FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Odell to Proclaim Putnam as First Purple Heart County in NY


MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001
March 20, 2013

Odell to Proclaim Putnam as First Purple Heart County in NY

A request sent to Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell by William “Willy” Nazario, the Legislative Officer – Dept. of NY of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 21 and Denis Castelli, the organization’s Judge Advocate, and seeking that she proclaim Putnam as a Purple Heart County was met with an immediate and positive response.

“Absolutely!” said Odell. “Of course I will do this. We have any number of veterans residing within our borders who have received this distinguished medal, the military award ‘sought by none but respected by all.’ I absolutely will ask the Legislature to accept a proclamation designating Putnam as New York’s first Purple Heart County. It will be my pleasure to this for our many wonderful veterans and their families.”

Odell will present the proclamation to Legislature Chairman Richard T. Othmer, Jr. for a full vote at the April 3 meeting. The Legislature will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the Historic Putnam County Courthouse on Gleneida Avenue in Carmel.

The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration in present use. It was initially created by Gen. George Washington in 1782 as the Badge of Military Merit. It is awarded to any member of the Unites States Armed Services wounded or killed in combat with a declared enemy of the United States.

Putnam’s Director of Veterans Affairs Karl Rohde is also pleased about Putnam becoming the first county in New York to be designated a Purple Heart County.

“In keeping with the tradition of Putnam being the best county in the United States regarding veterans, we’re very proud to be the first Purple Heart County,” he said.

Castelli, a veteran and Purple Heart recipient, resides in Putnam and serves as the County Historian, a position he relishes.

“Many states, counties and towns across our great nation are honoring our veterans with this simple act of patriotism,” Castelli said.

When asked how many Purple Heart recipients resided in Putnam now, Castelli was unable to supply that information.

“There is no answer to this question and no manner to find out,” Castelli said. “The only repository for this information is the Department of Defense and they are not talking.”

Castelli provided a list of interesting but little known facts concerning Putnam’s earliest veterans. Foremost, is Gen. Israel Putnam. While a resident of neighboring Connecticut, it was this American Revolutionary War hero for whom Putnam County was named.

According to Castelli’s list, Putnam had four fighting generals during the Civil War (and there were two ironclad ships that bore the name of the USS Mahopac at that time. In addition, two Putnam residents died with Gen. George Custer at Little Big Horn; the Borden Milk Factory in Brewster produced and distributed condensed milk to Union troops during the Civil War substantially reducing incidents of dysentery; and Gen. Daniel A. Butterfield, who received a Congressional medal of Honor for his service during the Civil War, is credited with composing the bugle call “Taps.” Other Putnam Congressional Medal of Honor recipients include Abraham K. Arnold, Samuel N. Benjamin, William J. Brewer and John McCloy who was awarded two such medals.

Castelli also pointed out that the Parrott Rifle, a cannon, was designed by Captain Robert Parker Parrott, an 1824 West Point graduate and Cold Spring resident, at his West Point Foundry in Cold Spring, NY.

butterfield    purple heart

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Odell Scores for Health Dept.


TO: All media
FROM: MaryEllen Odell, Putnam County Executive
RE: Carmel Rotary Basketball Shoot-Out
DATE: March 18, 2013

Odell Scores for Health Dept.

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell attended The Community Basketball Shoot-Out sponsored by the Carmel Rotary and Carmel High School’s Interact Club on Saturday, March 16. The annual fundraising event was held in the CHS gym. Participants have two minutes in which to shoot as many baskets as they can to raise money for a specified organization. Odell, who scored 16 baskets, was shooting on behalf of the County Health Dept.

Since 2008, the Carmel Rotary and the CHS Interact Club have raised more than $66,000 with 60 various organizations benefiting from the proceeds.


IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Letter to the Editor

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001
March 11, 2013

RE: Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

As much fun as Tim Maher, the official Grand Marshall of the Sunday’s Northern Westchester/Putnam County St. Patrick’s Day Parade, was having, he couldn’t have had any better time than I did riding shotgun for the second year in a row as part of Putnam’s Emergency Response Team. Our magnificent vehicles are a testament to the promise made by our first responders to keep Putnam residents safe.

Looking at the ERT vehicles as they lined up in formation before the parade, I must admit I felt very proud that Putnam County has equipment and people such as these, ready to act in case of an emergency. Sitting inside the green, armored tank-like transport, I also must admit I felt extraordinarily safe, a reaction mirrored on the faces of those watching and waving along the parade route as they cheered loudly and energetically for our ERT members and their heavy duty trucks. I was deeply moved by the parade goers’ expression of gratitude toward their wonderful first responders.

It was a pleasure to have been allowed to participate in the parade with Putnam’s ERT unit, the highly trained and specially-armed squad of professionals from the Sheriff’s Office, Carmel and Kent Police Departments and our Office of Emergency Management.  

So thanks, not only for the ride, but also – and this is on behalf of everyone in Putnam County – to each member of our fabulous Emergency Response Team for all that you continue to do to keep Putnam safe.  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Putnam Housing Corp. to Host Free Foreclosure Prevention Outreach

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001
March 11, 2013

Putnam Housing Corp. to Host Free Foreclosure Prevention Outreach

County Executive Odell Will Attend the March 23 Event

A local not-for-profit will host Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Outreach teams offering free assistance to homeowners who are presently in default on their mortgage or are facing foreclosure. The event, which will be held on Saturday, March 23 at the Mahopac Public Library, 668 Route 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is sponsored by the Putnam County Housing Corporation (PCHC).

PCHC, a certified HUD Certified Housing Counseling Agency, was established in 1982 to assist residents with their housing needs. Their Housing Counseling Program offers the services of professionals who assist at risk homeowners by advising them of economic and legal options available to help prevent a foreclosure.  

County Executive MaryEllen Odell strongly supports the work of PCHC as they strive to keep Putnam families in their own homes.

“The work of the Putnam County Housing Corporation is so very vital,” said Odell. “Many homeowners have found themselves in this terrible situation through no fault of their own. It is imperative we do everything we can for them to ensure they remain in their homes.”

PCHC Co-Executive Director Connie Fagan said her agency recently received funding from New York State’s Attorney General Home Ownership Protection Program as well as from the State of New York Mortgage Agency and the federal government’s Emergency Homeowner Loan Protection program.

“The funding allows us to continue and enhance our partnerships with Legal Services of the Hudson Valley and Putnam County,” said Fagan. “LSHV will now be meeting with Putnam homeowners in our offices to provide free legal advice pertaining to foreclosure.”

PCHC’s offices are located at 11 Seminary Hill Road in Carmel. Previously, Putnam’s at-risk homeowners had to travel to out of county to meet with mortgage representatives.

The Putnam County Real Property Tax Office is also helping to advertise the March 23 event by distributing flyers to residents facing default advising them of the free local counseling services offered by PCHC.

In addition, Putnam’s Supreme Court has recognized PCHC Housing Counselors as an effective and essential resource particularly in representing homeowners in bi-monthly Mandatory Settlement Conferences.

For more information on this program, please call PCHC at (845) 225-8493.

County Executive’s Address to Highlight “Making the Connection” Festival of Info, Market Opens at 5 p.m. and Promises to be the Most Enjoyable State of the County Address Ever Presented in Putnam.


MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808- 1001

Date: March 7, 2013

RE: 2013 State of the County Address


County Executive’s Address to Highlight “Making the Connection” Festival of Info,
Market Opens at 5 p.m. and Promises to be the Most Enjoyable State of the County Address Ever Presented in Putnam.  

The public is cordially invited to attend as Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell presents her 2013 State of the County address at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 14. The event will be held in the auditorium of the Training & Operations Center located on the Donald B. Smith Campus, 112 Old Route 6, in Carmel.

“We’re changing things up this year,” said Odell. “We want the State of the County address to be something everyone will want to attend and we’re working toward making it as enjoyable as it is informative.”

As part of Odell’s plan to “change things up,” she has added several new components to the State of the County event. This year, the TOPS doors will open at 5 p.m. so visitors can enjoy “Making the Connection,” the theme of this year’s State of the County address, with a variety of County departments and area businesses. The TOPS rotunda will be filled with “Connection” tables and unusual props all of which will highlight achievements and support the number of positive and productive connections being made county-wide.

Among those who will be present at the 5 p.m. showcase will be representatives from several of Putnam’s top restaurants, many of whom are participating in this year’s Hudson Valley Restaurant Week and each offering samples of their delicious fare.

Also participating in the festival-like fun will be Putnam County Tourism Director Libby Pataki, Putnam County Historian Denis Castelli, Putnam County Clerk Dennis Sant, Putnam County Library Association members, Putnam Arts Council and numerous representatives from various county departments and Putnam organizations. Each will be providing information on upcoming events, celebrating recent accomplishments and providing up-to-date information.

“Making the Connection” is more than just a theme for this year’s address,” said Odell. “It’s a direction in which Putnam is moving. We have become a network of connected departments working toward making government more efficient, more accessible and more transparent for the public.”

As examples of “Making the Connection,” Odell will enumerate how Putnam’s first responding units enjoy better coordination and stronger communications. Odell will also introduce her newest staff member, Commissioner of Planning, Development and Public Transportation Anthony Ruggiero and present his vision for a Putnam County Planning Federation.

Solidifying an international cycling connection for Putnam is one of the many tasks Tourism Director Libby Pataki and her staff have accomplished. Furthermore, as Odell will explain, Pataki is “Making the Connection” between Tourism and economic development as she and the Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce prepare for “Pedal into Spring” the May 4 and 5 Flower Festival during which the Putnam Cycling Classic will take place.

Among the many informational topics to be covered in her address, Odell will present an update on the work of Transportation Task Force Chairman Vincent Tamagna whose group is working toward making more connections for Putnam residents as they assess and streamline county-wide transportation services.

Anyone planning to attend what promises to be the most enjoyable State of the County address ever presented in Putnam is asked to RSVP to the County Executive’s office by calling (845) 808-1001.


Putnam County State of the County Address, Thursday, March 14th @ 7:00pm

Putnam County Executive Mary Ellen Odell cordially invites you to attend the 2013 State of the County Address on Thursday March 14th at 7:00pm. It will be held at the Putnam County Trainings and Operations Center at the Donald B. Smith Campus at 112 Old Route 6, Carmel NY 10512.

Kindly RSVP by March 9th to 845-808-1001 or email


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Putnam Officials, Restaurateurs Kick-Off Restaurant Week


MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001

February 26, 2013

Putnam Officials, Restaurateurs Kick-Off Restaurant Week 

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Putnam Tourism Director Libby Pataki and Cold Spring restaurateur Cathryn Fadde were at the Culinary Institute of America recently to kick-off Hudson Valley Restaurant Week. The annual two-week dining event features some of the Hudson Valley’s top rated restaurants allowing them to highlight regional culinary delights at affordable prices. This year’s spring Restaurant Week runs from March 11-24.

As part of the culinary celebration, the more than 160 participating restaurants throughout Putnam, Dutchess, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Columbia and Ulster counties will offer three-course prix-fixe lunches for $20.95 and/or dinners for $29.95.  Putnam restaurants taking part in Restaurant Week this year include Arturo’s Tavern (Mahopac), Chophouse Grille (Mahopac), Ramiero’s 954 (Mahopac), Clock Tower Grill (Southeast), Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill (Cold Spring) and Le Bouchon (Cold Spring).

To see a list of all HVRW participating restaurants, visit:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Odell to Dedicate Emergency 911 Communications Center to Honor Former Commissioner Robert McMahon


MaryEllen Odell
Putnam CountyExecutive
(845) 808-1001

February 13, 2013

Odell to Dedicate Emergency 911 Communications Center to Honor Former Commissioner Robert McMahon

CountyExecutive MaryEllen Odell cordially invites members of the press and the public to attend as she dedicates the Emergency 911 Communications Center to honor Putnam’s former Commissioner of Emergency Services Robert McMahon. The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, February 25, 2013 at the Training and OperationsCenter, 112 Old Route 6, Donald B. Smith Campus, Carmel, NY.

The FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums will be present to open the ceremonies.

“I have had the great good fortune to enjoy a number of ‘highlight’ moments as County Executive and I must say being part of this celebration to honor Bob McMahon and re-name the 911 Communications Center to THE ROBERT MCMAHON EMERGENCY 911 COMMUNICATIONS CENTER will definitely be another ‘highlight’ moment for me,” said Odell.

Odell recalled meeting Commissioner McMahon when she was first elected to the Legislature in 2006. There she served as chairwoman on the Protective Services Committee for three years during which time she said McMahon’s “door was always open and he gave me the time I needed regardless of his own schedule.”

In 2011, following her election as CountyExecutive, Odell said she was stunned to receive a letter of resignation from McMahon.

“I was heartbroken, really taken back. I picked up the phone and asked him why was he resigning?  I told him I thought he was looking forward to working with me and putting some initiatives together,” she said.  

McMahon’s response to the county’s new leader was to say, “Boss, I’m doing what you are supposed to do when a new CE comes on. You can accept my resignation or you can refuse.”

“Bob McMahon is a gentleman. He embodies professionalism,” said Odell. “And in case he’s forgotten, he owes me a round of golf.” 

Prior to serving as part-time Deputy Fire Coordinator (July 1990 through January 1997), then as part-time Fire Coordinator (January 1997 through December 1999) and finally as  Commissioner of Emergency Services (January 2000 through August 2012), Robert McMahon’s record of service was most impressive. McMahon served in the Navy and retired from the Fire Department of New York. He is a registered nurse, a former chief and life member of the Lake Carmel Fire Department, a NYS and FEMA certified training instructor and a member of the Board of Putnam Hospital Center.

Under his leadership, the emergency services in Putnam were greatly enhanced and eventually evolved into the Bureau of Emergency Services whose efforts have proven so effective during recent major storms in our area. Through programs McMahon initiated which focused on the advanced training and education of EMS personnel, recruitment and volunteer retention soared. Today, the Center is staffed by highly trained, dedicated and professional deputy emergency services coordinators who act as liaisons to local fire and law enforcement departments as well as to emergency management teams and various county agencies.

It was during McMahon’s tenure as Commissioner of Emergency Services that the PutnamCountyFireTrainingCenter was expanded to include a three-story multi-purpose burn building training simulator. The Training and OperationsCenter was constructed allowing Putnam’s 911 Communications Center and the AllHazardsEmergencyOperationsCenter to be housed in a single state-of-the-art location.

Working with the County Executive’s office as well as the Legislature, the Office for Aging, the County Sheriff’s Department and the County Health Department, McMahon saw to the opening of warming centers in the winter and cooling centers in the summer for the elderly, the ill or those without electricity due to severe weather. Plans for county-wide shelters offering overnight facilities were also developed and generators were installed in many public buildings with federal grant money sought under McMahon’s direction.

“His extended family of PutnamCounty employees and emergency services responders wishes Bob years of relaxation and peace in his retirement. He deserves it,” said Odell. “Bob built a great legacy which will stand firm on his message of making sure the residents of Putnam are safe.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CountyExecutive Joins Celebration for Kid Escape USA Grand Re-Opening


MaryEllen Odell
PutnamCounty Executive
(845) 808-1001

February 21, 2013

CountyExecutive Joins Celebration for Kid Escape USA Grand Re-Opening

Keeping children occupied and active is easy at Kid Escape USA, a 9,000 square foot indoor inflatable fun and party zone which features five enormous bouncies, numerous arcades, and a café area. Located in Brewster just off Route 22 at 16 Mt Ebo Road South (across from the Post Office), Kid Escape USA celebrated its grand re-opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Brewster Chamber of Commerce members, parents, grandparents and a crowd of happy youngsters on February 19.

“It’s always a pleasure to participate in a ribbon cutting when a business opens –  or in this case, re-opens, especially when it’s a family friendly facility like Kid Escape USA,” said Odell. “Congratulations to owner Liz Lyons. What a fabulous place for children to enjoy themselves.”

Kid Escape specializes in hosting birthday parties in their three private party rooms and offers unlimited public pop-in-play for only $10.00 per child. Open 6 days a week, Tuesday-Saturday 10-6, Sunday 11-5, Kid Escape USA will also open on Monday holidays when schools are closed.

Beginning this summer, Kid Escape will offer Supervised Summer Camp programs, a fun way to keep children busy and perfect for busy parents who need a few hours of spare time. The entire facility will also be open to existing summer camps for private use on rainy days and for special events.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: County Executive Odell and Visiting Vet Exchange Gifts


MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001

February 25, 2013

County Executive Odell and Visiting Vet Exchange Gifts

Members of American Legion Post 270 were driving through Carmel last week checking on the condition of American flags displayed at various public sites. John Zacman, above left, paid a brief visit to County Executive MaryEllen Odell to suggest a replacement be obtained for the weather-worn flag at Spain Cornerstone Park. The next day, County Highway Department workers replaced the flag with a new one.

While in her office, Odell showed Zacman her collection of coins and historical pins and gave him a Putnam County Bicentennial pin. In return, Zacman presented Odell with his 1st Infantry Division cap.

DSC_3800    DSC_3787