Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Newsworthy Notes from the week

No injuries from Friday’s fire at Crossroads Apts.; Body of missing Peekskill man found

No injuries reported as Peekskill firefighters extinguish flames at Crossroads Apartments

The Peekskill Fire Department provided this report about Friday’s fire at Crossroads Apartments at 1109 Brown St.:

Peekskill firefighters were dispatched to a commercial fire alarm activation shortly before 2:30 p.m. on Friday, March 22. First arriving units had light smoke showing from the window of an apartment on the fifth floor. Members quickly reached the fifth floor and were met with a heavy smoke condition in the public hallway and located an active fire in a fifth floor apartment. A 10-75 was transmitted for an active fire in a high-rise building, bringing additional resources to the scene.

While the fire was being extinguished, crews began to conduct primary searches of the fire floor and floor above, to evacuate any building residents in danger with the assistance from neighboring departments.

This incident was a labor intensive event, due to the type of building and high occupancy of residents in the building. High rise fires are inherently more dynamic incidents, as they require many more tasks to be completed simultaneously than a typical private dwelling fire. The fire was contained to the apartment of origin, with minimal smoke and water damage to the immediately adjacent units. No injuries were reported and all units cleared the scene by 5 p.m.

One Crossroads resident posted this first-hand report of the fire on social media:

On Friday the 22nd, there was a fire in the apt. building where I live. I am handicapped and use a walker and have not been able to use stairs in a long time. I was petrified. I heard a knock on my door. There was a police officer in the hallway. Police Officer Regg. He helped me get my shoes on. His voice was calming and reassuring. We got to the staircase, and he said, “You can do this.” We started our journey down the stairs, and there was a fireman behind me who was also very helpful. I was just focused on Officer Regg’s kind voice. That is what kept me calm each step of the way despite being in so much pain. I was able, with much help, to walk down to the second floor. Then the ambulance corps was there to put me on [a] stair chair and bring me down the rest of the way. I don’t ever want to experience something like that again, but it is good to know [that] Peekskill’s finest will be there to help. May God bless all that were there yesterday.

Body of missing Peekskill man found in Hudson River

The body of a Peekskill man missing since last December was discovered in the Hudson River in Philipstown last week.

Jose Fernando Palta, 24, went missing after being last seen at the Peekskill riverfront. He arrived in the U.S. from Ecuador a year ago and worked as a marble counter fabricator. He leaves behind a wife, young daughter, and other family members in Peekskill. 

Peekskill police investigated his disappearance as a missing person case. According to reports at the time, he had gotten into an argument with his wife and was drinking that night.

An autopsy is currently underway to determine the cause of death.

Honors continue for Red Devils championship B-Ball team

Travis Brown, Zeke Jones, Coach Searight and Jaden Chavis

This year’s 2023-24 Peekskill Red Devils High School Basketball team won the Section 1 Class AA championship in heart-stopping fashion. 

Recognition of their accomplishments came at this year’s Lower Hudson Basketball Coaches Association (LHBCA) banquet held March 19 at the Surf Club in New Rochelle.

Over 300 attendees honored the best from Section 1 boys hoops from 2023-24 including All-LHBCA First Team member Peekskill underclassman Jaden Chavis “… who had the most memorable 8 minutes of the season…,” coming out of the locker room after being sick with the flu to help the Red Devils win a thrilling comeback.

Lohud’s Final Top 10 rankings for the season also cited the great season of the Red Devils and Chavis’s remarkable leadership, listed Peekskill as #7 on their list.

  1. Peekskill (24-2) — It was quite a run for the Red Devils. This community will be talking about the Section 1 Class AA championship for years and the fourth-quarter impact of Jaden Chavis, who got off the bench after battling illness all day and sparked a regional win over Binghamton, for decades.

State Senator Harckham to honor Vietnam vets this week

Veterans of the United States military from the Vietnam War era are invited to spend a day in Albany this Wednesday, March 27 to commemorate the passage of a resolution recognizing Vietnam Veterans Day (March 29) in New York State.

Veterans from the state Senate’s 40th District represented by State Senator Pete Harckham can join the trip with transportation provided by My Brother Vinny. The agenda includes a tour of the New York State Capitol, passage of the bill, and breakfast and lunch.

The event is free.

However, space is limited and reservations are required – contact the senator’s office at 914.241.4600 or email [email protected].

Trash cleanup, Easter Egg Hunt rescheduled due to rainstorm

Two events planned for this past Saturday, March 23, have been rescheduled.

Due to rain and heavy winds, Peekskill Clean Routine has rescheduled its cleanup to next Saturday, March 30 from 10:00 a.m. to noon on Lower South Street in the area between Bay and Franklin, in front of Mount St Francis and Riverbend.

Also, the Easter Egg Hunt has been rescheduled to Friday, March 29 at 4:00 pm at Depew Park. Registration is required. For more information, please contact the Parks and Recreation office at (914) 734-7275.

Academic leaders named in the Peekskill class of 2024

From left to right: Peekskill High School Principal, Dr. Jenna Ferris, Valedictorian Ariana Okoth, Salutatorian Janira Martinez, and Superintendent Dr. David Mauricio.

The Peekskill City School District named Class of 2024 Valedictorian, Ariana Okoth, and Salutatorian, Janira Martinez, at this month’s Board of Education meeting.

“I am so proud of both of these scholars,” said Superintendent Dr. David Mauricio. “Both students began their education in Peekskill in kindergarten. Janira has received a full ride to Columbia University and Ariana’s announcement is coming soon.” 

Okoth, a recipient of the NAACP Youth Ambassador Award, was Vice President of the class of 2024 and also Vice President of the Peekskill NAACP’s Youth Council. She was a member of the Student Body, the Debate Club, Black Culture Club, Studio Orchestra, and Interact Club which is sponsored by the Peekskill Rotary Club. She played in the Concert Band and sang in the Concert Choir and was a member of the Peekskill City Singers. She was a swimmer on the varsity swim team and ran indoor track on the varsity track team. 

Martinez was President of the senior class and stage manager of the Drama Club. She won several creative and essay writing contests and received the U.S House of Representatives Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition. She was one of three Peekskill Science Research (PSR) winners at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium at Yorktown High School held on Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, receiving a 2nd place award for her project “The Impact of Social Media Influencer Food Advertising on High School Students’ Food Choices.”

645 Main named ‘Best Affordable Multifamily Development’ in Westchester

The Westchester Home Builders Awards, a contest in partnership with The Building & Realty Institute of Westchester & the Mid-Hudson Region and Westchester Magazine, named Wilder Balter’s 645 Main in Peekskill as a winner of its annual builders awards.

The “Best Affordable Multifamily Development” award went to WBP Development, Griffon Construction, L&M Design, Beyer Blinder Belle, and the designer Helen Piteo Interiors.

645 Main, Peekskill

With beautiful Hudson River views, this modern five-story, 82-apartment building is a fully affordable multifamily residential community. Residents enjoy a community room leading to a rooftop courtyard, two lounges, a fitness center, laundry room, a “sky lounge” with pool table and family games, and on-site parking. Sustainable features include an all-electric HVAC system, a rooftop photovoltaic solar array, a high-performance building envelope, and 30 EV charging stations. A public/private partnership, it owes much of its success to support from its public partners, including an award of housing tax credits and subsidy funds from New York State and funding from Westchester County. The resulting contemporary structure is a key feature of the new visual gateway to Peekskill, helping to position it as updated and economically vibrant.

Calling all young people to serve the Peekskill community

Do you know of a teen who wants to give back to the community or needs service hours? 

The City of Peekskill Youth Bureau has community service opportunities available for those interested. To learn more about the opportunities available and to register, please complete this form

For additional information, please contact Executive Director Tuesday Paige McDonald at (914) 734-4149 or via email at [email protected] 

Lincoln Gala happening on April 6 at Cortlandt Colonial

The Lincoln Society in Peekskill is hosting its annual Dinner and Dance Gala on Saturday, April 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cortlandt Colonial Restaurant & Ballroom.

The evening’s featured speaker is author John Avalon, who will hold a conversation with News 12 reporter Tara Rosenblum on his book “Lincoln and the Fight for Peace.”

The Cocktail Hour begins 6:30 p.m. and the evening will include Live music from the Vinyl Siding Band, dancing, and a Silent Auction that will include Lincolnania, fine art, jewelry, restaurant certificates, historical items, books, and more.

Tickets are $100 each, and may be purchased here.

 Refreshing new drink alternative coming to Peekskill in May

“Peekskill Boba Tea” is on the way to the city, with a grand opening slated for May at its new home at 117 North Division St.

Boba tea is a traditionally cold-served beverage that has a tea base, a milk or fruit flavor, and edible pearls (the ‘boba’ in boba tea) inside a cup. Bubble tea, pearl tea, bubble milk tea, boba, boba fruit tea or tapioca tea – it’s all the same drink.

Tapioca Boba – Traditional milk boba tea is served with tapioca balls, which are made of starch and are commonly referred to as ‘pearls’. The drink is usually a combination of milk, water, tea and sugar, yet has a lot of variations. Boba tea is available in both hot and cold versions. Traditional boba pearls are found at the bottom of a cup, and are very chewy.

Popping Boba – Fruit-based boba can be paired with a variety of toppings but most commonly is ordered with popping boba. Popping boba are edible, oftentimes fruit-filled spheres that have a gel-like skin. Hence the name, popping boba bursts with flavor when squeezed. Popping boba is traditionally made of seaweed extract, calcium compounds, fruit juice, water, and a sweetener.

Jelly Topping- The other common toppings of choice are jellies. Jellies are chewy, jell-o-like, rectangular fruit-flavored bits that are not made with gelatin. These toppings are made from either Konjar (a veggie by-product), or coconut. Beyond their fun taste, Jellies are popular because they have zero cholesterol and a high fiber content. 

 Knickerbocker wins sixth term as Buchanan mayor

Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker and challenger Deputy Mayor Anthony Capicotti.

The small village of Buchanan will be led by Theresa Knickerbocker for the next two years as it continues to face the big challenge of redeveloping the former Indian Point nuclear site.

Knickerbocker won a sixth two-year term as mayor on Tuesday, March 19, defeating opponent and political rival Deputy Mayor Anthony Capicotti with 365 votes against his 278 votes, according to unofficial results from the clerk’s office.

A close race on the under ticket for two seats on the Village Board produced split results, one for Knickerbocker’s Resident’s Party and one for Capicott’s Republicans. 

Incumbent Republican Party member Daniel Stewart was re-elected with 329 votes while Awilda Baez won a seat with 326 votes on the Resident’s Party line.

Falling short were Richard Funchion on the Resident’s Party line with 320 votes and incumbent Steven Laker on the Republican Party line with 314 votes. Stewart and Laker won their seats in the 2022 election, defeating two of Knickerbocker’s supporters on the board. 

Buchanan, a village with a population of 2,200, is undergoing rapid growth, with ground recently broken on two residential apartment projects on Albany Post Road that will add more than 200 units. 

And, the next meeting of the Indian Point Decommissioning Oversight Board will be held on April 25 at the Cortlandt Town Hall.

New Threat Assessment Center aims to head off targeted attacks and terrorist threats

Westchester County has launched a new threat assessment center to prevent targeted violence and provide the public with a direct way to report persons or groups they fear may be planning acts of mass violence or domestic terrorism.

The Westchester County Threat Assessment Center (WESTAC) utilizes multi-disciplinary teams consisting of law enforcement, mental health professionals, social workers, school officials, and other community stakeholders. The center will receive, assess, and manage threats or potential threats of targeted violence and attempt to prevent them from occurring.

County Executive George Latimer announced the initiative during his recent State of the County address. Latimer said, “In many incidents involving mass shootings or other targeted violence, there were warning signs that went unreported. These include erratic behavior, threatening comments, alarming social media posts, or growing hostility toward persons of a different racial or ethnic group. WESTAC’s mission is to identify or assess these potential threats and intervene before any violence occurs.”

Latimer said the public can share information with the Threat Assessment Center anonymously through an encrypted portal or confidentially by phone, 914-864-7834, or email, [email protected].

Anyone who has information about an immediate threat of violence should call 911, not report it through the assessment center.

Acting Public Safety Commissioner Terrance Raynor said persons who have committed acts of mass violence often exhibited warning signs, including:

  • An increasing level of anger or physical aggression toward others;
  • Threats of violence made verbally or on social media;
  • A heightened interest in weapons or explosives;
  • Mental health issues including paranoia or hearing voices.

He encouraged members of the public to alert the assessment center if they see these behaviors in others or become aware of online efforts to radicalize people to commit violence.



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.