FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Odell Extends Condolences, Prayers to Marathon Attendees, Public Urged to be Vigilant, Share Info

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001

April 16, 2013

Odell Extends Condolences, Prayers to Marathon Attendees
Public Urged to be Vigilant, Share Info

Two terrorist explosions brought an early end to the elite race where more than 23,000 participants were enjoying near perfect running weather on a beautiful spring day. The double bombings that occurred yesterday near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three people, wounded more than 100 and will change the lives of many forever.

The temperature on September 11, 2001 was also brisk with a cloudless blue sky stretching over Manhattan as two airplanes struck the World Trade Center and the lives of many New Yorkers were forever changed.

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell noted the similarities of the two events as she sat in her office.

“The impact of this tragedy reaches far beyond Boston’s city limits,” she said. “Many of our children attend colleges in the Boston area. This impacts us as well. I’m sure I speak for all Putnam residents when I say our hearts, thoughts and prayers are in Boston with everyone who was there.”

Today President Obama declared that all flags will be flown at half-staff on all government buildings and military installations until April 20, “ As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence” that took place in Boston on April 15.

The safety and security of the public is something federal, state, city and town governments take seriously but it is something they can’t do alone. Sharing of information is vital and a point Putnam’s Commissioner of Emergency Services Adam B. Stiebeling and Director of Emergency Management Thomas Lannon, Jr. often make.

“The tragedy in Boston reminds us that we must be ever vigilant,” said Stiebeling. “Those of us in Emergency Services need the help of the public at times like this. So please, be aware of your surroundings and let us know if anything seems out of the ordinary.”

“Whether it is a cowardly terrorist act or a natural disaster like Super Storm Sandy, we must work together and share information,” Lannon said. “Information is for planning, responding to, recovering from or mitigating an event. “

Security around major cities was increased following the Boston bombings and Putnam has taken precautionary safety steps as well. Currently the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is at a heightened awareness level and will be increasing patrols in all large public gathering areas including train stations and platforms.

Odell explained the reason for these precautionary steps.

“Many of our residents commute to Manhattan by rail or car on a daily basis. While we have no expectations of experiencing any event, we will be vigilant and I ask that our residents be vigilant as well.”

Residents can help.

“If you see something, say something.  Be observant, if it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t.  Call the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office at 845-225-4300 to report your concerns or dial 9-1-1,” said Odell.

Lannon suggests New Yorkers sign up to receive emergency notifications at NY-Alert.

“NY-Alert is an emergency alert notification system that will notify you with important information using any combination of email, text messaging, recorded phone message or fax and is available to you at no cost,” he said.

To sign up for notifications go to  Follow the instructions adding any areas of interest in New York State.  You should also go to “Add Routine Notifications” and select specialized areas within Putnam County.

For help signing up, residents can visit the County website at

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Odell to Proclaim Putnam as First Purple Heart County in NY


MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001
March 20, 2013

Odell to Proclaim Putnam as First Purple Heart County in NY

A request sent to Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell by William “Willy” Nazario, the Legislative Officer – Dept. of NY of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 21 and Denis Castelli, the organization’s Judge Advocate, and seeking that she proclaim Putnam as a Purple Heart County was met with an immediate and positive response.

“Absolutely!” said Odell. “Of course I will do this. 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 absolutely will ask the Legislature to accept a proclamation designating Putnam as New York’s first Purple Heart County. It will be my pleasure to this for our many wonderful veterans and their families.”

Odell will present the proclamation to Legislature Chairman Richard T. Othmer, Jr. for a full vote at the April 3 meeting. The Legislature will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the Historic Putnam County Courthouse on Gleneida Avenue in Carmel.

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.

Putnam’s Director of Veterans Affairs Karl Rohde is also pleased about Putnam becoming the first county in New York to be designated a Purple Heart County.

“In keeping with the tradition of Putnam being the best county in the United States regarding veterans, we’re very proud to be the first Purple Heart County,” he said.

Castelli, a veteran and Purple Heart recipient, resides in Putnam and serves as the County Historian, a position he relishes.

“Many states, counties and towns across our great nation are honoring our veterans with this simple act of patriotism,” Castelli said.

When asked how many Purple Heart recipients resided in Putnam now, Castelli was unable to supply that information.

“There is no answer to this question and no manner to find out,” Castelli said. “The only repository for this information is the Department of Defense and they are not talking.”

Castelli provided a list of interesting but little known facts concerning Putnam’s earliest veterans. Foremost, is Gen. Israel Putnam. While a resident of neighboring Connecticut, it was this American Revolutionary War hero for whom Putnam County was named.

According to Castelli’s list, Putnam had four fighting generals during the Civil War (and there were two ironclad ships that bore the name of the USS Mahopac at that time. In addition, two Putnam residents died with Gen. George Custer at Little Big Horn; the Borden Milk Factory in Brewster produced and distributed condensed milk to Union troops during the Civil War substantially reducing incidents of dysentery; and Gen. Daniel A. Butterfield, who received a Congressional medal of Honor for his service during the Civil War, is credited with composing the bugle call “Taps.” Other Putnam Congressional Medal of Honor recipients include Abraham K. Arnold, Samuel N. Benjamin, William J. Brewer and John McCloy who was awarded two such medals.

Castelli also pointed out that the Parrott Rifle, a cannon, was designed by Captain Robert Parker Parrott, an 1824 West Point graduate and Cold Spring resident, at his West Point Foundry in Cold Spring, NY.

butterfield    purple heart

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell’s State of the County Address: Making the Connection

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell’s State of the County Address that was held on Thursday, March 14th 2013

“We’re changing things up this year,” said Odell. “And the  State of the County address to be something everyone will want to attend and we’re working toward making it as enjoyable as it is informative.”

As part of Odell’s plan to “change things up,” she has added several new components to the State of the County event. This year, the TOPS doors will open at 5 p.m. so visitors can enjoy “Making the Connection,” the theme of this year’s State of the County address, with a variety of County departments and area businesses. The TOPS rotunda will be filled with “Connection” tables and unusual props all of which will highlight achievements and support the number of positive and productive connections being made county-wide.

Take a look at pictures and coverage here


County Executive’s Address to Highlight “Making the Connection” Festival of Info, Market Opens at 5 p.m. and Promises to be the Most Enjoyable State of the County Address Ever Presented in Putnam.


MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808- 1001

Date: March 7, 2013

RE: 2013 State of the County Address


County Executive’s Address to Highlight “Making the Connection” Festival of Info,
Market Opens at 5 p.m. and Promises to be the Most Enjoyable State of the County Address Ever Presented in Putnam.  

The public is cordially invited to attend as Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell presents her 2013 State of the County address at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 14. The event will be held in the auditorium of the Training & Operations Center located on the Donald B. Smith Campus, 112 Old Route 6, in Carmel.

“We’re changing things up this year,” said Odell. “We want the State of the County address to be something everyone will want to attend and we’re working toward making it as enjoyable as it is informative.”

As part of Odell’s plan to “change things up,” she has added several new components to the State of the County event. This year, the TOPS doors will open at 5 p.m. so visitors can enjoy “Making the Connection,” the theme of this year’s State of the County address, with a variety of County departments and area businesses. The TOPS rotunda will be filled with “Connection” tables and unusual props all of which will highlight achievements and support the number of positive and productive connections being made county-wide.

Among those who will be present at the 5 p.m. showcase will be representatives from several of Putnam’s top restaurants, many of whom are participating in this year’s Hudson Valley Restaurant Week and each offering samples of their delicious fare.

Also participating in the festival-like fun will be Putnam County Tourism Director Libby Pataki, Putnam County Historian Denis Castelli, Putnam County Clerk Dennis Sant, Putnam County Library Association members, Putnam Arts Council and numerous representatives from various county departments and Putnam organizations. Each will be providing information on upcoming events, celebrating recent accomplishments and providing up-to-date information.

“Making the Connection” is more than just a theme for this year’s address,” said Odell. “It’s a direction in which Putnam is moving. We have become a network of connected departments working toward making government more efficient, more accessible and more transparent for the public.”

As examples of “Making the Connection,” Odell will enumerate how Putnam’s first responding units enjoy better coordination and stronger communications. Odell will also introduce her newest staff member, Commissioner of Planning, Development and Public Transportation Anthony Ruggiero and present his vision for a Putnam County Planning Federation.

Solidifying an international cycling connection for Putnam is one of the many tasks Tourism Director Libby Pataki and her staff have accomplished. Furthermore, as Odell will explain, Pataki is “Making the Connection” between Tourism and economic development as she and the Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce prepare for “Pedal into Spring” the May 4 and 5 Flower Festival during which the Putnam Cycling Classic will take place.

Among the many informational topics to be covered in her address, Odell will present an update on the work of Transportation Task Force Chairman Vincent Tamagna whose group is working toward making more connections for Putnam residents as they assess and streamline county-wide transportation services.

Anyone planning to attend what promises to be the most enjoyable State of the County address ever presented in Putnam is asked to RSVP to the County Executive’s office by calling (845) 808-1001.


Albany Law School’s Veterans’ Rights Pro Bono Project To Offer Free Legal Services To Veterans Feb. 23

Albany Law School’s Veterans’ Rights Pro Bono Project will once again offer free legal advice and services to veterans on Feb. 23, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Albany Law School (80 New Scotland Ave.).

Attorneys will be on hand to advise veterans and provide free legal services in a wide variety of legal areas, including:

•        Drafting Wills, Health Care Proxies, and Powers of Attorney

•        Employment Law (including veteran-specific employment concerns)

•        Obtaining VA disability or pension benefits

•        Discharge Upgrades (and other Military Law areas)

•        Military Documentation Questions

•        Family Law and Matrimonial Law matters (divorces, child custody planning, etc.)

•        Tax Law issues

•        Filing For Bankruptcy

In addition, representatives from a number of organizations that provide key services for veterans are scheduled to be present, including members of the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs, the Albany County Veterans’ Services Bureau, and the New York State Division of Labor.

Appointments are highly recommended for veterans seeking to meet with an attorney. To make an appointment, call (518) 445-2365 and leave a message stating your name, your phone number, and the time of day when you would like to make an appointment. A member of the pro bono project will call back within the next day or two to confirm your appointment. Veterans interested in an appointment can also send an email to

Attorneys taking part in this program include:

•        Maj. Joel Abelove, U.S. Army Senior Defense Counsel

•        Michael Crowe, Associate, Cutler, Trainor, & Cutler LLP 

•        David Fallon, Associate, Tully Rinckey, PLLC

•        David Kubikian, Partner, Law Offices of Jean Mahserjian

•        Nancy Morgan, Partner, Finkelstein & Partners LLP

•        Robert Randall, Principal, The Randall Law Firm

•        Florence Richardson, Partner, Kahn & Richardson

•        Ariel Solomon, Founding Partner, Solomon Law Firm PLLC 

•        Kathleen Toombs, Principal, The Law Office of Kathleen M. Toombs 

Albany Law School’s Veterans’ Rights Pro Bono Project, with a membership of more than 20 Albany Law School students, has facilitated the provision of free legal services for veterans since the autumn of 2011. During that time, the project has successfully helped veterans in matters ranging from securing VA benefits to developing child custody arrangements, and from estate planning to immigration defense to correcting erroneous military documents. The project also takes part in programs with the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York at the Albany Housing Coalition and at the Stratton VA Hospital.

This information is also available on the law school website:

Imagination Station – Students and Residents come together to create a better community

Imagination Station Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that uses community effort to rebuild the playground that once stood at the Kent Schools! We are parents, former students and residents who simply want to be involved and create a better community! Find out more about this great organization by visiting there website



County Officials First in Line for Flu Shots

The Department of Health was very busy as the 2012 influenza clinic season kicked off. Executive MaryEllen Odell received her flu shot from Allen Beals, MD, Commissioner of Health, and Legislators Carl L. Albano, District 5, and Vincent Tamagna, District 1, received theirs from public health nurse Jeanette Baldanza, RN, immunization coordinator.

Commissioner Beals encourages everyone six months of age and older to get a flu vaccine. “There is nothing trivial about contracting the flu,” said Dr. Beals. “Besides being sick in bed for a number of days at minimum, the flu can be severe or even deadly, particularly for those with chronic medical conditions or those who are elderly or very young.”

Putnam residents flocked to the Carmel Fire Department later in the day, Monday, September 10, for the first public flu clinic, open to all Putnam County residents, 18 years of age and older. The next clinics are scheduled for Wednesday, October 10, from 2 pm to 6:30 pm at the Garrison Fire Department, 1616 Route 9, and again at the Carmel Fire Department on Monday, October 15, 2 pm to 6:30 pm, Route 52 and Vink Drive.

County Executive MaryEllen Odell featured on Meet the Leaders

Meet the Leaders is an insightful program with area leaders, Meet the Leaders explores the people, policies and issues which are responsible for directing the future course of regional communities. Through discussion and query directed by our host / moderator, Meet the Leaders helps our viewers to gain a deeper understanding and a greater awareness of the factors integral to the formation of local decision.

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Tappan Zee Bridge: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s political, PR skills won over county execs

ALBANY — The telephone calls came with regularity from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his staff to the three Hudson Valley county executives who were leery of backing plans for a new Tappan Zee Bridge.

The conversations over the past month were courteous and professional, but also serious and urgent, the local leaders said. The result was what Cuomo has become accustomed to during his 1 1/2 years in office: He got his desired outcome.

The county executives from Rockland, Westchester and Putnam voted Monday to move the project ahead and seek federal aid for it.

“His approach really expedited the process,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “If he wasn’t such a communicator on this project, we would probably be nowhere near” this phase.

In Albany, Cuomo has used political skill to get a reluctant Legislature to back his agenda. He is using the same approach on one of the largest projects in the nation: building a new $5.2 billion bridge across the Hudson River between Westchester and Rockland counties.

“It’s like everything else we’ve been trying to do over the past 19 months,” Cuomo said in an interview Friday. “We said when we came in that New York state was suffering from a culture of governmental dysfunction, and we came in with an agenda that we were going to move aggressively.”

He has moved fast on the controversial bridge, a project that has languished for more than a decade. But unlike winning key votes at the Capitol, such as legalizing same-sex marriage last year, the new bridge will be years in the making and require patience for an administration keen on quick results.

To view this full article and get the most recent update on the Tappan Zee Project, CLICK HERE

Tappan Zee Bridge- MaryEllen Odell and other County Executives support replacement plan

SLEEPY HOLLOW — Westchester, Rockland and Putnam County executives announced today that they support the $5.2 billion Tappan Zee Bridge project and have reached an agreement with Gov. Andrew Cuomo that includes forming a panel to study the region’s mass transit needs.

TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE“We announce our intention to vote ‘yes’ at the next metropolitan transportation council meeting, which will allow the project to qualify for federal loans,” Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino said at a news conference with Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef at Kingsland Point Park.

The trio sits on the nine-member voting board of New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, which has to approve the plan before it can proceed. After postponing its vote in July, the council is expected to vote on the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement next month.

“(Tappan Zee) tolls will be dependent upon the investment by the federal government in helping New York state build this bridge,” Vanderhoef said. “Ultimately, the vote on NYMTC is a vote to get this moving along to ensure the federal government comes through with its loan and comes through with any other investment.”

State officials have said they hope to get up to $2 billion in a low-interest loan from the federal government.

Odell, Putnam’s executive, called today’s announcement an “historic moment.”

“We all agree that this project is probably one of the largest projects that we’ll undertake in the New York state in quite a while,” she said. “In American history, projects like this have always helped our families and getting our families either back to work or keeping them working.”

In July, county leaders said they wanted more assurance from the state that mass transit would be part of the new 3-mile span, arguing that they didn’t have enough details to cast votes. Since then, the project’s final environmental impact report has been released and state officials have held weekly community forums to answer questions.

For a Video and the Full Article, Click here!