Putnam County Businesses Remain Committed to Safety

BREWSTER, NY‚ÄĒ¬†COVID vaccines are offering hope:¬†an¬†end¬†is in sight for¬†this¬†very difficult and¬†challenging¬†year. But¬†science¬†alone will not¬†address¬†the¬†hardships faced by so many. The local health and business community, along with Putnam residents,¬†has¬†been and continues¬†to¬†collaborate¬†in a¬†supreme¬†group effort to push back this virus.¬†Now the¬†Putnam County Economic Development Corporation¬†(EDC) and Putnam County Tourism are¬†heralding¬†local businesses¬†and their continuing efforts to stop the spread.¬†

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs requiring¬†support from all sectors,¬†and¬†our business community¬†has¬†been resourceful and committed from the very beginning,‚Ä̬†says Kathleen¬†Abels, president of Putnam County‚Äôs EDC. ‚ÄúOur local businesses have been hard hit,¬†there is no doubt about this.¬†But all realize that¬†their successes are¬†dependent upon the health of¬†the community‚ÄĒparticularly¬†staff and customers. This has¬†often¬†meant re-inventing their work¬†to¬†comply with New York State COVID-19 guidance.‚Ä̬†¬†

‚ÄúIt is important that we recognize these businesses for stepping up and working hard to adapt and survive,‚Ä̬†added Tracey Walsh,¬†director of Putnam County Tourism, who is¬†partnering¬†closely¬†with Ms.¬†Abels.¬†They will be¬†making positive signage available to businesses to affirm their commitment to help stop the spread by operating in accordance with New York State¬†COVID-19 guidance.¬†¬†¬†¬†

One¬†technically¬†innovative¬†creation¬†comes from¬†Magazzino¬†Italian Art in Cold Spring,¬†where a new device, carried throughout the museum by patrons,¬†is¬†being used¬†to¬†take the guesswork out of social distancing.¬†This device works by¬†using radio¬†waves¬†to¬†measure and maintain safe distances between visitors.¬†The museum is the first in the county to utilize¬†this ‚Äúactive tag,‚Ä̬†that¬†is used in concert with¬†contactless ticket exchange,¬†mandatory online reservations,¬†sanitation stations, temperature checks and other safety measures, as¬†the museum director helps¬†reshape how public spaces function.¬†

County Executive¬†MaryEllen¬†Odell applauded¬†the museum¬†and other¬†local businesses¬†and their leadership for perseverance¬†and ingenuity. ‚ÄúWe have a dedicated,¬†hardworking¬†business¬†community. As we¬†all have struggled as individuals, they¬†too¬†have faced difficult challenges, struggling to sustain their livelihoods.¬†We have¬†worked together and¬†come very far. The good news is we¬†now¬†can envision an end to these¬†times and a brighter future in the new year.‚Ä̬†Other¬†local¬†technology¬†and¬†customer-service improvements include¬†a widening usage of¬†mobile app ordering and curbside pick-up,¬†previously used¬†by¬†select establishments.¬†¬†

Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD,¬†Commissioner of Health at the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH)¬†also¬†praised¬†the business community¬†noting that, ‚ÄúThese times have been¬†extraordinarily tough¬†for all of us‚ÄĒfrom our school-aged children to our seniors¬†and everyone in-between.¬†When thinking of our path forward, it is important to remember¬†the¬†strength¬†and determination of our business community.¬†The¬†owners¬†and staff¬†in our local businesses, whose¬†industry¬†and¬†living¬†has¬†been so affected, continue to show up, mask up, and persevere.¬†Together we have made¬†progress, and this could not have happened without¬†business¬†support of the¬†NYSDOH¬†directives.‚Ä̬†

‚ÄúPutnam¬†business¬†leaders¬†are striving¬†to do their part‚ÄĒnot just to comply with mandatory guidance‚ÄĒbut also¬†to¬†support one another by sharing best practices and¬†cross-promoting¬†the diverse range of businesses we have in our county,‚ÄĚ said Jennifer Maher,¬†chairwoman of the Putnam County Business Council, who has¬†also been¬†collaborating as part of the county‚Äôs business leadership corps.¬†¬†

Shawn Rogan, director of environmental¬†health¬†services at the PCDOH, who¬†ultimately¬†oversees the department‚Äôs restaurant¬†licensing program, has¬†also¬†witnessed¬†firsthand¬†the¬†work¬†of this¬†industry¬†over the past ten months. ‚ÄúI can¬†attest to the¬†extraordinary labors¬†of¬†both the¬†food establishment¬†owners and staff alike,‚ÄĚ said Mr. Rogan. ‚ÄúIt¬†has been a monumental test¬†of determination and¬†resolve¬†for these¬†entities.¬†It is something¬†I am sure echoes throughout¬†the entire business community.‚Ä̬†¬†

‚ÄúIn the end we all want the same things‚ÄĒthat really sums it up,‚ÄĚ said¬†Deputy¬†County Executive¬†Tom¬†Feighery.¬†‚ÄúWe¬†want¬†healthy¬†and safe¬†residents¬†and¬†a healthy and thriving business community. These go¬†hand in hand. Honestly,¬†it‚Äôs hard to imagine how you can have one without the other.‚Ä̬†

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, provided directly and through collaboration, 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 atwww.putnamcountyny.gov; or visit our social media sites @PutnamHealthNY on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


All Putnam County Government Offices, with the exception of essential services will be closed Thursday, 12/17/20

Putnam County’s ICS team has continued to monitor the current winter storm impacting Putnam County. Based on the most recent forecast, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell has ordered closed all non-essential Putnam County Government Offices for Thursday, December 17,2020.

This includes Putnam County Moves, our public transportation system, Croton Falls Commuters, any fixed route PART System, ParaTransit, Veteran’s Transports and Pre-K/EI Transportation to schools in Putnam and Westchester Counties.

‚ÄúHighway crews continue to work to keep the roadways clear, but the mixture of snow and high winds have made it a tough battle,‚ÄĚ said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. ‚ÄúIt is imperative that the public remain off the roadways to allow the crews to continue to work safely.‚ÄĚ

The storm is expected to bring several additional inches of snow before it begins to diminish around mid-day. This combined with wind gusts of 30 MPH or more will make driving treacherous. The public should avoid all unnecessary travel.

Residents are reminded that to report a power outage or downed wires you should call your local utility company; NYSEG 800-572-1131. Central Hudson 845-452-2700 or use their apps. If you use a generator, remember NEVER operate it in an enclosed space, even with a window or door open. This includes inside your home, basement or garage. Doing so can lead to a potentially lethal build-up of colorless, odorless, poisonous carbon monoxide gas.

Please call 9-1-1 ONLY if you need immediate police, fire or EMS response.

If you need help that is non-emergent, please call Putnam County’s United Way Information & Help Line at 2-1-1 which is available 24 X 7

Remember to follow all Putnam County updates on NY ALERT.

All Putnam County Government Offices, with the exception of essential services will be closing today, 12/16/20 at 3:00 pm and will be reopening 12/17/20 at 12:00 pm

After meeting with the ICS Team and evaluating the impact of the expected winter storm, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell has ordered the closing of all Putnam County Government Offices with the exception of essential services, at 3 pm on Wednesday, December 16, 2020. Non-essential government offices will reopen at 12 Noon on Thursday 12/17/20.

‚ÄúAfter discussing the possible impact of the current storm with our ICS Team we made the decision to close non-essential offices early to allow our employees to not only get home safely but to keep the roads clear to allow our highway crews to safely remove ice and snow,‚ÄĚ said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. ‚ÄúProviding emergency services to the public is a 24 X 7 job and one essential part is keeping the roads clear.‚ÄĚ

In addition, please note the following:
‚ÄĘ Our public transportation system which includes the Croton Falls Commuters and fixed route PART System as well as the Pre-K/EI Transportation to schools in Putnam and Westchester Counties will stop operations at 4 PM today, Wednesday, December 16, 2020.
‚ÄĘ All transportation services will remain closed for the entire day Thursday, December 17, 2020
‚ÄĘ Transportation services will resume normal operations on Friday, December 18, 2020.

Blizzard boxes, an emergency meal, have been delivered to our seniors. ‚ÄúAs we will be unable to deliver essential meals to our seniors, we remind them that these emergency meals are available whenever they need them,‚ÄĚ said County Executive Odell.

Remember to check on family, friends and vulnerable neighbors and If you MUST travel Thursday morning give yourself enough time and drive carefully.

Residents are reminded that to report a power outage or downed wires you should call your local utility company; NYSEG 800-572-1131. Central Hudson 845-452-2700 or use their apps. If you use a generator, remember NEVER operate it in an enclosed space, even with a window or door open. This includes inside your home, basement or garage. Doing so can lead to a potentially lethal build-up of colorless, odorless, poisonous carbon monoxide gas.

Please call 9-1-1 ONLY if you need immediate police, fire or EMS response.

If you need help that is non-emergent, please call Putnam County’s United Way Information & Help Line at 2-1-1 which is available 24 X 7

Putnam County Officials Urge Residents To Prepare For Possible Winter Storm Wednesday Night 12/16/20 Into Thursday 12/17/20

Putnam County Officials Urge Residents To Prepare For Possible Winter Storm Wednesday Night 12/16/20 Into Thursday 12/17/20

Putnam County Officials are monitoring a large and potentially dangerous winter storm that is predicted to move into our area Wednesday afternoon, 12/16/20, increase in intensity overnight and end Thursday afternoon.

‚ÄúThis storm has the potential to bring more than a foot of snow to our area, and winds could gust up to 25 miles per hour,‚ÄĚ said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. ‚ÄúThe snow and gusty winds will make travel extremely dangerous. Residents are urged to make sure they are prepared.‚ÄĚ

Take time now to review your emergency plans.

Make sure you have adequate amounts of food, water and non-perishable foods; a supply of essential medications; baby supplies including formula and diapers, a battery powered radio; flashlights; spare batteries and charged cell phones. Prepare in advance to get spare fuel for snow blowers and generators (always read and follow the manufacturer’s safety recommendations when using power equipment and never operate a generator in an enclosed space; fuel up your vehicles. Remember to check on vulnerable neighbors and family members.

Residents are reminded to report any outages to their local utility company.  NYSEG can be contacted at 800-572-1131. Central Hudson Gas & Electric can be contacted at 845-452-2700. Both companies have an app available for download to track outages.

Putnam County 9-1-1 is fully manned and should only be used for emergency requests for Police, Fire or EMS.

‚ÄúI have spoken with Commissioner of Emergency Services, Kenneth Clair and we will continue to monitor the situation, but in the meantime, residents should prepare,‚ÄĚ County Executive Odell said. ‚ÄúThis storm combined with the pandemic is going to create challenges but we can be prepared. We are prepared to activate our Incident Command Team should we need to.‚ÄĚ

Visit the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services Preparedness page at:


FEMA provides valuable information regarding emergency preparedness at: http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather

The Red Cross has a Winter Storm Safety Checklist at:


We will continue to monitor the progress of this storm and provide updates as needed.

Historic Treasures: The Pandemic’s Silver Lining

November 23, 2020, Brewster, N.Y. ‚Äď Recently, the Putnam County Historian‚Äôs Office hosted a virtual Historians‚Äô Roundtable where members of local historical societies and museums discussed the interesting and increasing trend of donating ephemera and artifacts during the past eight pandemic-riddled months, all while local and former Putnam County residents have been staying home to curb exposure to COVID-19.

‚ÄúThere has been a noted uptick of in-kind donations to the Historian‚Äôs Collection during the pandemic,‚ÄĚ says Jennifer Cassidy of the Putnam County Historian‚Äôs Office.¬†‚ÄúWe‚Äôve received an 1897 copy of F.W. Beers‚Äô Commemorative Biographical Record of Dutchess and Putnam Counties, high school yearbooks, and many photographs that range from historic homesteads and families, to class pictures from the 1970s, and even more recent digital images that cover Black Lives Matter protests taking place in front of the Historic Courthouse in Carmel.‚ÄĚ

Many residents have been cleaning up and sorting through, and sometimes deciding to donate family photos, papers, militaria and other ephemera that could be of significance to local history, rather than relegating these treasures to the garbage heap.  The local historical organizations view this as an opportunity to assess and gather important items and documents for their collections, while utilizing best practices of safety through social distancing, wearing masks, and sometimes using contactless drop off and pick up.

Over at the Putnam History Museum in Cold Spring, John Duncan, PHM‚Äôs Collections Manager,¬†recently received donations from Anthony and Taylor Mike Belcher, former longtime residents of Garrison, NY and descendants of Henry White Belcher, owner of the Garrison and West Point Ferry Company.¬† The Belchers, now living in Florida, shipped local history artifacts to the Museum.¬† ‚ÄúOne exceptional item is a seal stamp for the West Point Ferry Company, which operated from approximately 1854 to 1900 along the shores of the Hudson River,‚ÄĚ says Duncan.

The Belchers also sent a selection of photographs of Garrison Landing dating back to the 1920‚Äôs and 30‚Äôs which feature a variety of unique views of the landing and surrounding areas.¬† The importance of photographs like these is never lost on historical organizations ‚Äď they not only help tell the story of local history, but also help interpret the past, and sometimes fill a void.

‚ÄúThese images fill a gap in our collection since most of the photos we have of the landing are from the late 19th century, or post-1960‚Äôs. This time period is an amazing addition and comes from a family with strong roots in the Garrison Landing community,‚ÄĚ says Cassie Ward, Executive Director of the Putnam History Museum.

Donations vary from the formal to the decidedly off-beat. Back in September, Village Trustee, Mary Bryde, contacted the Southeast Museum, located in the Village of Brewster, about a set of cobblestones. ‚ÄúThey were once part of Main Street before the street was paved with asphalt,‚ÄĚ says Museum Director Amy Campanaro. ¬†‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt even have pictures of the Village with cobblestone streets, but here‚Äôs physical proof! We cannot wait to construct an exhibit around these historic objects.‚ÄĚ

The stones were donated by Bryde’s friend, Ruthann Platz, daughter of the late Mayor Richard Mitchell who was a trustee of the Village from 1963 to 1969 and mayor from 1969 to 1977.  But her roots don’t end there: she’s also the granddaughter of the Village’s first clerk and great-granddaughter of an immigrant miner who worked in the iron ore mines that were once located in the village during the 1870’s.

Aside from the museums in Cold Spring and Brewster, other towns throughout Putnam County have historical societies that collect significant items relating to their towns including Patterson, Carmel, Kent and Putnam Valley.

‚ÄúDonations documenting local history have been a silver lining during the pandemic,‚ÄĚ says Cassidy, ‚ÄúPutnam County‚Äôs local historical societies and museums depend on donations they receive from supporters near and far.¬† These non-profits need the community‚Äôs continued support through financial donations and membership too, so that they may care for these historic treasures in their collections.‚ÄĚ

Cassidy noted that the most ideal setting for collections is in climate-controlled storage facilities like the County Archives, but they are expensive to build, maintain and upgrade.¬†¬† ‚ÄúWe are fortunate to house not only our archived records but also papers and photographs from the Historian‚Äôs Collection in our humidity and temperature-controlled archives room,‚ÄĚ says Cassidy.¬† ‚ÄúWe have a wonderful facility and partnership with the Records Department and County Clerk‚Äôs Office, all working together to protect Putnam County‚Äôs history for the future.‚ÄĚ

For more information on Putnam County’s local history organizations and museums and how you can help, please contact the Putnam County Historian’s Office at 845-808-1420 or email historian@putnamcountyny.gov.


#  #  #

Image Captions and Credits:

  1. John Duncan, Putnam History Museum’s Collections Manager studies acquisitions received during the pandemic. Image courtesy of Putnam History Museum
  2. The 19th Century seal stamp from the West Point Ferry Company, which was operated by Henry White Belcher of Garrison, NY. Image courtesy of Putnam History Museum
  3. Cobblestones donated to the Southeast Museum dating back to early days in the Village of Brewster. Image courtesy of Southeast Museum
  4. L to R: Jennifer Cassidy and Melinda Miller review Garden Street School class pictures dating back to the 1970’s, now in the Historian’s Collection at the County Archives. PCHO
  5. Class pictures donated to the Putnam County Historian’s Collection in memory of Dorothy Weizenecker, a former Garden Street Elementary School teacher. This school was built in 1927 but closed in 2012 due to dwindling enrollment and restoration needs. PCHO


Stand With Us РPutnam County’s Fall Prevention Expo

Putnam Seniors were thrilled to be able get together when the Putnam County Office for Senior Resources hosted 2 live outdoors events during this past Fall Prevention Week.  These events were aimed to educate and inform Seniors on the risks and dangers of falls and to develop fall prevention skills and awareness. They also served to bring seniors together after many months of isolation due to the corona virus.

Over 60 seniors attended the events Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park on Tuesday, September 22nd and Wednesday, September 23rd at Putnam Valley Town Park.  The events were supported by the Putnam County Department of Health, Nuvance Health Putnam Hospital Center and New York-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital.  Events featured balance and tai chi exercises by instructors Naomi Cohen and Kim Cercena, and lectures and fall risk assessments by hospital physical therapists Kirsi Vera of Putnam Hospital and Jaclyn Cameron of Hudson Valley Hospital.  Discussions on the impact of nutrition, medications, and home environment obstacles were  led by OSR’s nurse, Michael Lambe.  Lunch was provided and served by OSR’s nutrition staff.

This was the first in-person event hosted by OSR since March and it was blessed with sunny weather. Safe practices were readily adopted by the participating seniors ‚Äď all wore face masks and readily maintained social distancing throughout the event. ¬†Originally planned as a virtual program, Michael Cunningham, OSR Director, saw an opportunity to promote live programs with the prospect of more comfortable weather and the availability of large covered pavilions.¬† The idea was also adopted by neighboring Dutchess, Rockland and Orange Counties.

Putnam County asked for and received a Proclamation from New York State’s Office for the Aging and the Governor’s Office which highlighted:

  • Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among older adults
  • Annually, in the U.S., there are 2.8 million injuries treated in ERs, over 800,000 hospitalizations, and more than 27,000 deaths
  • 26% of New Yorkers are 65 years of age or older and one-fourth will fall each year
  • The financial toll that results from falls may reach $101 Billion by 2030
  • The personal toll is equally serious with falls leading to social isolation, depression, and losses of mobility and financial independence
  • Falls were identified as a largely preventable community health problem and that efforts to provide exercise programs to improve balance and strength, medication management, vision improvement, reduction of home hazards, and fall prevention education are critical

The prevention of 1 fall could result in cost savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars in emergency medical treatment, hospitalizations, in-patient rehabilitation and convalescent care, and subsequent home assistance.  Multiply that by the numbers of seniors who participated in these 2 events and others statewide and the payback on the investment of time and effort in organizing these Fall Prevention Expos could be staggering.

Save Lives on Organ Donor Enrollment Day!

On Thursday October 8th, Putnam County Clerk’s Office will be joining forces with LiveOnNY to make a¬†difference in the lives of New Yorkers.¬†‚Äč

‚ÄčDid you know that nearly 10,000 children and adults in New York are currently waiting for a lifesaving¬†organ transplant? These are our friends, family, and neighbors who need our help. Every day, a New¬†Yorker dies because the transplant they needed did not come soon enough.¬†¬†‚Äč

To help change this, we will join¬†LiveOnNY and hundreds of others for New York‚Äôs sixth annual¬†Organ¬†Donor Enrollment Day. This year, the event will be virtual and asks everyone to consider becoming a¬†lifesaving organ donor. It‚Äôs easy to do online and only takes a couple of minutes.‚Äč

We have been challenged to be the #1 organization in the greater New York metropolitan area to enroll¬†the most New Yorkers on October 8th. Help us rise to the challenge. Consider signing up as a lifesaving¬†organ donor and encourage friends and family to do the same. Together we can help save even more¬†lives! Click on the below link and take 2 minutes to help. One organ donor can save up to eight lives!‚Äč

Fact Sheets: 

Make Your Drive-Thru Flu Clinic Appointment Online!

Putnam County residents who would like to attend the October 16 drive-thru flu vaccination clinic can now make their required appointment online. Find out how our drive-thru clinics works and make your appointments by visiting https://www.putnamcountyny.com/seasonalfluclinic/.

The October 16 Drive-Thru clinic is being offered at the Putnam County Department of Health, located at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster from 1 pm to 6:30pm for Putnam County residents, 18 years of age or older.

Consent form must be completed and signed prior to the clinic, and presented at the time of the clinic, along with proof of residency (Driver’s License). Consent forms will not be available at the clinic. Forms are available here.

Appointments are required and residents must comply with COVID-19 precautions. All residents must remain in their vehicle with a face covering. Short sleeves are necessary for vaccine administration.


Cost of the flu vaccine is $25. For persons age 65 and older or with a Medicare card, flu vaccine will be free. High dose flu vaccine will be available for those 65 and older.

Outline for Community Discussions on Reform and Reinvention of Policing in Putnam County

This outline is provided for community discussion and comment. Please use our Question and Answer section to provide comments. Download Here

Putnam County’s Office for Senior Resources Over 3,000 Food Bank Grocery Bags Delivered to Seniors

This past Thursday marked the 3,000th grocery bag delivered by the Office for Senior Resources staff to the seniors of Putnam County. In addition to the daily home delivered meals and program materials transported to homebound seniors, OSR’s drivers bring a special package every Thursday. Those seniors who come to one of OSR’s 4 Friendship Centers to pick up a Grab n’ Go lunch during this pandemic also share in the bounty and receive a weekly grocery bag.

This bounty is courtesy of the United Way of Putnam and Westchester and the Food Bank of Hudson Valley under the direction of Food Drive Coordinator Faith Butcher. Each week the bag is different, and it might contain pieces of fruit, vegetables, onions (lots of onions!), yogurt, snacks, coffee, tea, a beverage, canned goods, eggs, bread, cheese and other items. Each Thursday morning, dozens of volunteers from the United Way, local food banks, other community organizations and local government come together to sort and bag truckloads of goods. The response of the Putnam County community to those in need during this coronavirus pandemic has been extraordinary and it is most appreciated by our seniors who look forward to each weekly surprise.

Our seniors are most at risk to dangers of the coronavirus, and the daily Home Delivered Meals, daily Grab n’ Go lunches, and the weekly United Way Food Bank Grocery Bag programs all work to help minimize the amount of shopping and the subsequent public exposure risk to our seniors. OSR has focused not only on the nutritional needs of Putnam County’s seniors during this crisis which has forced the temporary closure of its senior Friendship Centers but also on combating the dangers of loneliness and social isolation through a variety of telephone and internet video programs: Coffee and Conversation, Brain Fitness, Virtual Bingo, Zoom Dancing, Book Club Chats, Caregiver Support Groups, Online Exercise Classes and is working on more creative resources. 50 classes a week are offered! Any seniors interested in finding out more are invited to call the Office for Senior Resources at (845) 808-1700.