Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Newsworthy Notes from the week

Crime in Peekskill down by 15 percent; County funding McGregory Brook sewer rebuild

Reports of crime decline by 15 percent in Peekskill in 2023

Overall reported crime in Peekskill declined by 15 percent over the past 12 months, but the level of crime reports in the city remains significantly higher than in the years 2019 through 2021.

For the 12 months of 2023, 298 crimes were reported according to figures from the New York state Division of Criminal Justice Services. 

In 2023, there were 65 violent crimes: 53 assaults, 10 robberies, and 2 murders. For comparison, violent crime figures in 2022 were: 54 assaults, 11 robberies, 2 rapes, and 1 murder.

However, property crimes and larceny decreased by about 15 percent in 2023, burglaries deceased by about 35 percent in 2023, while motor vehicle thefts increased by one instance from 2022.



Property crimes  









Motor vehicles




The total crime index peaked at 344 in 2022, an increase over the total of 204 in 2021, according to the state crime statistics. The 2023 overall figure of 298 is the second highest level in the past six years.

McGregory Brook sewer reconstruction expected next year

Portions of McGregory Brook run underneath Central Avenue in Peekskill.

Westchester County will provide $1.9 million to solve a bottleneck in the McGregory Brook Intercepting Sewer located in the City of Peekskill. 

A portion of the McGregory Brook Intercepting Sewer was constructed at a very flat slope, impeding the gravity flow of sewage. Due to anticipated flow increases in the Town of Cortlandt, which is treated at the county sewage treatment plant off Annsville Creek, the County is concerned about the capacity of this flow bottleneck and the potential for sewer backups at homes located along this section of the sewer. The sewer must be augmented with a relief sewer to increase flow capacity to equivalent levels found in upstream and downstream pipe segments.

A $1.9 million county bond will finance the cost of design, construction management, and construction associated with the construction of the McGregory Brook Relief Sewer. Work will include installation or reconstruction of sanitary sewer pipes and manholes. 

H2M Architects, Engineers, Land Surveying and Landscape Architecture, D.P.C. of Purchase was awarded the contract for design work, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2024. Construction is expected to take 10 months. 

Chef Peter Kelly bringing new menu, fresh ideas to Abbey Inn 

Peter Xaviar Kelly celebrated his 65th birthday on June 3.

A spirit of discovery is guiding Celebrity Chef Peter X. Kelly in his position as Culinary Director of the Apropos Restaurant at the Abbey Inn. “We’re building a culture of hospitality. This has always been a magical place on the hill,” Kelly told the Herald this week. 

The Abbey Inn and Spa is in the restored early 20th century Gothic Revivalist convent on Fort Hill Road that was home to the Community of St. Mary’s. “There are beautiful places within this property, both inside and outside. There’s a spirituality here.” Kelly said he always feels somebody is watching over him.

“There were a lot of things we moved on very methodically,” said Kelly, who took over as the culinary director in January. New menus, new service standards and redoing the wine cellar are just a few of the areas he’s been focusing on, noting that the Inn opened in March of 2020 when the rest of the country shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s a relaunch of the entire facility and it’s very exciting,” said Kelly, who explained that it’s a very hands-on process. He’s working with Executive Chef Adrian Glaza on creating new menus and specials at the Michelin-rated restaurant. 

“We’re creating a unique cuisine that centers on the Hudson Valley and is tied to the seasons, while being respectful of traditions.  Using European techniques with Asian embellishments, it’s Continental American cuisine.” He added there are also pasta dishes on the menu. 

The special 2-course Sunday-to-Thursday menu launched last month invites people from the neighborhood and area to visit. “Don’t wait for a special occasion to come, make it a special occasion by coming in on a Tuesday evening,” said Kelly. “Instead of checking in overnight, check in for a couple of hours.” 

The bar features a menu from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night, and the Jazz Nights on Thursdays during May were very successful.  There will be other jazz nights and wine tastings with dinner. “We’re trying out different things. I’m enjoying the process,” said Kelly who founded Xaviars Restaurant Group that runs X20 in Yonkers. 

Rec Dept. Summer ‘Teen Escape’ camp starts July 2

Registration is open for the City of Peekskill Parks & Recreation Dept. 2024 Teen Escape Camp. This year’s camp is open for youth entering 6th through 9th grade, with the first session running from July 2 to July 18 and the second session from July 23 to August 8. Camp runs Tuesday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Teens will travel to different sites for a variety of activities including bowling, amusement parks, arcades, water parks, and others. Locations are the Riverfront Green Pavilion or Kiley Youth Center.

The fee is $330 for residents and $530 for non-residents and includes transportation, supervision, and admission to all activities. Registration for each session is limited to the first 35 applicants to each. Lunch is not provided but food is available for purchase for those who don’t bring lunch. 

To learn more, please contact (914) 734-7275.

Could New York state ban cellphones in schools?

Gov. Kathy Hochul plans to introduce legislation in the 2025 session to ban cell phones in schools, according to published reports.

No official release has been issued by her office, but Hochul told reporters that flip phones might be acceptable, allowing students to text and make calls to address concerns from parents about staying in touch with their children.

Hochul challenged most districts allowing cell phones, asking how learning is affected with students spending so much time on their cellphones during school hours.

Last year Florida imposed a statewide prohibition against cellphones during teaching time but allowing them during lunch and breaks. Several European countries have also restricted their use in schools.

The president of the Peekskill Board of Education signed a contract this week retaining the Frantz Law Group to join a class-action lawsuit against social media companies, seeking recovery for damages to students allegedly caused by the companies.

School district honors staff retirees, grants tenure 

The Peekskill City School District will recognize six professionals who are retiring from the district and grant tenure to 19 others at the district’s Board of Education meeting on June 4.

The following teachers are retiring from the district on July 1, 2024:

  • Lewis DiMarco, Woodside Middle School, Special Education Teacher
  • Alfred Ferony, Peekskill High School, Teaching Assistant
  • John Hahn, Peekskill High School, Music Teacher
  • Susan Imhof, Peekskill High School, Biology Teacher
  • Michelle McCaffrey, Peekskill High School, Science Teacher
  • Sonia Veloz, Peekskill High School, Spanish Teacher

    Retiring teachers were acknowledged at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

Teachers who will receive tenure and effective date:

  • Ryan Tirelli, Hillcrest Elementary, special education, 08/30/2024
  • Dennis K Deshaun, Oakside School, elementary, 08/31/2024
  • Nicole Wallach, Oakside School, elementary, 08/30/2024
  • Lisa Dorado, Peekskill High School, guidance, 02/05/2024
  • Patricia Johnson, Peekskill High School, physical education 08/31/2024
  • Yeojin Lee, Peekskill High School, enl 08/31/2024
  • Heidi Marroquin, Peekskill High School,  school social worker 08/30/2024
  • Maria Z. Park, Peekskill High School, enl 08/30/2024
  • Apryl Shillingford, Peekskill High School, special education 08/31/2024
  • William B. Thompson, Peekskill High School, special education 08/31/2024
  • Stephanie L. Werner, Peekskill High School, social studies 08/31/2024
  • Tania Winthal, Peekskill High School, enl 08/31/2024
  • Christian Zambrano, Peekskill High School, assistant principal 08/16/2024
  • Michael Alfano, Peekskill Middle School, computer science 08/30/2024
  • Darren Di, Peekskill Middle School, mathematics 08/31/2024
  • Nicole Fervan, Peekskill Middle School, special education 10/02/2023
  • Carolee A. Finney, Peekskill Middle School, music 08/31/2024
  • Heather Ausiello, Woodside Elem School, physical education 08/30/2024
  • Nina Lopez, Woodside Elem School, elementary 08/31/2024

    Teachers receiving tenure were also honored at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

School District names Dr. Daniels Director of Inclusive Practices

The Peekskill City School District has created the new administration position of Director of Inclusive Practices and Access and has appointed Dr. Margie Daniels to the role. The job pays a salary of $166,130.

Dr. Daniels has worked for the Peekskill City School District for nearly 25 years and has served as a school counselor and assistant principal. She previously served as the district’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion administrator.  

As the Superintendent’s Youth Advisory Council leader, she collaborates with Peekskill Mayor Vivian McKenzie, City Manager Matt Alexander, and the Mayor’s Youth Council. Dr. Daniels also implements the My Brother’s Keeper program, which serves young men of color.

Find ‘Power of Your Voice,’ join Youth Bureau Debate Club

The City of Peekskill Youth Bureau Project Elevate program is forming a Debate Club for youth interested in finding the power of their voice and engaging in thought-provoking discussions. 

Why debate? Since the times of Ancient Greece, scholastic debate has been the most rigorous academic program. 

Debate improves academic performance. Debaters earn higher grades than their peers, have higher attendance rates, and are more likely to test as college ready in English, Reading, Math, and Science. Debate improves graduation rates. Ninety percent of urban debaters graduate on time. 

Debate teaches critical thinking, problem solving, research, communication, collaboration, and creativity. Debate inspires political and civic engagement. 

The prestigious list of former debaters includes over a dozen Presidents, the majority of Supreme Court Justices (including the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, and the first African American Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall), governors, mayors, and all types of community activists. 

“Maybe you could be a mayor, a senator, or a Supreme Court justice, but you won’t know until you join the student government or debate team.”  – President Barack Obama

Sign up here.

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Professional soccer coming to Westchester in 2025

Peekskill’s most popular sport for kids and many adults, soccer, will soon have Westchester’s first homegrown professional sports team, Westchester SC.

The owners plan to launch a USL League One men’s professional team for the 2025 season and will look to bring a professional women’s team in the coming years.

The founders are committed to building both world-class boys’ and girls’ developmental pipeline for Westchester’s local player base. 

Mitch Baruchowitz, the club majority owner of the Westchester Soccer Club, says the team will host family-friendly events, community soccer clinics and fan meetups.

The games will be played at Mount Vernon’s Memorial Field. Ticket prices are expected to range from $15 for a bleacher seat up to $100 for premium seating and access to a VIP hospitality tent. 

For more information on the new team, click here. 


Public/private companies will build renewable power plants

Hoping to break ground on the first projects in one to two years, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) has qualified 79 companies to build renewable energy power plants using solar, wind, hydrogen, and geothermal sources.

“We are very encouraged by such a positive response,” said NYPA’s vice president for renewable project development Vennela Yadhati. “Having a deep bench of qualified partners will allow us to proceed deliberately and expeditiously as projects are identified.”

Last year, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation calling on NYPA to seek private companies and investors to build emissions-free power plants, as well as to work on related transmission lines.

Respondents are now prequalified for five years and can respond to both future Requests for Proposals or other procurement offerings from NYPA. That will allow developers the chance to submit complete project proposals, including terms and costs. 

Respondents were assessed based on several considerations, including an evaluation of experience, finances, partnership structure, customization and flexibility, knowledge of market dynamics and incentives, proven engagement within New York, and team size and resources.

Bidders include experienced companies in the field including AES, Hecate Energy, Key Capture Energy, Nexamp, NextEra Energy, and Avangrid.

The successful companies will form public/private partnerships with NYPA maintaining a 51 percent interest in the new projects. The projects must be approved by NYPA board members.

Peekskill Police members recognized for life-saving heroics

The Peekskill Police Department commended the heroic life-saving efforts of PO Long, PO Kreuscher, PO Bulson, PO Weiskittel, and Det. Gonzalez, who were honored at the  2024 Annual REMSCO Life Save Awards Event, for saving the life of a medical aided patient and member of the Peekskill community. 

The recognition of their notable acts is well deserved, and the Department is beyond proud of their exemplary work. Congratulations, team!

A very special congratulations also goes out to Dr. John McGurty, the Peekskill Police Department’s Police Surgeon, and a community standout, for receiving the Dawson Award at this event.  

Peekskill Police Dept. welcomes new member to the force

The Peekskill Police Department has welcomed K9 Danny to the force, a worthy successor to the beloved K9 Charlie who passed away in January. 

K9 Danny and his handler, Patrol Officer Anthony Nappi, made their Patrol Division debut last week. K9 Danny is named in honor of fallen East Fishkill Police Sergeant Daniel DiDato, who died in the line of duty on Dec. 18, 2023.

K9 Charlie who died of injuries in a Jan. 6 accident, quickly became a beloved and extremely valuable member of the Peekskill Police Department. Charlie was the first police canine in more than 20 years when he joined his handler, Officer Nappi, in 2017, when the Peekskill Police Department restarted the Canine Unit. 

Charlie officially graduated from the MTA Police Canine Training program and joined the Peekskill Police Department. Throughout his career, K9 Charlie continued training and officially became dual certified in patrol and explosives.

Please welcome K9 Danny and his handler Officer Nappi to the Peekskill community.

Hudson Gateway Realtors donate to Feeding Westchester

The Hudson Gateway REALTOR® Foundation, the charitable arm of the Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS®, recently presented a check for $2,000 to Feeding Westchester.  

Based in Elmsford, Feeding Westchester serves Westchester County, providing food to a hunger-relief network of nearly 300 partners and programs. With a mission to nourish their neighbors in the fight against hunger, the organization sources and distributes good, nutritious food, and other resources to wherever it is needed most.

In fiscal year 2023, Feeding Westchester provided more than 21 million pounds of food, equivalent to more than 17 million meals through soup kitchens, food pantries, schools, shelters, residential programs, and mobile distributions. That served over 220,000 neighbor visits — including visits from children, seniors, veterans, and hardworking families — every month on average. The nonprofit, a 4-star Charity Navigator organization, is committed to creating a community where all people have access to the food they need today, and the fundamental resources to build a better tomorrow. 

“We extend our heartfelt appreciation to the Hudson Gateway REALTOR® Foundation for their invaluable support in the fight against hunger. Their partnership enables us to deliver vital food to where it is needed most in Westchester County,” said Rebecca Snyder, Director of Corporate Partnerships for Feeding Westchester.  

For more information or to apply for funding from the Hudson Gateway REALTOR® Foundation, please visit

About the Contributor
Jim Roberts
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.