Herald Needs Your Support 


By Regina Clarkin

A recent post on a Peekskill-focused social media feed questioned when the results of the write-in candidate for Common Council would be announced. Another comment mentioned that it takes the Board of Elections quite some time to report write-in numbers. People are left wondering about the specifics of an important story – and undoubtedly just scroll along to the next thing. 

When communities don’t have an independent source of credible news, inevitably innuendo and hypotheses wind up filling the vacuum.

Fortunately, Peekskill is different – because residents have a reliable source of information in the Peekskill Herald. We report on elections, government, school and community meetings where important decisions are made concerning all aspects of life in this city. It was just last year at this time that we were reporting extensively on the public discourse around allowing cannabis dispensaries and lounges in Peekskill. 

As reported in our election coverage last week, the Board of Elections needs time to open ballots and record the write-in candidates. An official at the county Board of Elections said ballots are being canvassed today and Thursday, and results of the write-in candidacy of Lee Esther Brown for Common Council will be available Monday, November 21st. We will report on those numbers as soon as we have them. 

A lot is happening in Peekskill as the city undergoes major development. The $10 million state grant to revitalize the downtown (DRI) has moved off the conceptual drawing boards and into the public realm in the form of workshops, mock-ups, public input and feedback. These are areas where it’s more important than ever to have accurate, accessible information. And the Herald will be there to provide it.

Imagine how residents feel when they notice trees coming down and bulldozers digging foundations. Often this information is buried in public filings and hours-long Zoom videos, which most residents have neither the time nor inclination to scour for details. In many cases, if not for the Herald reporting on developments, neighbors are left in the dark. We’ve covered Planning Board Zoom meetings where neighbors get a chance to comment on controversial proposals like the Mountain View development.  We’ve attended in-person meetings to hear residents feedback on designs of residential buildings, such as the non-televised Ginsburg session regarding their proposed Railroad Avenue development – so residents who couldn’t attend can still be “in the know”.

For the past year and a half the Herald has reported extensively on housing and development. From an announcement about the NAACP’s book discussion group on “The Color of Law” to a first person account from student journalist Brianna Ferguson about her family’s search for a place to live, we’ve highlighted the local, personal aspects of a story that too often is illustrated by just facts and figures. 

As much as the culture of a community is established by its physical appearance and geographical location, the quality of a community’s character is determined by its people. We’ve chronicled the people who call Peekskill home, from world renowned musicians, artists, and authors living here –to neighbors who formed a group to help shovel snow for those in need. 

Peekskill is steeped in a rich history, and we’ve explored that as well – with stories about our city’s place in the Revolutionary War to the Friendly Town Association that created pocket parks throughout the city. 

More and more people from beyond Peekskill are discovering our city’s charms for the first time and purchasing homes here. Documentary filmmaker Jacqueline Gares is a new resident who moved here in 2020. A few weeks ago she stopped by our Peekskill Herald table at the Farmer’s Market and told us she liked what we were doing in reporting news for Peekskill residents. She offered to produce video content for us as a way to help support our news site. 

We were thrilled to take her up on the offer, having recently learned we were eligible for a matching grant for donations we receive in the months of November and December. The total we can receive is $15,000, and the total match for each individual gift is up to $1,000. We were awarded this grant through a national NewsMatch Fund for local nonprofit news organizations. This is the first year we are eligible for the grant since we were incorporated last year as a nonprofit organization.

The 2-minute film featured at the beginning of this article follows this writer, founder of the original, print-edition Peekskill Herald newspaper. I look at the work I do in producing the Herald ‘2.0’ digital reincarnation as my ‘love letter’ to the community – and this video helps explain my motivation for doing so.

If you believe, as I do, that Peekskill is an incredible place to live because of its people, its stunning natural beauty, and its rich history, then please join us in supporting the work we do in this community by becoming a member today. We gauged the interest of Peekskill residents for a local news source in late 2020 with a crowdfunding campaign that netted us $7,500. At 150% of our financial goal, we heard that response as a resounding “yes, please!”.

Seven months later we became a nonprofit corporation, and in December of 2021, we received our 501c3 status from the IRS. We’ve produced accurate reporting and quality writing every week since then. We’ve put down roots in the past few years, and residents have come to rely on us for factual, independent reporting on development, government, schools, business, and people.

 There is so much more we can report about as we grow, but we need members to sustain and expand the operation. This is essential work. But it takes time, experience, care – and money. We’ve set a campaign goal of 500 new members to join the Peekskill Herald at the $25 a month level, ($300 annually). If you already support our work at this level, thank you. If you can increase your contribution to that amount or higher, it will help us build sustainability and continue to do the work we love: reporting on this community. 

You can donate here