Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Newsworthy Notes from the week

Peekskill school district spared cuts; will receive $2.2 million in mental health grants
Newsworthy+Notes+from+the+week

Peekskill spared cuts in school aid under proposed state budget

Seeking to close a projected $4 billion gap in her proposed 2023-24 state budget, Governor Kathy Hochul is proposing changes to the state’s Foundation Aid formula that would cut funding to many school districts.

The proposed budget raises overall state spending to $233 billion, a 4.3% increase, and would increase school aid by 2.4% overall. However, Foundation Aid, the primary state funding program to schools, would change the formula used to calculate the amount each district receives. Under the proposal, education aid and foundation aid to almost every Westchester school district would decrease.

However, Peekskill would be spared any reductions. Next year the district would receive $54.9 million in Foundation Aid, an increase from this year’s $51.63 million. Under the existing formula, however, Foundation Aid to Peekskill would be $55.6 million next year, without Hochul’s proposed formula change.

While the overall amount of Foundation Aid is set to increase by $500 million, a change in the formula is expected to reduce that assistance by $420 million from what was anticipated, based on calculations by the teachers union. About half of the districts, many in rural areas, would experience deep cuts, as much as 50%.

Hochul will have to win approval from the legislature to eliminate the hold harmless provision that guarantees school districts will never receive less funding in Foundation Aid, even if the districts lose student population. The program has increased funding at 7.7% each year for the past two years.

Hochul is calling for $2.4 billion in her budget to pay for tens of thousands of immigrants pouring into New York City and the state. About $1.1 billion would go to the City for housing and legal assistance to apply for asylum and find work.

State providing $100 million to address student mental health

A total of 50 school districts statewide will divide $100 million in state money to address student mental health and learning loss. Peekskill will receive $2.2 million and Henrick Hudson was awarded $475,000 in mental health grants.

“This funding will help our teachers and school staff pinpoint where students have fallen behind and provide students with the crucial resources needed to support their mental health, especially after the pandemic,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in a news release.

The grant money can be used to expand programs and evidence-based interventions, improve staff and students’ ability to identify learning loss, promote getting help, and make sure the help available aligns with the diverse needs of students.

In other school news, the state Education Department released the results of students test proficiency on Algebra II Regents exams during the 2022-2023 school year. Of the 594 districts reporting results, 52 of them reported 100% of their students scored at level three or better for proficiency. In Peekskill, 110 students took the test and 21% scored as proficient, ranking the district 591st statewide.

City reminds residents of renewal fee for Military Banners 

The annual renewal fee that pays for the storage, hanging, and maintenance of the Military Tribute banners that honor Peekskill’s veterans is due this month.

The city waived the fee last year, the second year of the program. While other surrounding communities charge as much as $30, Peekskill has set the price at $15. Families who previously purchased a banner will be contacted to remind them of the payment.

The $15 fee is due to the City Clerk’s office by Thursday, February 15. For more information, please contact Cassandra Redd at (914) 737-3400 or email [email protected].

Families wishing to place new orders have until March 1 to do so. The banners fly from Memorial Day until Veterans Day each year. The original cost of each 24” x 48” banner is $187. Go to https://militarytributebanners.org to place a new order.

City resumes offering notary services at clerk’s office

Notary services will resume at the City Clerk’s Office starting on Thursday, February 1 by appointment only. For more information, please contact Cassandra Redd at (914) 737-3400 or email [email protected]

Free tax help with returns available at Neighborhood Center

It’s tax time again, and help with filling out those dreaded forms is available to seniors for their 2023 returns. 

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide will be providing free in-person tax preparation services on Fridays, starting on February 2 through April 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Neighborhood Center at 4 Nelson Ave. 

You must make an appointment in advance. No walks-on can be accepted. Seniors can also get assistance remotely by uploading their documents through a portal and then communicating via telephone, email, or video to complete their return entirely off-site.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (914) 440-3086 and your call will be returned.

Peekskill students to attend Advocacy Day in Albany on Feb. 6

The City of Peekskill Youth Bureau will be attending this year’s Youth Advocacy Day on Tuesday, February 6 in Albany. 

Youth Advocacy Day is a wonderful opportunity for students to get involved and make their voices heard in Albany. Students will have the chance to speak to their elected officials, effecting change in their communities.

A chartered bus will leave Peekskill High at 7 a.m. followed by meetings with officials from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. After a complimentary lunch, more meetings will be held with photo taking opportunities. After an hour of free time, buses will depart for the ride home, arriving back at the high school at 6:15 p.m. 

For more information, please contact the Youth Bureau’s Executive Director Tuesday Paige McDonald at (914) 734-4149 or email [email protected].

Peekskill High School hosts state Robotics tourney Feb. 10

Peekskill’s own Iron Devils high school robotics team will be seeking to move on to the state finals in a preliminary tournament to be held on Saturday, February 10 at the high school. 

The tournament runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., where 28 teams from other districts will compete. The two Peekskill High School robotics teams rallied together to win an earlier round of competition in Utica to qualify for this upcoming round of the FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Tournament toward the state championship.

Congratulations and good luck Iron Devils!

Red Devils extend winning streak to 13 with win at Lakeland

The Peekskill Red Devils boys’ varsity basketball team – version 2023-24 – is winning recognition county-wide.

The Examiner newspaper ranked the Red Devils third in its Class AAA/AA poll for February 5. “Snooze on the Red Devils at your own peril,” the Examiner wrote. “They have enough talent to get back to the County Center for a Class AA Final 4 run, and then some, as they seek their first crown since 2009 when Peeky five-peated.”

Peekskill extended its winning streak to 13, boosting their season record to 16-1, with wins over CSEE Yonkers (66-33) and Lakeland (65-49).

Peekskill’s roster depth showed in the Lakeland win with scoring distributed among Isaiah Crawford (15), Jaden Chavis (15), Amir Thames (14), Travis Brown (10) and Zeke Jones (9).

Burglars target marijuana stores in Albany region

Two licensed cannabis stores were broken into by thieves in late January in Brunswick and Rensselaer, with thieves apparently seeking to steal and re-sell marijuana from the shops. 

The two stores were Stage One Dispensary on Broadway in Rensselaer and 420 Bliss on Hoosick Road in Brunswick. The owners were both reported to be taking inventory to determine what was stolen. The owner of 420 Bliss said he intends to bolster his security systems.

Four different businesses in Peekskill are vying to become the first retail outlet to win state and city approvals to open a marijuana store in the city.

Former Peekskill legislator gets $154,000 job with County 

Catherine Borgia, a former county legislator, was appointed to a newly-created county job as “advisor on women and families” to County Executive George Latimer.

Borgia is coordinating policies and programs that cross several departments, including health, mental health, childcare, and job training, according to the county.

Borgia represented a small portion of lower Peekskill as part of her district that primarily included Ossining and Croton. She served six terms but was term-limited at the end of 2023. [Peekskill is no longer included in the 9th District].

However, last April Borgia was forced to resign as chairwoman of the Board of Legislators because of a scandal involving an aide of hers. She waged a battle in court to prevent the Board from removing her as chairwoman, but resigned after she lost a court ruling.

According to a published report, the new position did not require approval from the County board and no formal job description exists. The report said it was unclear whether the position was advertised or other candidates were interviewed.

Both Latimer and Borgia are Democrats, with Westchester County now dominated by elected officials from their party. Latimer is running for the Democratic nomination for the 16th Congressional District in the US House of Representatives.

Borgia, a real estate agent, worked for two years as executive director of the Clear View School & Day Treatment Center, a therapeutic school for children with mental illness and emotional disabilities in Briarcliff Manor. She also was elected as Ossining town supervisor and served as chief of staff to then-Assemblywoman Sandy Galef.

South Street building sold to Yorktown resident

According to county land records, the building at 624 South St. was sold for $750,000 on January 5. 

The property on the corner of Washington and South is a mixed-use building consisting of a large three-bedroom apartment, a large one bedroom apartment, and two retail store fronts with an attached garage, a detached garage, and a small paved lot in back. 

The building has been home to liquor stores, a bridal shop, hair salon, market, and other retail stores over the years. According to land records the buyer is Piedada R. Ribeiro of Yorktown Heights.

Two new restaurants coming soon to Peekskill

Lohud restaurant writer Jeanne Muchnick has included two new dining spots in Peekskill in her roundup of new establishments opening soon in the County.

In her most recent column, Muchnick wrote:

  • Taco District, Peekskill: After a long wait for a liquor license, Dina and Hever Palacios, who own Peekskill’s Iron Vine Tapas Bar And Restaurant, are hoping to open their new two-story space in the next few weeks. The restaurant, complete with a rooftop, will feature an array of inventive cocktails along with tacos, quesadillas and salads. 20 N. Division St.
  • 140 Kitchen, Peekskill: More exciting news in Peekskill! The owners behind 140 Grand in Croton-on-Hudson are opening a more upscale spot in what had been Gleason’s original location with a focus on barbecue, sometime in the next two to three weeks. 911 South St., 914-257-4000.

Apropos named one of 15 best restaurants in Northern Westchester

A famed Peekskill restaurant received another recognition as one of the finest dining establishments in Westchester County.

In their column “Where to Eat in Northern Westchester,” The Infatuation website listed Peekskill’s Apropos as one of its Top 15 choices.

“Apropos doesn’t exactly blend in with its Peekskill neighbors,” the review states. “The restaurant sits high on a hill overlooking the Hudson River, in a former convent that was reinvented as a luxury boutique hotel in 2020. The views all around the grounds and from one of the dining rooms are spectacular, and the restaurant offers all-day dining options to service the hotel’s equally well preserved guests. 

“We like Apropos best for dinner, and prefer to focus on the smaller plates and pastas, especially the standout pappardelle with lamb ragu. There’s also a small but cozy bar area where you can order the full menu, and there’s usually a light buzz in the room from the guests who always seem to be a few drinks into a fabulous night. “

NY-P cardiologist offers patients guides for healthy hearts

February is American Heart Month and everyone has the power to take action to protect themselves against heart disease. Small heart-healthy actions like adding more movement to your day or choosing healthy foods, can have a big impact on protecting hearts.

Alan H. Slater, MD, Cardiovascular Disease, at New York-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital and Medical Group, offers ideas on how to live a heart-healthy life.

“When patients come in for their first appointment with a cardiologist, they can expect that we’ll work to identify their individual risk factor for atherosclerotic vascular disease as well as other cardiac disorders,” Dr. Slater said. “Patients should be prepared to discuss family history, medical concerns, lifestyle decisions and social habits to help us evaluate and guide the diagnostic approach. We’ll work as a team to come up with a treatment plan if needed which could include behavioral and lifestyle changes, along with medication.”

 Dr. Slater encourages patients to establish reasonable goals and help outline strategies to be successful. Some suggestions include:

  1. Quit Smoking: discussions include identifying the behavioral factors that make it difficult to stop smoking, and outlining several strategies and follow-up to assist with tobacco cessation.
  2. Risk Factor Modification: emphasize the importance of lifestyle changes through exercise, healthy diet and stress management.
  3. Early identification: through routine follow up and primary prevention efforts, we can help mitigate risk factors.

 “My family and I enjoy maintaining a healthy lifestyle with an emphasis on a low fat, low carbohydrate diet, exercise and stress management strategies,” he says.

New York-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital and Medical Group offers comprehensive cardiovascular care, provided by highly trained  providers close to home. Their Cardiac Cath Lab, in association with New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, enables the rapid delivery of lifesaving invasive diagnostic and therapeutic cardiac procedures.

Gov. proposes 10% cut in CHIPS funding for roads, bridges

In her proposed 2024 state budget, Governor Kathy Hochul plans to cut nearly 10% from the state funding of the consolidated highway improvement program, known as CHIPS.

Municipalities throughout the state, including Peekskill, count on the state program to pay for a portion of their road and bridge maintenance and repairs using the state money to cover some of the costs.

Nearly 90 percent of roads in New York state are maintained by local government, as well as just over half of all bridges. Hochul’s proposal would allocate $577.8 million to CHIPS this year, a cut of $60 million from the 2023 figure. 

Overall, the state intends to spend $32.8 billion over a five-year period to fund infrastructure in New York.

Feds award $3.16 billion to homeless assistance programs

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has recently awarded nearly $3.16 billion in Continuum of Care Program funds for over 7,000 projects that provide housing assistance and/or supportive services to people experiencing homelessness, as well as costs related to planning and data collection. 

 “At HUD, we have served or permanently housed 1.2 million people experiencing homelessness in the last three years alone, building on President Biden’s efforts to keep Americans housed,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “The historic awards we are announcing will expand community capacity to assist more people in obtaining the safety and stability of a home, along with the supports they need to achieve their life goals.”

HUD’s Continuum of Care Program is the backbone federal program supporting community homelessness response systems across the country, providing grants to nonprofit providers, States, Indian Tribes, and local governments for permanent and short-term housing assistance, supportive services, planning, data, and other costs. 

The $3.16 billion represents the largest-ever amount of Continuum of Care Program funding awarded to communities to address homelessness in history, and provides a critical expansion of resources at a time when rates of homelessness are rising in most communities.

Agencies throughout Westchester County received a total of $22,199,672 in HUD grants. The programs are:

NY-604 – Yonkers, Mount Vernon/Westchester County CoC; CMV RA 05 CoC $335,891: CMV RA 06 CoC $325,553; CMV RA 07 CoC $116,506; CNR Rehousing Initiative CoC $334,742; DCMH RAP CoC $10,389,670; 

First Steps CoC $1,025,139; HMIS CoC $260,000; HMIS expansion CoC $40,000; Homestead CoC $547,704; New Start CoC $893,177; Rapid Road To Housing CoC $973,379; RISE CoC $656,949; Shallow Rent CoC $457,141; Stepping Stones CoC $329,915; Turning Point CoC $3,685,260; Westchester CoC Planning Project CoC $500,000; Westchester Coordinated Entry CoC $640,873 and Yonkers RA CoC $687,771.

Library system lent 1.6 million digital books in 2023

The Westchester Library System achieved the milestone of 1.6 million digital books borrowed last year. 

Consisting of more than 38 libraries in Westchester County, including The Field Library in Peekskill, the library system is one of 152 total public library systems worldwide that surpassed one million checkouts last calendar year.

This achievement illustrates the library system’s commitment to serving all members of the community in innovative ways, including with a large catalog of e-books, audiobooks and other digital media, according to Terry Kirchner, executive director of Westchester Library System.

Westchester Library System member libraries have been providing readers 24/7 access to e-books, audiobooks, magazines, comic books, and other digital content for several years through the award-winning Libby app, the library reading app created by OverDrive. The large collection serves readers of all ages and interests, with usage growing through the years.

“We are thrilled and overjoyed to have achieved the remarkable milestone of 1 million checkouts through OverDrive,” Kirchner said. “This achievement holds particular significance as it allows us to stay current with the changing times and extend access to our digital services to patrons who might not have had this opportunity otherwise.”   

The highest-circulating title that library system readers borrowed in 2023 was “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus. Thrilled was the top-circulating genre; the library system has a vast catalog that also includes romance, suspense, mystery, and children/young adult. 

Peekskill probationary firefighters graduate from academy

Peekskill Probationary Firefighters (PFFs) Nicholas Russo #58 and Darwin Molina #59 have graduated from the Westchester County Career Fire Academy. 

The new firefighters were awarded their certificates before a full auditorium of family, friends, and new colleagues in the Hankin Academic Arts Building auditorium at Westchester Community College.

County Executive George Latimer and the Deputy Commissioner of Emergency Services, Susan Spear, were among the speakers who congratulated the 29 new firefighters and thanked the leaders and instructors of the Career Chiefs Academy for assisting with the training of Class 02-2023.

Russo and Molina, along with their classmates from Class 02-2023 spent the last 20 weeks learning a vast variety of firefighting and rescue disciplines, and have completed nearly 600 hours of training in their new profession. 

“We are proud of the accomplishments of PFF’s Russo and Molina, they have represented our organization and the City well,” according to the Peekskill Professional Firefighters Local 2343. “Congratulations to them, and all the graduates of Class 02-2023, we wish them the best of luck in their new careers, and hope they all stay safe protecting their communities.”

The Peekskill Professional Firefighters offered a special thanks to the command staff, instructors, and staff at the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services in appreciation all of the hard work that goes into the academy.

Help Peekskill Police honor officers killed in the line of duty

Residents can help recognize the ultimate sacrifice that police officers are sometimes called to make by supporting the Peekskill Police Department’s participation in this year’s Police Unity Tour.

Each year, police officers from across the nation ride bicycles, from Portsmouth, Virginia to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about those officers who have died in the line of duty and and to raise money for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. This year’s ride is from May 9 to May 12.

A donation of $500 to $999 will provide a business name on shirts and a donation over $1,000 will include a business logo. For more information go to www.policeunitytour.com.

Police Blotters throughout Westchester County

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

VILLAGE OF CROTON

Date/Time: 1/17/2024 12:40pm

Location: Route 9 North

Call Type: Disabled Vehicle

Narrative: Caller reported a disabled vehicle at the above location. Patrol dispatched and located the vehicle. The operator was able to fix the issue and was on his way.

Date/Time: 1/17/2024 10:22pm

Location: Train Station

Call Type: Criminal Mischief

Narrative: Caller reported that he parked his car at the Harmon train station today and returned to discover intentional scratch marks on passenger side doors. Complainant filled out depositions and would like to press charges.

Date/Time: 1/18/2024 8:20am

Location: Melrose Avenue

Call Type: Accident

Narrative: Caller reported a two car accident at the above location. Patrol dispatched and took all information for a report.

Date/Time:  1/18/2024 10:46am

Location: Train Station

Call Type: Medical Aid

Narrative: Call over fire radio for an unresponsive male at the train station. EMS dispatched. Patrol dispatched and report MTA PD on scene, aided is conscious and alert.  The scene was turned over to EMS and MTA PD, aided transported to Phelps Hospital.

Date/Time: 1/18/2024 2:23pm

Location: Farrington Road

Call Type: Property Damage

Narrative: Caller reported that her vehicle window was broken at some time during the day. Patrol dispatched and reviewed cameras. The damage caused by cold temperatures.

Date/Time: 1/18/2024 10:19pm

Location: Route 9 North

Call Type: Accident / DWI Arrest

Narrative: Caller reported an accident at the above location. Patrol dispatched and report that one operator fled the scene. Patrol was able to locate the operator and he was placed under arrest for DWI. The male was transferred to Police HQ and charged with Driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident, and operating with a suspended license in the first degree, amongst multiple other VTL charges. The party was released on his own recognizance in the morning.

Date/Time: 1/19/2024 7:20am

Location: Route 9 South

Call Type: Accident

Narrative: Caller reported seeing a vehicle strike the guard rail while entering Route 9 south from Albany Post Rd. Patrol dispatched. Vehicle was gone on arrival.

Date/Time: 1/19/2024 9:01pm

Location: Municipal Place

Call Type: VTL Arrest

Narrative: Patrol reported stopping a vehicle for VTL infraction. The operator had a suspended license. Patrol processed roadside and released on own recognizance pending arraignment. Vehicle parked legally in a parking space until a valid licensed operator arrived.

Date/Time: 1/20/2024 2:19am

Location: Route 9 North

Call Type: DWI Arrest

Narrative: Patrol reported stopping a vehicle for VTL violations. Patrol placed the operator under arrest for suspicion of DWI. Operator was placed under arrest and charged with VTL 1192-3, processed, and released on his own recognizance.

Date/Time: 1/20/2024 1:02pm

Location: Farrington Road

Call Type: Medical Aid

Narrative: Caller stated she had possible food poisoning.  Patrol dispatched.  Patrol reports EMS on scene upon arrival and handling.

Date/Time: 1/20/2024 7:32pm

Location: Route 129

Call Type: Animal Complaint

Narrative: Caller stated there is a medium brown dog running around and neither the caller nor other passersby were able to grab it.  Patrols dispatched.  Patrols report they canvassed the area with negative results.

Date/Time: 1/20/2024 11:36pm

Location: Half Moon Bay Drive

Call Type: Alarm

Narrative: Alarm company reported observing two individuals in the gated area of the recreation area after hours.  Patrols dispatched.  Patrols report encountering two individuals, who stated they were residents and were unaware the area was closed.  Patrols advised the residents and they left the area.

Date/Time: 1/21/2024 9:43am

Location: Half Moon Bay Drive

Call Type: Medical Aid

Narrative: 911 caller stated she has a pinched nerve and cannot move.  Caller transferred to 60 Control who dispatched an ambulance.  Patrols dispatched.  Patrols report aided transported to Phelps Memorial Hospital via ambulance.

Date/Time: 1/21/2024 2:38pm

Location: Hunter Place

Call Type: Animal Found

Narrative: Caller stated she found a dog wandering in her neighborhood.  While attempting to locate owner, the caller called back and stated the dog’s owner retrieved the dog.

VILLAGE OF MOUNT KISCO (via Westchester County Public Safety)

Jan. 28

Officers responded to a bar on East Main Street at 12:20 a.m. on a report of an altercation between a patron and staff. Employees advised that they had denied entry to a man who had refused to show ID, but he forced his way into the establishment. While being removed by a bouncer, both parties fell to the ground. The man was issued a trespass warning at the request of management and was advised he would be arrested if he returned to the premises.

Jan. 29

Officers responded to the Mount Kisco railroad station at 4:41 a.m. on a report that a man was sleeping on the mezzanine level by the elevator. The man, who was intoxicated, was assisted by County offices until MTA Police arrived on scene.

Officers responded to the 100 block of Lexington Avenue at 5:55 p.m. on a report of a domestic disturbance. It was determined that a member of the household was in emotional crisis and had locked herself in her room. The Mobile Crisis Response Team was notified and responded. The aided party was eventually transported by Mount Kisco Volunteer Ambulance Corps to Westchester Medical Center for evaluation.

Jan. 30

A 36-year-old man was charged with Criminal Contempt 2nd Degree, a misdemeanor, after he went to a residence that he is barred from visiting by a court-issued Order of Protection. The man was booked at the Green Street Precinct and arraigned in Mount Kisco Justice Court. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on Feb. 8.

Feb. 1

A panic alarm was received at 10:34 a.m. from an office building on South Bedford Road. Responding officers reported there was no emergency.

TOWN OF CORTLANDT (New York State Police)

Jan. 26

David S. Cabrera Loja of Peekskill was arrested at 10:38 p.m. and charged with DWI first offense and aggravated DWI. He was issued an appearance ticket.

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.