Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Newsworthy Notes from the week

Bantam Tools acquires machining company; Rabid fox caught

Bantam Tools acquires Evil Mad Scientist

From left to right: Lenore Edman and Dr. Windell Oskay, co-founders of Evil Mad Scientist, with Bre Pettis, CEO of Bantam Tools.

Bantam Tools, the Peekskill-based, desktop CNC (computerized numerical control) manufacturer that builds computer controlled machines, has acquired Evil Mad Scientist, a designer and manufacturer of popular computer-controlled drawing and handwriting machines that provide versatile solutions to artists and educators. 

Dr. Windell Oskay and Lenore Edman, co-founders of Evil Mad Scientist (currently based in Sunnyvale, California), will move to Peekskill as CTO and COO overseeing technical development and operations. 

“I’ve been a fan of the art plotters and have been using them for years,” said Bre Pettis, CEO of Bantam Tools. “We have an amazing year planned where we intend to release several new and different creative machines. This acquisition will help accelerate these new products.”

The acquisition will expand offerings at Bantam Tools to include art machines, in addition to the high-precision Bantam Tools Desktop CNC Milling Machines. This added product category of drawing and handwriting machines will give artists, designers, and educators the ability to create new art forms, convert digital art to physical artwork using traditional materials, and teach the next generation to use computer controlled art machines to express themselves. 

“We are thrilled to be joining forces with Bantam Tools,” said Dr. Oskay, CTO of Bantam Tools. “With my background in atomic physics, I bring nearly 30 years of machining and designing computer controlled instrumentation. I am especially looking forward to leading technical development and harnessing the combined experience of our hardware and software engineering teams to build the next generation of creative machines.” 

“I’m also excited to be joining Bantam Tools and bringing to the company a focus on customer service and product documentation that has been so important to us at Evil Mad Scientist,” said Edman, COO of Bantam Tools. “I’ll be continuing to support our existing customers with love and a supply of spare parts. I hope they’ll be as excited as I am about what my fantastic team at Bantam Tools will be building next.” 

Rabid fox bites four people in Peekskill

A total of four people were bitten by a rabid fox found in Peekskill. A positive test was confirmed after the fox was killed, health officials said.

The Westchester County Department of Health announced on January 17 that two residents were bitten in Peekskill on Jan. 13. On Jan. 19, the department announced that two more people came forward to report they also were bitten.

The first two residents, who were together during the incident, are currently receiving preventive treatment for rabies. The two subsequent residents who were bitten were not initially receiving treatment for rabies, but are now under a doctor’s care. 

The department is reminding residents that unusual behavior in an animal may be the first sign of rabies. A rabid animal may become either abnormally aggressive or unusually tame. It may lose fear of people, become excited, irritable, or appear particularly passive and lethargic. Staggering and frothing at the mouth are sometimes noted.

Westchester County Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, said, “If you see an animal that is acting aggressively, stay away from it and contact local police immediately. And if you are bitten or scratched, call the Health Department right away.”

Any physical contact with a wild or unfamiliar animal should be reported to a health care provider. All animal bites or contacts with animals suspected of having rabies must be reported to the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000, 24 hours a day.

Iron Devils win Judge’s Choice Award at Robotics challenge

Peekskill High School robotics team, Iron Devils, wins the Judge’s Choice Award at the Albany Academies First Tech Challenge tournament

Sixteen Peekskill High School robotics students recently returned from a successful trip to the Capital Region where they participated in the Albany Academies First Tech Challenge tournament alongside 28 teams. 

The Iron Devils (Team 4243) placed 10th after qualification rounds, which allowed them to participate in the tournament’s finals. At the end of the competition, the team was awarded the Judge’s Choice Award. 

This last tournament was the ninth consecutive tournament in three years that Peekskill students qualified for the finals, an accomplishment that speaks volumes about the quality of students’ efforts and the machines they are showcasing around New York state. 

Peekskill High students receive Dr. King, Jr. awards

The African American Men of Westchester held its 23rd annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Youth Awards, one of the county’s largest recognitions of King’s life and legacy.

Ten high school students were honored for their work unifying people for the common good, problem-solving, social change, justice, volunteerism, and community service.

Honorees included Kadin Sales and Ajani Brown from Peekskill High School. The other honorees were: Milan Grace Hood (Maria Regina High School), Leah Charity-Spriggs (Tuckahoe High School), Kaitlin Leslie (Denzel Washington School), Alison Medina Vargas (White Plains High School), Paige Williams (Valhalla High School), Eva Singletary (New Rochelle High School), Constance Davis (Woodlands Middle/High School), Joseph Flores (White Plains High School).

Peekskill High School’s Kadin Sales was recognized for his work at the local youth bureau helping to combat community violence. “I believe it means everything to me. I think MLK’s legacy has outlined what I wanted to do my entire life and to be recognized for such a prestigious award brings it all together,” Sales told News12 Cablevision.

The African American Men of Westchester is a nonprofit organization founded in 1986 committed to strengthening the economic, cultural, and educational foundations of the Black community.

Each student also received a $2,500 scholarship to help them continue making positive changes in the future. 

Congratulations Kadin and Ajani!

Yorktown police arrest unlicensed Peekskill drunk driver

Yorktown Police stopped a driver on Route 6 around 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11 after the officer on routine patrol noted that the car was being driven on the shoulder of the road.

During the traffic stop the officer identified the driver as Nery Orlando Sagastume, 37, of Peekskill.  An investigation determined Sagastume was unlicensed and driving while intoxicated by alcohol. He was arrested and taken to the Yorktown Police Department for processing.

Sagastume was charged with driving while intoxicated, first offense, and driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol of 0.08 percent or more, misdemeanors, and driving on shoulder and unlicensed operator, traffic infractions.

After processing, he was issued traffic tickets for the charges and released on his own recognizance to a responsible adult. Sagastume is due to appear in the Yorktown Justice Court Jan 25.

Red Devils athletes win high honors for achievements

Jaden Chavis, the junior forward on the Peekskill High boys’ basketball team, won the Lohud Boys’ Basketball Player of the Week.
Wrestler Martin Palomeque was recognized as the Con Edison Athlete of the Week.

Jaden Chavis, the junior forward on the Peekskill High boys’ basketball team, won the Lohud Boys’ Basketball Player of the Week honors. 

Chavis has led the Red Devils to a 12-1 record this season and a current eight-game winning streak. Chavis scored 25 against Lakeland and 27 against Henrick Hudson during the week. He won the poll of voters with 46.7% vs. runner-up Jake Pampolina of Suffern with 40.4%.

Another Red Devil athlete won top honors as senior wrestler Martin Palomeque was recognized as the Con Edison Athlete of the Week. 

Lohud reports that in the Jan. 10 meet against Yorktown, Palomeque won a forfeit in the 160-pound weight class. He won the 41st annual Eric D’Agnese Memorial Somers tournament as the No. 3 seed in the 160-pound weight class on Jan. 4. His only loss so far this season came to Sam Szerlip from Nyack. 

Capping off his incredible week, Palomeque won his 160-pound weight class at the Westchester County tournament on Jan. 20 and was named Most Outstanding Wrestler (Seniors). Palomeque is captain of the wrestling team, a member of the football team and assistant manager of the track and field team.

Congratulations Jaden and Martin!

Levenberg responds to Governor’s budget proposal

New York State Capitol building.

State Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg supports several initiatives in Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed 2023-24 state budget and urges more action on others.

Levenberg will work to complement local control over state housing policy. “Local officials know their municipalities best. Plans to increase our housing stock must start by tapping into local knowledge and empowering municipalities to grow in practical and sustainable ways. I look forward to introducing this legislation soon,” she said. 

Regarding education, she said “The specifics of Governor Hochul’s proposal for next year’s education funding, including the school aid runs released Wednesday, are very disappointing. While it might not be reasonable to expect increases as large as those of the past two years, in which the State made up for years of disinvestment, many districts would actually see cuts in their aid, in relative and absolute terms, under this proposal. 

“If we are looking to right-size education aid, we should take this opportunity to review the Foundation Aid formula to make sure it is up to the task of serving our school children. There are several bills that propose to do this, including A4919, of which I am a co-sponsor,” Levenberg said.

Miner ends long tenure as city videographer

Mike Miner, the city’s videographer for more than two decades, is stepping away from his role.

Mike Miner, the city’s videographer who’s been bringing important events and government meetings into Peekskill homes for more than two decades, is stepping away from his role.

Miner, who started filming council meetings, boards, holiday events, interviews with government officials, and other productions in 1999, will continue to serve his other municipal, corporate, and broadcast clients throughout the tri-state area through his company MJM Television and Video Productions.

City Manager Matt Alexander announced at a Committee of the Whole meeting on Jan. 16 that the city will be signing a contract for up to $60,000 annually with Jesse Girola to provide video services. Girola has worked for Miner at MJM for the past 12 years.

County, city police track down, arrest fugitive in Peekskill

Tactical officers were deployed to arrest suspect Giovanni Wilson. (Photo from Westchester County police)

If you’re on the run from an attempted murder charge in another state, you certainly don’t want to see the Westchester County Police Department’s Warrant-Fugitive Unit (WFU) and Special Response Team (SRT) show up at the house where you’re hiding out.

But that’s the way it went on Jan. 12 for a North Carolina man, Giovanni Wilson, who fled from that state and tried to lay low in Peekskill. The suspect was tracked down following an investigation by WFU detectives, with assistance from the City of Peekskill Police Department and the United States Secret Service.

Due to the suspect’s history as a gang member and his record of weapons-related offenses, SRT’s tactical officers were deployed to take him into custody. When the suspect sized up the cavalry surrounding the house, he surrendered without incident.

The 26-year-old suspect was wanted in connection with a December shooting in Greenville, North Carolina. Law enforcement there obtained information earlier this month that he may have fled to the Peekskill area. 

A 55-year-old man shot during a dispute survived. Greenville police officers, with the assistance of the NC State Bureau of Investigation, tracked the suspect Wilson to New York.

Following investigation by WFU detectives and the other agencies, a specific house was identified, a warrant was secured through the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, and the suspect was taken into custody. 

He waived extradition in court and is expected to be returned to North Carolina shortly. From the Westchester County Police Department

Program offers savings on Con Ed electric bills

Eligible households may save up to 10% on electric bills through Con Ed’s Community Solar program.

Residents who qualify can sign up to receive savings up to 10% on their Con Edison electric bills through Sustainable Westchester’s Community Solar program.

Enrollment is open to low/moderate income households and those in HEAP, SNAP, TANF, SSSI or Empower/Empower+. The program is free to join or to cancel.

Signup sessions for Community Solar will be held on Tuesday, January 23 and Tuesday, February 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Peekskill Nutrition Center. Please bring your Con Edison bill and award letter from any of the eligible programs.

For more information, please email [email protected] or call 914.242.4724 x 110 or 112

Riverkeeper opposes proposed cuts to Clean Water, Hudson River funding

Riverkeeper has significant concerns about Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed cuts to environmental funding, according to Riverkeeper Senior Manager of Government Affairs, Jeremy Cherson.

“We are disappointed to see Governor Hochul propose to halve our nation-leading funding for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act. Since 2017, this popular program has been funded at $500 million a year supporting critical wastewater and drinking water projects that reduce pollution into our waterways and protect drinking water quality. We urge the Legislature to push back against this cut forcefully and restore funding to at least $500 million annually.” 

Riverkeeper also opposes the $25 million “raid” of the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to pay for agency personnel. “The EPF was established to fund capital projects. Additionally, we reject the proposed cut of $250,000 to the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program, which has seen strong support from the legislature in recent years,” Cherson said.

Career opportunities with New York state available

Open-competitive examinations for positions with New York State are open to anyone who meets the qualifications listed on the examination announcement. You can apply for open-competitive examinations online. Each examination title listed below will take you to the relevant examination announcement, which provides information on how and where to apply.’

All positions offer generous benefits, including paid leave, health benefits and retirement plans. In addition, telecommuting options may be available to employees who meet certain criteria.

To learn more about working for the State of New York, visit the Department of Civil Service website and follow the department on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

For salaries and descriptions for each job go to

Police Blotters throughout Westchester County

CITY OF PEEKSKILL – The department declines to release any information from the blotter on a regular and timely basis


Date/Time: 12/29/2023 9:37am

Location: Hastings Avenue

Call Type: Suspicious Person

Narrative: Caller reported a male walking down the street that was possibly under the influence. Patrol dispatched and reported that the male was gone on arrival.

 Date/Time: 12/29/2023 11:27am

Location: Route 129

Call Type: Disabled Vehicle

Narrative: Caller reported a disabled truck at the above location. Patrol dispatched and located the vehicle. Operator held a suspended license. Operator was issued summons, and processed roadside.

 Date/Time: 12/29/2023 3:50pm

Location: Route 129

Call Type: Erratic Driver

Narrative: Caller reported a vehicle operating erratically about an hour ago. Caller was advised to notify PD when the incident occurs so patrol can respond.

 Date/Time: 12/29/2023 5:49pm

Location: Church Street

Call Type: Accident

Narrative: Caller stated a white van backed into his vehicle in the parking lot.  Patrols dispatched.  Patrol to file a report.

 Date/Time: 12/29/2023 7:55pm

Location: Police HQ

Call Type: Animal Complaint

Narrative: Civilian in headquarters stated he observed what appeared to be an injured animal (possibly a possum) walking around in circles in the middle of the roadway.  Patrols dispatched.  Patrols report the animal was gone on arrival.

 Date/Time: 12/30/2023 6:11am

Location: Morningside Drive

Call Type: Medical Aid

Narrative: Caller reported having difficulty breathing and was in pain from a fall. 60 Control notified. Patrol dispatched.  Aided transported to Hudson Valley Hospital.

 Date/Time: 12/30/2023 10:52am

Location: Church Street

Call Type: Village Ordinance

Narrative: Caller stated there were about 5 people going door to door in the area. Patrol dispatched and report checking the area with negative results.

 Date/Time: 12/30/2023 2:58pm

Location: Senasqua Park

Call Type: Accident

Narrative: Parking enforcement stated he was out with a vehicle who had struck a wooden guide rail. Patrol dispatched. Information collected for report. 

 Date/Time: 12/30/2023 3:18pm

Location: South Riverside Avenue

Call Type: Dispute

Narrative: 911 caller stated that she gave the gas station attendant 11 dollars for gas and the attendant only allowed her to fill up with 6 dollars. Patrol dispatched and report situation resolved.  


Jan. 19

Officers responded at 8:44 a.m. to an area between two buildings on South Bedford Road on a report of an odor of gas. The Mount Kisco Fire Department also responded to assess the condition and await Con Edison personnel.

Jan. 18

An officer responded to a building on Carpenter Avenue at 5:41 p.m. on a report of the possible theft of medication.  A tenant had been advised via text message that a package with his medication had been left at his door, but the item was not there when he arrived home. An officer showed the man how to access the delivery company’s app that would track the item and show a picture of the delivery if it occurred. The photo actually revealed that the package had been left at the same apartment number in the building next door. The man and his medication were soon reunited.

An officer responded to Valley View Terrace at 6:03 p.m. on a report of a suspicious vehicle. It was determined the vehicle was an Uber and the driver was waiting for his passenger to come out.

A 63-year-old woman was injured when she was struck by a car at 6:34 p.m. as she crossed Main Street at Blackaby Place.  The woman was conscious and alert upon an officer’s arrival but said she was experiencing pain. She was taken by Mount Kisco Volunteer Ambulance Corps to Westchester Medical Center for evaluation. The driver who remained at the scene said the pedestrian walked out in front of her car and she did not have time to stop. Officers were unable to locate any witnesses or security video that may have captured the incident.  

Jan. 17

Officers responded to Carpenter Avenue at 10:23 a.m. on a report of a domestic dispute at a residence there. The dispute between a mother and daughter was verbal only. A Domestic Incident Report was prepared and a referral was made to the Mobile Crisis Response Team to follow up with the parties involved.


About the Contributor
Jim Roberts
Jim Roberts has been in this business for more than 35 years (hard to believe) and still learning every day. A third-generation Peekskill resident, he started as a lowly researcher at the Westchester Business Journal in 1986 and learned how to be a reporter from many veterans in the field. He’s worked in private companies, Connecticut state government and wrote for the Co-op City Times for 10 years before retiring from full-time work in 2019. Roberts wants to contribute to building the Herald into a news website for residents who care about what’s happening in Peekskill.