Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Newsworthy Notes from the week

Daughter of Homestyle Desserts owner back in ICU; Community Kitchen classes open
Newsworthy+Notes+from+the+week

Daughter of Homestyle Desserts owner back in ICU 

Theresa Timmons, displaying her license here, was a familiar face working at Homestyle Desserts.

Theresa Timmons, the 16-year-old daughter of Homestyle Desserts owner Laura Timmons, continues to recover from a traumatic brain injury she sustained in the Dec. 15 Rt. 9 car accident that killed Vlad Saban, her 17-year-old friend who was driving.  

Timmons, proprietor of the popular Water Street bakery, spoke with The Herald from Westchester Medical Center where she stays round-the-clock at her daughter’s bedside. 

Timmons said that Theresa, hospitalized since the accident, had been showing some hopeful signs including giving a thumbs up when asked a question, but recently had a setback. Theresa now has meningitis, an infection and inflammation of the fluid and membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, that sent her back to the ICU, according to her mom. 

She was diagnosed with meningitis after procedures to alleviate brain swelling, said Timmons. Theresa has suffered from brain swelling and has been in the intensive care unit and surgical intensive care unit.

The family is grateful for all the love and support from the community, including funds raised in an online fundraiser. The mother of three said that although this has been an emotional roller coaster, she remains hopeful. Miracles happen, she said, in expressing gratitude for everyone’s prayers and requesting they continue to pray for Theresa during this setback. 

Readers can donate to Theresa’s GoFundMe page which, as of Friday, had raised $61,321 of the $70,000 goal. 

– Story by Wendy Healy

Join Community Kitchen program to learn restaurant skills

Calling all young adults ages 18-24! The City of Peekskill is hosting its 2nd Community Kitchen program starting on Tuesday, March 19 through Friday June 7. If you are interested in receiving hands-on food service industry skills, please register here. Classes are free.

The Community Kitchen is a collaboration among the city’s Youth Bureau, Senior Citizens, and the Parks and Recreation departments.  

Johnathan Zamora, the nutrition site manager and Tuesday McDonald, Executive Director of the Youth Bureau, have created a valuable, safe and supportive environment where residents of all ages, backgrounds and interests can come together to socialize, learn, grow, and connect with each other. 

The program operates in the Neighborhood Center’s Dining Room, offering a restaurant-type setting for all residents to gather, socialize, and dine.

The students hosting and working the dining room learn practical skills of the food services industry with mentoring provided by credible messengers. A credible messenger is an accepted member of a community employed to aid and influence others in that community, usually intended to reduce violence. The program also leverages relationships with area farmers and others to provide meals using locally sourced ingredients.

New program in County affordable-housing loan funding

Ribbon cutting last September 11 at Peekskill’s affordable housing project at 645 Main Street.

Westchester County is accepting applications for funding under the County’s Housing Flex Fund (HFF) Program that provides financing for affordable housing developments.

HFF is a new affordable housing production tool that builds on the strengths of Westchester’s existing programs to increase affordable units across the county. HFF will help facilitate the development of affordable housing projects within the county that are shovel ready. The units must serve households earning at or below 65% of the County Area Median Income (AMI).

“The Housing Flex Fund Program is yet another example of our ongoing commitment to address the critical shortage of affordable housing in Westchester County. By working collaboratively with our residential development community, we will be able to have a direct impact on the creation of much-needed affordable housing,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. He added, “We are grateful to Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand for appropriating the federal ARPA dollars directly to the county and including housing as one of the acceptable uses of ARPA funds.”

HFF is made possible by a $100 million contribution of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds over two years. It will focus on four main project types to achieve immediate impact and expedite the delivery of new affordable housing units. 

In accordance with U.S. Treasury Department requirements, Flex Funds will be disbursed by December 31, 2026. HFF allocations will be provided as loans to affordable housing developers, including non-profit and for-profit entities. The interest rate on loans is up to 5%.

It is anticipated that applicants will use HFF funds in conjunction with other County, State and Federal affordable housing programs. County programs include New Homes Land Acquisition, Housing Implementation Fund, HOME Investment Partnership Program, tax-exempt financing, tax exemptions and abatements from the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency.

Project funding awards are contingent upon approval by the Westchester County Department of Planning and the Westchester County Board of Acquisition and Contract. Awards are made at the sole and absolute discretion of Westchester County.

For more information about Westchester County’s Housing Flex Fund program, visit Housing Flex Fund (westchestergov.com)

Sun River Health Awarded Gold Certification By Planetree

The Jeannette J. Phillips building of Sun River Health on Main and Bank Streets.

Sun River Health, a network of Federally Qualified Health Centers throughout the Hudson Valley, New York City, and Long Island, was awarded Gold Certification for Excellence in Person-Centered Care by Planetree International, a global leader in advancing person-centered health care solutions. 

The highest level of certification offered by Planetree International, Gold Certification recognizes an organization’s achievement and innovation in the delivery of person-centered care. Sun River Health is the first and only Federally Qualified Health Center in the world to earn this prestigious award.

“Sun River Health’s achievement of Gold Certification from Planetree International shows what can be accomplished when an organization makes delivering compassionate, person-centered health care its top priority,” said Anne Kauffman Nolon, MPH, Sun River Health CEO. “I want to thank our incredible team for working so hard to ensure we achieved this Gold Certification, and who I know will build on this achievement to take delivering excellent, person-centered health care to even greater heights.”

Sun River Health has been a Planetree International affiliate since 1996 and established the Sun River Health Planetree Institute in 2012 to provide state-of-the-art training to staff on delivering compassionate and personalized care. In 2020, Sun River Health was awarded Silver Certification for Excellence in Person-Centered Care by Planetree International. 

The Sun River Health Jeannette J. Phillips Community Health Center is located at 1037 Main St. in Peekskill.

Peekskill restaurant named as a leader in Westchester dining

In honor of Black History month, Westchester Magazine named some of the finest Black-owned restaurants in the county and one of Peekskill’s hidden gems won recognition.

The Pear Tree Hummingbird Grill, located at 1101 Main St. in the Crossroads Shopping Plaza near the city’s Central Firehouse, won plaudits for its fine Jamaican food and distinctive Caribbean flavors.

The owners and cooks are Father & Son duo of Damar and Westford Briscoe, who reside in Tarrytown.

The Pear Tree Humming Bird is the national bird of Jamaica. Mrs. Briscoe came up with the idea for the name of the new establishment that has been offering Caribbean and American cuisine.

Some of The Pear Tree Humming Bird’s specialties are not your typical fare. One of the specials on the menu last week was cow foot soup. With the exception of some of the baking, the couple does all their own cooking and currently has no employees.

The menu has such regular customer favorites as ox tail stew, jerk pork and chicken, curry chicken and goat, spare ribs and macaroni and cheese, to name a few. “What makes Caribbean food distinctive is the spices used,” Mrs. Briscoe said.

Calling all Brides to Expo in Peekskill on March 16

The Factoria at Charles Point is hosting its annual Bridal Expo on Saturday, March 16 from noon to 3 p.m.

Visitors can tour the facility’s majestic event spaces and walk the scenic grounds on the Hudson River. Envision your special day come to life in the spacious and beautiful setting. 

Sample the elegant cuisine and sip on signature cocktails. A team of top-notch vendors and wedding coordinators will be on site to discuss every detail of your wedding day with you. We look forward to making your wedding dreams come true!

To register, call 914-788-4555.

Center for Digital Arts hosting student exhibition in Peekskill

This 30th Anniversary Celebration is being held at the Center for the Digital Arts Gallery, SUNY Westchester Peekskill at 27 N. Division St. and runs through April 26. 

The Student Showcase exhibition is a group show dedicated to the work and efforts of current credit and non-credit students including alumni who make the arts at the Center for the Digital Arts possible. The gallery will showcase students from across the curriculum who take courses and programs such as Art & Design A.S., Digital Filmmaking A.A.S., ITECH A.A.S., non-credit Workforce Development Certificates, Adobe Certification, and Community Arts. This showcase will provide insight into offerings and the curriculum that supports them. 

Contact [email protected] or 914-606-7300 for opening reception information and viewing hours. Learn more about the SUNY Westchester Peekskill Center. You can also explore the offerings at the school in the upcoming semester.

Deal in the works to sell Peekskill Plaza Apartments

Peekskill Plaza apartment building on the corner of Main Street and Nelson Avenue.

Negotiations are underway to sell Peekskill Plaza Apartments, the 168-unit affordable senior rental housing community located at 901 Main St.

The new buyer, an affordable housing company, intends to renovate the property at a projected cost of $10 million according to a person familiar with the proposed sale.

The building has been owned since 2005 by Courtyard Housing Limited Partnership, based in Manhasset, N.Y. Marathon Development Group, headed by Mark Soja, is the managing member of Courtyard.

Marathon Development Group is a real estate development firm specializing in the acquisition, restructuring, and redevelopment of affordable multifamily properties. 

Since its inception, Marathon has re-developed over 1,600 units of affordable housing, with total development cost in excess of $180 million. All of Marathon’s properties have been financed through the use of Low Income Housing Tax Credits and serve lower-income and mixed-income populations. 

The firm has collaborated with a variety of local, state and federal agencies to move all projects forward.  Several of the projects consisted of properties that were originally developed with the aid of the Department of Housing and Urban Development-related programs such as the 236 and 221(d)(3) programs.

Courtyard Housing has a negotiated PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) with the city of Peekskill through its Industrial Development Agency (IDA), which reduces Courtyard Housing’s annual tax payments to $98,817 among the county, city and school district, an annual reduction of $503,225. The company received $12.2 million in low-interest bonds from the IDA in 2005 that will continue for another 20 years.

National Maritime Historical Society names Executive Director

Cathy Green has been appointed Executive Director by The National Maritime Historical Society (NMHS), based in Peekskill. 

Green’s 25 years of experience in the maritime heritage field includes professional work in shipboard education, history and archaeology, plus valuable experience as both a grant writer and grant administrator with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where she managed environmental grant programs on the Great Lakes, showcasing her commitment to conservation and sustainability within maritime ecosystems. She most recently served as executive director of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.

She will spearhead initiatives to build on the success of the Society and expand its outreach, enhance educational programs, and strengthen partnerships within the maritime heritage community and beyond.

“We are thrilled to welcome Cathy Green as the new Executive Director of the National Maritime Historical Society,” said NMHS board chair Jim Noone. “Her exceptional leadership skills, extensive background in the maritime field, and dedication to promoting our maritime heritage make her the ideal candidate to lead NMHS into the future. We look forward to the exciting path ahead under her guidance.”

The National Maritime Historical Society is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to preserving and promoting America’s maritime heritage. 

Federal grant funds six new firefighters for Peekskill

Peekskill has added six new probationary firefighters, funded through a federal grant that runs for three years.

At a Feb. 28 ceremony at Peekskill Fire Headquarters, Mayor Vivian Mackenzie swore-in Dylan Walsh, Thomas Fejes, Oliver Martell, Michael Esposito, Colin Park, and Keith Walker as the newest career firefighters of Peekskill, joining the current force of 28.

These six new probationary firefighters will spend the next 20 weeks attending the Westchester County Career Fire Chiefs Academy in Valhalla where they will receive a wide range of fire, EMS, and emergency response training, before returning to our department as New York State Certified Firefighters.

In September of 2023, the City of Peekskill Fire Department was notified of a successful SAFER grant application award. The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, frontline firefighters available in their communities.

The City of Peekskill was awarded $1.603 million to hire six career firefighters. This funding is allocated to pay full salary and benefits for these six new positions for the first 36 months of employment.

Congratulations to Probationary Firefighters Dylan Walsh, Thomas Fejes, Oliver Martell, Michael Esposito, Colin Park, and Keith Walker on their swearing in ceremony. The city looks forward to having them as part of the Peekskill Fire Department and wishes them all the best.

Welcher Avenue grocery store shopping for new owner

Apple Farm, the 25,000-square-foot grocery in the Blue Mountain Plaza shopping center on Welcher Avenue, is up for sale.

According to a real estate listing, the current owner is retiring and looking for a quick sale. The asking price is $1.5 million. The listing says the market is completely updated and offers a turnkey operation.

Apple Farm opened in Peekskill in November 2020 during the peak of the pandemic after being delayed by several months. The grocery store features fresh fish and meat sections, a large grocery area, cheese assortments, prepared foods, Asian specialties, and fresh flowers as well as organic offerings.

Other anchor tenants at Blue Mountain Shopping Center include CVS, McDonald’s, and Trustco Bank. Over the years the Apple Farm building was originally an A&P, then a Key Food, and then Peekskill Green Grocers.

New parking lot nearing completion at Hudson Valley Hospital

 

An extensive project to build an additional surface parking lot at the Hudson Valley Hospital Center on Crompond Road remains on schedule to open in the next few months.

Cauldwell Wingate, the Manhattan-based construction company doing the work, reports they are nearing completion of Phase 1 of the exterior site improvements and parking lot for New York Presbyterian’s Hudson Valley Hospital.

Inclement winter weather did delay some of the activity at the site. Work includes completion of grading in advance of future paving, cast in place concrete stairs and walkways, and completion of drainage systems and site lighting. Phase 2 completion remains on target for the second quarter of 2024, according to the company.

The existing parking garage at the hospital is normally filled to near capacity during most days. Ever since its construction, the hospital has managed to keep the parking garage free, unlike all other area hospitals.

A spokesperson for the hospital declined to comment when contacted by The Herald.

Fraietta joins Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices River Towns

Susan Fraietta has joined a local agency with an office in Peekskill as a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

Fraietta is the latest addition to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices River Towns Real Estate. The agency, which is independently owned and operated, became a member of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brokerage network, operated by HSF Affiliates LLC, in 2014. 

Cynthia Lippolis, Principal Broker, is excited to have Fraietta join the team. “Susan is someone that knows this market and is ready to hit the ground running. Her years of experience helping local buyers and sellers are an asset to the River Towns Real Estate team and her clients alike.”

Fraietta’s market knowledge and dedication come from serving the local market since 2005. Beyond real estate, Susan loves exploring the local communities and spending time with family and friends.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices River Towns Real Estate has two offices located at: 133 Grand Street, Croton-on-Hudson and 983 Main Street, Peekskill.

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.