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 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 or visit the social media sites on Facebook at,, 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


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.

County Executive MaryEllen Odell honored with the Bronze Key Award

The National Council on Alcoholism & Other Drug Dependencies/Putnam (NCADD) honored Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell at their annual fundraising luncheon on October 16, 2015 for her exemplary contributions to alcohol and drug prevention in Putnam County. County Executive Odell received the NCADD Bronze Key, which is a national recognition award granted by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence organization to an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the field of substance abuse prevention.

In 2014, County Executive Odell launched the One Army on the War on Addiction, a partnership between government, not-for-profit organizations, and law enforcement agencies. Their mission was to collaboratively battle the addiction epidemic that has affected the community through education, treatment and enforcement.

County Executive Odell also supports the Putnam County Treatment Court, the Simulated Impaired Driving Experience, the Too Good for Drugs school-based prevention program and the Putnam County STOP DWI Program.

“County Executive Odell’s dedication to our community has improved the quality of life in Putnam County. We are so pleased to have honored a leader who contributes so much to substance abuse prevention in Putnam County” stated Kristin McConnell, Executive Director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies/Putnam.

Varricchio Starts as New Putnam EDC President

Jill M. Varricchio, a successful marketing entrepreneur and community leader, is taking the helm of the   Putnam County Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Varricchio has been hired as the new president of the EDC. The position was vacant since Meghan Taylor left the position earlier this year to become the regional director of the Empire State Development Mid-Hudson Region, which includes Putnam County.

“Jill will be a great asset to the EDC,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Her marketing background and knowledge of the development process will give her the tools to execute the strategic plan the organization put in place. Putnam is in the primetime. Now with Jill, here in the county, and Meghan, at the state level, we have supporters who understand that unique offerings Putnam can provide potential developers. Putnam is open for business.”

Varricchio, an Orange County resident, has been the owner and president of Concept Promotions since 1985 and its affiliated company D&D Mailing Services since 1996. She has developed and implemented national marketing campaigns for companies such as Sylvania, Tamko and Cellular One. In addition she has created programs to fortify her clients’ brand positions.

Active in the business community, Varricchio is a member and past board member of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce. She also served for 12 years as the chairwoman of the NYS Administrative Board of the Orange County Empire Zone.

“We had a long list of qualities that we sought in a new EDC president,” said Acting EDC Chairman Jeff Kellogg. “We took our time to find the right candidate that fit our needs and I am happy to say that Jill’s background and passion for the business community made her stand out from the others. I look forward to working with her on bringing the right projects to Putnam County.”

The Putnam EDC has been Putnam County’s leader in economic development. It acts as a facilitator between organizations that can deliver economic growth and the resources that can help them financially. It finds ways to bring millions of dollars into the county each year for economic development and growth.

The EDC has been successful in leading projects through the state’s Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process and having them be awarded grants. In 2014, $2 million was awarded through the CFA to projects in Putnam County. In addition, regional entities that serve Putnam were able to garner $1.1 million in financial awards. The 2015 CFA awards will be announced later this year.

“I am excited to be able to continue the strategic and thoughtful economic development approach that Putnam County has created,” said Varricchio. “I will be working diligently with the EDC Board, the elected and appointed officials and the business leaders in the community to bring Putnam County to the next level.”

An advocate of education, Varricchio was the first chairperson of the business literacy program of the Junior Achievement of the Hudson Valley’s Orange County Chapter, which educated 1,400 elementary students on free enterprise. She was also on the SUNY Orange Community College Foundation Board.

Varricchio has a B.A. in research psychology from Northeastern University and a Master’s in education from Springfield College. She is also a graduate of the Leadership Orange Institute, where she was also awarded the Leader of the Year award.

Varricchio’s first day as president of the EDC was Monday, Oct. 19.

Veterans Mobile Service Office to Come to Putnam

County Executive MaryEllen Odell is pleased to announce that a certified mobile service office (MSO), which assists Veterans in dealings with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), will be operate in front of the DeCicco’s Family Market in Brewster on Wednesday, Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will be the first time that the van, which is run through the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter #137 NY, is setting up hours in Putnam County.

“Too many Veterans do not know about or do not have access to the benefits and services provided by the federal government,” said Odell. “Having the MSO van come to Putnam is one more way that we can help our Veterans. I hope that all the Veterans in Putnam and the surrounding communities take the opportunity to visit the van.”

The van is equipped with on-board computers and staffed by certified DAV Service Officers, who are professionally trained to assist all Veterans, not just DAV members, in dealing with the VA in the filing of claims, claim follow ups and general claim information.

Veterans do not have to be Putnam County or New York residents to use the van’s services.

“We get a lot of Veterans who come to the van who are getting information for the first time,” said Michael Hartnett, commander of DAV Chapter #137, N.Y. “The van provides such an important service to the Veterans.”

All Veterans will be served as per order of arrival and should bring a copy of his or her DD-214 military discharge papers.

“Thank you DAV for bring this mobile clinic to Putnam County,” said Karl Rohde, Director of Putnam County Veterans Service Agency. “Any time we can help educate the public regarding Veterans needs and assist our Veterans in gaining much need services is a plus.  Having this van in our county will go a long way in providing awareness of Veterans needs.”

DeCicco’s Family Market will be providing refreshments and lite fare.

The DAV is one of the oldest and most prestigious Veterans Service Agencies in the Unites States. It was officially chartered by the United States Congress in 1931. It is widely acclaimed by many as the most helpful of active Veterans Service Agencies. In addition to many physical locations throughout the United States, the DAV sponsors the traveling MSO van, which covers all areas of the U.S. east of the Mississippi.

DeCicco’s Family Market is located at 50 Independent Way, Brewster, NY 10509.

The DAV MSO van will be in the parking lot of the Jefferson Valley Mall on Thursday, Oct. 22.

Putnam County Drug Treatment Court Team

Putnam Drug Treatment Court, Broege, Pascale and Sheriff among PCSN winners

Individuals and organizations that have made a significant difference in the lives of others through their community and human service accomplishments in Putnam County were honored at the Annual Awards Breakfast on October 7th, hosted by the Putnam Community Service Network (PCSN) at the Putnam County Golf Course.  For 30 years PCSN, an educational program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam County, has recognized over 600 professionals, volunteers, and organizations that “go above and beyond” to improve the quality of life for our County residents. Marjorie Keith, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam congratulated all of the nominees for their dedication and commitment. She said, “the PCSN Awards Breakfast highlights organizations delivering dynamic programs and volunteers and professionals, who unselfishly give of themselves to make our Putnam communities a better place to live.” The Breakfast was attended by170 people representing over 75 public and nonprofit agencies throughout Putnam County.

The 2015 PCSN Awards were presented to:

  • Distinguished Service Award for an Individual— Samuel B. Ross Jr, founder of Green Chimneys, in Brewster
  • Distinguished Service Award for an Organization— American Cancer Society’s Mahopac Relay for Life
  • Ruth Dain Voluntary Service Award— Amy Sayegh, Mahopac and The Community Crafters, Mahopac
  • Norman Vincent Peale Outstanding Service Award— Danielle Pascale, Putnam County Assistant District Attorney
  • Fred L. Dill Community Service Networking Award – Putnam County Treatment Court
  • Lyn and Buzz Burr Excellence in Communications Award – Lisa Kaslyn, Prosper Communications
  • Professional Career Recognition Award – Joseph Whalen, Executive Director of Green Chimneys, Brewster
  • Public Service Award – Donald B. Smith, Jr, Putnam County Sheriff
  • Joe Gomez Memorial Advocacy Award –Medley Broege, Director of the Putnam County Office for People with Disabilities
  • Special Youth Award— In memory of Sean Callahan, Mahopac

Twelve additional PCSN Award nominees representing broad range of service providers were also recognized for their outstanding community contribution including: Officer Frank Chibbaro, Town of Carmel Police Department; Cold Spring Film Society; Carol Donick, Kent Public Library Director; Susan Hoffner, Putnam County Department of Health Educator; Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Cold Spring; Larry Light, The Men’s Fraternity in Mahopac; Kristin McConnell, National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependencies of Putnam Director; Marisa O’Leary, Putnam Community Action Program Assistant Director; Putnam County Humane Society Volunteers, Carmel; Putnam County Suicide Prevention Task Force; Father Anthony Sorgie, St James the Apostle Church (formerly); Therapeutic Equestrian Center, Cold Spring.

For information about the Putnam Community Service Network Awards contact Marjorie Nichols Keith, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam County at 845-278-6738. Visit our website at or on Facebook search Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam County.

Cornell Cooperative Extension is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities.

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