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.

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.

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.

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.”

Open Enrollment for NYS’s Health Insurance Exchange Opens November 1

Open Enrollment for NYS’s Health Insurance Exchange Opens November 1; New Option Offers Big Cost Savings

BREWSTER, NY—On November 1, 2015, open enrollment for New York State’s official health plan exchange begins, featuring a new option called “The Essential Plan.” This insurance plan costs much less than other health plans, but offers the necessary benefits as the name implies. The Essential Plan is designed to provide quality health insurance to low-income people who don’t qualify for Medicaid or Child Health Plus, which consumers can apply for throughout the year. The Open Enrollment period for the Essential Plan and other health plan exchange options, continues through Sunday, January 31, 2015.

Access to care is an important aspect to a healthy community and the Putnam County Department of Health works with two partner organizations to help potential patients select and enroll in the best insurance plan for them, the Essential Plan or another one. MISN, a not-for-profit agency dedicated to family and community health and wellness, serves the mid-Hudson region, and offers guidance to Putnam residents, free of charge and bias. Fidelis Care NY also offers free guidance to their array of health insurance plans. Both have bilingual representatives available to help in Putnam County. MISN navigators, aptly named since they help steer individuals to the right plan, can be reached at 1-800-453-4666 or by email at navigator@misn.ny.org. A Putnam representative for Fidelis Care can be reached 845-483-1292, extension 25114.

Those who qualify for The Essential Plan may pay $20 a month per person, or nothing at all depending on income. The plan has no deductible, meaning that the plan begins paying for health services right away. Routine doctor exams, screenings, and other preventative services are provided for free. Doctor ordered tests; prescription drugs and hospital visits are also covered.

New York State’s health insurance exchange or marketplace, called “The New York State of Health,” was launched in October 2013 under the Affordable Care Act. It allows New Yorkers to compare health plan options and apply for assistance that could lower the cost of their health insurance. They may also qualify for coverage through Medicaid or Child Health Plus. Anyone who needs health coverage can apply through the exchange.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed 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 the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or visit the social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth, www.facebook.com/RunWalkPutnam, www.instagram.com/PutnamHealthNY and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

Putnam DMV Drop Box Installed in Philipstown

CARMEL, N.Y. – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and County Clerk Michael Bartolotti have been committed to improving the access residents on the western side of the county have to government services such as routine Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) transactions. After working with County Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra, Philipstown Town Clerk Tina Merando and Philipstown Highway Superintendent Roger Chirico on logistics, Odell and Bartolotti are pleased to announce the installation of a DMV drop box at the Philipstown Town Hall, 238 Main Street, Cold Spring, N.Y.

“It has been one of the priorities of this administration to expand the number of county services that are easily available to residents in Philipstown, Cold Spring and Nelsonville,” County Executive Odell said. “I am so delighted that residents on the western side of the county will no longer have to travel far to complete some general DMV matters. I appreciate all the effort that County Clerk Michael Bartolotti, Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra, Philipstown Town Clerk Tina Merando and Philipstown Highway Superintendent Roger Chirico put forth to make this a reality. This is the beginning of good things for Western Putnam.”

The DMV drop box will provide 24-hour service for license renewals accompanied by a valid eye test within the past six months, registration renewals and license plates surrenders with a $1.00 transaction fee.

County Clerk Bartolotti reminds patrons that renewing locally helps support Putnam by keeping the revenues in County and not sending them to the State.  “We use these revenues to not only cover the cost of our local DMV, but to also help keep your County property taxes low,” he said. “If you renew by mail or online, those revenues are lost to Albany. We, at Putnam County DMV, are ready, willing and able to service all of your DMV needs.”

Legislator Scuccimarra is thrilled that the Drop Box has been installed in Cold Spring. “When I am talking with people from my district (Philipstown, Cold Spring, Nelsonville and a portion Putnam Valley) they tell me how much they want convenient access to government services,” she said. “I worked hard to make sure the Cold Spring Post Office would remain in the village and now we can DMV services. I look forward to working with my colleagues to find other ways to better serve the Western Putnam residents.”

“I think that being able to do these easy DMV transactions locally is a wonderful opportunity for the residents of Philipstown,” said Town Clerk Merando.

Highway Superintendent Roger Chirico agreed. “I have been sharing services with Putnam County for years,” he said. “Partnering with Putnam with the DMV drop box is a win-win for the County, for Town of Philipstown and for the residents.”

If this DMV drop box initiative proves successful, DMV drop boxes with 24-hour service will be installed at other convenient locations throughout Putnam County.

“We, the residents of Putnam County, can do something to keep revenues and tax dollars here in Putnam County,” Bartolotti said. “SHOP LOCALLY and RENEW PUTNAM.”

For further information, call the Office of the Putnam County Clerk at 845-808-1142 ext. 49301.

 

Photo caption: (from left to right) Putnam County Clerk Michael Bartolotti, Philipstown Town Clerk Tina Merando, County Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra and Philipstown High Superintendent Roger Chirico unveiled the new Putnam DMV drop box, which is located at Philipstown Town Hall in Cold Spring on Monday, Oct. 19.

Odell to Honor Two Veterans during Putnam’s Row of Honor Opening Ceremony

Putnam County’s Row of Honor has become a cherished tradition in the lower Hudson Valley. To recognize the efforts of the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell will present two Veterans, Bob Palmer of Brewster and Ryan Lepore of Putnam Valley, with flags sponsored on their behalf, at the opening ceremony of the Veterans Day Row of Honor on Monday, Nov. 9 at 11 a.m.

“Veterans cannot be thanked enough for their service and sacrifice,” said County Executive Odell. “By choosing to honor Bob Palmer, a 95-year old WWII veteran, and Ryan Lepore, a 28-year-old who returned home in 2010 after serving overseas, we remember the Veterans who walk amongst us every day. It is similar to the recognition that the Marines give the oldest and youngest soldiers who attend the Marine Ball.”

The Row of Honor is the installation of over 200 red, white and blue 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.

“Our veterans and service personnel should always be honored,” said Odell. “The Row of Honor is our way of making sure Putnam residents – and anyone else who visits the Hamlet of Carmel – are reminded of all these wonderful men and women have done and continue to do for us.”

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.

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: Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell will present Veterans Bob Palmer of Brewster (left) and Ryan Lepore of Putnam Valley (right) with flags sponsored on their behalf at the opening ceremony of the Row of Honor on Monday, Nov. 9 at 11 a.m.

Putnam County Medication Take Back Day Scheduled for November

CARMEL, NY— The Putnam Communities That Care Coalition, in collaboration with the Putnam County Health Department and Putnam County Sheriff’s Department, will be holding a Fall Medication Take Back Event at Putnam Hospital Center (PHC).

To help combat this growing threat to our nation’s children, Putnam Hospital Center will host the event on Saturday, Nov. 7. The disposal hours are between 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Please enter through the PHC Cancer Pavilion entrance. Signage will be posted leading to the disposal area. Individuals can dispose of prescription medication, over the counter medication, and pet medication. Syringes will NOT be accepted. Please keep all medications in their original packaging and remove personal patient information.

Why should I participate in Medication Take Back Day?

The answer is pretty simple – it’s safe, good for the environment and can save lives.

By bringing in your expired or unwanted medications to a take back day, you insure that it will be disposed of in a safe manner. Members of the Sheriff’s Department will be present to secure and dispose of the medications according to the law. By doing so, you also insure that there are no “accidental” poisonings/overdoses by leaving unwanted prescriptions in your home.

When you participate in Medication Take Back Day, you don’t have to worry about causing harm to the environment by flushing medications down the toilet or disposing of them in your trash. Medicines that are flushed down the drain or that leach from landfills eventually end up in our waterways. Pharmaceuticals have become a significant water pollutant nationwide.

Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States today. Home medicine cabinets can be now be seen as the “new” drug dealer. Every year, prescription painkillers cause more than 16,000 deaths and 475,000 emergency room visits.

So on Nov. 7, come over to the Putnam Hospital Center and help us make Putnam County a better place to live! For more information, please call Robert Morris of the Putnam County Health Department at (845) 808- 1390 ext. 43166 or Bruce Kelly of the Putnam CTC Coalition at (845) 225-4646.

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Putnam Stands Against Domestic Violence

CARMEL, N.Y. – Purple is the color that represents the domestic violence awareness.  Putnam County’s employees wore purple colored clothing to work on Wednesday, Oct. 21. Many joined Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell in a photograph with Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center (WRC) Executive Director Ann Ellsworth to show their support for the WRC’s initiatives to end domestic violence.

“Wearing purple and standing outside on the Historic County Courthouse steps during the day draws attention briefly to subject of domestic violence in Putnam,” said 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.”

The Putnam Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center provides advocacy, education and services to the community in order to create a safe, supportive environment that eliminates violence against women and children and promotes gender equality.

“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.”

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 will be held on Monday, Oct. 26, at 6 p.m. Refreshments and speakers will follow at the Knights of Columbus Hall, Fair Street, Carmel.

In addition, the Historic County Courthouse is illuminated purple at night for the month of October.

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

Putnam Hosts Fourth Annual Disability Mentoring Day

CARMEL, N.Y. – About a dozen individuals with special needs spent the day working within one of Putnam County Government’s departments on Wednesday, Oct. 21 as part of the fourth annual Disability Mentoring Day.  Coordinated for the fourth year by Tina Cornish-Lauria, Executive Director of CAREERS for People with Disabilities, the annual event is much-anticipated by County staff and clients from participating agencies.

“Disability Mentoring Day breaks down barriers—both the ones that society contrives with preconceived notions and the ones that each one of us develops of our own limits,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Every year I hear from the departments how mentees exceed expectations and I see how proud the participants from CAREERS are to accomplish goals. Disability Mentoring Day brings awareness to the community and confidence to those with disabilities.

This October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time to celebrate individuals with disabilities in the workplace as well as spread awareness of the importance of hiring people with disabilities. This year’s theme is “My Disability is One Part of Who I Am.”

“Working with Putnam County helps bring attention to a workforce available that business owners in the community may be overlooking,” said Cornish-Lauria. “The goals of Disability Mentoring Day are fourfold: to enhance internship and employment opportunities for people with disabilities; to dispel employers’ fears about hiring people with disabilities; to promote disability as a central component of diversity recruitment for a more inclusive workforce and to increase confidence among students and job seekers with disabilities.”

County departments participating in the program include Consumer Affairs, County Clerk, Finance, Health, Highways, Information Technology, Personnel, Purchasing, Senior Resources, the Sheriff’s Office and Youth Bureau.

 

Photo Caption: County Executive MaryEllen Odell met with mentors and mentees during the Fourth Annual Disability Mentoring Day held on Wednesday, Oct. 21 throughout the departments of Putnam County Government.