Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Newsworthy Notes from the week

Legislator seeks to cap energy bills; Feb. 22 online forum for input on state budget

Legislators seek to cap energy bills at 6 percent of income

Five Westchester legislators including Assemblymember Dana Levenberg, and advocates representing Food & Water Watch, New Yorkers for Clean Power, and Mothers Out Front at Peekskill’s downtown gazebo last Thursday. (Photo by Acacia Mauriello )

Westchester legislators and advocates called on Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to champion passage of the NY HEAT Act in the Assembly one-house budget expected next month. Governor Hochul included key provisions of the bill in her budget proposal in January; advocates are calling for passage of the full bill, which includes provisions to save low- and middle-income New Yorkers money on their energy bills.

The advocates claim the NY HEAT Act would ensure an affordable transition off climate-killing fossil fuels by stopping the expansion of the dirty, toxic gas system, and reducing utility bills by eliminating gas subsidies and directing the Public Service Commission to implement the goal of capping energy bills at 6 percent of income. 

A new analysis by Win Climate finds that more than one in five Westchester County households are energy burdened, meaning they pay more than 6 percent of their annual income on electricity, gas, and delivered fossil fuels. Using data from the Census, the analysis finds that the NY HEAT could save these Westchester households as much as $183/month on energy bills.

The push for cost savings comes as Con Edison begins phasing in rate hikes that will total an additional $60/month by January 2025 for customers who pay for gas heat.

“It is exciting that elements of the NY HEAT Act have made it into the Governor’s Executive Budget proposal, but we need the whole thing,” said Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg. “I have constituents calling and writing to my office about unaffordable energy bills constantly. New Yorkers need relief in their energy bills now – we need the 6 percent cap on household energy costs that is written into NY HEAT. This is a critically important goal.”

Online forum for citizen input on state budget Feb. 22

The State Senate’s Westchester delegation will hold a virtual forum via Zoom on Thursday, February 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. to get feedback from the community on the governor’s proposed 2024-25 NYS Budget . 

Those who wish to testify must pre-register. Each person will be given two minutes to speak. Written testimony will be accepted before and after the hearing. Spanish and ASL interpreters will be available at both forums. 

 “It is incredibly important for our residents to be able to express their priorities and concerns directly to their state legislators during the budget process,” said Senator Pete Harckham. “As we work together to solve the many problems we face and make critical investments in our communities, our decision-making is strengthened with open and honest communication, so I look forward to hearing from residents and stakeholders at the upcoming budget forum.”

The forum will be livestreamed on

For more information, email [email protected].

Red Devils advance, play Poughkeepsie Feb. 22

The Peekskill High Red Devils basketball team (20-1) are heading to the next round of the Section 1 tournament after posting a convincing 75-60 win over Spring Valley on February 16.

Once again Jaden Chavis led Peekskill with 34 points. Peekskill’s other top scorers were Isaiah Crawford (11), Zeke Jones (10) and Travis Brown (10).

Next up is the Poughkeepsie Pioneers (12-8), who beat Scarsdale 79-64 to advance to the quarterfinals in the Class AA tournament.

Chavis and Jones were selected to The Lower Hudson Basketball Coaches Association 2023-24 All-Section 1 team. A total of 43 players made the cut. They will be honored along with the all-conference picks at the organization’s annual dinner.

The Red Devils under Coach Tyrone Searight were ranked No. 8 in the latest poll by “Just because the Red Devils have not been tested as much as the other Class AA contenders doesn’t mean they can’t win it all,” Lohud says.

Ct. police charge Peekskill man with theft of Ulta Beauty store

Jebocka Perkins

Meriden, Ct. Police Detectives responded to the Westchester County Correctional facility in Valhalla on February 14 to pick up Jebocka Perkins (D.O.B. 10/26/01) of 301 Bay St. in Peekskill, who was in custody there. 

Once back in Meriden, Perkins was charged by warrant with Organized Retail Theft, Larceny in the 2nd Degree, and Conspiracy to Commit Larceny in the 2nd Degree. A $51,000.00 bond was set as well as a court date of February 28. 

These charges stem from an incident on August 27, 2023. On that date at approximately 6:00 p.m., police allege that Perkins, along with three females, entered the Ulta Beauty store located at 533 S. Broad Street in Meriden. Perkins and the three females were wearing surgical masks on their faces and each was carrying a bag.

The four individuals began loading the bags with assorted perfumes, fragrances, and other store merchandise before running out of the store. Store personnel were able to get a description of the car they fled in and the registration plate on the vehicle was identified as a New Jersey registration.

A description of the car was put out state wide and sometime later, the vehicle was spotted by a CT State Police officer who attempted to stop the car; however, the operator of the car refused to stop and fled from the trooper. The trooper lost sight of the vehicle in the New Canaan area. 

The New York State police were also alerted and soon thereafter, Meriden police were notified that the suspect’s vehicle had been spotted by New York State police officers who attempted to stop the vehicle. The suspect’s vehicle would subsequently crash at which time two of the occupants were immediately taken into custody. The other two occupants that were involved in the theft fled on foot; however, they were apprehended a short time later in the area by the Westchester County Police. 

Police recovered over $11,000 worth of merchandise stolen from Ulta on the night of the theft. The investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are anticipated. 


Deadline is April 21 for Peekskill Rotary scholarships

The Scholarships and Awards Program of the Rotary Club of Peekskill recognizes the achievements of students graduating from Hendrick Hudson, Peekskill, and Walter Panas High Schools and encourages higher education for young people in the Peekskill and Cortlandt area. 

The club’s scholarships and awards support post-high school study in a wide range of four-year, two-year, and vocational programs. Distinctive to the Rotary program is the focus on an applicant’s service to community, school, and family among criteria, in addition to academic achievement. The service criterion is founded on Rotary’s motto of Service Above Self.

Applications may be submitted electronically. Links to each scholarship’s Google Doc can be found on each scholarship’s web page. Print-out versions of the applications also are available on the site for submission via U.S. mail or email. Instructions are included on each scholarship’s application.

Completed applications with supporting material must be received no later than April 21, 2024. Winners will be notified early in May and will be invited to attend a club meeting to receive the award.

To view the various scholarships and apply go to 

Whiskey River Day in Peekskill declared for March 12

The City of Peekskill has designated March 12, 2024 as Whiskey River NY Day in the City of Peekskill. A proclamation will be presented and hand-delivered by an elected Council Member and the city’s Economic Development Specialist. The business opened on March 12 of 2020 but was unable to have a grand opening celebration because of Covid restrictions on gatherings. 

Located at 3 N. Division St., Whiskey River is, according to its Instagram, inventive in its foods and drinks, progressive in its practice, striving to leave a lasting impression on all guests. Whiskey River is committed to creating an experience through food and beverage and promotes an atmosphere that embraces people of all walks of life.  

District working on budget for 2024-25 school year

Administrators at the Peekskill City School District are deep into the months-long process of preparing the annual school budget.

The preliminary budget numbers, revealed at a February 6 presentation to the school board and the public, show a projected total for 2024-25 of $121.80 million. 

That represents an increase of $6.09 million, or 5.27 percent, over the current year’s budget of $115.7 million. According to the district, financial constraints will produce budgetary pressure as inflation remains above 4.0 percent. Heating oil and other utility costs remain high and the price of goods and services, including delivery costs, continue to rise. The District is also citing increases in health insurance and transportation costs.

The School Board will adopt that budget April 9 and the public will then vote on May 21. Several more presentations are scheduled in the coming weeks.

Winter Recess Reminder – Winter Recess will take place Monday, February 19 through Friday, February 23. Students will return to school on Monday, February 26.

Students learn about gardening at Woodside Greenhouse

Woodside gardeners learned about forming hypotheses as they planted seeds in various media (dirt vs. sand) this past week. Peekskill Rotary members joined the fun at the Woodside greenhouse along expert gardener Ms. Laura Perkins who led the lesson.

In May of 2019 Peekskill Rotary past President Ron Worth and several other Rotarians were on hand to cut the ribbon to a brand new greenhouse for the students of Woodside Elementary School. Peekskill Rotary, with a matching grant from the Rotary District funds, was proud to help sponsor the greenhouse.

PHS chosen for inaugural Sister School STEAM program

The Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) has partnered with Peekskill City School District to bring the Sister School Program to Peekskill High School to connect PHS scholars with their peers in Puerto Rico. This program fosters cultural understanding through pen-pal relationships.

Peekskill High School will be linked with Lila Maria Mercedes Mayoral School (high school) in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Peekskill is one of eight schools selected to participate in the inaugural program. For the program, which launched during Hispanic Heritage Month, students work together to develop solutions to real-world challenges. Each sister school team will develop their own solution, and the project will culminate in April 2024, with each team creating a TED Ed Student Talk about their solution.

ALAS developed the Sister Schools program focused on STEAM teaching and learning concepts to prepare historically marginalized youth to engage and lead in related STEAM fields. Benefits include: Bicultural understanding and biliteracy language acquisition; Development of 21st Century skills; Development of a broader network of perspectives; Increased awareness of different perspectives needed when working in teams.

PAA seeks Pugsley Park artwork submissions from members

The Peekskill Arts Alliance (PAA), with funding from the Peekskill Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), seeks artwork from members of the Peekskill Arts Alliance for curated installations at Pugsley Park. Selected artwork will be scanned and printed on either mesh or vinyl (for Pugsley Park.) This Installation will include multiple artists.

Artwork should be created specifically for Pugsley Park with the following theme in mind: “A Day in the Park.” According to the RFP terms, artists should be, “thinking of the newly landscaped park as a place of rest in the rush of city life. With this in mind, submit your interpretation of the theme. You may use pre-existing images or create site specific new works.”

Artists should submit three images for the curatorial committee to choose from. One image per chosen artist will be used. The work will be grouped together in several installations throughout the park.

Deadline for Submission: Images must be submitted by March 15, 2024 to [email protected] Artists will be notified of their selection by March 28, 2024.

Playland Passes go on sale, Park Unveils ‘A Summer Of Art’

Playland’s opening date this coming season will be Saturday, May 18. This year will feature a “Summer of Playland Art”, where the community and all artists can make their mark on the park with its two first installments: Asphalt Artists and a Dragon Coaster Art Contest. The artwork will be displayed throughout the park to create unique spaces of discovery during the 2024 season.

Open Call for Professional Asphalt Artists (Submission Deadline by February 29) – Artists can make their own mark on Playland’s picturesque waterfront property by enhancing the entry pathways. Applications must include samples of work with links to one’s portfolio and social media profiles; selected artists will receive up to $5,000. For submissions, please email [email protected] with the subject line “Asphalt Art.”

To celebrate the Dragon Coaster turning 95 this year, Playland is calling all local and community artists of all ages (and talent levels) to share their impressions of the beloved Dragon Coaster, whether it’s a drawing, painting, photo, video, sculpture, or any other multi-media art form. The submission deadline is March 15, and the winner will be announced on The Dragon Coaster’s 95th birthday celebration, on July 20. Winners will be selected based on three age groups children (9 and under), youth (10 – 18), and adult (19+). First place winners will receive a five-year season pass, second place winners will receive a two-year season pass, and third place winners will win a one-year season pass. Submissions (or a picture of the work) should be sent to this email address with the subject line “Dragon Art Contest.”

Playland will also be introducing its $150 “2024 All Access Season Pass” for unlimited admission rides and attractions, the pool, the beach, lake paddle boats, parking, and 10 percent off selected products. A Season Parking Pass is available for $45. 

Irish American Heritage Month nomination forms available

During the month of March, the City of Peekskill will honor outstanding Irish Americans in the community. If you would like to nominate someone, please complete this form by Thursday, February 29. The nominations should be based on personal or professional achievements, civic contributions, or general good deeds that have favorably impacted Peekskill residents.

Please send a detailed letter of nomination with specific and pertinent information including newspaper clippings, résumés or other articles you feel support the nominee’s induction. Do be objective and concise.

Three new members join Peekskill Volunteer Firefighters

Congratulations to Volunteer Firefighters Kevin De Yoe and Robert Gillick on being sworn in during last week’s Common Council meeting. Julio Cruz also joined the volunteers but was absent from the meeting.

The Peekskill Volunteer Fire Department started before Peekskill had a charter for a municipal government. The initial state legislation created a fire district here in 1816. In 1826 the boundaries of that district were enlarged and the first village charter did not come along until 1839, 13 years after the formation of Columbian Engine, the oldest company.

Peekskill Hook and Ladder Company, later renamed Cortlandt Hook and Ladder, was the second company and was organized in 1831. Washington Engine Company No. 2 started in 1840 and Cataract Hose, the original name of Columbian Hose Company was formed in 1848. 



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.