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 www.cce.cornell.edu 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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NBC Segment “Hooked on Heroin” Featuring Putnam Drug Treatment Court Wins Emmy

On April 11, 2014, NBC and MSNBC broadcasted a four-minute segment as part of its “Hooked on Heroin” series that featured the Putnam County Drug Treatment Court program and profiled one of its graduates. Recently an NBC television producer called Putnam County Judge James Reitz to let him know that the segment won an Emmy.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Murphy, Serino and Odell to Host Veterans Chow Down Dinner

CARMEL, N.Y. – Honoring the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, Senator Terrence Murphy, Senator Sue Serino and Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell are teaming up with the PFC. Joseph P. Dwyer Vet2Vet Program to offer the 2015 Veterans’ Chow Down, a complimentary appreciation dinner, on Sunday, Nov. 1 at Putnam County Golf Course, located at 187 Hill Street in Mahopac.  There are two seating times, noon and 3 p.m. for veterans and their guest to choose between.

“When it comes to Veterans, there is no task too small,” said Murphy.  “Without these incredibly brave men and women, our world would be completely different today.  The very least we as a community can do is offer a special thank you and recognize their service and sacrifice.”

The Chow Down will bring Veterans together with their brothers and sisters in arms for a family-style meal.  Entertainment will be provided by the USO.  Military vehicles, dating from 1916 to 2012, that are part of the American Veterans Historical Museum’s Interactive Military Display will be available for the attendees to see and even climb into.

“The 2015 Chow Down is an opportunity for local Vets and their guests to come together, share a meal, learn about some unique resources available to them, and -more importantly- to remind that that they have an incredibly grateful community behind them,” Serino said.  “While words are rarely enough to truly thank our Veterans -and their families- for the countless sacrifices they have made on our behalf, it’s important that we take every opportunity to show our gratitude and that’s what the event is all about.”

In addition to the meal and fellowship, the Chow Down provides an opportunity for the Veterans to learn about local services that available to them.

“Providing a complimentary meal to local veterans from the Putnam and Northern Westchester area is a simple gesture to show the men and women, who has served in the U.S. Armed Forces, how much we appreciate the sacrifices they made defending our freedoms,” said Odell.  “The 2015 Veterans’ Chow Downs also gives us an opportunity to support the work of the Putnam County Veterans Service Agency through the Joseph P. Dwyer Vet2Vet Program.”

The Joseph P. Dwyer Vet2Vet Program, which is staffed by Veterans, 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.

“It is rare that Veterans have an opportunity to be recognized and thanked by the public and by elected officials,” said Karl Rohde, Director of Putnam County’s Veterans Service Agency.  “What better way to do this than with a family style meal where they can share the comradeship they cherished during their service.”

Attendance is limited. Veterans are asked to RSVP for the Chow Down on Senator Murphy’s website, murphy.nysenate.gov or call 914-962-2624.

Putnam County Clerk reminds patrons that the Putnam County DMV is open for business


Recent changes to registration and license renewal notifications have caused some confusion for local DMV customers.  Some notifications state that these renewals may only be done by mail or online, and that is not true!  Putnam County Clerk Michael C. Bartolotti invites you to “Come on in”; our local County Run Motor Vehicle Office located at 1 Geneva Road, Brewster, New York is open for business!

“I am delighted to continue processing registration and license renewals in addition to the hundreds of additional transactions performed in our office each day while you walk out of our office with the information you need in your hand”, Bartolotti states.  “The knowledgeable and courteous staff of the Putnam County DMV is happy to process your transaction quickly and answer any questions you may have.”

Bartolotti also reminds patrons that renewing locally helps support our local office by keeping our 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.  If you renew by mail or online, those revenues are lost to Albany”.

Please visit us and see — you’ll love your experience at Putnam DMV!


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


Odell to Recognize the Carmel Girls Scouts for Building First Responders Garden

Odell to Recognize the Carmel Girls Scouts for Building First Responders Garden

CARMEL, N.Y. – As a thank you to the law enforcement, fire department and emergency service workers in Putnam County, three Girl Scout Cadettes from Carmel Troop 2655 built a First Responders Garden on the lawn of 34 Gleneida Avenue in Carmel.  On Oct. 8 Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell will recognize the efforts of Alexandra Baranowski, Ashley Leftwich and Gianna Nardini at the First Responders Garden at 3 p.m. Several first responders will also be in attendance.

“Putnam County is a county made of first responders—career and volunteer, who are willing to risk their lives day after day in Putnam, the surrounding counties and in New York City,” said Odell. “To have these young ladies recognize the efforts of our first responders gives me confidence in the next generation. With their big hearts and open minds I know we can expect great things from Alexandra, Ashley and Gianna in the years to come.”

The First Responders Garden was the Silver Award Project for the Girl Scouts. The Silver Award is the second highest award that a Girl Scout can receive.

Baranowski, Leftwich and Nardini worked together to plan, design and construct the garden. Putnam County has committed maintaining the garden, which is on county property, for a least a year.

The details for the event are as follows:

WHO: County Executive MaryEllen Odell

            Alexandra Baranowski

            Ashley Leftwich

            Gianna Nardini

            First Responders


WHAT: Opening of First Responders Garden

WHERE: First Responders Garden, 32 Gleneida Avenue, Carmel, N.Y. 

WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 8 at 3 p.m.




More than 300 Participate in Health Department’s RUN 4 YOUR LIFE

More than 300 Participate in Health Department’s RUN 4 YOUR LIFE

Family and Friends Gather to Celebrate Fitness Can Be Fun

BREWSTER, NY—More than 300 runners and walkers came out for the Second Annual RUN 4 YOUR life event, featuring a 5-kilometer run, a one-mile walk and a half-mile kids’ fun run. Organized by the Putnam County Department of Health, the event lived up to its design as a fun, family event.

Seventeen-year-old Zach Nordstorm from Patterson took first place in the men’s division with a time of 19:20, as his parents cheered him on. In the women’s division for the second straight year, Lori-Beth Patsey from Fishkill, and a member of the Open Door Medical Center Team topped the women’s field and placed sixth overall. Her clocking of 22:43 chopped more than two minutes off her finishing time last year.

For the McMaths, the Kozmas clan, and Team Andrew and many others, it was a family celebration day as well. Seventeen-year-old Tyler McMath, and his 15-year-old brother Dorian from Carmel finished second and fifth among the men respectively, while mom Jessica finishing fifth in her age category. Twelve-year-old Sandor Kozma finish in in eighth place overall, followed by his 13-year-old sister Jessica in ninth place. Both Carmel youngsters finished first in their age groups. In 12th place overall was the elder Sandor Kozma garnering second place in his age category.

But the most touching story of the day centered on Team Andrew. Eleven family members registered for the event and with them came countless other friends and family. Recreational runner Andrew Olang travelled the 5 kilometer course in a wheelchair after a fall from a ladder left him paralyzed.

“Involving friends and family in your exercise routines is the main idea behind this event,” says Allen Beals, MD, Commissioner of Health for Putnam County. “Most everyone knows that exercise is a key component to good health. The challenge is to find the time. By doing it with family and friends, it’s at once easier to schedule in a busy day, and the bonus is it’s much more enjoyable.”

From start to finish the race proved an extraordinary success. Corporate sponsorship and backing was strong, matched only by great support from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department and the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), which provided dozens of volunteers. While the officers saw that the course was properly patrolled and crowds controlled, MRC volunteers helped out with everything from registration and medic support, to communications and clean-up.

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.

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1 Zach Nordstrom, 17                                Patterson                19:26

2 Tyler McMath, 17                                   Carmel                   20:04

3 Joey Kolok, 43                                       Mt. Royal, NJ        20:54

4 Carlos Venegas, 35                                 Brewster                21:56

5 Dorian McMath, 15                                Carmel                   22:10



1 Lori-Beth Patsey, 32                               Fishkill                   22:43

2 Jessica Kozma, 13                                  Carmel                   22:57

3 Michele Mannion, 36                              Carmel                   23:04

4 Isabel Dos Santos, 44                             Carmel                   23:59

5 Betty Vail, 34                                         Pawling                  24:27