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!

News 12 Tappan Zee Story Featuring County Executive MaryEllen Odell

Our County Executive MaryEllen Odell was recently interviewed by News 12 of Westchester County about the Tappan Zee Bridge. Take a look at the video from News 12 to find out more about this story.

Click here to view the footage

Bicentennial Constitution Island Celebration was a Hit!

Another Fabulous Celebration was had at Putnam’s Bicentennial Celebration. We had a special event at Constitution island with a wonderful boat ride, food, music and a great fireworks display. Here are some images from the festivities! Please Enjoy the slide show of the pictures provided by Russell Cusick photographer/painter/multiple medium artist