LETTER TO THE EDITOR From County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD

Thank you, Putnam County. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, you have helped neighbors in need, supported food banks and food drives, delivered meals for seniors, made and donated masks and, of course, adapted to wearing masks in public and practicing safe social distancing measures. Because of your vigilance, our communities have been able to reopen safely.

Now that schools are back in session and more people are returning to work, things may appear to be going back to the “old normal.” But we aren’t going back, we are moving forward in a new way, and we must keep up our efforts in order to maintain the success we’ve achieved. The best way to support our businesses, schools, civic organizations and religious groups is by keeping our rates of COVID-19 low.

Students and teachers are returning to school wearing masks, and we can support them by setting the example — wearing a mask when we can’t socially distance, washing our hands frequently and staying home if we don’t feel well.

By continuing to do our part, we can be a model community that does not invite another spike in COVID-19 cases. A surge in cases could overstress our healthcare heroes, overwhelm our healthcare system and devastate more families and local businesses. We have risen to the moment before, and we can do it again now. There is no question these are still challenging times, but we are not only Putnam Strong, we are Putnam Supportive. We are fortunate to live in a community where friends, families and neighbors look out for one another.

Let’s support our businesses by dining and shopping locally. Let’s continue to offer help to those most in need. Let’s mask up and set the example for our children and young people. And let’s continue to do the right thing so we can help our friends, families and neighbors to thrive. We will be a stronger community for it.

Stay safe, stay strong, stay healthy.

MaryEllen Odell, County Executive
Michael J. Nesheiwat MD, Health Commissioner

Breakdown of positive cases by towns in Putnam County 9/18/2020

Putnam County 9-18 WEEKLY DASHBOARD

Putnam County Announces New Website Where the Public Can Access Resources Regarding Police Reform and Reinvention

Carmel, NY— September 18, 2020 — Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced today that a new website has been created where the public can review the County’s process on Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative (PRRC)

“Public Service Agencies, including police agencies, should always be transparent” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell, “this site along with our regular PRRC Meetings will allow the public to better understand the policies in place as well as the training mandated for all our police officers”.

Site Information

The site can be accessed at: https://www.putnamcountyny.gov/policereviewpanel

The site will include:

  • Upcoming meeting dates and agendas
  • List of panel members for the PRRC
  • Minutes to previous meetings including links to audio archives
  • A Q & A section including a link to our email address (policereviewpanel@putnamcountyny.gov) where the public can submit questions

and provide comments

  • Links to resources

The panel was formed on August 13, 2020 to conform to New York State Executive Order No. 203 – New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative signed by Governor Cuomo on June 12th, 2020. Among other things it mandates that

  • Local governments must perform a comprehensive review of current police force deployments, strategies, policies, procedures and
  • Develop a plan to improve such deployments, strategies, policies, procedures and practices for the purposes of addressing the particular needs of the communities served by such police agency
  • Promote community engagement to foster trust, fairness and legitimacy and to address any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color

County Executive Odell convened the first meeting on August 13, 2020 and brought together the heads of our local police agencies along with community stakeholders to begin the process of developing a plan that focuses on evidence based policing strategies. “From mental health to legal aid to law enforcement and everything in between, the panel will provide a diverse look at our current practices and provide direction to future practices”, said County Executive Odell. Due to temporary emergency orders public attendance is not permissible however the meetings are accessible via an audio webinar. The site will provide a link to the next meeting scheduled for September 29, 2020 at 10:00 am.

PILOT Alumni Where are they Now?

PILOT Alumni: Where Are They Now?

CARMEL, NY- In 2013, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell introduced the Putnam Invests in Young Leaders of Tomorrow (PILOT) program in conjunction with the county legislature. As this year’s chapter comes to an end, interns are using their newly gained skills to help pave the way for their future. The county is now looking back at interns of prior years to shine a light on the impact of the program.

Megan Hoins interned with the Youth Bureau in the summer of 2017.  Her time there allowed her to hone her writing skills, which helped immensely when pursuing her desired career. She now works in California at Crazy Maple Studios, writing and editing stories for a mobile gaming app. Megan shared that the PILOT program gave her critical experience working in teams and collaborating with people of all ages. In this environment, Megan found a secure place to grow and learn as an individual and professional.

Working in the Department of Homeland Security, former intern Richard Casale used his time in PILOT as a stepping stone to his current career. In the summer of 2015, Richard interned in the Legislative office where he gained an understanding of local politics. As a special advisor in infrastructure security at the DHS, Richards utilizes much of what he learned in the program every day. With his position on hold, he is now working towards receiving his master’s degree in business administration from Luiss University in Rome.

The PILOT alumni are not the only ones recognizing the program. Parents have reached out as well to express how much of an impact it had on their children. Two of Brewster resident AnnMarie Chalmers’ children have participated in the PILOT program. She explained that the program gave her children the opportunity to do valuable work within their community and confirm what career paths they wanted to take. She revealed how impressed she was with the environment the program provided, and hopes it continues to supply the same opportunities for students in years to come.

Breakdown of positive cases by towns in Putnam County 9/11/2020


The Morningthorpe Avenue Bridge, the newest pedestrian and cyclist gateway to the Village of Brewster, was officially reopened on Monday after a $2.6 million renovation, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced

The Morningthorpe Avenue Bridge, the newest pedestrian and cyclist gateway to the Village of Brewster, was officially reopened on Monday after a $2.6 million renovation, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced.

“Turning this 126-year-old bridge into a pedestrian and bicycle path is a great step forward,” County Executive Odell said. “It will help make our communities more walkable, provide healthy recreation opportunities and bring people to village parks, the Metro-North train station and Brewster’s Main Street shopping district.”

Putnam County secured federal funding for the reconstruction of the bridge via the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, of which Odell is a voting member.

Officials from the county, Town of Southeast and Village of Brewster were on hand Monday to cut the ribbon and usher in a new era for the bridge, which runs from Route 22 to Railroad Avenue and crosses over the Croton River.

“This bridge will not only enable residents of the nearby Turk Hill residential neighborhood to walk safely to the train station and shops in Brewster, it will encourage some pedestrians to leave their cars at home,” Fred Pena, the Putnam County Commissioner of Highways and Facilities said. “That can encourage more train travel, reduce traffic congestion in the town and village and help improve the air quality.”

Putnam County Legislator Joseph Castellano said that turning the bridge into a pedestrian walkway rather than replacing with one that could carry vehicular traffic enabled the county to get federal funding.

The State DOT told Putnam County to close the bridge to pedestrian traffic in 2013,” Castellano said. “Our real concern since 2013 was that the bridge could collapse into the reservoir.  Putnam County had to remove the old bridge. As we examined all cost options, the Putnam County Highway Department discovered a federal grant opportunity to create a pedestrian walkway to a mass transit center, in this case the Brewster Village train station. We successfully obtained the grant, which covered 80% of the cost and saved taxpayers $2 million.”

Putnam County Legislator Paul Jonke said the bridge was worth the wait.

“It’s beautiful, you can look out over the reservoir and watch the leaves change in the fall,” Jonke said.  “I want to thank everyone involved,”

The Morningthorpe Avenue Bridge was originally built in 1894. The superstructure was replaced in 1960 and it was last rehabilitated in 1987. The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in 2006 when structural deficiencies made it unsafe.

“The bridge is a great way to bring more people into the village,” Brewster Mayor Jim Schoenig said. “Pedestrians can walk to the hiking trail, or fish off the bridge. It’s a great addition to our community.”

Kathleen Ables, President of the Putnam County Economic Development Corporation, also attended the ribbon cutting.

“More pedestrian and bike traffic can only help spur the Village of Brewster’s economic development,” Abels said. “More feet on the street is always good for Main Street businesses.”

The reopening of the bridge couldn’t have come at a better time said Putnam County Director of Tourism Tracey Walsh.

“With so many people staying close to home and pursuing outdoor recreation, there is incredible demand for any safe bicycle route in Putnam County,” said the “This bridge is a welcome addition. The pathway will also provide access to the Croton River, which brings fishermen from all over to our county.”

Breakdown of positive cases by towns in Putnam County 9/4/2020


Putnam’s September 11th Candle Light Vigil

Putnam County’s Annual September 11th Candle Light Vigil will be held on Friday September 11, 2020 at the Putnam Heroes Memorial located at Cornerstone Park, Carmel. With an abundance of caution, due to the COVID 19 Pandemic and its potential health hazards, the Putnam Heroes Memorial Committee has decided to live stream this year’s ceremony on the internet. 

The Ceremony will start at 8:00pm. Cornerstone Park will be closed and only be open to those involved in the actual Ceremony and its production. It is estimated that Cornerstone Park will be closed from 6:00pm until the conclusion of the Ceremony. 

This year we will be adding one name to our Memorial; Commissioner Robert McMahon, Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services. We will also be dedicating a tree that was a seedling from the World Trade Center Survivor Tree to the healthcare workers, emergency and essential services and the volunteers who fought and kept us healthy, safe and sustained. In addition, we will also remember those who passed as a result of this pandemic. 

St. James the Apostle Church will be having its September 11th Mass of Remembrance at 7:00pm. The Mass will also be live streamed, with no congregants at the service. The site for the September Candle Light Vigil is: www.putnamcountyny.com/911candlelightvigil 

The site for the Mass of Remembrance is Youtube St James the Apostle Church Carmel NY. 

It is recommended that you sign into the sites prior to the start. 

In the event of any technical difficulties the Ceremony will be available for viewing on www.putnamcountyny.com/911candlelightvigil after the service.

It is encouraged that you watch the Mass and/or the Candle Light Vigil from the safety of your home.

Putnam County Foreclosure tax foreclosure auction WILL ONLY BE ONLINE starting August 31, 2020


Putnam County Foreclosure tax foreclosure auction WILL ONLY BE ONLINE starting August 31, 2020

Due to NYS COVID-19 Mandates Related to Mass Gathering Restrictions, the Putnam County Tax Auction will be converted to STRICTLY ONLINE BIDDING ONLY.

The Putnam County Commissioner of Finance said, “this is the safest method for Putnam County to proceed with its tax foreclosure auction process and remain in compliance with New York State mandates.”

All registrations will be completed online. We are requiring ALL BIDDERS, EVEN IF YOU HAVE REGISTERED ONLINE FOR THE LIVE AUCTION ALREADY to Fully Complete and Return the “ONLINE BIDDER REGISTRATION PACKET” to the office of Collar City Auctions Realty & Mgmt, Inc. as soon as possible via online forms or we suggest overnight delivery with tracking. Unfortunately, bidders are not eligible for bidding approval until your completed bid packet is received and you will then be manually approved and provided with bidding privileges.

For further information please contact: Please visit site at www.collarcityauctionsonline.com to register and complete the “Online Bidder Registration Packet”. Please complete Online Bidder Registration Packages to putnamCoReg@collarcityauctions.com send via USPS, Overnight or via Courier to: Collar City Auctions Realty & Mgmt, Inc. 9423 Western Tpke Delanson, NY 12053-2105 Questions: Please email PutnamCoReg@collarcityauctions.com or call our office Monday – Friday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (EST) 518-895-8150

Preparedness 2020: Masks, sanitizers and thermometers are added to supply kits and back-to school lists

BREWSTER, NY—Being prepared is a long-established mantra for emergency readiness advocates everywhere. Each September FEMA, as the Federal Emergency Management Administration is more commonly known, creates an annual theme for National Preparedness Month. For 2020 it is “Disasters don’t wait, make your plan today.” In the age of COVID, being prepared takes on new considerations and potential consequences as additional items, such as extra masks, hand sanitizers and thermometers, should be added to supply lists. 

“There were some amazing stories of neighbors helping neighbors with our recent tropical storm Isaias and the Putnam County agencies pulled together, going above and beyond, as they always do,” said MaryEllen Odell, Putnam County Executive. “For individual residents and families, discussing how to best communicate during times of emergencies or disaster, and having a primary plan and a back-up is the best advice.”

Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, agreed, adding “This has been a year like no other, and as September approaches and families prepare to send their children back to school, they are adding masks, sanitizers and now thermometers to not only their preparedness kits, but also to their back-to school routines. Having a thermometer and a back-up thermometer, and creating a routine to ensure you are able to assess the health of your family is especially important as we make plans to reopen our schools safely.”

Preparedness kits or disaster kits are sometimes also called “go kits,” especially when they are assembled in a duffle bag or other easy-to-carry sack or backpack that may be necessary if authorities are urging evacuation. FEMA’s Ready.gov website has a handy list of basic supplies to include in your emergency kit, along with more specific suggestions, and how to maintain your kit. Ready.gov also has tips for creating an emergency plan and lists the disasters or emergency situations that you can prepare for in your plan. 

“We prepare by conducting numerous drills throughout the year so we are ready when an emergency or disaster happens, and we urge residents to prepare as well by having extra supplies and a communications plan” said Ken Clair, Putnam’s Commissioner of Emergency Services. “Isaias was the ninth tropical storm of the hurricane season, and there were many downed trees and power outages. An enormous amount of work needed to be done, and our team got it done.”

County Executive MaryEllen Odell also credits teamwork for the successful recovery, saying “Our county highway and local highway crews, law enforcement, fire departments, town hall staff,  as well as our senior services, social services and legislature, all rallied together and pushed to keep residents safe and complete the necessary work.”

To start or update a personal or family emergency plan, FEMA’s website is the place to start. Visit: https://www.ready.gov/plan.

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 at www.putnamcountyny.gov; or visit our social media sites @PutnamHealthNY on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.