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Published by Halston Media, 2021-01-06 12:40:14

Mahopac News _01.07.21

VOL. 11 NO. 48 Visit TapIntoMahopac.net for the latest news. THURSDAY, JANUARY 7, 2021

Early morning blaze destroys Mahopac Falls home

Fire leaves vet and family homeless two days before Christmas

BY BOB DUMAS
EDITOR

Two days before Christmas, an Firefighters attack the blaze that ultimately destroyed the Heittman home on Mexico Lane. PHOTO: JACK CASEY
early-morning re tore through a
Mahopac Falls home, leaving an
Air Force veteran and his fam-
ily homeless at the height of the
holiday season.

Mahopac Falls Fire and EMS
were dispatched at around 3:25
a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 23, for
a house re o Mexico Lane.
First arriving units con rmed a
working structure re, putting all
equipment from both stations on
the road.

e Putnam Valley FASTeam,
Battalion#16 and the Putnam
County Fire Investigation team
all responded to the scene, along
with the Somers Fire Depart-
ment, which sent a truck to cover
on standby.

Fire crews hand laid hose lines
in from the road down the long
driveway and immediately began
a heavy exterior attack. Calls for
an ambulance from EMStar and
a request for NYSEG and the
Carmel building inspector were
put out as the re was knocked
down.

SEE FIRE PAGE 20

BUSINESS & REAL ESTATE 26
CLASSIFIEDS
LEGAL NOTICES 25
LEISURE
OPINION 25
SPORTS
24 YOUR NEIGHBOR
8

22 Eagle Scout project creates
garden for local hospital.

pg 3

PAGE 2 MAHOPAC NEWS THURSDAY, JANUARY 7, 2021

The Staff Harckham’s bill to increase
food donations signed into law Sen.Pete
EDITORIAL TEAM Harckham
BOB DUMAS
State Sen. Pete Harckham and Assembly- help our neighbors, making sure they have ‘ac- PHOTO:
EDITOR: 845-208-0774 BOB DUMAS
[email protected] man Tom Abinanti announced last week that cess to the excess’ will be all around bene cial.”
BRIAN MARSCHHAUSER
SPORTS EDITOR: 914-302-5628 their bill to increase food donations, which “Some people call it food insecurity, but
[email protected]
requires supermarkets to make excess food the kid who goes to school every day without
ADVERTISING TEAM
PAUL FORHAN available to qualifying entities that help feed lunch calls it hunger,” added Abinanti. “ is

(914) 806-3951 residents in need, has been signed into law by is about making sure that the food banks and
[email protected]
Gov. Cuomo. soup kitchens that feed the hungry in our
BRUCE HELLER
(914) 486-7608 Titled the Excess Food Act (S.4176A / communities have enough food.”
[email protected]
A.4398A), the new law addresses a sad fact: e excess food from grocery stores will be
LISA KAIN
(201) 317-1139 hunger and food insecurity are on the rise made available to various food pantries, food
[email protected]
CORINNE STANTON across the nation, now even more so because of banks, soup kitchens and other entities that are away. Besides impacting natural resources,
(914) 760-7009
[email protected] the economic devastation caused by the CO- providing free food to community members food waste dominates municipal land lls and

JAY GUSSAK VID-19 pandemic. Yet nearly 40 percent of who are food insecure. e legislation states emits methane, a greenhouse gas.
(914) 299-4541
[email protected] the food produced in the U.S. ends up thrown these entities must come pick up the food; Harckham has held eight food drives in the
JENNIFER CONNELLY
(917) 446-7757 away, uneaten. With the new law, guidelines providing stores are not obligated to have it past few months—one each in Sleepy Hol-
[email protected]
SHELLEY KILCOYNE will exist for supermarkets to donate food to delivered. And the donated food will be edible low, Peekskill, Mount Kisco, Mohegan Lake,
(914) 924-9122
[email protected] non-pro t or religious organizations that pro- items that are safe to be consumed but have Brewster, Bedford, Pleasantville and Carm-
GABRIELLE BILIK
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/DESIGNER vide food free to community members. not been sold or used by the supermarket be- el—and collected over 30,000 pounds of food
[email protected]
“ is law ensures that, in New York, food cause of labeling, appearance, or surplus. ere items and $10,000 in cash donations so far.
PRODUCTION TEAM
TABITHA PEARSON MARSHALL formerly destined for land lls will now be are other restrictions on the food to be donated Hundreds of residents from the 40th Senate

CREATIVE DIRECTOR available for the more than two million state as well. District have volunteered to help at the food
PHOTOGRAPHER
residents who are food insecure,” Harckham e legislation also takes into consideration drives as well.
[email protected]
CHRISTINA ROSE said. “And with so many great community- the environmental and economic bene ts
ART DIRECTOR/
based organizations and initiatives at work to from food being donated instead of thrown Article provided by Sen. Harckham’s o ce
DIGITAL PRODUCTION MANAGER
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MAHOPAC, NY 10541

MNeawhsopac

(ISSN 2330-1627)
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THURSDAY, JANUARY 7, 2021 Your Neighbor MAHOPAC NEWS PAGE 3

The “Mahopac Squad” of
volunteers; back row, from
left, Jake Couzens, Stephen

Nealon, Bert Moklebust;
front row, James Russo, AJ
Casamento, Zack Couzens,

Liam Mulholland, and
Stephen Colbrook;

not pictured: Matthew and
Kiara Cropsey

Zachary Couzens Stephen
Volunteers work on one Colbrook,
left, and Jake
of the raised beds. Back, Couzens, set
from left, AJ Casamento one of the
and Andrew Casamento; raised beds in
front, from left, Stephen place.

Colbrook and Bert PHOTO COURTESY
Moklebust OF ZACH COUZENS

Eagle Scout project inspired by battle with COVID

Mahopac teen builds garden at NWH after family survives virus

BY BOB DUMAS Couzens and his brother tested largely in part to the care they re- But giving back to Northern that a bit.
EDITOR positive but were asymptom- ceived at Northern Westchester Westchester Hospital doesn’t start Lumber and soil for the proj-
atic. His parents weren’t so lucky. Hospital. with the impact the virus had on
Zachary Couzens and his fam- When rst admitted to Northern the Couzens family. Couzens’ ect were donated, but Couzens
ily have the unfortunate distinc- Westchester Hospital (NWH), it Last summer, when Couzens gratitude goes back even further. started a GoFundMe page to raise
tion of being the rst reported appeared his mom had gotten the was brainstorming ideas for his He was born there—a preemie money for other aspects of the
cases of COVID-19 in Putnam worst of it. But then his father’s Eagle Scout project, he and his baby weighing just 1 pound, 13 project. As of last week, the Go-
County. e Mahopac residents condition deteriorated, and he family decided they should do ounces. He spent 42 weeks in the FundMe campaign had received
were diagnosed back in March had to be placed on a ventilator. something for the hospital as a neonatal intensive care unit. And more than $2,600, easily besting
when the pandemic was just get- way of saying thank you. he credits the sta at NWH for its goal of $1,646. e money will
ting underway and much was still “I was de nitely concerned keeping him alive. be used to buy seeds and more
unknown about the disease. whether he would come back or For his project, Couzens and tools needed to maintain the gar-
how he would be if he did come his crew of volunteers, which was e rst phase of the project den. A fund will be created from
“Back then, no one was wear- back,” Couzens said. “He is doing made up of friends, family mem- was completed earlier this win- any leftover cash to pay the cost of
ing masks because there was a a lot better. He will never be 100 ber and fellow scouts, built 27 ter when Couzens and his team seeding and maintaining the gar-
shortage and we were being told percent, but he is a lot better now raised beds for a memorial gar- of volunteers built the 27 6-by- den in future seasons.
to save them for the doctors and than when he came home. He was den at the hospital in which they 3-footraised beds, set them in
nurses,” said Couzens, 17, a senior on a ventilator for a week, but in would grow produce for patients place and added lter fabric. e “ e hospital sta and volun-
at Hackley School in Tarrytown hospital for a month.” in need, as well as those in the next step called for lling each teers want to plant and maintain
and a member of Mahopac Boy surrounding area who face food bed with soil, but the snowstorm it and that will help with the rst
Scout Troop 371. Couzens said everyone in his insecurity—especially in times of from several weeks ago delayed
family recovered from the virus COVID-19. ADG-LAW.COM SEE SCOUT PAGE 18

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PAGE 4 MAHOPAC NEWS THURSDAY, JANUARY 7, 2021

Sheriff Langley will seek re-election this fall

BY BOB DUMAS

EDITOR Over the last three years, crime, especially violent

crime, has declined in Putnam County, the Com-

Putnam County Sheri Robert L. Langley will seek to mittee noted in its statement. e Committee said

be re-elected to a second term in the general elections this Langley has focused on child safety, the opioid epi-

fall. demic and domestic abuse and brought in additional

e Putnam County Democratic Committee made the funding through negotiations with the U.S. Marshals.

announcement last week. “Sheri Langley has been a remarkable leader,”

In a prepared statement the Committee said that Sher- said Putnam County Democratic Chair Scott Re-

i Langley has continued to ensure that Putnam County ing. His experience, expertise and unbiased approach

remains one of the safest counties in New York State and have kept Putnam County residents safer than ever.

his hands-on approach has served the county and all its He has enforced the law without fear or favor and

residents well. deserves a well-earned second term.”

“Safety is and must remain my number one concern”

said Langley. “In 2017 I promised to communicate with Sheriff Robert Langley

the public and institute true community policing. Put- FILE PHOTO

nam’s crime statistics prove that this approach works and

works well.”

County readies to take part in vaccine rollout

In December, New York State named regional task force for vaccine implemen- successfully roll-out the vaccine to the cinations at each phase of implementa-
Westchester Medical Center (WMC) as tation. Each of our neighboring counties prioritized groups,” he said. tion. Information for vaccine distribution
the vaccination hub for the Mid-Hudson will advise the hub on local implemen- to the general public will be shared as it
region. WMC has now tapped local o - tation—this regional collaboration is the Odell and Nesheiwat are working to- becomes available.
cials throughout the region to assist with key to ensuring our communities, partic- gether to nalize locations for vaccine
vaccine distribution as quickly and e - ularly those most at-risk, are protected.” points of dispensing (PODS) and will Up-to-date information on CDC
ciently as possible. follow the guidelines for priority and COVID-19 vaccine recommendations
Health Commissioner Dr. Michael dispensing of the vaccine, according the can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/
“Putnam County has taken prompt Nesheiwat said the health department New York State and CDC requirements. coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/8-
action to support the hub,” says County has been prepared to receive vaccines and While the state and the region are still things.html.
Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We have implement immunization pods. in Phase 1 of the roll-out to those most
identi ed representatives that work with at risk, the Putnam County Department Article courtesy of the County Executive’s
under-served populations to serve on a “We have the expertise and are glad to of Health is prepared to assist with vac- O ce
be brought to the table to help the region

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