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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.   

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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.  

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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 Jmazzucco@mhaputnam.org.

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

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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.

 

 

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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. 

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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

 

 

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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 karl.rohde@putnsamcountyny.gov. 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.

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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: www.HudsonValleyRestaurantWeek.com.

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.

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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: www.thedufflebaginc.com.

 

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.

 

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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.

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

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County Employees Stand Against Domestic Violence

Many of Putnam County’s employees wore purple colored clothing to work on Monday, Oct. 27 and at 1 p.m., County Executive MaryEllen Odell and others participated in a photograph with Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center Executive Director Ann Ellsworth to show their support for the WRC’s initiatives to end domestic violence. Each October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the WRC and People Against Domestic Violence (PADV) hold a Candlelight Vigil on the Historic County Courthouse steps to draw attention to the on-going problems arising from domestic violence. The vigil was held at 6 p.m.

 

“Wearing purple and standing outside on the courthouse steps during the day and then again in the evening draws attention briefly to subject of domestic violence in Putnam,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell.  “But Ann Ellsworth’s work and that of her staff at the Women’s Resource Center is on-going. This is the least we can do to help bring awareness to the public about the problems too many residents of Putnam face as victims of domestic violence.”

 

“We can only make strides against domestic violence when the silence is broken,” said Ellsworth. “I am grateful for the support that MaryEllen and the County employees always show for our efforts. It is always the right time to stand up and get the word out about domestic violence.”

 

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Photo caption:  County Executive MaryEllen Odell (left) joined Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center Executive Director Ann Ellsworth (center) and Sheriff Donald B. Smith (right) on the Historic County Courthouse steps where County employees had gathered. Monday was Wear Purple to Work Day at the County to show support for putting an end to domestic violence.

 

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Vets, Officials Attend Opening of Putnam Row of Honor

October 22, 2014

Approximately 30 people were present yesterday afternoon when County Executive MaryEllen Odell officially opened the 2014 Veteran’s Day Row of Honor as they gathered on the shoreline of Lake Gleneida in downtown Carmel. 

 

Veterans Service Agency Director Karl Rohde led those gathered in a moment of silence before introducing Odell and thanking her for her strong support for those who have served their country. 

 

“Putnam County is the best county in the world for veterans and when this lady became County Executive, I wouldn’t have believed it could become even a better county for veterans, but it has,” Rohde said.

 

As she stood at the podium surrounded by veterans and county officials, Odell expressed her gratitude to Putnam’s veterans. 

 

“It’s an honor and privilege to be County Executive in a county that is so truly patriotic,” Odell said. “We are grateful for our freedoms and we are grateful for our veterans.”

 

Odell spoke of her third Honor Flight experience last Saturday when she accompanied a World War II veteran on a flight to Washington, DC for a tour of the WWII Memorials and a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.  This year, Odell was guardian to 92-year-old Victor Paolantonio of Ossining, NY.

 

This is the fourth Row of Honor that has been erected since it was first launched for Memorial Day in 2013. The Row of Honor is a project of Putnam County’s Joint Veterans Council. Money raised through annual sponsorships of Veterans Day and Memorial Day flags is used to fund special veterans’ projects. The Council is planning to bring the Traveling Viet Nam Memorial Wall to Putnam next September as part of the Viet Nam War Commemoration to mark the 50th anniversary of the war and the 40th Anniversary of the end of the war. 

 

The flags, installed as a reminder of upcoming Veterans Day on Nov. 11, will remain on site until Nov. 21. Flags can be purchased for $100 apiece through the County’s Veterans Service Agency.  A detailed map of the Row of Honor was designed by the Brian Austin and Kristen Douchkoff of the County’s IT Department. The map lists in numerical order those who are being honored and can be found on the County website at www.putnamcountyny.com. To date, there are 140 flags in the row with several more soon to be installed.

 

Anyone wishing to sponsor a flag in honor of a deceased or living veteran or anyone presently serving in the military can order their flag by calling (845) 808-1620 or by sending an email to:  rowofhonor@putnamcountyny.gov.      

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