County Clerk Michael Bartolotti to Swear in New Citizens September 12 at 10 A.M.

PUTNAM COUNTY CLERK MICHAEL C. BARTOLOTTI TO SWEAR IN NEW CITIZENS AT NATURALIZATION CEREMONY ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2018 AT 10:00 A.M. AT THE PUTNAM COUNTY HISTORIC COURTHOUSE IN CARMEL, NY

Putnam County Clerk Michael C. Bartolotti will host a Naturalization Ceremony on Wednesday, September 12, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. at the Putnam County Historic Courthouse, 44 Gleneida Avenue, Carmel.  At the ceremony, Clerk Bartolotti will administer the Oath of Allegiance to our new citizens.

The Color Guard of American Legion Post 1080 will open and retire the ceremony.   The Honorable John W. Sweeny, Jr. will serve as the officiating Supreme Court Justice and County Executive Maryellen Odell will offer welcoming remarks. County Clerk Bartolotti will administer the Oath of Allegiance to our new citizens.   Director of Veterans Affairs Karl Rohde will lead all in the Pledge of Allegiance.    

The Putnam County Shared Services Panel will be conducting three public hearings at which the 2018 County-Wide Shared Services Property Tax Savings Plan will be Presented

The Putnam County Shared Services Panel will be conducting three public hearings at which the 2018 County-Wide Shared Services Property Tax Savings Plan will be Presented

  1. Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 2 pm Town of Southeast Town Offices 1360 Route 22, Brewster, NY
  2. Thursday, August 30, 2018 at 10 am Putnam County Training & Operations Building 112 Old Route 6, Carmel, NY
  3. Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 7 pm Town of Philipstown Town Hall 238 Main Street, Cold Spring, NY

The purpose of these public hearings is to present and explain the proposals contained in the County-Wide Shared Services Plan and to obtain public input of said Plan.

The 2018 County-Wide Shared Services Property Tax Savings Plan for Putnam County can be found in its entirety on the Putnam County Executive’s page of the Putnam County web site located at: www.putnamcountyny.gov

 

School Opens September 4th & School Days Bring Congestion! Here are some Traffic safety tips!

School days bring congestion: Yellow school buses are picking up their charges, kids on bikes are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings and harried parents are trying to drop their kids off before work.

It’s never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially before and after school.

 

If You’re Dropping Off

Schools often have very specific drop-off procedures for the school year. Make sure you know them for the safety of all kids. More children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program. The following apply to all school zones:

Don’t double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles

Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school

Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school

Sharing the Road with Young Pedestrians

According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they’re walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. A few precautions go a long way toward keeping children safe:

Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic

In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection

Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign

Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas

Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way

Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians

Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way

Sharing the Road with School Buses

If you’re driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children

If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop

The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus

Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks

Sharing the Road with Bicyclists

On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.

When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist

When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass

If you’re turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals

Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this

Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods

Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars

Check side mirrors before opening your door

By exercising a little extra care and caution, drivers and pedestrians can co-exist safely in school zones.

National Purple Heart Day

Today is National Purple Heart Day and I invite all of you to attend a special ceremony being held this evening from 7 to 8 p.m. by the New York Riders at the Purple Heart Monument in Putnam County Veteran’s Memorial Park.

On this day, we take the time to honor all Purple Heart recipients, past and present and to remember that all gave some, and some gave all. We have any number of veterans residing within our borders who have received this distinguished medal, the military award ‘sought by none but respected by all.

I am proud that in 2013, Putnam County was the first county in New York State to become a Purple Heart County. I was approached by the late Denis Castelli, who was then County Historian, and William “Willy” Nazario, the Judge Advocate and the Legislative Officer – Dept. of NY of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 21 respectively, to proclaim the recognition. The designation was approved by the national, state and local organizations of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and by the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council.

The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration in present use. It was initially created by Gen. George Washington in 1782 as the Badge of Military Merit. It is awarded to any member of the Unites States Armed Services wounded or killed in combat with a declared enemy of the United States.

To further honor our Purple Heart recipients, the Putnam County Historic Courthouse will be lit purple for the remainder of the week.

Metro-North Railroad on-track to meet federal deadlines

CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell was assured by Metro-North Railroad officials Monday, July 30, that the company will meet the federally mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) compliance deadline. Railroads have until December 31, 2018, to complete the installation phase of the PTC tasks.

Positive Train Control is a set of highly advanced technologies designed to make rail transportation safer by automatically stopping a train before certain types of accidents occur.

“Putnam County is fortunate to have two Metro-North railroad lines and seven train stations within its borders and many of our residents use them to commute back and forth to work,” said County Executive Odell, who served two terms as the president of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council. “Railroad safety is important, and residents should be informed about the status of the Positive Train Control implementation.”

The four criteria that must be met Metro-North in accordance with the federal mandate are: 1) All hardware installed. 2)All radio spectrum acquired. 3) Over 50% of PTC territory or route miles implemented. 4) All required employee training completed.

According to Catherine Rinaldi, President of Metro-North Railroad, the company is progressing to meet all four criteria. In fact, Metro-North has acquired all the radio spectrum needed to run the system. It has completed 80% of the installation of the required hardware on trains, waysides and offices. Metro-North is currently training its employees on being familiar with PTC and is expected to have this task completed by November 2018. In addition, the Revenue Service Demonstration (RSD) is up and running and among other things has been implemented on the Hudson Line from Tarrytown to Croton‐Harmon.

Railroads are mandated to have full PTC implementation through its network by December 31, 2020.

After 25 Years, Tom Honohan Steps Down From Library Board

Longtime Mahopac resident Tom Honohan will pull up stakes later this summer to move to Wappingers in Dutchess County, leaving behind a legacy of service and volunteerism.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride,” Honohan said. “I have a lot of friends here, but I can still come to visit them. [The move] is a little bittersweet.”

One thing Honohan looks forward to with the move is condo living—no more backbreaking outdoor chores.

“They do all the work for you,” he laughed. “No more shoveling sidewalks or mowing lawns.”

Honohan and his wife moved to Mahopac in 1979. He had grown up in the Parkchester area of the Bronx and remembers a happy childhood there.

“There were lots of playgrounds; it was a great place to grow up,” he said. “The rents were unbelievable, which was great for the parents.”

He went to high school at Manhattan Prep (part of Manhattan College) and then to Notre Dame University where he earned degrees in electrical engineering and liberal arts.

His first job out of college was with Westinghouse Electric.

“My whole career was in sales—industrial field sales. I had a series of assignments that kept me in the New York area,” he recalled.

Then he received a job offer from General Electric of England (no relation to the American GE), which had its headquarters in Elmsford in Westchester County. He was living on Long Island at the time, so he began looking for a new home to better his commute.

“Mahopac was about a half an hour away [from Elmsford],” he said. “It happened to work out because we had friends there and we found a piece of property with lots of woods.”

Honohan was introduced to community volunteerism through his children and their interest in sports. He has four kids—two are now teachers, one a computer programmer and the other a mechanical engineer. He also boasts nine grandchildren.

“My son got involved in soccer when we were still on Long Island and I knew nothing about it,” he said. “So, I volunteered to coach and I studied it and got heavily involved. All my kids got involved in sports. So, when we moved to Mahopac, I brought that knowledge with me.”

Honohan got involved with the Mahopac Sports Association (MSA) to help get them more organized and he ran the soccer program for about two years. His work with the MSA led him indirectly to the library.

“When I was coaching, the guy who was helping had a wife on the library board and they were going through some renovation programs,” he said. “They were doing some relatively large renovations—lots of electrical work and I had some expertise in that area and felt I could help them with that. I was eventually appointed to the board and within two years I was president.”

Honohan was part of the board that oversaw the construction of the new library building, which was completed in 2002.

“I was involved with most of the process,” he said. “There are always a number of people who, no matter what, will say no. But people voted on it and said yes and we have always prided ourselves on that.”

Honohan said the nature of libraries has changed dramatically since he first joined the board of trustees.

“My motto is that the library ain’t just books anymore,” he said. “There are so many other things.”

Honohan cited the BAMM concerts, children and teen programs, blood drives and the Third Floor Gallery as just some examples of what the library provides to the community. He also noted that the staff has expertise on computers and other technology that they’ll share with the public.

“We have PCs, tablets, laptops,” he said. “Bring it in and people will answer your questions.”

Honohan said his wife once exhibited her artwork at the library’s art gallery and the space has been evolving ever since.

“We have fined tuned it over time,” he said. “We have a committee to make sure the exhibit is representable.”

Honohan has also been a volunteer for Putnam County’s Office for Senior Resources by driving seniors and veterans to doctors’ appointments and other activities.

“Putnam County has superb services for seniors and I found out they have a program where you drive to the county center and use a county car to visit older seniors,” he said. “Some are vets and there are some who just can’t drive anymore; I drive them to doctors’ appointments or to veteran facilities like Castle Point.

I found that to be a very rewarding thing for me,” he continued. “Instead of trying to solve their problems, I just listen and let them vent. I think that’s the medicine they need. I think it’s great that the county can do this. I felt it was spiritually uplifting and found it kind of rewarding.”

But now, Honohan says it is time to move in another direction and find some new challenges.

“It’s been 25 years now and a lot has happened,” he said. “I feel the need to do something else. I need to devote my volunteer life in another direction.”

And after signing the papers for his new home in Wappingers, he said he’s finally ready for that maintenance-free lifestyle.

“The pen is mightier than the lawnmower,” he chuckled.

Blue-Green Algal Blooms Persist; County Opens Beach for Affected Community Residents

BREWSTER, NY— Blue-green algal blooms have dashed many summer plans this year. Dozens of repeated beach closures have disappointed residents who enjoy cooling off in their neighborhood lake on a hot and humid summer day. While funding is coming from New York State to research solutions for the long term, County Executive MaryEllen Odell has taken immediate steps to open the Putnam County beach in Veterans Memorial Park on Gypsy Trail Road in Kent, free of charge to those residents living in affected lake communities.

“We wanted to do something right now for our community members who are dealing with these algal blooms on a daily basis,” says County Executive Odell. “This is a difficult situation. The blooms pose a serious health problem. Swimming, and even boating, can put you at risk.”

“Our public county beach at Veterans Memorial Park has fortunately remained unaffected by the blue-green algal blooms that have plagued many other Putnam beaches,” says Christopher Ruthven, deputy commissioner of parks and recreation for Putnam County. “We’re open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. until Labor Day, and for residents affected by the harmful algal blooms in their community lakes, the usual $8 fee for a day pass is being waived.”

Odell adds, “Being able to use the beach at Veterans Memorial Park provides a silver lining to an unfortunate situation. At the park individuals and families can enjoy the swimming in the lake, relaxing on the beach, barbecuing, hiking the trails, visiting the Veterans Museum or admiring the Gold Star Mothers statue or the military helicopter and tank.”

The increasing number of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Putnam and around New York State is not completely understood. Staff at the Putnam County Department of Health have been busier than ever collecting and sending lake water samples for testing.

“We are working closely with town and beach personnel,” explains Michael Nesheiwat, MD, interim commissioner of health. “They are well-informed and able to quickly recognize these harmful algal blooms. When there is an overabundance, or bloom, of this cyanobacteria, the onsite personnel are able to shut down the beaches directly without a confirmatory visit by the health department. This is important as blooms can present a serious health hazard and these microscopic organisms are toxic to humans and animals if swallowed. At high levels, ingestion may cause nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, along with irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory tract.

“Needless to say, we are grateful to the County Executive who has stepped in to waive the park fee for residents in the affected communities,” continues Dr. Nesheiwat.

Toxic bacteria are naturally present in low numbers in lakes and streams. However, in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water that gets a lot of sunlight, the bacteria can grow quickly and easily, creating a bloom. When this happens, floating scums on the water surface may appear, along with discolored water covering all or portions of a lake.

The Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) continues to monitor the county’s 32 permitted bathing beaches, while also responding to calls from town, village and summer camp personnel. Blue-green algae can range in color from green, blue, brown, yellow, grey, or even red. Contact should be avoided with any discolored water, with or without a floating covering or unpleasant odor. When the water clears, either naturally or by treatment, follow-up water testing must be conducted. Toxins can still be present even after the bloom looks like it has passed.

“After a satisfactory result on a water test, town and beach personnel can re-open the beach,” explains associate public health sanitarian Shawn Rogan. “And we work closely with the towns to reopen as soon as possible. The problem we are seeing more and more of is that the algae can ‘re-bloom’ shortly thereafter, making it necessary to close the beach once again.”

Some towns choose to apply an algaecide, but they have the same precautions as any pesticide.  Treatment methods, if any, are strictly a town decision, and application of an algaecide requires approval by the Department of Environmental Conservation.  Prevention efforts focus on ways to control the level of nutrients the algae receive. These include reducing plant fertilizer use, promoting efficient septic systems operations, and managing storm water. These tactics are supported by the DEC, but much is still unknown about the causes of HABs.

The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), 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 our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

Putnam Arts Councils and Southeast Museum bring art and history to Tilly’s Table

The Putnam Arts Council in partnership with the Southeast Museum and Putnam County Government, is proud to bring art and history to Tilly’s Table Restaurant at Tilly Foster Farm on Rt. 312 in Brewster.  Featured at the restaurant are reproductions of historic photographs and maps from the collection of the Southeast Museum along with artwork from two area artists, curated by the Putnam Arts Council.

The bistro area of the restaurant features a collection of prints and mixed media pieces inspired by farms along the Hudson River by area plein air painter Laura Martinez-Bianco. As well as painting in the United States, Ms. Martinez-Bianco has traveled to Italy, Canada and Africa to paint.  Although painting and traveling are passions, painting at home is still paramount.  The Hudson Valley has always been her home and her primary inspiration. Ms. Martinez-Bianco has been accepted to many national groups and has exhibited extensively throughout the region.

An abstract, three-dimensional wall piece titled Carp, created with steel tiles and paint by Garrison artist Herman Roggeman, is featured in the restaurantMr. Roggeman, originally from Belgium, works in all art forms, is in many private collections and has exhibited widely throughout the region.  He is a founder of Collaborative Concepts, a nonprofit organization that supports the work of the individual artist and presents an annual, juried, site specific sculpture show on a farm in Garrison each fall.

All artworks created by Ms. Martinez-Bianco and Mr. Roggeman are temporarily on loan through the Putnam Arts Council and are available for purchase.

The Putnam Arts Council and the Southeast Museum are not-for-profit organizations that each received their charters from the New York State Department of Education in 1963.  Both organizations serve the community through programs and services in art and history and are pleased to partner with Putnam County Government to bring art and history to Tilly’s Table, a lovely farm-to-table restaurant on the farm.

The Southeast Museum presents exhibitions on regional history, family programming and houses an extensive local history archive and is located on Main Street in Brewster. For more information visit www.southeastmuseum.org

The Arts Council supports, presents, funds and promotes arts and cultural events and activities throughout Putnam County and is an outside agency of Putnam County and an umbrella organization of the New York State Council on the Arts.  The Council is located in the Belle Levine Art Center at 521 Kennicut Hill Road in Mahopac where it offers programs in the visual, literary and performing arts, including classes, exhibits and performances. Visit www.putnamartscouncil.org for information on our programs and services.

Tilly’s Table is open for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday Nights starting at 5 p.m. It is also open for Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Sunday dinner from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. For reservations, call 845-808-1840 or visit www.tillystablerestaurant.com.

First Harvest Picked from Tilly Foster Farm Produce to be used at Tilly’s Table and for Seniors

BREWSTER, NY—Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell was on-hand at Tilly Foster Farm and Educational Institute in Brewster recently when the first harvest was picked from the county-owned farm. The third-of-an-acre garden is growing over two dozen types of crops that will be used by Tilly’s Table and the Office for Senior Resources.

“The next phase of Tilly Foster Farm and Educational Institute has become a reality,” Said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We are using the rich soil of the farm to grow fruits, vegetables and plants that can be used by Tilly’s Table for its nightly specials and OSR to enhance the seniors’ meals. As we continue to follow the farm plan we will be able to showcase the diverse uses of the property and allow it to benefit all the people of Putnam County.”

The garden is lined with pumpkins, melons, squash, beets, peppers, tomatoes, zucchinis and so much more.

“I am very excited about this. We have put a good team together; they are working well together, and they enjoy what they are doing,” said Chris Ruthven, Deputy Commissioner of Parks. “I am very proud of the product we are producing.”

Tilly’s Table, the restaurant located on Tilly Foster Farm, is purchasing the produce at a fair-market price from Putnam County on a weekly basis. Chef Andre is using the freshly picked fruits and vegetables to create delicious farm-to-table nightly specials for the patrons.

The remaining harvest is being used by the Office for Senior Resources where Sean Sampson uses the farm fresh produce to liven up the lunch offerings at the county’s four Nutrition and Friendship Centers as well as the Meals on Wheels program.

The seniors are enjoying the seasonal additions to the menu. Lorraine Herman of Carmel thinks adding the vegetable grown at Tilly Foster Farm is a great idea.

“I stopped by the Carmel Friendship Center for lunch today and was pleasantly surprised by the delicious lunch that was served – especially the cucumber soup, which everyone raved about,” said Herman. The baby spinach served with the egg salad couldn’t have been fresher or more tender.”

She added, “In looking at the plates that were discarded after the meal, I can tell you there was very little food waste, unlike what it had been prior to implementing this new farm-to-table program.”

Growing crops on the farm has been part of the agricultural plan for the county-owned property since Putnam County took over management of Tilly Foster Farm in 2014.  Tilly’s farmer Donald Arrant started planning for the garden in October. In the spring, Arrant with the help of Lisa Walker, Steve Kessman and Louis Albano began cultivating the land. They then planted seeds from Johnny Seed Company and plants, which were purchased locally from Peterson’s Patterson Greenhouses in Patterson.

In July, the early fruits of their labor were ready to be harvested. The garden has crops that will continue to grow through mid-November, such as carrots and beets, that can be stored and used throughout the winter.

With the success of the early crops, the Tilly Foster Team is already looking to increase the size of the vegetable garden in 2019 as well as grow strawberry and raspberry patches.

Photo Caption: Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell shared in the joy of picking the first vegetables from the garden at Tilly Foster Farm. Pictured (left to right): Donald Arrant, Alex Cyprus, County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Deputy Commissioner of Parks Chris Ruthven, Lisa Walker and Steve Kessman.

Free Use of Veterans Memorial Park for Tonetta Lake Permit Holders While Town Beach Closed

CARMEL, NY – With the blue green algae issue forcing the closure of Tonetta Lake Beach in the Town of Southeast, County Executive MaryEllen Odell, with support from Legislators Joseph Castellano and Paul Jonke, has decided to allow Southeast residents with Tonetta Lake beach passes the ability to use Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park, located on Gipsy Trail Road in the Town of Kent, for free as an alternative while the beach is closed.
“The county has received many requests for a substitute option while their local town beach is closed,” said County Executive Odell. “While this solution does not remedy the blue green algae issue, it provides the residents access to a lake that is open and ready to be used.”

Odell has also offered Kent residents with Lake Carmel permits free use of the beach at Veterans Memorial Park. The beach is open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. every day through Labor Day.