and a copy of the slide presentation is available on the Putnam County website at http://www.putnamcountyny.com/. Additionally, a copy of the New York State Shared Services law is available at: https://www.dos.ny.gov/lg/countywide_services.html.

click here for presentation and more!

Senator Terrence Murphy speaking

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell was joined by state Senator Terrence Murphy and other government officials for an information session about the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s County-wide Shared Services Initiative.

On Thursday, May 18, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell was joined by state Senator Terrence Murphy, Assemblyman Kevin Byrne and local government and school officials for an information session about the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s County-wide Shared Services Initiative. The Initiative, included in the enacted FY 2018 Budget, requires county officials to develop localized plans that find property tax savings by coordinating and eliminating duplicative services and propose coordinated services to enhance purchasing power.

The meeting was the first of three sessions scheduled for the governor-mandated panel. The next date is Tuesday June 20 at 4 p.m. The final session will be held on July 18. All sessions are held at the Tops auditorium.

The public is invited to the meetings and is encouraged to provide Putnam County’s administration feedback and suggestions on shared services.

Click here to visit the shared Initiatives Page for more information & the video presentation

Cutting Veterans’ Services – It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

Cutting Veterans’ Services – It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

By Karl Rohde, director, Putnam County Veterans Service Agency

In 1991, Governor Mario Cuomo attempted to reduce his New York State budget by cutting services to the Veterans of Putnam County.  Today, the legacy continues as his son and current NYS Governor, Andrew Cuomo, attempts a similar strategy.

First, a bit of history — Back in 1991 the New York Division of Veterans Affairs announced that they were going to close the Putnam County office for budgetary reasons.  The closing of the office was going to save about $50,000 out of a $5 Million Budget that had to be cut by $500,000.  Fortunately, Putnam succeeded in mobilizing its Veterans and won a reprieve. As part of the new deal, the Putnam County office would remain open, but the County would foot the bill to house the NY State Division Service officer, and provide secretarial assistance for the two days the service officer was on site.  In addition, the County would also provide clerical assistance on the other three days of the week to schedule appointments, as well as providing phone service and computer access at no charge to the State.

After the State’s second attempt to close the Putnam Office in April 2015 was thwarted, I formally requested, as Director of the Putnam County Veterans Service Agency and provider of free office space, clerical support and amenities to the NYS Division of Veterans Affairs, that we receive notification when and if the Putnam Office would be closed. That following January of 2016, the Division closed the office.  Putnam Veterans Services had to reschedule an estimated 50 Veteran client appointments to other dates at a location in Castle Point, which is about 25 miles from our office in Carmel.  Again, we fought and won to reopen our office, so our Veterans, many of whom are elderly and disabled, would not have to bear the burden of inconvenient, costly and unnecessary travel to meet with a Veterans Service Officer to apply for compensation due to military service.

The punishment continued in 2016 when the Division tried to limit Putnam to one day per week with a Veterans Service Officer.  That was also stopped when we proved the need in Putnam for at least two days per week, if not more.

Now in May of 2017, just weeks before Memorial Day, and the New York State Division, at the insistence of Governor Andrew Cuomo, is keen on denying services to the Veterans of Putnam County again.

In order to save money, the Putnam Office will be closed.  This is nonsense. The Division has to save $300,000 in the current budget.  Notwithstanding that the Governor wants to cut his budget on behalf of Veterans, this closing makes little sense.  Our Veterans Service Officer, Brennan Mahoney, will still be employed 5 days per week by the Division.  He will do all those days at Castle Point alongside another fulltime service officer at the same location.  The Veterans of Putnam, Northern Westchester and Southern Dutchess will now be forced to commute to Castle Point to see Brennan even though there is a second service officer already covering the Castle Point location – and where is the cost savings?  It should also be noted that while the clerk at Castle Point is paid by the State of New York, the clerk in Putnam County still costs the State of New York nothing.

The travel expense and inconvenience to these Veterans has not been considered in the least.  The age of the Veteran or the disability that makes travel difficult has not been weighed in this decision.

Why are these statewide cuts being aimed at the very group of people that the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs is mandated to serve?  To put a fine point on it, why is the Division targeting its own clients?  There are no suggested cut backs in management headcount or salary.  No mention of trying to lower the costs in areas where they rent and or lease office buildings.  Rather than a knee jerk response, why weren’t the cuts more thoughtfully vetted?

Veterans and family members who wish to learn answers to these questions should contact Eric J. Hesse, director, New York State Division of Veterans Affairs at (518) 474-6114.

Historic Putnam County Courthouse Shines Blue in Tribute to Fallen Police Officers during Police Memorial Week

Special Dedication Hosted at Spain Cornerstone Park in Memory of
James J. O’Neill, Founder of the Stephen P. Driscoll Memorial Lodge, FOP
CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced today that the historic Putnam County courthouse located on Gleneida Avenue in Carmel, NY, will be lit up in blue in tribute to fallen police officers during Police Memorial Week, May15 – 21, 2017. The courthouse lighting commenced at sundown on Tuesday, May 15th following a special dedication by the Fraternal Order of Police at Spain Cornerstone Park to honor the late James (Jimmy) O’Neill. Jimmy was an icon in the police community and founding president of the Stephen P. Driscoll Memorial Lodge, a chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.

“This tribute serves to honor the memory of Jimmy O’Neill and all law enforcement professionals who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” said County Executive Odell. “Putnam County is the safest county in New York State and we owe that distinction to our state and local police officers who put their lives on the line everyday to protect and serve our citizens.”

The Fraternal Order of Police dedicated a bench at Spain Cornerstone Park in memory of Jimmy O’Neill.  The granite bench was installed, including an in memoriam plaque and the Irish Prayer, across from the 9/11 Monument located at the site.

“Jimmy’s legacy as a police officer, advocate for law enforcement professionals, and highly valued contributor to the community is deservedly recognized through this dedication,” said Steve Conner, board member, Stephen P. Driscoll Memorial Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police.  “We are honored to have a lasting tribute in Jimmy’s name located at a place very near and dear to his heart.”

Editor’s note: Please see photo captions for attached images.

Photo 5319 – Pictured from left: Kathy O’Neill and Jimmy O’Neill, wife and son, respectively, of James J. O’Neill

Photo 5282 – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell

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Disaster Exercise to Safeguard Children Conducted in Putnam County; Health Department, Emergency Services and Community Organizations Rehearse How to Serve the Needs of Youngest Residents

Disaster Exercise to Safeguard Children Conducted in Putnam County; Health Department, Emergency Services and Community Organizations Rehearse How to Serve the Needs of Youngest Residents

BREWSTER, NY—Nearly 60 percent of Putnam households believe they would be reunited with their children within several hours of a major disaster. Yet history has proven otherwise: it took an astounding seven months to reunite the last child with family after Hurricane Katrina. This reality, and the fact that each day, nearly 20,000 children in Putnam County spend the majority of their day at a childcare facility or school, are the reasons behind the disaster preparedness exercise performed by Putnam County’s Community Resilience Coalition on Wednesday, May 3. More than 50 attendees from 28 organizations and agencies participated in the event which ran from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Centennial Golf Club in Carmel.

“This exercise brings a deeper understanding of how our Putnam organizations and agencies interact during an emergency,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell.  “By providing an opportunity for our child-serving institutions to partner with local emergency responders, we improve communication and response to support and protect the children of our community.”

To better address the unique needs of children, the local Community Resilience Coalition (CRC), an official subcommittee of the longstanding Disaster Preparedness Task Force of Putnam County, conducted a discussion-based, “tabletop” exercise to test the assumptions, protocols and resources of child-serving institutions and key community stakeholders who may interact with children before, during, and after an emergency.

“The purpose of the exercise was to envision all the possibilities that could happen and then to decide how we, as community organizations, would handle it,” said Commissioner Anthony Sutton of the Bureau of Emergency Services of Putnam County. “By talking through the steps of a specified scenario, we identify where the gaps are and how best to fill them.” The scenario that was played out involved a major earthquake with direct damage in Putnam County, causing evacuation at some childcare and other essential facilities, and limiting availability of state and federal resources.

More than 65% of American households do not have an adequate emergency plan, and nearly half have none at all. Additionally, 45% of Putnam households believe help will arrive in under an hour in the event of a large-scale, unanticipated disaster, indicating a widespread sense of unrealistic expectations and false security. Furthermore in Putnam County, 41% of households are not familiar

with their child’s daycare or school evacuation and emergency plan. These statistics collectively support the notion that if disaster were to strike, many communities would be underprepared to protect children.

This exercise is a component of the national Resilient Children/Resilient Communities Initiative (RCRC), a partnership between the National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and Save the Children (STC) funded by a grant from GSK. Putnam County is one of two pilot communities in the U.S. working on the RCRC Initiative.

The players in the exercise included representatives from schools, child care and after-school programs, law enforcement, public health and healthcare, emergency management and first responders, and other various government and community organizations.

“Strengthening the link between emergency management and child-serving institutions ultimately improves all emergency plans, in addition to sharpening our response and recovery action,” said interim Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD.

Barbara Garbarino, project liaison for the CRC, who previously worked for the Child Care Council of Dutchess and Putnam, Inc., further explained that, “When childcare facilities are better prepared to take care of their children in an emergency, it not only frees responders to help others in need, but it also helps ensure children will recover more readily after the crisis. Children do best when their normal routines resume as quickly as possible.”

“An exercise like this better prepares local counties to anticipate and meet the unique needs of children,” said Jeff Schlegelmilch, deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. “This is one of many activities of the Community Resilience Coalition that serves as a model for other communities looking to do this kind of work.”

The exercise scenario was collaboratively developed with input, advice, and assistance from a multi-agency exercise planning team. This exercise followed the guidance set forth by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is compliant with Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) protocols and standards.

To learn more about Putnam’s CRC, visit the web page: http://www.putnamcountyny.com/health/community-resilience-coalition/.

About the Resilient Children/ Resilient Communities Initiative

The Resilient Children/Resilient Communities Initiative (RCRC) is funded by a grant from GSK and is led by the National Center for Disaster Preparedness in partnership with Save the Children. Launched in 2015, the three-year RCRC initiative has brought together local stakeholders in two pilot communities in New York and Arkansas to create emergency plans that meet the substantial needs of children in disasters. It has also established a national panel of experts to link the community work with preparedness priorities of communities throughout the United States. Learn more about the initiative here: http://ncdp.columbia.edu/rcrc

About Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH)

The Department of Health’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or visit the social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth, and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

About Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services (BES)

The BES mission is to keep county residents safe from harm, by providing services to all fire, EMS and related emergency management initiatives. This includes training and equipping special teams for fire investigation, police response and hazardous materials mitigation, and a credible assessment team (CAT). Additionally, BES maintains a countywide communications system and continually seeks ways to improve response to both natural and manmade disasters. For more information, please visit the Bureau of Emergency Services website at http://www.putnamcountyny.com/pcbes.

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