Leveraging Economic Rewards On Our Bike Paths

The many miles of converted “rail trails” which traverse our county provide a great way to enjoy nature, get our exercise and spend quality time with family and friends.   However, we would do well to also remember that those trails were once commerce corridors that brought passengers into our towns to conduct business.   Without that method of transportation, it can be argued that we have been missing out on a lot of economic opportunity.  Besides, the trails need to be maintained and that costs money.   So how can we enjoy the amenities of our rail trails in a sustainable manner so that they remain well-groomed and available to our citizens for generations to come?


A company called Bikepath Country has a plan.  Called “Socially Responsible Sponsorships” (SRS), Bikepath Country finds marketing opportunities to help pay for signage along the trails, alert cyclists, hikers and other users to nearby attractions, food and supplies, and raise revenue for neighboring municipalities.  Through Bikepath Country’s engagement in the community, local business becomes a partner in putting together the message that will be shared and the means in which to share it.   Even the signs themselves are socially responsible, made of recycled, and pressed cardboard and very durable. I think perhaps people are envisioning the adopt a highway signs and the answer is NO.  The Adopt a Highway signs are a blight on the visual landscape whereas the Bikepath Country signs are beautiful and blend into the natural surroundings.


Putnam County Executive Maryellen Odell is interested in seeing how these ideas can work on our trails, and a presentation has been planned in conjunction with the Putnam County, Brewster, and Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chambers of Commerce and the Putnam Visitors Bureau.  Come to the Putnam County Golf Course on Monday June 17, 2013 from 6-9PM to explore exclusive and unique sponsorship opportunities and enjoy complimentary food and beverages

Aimee Cunningham Owner of the Terrace Club restaurant in Mahopac says “The signs are to support the local business community and some of the money goes to the up-keep of the bike trails and restoration for our people in the community who use the bike trails. It’s a “win-win” for local businesses who want to advertise, encourage people to shop “local” and for users of the bike trails who will appreciate the maintenance of the trails, b/c there are not being maintained now. I can’t wait to put up a Terrace Club sign to advertise for my business and know that I was responsible for a trail I use recreationally.” I personally could not agree more.

Ivan Bellotto and Richie O’Keefe are just two of the Company’s founders who reign here from Putnam County, both extremely excited for the launch and are confident it will be a big hit!


To RSVP call 914-920-3121. Get a first shot at these signs and locations and special discounts This promises to be a great event, helping shape yet another benefit for our local community .I even encourage the naysayers to attend and really get to know the product.


-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce


Reflections On The Presidential Inauguration


It seems, based on observation of friends and colleagues that  the 57th Presidential Inauguration 

was either a time of great hope and optimism or one of apprehension and despair. One thing 

is for certain – it was a historic event.  Never before had an African-American strode to the 

podium for the second time to take the oath of office for our nation’s most prominent position 

of leadership.  It seems appropriate to reflect on the day’s significance, summed up best by the 

immortal words of Ronald Reagan in his 1981 inauguration speech:  “The orderly transfer of 

authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place, as it has for almost two centuries, 

and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this 

every-4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.”

Of course Mr. Reagan continued on to describe the issues, concerns, fears, needs, hopes, and 

dreams of the America he was about to lead, and the same can be said today for President 

Obama.   He is probably quite aware that there are dissenters to his policies with regard to 

economics, health care, entitlements, and gun control, to name a few.  On the other hand he also possesses the power, along with colleagues in Congress, to enact the programs he feels will best benefit the country and make a difference for generations to come.  How he handles this delicate 

balance of leadership these next four years will define the America that our teenage children will 

inherit as they enter the workforce.  We would do well to pray that he successfully navigates 

these treacherous waters, because so much is riding on the outcome. We would also do well to 

set an example of leadership and respect for the elected officials from the town level all the way 

up to President Obama . “ Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for 

your country”

-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce


A Brewster Business Icon Moves On

A Brewster Icon Moves On

In the real estate business, I routinely sell properties large and small. But one recent transaction
really made me stop and reflect on past, present, and future. For my entire life, Joseph Scortino
has run a Catering hall on Route 6 near the I-84 overpasses in Brewster. But after 45 years in
business, Joe decided it was time to close the business, sell his property, and retire.
Joe Scortino is an icon, as was the restaurant/Banquet Hall that bore his family name. A fixture
in the local Republican Party, he hosted committee dinners and in years past Scortino’s was
the place where local elections were held. They would literally write the vote tallies on boards
of sheetrock, which now adorn the walls. Hundreds of weddings, christenings, sweet sixteen’s
etc…. were held there. Joe is definitely a throwback to a different world. In his words when
asked his opinion of success, “To be successful you must first realize that you will not please
everyone. You have to work 90 hours weeks, be committed to service and have a loving and
supportive family”. Joe certainly exemplified those words. I admire his work ethic very much
and I believe he is an outstanding example for the Putnam County Business community, He
made an impact on the community we call home, and we are better off for his having been our

Scortino’s founded around 1965 has survived many economic climates both good and bad, 8 or
so different presidents. Although now it is no more, we have the legacy of Joe to thank for the
bright future we are building for our up-and-coming crop of business leaders. As we’ve talked
about much in recent weeks, the time is here for the big “40 under 40” awards night on January
25 at Villa Barone, which ironically is another family owned catering hall run by a younger
generation and two nominees for the event. It may be a changing of the guard of sorts, but
hopefully the new generation of Putnam leaders is ready to step up in our community and by
having such great examples of leadership they are sure to be successful. More information on
the event is available at .

-Jennifer Maher

Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

Associate Broker Keller Williams NY Realty

Vice President Westchester/Putnam Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors



A Backdrop of grief As Christmas Nears over shadows sales and profit

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Next Tuesday a major portion of the world will be celebrating a holiday based on peace, hope, love and promise. Typically as I travel the County and shop I hear talk of sales and profits. after all…Tis The Season,  but in the past few days those aren’t the words out of shop keepers mouths.  Words seem so inadequate to express the sadness we all feel in the wake of the horrific events in Newtown Connecticut, as an entire nation struggles to find an appropriate response to prevent such a travesty from ever happening again, if indeed it is possible.  For some, this is but the latest in a string of tragedies – after all many of our neighbors are still cleaning up from the ravages of Hurricane Sandy which struck 6 weeks ago.


Even though Sandy was responsible for over 53 deaths in New York alone, businesses and residents alike exhibited an admirable spirit in working together to repair the damage and provide necessities until order was restored to affected communities.  After Newtown, the mood is considerably more somber. I think the general feeling for all of us is helplessness. We cannot collect clothes and medical supplies or send cleaning crews with food to help this time. We are left only with sadness and confusion.  One has only to ponder the vision that Connecticut governor Dan Molloy must have had walking into that firehouse to try and comfort the families of 20 murdered children to understand that this was no ordinary crisis.  While Sandy destroyed so many miles of property the human cost almost seemed like collateral damage, in Newtown it was very clear what the main target was – 20 precious, harmless, helpless children.  Even as a parent I cannot fully imagine the horror that was bestowed upon these innocents as well as their parents.  I envision it as far as my mind will let me, and then recoil in horror.  Thankfully my babies are still here with me, but to 20 Connecticut families, their holiday gift is one of immeasurable emptiness and despair.


Please everyone, hug your children a little tighter, and for those who celebrate, be thankful you will see their smiles on Christmas morning.


-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce, Business Strategist/Associate Broker Keller Williams NY Realty


And the Nominees are…….

The 40 Under 40 Nominees    


Here are the names of 56 nominees who made it through the first round of judging for Putnam’s first-ever “40 under 40” awards, to be presented January 25, 2013 at Villa Barone Hilltop Manor in Mahopac.  These individuals are friends and colleagues who have become prominent through involvement with our chambers of commerce. I am excited to also see names that I am unfamiliar with. I look forward to also getting to know those individuals.

  The nominees are:

 Ruth Ayala-Quezada, Carmel Taxi; Joe Bachmeier, New York State Senate; Greg Ball, 40th State Senate District; George Barbarossa, Rev Design, Inc.; Julie Barr, Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union; Rebecca Bertoldi, Modern Media Publishing/Eventful Magazine; Sue Boyd, Putnam Valley Elementary School; Dan Branda, 40th State Senate District Office; Mike and Tom Bucci, Bucci Brothers Deli; Faith Ann Butcher, Examiner Media; Matt, Camerino, The Chophouse Grill; Alicia Canfield, Kidz Country; Louis Cardillo, Keller Williams Realty; Nicky and John Crecco, Villa Barone Hilltop Manor; Nicholas D’Andrea, Park Ford; Joe DeBellis, Wireless Zone; Katie DeMarco, Putnam County Visitors Bureau; Neil Denaut, All-Out Fitness; Savanna DeStefano, Alesca Productions;

David Dretel, D & S Pump & Supply; Brett Freeman, Halston Media; Sidney Haitoff, Medical Management Corp of America; Eytan Hammerman, Temple Beth Shalom; Brittany Hyatt, Polhemus Construction Company; Jamie Imperati, Professional Women of Putnam; Michael Lee, Putnam Valley School District; Joseph Lucia, Joseph Lucia & Associates; Anthony Malvagno, Alesca Productions; Luigi Manente, Cartwright & Daughters; Michael McClay, Paychex, Inc.; Erin Meagher, Brewster Shipping Center; Paul Melella Jr, United Martial Arts Center; Angelina Mendes, George Fischer Middle School; Jessica Olson, Magic Mirror; Jason Pabon, Putnam Valley Pharmacy; James Pfeiffer, First Niagara Bank; Lauren Pistone, L J Strategies; Amber Polhemus, Meadowview Farm; Mike Reyes, First Niagara Bank; Katie Robertson, Putnam County Visitors Bureau; Jonathan Schneider, Schneider Financial Group;

Tara Scozzafava-Baisley, Putnam Valley Florist; Richard Seidel, Millennium Printing; Bramdeo Singh, MD, Putnam Hospital Center; Heather Soss, Health & Harmony Wellness Center; Adrienne Spadaccini, Putnam County Law Department; Kelly Torres, NY Face & Body Art;

Scott Van Niekerk, Wholistic Physical Therapy; Lee & Christina Vataj, Countryside Kitchen;

Toni Vulaj, The Chophouse Grill; Nagi Wissa, Lake Mahopac Pharmacy & Surgical Supply; Andrew Zacotinsky, East Road Motors; Carmelo Zagari, Arturo’s Tavern.


Some people question why a 40 under 40 not a 60 under 60? Our thought was to find new blood, undiscovered talent that can be groomed to take on leadership roles in our  Chambers andcommunities. Some on this list have already done so and are a fine example for all of us.


-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce, Business Strategist/ Associate Broker Keller Williams NY Realty



The Judges have met!!

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Recognizing Forty Under 40 In Putnam County Business     


The rising stars of local business are about to be recognized as the Putnam County Chambers’ first 40 under 40 awards program gets underway.  This honor will be bestowed on those young professionals who work full time within our county’s borders, showing financial acumen and superb leadership in their company and community.  The selection process began awhile ago with some 70 applications being received from various business and community leaders.  After removing duplicates, etc., some 54 final nominees remain, so it’s time for the panel of judges to get busy.  Business leaders from six separate communities within the Chamber will serve as judges for the awards, including: Geoffrey Reinwald (Brewster), Vincent Tamagna (Cold Spring), Henry Boyd (Kent), Laurie Ford (Mahopac), Bill Evans (Patterson), and Barbara O’Hare (Putnam Valley).  After meeting with the remaining candidates, the judges will narrow the field down to the 40 award winners who will be celebrated at an event to be held at Villa Barone Hilltop Manor in Mahopac on January 25, 2013.  Masters of Ceremonies for the event will be the Courier’s Eric Gross and Kacey from WHUD 100.7FM.  Various sponsorship levels are still available, ranging from $500-$5,000 .  Visit for more details.


Although this is Putnam’s first-ever recognition of the younger generation of businesspeople, events such as these are commonplace throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond.  Every community needs to encourage its future leadership to dream big and excel at their chosen professions, and each year a new crop of leaders is given a chance to shine through these high profile events.   By publicly recognizing the feats of an already-distinguished group of under-40 professionals, Putnam County is letting the world know that our business and economic development efforts are in full swing.   This will result in a better future for all of us, so please plan on celebrating this coming January!


-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce


Together we all achieve more

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Together We Always Achieve More


This past November 19th every town within Putnam County was represented at the 2nd combined meeting of the Town, Zoning and Planning boards, hosted by the Putnam County Chamber’s of Commerce. Each Town gave a report on projects they are currently working on, issues they are facing and their hopes for the future, and many commonalities were found amongst all the towns.  It comes as no surprise that DEP restrictions and lack of infrastructure were key points of concern as well as lack of high tech communication throughout the County.   The Industry cluster Task force also gave a summary of their findings as a result of meeting for the past 6 months.  The task force has identified Arts and Culture and Commercial Recreation as the first two areas to focus on. These genres align with the County’s focus to promote tourism within its borders. The task force is looking to first create the necessary support structure to be put into place and then will organize a marketing campaign to attract these businesses to our County.  The ultimate goal would be to fill any and all vacancies with the County and then to move on to shovel ready projects. EDC Chairman, Tom LePerch opined that there are plenty of shovel ready projects in the County, we just need to make the environment more attractive to prospective businesses. 


For these clusters to grow and thrive, local governments must make changes,  such as more favorable zoning rules and marketing efforts which would include getting the information out to all Towns and available resources. Simultaneously we should be focusing on relieving unfunded mandates so we money can be invested in necessary infrastructure improvements. Public/private partnerships are much needed to accomplish these goals, and we’re excited to get to work!



-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce, Business Strategist/ Associate Broker Keller Williams NY Realty


The full version of the Task force report as well as video ( up next week) of the meeting is available on

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Attendees: Jennifer Maher, John Molloy, Craig Paeprer, Louis Tartaro, Thomas Mcnulty, Michael Leonard, Mary Finger, Wendy Whetsel, Lynne Eckardt, Tom LaPerch, Steve Katz, Barbara Scuccimarra, Bob Zubrychi.




Small Business Saturday!


Come out November 24th to support all the small businesses in Putnam County!


What kind of Development do you want to see in Putnam County?? Take a survey please!


Please click on the links above and have your ideas be a part of our up coming County Wide Zoning, Planning and Town board forum….



Jennifer Maher Chair Woman Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

Business Strategist/ Associate Broker Keller Williams NY Realty

Putnam & Westchester County’s Real Estate Resource Blog

Search for Putnam & Westchester County’s Real Estate Listings


Citizens Should Exercise Their Right To Vote


Elections are the main way that the citizens of our community get a chance to clearly impose their wishes on government, yet so often the percentage of people who show up at the polls is incredibly anemic.   Less than 10 percent of voters in Putnam County showed up at the September 13 primary.   That is a shame, because in most races the primary winner has the inside track on a November victory, either running unopposed or against a lesser known opponent.


It’s imperative not to get left out of the process, and this is one area where the influence of the Chamber of Commerce is rather limited.  We can share information and hold debates, but it’s up to the public to get out and register their votes.  We may all lead busy lives, but we can’t complain that politicians aren’t doing the will of the people if we don’t get out and tell them what our wishes are.



Perhaps the malaise can be attributed to factors such as negative campaigning and other drama that takes please each election season.   Voters surely get turned off to all the inflammatory rhetoric.  Perhaps the Board of Elections can run public service announcements to remind voters of the importance of speaking their mind at the ballot box.  It seems odd that we should need such reminders, but anything that helps raise the percentage of ballots cast is a good thing.


The issues that we as Putnam residents and business owners face are very significant.  Decisions are being made at local, statewide and federal levels that will make a difference in the cost of running our business.  Government leaders decide the taxes we pay on our homes, on purchases, the regulations we must adhere to, and the fees for obtaining permits, etc.   It is vital that our voices be heard during this election season.


-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce