Health Dept. Offers Help with New Year’s Resolution to Quit Smoking

Health Dept. Offers Help with New Year’s Resolution to Quit Smoking
Freedom from Smoking Program to Begin Late January

Are you ready to quit smoking? It is one of the top New Year’s resolutions each January, and this year the Putnam County Department of Health offers help with an eight-session program developed by the American Lung Association called Freedom from Smoking (FFS). The sessions, which last from 60 to 90 minutes, begin in late January at the health department’s main office at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster. Nicotine replacement products (NRT) will be available for free while supplies lasts. Using NRT is encouraged, and will be discussed as part of the program, but it is not required.

“Our first Putnam smoking cessation program was held earlier this year. It is just one way we help our residents live healthier lives,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “For those who want to make the decision to quit, the extra support from the health department can make all the difference.”

“Smoking is an addiction that many say is one of the most difficult to overcome,” says interim Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD. “Most people try to quit, even many times, before finally finding success. The first steps can be the hardest, but we are here to help you get started.”

Based on scientific research, the FFS Program is a proven way to quit smoking for good. Some smokers feel hopeless after unsuccessful attempts at quitting. The FFS Program recognizes this and stresses the fact that most successful quitters have failed at it before. The program reinforces the greater belief that “You can still quit.” Thousands of smokers have quit through the FFS program since it began over 30 years ago.

Eight classes are held over seven weeks. The group leader is a certified facilitator, who discusses preparing and planning to quit, as well as lifestyle changes that support tobacco-free living. Two sessions are held during “quit week,” to fully support participants.

“Becoming a nonsmoker is a journey,” emphasizes Dr. Nesheiwat. “Failed attempts happen and are even expected. This time—with the right support—might be your time to quit. Remember there are health benefits to quitting at any age. So you are never too old, even if you’ve smoked for a long time.”

Pre-registration is required, as group size is limited. Start date and class schedules will be determined based on preferences of early registrants and posted on this website when available. For more information or to pre-register, contact the Putnam County Department of Health at (845) 808-1390, ext. 43155.

Prepayment of Putnam County Property Taxes

Putnam County’s 2018 Town and County Tax Warrant has been signed.  Property owners should contact their local tax receivers for information about prepaying 2018 taxes.

Carmel: Kathleen Kraus (845) 628-1500
Kent: Jean Johnson (845) 225-1864
Patterson: Mary DeLanoy (845) 878-9300 Extension 18
Philipstown: Tina Merando (845) 265-3329
Putnam Valley: Sherry Howard (845) 526-3280
Southeast: Susan Tobacco (845) 279-7665

Putnam County Executive Odell Signs Opioid Lawsuit Resolution

CARMEL, NY – Surrounded by county officials, state representatives and local community leaders, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell signed the resolution directing the county government to join the New York Opioid Cost Recovery litigation, on Monday, Dec. 18 at the County’s Bureau of Emergency Services. The lawsuit is against the pharmaceutical companies and distributors for fraudulent and negligent practices they engaged in, which caused immeasurable harm to residents and taxpayers. The resolution was passed by the Putnam County Legislature last month, 8-0, with one legislator absent.

“Heroin and opioid use is a major public health and safety crisis and the costs to our community is not limited to pain and suffering of the individuals and families impacted,” said Odell. “Unfortunately, there is also a taxpayer impact including massive resources used in county public health, law enforcement, court system, mental health and social services, coroner and medical examiner and many other programs and services. The County has significant damages and we will aggressively pursue those damages through litigation.”

The goal of the litigation would be to fully compensate Putnam County for unnecessary cost incurred because of prescription opioid abuse, including workplace costs relative to loss of productivity, healthcare costs such as abuse treatment and criminal justice costs.

Heroin and opiates are now the leading cause of accidental death in New York State, outnumbering homicides. In fact, in the past three years, over 40 fatal opioid overdoses were reported in Putnam County.

The number of drug-related arrests have gone up also from 339 in 2016 to so far 456 in 2017, according to the Putnam County District Attorney’s Office.

“This crisis is only growing and as government officials, we need to do all we can to combat the violence and unnecessary death attributed to this crisis,” said Odell. “In order to fight this growing epidemic, we must improve prevention, increase access to treatment, expand recovery options, expand resources for law enforcement and battle with the root of the problem—the pharmaceutical companies and distributors.”

The connection between prescription drugs and heroin stems from the abuse of prescription opioid pain killers, and is directly related to heroin’s growth in popularity with young people: these pills are the doorway to heroin abuse.

“Filing a lawsuit also allows the County to be in the driver’s seat and control its own destiny,” added Odell. “We have the power to determine whether to accept a settlement and how any recovery would be distributed, not the State.”

Putnam County will work with the NYS Attorney General’s Office on this issue to ensure that the county’s costs are included in any proposed settlement. The Attorney General’s Office is part of a multi-state negotiating team investigating the manufacturers and distributor practices.

The law firm of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC will represent Putnam County’s interests in the New York Opioid Cost Recovery litigation.

“By joining forces with several counties across the state, we are holding those companies accountable,” said Chairwoman Ginny Nacerino, Putnam County Legislature. “I believe everyone has known someone, directly or indirectly, affected by the devastation of opioids. It is important to raise awareness to the origin, and it is time for those companies to take responsibility. Unfortunately, the damage created by such negligence and depravity is irreversible, resulting in both pain and suffering and the loss of many lives. It is truly shameful.”

Senator Terrence Murphy said, “I applaud the actions of County Executive Odell in joining this lawsuit. She had always stood in the forefront in the fight against heroin. This lawsuit reaffirms her commitment to holding big pharmaceutical companies accountable for ruining our communities and pushing their poison on our families.”

“The heroin and opioid epidemic has devastated far too many families here in our community and despite the best efforts of the local community and the state, the overdose numbers continue to climb” said Senator Sue Serino, a member of the State’s Task Force on Heroin and Opioids. “We need to be exhausting all options to tackle this epidemic head-on and that’s what this effort is all about. I thank County Executive Odell for continuing to make this issue a top priority.”

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne said, “With this resolution, Putnam County is taking an important step by joining others in attacking the root cause of this opioid epidemic.  Big Pharma must be held accountable for its role in the marketing and distribution of these opioid pain medications. I thank the Putnam County Executive and the Putnam County Legislature for their strong stand on this issue.”

“As we all know, on a daily basis, heroin and other dangerous and illegal drugs are being smuggled into our country, distributed onto our streets, and are killing our loved ones,” said Putnam County District Attorney Robert Tendy. “Surprisingly, over the past 10 to 20 years, there has been an effort on behalf of trained professionals in our own country to encourage our citizens to take legal prescription drugs at an alarmingly dangerous rate, resulting in tens of thousands of people, our children, siblings, and parents, becoming addicted and dying.  Holding the pharmaceutical companies responsible for their part in the Opioid epidemic in America is one very important step in the process to solving this national crisis.”

Stephen J. Acquario, executive director, NYS Association of Counties, said, “County Executive MaryEllen Odell is leading the way to combat the spreading of the opioid crisis facing our state.  By bringing legal action, this lawsuit will bring change in opioid distribution and manufacturer responsibility.  This is another important step to save lives, protect our communities and bring about needed reform.”

“It is about time that we hold these companies culpable,” said Susan Salomone, executive director and co-founder of Drug Crisis in Our Backyard. “Families are spending their retirement funds trying to get people treatment. The pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors need to be responsible.”

Megan Castellano, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Putnam County, said. “As co-chair of the Suicide Prevention Task Force we are proud to support this initiative and we are happy that the county is taking the lead to further our efforts to save lives by reducing access to lethal means, particularly prescription drugs.”

Drewville Road Bridge Reopened

CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announces the reopening of the Drewville Road Bridge in Carmel. The New York State Department of Transportation has approved the reopening today, Friday, December 15, after the Putnam County Highways and Facilities Department completed the necessary repairs to the infrastructure.

“I am so proud of our highway department workers who came through as promised to have the bridge open in two weeks’ time, even under the recent harsh weather conditions,” said Odell. “Repairing our aging infrastructure is a priority for the county so we can ensure the safety of our residents.”

The highway department constructed temporary shoring for the bridge that will support the safe travel across the Drewville Road Bridge.

“The process required two weeks to make the repair,” explained Fred Pena, Highways and Facilities Commissioner. “Week 1 included designing the shoring, gathering equipment and material, obtaining permits and developing a work plan. During Week 2 the execution of the repair was done.”

A full replacement of the Drewville Road Bridge is scheduled for 2019.

Putnam County awarded $1.2 million for Danbury-Brewster sewer project

CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced that the Danbury-Brewster sewer project has been awarded $1.2 million in New York State funding. The project, which extends the Danbury sewer line over the state border and through the Route 6 corridor of Brewster, was granted Empire State Development money through the consolidated funding application (CFA) process.

“Being awarded this funding confirms the significance of the Danbury-Brewster sewer project and its potential long-term impact on Putnam County’s economic vitality,” said Odell. “We have to put the proper infrastructure in place within our commercial districts to ensure a growing business community. In addition, the sewer line would result in equally benefiting improved water quality within the NYC watershed, higher quality of life for area residents and spurring economic growth in the region.”

The Empire State Development funding supports economic development initiatives and projects that create or retain jobs, generate increased economic activity and improve the economic and social viability of local communities.

“I was delighted to learn we were awarded $1.2 million through the competitive CFA process. The Danbury-Brewster sewer project has the potential to be the most cutting-edge and progressive project ever put forth by Putnam County government,” said Leg. Ginny Nacerino, chairwoman of the Putnam County Legislature.  “Bringing this project to fruition will be life-changing for the residents of Putnam County and will help the Route 6 corridor reach its maximum potential.  It will enhance our quality of life by providing convenience and ultimately will help to offset taxes. I am proud to work with my colleagues and the Administration as we continue to serve the residents and deliver projects that support a better Putnam.”

The sewer line will connect 3.5 miles of commercially zoned land to the City of Danbury’s sewer system, which has excess capacity.

“Investing in our local infrastructure will not only support economic development, but also improve quality of life for our residents,” said Senator Terrence Murphy. “As always, it is a pleasure to support the work of County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Putnam County’s community-minded officials and back the CFA process, which is delivering more than a million dollars for this essential construction project. Extending the sewer line along the Route 6 commercial corridor is an important investment that will pay dividends in the years to come.”

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne agreed. “This worthwhile investment will help support any future construction of mid-to-large commercial enterprises here in Putnam County,” he said. “I am pleased to see the state agreed with us and sees the shared benefits of this project for the region.”

The Danbury-Brewster sewer line will also strengthen the Brewster revitalization effort.

“The news of the CFA grant is exciting news for the commercial property owners along the Route 6 corridor,” said Legislator Paul Jonke, District 6, which includes the business district.  “They are a step closer to maximizing the potential of this under-utilized area of Brewster. The news of the grant is a big win for the taxpayers, whom will benefit by increasing the property tax base as well as the potentially increased sales tax revenue.”

Brewster Mayor James Schoenig said, “The Village of Brewster is honored to be part of this cooperative effort transforming Putnam County into a shining 21st century economic engine.”

The creation of the Danbury-Brewster sewer line will bring construction jobs to Putnam County.

“The Northeast Regional Council of Carpenter is excited to see the Route 6 corridor open up between Brewster and Danbury which would bring much needed commerce and job creation to Putnam County,” said council representative Ed Cooke.

News of the award was welcomed by the business community.

“Since the day County Executive MaryEllen Odell was elected into office she has made infrastructure and economic development a priority and it is starting to pay off,” said Jennifer Maher, chairwoman of the Putnam Chamber of Commerce. “I am excited to be working with this administration on other similar projects that will better our ability to attract the businesses we need to offset our property taxes and to improve upon the overall business climate.”

Brewster Chamber of Commerce President Geoffrey Reinwald congratulates the county on receiving the funding. “The Brewster Chamber hopes the development that will take place on Danbury Road will bring more businesses, more people and more jobs,” he said.

The grant application was submitted by Sandra Fusco, acting director, Putnam County Planning, Development and Public Transportation Department, and her staff.

“It is due to Sandra’s efforts to research and apply for this grant, along with her expertise in completing a very tedious and comprehensive application, which enabled the county to achieve this award,” said Odell. “I also want to thank Putnam County Chairwoman Ginny Nacerino, Legislator Paul Jonke as well as Meghan Taylor and the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council for their steadfast support of this project.”

The Danbury-Brewster sewer project was one of the initiatives that Meghan Taylor, who is the regional director of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council, identified while she served as the president of the Putnam County Economic Development Corporation.

“Seeing progress from the ideas that we planted while I was with the Putnam EDC in 2015 is incredible,” said Taylor. “The Danbury-Brewster sewer line is not only good for Putnam County, but for the Mid-Hudson Region.  It will reverse the decline of Putnam County’s economic stability and provide public sewer to a major thoroughfare. The sewer line supports the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council’s focus of regionally transformational projects that move the region forward.”

Putnam County Welcomes 46 of its Newest Citizens on Wednesday December 13th’s Naturalization Ceremony

Defend the Holiday program, a joint effort with United for the Troops that will supply comfort packages to those serving overseas in the U.S. Armed Forces

During this season of giving, we need to remember that our greatest gift is that of freedom. I have launched the Defend the Holiday program, a joint effort with United for the Troops that will supply comfort packages to those serving overseas in the U.S. Armed Forces.

For a $15 donation, a care package will be sent to a soldier overseas on your behalf or that of a loved one of your choice.  You will be given a card acknowledging the gift.

United for the Troops was founded by Jim and Patty Rathschmidt of Mahopac with the help of friends and families whose sons and daughters are serving overseas. Its sole purpose is to make life while away from home a little better for these brave men and women. Some of the items include cookies, DVDs, CDs, snacks, t-shirts, and other food items. Following numerous conversations with service men and women, the group found out that the military provides soldiers with the essentials for day- to-day life and many of them miss the extra amenities that they enjoy while at home. United for the Troops’ goal is to show them that we are proud of them and appreciate all of their efforts in areas of the world.

Cards can be reserved by submitting the form found at

Payment for the stocking cards must be sent or brought to Terry Oliver, my

Confidential Secretary.

40 Gleneida Avenue

Carmel, NY  10512

Terry can be reached at 845-808-1001 with any questions.

Please have your card bought by December 21st.

Blue-Green Algae: Everything you wanted to know about it, but were afraid to ask

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, January 23, from 9 to 11 a.m. Blue-green algae will be the “hot” topic at a new health department seminar. Speakers from the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will discuss the most current information on this growing public health concern, including health risks, prevention and treatment methods. The event will take place at the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services, 112 Old Route 6 in Carmel. The snow date is Thursday, February 8, same time and location.
The general public is encouraged to attend and also submit specific questions and topics ahead of time. The seminar is being held early in the year to give bathing beach operators, surface water operators, private beach operators and public officials enough time to prepare for the 2018 summer swimming season. For further information or to submit a question and RSVP, please email by January 8.

County Water Quality Discussed by State and Local Leaders

BREWSTER, NY— Water quality issues have become more commonplace in New York State, and particularly in Putnam County. The aging water infrastructure is a serious concern, heightened by recently increasing environmental contaminations, such as those from deicing salts and harmful summer algal blooms in local lakes. On Monday, representatives from the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) were in New York City to present testimony and gain additional support for the implementation of the New York State 2017 Clean Water Infrastructure Act.

“Counties across the state strongly support the $2.5 billion investment in water infrastructure included in the new Clean Water Infrastructure Act,” says Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, who was recently elected as president of NYSAC. “However we have a number of concerns with the Act’s implementation.” She then outlined ways to improve implementation by more effectively involving local health departments in determining the geographic areas for the septic system replacement fund and by shoring up support for small water treatment systems.

“We have a strong voice in Albany with our County Executive in a leadership position as NYSAC president,” said Interim Health Commissioner Michael Nesheiwat, MD, who was in Albany reviewing these issues at the monthly meeting of the New York State Association County Health Officials (NYSACHO). “Blue-green algae is a particular concern to our Putnam residents and we want to make sure the appropriate funding is in place to address these issues.”

The Putnam County Department of Health will be holding an informational seminar open to the public on blue-green algae on Tuesday, January 23, at the County’s Bureau of Emergency Services building. Further information about the event will be available on the county’s website.

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 ; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

Putnam County Swearing-In Ceremony Friday December 29th at 5p.m.