Roundup: School Security, Spotted Lanternflies, Slice of Saugatuck …

Today’s “Westport … What’s Happening” podcast is timely and important.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas joins 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker to discuss why, how and where additional school security personnel will be added soon.

Click below to hear their conversation. The podcast is sponsored by the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston.


Spotted lanternflies are a highly invasive species.

And they thrive on another invasive pest: trees of heaven.

Infestations have been reported around Westport, including Winslow and Grace Salmon Parks.

The Connecticut Agricultural Experimental Station says:

The spotted lanternfly Lycorma delicatula, (SLF) was first found in North America in Pennsylvania in late 2014. It is an exotic, invasive sap-feeding planthopper that has the potential to severely impact Connecticut’s agricultural crops, particularly apples, grapes, and hops, and ornamental trees. Spotted lanternfly adults feed on more than 70 species of plants. Its preferred host tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is highly invasive and is abundant along highways, in urban areas, and along the edges of agricultural and industrial areas, where the spotted lanternfly could easily become established.

Approximately half of Connecticut’s trees are threatened by spotted lanternfly invasion according to data from Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). As spotted lanternfly nymphs and adults feed on the sap from trees and vines, the entire plant can become weakened because it cannot conduct photosynthesis as effectively. The excretions from these leaf-hopping insects encourage the growth of black sooty mold, thereby reducing photosynthesis. Agricultural crops will have reduced yields due to SLF feeding on fruit and generally weakening plants, if not completely destroying them.

To learn more about the pest, click here. Sightings (including, if possible, photos) should be reported to state environmental authorities, using this form(Hat tip: Tracy Porosoff)

(Photo/Stacie Weiser Waldman)


Speaking of nature: Paul Rohan writes, “The other morning on my morning walk on Hillspoint Road ner Valley Road, I spotted 2 young deer eating grass at the edge of the road.

“I then saw a coyote run up Lookout Lane and enter Hillspoint to approach the deer. As he was halfway across the road he spotted me. He did an about face, ran back down the lane, and quickly disappeared in the underbrush.

“Over the years I have seen a few coyotes in the area, but only before daybreak.  This was around 8 a.m. Please alert readers with small dogs or other pets who might be in the area in the early morning to be aware of this coyote situation.”

Not the Hillspoint Road coyote.


If it’s late summer/early fall, it must be time for the Slice of Saugatuck.

The 11th annual event — a fun food/merchant experience in Westport’s most walkable neighborhood — is set for Saturday, September 9 (2 to 5 p.m.).

This year, over 40 businesses will participate in the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event.

Over 2 dozen venues will offer tastes from their menus. Live music will play at 7 locations, with favorite bands like Otis & the Hurricanes, Silver Steel, Mill River Band, the Howling Barncats, Elana Zarabi and Accidental Breakdown.

Bouncy houses are back. New this year: a face painter for the kids.

Beer Gardens (with wine) on Bridge Square and Railroad Place will be complemented by restaurants offering specialty drinks. Many venues will continued the festivities with happy hour offerings after the Slice ends.

The price is again $15 for adults, $5 for children under 13, free for age 5 and under. Tickets are sold on-site only, beginning at 1:50 p.m.

Slice of Saugatuck is one of the best events on the local calendar. It’s also a great cause. Over the years, the Chamber has donated more than $44,000 to the Gillespie Center’s food pantry .

For more information — including a map of participants —  click here.

Lining up for samples, on Railroad Place


Mike Ronemus and a few friends have been thinking about it for, oh, only 25 years or so.

On Monday, they finally did it: They swam from Compo Beach to Cokenoe Island.

And back.

They began at 6 a.m. A kayak, stand-up paddleboard and 2 boats escorted them through the channel.

It took between 1 1/2 and 1 3/4 hours to cover the 2 1/2 miles.

Congratulations to Mike, and fellow adventure swimmers Tom Bottini, Chris Coffin, Kevin Huelster, Bruce Koffsky, Andy Ludel, Mary Money, Ric Nadel, Leila Shields, Clay Tebbits.

And welcome back to land!

Halfway there! There swimmers at Cockenoe Island.


A pair of local realtors recently sent out a newsletter, touting — among other things — a popular Westport restaurant.

Next time, they (or their proofreader) might want to do a more thorough job. (Hat tip: Francoise Jaffe)


Of course there’s lobster at the Friends of Sherwood Island State Park’s annual Shorefest celebration.

But there’s also salmon and steak (with catering by Westfair Fish & Chips). Plus music by Westport Jenny Ong’s classical trio. And as always, a chance to party with fellow park-lovers.

This year’s event is September 8 (6 to 9 p.m., main pavilion). A silent auction includes tours of Prospect Gardens and Aspetuck brew lab, a fishing charter with Westport captain Blake Smith, and gift certificates to local restaurants.

Proceeds help fund 140 feet of new dunes, with 3,600 American beach grass plants; invasive species eradication; an owl habitat restoration project; fall and spring tree plantings; the Nature Center intern program, and speakers on raptors, horseshoe crabs, turtles and insects.

Click here for tickets, and more information.


The Tennis Channel is listed on the NASDAQ. For the past 12 years, they’ve celebrated the start the US Open by ringing the morning bell.

Yesterday morning, the ringers included Cayne Mandell. The 2017 Staples High School and 2021 Syracuse University sports management graduate is an ad sales marketing coordinator for TC.

The NASDAQ bell was not his only perk. He’ll be in the Tennis Channel corporate suite during the event too.

Cayne Mandell, larger than life.


Allan Friedman has led bike trips for a decade — ever since his first Backroads journey to Tuscany in 2013. He then biked through California and Canada, and now leads urban tours in areas like New York, New Haven and Washington.

On September 12 (Saugatuck Congregational Church; 6:15 p.m. dinner; 7:30 p.m. presentation), he’s the Appalachian Mountain Club’s dinner guest speaker. His topic: ”Adventures Abound — Ride and Explore!”

The cost is $10 for members, $15 for non-members (payable at the door). Bring a dessert to share. For more information, email


Allan Friedman


Eagle-eyed photographer Steve Halstead snapped today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo — at the same moment his subject looked, equally intently, for a fish.

(Photo/Steve Halstead)


And finally … Bob Mummert, the drummer on Roy Orbison’s last tour, died Saturday.

Known for his appearance on the “You Got It” music video, he was also a drummer for the Grand Ole Opry, and a session musician who toured with many famous artists and bands.

(From school security to spotted lanternflies, “06880” is your connection between Westport and the world. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

9 responses to “Roundup: School Security, Spotted Lanternflies, Slice of Saugatuck …

  1. The photo is a wolf… not a coyote

    • If You See It, Squash It.

      Don’t sleep on these bugs, they’ll wipe out our trees. I see them almost every day now and I live on the beach (no trees) in that adjacent town to the East.

  2. “La Plague” – that’s gonna be bad for business….lol

  3. 😜

  4. While I am grateful the Town has finally focused on additional school security and the Finance Committee is supportive of the budget, the current proposal falls short of giving Westport the most value for tax dollars spent. The School Resource Officer (“SRO”) at Staples has proven its value beyond argument, even if just by mitigating the recent active shooter call’s affect. That mitigation would not have been as effective were the SRO not IN the school, able to report status in real time. But let’s put the worst case scenario aside. A true SRO is so much more valuable being present IN a school day in and day out. They act as an influence against bullying, drugs, smoking & drinking activity, intervention in disciplinary problems along side educators, and build a positive relationship with students through education and activities (like the terminated D.A.R.E. program use to). This is especially important with our younger kids as they grow into middle and high school. Mental health, discipline and substance abuse problems get their start in middle school, not only in high school. Early intervention is the key. Barring the officers from being inside the schools (even if only upon a request from the administration or for special education programs (like substance abuse info), or relationship activities, is shortsighted as well as not a fully effective use of town funds. While I understand some are afraid of an armed police officer in schools, this is the world we live in. I’d rather we upset a few than bury even one of our kids because we didn’t allow the program to be fully effective. My understanding is the Board of Education has sole authority over the access to the schools and is barring the officers from being actual SROs unless an emergency situation exists, ostensibly due to budgetary issues. This exposes our kids unnecessarily. I congratulate Robert Hannigan for his calling out this shortsightedness on the BOE as well as Sal Liccone on the Public Safety Committee. I wish the other members would step up as well. Is there any more important issue than our kids safety?

  5. Let’s not forget this came to the town in 2018 and it failed because a few selfish elected officials who are suppose to represent the public we’re too “gun-ho” about the imagery being painted of promoting a hero.

    “I don’t want us to all sit back and think we solve a very complex problem by putting armed guards in the doors of our schools,” District 9 RTM member Kristin Schneeman said during the Tuesday meeting. “That’s oversimplifying, and I don’t think that’s what we’re saying. Sometimes the conversation. Sometimes the conversation sounds like it’s being reduced to that, like we’ve created a sort of superhero image of this person who’s going to prevent all bad things from happening in our schools.”

    Instead focusing on the image, kids do look up to those who are tasked under an oath to put their lives on the line and be there to prevent and reduce damages by any threat.

  6. Comments like that are self-serving political B.S. from people who fear that if having an SRO in a school prevents violence then that’s one less reason they can point to for need of gun control. They also don’t understand the full nature of the SRO program, which is more proactive and preventative. I support reasonable gun restrictions but gridlock in the government caused by the lunatic fringe of both parties will likely never let that happen. I say protecting our kids is not a political statement, it’s a non-partisan priority.

  7. What was the point of posting the realtors faux paux? To embarass them? Seems childish from a so called professional.

    I find this behavior an embarrassment to her profession.

  8. Just to set the record straight, Coyotes are NOT nocturnal. And. These terribly destructive beetles,nvasive predators ,love Ailanthus (Tree of Heaven). It Is a weed, long known to City streets.
    My suggestion is to let the trees attract the predators and kill as many as you can when they land there. I suspect that if you destroy what they love, they will then find someplace else to locate.

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