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Sound Bites: Mother of Jennifer Dulos takes the stand

Jennifer Dulos' mother, Gloria Farber, is sworn in to testify during Michelle Troconis' trial at Connecticut Superior Court in Stamford, Conn., Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024.
Tyler Sizemore/AP
Pool Hearst Connecticut Media
Jennifer Dulos' mother, Gloria Farber, is sworn in to testify during Michelle Troconis' trial at Connecticut Superior Court in Stamford, Conn., Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024.

Good morning —  The mother of Jennifer Dulos took the stand this week at the murder conspiracy trial against Michelle Troconis. 

Gloria Farber testified she never saw or communicated with her daughter since she disappeared in 2019. Troconis denies the allegation that she helped her boyfriend, Fotis Dulos, cover up killing his estranged wife. Farber's testimony was part of the prosecution's effort to show her daughter was killed in an attack at her New Canaan home. Fotis Dulos died by suicide awaiting trial. 

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we’re hearing: 

Ex-Fairfield school employee arrested. Peter Wheeler Jr. faces charges of sexual assault and child endangerment related to two minors. The charges stem from an ongoing investigation into Wheeler's arrest on Jan. 23 for first-degree possession of child pornography. The case remains pending in the Bridgeport courthouse. Wheeler pleaded not guilty.

New York’s environmental commissioner will step down. Basil Seggos, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, will resign from his role, having led the state agency since October 2015. He will remain in Gov. Kathy Hochul's administration until the state budget negotiations are completed in April. Hochul will appoint Seggos' successor, who will need confirmation from the state Senate.

The Village of Islandia failed to control overtime costs. According to the New York State Comptroller’s office, the village failed to properly approve, document and control overtime for employees, paying eight employees $149,964 without proper documentation. The fire marshal and building inspector approved their own overtime, without documentation to support hours or work performed. The Board of Trustees and village officials did not monitor overtime and relied on them for necessary work. While the village disagreed with certain findings and recommendations, they indicated they had initiated or would initiate corrective action.

A Suffolk County judge rules against efforts to preserve Flowerfield Fairgrounds. The judge has ruled that Harbor Village and several residents cannot join a lawsuitover the St. James property. The lawsuit challenges the approval from the Town of Smithtown's planning board to subdivide the property into eight lots for medical offices, assisted living facilities and a hotel. The lawsuit aims to protect the undeveloped 43 acres from future development. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has also expressed interest in acquiring some of the property for preservation.

Upgrade plans for Groton New London Airport. The Connecticut Airport Authority has received $3.5 million in federal funding for safety, lighting and snow removal improvements at Groton-New London Airport. There are plans to make its terminal more energy-efficient and support commercial service. The airport supports commercial passenger service, facing competition from Tweed New Haven and Rhode Island’s T.F. Green International Airport.

Applications are open in Suffolk County for downtown revitalization grants. County Executive Ed Romaine announced that the program offers a $500,000 pool for partial funding of capital projects in or near downtown areas on municipally-owned property. The program supports the creation of walkable downtown areas vital to the regional economy. Among the various projects eligible for grants are public parking facilities, curb and sidewalk construction, pedestrian walkways, street lighting, public restrooms, disabled accessibility, renovations to existing structures and cultural facilities.

UConn applications soar. The University of Connecticut has seen an 18% increase in first-year student applications to its Storrs campus in the past two years. Officials credit the university's reputation for attracting prospective students despite declining nationwide applications. By the fall semester, UConn expects almost 24,500 undergraduates across all of its campuses, with the majority being from Connecticut. Almost 70% of UConn students receive financial aid through grants and scholarships.

A judge in New York barred Nassau County Police from requiring gun permit applicants to undergo drug testing and provide good character proof for a handgun license. The judge called the requirements for applicants to disclose their social media accounts unconstitutional. They also questioned why applicants have had to wait up to eight months before getting fingerprinted at police headquarters. The Nassau County executive's office declined to appeal.

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Andrea Quiles is a fellow at WSHU.