FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Special Bus for Veterans, Seniors Ready to Roll

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001

February 4, 2013

Special Bus for Veterans, Seniors Ready to Roll

County Executive MaryEllen Odell will be joined by Director of Veterans Affairs Karl Rohde and Office for the Aging Director Patricia Sheehy as they accept the keys for a new shared services bus at a press conference on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 3:30 p.m.. The press conference will be held outdoors near the gazebo at the OFA, 110 Old Route 6, Bldg. 1, in Carmel. 

The bus, which seats 12 and can accommodate two wheelchairs, will be used by the Putnam County Veterans Services Agency and the OFA. The shiny white van which bears the bright blue official seal of Putnam County, an American flag and the somber black POW/MIA flag, will be used to transport disabled veterans as well as disabled senior citizens to doctor’s appointment.

“I can’t think of a more meaningful gift of thanks to our veterans,” said Odell. “They have given so much for us. Working to provide an easier means of transportation for them and our disabled senior citizens was simply a joy, a labor of love for me.” 

Rohde, a veteran of the Vietnam War, is thrilled not only with the arrival of the van but with Putnam County’s constant outreach to its veterans.

“Securing a vehicle to be used for transporting such special cargo as the heroes of Putnam County, our veterans, is indeed an overwhelming occurrence,” said Rohde. “It is another example of how well veterans are treated in Putnam. As Director of the Veterans Service Agency, I would like to thank everyone who helped make this possible.”

Rohde praised Art Hanely and the County Legislature for their efforts and support.

Sheehy is pleased that the County was able to partner the project and reach out to those disabled seniors, many of whom have to pay for private transportation, as they seek  necessary medical attention.

“This is a wonderful example of government working in partnership to bring needed services to our community,” said Sheehy. “Our disabled veterans in need of wheelchair accessible transport will receive services first and as available the disabled seniors will then be able to access the transportation to their doctor’s appointments.”

NY SAFE Gun Law Exonerates Putnam Clerk, Executive on Privacy and Public Safety Stance State officials speak out on passage of new gun law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001
January 16, 2013

NY SAFE Gun Law Exonerates Putnam Clerk, Executive on Privacy and Public Safety Stance State officials speak out on passage of new gun law

The historically swift passage of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s SAFE Act, (Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act) which passed through the state Assembly late on January 14, the state Senate on January 15 and was signed into law within hours of its passage, provides specific exemptions that will block the release of gun permit holder’s personal information from being made public.

By passing this legislation, state lawmakers approved and confirmed the stance Putnam County Clerk Dennis Sant took when he refused to divulge to The Journal News the names and addresses of Putnam residents who held legal gun permits. The Journal News filed a Freedom of Information Law request with Sant’s office on Dec. 17.

“I believe this [law] was a great step forward in protecting our citizens from harm’s way,” said Sant. “There is no longer any question that we had the right to respect the personal privacy of our residents.”

County Executive MaryEllen Odell fully supported Sant and was equally adamant that the privacy and safety of Putnam residents be respected. That Gov. Cuomo pushed through this legislation so quickly confirmed for her the wisdom of their much publicized refusal.

“The Governor and the state legislature saw the logic and recognized the merit of our stand and as a result, state laws were changed,” said Odell. “The text of this law reaffirms our position that the importance of protecting an individual’s privacy far exceeds any unfettered ‘right to know.’”

Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy said he “felt vindicated that the Governor and state legislature saw this as a public safety issue just as we did.”

According to New York SAFE Gun Law (S.2230/A.2388) an applicant or a registered gun permit holder may opt not to have their information released based on the real fear that by doing so “his or her life or safety” or that of their families “may be endangered” or that they or their families would become objects of ‘unwarranted harassment.”  Exempted by the new law will be active or retired police, peace, probation, parole or corrections officers; anyone currently under an order of protection; any witness in a criminal proceeding involving a criminal charge; anyone who served as a juror in a criminal proceeding; or anyone who sat as a member of a grand jury.

New exemption forms have yet to be issued but will be made available by New York State Police within 30 days. Existing permit holders will have a 120 day window of time in which to file an application requesting that their information not be made public.

In his statement, Sen. Greg Ball congratulated the community for standing firm on principle and for fighting for common sense against the Journal News. “We have won a big battle against their [Journal News] unwarranted invasion of privacy” and have “put an end to this public safety nightmare.”  

Following the bill’s speedy passage into law Assemblyman Steve Katz said the “only bright spot in the gun control legislation is that the Journal News will never again be able to endanger the law abiding gun owners of Putnam County and our state with a malicious FOIL request.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: State and County Officials Stand United in Supporting Putnam County Clerk Dennis Sant’s Refusal to Fill Newspaper’s FOIL Request.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001

Dennis J. Sant
Putnam County Clerk
(845) 808-1140

January 2, 2013

State and County Officials Stand United in Supporting Putnam County Clerk Dennis Sant’s Refusal to Fill Newspaper’s FOIL Request.

Odell: “Journal News exposure is ‘reckless’ and puts all citizens at risk.”

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, state Sen. Gregory Ball, Assemblyman Steve Katz, and several additional county officials will accompany Putnam County Clerk Dennis J. Sant at a 12 noon press conference held in the upstairs courtroom of the Historic County Courthouse, 44 Gleneida Avenue, Carmel, NY on Thursday, January 3. The press conference will be held to discuss Sant’s refusal to comply with a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request issued by The Journal News last month.

On Dec. 23, The Journal News published an interactive map on its online news outlet, LoHud.com, which identified the names and addresses of people in Westchester and Rockland counties who legally possess pistol permits.

Sant, who has served in the County Clerk’s Office since 1978, refused to comply with the newspaper’s FOIL request seeking the same information on Putnam gun permit holders. Sant cited the safety of Putnam’s citizens as his reason for not complying.

“Our world today is far different than it was only a few years ago. Computers, social media, Google maps – much of our lives can easily be exposed and made available whether we want it to be or not,” said Sant. “Today you can take what The Journal News put into print, go on Google Earth and virtually be sitting on the front porch of a house reading the license plate of a car parked in the driveway. This county clerk refuses to put law abiding citizens in harm’s way.”

Odell said she is as adamant in her support for Sant as she is that the issue at hand, the release of pistol permit holders’ names and addresses, has nothing to do with gun control or the recent shooting tragedy in Newtown, CT.

“We simply cannot stand by and allow this to happen,” Odell said. “Safeguarding our citizens is of the utmost importance right now. The FOIL request by the Journal News was reckless as it puts every Putnam family at risk: people with legally registered guns as well as those who have chosen not to have a weapon in their house.”

Sen. Gregory Ball said he is proud to stand with those who defend Sant’s actions.

“I’m proud to stand with Putnam County and proud that Putnam won’t be releasing its pistol permit records. I thank God that Putnam County has a clerk with the guts to stand up and draw the line. This is clearly a violation of privacy, and needs to be corrected immediately,” said Ball. “Publishing this information on a website provides criminals with a map of where they can steal firearms from lawful owners for later use in the commission of crimes. We have victims of domestic violence, retired cops with families and good decent, law abiding people, all being publicly exposed. It is time for Putnam to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘Enough is enough.’”

Assemblyman Steve Katz said he would always defend an individual’s right to privacy.

“We’re standing together in a bi-partisan manner to protect the rights of privacy and to protect both the people whose names are on that list and the names of the people who are not on that list,” he said.

Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy said innocent people may find they are targets of a criminal element.

“Just because the information may be public does not necessarily mean it is prudent to allow that information to get into the hands of certain individuals, those of a criminal element who would use that information to further victimize people here in Putnam County,” said Levy. “The paper should be very concerned about who is reviewing this information and how they are going to use it to potentially commit further crimes.”

Legislator Richard Othmer of Kent, a gun owner, will also be present.

“As a Putnam County Legislator and a gun owner, I am in full support of Dennis Sant. I really believe it is an invasion of privacy and [publication of the list] is going to target certain people,” Othmer said.

Citing an example of the risks people face should the gun permit list requested by The Journal News be made public, Sant spoke of the more than 200 phone calls his office has received following the publication of Westchester and Rockland gun permit holders’ names and addresses in the Dec. 24th print edition of The Journal News. Sant said the greater majority have been from people who have had to have an Order of Protection issued against other individuals and now own a gun to protect themselves from those who have abused them in the past and may still wish to cause them harm.

“Some of these individuals, many of them women, are basically in hiding,” said Sant.

1-3-2013 County Executive MaryEllen Odell Press Conference

State and County Officials Stand United in Supporting Putnam County Clerk Dennis Sant’s Refusal to Fill Newspaper’s FOIL Request. January 3, 2013 – 9:42 am

 

 

 

County Executive MaryEllen Odell to Cut Ribbon on Reconstructed Parking Deck

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001

December 18, 2012

County Executive MaryEllen Odell to Cut Ribbon on Reconstructed Parking Deck

Visitors to Putnam’s County Office Building in Carmel, especially members of the press coming to cover events, will have an easier time parking once the ribbon is cut re-opening the upper portion of the layered parking deck located behind the 40 Gleneida Avenue building.

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell will do the honors on Thursday, Dec. 20 at 10:00 a.m. and the media is cordially invited to inspect the approximately 70 new visitor and employee parking spaces.

The project included the demolition and replacement of 600 cubic yards of reinforced concrete for the 22,400 square-foot slab using a high performance mix design. It was initiated once it was found that the reinforcing steel and decking for the original structure showed signs of severe corrosion.

Commissioner of Highways Fred Pena said the biggest obstacle in the approximately $600,000 project was preparing the edges of the original concrete slab to blend with and meet those of the newly constructed portion. Pena will accompany the County Executive as she cuts the ribbon.

“The existing concrete slab was saw cut one foot from the inside face of the parapet walls,” said Pena, “and demolition was performed using robotic jack hammers.”

Auditing Dept. clerk Eileen Barrett’s 3rd floor office overlooks the construction site. “No one is going to miss the sound of those jack hammers,” she said as she pointed out the new rooftop parking spaces from her office window.

Decking and shear studs were removed and replaced as needed and a new epoxy coated rebar was spliced prior to concrete placement. The new concrete was then cured using a heating system and insulating blankets for protection against cold weather. Finally, a penetrating sealer was applied for additional protection.

Existing lights in the lower parking area were removed and replace with energy efficient L.E.D. fixtures.

General contractor for the project is McNamee Construction Corp. Electrical contractor is HVS Electrical Construction Services. Maser Consulting provided engineering design and construction inspection.

Disabled Navy Veteran Shows County Executive Odell His ‘New’ Wheels

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001

Disabled Navy Veteran Shows County Executive Odell His ‘New’ Wheels

A disabled Navy Veteran who resides in Carmel was recently presented with the keys to a ‘new’ car through the efforts of several fellow veterans. Patrick Brady, who grew up in Brewster and now lives in the Putnam County Veterans Home on Drewville Road in Carmel, received the keys to a totally refurbished 2005 Chevrolet Impala at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15 at the VFW Post 4927 in Centereach, NY.

veterans and tea  pot 002

veterans and tea  pot 001

 

 

“Here is a young man who has given so much to his country and who now is receiving, through the efforts of his fellow Putnam veterans and the Vehicles for Veterans program, the priceless gift of independence,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell as she congratulated Brady. “Moments like these are what make the Season of Giving truly memorable,” she said.

Vehicles for Veterans is an offshoot of the National Auto Body Council (NABC)’s Recycled Rides program where damaged vehicles are refurbished through the donated time and services of auto body shops, insurers, paint suppliers and part vendors. It was started by Suffolk County resident and VFW Post 4927 member Dennis Sullivan who started networking ed with local businesses in March of 2010.

Last September, when Brewster VFW 672 life member Art Hanley heard Brady comment about wanting a car of his own some day, he put the wheels in motion and contacted Putnam’s Director of Veterans Affairs Karl Rohde. In turn, Rohde called his friend Sullivan who said there were nine available vehicles in Suffolk County. All Brady had to do was fill out an application form and explain in an essay how having a car would improve his quality of life.

A panel of judges selected Brady as one of the nine recipients and Hanley drove him to Long Island to fill out the necessary paperwork on Oct. 27. The nine vehicles would be turned over to their new owners at a ceremony scheduled for Nov. 10.

Then Superstorm Sandy struck. The ceremony was cancelled and Brady was left waiting to hear when he would receive his car.

Last week, he was notified that Dec. 15 was the big day.

Several service organizations added to the Season of Giving by donating gasoline gift cards to Brady as well.

County Executive MaryEllen Odell on Deaths of Four Young Men in Putnam

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001

County Executive MaryEllen Odell on Deaths of Four Young Men in Putnam:

Our hearts go out to the family and friends affected by the tragic deaths of four young men in Putnam County suspected of having died from drug overdoses over the last few days. While I cannot comment on the continuing investigation by local law enforcement and medical authorities, we do know from past experience that drug overdoses are often accidental and can occur at any time.

We have many resources in Putnam County for individuals and families who want to get help in preventing substance abuse as well as resources for those who are chemically dependent. Everyone, especially Putnam’s parents, should be aware of the dangers of prescription pill abuse among young people. Evident warning signs of possible chemical dependency in our youngsters include failing in school, becoming socially withdrawn, and changes in behavior.

Putnam’s Crisis Hotline (225-1222) is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Operated by United Way’s 2-1-1 program, it can connect those in need of treatment with three local chemical dependency treatment agencies: Putnam Family and Community Services, 1808 Brewster Avenue in Carmel (845) 225-2700; Naura Slavinsky at Arms Acres on Seminary Hill Road in Carmel (845) 225-3400; and St. Christopher’s Inn at Graymoor on Route 9 in Garrison (800) 424-0027.

In addition our Communities That Care Coalition ( CTC) provides community education and information regarding alcohol and substance abuse and is a wonderful resource for children and families. CTC is located at 2 Church St. in Carmel. (845) 225- 4646.

Bells for Peace to Ring in Putnam’s New Year

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001
December 4, 2012

Bells for Peace to Ring in Putnam’s New Year

“The idea is to support the Wounded Warrior Project, reach out to veterans and non-veterans alike across Putnam and have everyone united in a gesture of peace as they ring in 2013,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell.

At precisely midnight on December 31, the ringing of 100 Bells for Peace will join the chorus of church bells as they ring out across Putnam County welcoming in the New Year.

“Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,       

The flying cloud, the frosty light;

The year is dying in the night;

Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.


Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.”

 

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

                                Alfred, Lord Tennyson


“The idea is to support the Wounded Warrior Project, reach out to veterans and non-veterans alike across Putnam and have everyone united in a gesture of peace as they ring in 2013,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell.

The bells, each engraved with the words “Bells for Peace 2013” were procured by Director of Tourism Libby Pataki in the hope of raising donations for the Project. Pataki will distribute bells before year’s end to various veterans’ organizations throughout Putnam.

“Our veterans are our true ambassadors for peace,” Pataki said. “Their service to our country can never be repaid but it certainly can be celebrated and honored. The bells are but a reminder that peace is uppermost in our minds, a wish we hope to ring in with the New Year as we support the Wounded Warrior Project.”

Bells for Peace may be obtained for a small donation at the Tourism Office on the 3rd Floor of the Putnam County Office Building, 40 Gleneida Avenue, Carmel, NY. To reserve a bell, contact Libby Pataki at Libby.Pataki@putnamcountyny.gov.

Putnam County Bicentennial Veterans Day & Closing of the Time Capsule 2013

 Video

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Putnam County has been declared eligible for individual assistance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 13, 2012

MaryEllen Odell, Putnam County Executive

845 808-1001

joining Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Queens and Westchester Counties.  This designation will allow residents to seek assistance from FEMA for losses that may have sustained during Hurricane Sandy.  The County is now working with local municipalities and New York State to secure Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) in Putnam County.

The role of a DRC is to allow residents to come in and speak face to face with FEMA representatives regarding numerous issues:

 

  • Review and clarification regarding any correspondence residents may have received from FEMA
  • Long term and short term housing assistance questions
  • SBA Program opportunities
  • Status of FEMA applications
  • General guidance questions

Residents needing assistance are encouraged to apply online at http://www.disasterassistance.gov/ but they can also apply in person at the DRC.

“While we are truly grateful that no lives were lost during this historic storm, we are seeing that many of our residents have sustained tremendous personal property damage.  Having this designation will allow individual homeowners to apply for the federal assistance dollars to begin their recovery.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: PUTNAM COUNTY EXECUTIVE THANKS ‘TEAM PUTNAM’ FOR ABOVE AND BEYOND EFFORT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
Nov. 7, 2012

PUTNAM COUNTY EXECUTIVE THANKS  ‘TEAM PUTNAM’ FOR  ABOVE AND BEYOND EFFORT

“An extraordinary storm brought out the best in this county and I want to thank ‘Team Putnam,’ those tireless and dedicated members of the Command Staff under Deputy County Executive Bruce Walker, who worked above and beyond to guide us through Hurricane Sandy,” said County Executive, MaryEllen Odell. “Deputy County Executive, Bruce  J. Walker, Sgt. Frank Christian and Tom Velotti of the Sheriff’s Department, Health Department Commissioner Dr. Allan Beals and Marianne Burdick, Director of Emergency Management Tom Lannon, Acting Commissioner of Emergency Service Adam Stiebeling, Pat Sheehy, Director of the Office for the Aging, Adrienne Spadaccini,  Risk Manager, all our municipal leaders, and our American Red Cross volunteers, all of whom worked  long hours day and night to get us through the worst storm this county has ever seen.”  

In her wake, Hurricane Sandy left 90 percent of Putnam residents, businesses and government offices without power and more than 200 roads closed due to the downing of utility poles and trees. Tidal flooding occurred and left portions of downtown Cold Spring and Garrison under several feet of water. 

“Putnam’s Emergency Service personnel were called upon en masse and faced an enormous task,” said Odell.

However, each day saw progress being made and after a week of tireless efforts by so many, Odell announced on Monday, Nov. 5, that all Putnam County offices were open and would continue to operate during regular business hours.

By Tuesday, with the concentrated efforts of Board of Elections Commissioners Anthony Scannipiecco and Robert Bennett and their staff, all of Putnam’s polling places were open and functioning in time for Election Day voters.

“The road to recovery is well under way thanks to the extraordinary efforts of Putnam’s dedicated, selfless and capable employees,” said Odell.

Putnam Valley Highway Superintendent Larry Cobb was most appreciative of the combined efforts of numerous county and state departments during the aftermath of Sandy. In a statement released on Tuesday, Cobb thanked his town and the county highway departments as well as the County Executive’s office, the Emergency Management team, the Sheriff’s Department and the New York State Police, NYSEG crews and Lewis Tree Service for [their] “great co-operation and real time communication all throughout the storm.”  

Announcing that 70 percent of the damage created by Hurricane Sandy in his town has been removed or repaired, Cobb said he is now teaming up with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) representatives to recoup funding for the clean-up.

Odell and her Emergency Management team also met with FEMA officials on Tuesday. “Putnam County brought FEMA in to work with our municipalities and villages as well as our residents in their clean-up or reconstruction,” she said.  

A preliminary damage assessment for public and individual assistance is expected to be conducted on Wednesday, Nov. 7. Two teams consisting of personnel from FEMA, the State and County offices of Emergency Management, and other officials will review damage to each town and village.

 “The Emergency Operations Center remains open and staffed to further assist residents still affected by Hurricane Sandy,” said Odell late Tuesday. “We are here and ready to assist the storm weary residents of Putnam County,” said Odell.

Officials expect that by Wednesday, the remaining 38 percent of Putnam residents still without power will have it restored.