Original Research Includes Current Data on Farmers, Farmland and Local Community
Access to Farm Products; Recommendations Identify Opportunities for a Vibrant and
Diverse Agricultural Sector in Putnam County

Cold Spring, New York – May 9, 2016 – Founded in 1997, the Putnam County Agricultural and
Farmland Protection Board advises the County Legislature on actions that impact farms located in
the County’s Agricultural District. As such, a need for updated, “real time” data on the current state
of Putnam County’s agricultural landscape was identified by the Board as a way to inform the
County and local municipalities on opportunities, challenges and strategies to cultivate and
embolden its food and farming sector. Following two years of convenings and surveys, the Board is
releasing this research in its new Keep Putnam Farming report.
Based on Glynwood’s Keep Farming protocol, a community-based research method used in areas
throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond, the Keep Putnam Farming process began in earnest in
April 2014 with a Farmer Forum, a gathering to inform local farmers about the program, provide
them an opportunity to meet one another, and offer a venue in which to share their concerns.
Farmers reported that, prior to this meeting they had never met as a group with one another.
Glynwood’s role as an advisor and participant continued throughout the survey, data-gathering
and reporting process.
“There is a renewed energy regarding farming and accessing locally grown fresh healthy food,”
said MaryEllen Odell, County Executive. “Through the Keep Putnam Farming program and the
new Tilly Foster Farm Educational Institute we expect to bring state of the art training
opportunities to our local farmers, residents, and students as well as showcase Putnam County
farm products.”
In May 2014, letters were sent to Town Supervisors announcing the official launch of the project in
Putnam County. After informing farmers and community members about Keep Putnam Farming,
the next step was to begin the data collection phase of the program. By gathering current data
using surveys and interviews we are then able to enhance knowledge of local farming and
improving market connections.
“Through the efforts to Keep Putnam Farming Initiative we have identified active farms in
Putnam County so that we can work on strengthening the economic viability of our farms by
enhancing the awareness of all our local agricultural products and services for all our residents,”
said Lauri Taylor, District Manager, Putnam County Soil & Water Conservation. “Through the
new Hudson Valley Farmlink Network we can work on matching new farmers with existing
agricultural land. Putnam County plans to be at the table for the farm to table experience – do
you?” Ms. Taylor provided technical and outreach assistance on the Keep Putnam Farming

Research (Excerpts)
Thirty-eight farms participated in the Keep Putnam Farming research process. Data and insights
into current farming activities were gleaned from surveys that described existing conditions,
challenges and opportunities for farming in Putnam County. The findings have been used as the
basis for recommended actions, including:
● Formalize the Putnam County Farmers Network
● Training, education and technical assistance programs for farmers
● Solutions to existing needs for processing service in Putnam County
● Increase and diversify market opportunities for Putnam County farms
● Update the Putnam County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Program

Four different agricultural sectors were covered by the survey process: Food, Food and Equine,
Equine and Nursery, and a demographic profile of respondents is included. Extensive results are
provided in the full report, but some highlights include:

Local Farmers:
● Almost one-third of the farmers who responded indicated they have been in the County for
10 years or less. Most are farmers growing food products and looking to build their business
and take advantage of the increased demand for local products;
● 58% of respondents own 20 acres of working farmland or less;
● Several equine farmers report that they are diversifying their farm operations to include
other types of livestock, vegetable and fruit production;
● 50% of respondents indicated they provide agritourism activities on their farms;
● Importantly, 83% of respondents were over the age of 50 years, with 63% of these farmers
over the age of 60 – suggesting that farmland succession is a pressing issue for this group of
farmers. Over 40% of farmers also indicated that the types of assistance they had the
greatest interest in receiving relate to farmland preservation and succession planning.

Local Residents:
To better understand the degree to which local food is purchased and consumed in Putnam
County, surveys were conducted with Putnam residents and food service providers:
● 75% of respondents indicated they look to see where their food is grown when grocery
shopping. However, they most frequently shop at large supermarkets and only 11%
participate in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture.)

Institutions & Restaurants:
Seventy-two restaurant owners and chefs completed surveys at the annual Food Operators
Seminar conducted by the Putnam Board of Health in March 2015. These food businesses
represent a large potential market for local products.
● While only two of the restaurant owners indicated that their establishment has a policy for
purchasing local products, all indicated that they would like to purchase local food from
Putnam farms. The two items they are most interested in purchasing are vegetables and
eggs. They would also like greater access to local meat and poultry.
The full report is available online at

About Putnam County Soil and Water Conservation District:
Established in 1967, the Putnam County Soil and Water Conservation District provides technical
assistance and programs to residents, landowners and units of government on the conservation,
wise use, and development of soil, water, and related resources. The District is a resource
management agency, coordinating and implementing resource and environmental programs at the
local level in cooperation with federal and state agencies. For more information visit:

About Putnam County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board:
Putnam County’s Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board was formed in 1997 to advise the
County Legislature on actions that impact farms located in the Putnam County Agricultural
District and develop plans and programs to assist farmers throughout Putnam County. For more
information visit:

About Glynwood:
Glynwood’s mission is to ensure the Hudson Valley is a region defined by food, where farming
thrives. The organization works to advance regenerative agriculture that benefits the natural
environment, energizes local economies, enhances human health and strengthens rural
communities. The agricultural nonprofit’s Keep Farming program is a community-based initiative
that engages a diverse set of stakeholders in gathering and analyzing data about the current state of
agriculture in order to better understand current conditions and challenges faced by local farmers.


# # #

Contact info:
Lauri Taylor
Putnam County Soil & Water Conservation
(845) 878-3480 ext. 48104


County Executive MaryEllen Odell is once again pleased to invite Putnam County residents to the Children’s Expo & Public Safety Day, on Saturday, May 14th

Children’s Expo & Public Safety Day

Brewster, NY, April 26, 2016—County Executive MaryEllen Odell is once again pleased to invite Putnam County residents to the Children’s Expo & Public Safety Day, on Saturday, May 14th from 11 to 3 at the County’s TOPS (Training and Operations) building on the Donald B. Smith Campus, 112 Old Route 6 in Carmel. Admission is free.

“Putnam County is a great place to live,” said Odell. “Our county is frequently cited as one of the best counties in the state to raise children and that’s because we are committed to keeping Putnam safe through the efforts of police, local government, social service agencies, private partnerships and extraordinary volunteer fire departments and service groups.”

This year, Putnam Hospital Center has joined long-time sponsors Eric Gross and Durant’s Party Rentals as an Expo sponsor.  “Putnam Hospital is an integral part of this community,” said Odell. “As a leader in the health care industry, it recognizes the benefits of being proactive in protecting and promoting children’s health.”

“This event is about community, meeting and celebrating all the people and organizations who give so much of their time to serve children and families,” added Anthony Sutton, commissioner of the Bureau of Emergency Services. “We’re looking forward to showing residents the latest in Fire Prevention and Safety Services.”

The Children’s Expo is co-presented by the Child Advocacy Center of Putnam County (CAC) and the Bureau of Emergency Services of Putnam County. “It’s an easy way to educate families on health and safety issues, as well as the supports and services available to them in the community, all while having fun,” said Marla Behler, program coordinator of the CAC.

The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office will once again be offering Operation SAFE CHILD.  Operation SAFE CHILD cards contain a child’s name, biographical information (date of birth, gender, height, weight, hair color, eye color, etc.), and a fingerprint image of both index fingers. The card is made in less than two minutes and can be easily carried in a wallet or purse.

This year’s event will also include Home Depot’s free Kids Workshops which offer fun and useful building projects.  The workshops teach children do-it-yourself skills and tool safety while they help to instill a sense of accomplishment. In addition, more than 40 exhibitors will be on hand to offer a wide range of: activities for children (camps, theatre, martial arts, etc.,), programs including social media safety, medical, physical and mental health services, car seat checks, emergency services programs as well as live demonstrations (jaws of life and underwater rescue, tanks, fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, canine units and more).

This year’s entertainment features performances by nationally acclaimed Master Storyteller Jonathan Kruk, crowd favorite All About Animals, magician and balloon artist, Jocko, and DJ Ron Blanco. In addition there are games, a giant bouncy house, face-painting, raffles, food and lots of free giveaways!

“The CAC is dedicated to preventing child abuse and ensuring safety and treatment for abused children. By increasing the public’s knowledge, our hope is to promote safety and prevent tragedies,” said Behler.  “The Children’s Expo & Public Safety Day, now celebrating its eleventh year, was organized with this objective which continues to be the primary goal of the event.”

# # #

The Child Advocacy Center of Putnam County opened in 1999 to handle child abuse allegations in a coordinated way in order to minimize additional trauma to the young victims. A multidisciplinary team of child protective service workers, prosecutors, law enforcement investigators, medical care providers, victim advocates and therapists work together to provide all necessary services in one place. The CAC also provides education for the community to reduce the incidence of serious childhood injuries and death.

The Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services helps protect residents by operating the 911 Communications center. The Bureau is also host to Fire, EMS and Emergency Management training in the County. BES has a state of the art Emergency Operations Center where officials manage natural and man-made emergencies. BES also fields special teams to investigate cause and origins of fires, a Team to respond to Hazardous Materials Incidents, Fire Police to provide traffic control, security, and preserving evidence. There is also a Communications Team that uses specialized equipment to assure that County agencies and agencies providing mutual aid can speak on the same radio frequencies. The Bureau works closely with Senior Services, The Department of Health and the CAC to be a force multiplier in keeping Putnam safe.



Odell to give State of the County Address March 10 at Putnam County Golf Course

Odell to give State of the County Address March 10 at Putnam County Golf Course

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell will present the State of the County address at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 10, at Putnam County Golf Course, 187 Hill Street in Mahopac.  Prior to the address, there will be a Putnam County Market Place which will open at 5:30 p.m.

As she has in the past, Odell has chosen to highlight a particular theme for the year. Odell has decided that 2016 will be “The Year of Business Development.”

“One of the greatest secrets out there is that Putnam County is the perfect place to live, work and play,’” said Odell. “We can no longer keep the secret to ourselves.  Putnam County has so much to offer the business community. Business development is about promoting and supporting our existing businesses, encouraging companies to consider expanding or relocating to Putnam County and identifying solutions to the obstacles, such as infrastructure, sewer and water, which have previously prevented growth in our business community.”

Danbury Mayor Mark D. Boughton will be joining Odell to unveil a partnership between Putnam County and the City of Danbury for a Regional Economic Initiative.

In addition, the Putnam County Market Place will highlight businesses, organizations and not-for-profits from throughout county that make Putnam the place to live, work and play.  Organization that would like to participate in the Putnam County Market Place can contact Heidi Kuhland at 845-808-1150 x49406 or

For further information about Putnam County’s many services and departments, residents may visit the County website at:


Statement from Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell in Response to News Regarding Trace Tritium Level at Indian Point

Statement from Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell in Response to News Regarding Trace Tritium Level at Indian Point

The recent news of a localized tritium level elevation found in groundwater monitoring wells at Indian Point has raised many questions concerning potential health impacts.

I have spoken with representatives for the plant operator, Entergy, and they’ve been happy to address in depth, each and every question I posed. They are cooperating with Federal and State agencies and are keeping local officials informed of developments.  There are over 3 dozen groundwater monitoring wells on the Indian Point site. Samples are routinely taken to monitor any for the presence and concentration of any contamination.  The recent elevated Tritium levels were discovered during this sampling and Entergy immediately went to work to identify the source. It has been determined that an underground pipe had leaked during the cleaning of a holding tank for the upcoming refueling of the Unit 2 reactor. A small amount of water from that leaking pipe made its way into the nearby monitoring well.   The trace of tritium was discovered during a routine sample from that monitoring well.  It was 1/1000th of the amount that the federal government requires to be reported.  Entergy informed the public of the level because they are conscientious, which is to their credit.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is closely monitoring Entergy’s management of this event and is working with them to assure that there remains no danger to drinking water sources or public health. The NRC has a 24/7 presence at Indian Point and it should be emphasized that they have termed the trace tritium level “insignificant”.

I appreciate Indian Point’s diligent response to this discovery and I also appreciate the honest, transparent and open manner in which they are dealing with it. My staff and I will continue to closely monitor the progress of this investigation and any clean up or remediation needed to contain the leak. Again, I fully support the continued operation of this crucial source of electricity for our county, region, and state.

A group of mature people against white background

Odell Supports Search for Outstanding Senior Citizens

Odell Supports Search for Outstanding Senior Citizens

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell is supporting Director of the Office for Senior Resources, Patricia Sheehy, and the Putnam County Senior Citizens Advisory Board as they seek nominations for this year’s SENIOR CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD.

“We are fortunate to have a very active senior population,” said Odell. “Selecting one man and one woman from among so many seniors who do so much to make a difference and enhance the lives of Putnam residents will be an exciting challenge.”

This year’s nominating theme is “Recognizing Seniors Who Demonstrate the Power of Making a Difference through Civic Engagement.”

Candidates must be 60 years of age or older and residents of Putnam County.

Two seniors from each of New York’s counties will be honored at a luncheon on May 10 in Albany. Putnam’s winners will also be honored at the annual Putnam County Senior Volunteer Ceremony this spring.

Nominations should be made on an official form which can be obtained from the Office for Senior Resources or downloaded from their website:

Completed nomination forms must be received by Friday, February 12, 2016. Forms may be mailed to: Senior Award, Putnam County Office for Senior Resources, 110 Old Rt. 6, Building No. 1, Carmel, NY  10512  or faxed to (845) 808-1942 or emailed to:

Employees of federal, state, county, or local municipalities who provide services to senior citizens are not eligible to be nominated.  Previous recipients of this award are also ineligible.

For more information or to request a nomination form, please call the Putnam County Office for Senior Resources at (845) 808-1700.

Click here to download the
Senior of the Year Nomination Form 2016

Michael Nesheiwat MD

Dr. Nesheiwat Named Acting Commissioner of Putnam County Health Department

Michael Nesheiwat MD

CARMEL, N.Y. – County Executive MaryEllen Odell has named Dr. Michael Nesheiwat Acting Commissioner of the Putnam County Health Department.

“Dr. Nesheiwat has been an asset to the Putnam County community for many years,” said Odell. “I am confident that he will do an incredible job overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Health Department while we undergo this transition.”

As a local physician, he has shared many innovative strategies to truly integrate care, striving to eliminate the silos of physical health and behavioral health.

“I am honored to be appointed Acting Health Commissioner of the greatest county in New York, Putnam County,” said Dr. Nesheiwat. “I will work closely with our County Executive’s office, and the outstanding Health Department staff to ensure that our citizens’ health, wellness and safety needs are served well.”

This is the second time Dr. Nesheiwat has assisted the health department through a period of transition in leadership.

“Dr. Nesheiwat has always been there for Putnam County through the many roles he has played,” said former County Executive Paul Eldridge, who is the current Director of Personnel. “In my short stint as County Executive, I tapped Dr. Nesheiwat to serve as our medical consultant when Dr. Amler went to serve as Commissioner for Westchester County, and Dr. Nesheiwat was there for us.  And, so he is again.”  He served as medical consultant until June 2012.

“I have known Dr. Michael Nesheiwat for many years and I am looking forward to working with him,” said Robert Morris, Putnam County Director of Environmental Health Services. “His reputation as a professional is outstanding and he is also a pillar in the Putnam County community. As the Department begins a new chapter under his leadership, I am confident we are in very capable hands.”

In addition to his own well-established family medicine practice, with offices in Brewster and Somers, Dr. Nesheiwat has been a senior attending family practitioner on staff at Putnam Hospital Center (PHC) since 1992. He also currently serves on the on the PHC Board of Directors and has served as chairman of its Department of Medicine for over a decade.

Dr. Nesheiwat received his medical degree in 1985 and completed a medical internship at Brooklyn Hospital. His post-doctoral training included a residency in family practice at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers, where he also received training in emergency room trauma medicine.

His passion in caring for our community is evidenced by his active community involvement. He is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons; Shriners; Rotary Club; and the Putnam County Board of Health (a membership which he will be suspending during his tenure as Acting Commissioner of Health).  He also serves as Putnam County Correctional Facility’s medical director and surgeon;  Fraternal Order of Police member; Carmel Fire Department board member; and medical director/consultant to numerous Putnam County Volunteer Fire Departments.

A Carmel resident, Dr. Nesheiwat and his wife of 22 years, Heyam, are the parents of daughter Sara and son Michael.


Odell Recommends Recording a Gift That Will Keep Giving for Years to Come

CARMEL, N.Y. – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell encourages families to take the opportunity this holiday season to bridge the gap between your family of today and your family of yesteryear by recording an oral history during the holidays.  Today’s ever-changing technology allows for ease of recording by old and young alike. So charge up all your devices and decide which one will be best to capture unique oral histories from family members.

“History is made from the stories that have been passed down from generation to generation,” said Odell, “With advances and availability of technology to record and share things, the holidays are a wonderful time to record your family history. There is no excuse to let the opportunity of capturing your family’s past pass you by.”

The nonprofit StoryCorps provides an opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of your family members. You can download the Story Corps app to a smartphone or tablet and be guided through the process that enables you to share your story to the StoryCorps database or just keep it for your family.

Odell termed 2015 as the Year of the Family in Putnam County. She has teamed up with County Historian Sarah Johnson, Ph.D., and The Association of Public Historians of New York State to suggest simple tips to record a family member’s unique history.

  1. Be prepared with information you already have and collect photographs or artifacts to jog the memory the person you are interviewing.  Select a favorite chair or room to sit in where your narrator will be comfortable and not distracted by your holiday guests and sounds of good cheer.
  2. Make sure your devices are charged and there’s enough memory space to record. Too often we find ourselves scrambling for a charger or short on device memory for new pictures. Test your device prior to recording and make sure distance is suitable to pick up your story teller’s voice and not too much of the background noises.  It’s also a good idea to show the device to the narrator and play back before you start so they have an idea of what the process will be and what he/she will sound like.
  3. Always begin your recording with place, date and names of who is involved and introduce the topic if there is a specific one.  Have your questions listed ahead of time and be sure to avoid “yes or no” questions or those that would be easily answered with just a few words.
  4. A great place to start is by showing the person an old family photograph, particularly if they are in the scene. Then, ask if they remember the event, how they feel about a certain subject or where they were when a specific event took place.  Try to get specifics out of them, for example, what age they were when the event took place and where they were living at the time.  Always practice patience, don’t try to finish their sentences and don’t give a follow up question too quickly. Be willing to follow the direction the person you’re interviewing takes with a memory but be sure to get back to your list of questions. These conversations can be helped along by asking for funny memories, memories involving childhood pets or toys, favorite foods, or events at school or work.
  5. If sometimes the narrator says something you think is incorrect, don’t challenge them on it. You might suggest that you’d heard the story differently and that gives a chance to either clear up the discrepancy.  Family histories are full of myriad points of view!
  6. Sometimes new photos or artifacts will be presented by the narrator so be sure to be ready to scan photographs and if possible, take photographs of the items presented.


“There’s no greater gift to the family and coming generations than identified photos with names, locations and approximate dates when the photographs were taken,” Johnson said, “Your family archives will thank you!”

Johnson also advises that, “Once you are completely finished with your interview, be sure to label the file and back it up immediately. It is amazing how quickly things can build up and never get filed correctly or lost to history.”

Photo caption: Listen to the stories about your family members over the holiday season.


Putnam Remembers the Soldiers Overseas with Operation Defend the Holidays

CARMEL, N.Y. – During this season of giving, we need to remember that our greatest gift is that of freedom. For the second year, Putnam County Government and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department are working in a joint effort with United for the Troops to raise money to send comfort packages to those serving in the U.S. Armed Forces overseas. The effort is known as Operation Defend the Holidays.

“The men and women soldiers serving overseas have sacrificed so much to protect our liberties and defend our freedoms; it is a gift that gives to us every day of the year,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Sending a comfort package lets the troops know we are thinking about them during the holiday season.”

Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith agrees.

“Speaking from my own experience as a soldier who was posted overseas during Christmas, I can personally attest to how uplifting it is to one’s morale to receive a care package from back home,” Smith said. “That is one of the reasons  I strongly support the efforts of Operation Defend the Holidays  and urge folks here on the home front to remember our brave young men and women who are serving our country far from home this Christmastime.”

For a $15 donation, a care package will be sent to a soldier overseas on your behalf.  You will be given a card acknowledging the gift. Your name will also appear on a virtual wall highlighting the number of comfort packages that have been sold.

Last year 360 comfort packages were sent to the soldiers on behalf of Putnam County employees as well as their friends and family members. This year the program is open to the public as well.

United For The Troops is a 501-c-3 that sends care packages to troops serving overseas. It was started by Mahopac residents Jim and Pat Rathschmidt. The couple along with their friends and neighbors launched the organization in 2007 when Rathschmidt’s son, Luke, was serving with the 82nd Airborne Division of the US Army in Iraq.

Following numerous conversations with service men and women, the group found out that while the military provides soldiers with the essentials for day- to-day life, many of them miss the extra amenities that they enjoy while at home. The organization’s purpose is to make the soldiers’ lives a little better while serving overseas by sending items such as cookies, DVDs, CDs, snacks and t-shirts.

“While all of our comfort packages are made up of donated items, it costs us about $15 to ship a care package overseas,” said Jim Rathschmidt. “Through the great efforts of County Exec. MaryEllen Odell, Sheriff Don Smith, the county employees and other Putnam residents, we will be able to ship even more boxes to our men and women serving our country overseas. Thanks to the generous support we receive, our mission to ‘Bring A Little Comfort To Our Troops’ continues on.”

Donations can be pledged by submitting the form found at Terry Oliver, confidential secretary to County Executive MaryEllen Odell, is accepting the contributions. Checks can be mailed to Terry Oliver, 40 Gleneida Avenue, Third Floor, Carmel, N.Y. 10512. She can be reached at 845-808-1001 or via email at Checks can be made out to United for the Troops with Operation Defend the Holidays written in the memo section.

United For The Troops has sent over 10,000 comfort packages to the troops since its inception.

The deadline to donate to Operation Defend the Holidays is December 18.



Putnam Officials Share Thanksgiving Cooking Safety Tips

CARMEL, N.Y. – Staying safe this Thanksgiving Day starts in the kitchen. Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Commissioner of the Bureau of Emergency Services Anthony Sutton urge residents to take the proper precautions when preparing your Thanksgiving feast.

“Families come together on Thanksgiving to give thanks and create memories,” said Odell. “We want to make sure those are happy and safe memories.”

Thanksgiving Day is the No. 1 day for home cooking fires. The average number of home fires on Thanksgiving is normally double the average number of fires in homes all other days.

“Being prepared and staying alert are the most important things you can do on Thanksgiving,” said Sutton. “It is better to take your time and be cautious than it is lose focus or take on too much at one time.”

Sutton recommends these safety cooking tips from the U.S. Fire Administration:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking – frying, broiling or boiling – at high temperatures.
    • Make your cooking area safe. Move things that can burn away from the stove. Turn pot handles toward the back so they can’t be bumped.
    • Watch what you are cooking. Use a timer when roasting a turkey or baking.
    • Be prepared. Keep a large pan lid or baking sheet handy in case you need to smother a pan fire.
    • Stay awake and alert while you’re cooking. If you see smoke or the grease starts to boil in your pan, turn the burner off.
    • Prevent burns. Wear short sleeves when you cook, or roll them up. Don’t lean over the burner. Use potholders and oven mitts to handle hot cookware.

Frying a turkey is a popular trend that can be dangerous. The following are things to remember when frying a turkey:

  • Turkey fryers can easily tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.
    • An overfilled cooking pot will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is put in, and a partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when put in the pot.
    • Even a small amount of cooking oil spilling on a hot burner can cause a large fire.
    • Without thermostat controls, deep fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire.
    • The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles can get dangerously hot.
Just Add One photo

Odell Encourages Small Business Owners to Apply for Just Add One Westchester-Putnam

CARMEL, N.Y. – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced openings in Just Add One Westchester-Putnam, an entrepreneurial course, sponsored by the Westchester Putnam Workforce Development Board, designed to help participating small businesses grow and contribute to the economic growth in the region. The deadline to submit an application for enrollment is Tuesday, Dec. 1.

The course is open to small business owners in Putnam County or Westchester County who are interested in learning to create strategies to strengthen their business models/operations and become more efficient.

“Small businesses account for a majority of the employers in Putnam County,” Odell said. “When I say that Putnam County is open for business, I do not mean just for new businesses. As a county, we want to offer our established businesses the resources and tools needed to thrive and grow.”

Just Add One Westchester-Putnam, is a 12-week course which covers: goal achievement and accountability; leadership, branding, marketing/public relations, customer services and customer loyalty, websites and social media, accounting, being the CFO of your business, access to capital, sales, legal and human resources/risk & insurance.

In addition to weekly class sessions, entrepreneurs will participate in: One-on-One Coaching Sessions During the course of the program, entrepreneurs will participate in weekly coaching sessions to review what they learned in the classroom and to create a strategy for how to apply it to their business. These sessions can take place in person or by telephone. There will also be optional group sessions once a month. Participants will be invited to take part in a group session to identify business challenges and find solutions through peer-to-peer sharing.

The course will be held on Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. beginning Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016 at Westchester Community College in Valhalla, N.Y.

To be eligible a business must have a growth goal that enables it to hire at least one person. Interested businesses without any employees will be considered only if they have demonstrated business capabilities and an interest in hiring an employee.

Business selection is limited to qualified applicants. Applications are due to Just Add One Task Force by Dec. 1. The Task force will select 35 businesses to participate. Candidates will be notified by Dec. 20.

For the participants the course costs $163 (includes $13 registration fee and $5 non-refundable fee). The balance of the tuition is being funded by a grant from the Westchester Putnam Workforce Development Board.

The Westchester Putnam Workforce Development Board provides policy directions and program oversight to the One-Stop Career Centers and workforce development programs in Westchester and Putnam counties to meet the needs for a highly qualified regional workforce. It strengthens partnerships with business sectors, service providers and the public education system to offer career services and various training modalities to youth and adults.

For questions about the course, call 914-606-5685 or email at Apply for the course online at

Photo caption: Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell with small business owners Jenn Maher, partner of J. Philip Commercial Group and chairwoman of the Putnam Chamber of Commerce, Mark Buzzetto, owner of Brewster Flower Garden, and Geoffrey Reinwald, president of Brewster Chamber of Commerce and associate agent of Fucito Insurance Agency.