Regional Briefs – February 21, 2019

Grocer Gets 2 Years for Food Stamp Scheme

NEWARK – The owner of a grocery store was sentenced to two years in prison for her role in a food stamps for cash scheme that cheated the government out of $888,000, The Associated Press reported. Maria Teresa Venegas, who must pay it all back, used her Jenny’s Deli to give some customers cash in return for their food stamp benefits.

Park Ranger Furloughed During Shutdown Wins Lotto

TRENTON – A park ranger furloughed during the partial federal government shutdown won Wednesday a $29.5 million lottery jackpot, The Associated Press reported. Judith Smith purchased the winning ticket days before the shutdown closed the Staten Island park where she worked.

31 Airports Splitting $23.6m From State for Upgrades

ALBANY – Some 31 airports statewide are splitting $23.6 million in infrastructure funding provided by New York. The money will be used to build new airplane hangars and fuel facilities, improve safety and security, and expand parking lots.

NJ Democrats Fully Behind Booker’s 2020 Campaign

TRENTON – New Jersey’s Democratic machine are fully lined up behind Sen. Cory Booker’s 2020 presidential campaign, The Associated Press reported. He has the backing of Gov. Phil Murphy, Sen. Bob Menendez, all 11 House Democrats, both legislative leaders and the party chairmen of all 21 counties.

New Penalties for Assaulting Airport, Road Workers Sought

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed Thursday making it a felony and having higher penalties for assaulting transit workers. This would apply to workers at highways, subway, bus or airports. It would also increase penalties for endangering highway workers by unsafe driving.