Health Department and Hospital to Residents: You Talk, We Listen! TAKE OUR SURVEY!

Take the survey. Tell us what you think about community strengths, and health-related issues and concerns.

The Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is being updated by the Putnam County Department of Health, Putnam Hospital Center and other public health system partners. The input of residents and those who work in Putnam is also important to this process.

Your responses to the survey, along with other community assessments, will help create a strong Community Health Improvement Plan.


Health Department and Hospital to Residents: You Talk, We Listen

BREWSTER, NY— Putnam County residents are being asked to share their thoughts and opinions to make the community a better place to live and work. The Putnam County Department of Health is partnering with Putnam Hospital Center to launch a “community asset survey” to gain insight into what the public thinks are the greatest strengths of the community and where the gaps exist so resources can be directed adequately to develop a healthier community. Already more than 300 residents have expressed their views, but everyone who lives or works in Putnam County is invited to voice their opinions. The quick and anonymous survey is on the homepage of the Putnam County website at and will run until July 31. The direct link is:

“This is a chance to let us know where you think improvement efforts should focus,” explained Michael Nesheiwat, MD, Interim Commissioner of Health for the Putnam County. “This survey is an integral step in developing our community health assessment, which looks at an array of socio-economic factors that affect health,” Dr. Nesheiwat continued, “and the results help form the basis for our Community Health Improvement Plan.”

From start to finish, the survey has 13, easy-to-answer questions that can be completed in five to ten minutes. The first asks respondents to choose the county’s greatest strengths from a list that includes broad factors such as low crime, a clean and healthy environment and public transportation. The second presents a similar list, but asks where improvement efforts should focus. The third question concentrates on specific health issues in the county, and the next two questions ask about how the person gets his or her health care. The remaining eight questions collect simple demographic data such as zip code, age and ethnicity.

Putnam County businesses and other organizations that wish to ensure their employees’ opinions are counted can contact the health department at 845-808-1390 or are encouraged to email the survey link directly to their employees.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of Putnam County residents through prevention of illness and injury. 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; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

Putnam’s Hopes Raised Again for Back-to-School Tax Free Holiday Shopping

Putnam’s Hopes Raised Again for Back-to-School Tax Free Holiday Shopping

A bill that would eliminate the county portion of sales tax in Putnam over a 10-day period in August passed the State Senate this week.

The legislation, which was requested by the Putnam County government, would mean shoppers enjoy a 50 percent sales tax reduction, from 8.38 percent to 4 percent, when shopping in the county from August 20th-31st, for clothing and footwear under $110.

“I am proud to have delivered the sales tax holiday for the people of Putnam County for the second year in a row and urge my colleagues in the Assembly to do the same,” said State Senator Terrence Murphy.  “County Executive Odell has made this a priority for the residents of Putnam County and we will not stop until this becomes a reality. The people of Putnam County and the surrounding communities deserve this as a way to make back-to-school shopping more affordable.”

Earlier this year, the Putnam County Legislature passed a home rule request signed by County Executive MaryEllen Odell, requesting enactment of the measure in Albany.

“While I am grateful to Senator Murphy and the County Legislature for their continued support to enact the 10-day reprieve of the county’s portion of sales tax during the back-to-school season, we still need the Assembly to pass the bill,” said Odell. “Putnam has requested the tax holiday in previous years, but it has not been OKed by the Assembly. This year, we hope they will vote in accordance with the needs of Putnam constituents.”

“Due to high taxes and Connecticut retail centers less than 20 minutes away, Putnam County retail businesses are up against the stiffest competition in New York State,” said Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman of the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce. “Our retail stores rise to the occasion with excellent customer service and unique offerings. This sales tax free week would give them an edge on sales and be an effective “thank you” for their commitment to our county. “

Of the total 8.38 percent sales tax rate in Putnam County, four percent of the generated revenue goes to the state and the remaining 4.38 percent goes to the county. This bill would eliminate the local share during the 10-day period. After passing unanimously through the Senate, the bill now heads to the Assembly.

Take a look at the CTC Summer Newsletter

Take a look at the CTC Summer Newsletter!

The Summer Newsletter 2016 


Communities That Care (CTC) is a five step comprehensive
prevention approach that provides research-based tools to help
communities identify and address risk and protective factors
associated with substance abuse, delinquency, teen pregnancy,
school dropout and violence.

This approach was developed by researchers at the University of
Washington and is based on over 20 years of rigorous national research
from a variety of fields (sociology, psychology, education, public health,
criminology, medicine, and organizational development).

Click here to learn more!

Talking to Your Child about the Shooting

Talking to Your Child about the Shooting

June 13, 2016, Brewster, NY—Shootings are tragic events that provoke heavy emotions across the country. These emotions spread into the homes of many, raising thoughts and questions within society. Children often struggle emotionally when they hear of such tragedies; they may not understand or know how to deal with the thoughts and feelings they are experiencing. Children turn to caretakers or parents for reassurance and explanations. There is no easy answer or one-way approach to try to explain such a catastrophic event to your children. However, it is an important conversation to have because oftentimes children are concerned for their own safety.

Tips for talking to your children:

  • Don’t wait—The news, television and social media make it difficult to be the first one to talk about the shooting with your children. However, it is important not to delay the conversation to avoid having your child hear misinformation. The sooner you have the conversation, the sooner you will be able to answer questions, express facts about the incident and provide some emotional ease.
  • Recognize behavior—It’s important to pay attention to your children’s emotions. Are they more upset or anxious than usual? Are they talking about nightmares or having trouble sleeping?
  • Encourage your child—Allow your child to know this is ok to talk about and it is healthy to express feelings. When your children express emotions, validate their feelings and talk about your own feelings. Encourage questions; however, take note that it is ok not to know all the answers. These events are hard to understand and sometimes there is no why or how answer.
  • Listen and share—Listen to your children, let them know they are being heard and share your beliefs. Try to be simple with explanations. Shootings are traumatic events; don’t overwhelm them with too many details.
  • Positives are important—Assure your children about their safety and that they are loved. It’s necessary to talk about the heroes and all the people who helped during the crisis. Also encourage your children to take action and discuss solutions with them.

Parents’ approach to talking about shootings should depend on the age of the child. For preschool and kindergartners, speak calmly and explain the situation in a manner that is easily understandable. Children in elementary and middle school will have more questions and will want answers. It’s important to separate fantasy from reality while providing them with accurate information to prevent misinformation or misconceptions. High school teens are able to understand the tragedies, therefore discuss in-depth information about what they have heard and have them share their feelings.

Most importantly, it is ok to seek help if necessary. Don’t be afraid to recognize that tragedies are hard to handle. If you are concerned for your child’s emotional or behavioral well-being contact mental health professionals at school or in your community.

Local resources are:

  • The Putnam County Crisis Hotline, the phone number is 845-225-1222 and they are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Putnam Family and Community Services, their phone number is 845-225-2700.
  • Putnam Hospital Center Emergency Department, staff is available on call for 24 hours a day.
  • Text “GO” to 741-741 or visit
  • Visit
  • The Disaster Distress Helpline, the phone number is 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs” to 66746.

Additional information on:






Marking its third year, the Putnam Invests in Leaders of Tomorrow (P.I.LO.T) Internship Program has returned for the summer of 2016, beginning with orientation at the Donald B. Smith Campus.

“By investing in our high school and college students, we are investing in the future of our county,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell, “The P.I.LO.T Internship Program provides students with a wonderful opportunity to gain real world experience and make valuable connections within the community.”

The selected high school, undergraduate and graduate interns joined County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Putnam County Personnel Department staff to learn more about the program, review forms and policies, and connect with new and returning interns.

Paul Eldridge, Putnam County Personnel Director says, “The P.I.L.O.T program has developed into a terrific investment in Putnam County’s youth.  It is a win-win situation for both the County and the students involved.  It seems each year the caliber of students is incredible.”

Popularity of the P.I.L.O.T Program has grown tremendously over the past three years, as demonstrated by the high volume of competitive applicants. Shannon Cooke, a senior at Binghamton University majoring in human resources said, “I wasn’t one hundred percent sure about human resources but so far, interning at the Personnel Department has been a great experience.”

Emily Giordano, an undergraduate student studying civil engineering, was very enthusiastic about her upcoming internship at the Highway Department. “It is such a great opportunity and I am very excited to gain experience,” says Giordano, “My internship at the Highway Department is relevant to my major, so this is a perfect way to explore my potential career path.”

The idea of the Putnam County P.I.L.O.T Program was introduced by County Executive MaryEllen Odell in 2013 and continues to be supported by the Putnam County Legislature. In cooperation with the Putnam County Personnel Department, with a special thanks to Adriene Iasoni, coordinator of the P.I.L.O.T Program, selected interns are matched with county departments that align best with their interests and fields of study. Through their internships, interns are able to gain hands-on experience, learn more about how the county government functions, and potentially validate their career paths.

Seventy Veterans and Residents Attend Row of Honor Kick-Off on Armed Forces Day

CARMEL, N.Y. – Armed Forces Day, a national commemoration of Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches, marked the kick off of Putnam County’s annual Row of Honor season at the Carmel VFW Hall, located on Route 52 in Carmel, N.Y. Preceded by a pancake breakfast organized by the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council and sponsored by Kevin Byrne, the event drew 70 veterans and residents to remember the men and women who lost their lives in service to the United States. 

“The Row of Honor tradition that has been established in our county means so much to our vets and to the families who have lost loved ones in service to our country,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We are so grateful for the freedom and safety that our military protects every single day. These flags, emblazoned with the names of many of those brave men and women, honor their sacrifice.”

More than 200 flags, which carry the names of beloved Veterans, will continue to fly until Flag Day, June 14th. With a $100 donation, the name of a loved one can appear on a flag. The proceeds will go toward Veterans Peer-to-Peer projects, which assist vets who are suffering from isolation, depression, PTSD and other issues associated with the readjustment to civilian life.

To order your flag, call 845-808-1620 or visit Checks can be made payable to the Joint Veterans Council to PC Veterans Service Agency, Donald B. Smith Government Campus, 110 Old Route 6, Bldg. 3, Carmel, N.Y. 10512.

Good Day Hudson Valley visits Putnam’s largest business expo. Host, Lisa Kaslyn, interviews County Executive MaryEllen Odell and more!

Good Day Hudson Valley visits Putnam’s largest business expo. Host, Lisa Kaslyn, interviews County Executive MaryEllen Odell, former NY Jet football player and ESPN announcer, Marty Lyons, former Voice contestant, Amanda Ayala and several local business exhibitors, including Skin Serendipity, Boyd Artesian Wells and DMC Interiors

Annual Putnam Children’s Expo & Public Safety Day Draws Record Crowds

Annual Putnam Children’s Expo & Public Safety Day Draws Record Crowds

Demonstrations, Food, Games, and Entertainment Make Learning about Safety Fun

CARMEL, NY (May 24, 2016) – On Saturday, May 14th, the 11th annual Children’s Expo and Public Safety Day drew record crowds to the County’s TOPS (Training and Operations) building on the Donald B. Smith Campus.  Presented by the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) and the Bureau of Emergency Services of Putnam County, the event featured live demonstrations and participation from Town Fire Departments, State Police, Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, County Bureau of Emergency Services, Putnam Hospital Center and the CAC.

“The turnout at this year’s event was impressive,” said Robert Lipton, Deputy Commissioner at Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services. “We saw our largest crowds ever with close to 1,000 residents participating in a wide variety of attractions, games and demonstrations over a four hour period.  At this rate, we may be outgrowing our event location.”

Sponsored by Eric Gross, in memory of his wife, Barbara, and Putnam Hospital Center, the day featured 45 vendors and fun interactive learning that effectively engaged youngsters in safety best practices while offering parents access to education and resources, including:

  • Operation SAFE CHILD Photo/fingerprint ID card
  • Car Seat Checks and Installations
  • Social Media Safety
  • Physical, Mental Health and Family Services
  • Meet Firefighters and Police
  • Safety House Fire Trailer

“Ensuring the health and safety of our community and children, in particular, is what this day is about,” said MaryEllen Odell, Putnam County Executive. “It’s wonderful to see so many people involved and interested in the work that the CAC and our emergency services team provides to residents on a daily basis. Through a combination of their ongoing efforts and community education, we will continue to uphold our county’s safety track record.”

Event attendees also enjoyed  Home Depot’s free Kids Workshops, which offered fun and useful building projects.  The day was rounded out with a magic performance, storytelling, coaching on animal handling, as well as canine exhibitions by the State Police and sheriff’s office and demonstrations from a medevac helicopter crew.

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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.








George D’Alessandro of Carmel and Gloria Troy of Mahopac are the County’s 2016 Outstanding Volunteers, according to County Executive MaryEllen Odell.  Both Mr. D’Alessandro and Ms. Troy were recognized by the County Executive and Director of Office for Senior Resources, Patricia Sheehy, at the R.S.V.P. Luncheon held on May 6, 2016 at the Putnam County Golf Course.  Then each were accompanied to ceremonies in Albany by the Director of Senior Resources, Patricia Sheehy, where they were recognized by the State Office for the Aging Acting Director, Greg Olsen, for the value to their communities at the Senior of the Year Recognition Event held on May 10, 2016 at the The Egg, in the Hart Pavilion located in Albany, New York.

“Both Mr. D’Alessandro and Ms. Troy demonstrate on a daily basis how Putnam County Senior Citizens enrich the lives of others when they volunteer their time and skills,” declares Director Sheehy.

George D’Alessandro is an enthusiastic man who spreads his positive attitude everywhere he volunteers.  Since 2012, George has been a Senior Fitness Instructor for Putnam County Seniors volunteering his time several days a week at the Carmel and Mahopac Senior Friendship centers.  As a Senior Fitness Volunteer Instructor, George helps many people improve themselves physically and has shown seniors that fitness can be fun.  His classes are always full and the seniors feel that he makes a big difference in their lives.  George has been volunteering his time since the 1950’s showing his commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.  Through the years, he has been a coach for many baseball and basketball teams.   George founded the Kent Day Camp and started many children’s programs such as the  gymnastic program, a kickball league, little league baseball, a softball league and flag football.  Beginning in the 1980’s and continuing until just a few years ago, George started and ran after school intramural sports programs for parochial schools and was a faculty consultant for the school newspaper.  George continues to write a sports column for local newspapers.

Gloria Troy has volunteered and served for many volunteer efforts.  Gloria has volunteered for many organizations.  Presently she volunteers at the William Koehler Senior Center in Mahopacand is the Activity Leader for the RSVP Sewing Group, a group that sews cancer pads for patients.  She also heads up the knitting group that knits baby hats and shawls for wheelchair patients.  At the center, she calls BINGO keeping the game lively for the seniors.   Gloria volunteers her time at the Mahopac Library continuing her knitting for babies and wheelchair patients.  As an RSVP Wellness Ambassador, she visits nursing homes. Gloria has been a bell ringer to help raise funds for the Salvation Army.  As well, she has volunteered her time at the Eagle Eye II Thrift Store cataloging and selling items to raise funds for the Putnam Hospital.  Gloria has walked the RSVP Golden Mile to raise funds for the March of Dimes.  Gloria is also very compassionate towards her neighbors and keeps an eye out for them.  People say that Gloria is a person who works selflessly to help her community.

We congratulate these two outstanding Seniors for the invaluable contributions to our community of Putnam County.



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.


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