Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Newsworthy Notes from the week

State delays in issuing retail pot licenses; Pataki installed as St. Pat’s Grand Marshal
Newsworthy+Notes+from+the+week

Delays continue in issuing new marijuana retail licenses 

The state agency controlling the rollout of legal marijuana in New York has again delayed the processing of licenses. The Cannabis Control Board canceled its January 23 meeting and pushed action on new licenses into February.

“The Cannabis Control Board … has decided to postpone the meeting to finalize review of adult-use license applications currently under consideration for approval by the board,” the Office of Cannabis Management said in a statement. “While we have a batch of licenses ready for approval, there are many more we want to get across the finish line to jumpstart New York’s cannabis market in 2024.”

Four potential retail sites in Peekskill are actively seeking approvals from the state and the city to become the first location to operate here.

Three proposed sales dispensaries were among the licenses to be considered according to the agenda for the meeting, which was posted on and later deleted from the Office of Cannabis Management’s website. The other 10 pending licensees on the canceled meeting’s agenda were cultivators, “microbusiness” small producers, and processors, the story in the January 24 issue of The City reported.

Other issues on the canceled agenda included newly proposed homegrown regulations, research license applications, and amendments to retail cannabis rules.

Draft regulations would allow someone to grow up to six marijuana plants (three mature and three immature). Individuals with medical marijuana prescriptions have been allowed to grow their own plants, or have an approved caregiver grow plants for them, since October 2022.

Retailers who want to sell starter plants will have to have an active nursery dealer registration certificate from the state’s Department of Agriculture and Markets. 

The first “legal” sale of recreational marijuana in New York did not take place until December 2022 when a downstate nonprofit, Housing Works, opened a retail marijuana shop in New York City.

Former Governor Pataki to be installed as St. Pat’s Grand Marshal Feb. 10

The Grand Marshal’s Installation celebration for the 2024 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Peekskill will be held on Saturday, February 10 at The Abbey Inn & Spa. The event is sold out.

This year’s Grand Marshal, native son, and former three-term Governor of the state of New York George Pataki, will be the featured honoree. The Governor’s aides for the parade are retired Peekskill Police Officer Pam Sgroi, former Peekskill Mayor Richard Jackson, long-time Peekskill Pastor Father Vernon, and long-time high school security aide Pete Peterson.

This year’s parade is scheduled for Saturday, March 9. The Peekskill parade started in 1990 with a small group of local Irishmen wanting to bring a taste of Irish music, history and traditions to Peekskill.  

Dan Caffrey, a U.S. Marine and New York City fire captain, led the group and marshaled the resources needed to get the parade up and running, assisted by well-known bagpiper Joe Brady Jr. and with the support of then-Peekskill police chief Ed Hayes. 

Past Grand Marshals are a who’s who of the Peekskill and Cortlandt area. The first parade in 1990 was led by Dr. John McGurty, Sr. His son Dr. John McGurty, Jr. took the lead nine years later and then in 2015 his wife Kathy McGurty was Grand Marshal as well. 

Msgr. Francis Ansbro, Joe and Ann Brady, Jack Carey, Joe Seymour, Msgr. Joe Martin, Vinnie Vesce, Jack Murphy, Bill Powers and Jimmy Guinan are some of the famous locals who’ve been honored to lead the march. Jack Murphy, who passed away in 2019, also served for 20 years as chairman of the Parade Committee. 

Update on state of affairs in Ecuador to be held in Peekskill

A public meeting to help understand the state of political events in Ecuador will be held on Saturday, February 3 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Peekskill School District Administration building on Elm Street.

About two weeks ago, Ecuador declared a “state of war” against drug gangs/cartels. Unfortunately, the situation is severe and with many lives at risks. The purpose of this event is to bring awareness to this situation, have a moment of silence, and inform the Ecuadorian community to not fall for any tricks or scams from attorneys, notaries, or others, that there is currently no law for immigration purposes (TPS in specific), and offer reliable services and resources to the public. 

With the collaboration of several Ecuadorian organizations and leaders throughout Westchester County such as Peekskill, Ossining, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown and Mount Kisco an audience of at least 200 individuals is expected along with several elected officials at the local, county, and state levels.

For further information, contact Karen J. Vele at [email protected]

DPW publishes 2024 Guide to city services

The city’s Department of Public Works 2024 Sanitation and Recycling Information Guide is now available. The guide offers information on composting, snow removal, fees for services, collection in the Business Improvement District (BID), street sweeping districts, East side and West side collection schedules, and information about “Clean Up Peekskill 2024.”

“Throughout 2024, the city will be instituting its ‘A Cleaner Peekskill: Our City, Our Responsibility’ campaign, which will be designed to educate, enforce, and increase attention to littered property. Together with your help, we can transform the City of Peekskill and improve the quality of life for all residents. Many Thanks, Matt Alexander, City Manager.”

The guide is available to download here.

Three PHS students win awards at Science Fair

Congratulations to the three Peekskill Science Research (PSR) winners at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium at Yorktown High School held on January 20 and January 21. 

Janira Martinez received a 2nd place award for her project “The Impact of Social Media Influencer Food Advertising on High School Students’ Food Choices.”

Jason Ayavaca and Alexis Chillogallo’s team won 3rd place for their project “The Impact of Dissolved Oxygen on Benthic Macroinvertebrates: Seasonal Biomonitoring of Freshwater Quality via Biotic Index.”

Peekskill High School teachers Sue Imhof and Michelle McCaffrey took time out of their busy weekends to volunteer at the fair. Erum Hadi, lead teacher for the Science Research Program, prepared the students for the competition. 

Peekskill High team headed to state robotics finals

The Iron Devils qualified for the state robotics championship by winning their competition at the NY-Excelsior Utica Qualifier at Mohawk Valley Community College on January 21. The Iron Devils posted a record of 15-8-0 at their three official events.

Congratulations and best of luck as you move on to the state championships!

Farmers Market accepting applications from vendors

Vendor applications for the 2024 Peekskill Farmers Market season are now available for the 2024 Spring/Summer/Fall Market from June 1 through November 23, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday, rain or shine.

2024 Vendor Application Form

The Annual Peekskill Farmers Market on Bank Street offers fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, baked goods, bread, eggs, honey, olives, pickles, prepared foods, healthy drinks, soaps, artisan creations, and other favorites. Follow the market on Facebook for weekly vendor participation.

There’s also a way for businesses to support the market. The BID has a variety of levels of sponsorship. If interested in supporting the Peekskill Farmers Market, please check out sponsorship form.

2024 Sponsor Form

The Peekskill Farmers Market is managed by an event management team under the direction of the Peekskill Business Improvement District.

Feds fund $15 million state program to build EV charging stations

New York State has been awarded $15 million in federal funding to build out electric vehicle charging. The Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will improve access to charging infrastructure and clean transportation in small- to medium-sized cities, state parks, and other tourist destinations, such as hotels and other areas, to continue expanding the availability of charging stations across New York State. 

This award was issued in response to an application submitted by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). To implement this funding, NYSERDA will launch competitive solicitations for projects that are consistent with the goals of the award, which include:

  • Level 2 charging stations at more than 200 locations, including state parks, hotels, additional tourist destinations, state office buildings, and municipal parking lots throughout the state. NYSERDA will issue a solicitation for potential tourist and municipal sites to finalize the locations of charging stations to be installed.
  • Level 3 charging stations, also known as DCFC chargers, in up to six small- to medium-sized cities focusing regionally on Long Island, in the Hudson Valley, and in the Southern Tier. The cities selected will include New York State-designated disadvantaged communities and a large proportion of multi-family homes within their jurisdictions. NYSERDA will issue a solicitation for potential sites within the identified areas to finalize the locations of charging stations to be installed.
  • Workforce Development to train New Yorkers to install and maintain charging stations.

State legislators to be hosted at White Plains community forum

The Westchester County Association is presenting their New York State Legislators Forum on Friday, February 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at their offices at 1133 Westchester Ave. in White Plains. The forum will host a New York State Senate and Assembly delegation for an interactive dialogue about the most important issues impacting businesses and communities. Some of the issues that will be addressed include: Housing Reform, Climate Change and Sustainability, Healthcare Funding, State Budget, Workforce Development.

For nearly 70 years, the Westchester County Association has been the leading independent voice of Westchester’s business community, developing and advancing proactive policies and initiatives that foster smart growth and economic vitality in the region.

Event details may be found here.

Peekskill man faces felony assault charge, violates protection order

Yorktown Police arrested a Peekskill man on January 18 and charged him with felony assault.

James G. Spry Jr., 27, of Peekskill, was arrested following a report on January 16 of a past domestic incident at a home in Yorktown. After investigating, police determined that Spry threw a woman to the ground, causing an injury to the back of her head. That incident was a violation of an active order of protection. 

Spry voluntarily surrendered to police after being contacted. After being arrested, he was processed and arraigned by a judge, who issued a temporary order of protection on behalf of the victim.  Spry was charged with third-degree assault, a felony, and first-degree criminal contempt, a misdemeanor. He was released on his own recognizance to return to court on February 8. 

Westchester County mortgage taxes plummet to nine-year low

Westchester County collected $15.7 million in mortgage taxes during 2023, according to data released by County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni.

Idoni released his office’s 2023 year-end mortgage taxes collection report for the county showing the second lowest amount collected in ten years. The total county mortgage tax collected in 2023 was $15.721 million. Revenues year to year dropped 42.2 % from 2022’s $27.212 million. The high over the previous ten years was achieved in 2021 when the County collected $30.198 million. The low was $14.951 million in 2014.

“We believe the lower mortgage taxes are a reflection of higher interest rates and the resultant lack of re-financings and lower inventory of homes for sale,” Idoni said. “It could also be reflecting a ‘back to normal’ as the receipts are reflective of the five-year numbers between 2014-2018 when the county averaged $18.5 million.” Idoni added the two previous years collections were also skewed upward to some extent by some larger commercial deals. 

In his 2024 City Budget Report, Peekskill City Manager Matt Alexander reported that Peekskill’s real estate transfer tax totals are also historically low. 

“The City’s real estate sales are much weaker than past years which were strong and likely boosted by the Pandemic as people looked for residential alternatives to New York City and the labor market trended toward remote work,” Alexander reported. “The 2024 Budgeted Transfer Tax is expected to be much lower than past years but in line with 2023’s projection of almost $900,000.”

Gillibrand urges funding for low-income water-bill support

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for continued federal funding for the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) in the upcoming government funding bill. 

LIHWAP is a federal program that assists households whose drinking water and/or wastewater services have been disconnected, or are about to be disconnected, because of inability to pay. “Since the program’s creation in 2021, LIHWAP has helped over 1 million households nationwide, including over 35,000 in New York, afford their water and wastewater bills. However, LIHWAP’s funding expired in 2023 and can no longer provide this critical assistance,” Gillibrand said.

Happy 100th Birthday to Peekskill resident

Congratulations to City of Peekskill resident Irene Bullock who turned 100 years old this month. Mayor Vivian McKenzie and State Senator Peter Harckham attended her birthday celebration where they presented her with a proclamation celebrating this milestone.

Apprentice program seeking plumber, steamfitter candidates

The Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee for Plumbers & Steamfitters, Local Union #21, will conduct a recruitment campaign from February 20 through March 4 for 20 plumber & steamfitter apprentices and five refrigeration & air conditioning mechanic apprentices.

Applications must be obtained in person and filled out on premises at Local Union #21, 1024 McKinley St. in Peekskill from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, during the recruitment period.  

Applications must be returned in person by 3:30 p.m. on March 4, 2024 at Local Union #21. Applicants must pay a non-refundable $10.00 processing fee by cash, money order or credit card. Women and minorities are encouraged to submit applications.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or a high school equivalency diploma and reside for at least six months prior to application within Dutchess, Putnam, Ulster, or Westchester counties.

For more information, applicants should contact Local #21 at 914-737-2183.

Wanna buy a building in Peekskill?

Two Peekskill commercial properties have recently been listed for sale. 

1721 Main St., a freestanding 6,786-square-foot strip mall, is listed for an asking price of $4.73 million. Existing tenants include an Auto Zone with several years remaining on its lease.

Another recent listing offers for sale 15 S. Division St., the former Ford Piano building, a 8,160-square-foot prime retail space. The building is located in an Opportunity Zone and the owner is willing to build to suit. The asking price is $1.399 million.

Also on the market in the downtown area is 41 N. Division St., a 33,400-square-foot vacant office building located at the corner of N. Division and Main streets. For years, the building housed offices for the State Worker’s Compensation Department.

About the Contributor
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.