Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Newsworthy Notes from the week

July 9 community meeting to discuss Depew Park; Annsville Circle rebuild will be 2 year project
Newsworthy+Notes+from+the+week

Meeting on Depew Park July 9 at Neighborhood Center

A community meeting will be held to discuss Depew Park on Tuesday, July 9 from 6:00 – 7:30 P.M. at the Neighborhood Center Dining Room at 4 Nelson Ave. 

All are invited to attend to discuss the recent improvements to Depew Park, view the renderings from New City Park and Saratoga Associates on the proposed new improvements, and to share feedback to help shape the future of the park.

In addition, the City is expecting to receive funding to update local playgrounds. The first priority is to update the surfacing at the playgrounds, with any funds remaining used to make improvements across all playgrounds, based on need. 

Peekskill wants to hear from you, the people who use these playgrounds, about what you think they need the most as we continue the process to plan and design improvements. The city strives to create playgrounds that are safe, accessible, inclusive, fun, and that meet the needs of children of all abilities. 

Please note that while City funding for the playground upgrades have been pledged, it has not yet been received. The project timeline is conditional on funding availability.

Please also fill out this Playground Improvements Survey. It takes approximately 3 – 5 minutes to complete. 

Survey in English.

Annsville Circle roadway rebuild projected to last two years

Aerial view of the Annsville Circle. Photo courtesy of Scott Snell of SDS Imagery, LLC

Construction activities on the Annsville Circle flood mitigation project will start today, July 8 according to an update the City of Peekskill received from the state Department of Transportation (NYSDOT).

The project will extend from the entrance of Camp Smith at Rt. 202, the NYSDOT Yard at Route 9, and to the north end of the Jan Peek Bridge.

In the upcoming few weeks the contractor will proceed with lane shifts and lane closures which will occur between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Two lanes of traffic will be maintained at all times. 

“The upcoming Annsville Circle project will enhance resiliency and reduce the risk of recurring flooding by elevating the circle and raising the approaches,” a spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation said. “This is a critical travel corridor that serves as a key crossing in the Hudson Valley.”

In addition to ending the flooding problems, the new project will create a tighter rotary at the Annsville Circle with less merging.  

United States Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced in April that $23.96 million will be given to the New York State DOT to raise a small segment of Route 6 from Roa Hook Road to Camp Smith in the town of Cortlandt by about seven feet. The senator said the funding with ensure the roadway remains passable when sea levels rise and to reduce the risk of roadway closures due to flooding during severe weather.

“By raising this critical stretch of roadway, a vital corridor for Camp Smith where our NY Army National Guard train,” Schumer said, “we are helping keep our communities safe from flooding, ensuring emergency vehicles will still be able to service these areas, all while creating new, good-paying jobs laying the foundation for a more resilient Westchester.”

The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Cost-saving Transportation Grant program, which was funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Law.

 

City of Peekskill seeking full-time planner

The City of Peekskill is seeking a full-time Planner. Please see the job description for a complete list of duties and responsibilities.

This appointment will begin on a provisional basis. The appointee must take and pass the Planner (Planning) civil service examination when it is next given, in addition to being reachable for appointment from the resulting eligible list to continue employment with the City.  

Applicants must submit a letter of interest, City of Peekskill application, and resume to the City of Peekskill Human Resources Department, 840 Main Street, Peekskill, NY 10566.  Candidates may also submit this material via e-mail ([email protected] and [email protected]).  

Employment applications can be obtained from Peekskill’s Human Resources department.

There are no residency requirements to participate in the application process, but preference in appointment may be given to qualified candidates that have been City of Peekskill residents for at least 30 days prior to the effective date of appointment. 

The City of Peekskill is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Volunteers sought for Landmarks, Human Relations boards

Historic Standard House on Hudson Avenue by the train crossing.

The city of Peekskill is seeing volunteers for two boards: Historic & Landmarks Preservation and Human Relations Committee. 

The City of Peekskill’s Historic and Landmarks Preservation Board (HLPB) promotes the protection, enhancement, preservation, and perpetuation of its historic districts, sites, and buildings based upon particular architectural, artistic, technological, or cultural achievements which cannot be duplicated or otherwise replaced. As a result of historic preservation, the HLPB helps to foster civic pride; protect and enhance local attractions and histories; promote economic development; and retain property values and uses.

The Human Relations Committee fosters mutual respect and understanding among all racial, religious, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, and nationality groups in the community. It makes such studies in any field of human relations in the community as, in its judgment, will aid in effectuating its general purposes and conducts and recommends such educational programs as, in its judgment, will increase goodwill among inhabitants of the community and open new opportunities into all phases of community life for all inhabitants.

Submit a letter of interest along with a résumé to City Clerk Cassandra Redd at [email protected]

Jenkins in line to succeed Latimer as Westchester County Executive

Democratic Party insiders in Westchester tell City & State magazine that Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, who has been a frequent visitor to Peekskill, has the inside track to succeed the outgoing incumbent following last month’s Democratic primary vote for U.S. Congress.

George Latimer beat the current Representative Jamaal Bowman and when he resigns Jenkins is expected to move up to the County Executive seat, becoming the first Black County Executive in Westchester’s history.

The Westchester County Board of Legislators must appoint an acting County Executive after Latimer resigns and then schedule a special election to take place within 90 days. Once the date is set, the two parties will hold a convention to pick their nominees.

“I certainly had expressed interest in following George when his term ended in 2025,” Jenkins told City & State magazine “It seems that may move up a bit.”

In 2017 Jenkins ran against Latimer for the Democratic nomination for County Executive and became Deputy Executive after losing that challenge. He’s now expected to win a special election to succeed Latimer and would be a front-runner for the position in the upcoming 2025 election for a full term.

“I expect him to be the Democratic nominee for County Executive for the special election,” Latimer told City & State. “I expect him to win it, and then he would become, in his own right for the rest of my unexpired term, the County Executive, and then I would expect him to go on and win a full term in his own right,” Latimer said. “I don’t know that I’ve heard anybody thinking of challenging him within the party.” 

Free series of Japanese films at KinoSaito in Verplanck

KinoSaito will present a free Summer 2024 Japanese Film Series on Fridays July 26 and August 30, starting at 6 P.M.

The free lecture, screening, and discussion program will focus on contemporary Japanese features Tampopo (1985), and Paprika (2006).

‘Tampopo’ (1985) is a “ramen Western” and comedy that sees a band of noodle-crafting ronin embroiled in various hijinks. Tampopo has earned a 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes as a celebration of the human senses that which is encapsulated by the broad influence of Japanese culture.

The series will be held at KinoSaito  at 115 7th St., in Verplanck. Snacks and beverages will be served free-of-charge.

Prices rise, inventories shrink in Westchester home sales

8 Apple Hill Lane, Peekskill, NY 10566

For the first time in months, sales of single-family homes in Westchester increased slightly in May by 4.6 percent, and the median sales price advanced by 16.3 percent to a new high of $980,000 according to the Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS©

Last year at this time, the median price held at $842,500 and just last month it stood at $870,107. 

The condo market also experienced a boost of in sales at 16.5 percent and a 9.8 percent hike in the median sales price to $499,500. 

Closed sales declined by 4.8 percent in the co-op market, however the median sales price grew by 10.1 percent to $205,000.

New listings for condos rose by 26.3 percent but declined by 15.8 percent for co-ops and 10 percent for single-family homes. Overall inventory for all property types declined, with co-ops seeing the largest decrease at 33.3 percent, followed by single-family homes at 21.3 percent. Months of supply was down 10.7 percent to just 2.5 months, and pending sales fell by 11.1 percent.

The tip line is always open at the Peekskill Herald

Have a story idea that you’d like to see a reporter from The Herald check out? Ever think of a question that you wish someone would answer?

We always want to hear from our readers and here’s your way to reach us. Whether it’s a question regarding a specific event, an economic development project, or just a trend you’ve noticed, we want to hear it.

Send us your questions. We’ll review and evaluate the submissions and select those we can answer. We’ll publish the story. Send your question to [email protected].

Peekskill supports Officer Wright during family’s health battle

For those who remember PO (Ret) Andre Wright from his years walking the halls of the Peekskill High School or running the countless community events, news of his family’s recent battle of a child diagnosed with cancer will make them want to help.

Officer Wright’s 18-year-old daughter Andrea Wright was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer in her uterus after experiencing severe pain in her stomach. Because the cancer was aggressive and rapidly spreading, Wright was taken to Montefiore Medical Center in New York City and scheduled for emergency surgery, during which a tumor the size of a baby was removed. Her cancer was then upgraded to stage 3.

Since her diagnosis and first surgery, Wright has undergone two more surgeries and several rounds of chemotherapy. She has also agreed to participate in a treatment study due to the rarity of her cancer, which is found in only 8 percent of the female population between the ages of 8 and 25.

Although she is putting up a brave fight, it has put financial stress on her family. To help with this, a Fund the First fundraiser was created in late May 2024 to collect donations and assist the family with their rising medical bills. As of Tuesday, July 2, the fundraiser had collected over $8,000 out of a $15,000 goal.

While his daughter has been doing amazing, and is a fighter like her father, the family has had its struggles. If anyone would like to contribute or share, every little bit helps.

Fund-the-First is a fundraising site for first responders. 

Renewable electricity and new challenges to statewide grid

April’s solar eclipse in New York created a temporary drop in power production from solar panels.

“In the hours leading up to the eclipse, solar resources generated just over 3,000 megawatts. As the eclipse crossed New York, solar generation declined to just under 600 MW by 3:30 p.m. ― an 80 percent reduction,” according to the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO).

With solar power comprising just 3 percent of the grid, the loss was not noticed this time. “Hydro-pumped storage, conventional hydro facilities, and fossil-fuel resources were dispatched to make up for the reduced solar generation during that period,” stated the report, which also noted solar generation went back up to almost 1,200 MW at 4 p.m. on April 8 before dropping again as the sun started to set. [A megawatt can power up to 1,000 homes].

However, NYISO reports that as the state energy grid shifts from fossil fuels to renewables including wind and solar, challenges will result.

“This episode gave us a glimpse of how the system is going to be performing as we get closer to the CLCPA goals,” said Kevin Lanahan, NYISO’s vice president of external affairs. The CLCPA, or Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, is the 2019 law that calls for 70 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable resources by 2030.

News about the eclipse’s impact on solar power production was included in NYISO’s “Power Trends 2024” publication. The 60-page annual report analyzes key factors in the state’s grid and wholesale energy market. Electricity in New York is wholesaled through an ongoing real-time auction and then funneled to where the demand is via the state’s various utilities that operate the power lines such as National Grid, Con Edison or Central Hudson Gas & Electric.

Another challenge to the grid comes from the impact of drought on hydroelectric power. In March, exports of electricity from the U.S. to Canada reached the highest levels in 14 years according to the New York TimesCanadian hydroelectric is suffering reduced output due to recent declines in rain and snow, limiting the amount of energy dams there can produce.

The report also warns of shrinking reliability margins, or cushions needed to ensure a steady power supply during events such as summer heat waves, which prompt more people to run their air conditioners.

“Solar and other weather dependent resources introduce new challenges for our forecasting and operations teams. Continued collaboration with stakeholders, technological innovations, and investment in additional dispatchable resources and transmission infrastructure will ensure operators have the tools necessary to maintain reliability,” concluded NYISO.

Hikers have local parks to enjoy during summer season

Westchester magazine searched the county for the best hiking spots with water views and landed on two local best picks. Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill and Croton Gorge Park both offer hikers nature’s respite from the daily grind and a “staycation” alternative during the summer season. 

The magazine wrote: 

Blue Mountain Reservation

Peekskill

Blue Mountain Reservation is a great spot for hikers of varying experience. Many trails lead to one of two peaks, Mt. Spitzenberg and Blue Mountain, where you can find broad views of the Hudson River and the mountains and greenery that outline it.

Croton Gorge Park

Cortlandt

Providing beautiful water views year-round, Croton Gorge Park is a hike you will not want to miss. The centerpiece of this location is the Croton Dam, which used to be a vital water supply for New York City. You can see the dam upon arrival, but following the hiking trail will lead you to bigger and better views. Croton Gorge Park is also a perfect place for families who want to get the kids into hiking, as one of the trails through the park leads right to a playground. Fair warning: this is one of the more popular hikes in the county and will get busy during peak times throughout the summer (weekends and holidays).

Hemlock Hill farm makes top of the ‘Best Burger’ list

Hundreds of local food lovers gathered at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla earlier this year for one of Westchester’s most popular gastronomic contests: Westchester Magazine’s Burger & Beer Blast

Each one got to cast their vote for their favorite burger of the evening, choosing between 23 of the county’s best restaurants, many of which utilized Pat LaFrieda ground beef to craft their patties. 

Ranking Number Four in the highly competitive vote for Best Burger was Hemlock Hill Farm & Market at the intersection of Maple and Croton Avenues in Cortlandt.

“Hemlock Hill served the ‘This Ain’t Texas Burger’ featuring a local pasture-raised special blend ground beef, Hemlock Hill Farm’s 15-hour smoked brisket, fried onion strings, cheddar cheese and special sauce.”

County detective, ‘cyberdog’ retire from high-tech crime

Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, Detective Hochron, Harley, Department of Probation Commissioner Rocco Pozzi, and County Executive George Latimer

Westchester County Police Detective Brett Hochron and Harley the Cyber Dog retired on July 1 after years of service. Hochron and Harley have been taking “a byte” out of crime since they were teamed up in 2017.

They worked on a broad range of investigations in support of County, local and federal law enforcement agencies; Westchester County and federal corrections agencies; and the Westchester County Department of Probation. Hochron and Harley found evidence while executing search warrants or aiding investigations into a broad array of criminal cases involving financial fraud, child pornography, organized crime, gang activity, and counter-terrorism.

Harley is trained to sniff out hidden digital devices containing evidence needed in criminal investigations. These devices include SIM cards, thumb drives, hard drives, cell phones, tablets, laptop computers, and other digital storage devices.

“We thank Detective Hochron and Harley for the great work they have done for the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Probation,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer said. “I wish them both an enjoyable retirement.”

Due to Hochron and Harley’s successful collaboration with the Department of Probation, the decision was made that the County’s next electronics canine will be assigned to Probation.  The canine will also be available when requested to support other law enforcement agencies and investigations.

Probation Commissioner Rocco Pozzi noted that Hochron and Harley worked closely with Probation’s Sex Offender Unit. “Convicted sex offenders, as a condition of their probation, are often prohibited from possessing pornography, and they can even be prohibited from possessing a computer or any other digital device. Detective Hochron and Harley have assisted us in many sex offender investigations and home visits to find electronic devices that were hidden by these offenders.”

Pozzi said the new canine handler will be Supervisory Probation Officer Stephen Denaro. Denaro’s canine partner will be selected with assistance from Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

After the canine is chosen, it will be sent for six weeks of training at the Connecticut State Police (CSP) Academy. It was CSP’s forensic scientists who identified a common chemical used in digital products and founded the discipline of electronics storage detection. Once the new canine successfully completes its first six weeks of training, Denaro will then join his new partner for six weeks of training together as a team.

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.