“Last Chance” Public Flu Vaccination Clinic Scheduled for December 10 at the Putnam County Department of Health

“Last Chance” Public Flu Vaccination Clinic Scheduled for December 10 at the Putnam County Department of Health

Brewster, NY – The influenza season is upon us with flu activity being reported sporadically across the nation. In the United States, flu activity is usually highest between December and February, but cases may linger as late as May. With flu activity starting to increase and family and friends gathering for the holidays, now is a great time to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones. The Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) is hosting its final public flu vaccination clinic Thursday, December 10, coinciding with National Influenza Vaccination Week, observed December 6 through December 12. The clinic hours will be 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., at the main health department office at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster. No appointments are necessary. Any Putnam County resident age three years and older is eligible to receive flu vaccine at this clinic. The fee, covering vaccine cost and administration, is $25. There is no fee for those over age 65 or with a Medicare card. High- dose flu vaccine will be available for individuals age 65 and older, which studies have shown appears more effective in fighting flu in seniors.

So far this year more than 3700 flu vaccinations have been given by the PCDOH; 2432 of these were administered in the schools. If you have not yet received your flu shot, it is important to do so as soon as possible since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to build the antibodies your body needs in order to provide protection against the flu.

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




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 romina.ganopolsky@sunywcc.edu. Apply for the course online at www.sunywcc.edu/g2e.

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.


Putnam County Department of Health Hosts Two Public Events in Recognition of World AIDS Day

Brewster, NY – Tuesday, December 1, is World AIDS Day, a day set aside to increase awareness of the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS epidemic around the world and a time to remember loved ones who have died as a result of AIDS-related illnesses. To commemorate this international observance, the Putnam County Department of Health is offering free rapid HIV testing and counseling on Tuesday, December 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 1 Geneva Road, Brewster, NY. HIV results take just 20 minutes and no appointment is necessary.

On Friday, December 4, in collaboration with Westchester Medical Center, a Teen Health Day for individuals ages 13 to 24 will be held at the Carmel Fire Department, 94 Gleneida Avenue, from 9 a.m. to

4 p.m. The Teen Health Day will offer free and confidential services including HIV testing, STD screening,

Hepatitis C testing, pregnancy testing and mental health and substance abuse referrals. Several other community organizations will be participating in the event to provide education and answer questions.

Although new technologies have been developed in the fight against AIDS, such as rapid HIV testing, and new treatments have slowed the progression of HIV to AIDS, the disease remains a major health threat both in the U.S. and worldwide. People with HIV are living longer, healthier, more productive lives, but there is still no vaccine or cure. The only way for an individual to know if he or she has HIV is to be tested.

teenhealthdayjpg“Early diagnosis and prompt, appropriate treatment can make the difference in quality and length of life,” said Allen Beals, M.D., Commissioner of Health, “and it is also the key to protecting others from becoming infected.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention in Atlanta estimates that 1.2 million individuals in the United States are living with HIV and one in eight of those infected do not know they are HIV positive. Many adults report not being tested for HIV because they do not see themselves as at risk. Prevention efforts have helped keep the rates of new infections stable in recent years, but the opportunity for infection increases as more people live with the disease. Getting tested is a first step towards prevention.

For more information about HIV or Hepatitis C testing, or disease education and prevention, contact the Health Department at (845) 808-1390.

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

Homestyle Caterers

Putnam County Golf Course Caterer Featured in WAG Magazine

CARMEL, N.Y. – Homestyle Caterers, the official caterer of the Putnam County Golf Course, is spotlighted in the November 2015 issue of WAG magazine. In the article, “Homestyle Caterers: With Tradition on the Menu,” Al Ciuffetelli talks how he and his brother Joseph, who is also his business partner, contribute a significant portion of their success to keeping family at the core of their company.

“That’s a big part of what we are,” he says in the article. “Family’s a big part of it.”

Many of their nearly 60 employees are family members.

The importance of family extends out to relationships within the community.

Homestyle Caterers hosts family friendly Friday-night barbecues and concerts at Putnam County Golf Course in Mahopac during the summer months and does a lot of work with not-for-profit organizations and local causes.

“We’re all about the community,” he adds in the article.

In addition to handling the food service at Putnam County Golf Course and organizing the private and public events held there, Homestyle Caterers is also responsible for the catering at Dunwoodie Golf Course in Yonkers, does off-premise catering and provides lunches to schools and institutions in the lower Hudson Valley.

“We serve 2,000 meals every single day,” he says in the article.

Most recently Homestyle Caterers has added providing the catering and booking the entertainment at Westchester County Center in White Plains. It has Kenny Rogers set to perform on Dec. 11.

To read the article visit www.wagmag.com/with-tradition-on-the-menu.

Photo: The Ciuffetelli brothers share a laugh. Photograph by John Rizzo.


Putnam Accepting Applications for 2016 PILOT Program Student Internship Program

Carmel, NY – For the third year, Putnam County Government will once again offer high school, college and graduate school students the opportunity to apply for paid and unpaid summer internship opportunities throughout its many departments as part of the Putnam Invests in Leaders of Tomorrow (PILOT) Program.
“The PILOT program has been a win-win for Putnam County and the students who participate,” County Executive MaryEllen Odell said.   “The PILOT program not only gives students from Putnam County an opportunity to have a hands-on real world experience but also the chance to learn the role county government has in our communities. In addition, Putnam County is able to benefit from the talent and eagerness of our youth.”
Past interns have found the PILOT program provided insight and resources that will help them as they consider their career choices.
“It was a great opportunity, I made great connections and I learned a lot about how the county government operates,” Zachary Cecere, a 2015 intern in the Purchasing Department, said.
The P.I.L.O.T Program helped some interns validate their career choices.
“Going into it I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to be a prosecutor,” said Timothy Martin, who is in his senior year at SUNY Buffalo and was a 2015 intern in the District Attorney’s Office. “But I found it interesting that you aren’t just working for yourself, it is very team oriented… it was a great experience.”
Some of the intern’s had eye opening experiences in regard to what occurs in their county.
Christine O’Loughlin, a 2015 intern in the Department of Social Services, stated, “Some cases are like TV, you wouldn’t think that they happen where you live, but it’s nice to see that there are people working to make it better.”
Odell first introduced the concept of PILOT back in 2013. Since its inception, interest in the PILOT Program and the number of student applicants has grown dramatically.
Eligible participants must be Putnam County residents who are graduate, college, or high school students in their junior or senior year.  Applicants must be at least 16 years of age. For college students a GPA of 3.0 or higher is recommended.
The 2016 Summer PILOT program will be held May 23 through August 12, 2015, depending on student availability.  Internship hours, are typically 28 hours a week, and will be coordinated with Department supervisors.
Online filing instructions are now posted on the Putnam County Personnel website at www.putnamcountyny.com/personnel.  The application consideration deadline for students is Friday, January 15, 2016.  Initial candidate interviews will begin in December.
Photo Captions: County Executive MaryEllen Odell with many of the 2015 PILOT interns.
courthouse blue white red

Odell Orders Putnam’s Historic Courthouse to be Lit Blue, White and Red in Solidarity with France

CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell has ordered the Historic Courthouse in Carmel to be illuminated in blue, white and red lights to represent it county’s solidarity with France in the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks on the county.

“Our hearts go out to the victims and their families and friends,” said Odell. “As a community that still feels the pain of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, we empathize with the French citizens and visitors whose lives will be forever changed. To have the historic courthouse lit in blue, white and red shows that we are united in the commitment in liberty and justice for all. ”

The lighting of the courthouse will coincide with President Barack Obama’s order to have the American flag at half-mast until sunset on Thursday, Nov.19.

row of honor honorees

Odell Recognizes WWII Veteran and Iraq Veteran during Putnam’s Row of Honor Opening Ceremony

CARMEL, N.Y. – County Executive MaryEllen Odell was joined by local elected and appointed officials to recognize the efforts of a Bob Palmer, a World War II Veteran from Brewster, and Ryan Lepore, an Iraq Veteran from Putnam Valley, during the opening ceremony of the Veterans Day Row of Honor, held on Monday, Nov. 9 along Lake Gleneida. Up-and-coming music sensation Hailey Knox, a Carmel High School senior, sang the National Anthem.

“Veterans Day is about remembering the efforts of all the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces,” said Odell. “We decided to honor one of our oldest Veterans and one of our youngest Veterans to recognize the Veterans who walk amongst us every day.”

Palmer, a third-generation military service man, served in the United States Army from August 1942 to December 1945, achieving the rank of Platoon Sergeant and commanding a 16-man gun section. He was part of the 445 Anti-aircraft Artillery Battalion in the 8th Infantry Division during the European campaign of World War II. During his service, Palmer earned the American Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

Following his WWII service, Palmer worked for Conrail for 41 years. He is a Life Member of the Brewster Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 672 and served as its Chaplain for 20 years.

For three decades, Palmer categorized and placed over 1,200 American flags on Veterans graves from Southeast- mostly by himself.  In 2012, the torch was passed and the “The Bob Palmer Project” was started- not to duplicate his singular effort- but to follow his intent. The Brewster/Southeast community now places the more than 1,200 American flags on the graves of Veterans before Memorial Day, to not only honor and remember our veterans, but to honor Bob Palmer and his commitment to the community and Veterans.

Lepore who was a freshman at Putnam Valley High School on September 11, 2001, felt it was his duty to serve his country. After graduating in 2005, he followed his older brother Richard’s footsteps and joined the Army.

Stationed in Vilseck, Germany, Lepore was deployed to Iraq for 15 months in between 2007 and 2008, during “The Surge.” He was a cannon crewmember on a Howitzer Cannon and his unit conducted combat patrols and raids in a hostile environment. Lepore was honorably discharged with the rank of private first class in 2010.

After returning home, Lepore joined Putnam Valley VFW Post 391. In 2015, he became the Commander of Putnam Valley VFW Post 391 to help Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans transition and cope with civilian life. Lepore is the first post commander who served in the current Iraq War and one of the youngest VFW commanders in the country.

“Our freedom isn’t free and that is what Veterans Day is all about,” said Sheriff Donald B. Smith. “It is the day we honor all the Veterans and we say ‘Thank you.’ We remember nor only those who made the ultimate sacrifice but those who put their lives on hold and marched to the sound of the gun shots. On Veterans Day we need to also remember those soldiers who are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.”

The Row of Honor is the installation of over 250 American flags with the names of Veterans, law enforcement officers and first responders, lines along the shores of Lake Gleneida to honor the men and women who served, or continue to serve, to protect us and defend our freedoms. It is on display twice a year to observe Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

“We have 250 flags here on Lake Gleneida,” said Odell. “The program has been very successful and it has been noted nationally and throughout the Hudson Valley region. Visitors are stopping by and spending time admiring the flags and honoring those whose names appear on the tags. It is a touching way to show your respect to our Veterans and our veteran First Responders.”

The Row of Honor began in 2013 and was so well received by the public that Odell decided to make it a semi-annual event. The Row of Honor is a fundraising venture among the Joint Veterans Council, Putnam County Tourism and Putnam County government. This year, money raised through sponsorships of the flags will be used to support the Putnam County Veterans and Military Museum, which is located in Veterans Memorial Park in Kent.

“Seeing the sea of American flags is incredible,” said State Senator Terrence Murphy. “I am honored to stand here today. It is important that we do what we can for our Veterans. That is why I am so pleased to announce that the passage of the Vietnam Veterans’ Equality Act has been signed into law by Governor Cuomo. The Vietnam Veterans of America will now be recognized by New York State as an official benevolent order. It will now have the status and resources to better serve New York’s Vietnam Veterans, along with the other rights and privileges conferred to other traditional Veterans service organizations.”

In addition to the colorful display of American-made Stars and Stripes there will be flags representing the five branches of the United States Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. There will also be flags representing the Army and Air National Guards, Merchant Marines, Fraternal Order of Police, POW/MIAs and a special 9/11 flag.

Sponsorships may be purchased for $100 per flag. Checks should be made out to the Joint Veterans Council and sent to the Putnam County Veterans Affairs Office, Donald B. Smith Government Campus, 110 Old Route 6, Bldg. 3, Carmel, NY 10512. For further information, call Art Hanley at (845) 808-1620 or go online to putnamcountyny.com/roh.

Photo Caption: State Senator Terrence Murphy and Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell recognized the efforts of Veterans Ryan Lepore of Putnam Valley and Bob Palmer of Brewster during the opening ceremony of the Veterans Day Row of Honor.

FAVOR Banner

Putnam County Clerk Encourages Veterans to Take Advantage of Return the F.A.V.O.R Discount Program

CARMEL, N.Y. – As the county prepares to celebrate Veterans Day, Putnam County Clerk Michael Bartolotti reminds Putnam residents, who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, to participate in the Return the F.A.V.O.R. Discount Program to get year-round savings as a small token of appreciation.

“Putnam County has always been a very patriotic community and I am thrilled to be able to continue this program which allows my office and the local merchants a way to say thank you to our Veterans every day,” said County Clerk Bartolotti. “The merchants are all eager to ‘Return the Favor’ and give thanks for all the sacrifices you have made to guarantee our freedom and safety.”

The Return the F.A.V.O.R. (Find & Assist Vets of Record) Discount Program entitles Veterans to hundreds of discounts on merchandise and services throughout Putnam County.

“You cannot put a dollar amount on what we, as a society, owe our Veterans,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “What we can do is take every opportunity we have to show our gratitude. I support the County Clerk’s Return the Favor program and encourage all of the Veterans to use it. It can save you money on meals, home heating and other services as well as on rounds of golf at Putnam County Golf Course.”

Veterans who file their DD214s at the Putnam County Clerk’s Office are issued a Putnam County Veteran ID card that enables them to take advantage of discounts offered by local merchants.

“Filing the DD214 with the County Clerk’s Office is an important thing for Veterans to do,” said Bartolotti. “By my office keeping it on file you do not have to worry about losing it. It is an essential document required for many Veterans services. The Return the F.A.V.O.R program is a bonus.”

Putnam County’s Return the F.A.V.O.R. program is a wonderful way to help and honor our Veterans at the same time,” said Art Hanley, chairman of the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council. “Participating Veterans are assured that they will always be able to find a copy of their DD214 and the ID card they are issued is good for discounts from merchants throughout the county who wish to say thank you for your service.”

A list of the participating merchants and the discount offered is available on the County Clerk’s website, putnamcountyny.com/county-clerk, along with the program’s rules and conditions.

“The program’s success is dependent not only on the participation of our Veterans, but also our local merchants,” said Bartolotti.  “As such we strongly suggest every Putnam County business to enroll as a participating merchant.”

Merchants who are interested in participating in the Return the F.A.V.O.R program can find applications to join there as well.

For more information, visit putnamcountyny.com/county-clerk or call (845) 808-1142 x 49301.


Hundreds of Veterans Chow Down In Putnam County

MAHOPAC, NY – Hundreds of local veterans and their families enjoyed the first Veterans Chow Down hosted by State Senators Terrence Murphy and Sue Serino and Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell held on Sunday, Nov. 1 at the Putnam County Golf Course.  The event, which was presented in cooperation of the PFC Joseph Dwyer Vet2Vet Program, paid tribute to the men and men from Putnam County who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

“The goal of today’s event was to offer a small token of appreciation to the brave men and women who defended our freedoms,” Senator Murphy said.  “We are the land of the free because of the brave and there is no task too small when it comes to caring for our Veterans.”

The Veterans were served family-style a menu featuring creamed chip beef on toast (aka S.O.S.), Chicken Marsala, and smoked ham. A trio of singers from the USO provided live entertainment and the American Veterans Historical Museum set up exhibits and displayed several military vehicles.

“The sacrifices that our Veterans – and their families – make on our behalf are innumerable and we need to take every opportunity that we can to remind them that they have an incredibly grateful community behind them,” Senator Serino said.  “The Chow Down is our way of bringing out vets together, showing our appreciation and recognizing them for all that they do in our community.  Thank you to everyone who helped to make it a tremendous success.”

Dozens of volunteers welcomed the Veterans and served the meal.

“It is our honor today to serve our Veterans, who served our country and protected our freedoms,” Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said.  “I also want to thank all of the volunteers – the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, high school and middle school students as well as adults, who worked alongside us to make today possible.  On behalf of Senator Murphy and Senator Serino and the PFC Joseph Dwyer Vet2Vet Program and thanking all of our Veterans and their families a happy and safe holiday season.”

The cornerstone portion of the event was built around the Vet2Vet Program, which is run by Putnam County’s Veterans Service Agency. It provides a place for peers (fellow Veterans, members of the Armed Forces and their families) to connect with and support one another in a safe and nonjudgmental environment.  It is a free, anonymous and confidential program that provides support, lunch-and-learn workshops, mentoring opportunities as well as training and development options.

Reports continue to show service members returning from active duty are at an increased risk of PTSD. Statistics from the Federal Government indicate nearly 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffer from PTSD, which is double the rate from Operation Desert Storm. In addition, there is an ongoing effort to reduce the suicide rate of veterans, which currently stands at a staggering rate of 22 every day.

“Today was a homerun,” said Karl Rohde, Director of Putnam County Veterans Service Agency.  “There were smiles on everyone’s face.  The veterans were proud to be here and proud to be veterans.  They loved the food and the entertainment from the USO.  Thank you to County Executive Odell, Senators Murphy and Serino for always supporting the Veterans and with the PFC Joseph Dwyer Vet2Vet Program to make this event possible.”

The event was warmly received by the Veterans guests.

“It was an incredible event,” said Veteran Earl Gunderson of Phillipstown. The food was delicious and it was great to sit at the table and some old stories.”

Veteran Nick Mucciarone of Mahopac agreed. “Today was wonderful, it could not have been better.  It was a beautiful affair and we really appreciate it.”