Regional Briefs – October 23, 2014

NJ Turnpike Widening Nearly Finished

BORDENTOWN, N.J. – Work on a major New Jersey Turnpike widening project is set to end ahead of schedule and more than $200 million under budget. Northbound lanes between Burlington and Middlesex counties are set to open this weekend, and the southbound lanes are scheduled to be ready for traffic next weekend. The $2.5 billion project to widen the toll road from six lanes to 12 along a 35-mile stretch began in June 2009.

NYC Pushing for Diversity In Gifted Students Program

NEW YORK – New York City wants more minority students in poor neighborhoods to apply to its gifted programs to increase diversity, the Daily News reported. The Education Department sent 28,000 postcards with information on how to apply to gifted kindergarten programs to families in the Bronx and Brooklyn.

Rep. Grimm’s Trial Put Off Until 2015

NEW YORK – Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm’s tax evasion trial has been put off until next year, to Feb. 1, instead of the beginning of December, The Associated Press reported. U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen on Tuesday also rejected defense claims that the prosecution is politically motivated. The Republican is fighting the charges as he runs for re-election in two weeks.

NY Prisons to Keep Young Inmates From Segregation

ALBANY – New York’s prison policy will be changed to preclude placing inmates under 18 in segregated housing as part of a lawsuit settlement, the Department of Corrections said Tuesday. The agreement includes a review of juveniles under 21 to determine their education needs. There were recently 97 inmates under 18.

Free Trees to Be Given Away In Midwood on Sunday

BROOKLYN – Councilman David Greenfield will host a free tree giveaway at Friends Field on Sunday, beginning at noon and continuing until 2:00 p.m. or until the 100 trees have been distributed. The giveaway is a part of Million TreesNYC, which aims to plant and maintain one million new trees over the next decade. They must not be planted along streets, in city parks, in containers or on roofs.