Roundup: School Security Unit, DPIC Comments, Lyman Update …

Westport’s new School Security Unit begins work Monday (September 11).

The unit is a partnership of  the Police Department and Board of Education. Funding was approved unanimously this week by the Representative Town Meeting.

Officer Sean Kelley will be promoted to sergeant soon, and will supervise the unit. He was hired by the WPD in 2000, and has served as a detective in the Youth Division. He will be assigned to Bedford Middle School.

Officer Dennis Broderick will be assigned to Coleytown Middle and Elementary Schools. He was hired a year ago, after retiring as a sergeant with the Milford Police Department, where he spent over half his 20-year career in the Detective Bureau.

Corporal Rachel Hall will be assigned to Saugatuck and Kings Highway Elementary Schools. She was hired in 2016, after beginning her career with the Ridgefield Police Department. She is a member of the Marine, Motorcycle and Drone Units, and served as a desk officer.

Officer Edward “Ned” Batlin will be assigned to Long Lots and Greens Farms Elementary Schools.  He was hired in 2001, and was the DARE officer for many years. He is very active with local sports, at the high school and PAL levels.

Though the SSOs will primarily remain outside of the schools, they will work directly with administrators as needed.

In addition to providing enhanced security, they will  focus on traffic enforcement and safety concerns during student drop-off and pick-up.

Officer Ed Wooldridge will continue as Staples’ highly regarded and very popular School Resource Officer.


John McCarthy has been adamant recently about the need for more openness and transparency in local town government.

So he took notice yesterday when the Downtown Plan Implementation Committee posted scores of comments, following their Parker Harding Plaza August 22 charrette at the Westport Library.

“Kudos to the DPIC,” John says.

“It took a lot of work to get the comments typed up. I would have been happy with just copies of people’s handwritten notes,  but nice to see they went the  extra yard.”

Click here to read them all. It’s a great way to get a feel for the pulse of the community.

Members of the public were invited to comment after last month’s Downtown Plan Implementation Committee meeting about Parker Harding Plaza. (Photo/Dan Woog)


On Wednesday, the Flood & Erosion Board approved Vita Design Group’s plan to build a house next door to Eloise A. Ray Park, on Riverside Avenue.

A “Friends of the Park” group is concerned that the park will be unusable while construction is ongoing; that it will be used in part as a staging area, and damaged by equipment; that the park will be “forever altered by having a multi-level house, driveway, patio and walls” encroaching on it; that trees will be cut, and wildlife, and that traffic on Riverside will be affected.

They invite interested residents to email

The next hearing is before the full Conservation Board, on September 13.

Eloise A. Ray Park


The bad news is: In Lyman, dozens of apartment buildings need repair before winter sets in.

The good news: It’s been several weeks since Russians attacked our Ukrainian sister city. And Westporters’ donations have already helped shore up 15 apartment buildings.

Ukraine Aid International’s Brian Mayer — the Westporter who co-founded the boots-on-the-ground non-profit, and helped engineer our town’s sister city relationship — provided an update yesterday.

He told First Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Police Chief Foti Koskinas and “06880” that a construction firm is doing the dangerous work of repairing roofs and windows, to enable the damaged apartments to withstand the coming snow and freezing temperatures.

Mayer recently visited Lyman Mayor Alexander Zhuravlov. Behind his desk is a shelf filled with items sent from Westport.

Tooker and Koskinas are in near daily contact with the mayor and Lyman police chief. Each time, the Ukrainian officials tell their Westport counterparts how much our town’s support means to them.

(Donations through Ukrainian Aid International will help rebuild the many heavily damaged apartments. Click here to help. Under “Designation,” click the dropdown menu and select “Westport — Lyman Sister City.”)

In July — just hours after a Russian attack killed 8 Lyman residents — Mayor Alexander Zhuravlov sent a video thanking Westporters for their support.


Connecticut’s annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony drew a reverent crowd yesterday to Sherwood Island State Park, the site of the state’s official memorial.

From that spot in 2001, smoke from the Twin Towers was visible.

Connecticut holds its ceremony before the September 11 anniversary, so relatives and friends of those killed in the terrorist attack can also attend the New York memorial on that day.

Yesterday’s 9/11 memorial, at Sherwood Island State Park. (Photo/Harris Falk)


Westoberfest — the Westport Downtown Association’s Oktoberfest-style event — has something for everyone.

There’s beer tasting from dozens of craft breweries, sure.

But also live music; food by Walrus Alley, Kneads Bakery, Lobstercraft and Little Pub;  a children’s area run by the Artists’ Collective of Westport and MoCA; a street magician, bubbles and face painting; a pumpkin and apple giveaway; food trucks, shopping and vendors like Savvy + Grace.

Take-home tasting glasses with koozies are courtesy of Lux Bond & Green.

It all takes place October 14 (2 to 5 p.m.), off Elm Street. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Westoberfest is for beer drinkers — and families. (Photo/JC Martin)


Jennifer Johnson spotted this ship in Long Island Sound, earlier this morning.

(Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

“What is it dumping?” she asks.

I have no idea. But I’m sure someone in our “06880” universe does. Click “Comments” below, if you know.


A service for Rev. Ted Hoskins — the former and much-loved Saugatuck Congregational Church pastor who died last month — will be held this Sunday (September 10, 2 p.m.) in Blue Hill, Maine. Doug Miller — Rev. Hoskins’ former associate minister in Westport — will officiate.

The service will be livestreamed. Click here for the link.

Rev. Ted Hoskins (Photo courtesy of Penobscot Bay Press)


Forget car washes and candy sales. The Staples High School girls swim and dive team has a fundraiser that will really make you smile: a comedy show.

Their first-ever “Dive Into Comedy” (get it?!) event includes 4 comedians who have slayed it in laces like Caroline’s, Stand Up New York, Broadway Comedy Club and The Stress Factory.

It’s September 28, at the Fairfield Theatre Company. Click here for tickets (adults 21+ only).

“Don’t tread water. Get your tickets today!” the girls say. Hah!

“Make people laugh,” the photographer told the Staples swim and dive team. They did.


But speaking of sports team car washes: The Staples boys soccer team holds theirs tomorrow. It’s 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Christ & Holy Trinity Church parking lot on Elm Street.

Like the girls swim team, they’re raising money for costs not covered by the Board of Education budget.

Workin’ at the (boys soccer) car wash…


Gary Lucas — a rock guitarist lauded by Bruce Springsteen and Lou Reed, who collaborated with Captain Beefheart and Jeff Buckley — is the latest StoryFest addition.

He’ll rock the Westport Library October 22 (2 p.m.), accompanying George Melford’s 1931 Spanish-language “Dracula” film with a live guitar score.

Lucas will add even more to the largest literary festival in Connecticut. This year’s 6th annual event (October 20-22) includes a keynote conversation  with legendary writer Neil Gaiman; panel discussions and author conversations; a special reading of Eric LaRocca’s new play, “Gentle Hacksaw”; a children’s event with Pinkalicious author Victoria Kann, and PitchFest (a 5-hour paid workshop where aspiring authors can speak to literary agents about their book. Click here for more information.

Gary Lucas (Photo/Michael Arkk)


It’s not yet fall — but this guy is getting ready for winter, at Tracy Porosoff’s kousa dogwood tree. Nothing could be more “Naturally … Westport.”

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)


And finally … Steve Harwell, former lead singer of Smash Mouth, died Monday. in Idaho. He was 56, and suffered from liver failure.

(There is a lot going on in town. And “06880” covers it all. Please click here to help support our work. Thank you!)

10 responses to “Roundup: School Security Unit, DPIC Comments, Lyman Update …

  1. Thanks to the RTM, Chief Koskinos and the Superintendent for finally taking steps to protect our kids and school staff. I wish SROs were not necessary for protection against active shooters but were a proactive choice for the mental health, disciplinary issues and relationship building responsibilities the SROs are actually dedicated to and trained for. Those very important aspects of the job are overlooked in these crazy times we live in. It is very obvious that the gridlock in Congress will probably never get reasonable gun control measures passed so it is up to American citizens to protect our kids and I applaud you for seeing that reality and acting upon it.
    I remain hopeful that the SSO positions, at least in the middle schools, will eventually become true SRO positions as I believe they can be much more effective for relationships and prevention, as the Staples SRO has proven to be. As a father of Westport school children I know that a lot of the social and mental health problems of students in Staples started in middle school and were then exacerbated in Staples. Having an SRO in middle school would certainly help to proactively address these issues, in my opinion.
    But with all the emphasis on security, the higher and more important purpose of a true School Resource Officer (“SRO”) has been neglected. The major difference between an SSO & SRO is that the SSO does not spend anytime IN the schools unless requested by the Principal or in an emergency situation. An SRO spends time within the school, interacting with students and staff on a daily basis, forging and building positive relationships with students and acting as a proactive deterrent to disciplinary issues, bullying, substance abuse as well as intervening in potential mental health issues, suicide, etc. all side by side with school administrators and staff. They are hand-picked for aptitude, attitude and demeanor, specifically trained both initially and continually in these skills. So they are not just law enforcement officers. Everyone involved has extolled the tremendous benefit the Staples SRO has brought to the table in this regard. One RTM member, who works at Staples detailed the love and appreciation students and staff have for the SRO and all he does for positive relationships. He even stated, based on his experience, he would NOT work at any school that didn’t have an SRO.
    Although I would like to see SROs in all our schools, functioning at a psychological level consistent with each age group, I firmly believe the Board of Education is being shortsighted in not at least approving SROs in the middle schools. As effective as the SRO is on these issues in Staples, they would be even more effective relationship building and early intervening with these budding issues in the middle school. Chief Koskinos stated that the conversion of an SSO to a fully functional SRO would only entail the decision by the BOE to do so, no change in expense or manpower would be required. Why not take full advantage of what the SRO program can afford our kids and staff. I ask the BOE to adjust the program to put fully functioning SROs in the middle schools. What’s more important than our kids health and safety?

  2. 2 yellow cards ‼️

  3. Anyone know about that ship? I was out in front of compo and saw it this morning but was busy so could not get closer to it to investigate. I wonder if they are actually dumping or that is just seawater being pumped overboard? Maybe someone can ask WPD marine unit?

  4. Westport in the 1970s benefited immeasurably from the wise and compassionate ministry of The Rev. Ted Hoskins at Saugatuck Congregational Church. You did not have to worship at Saugatuck to appreciate the influence and leadership of Ted on our town. To know him was to know his deep roots on the Maine coast, particularly his home on Isle au Haut at the eastern entrance to Penobscot Bay. I remember having Ted on board our sailboat one August day. Like a lobsterman, Ted knew all the rocks and shoals around his island — every one of them. He needed no chart, no depth-sounder. At the helm of a boat drawing maybe five feet, he brought us far closer ashore than anyone else might dare, passing rocks here and porpoises there as we circumnavigated Isle au Haut, where his small summer church stood proudly in the island village. Ted was a minister and a New Englander through and through. Westport was lucky to have him.

  5. Are gun laws controlled by 06880 government ? Who controls the sakes of gun laws where one can purchase an AR 15 rifle ? I woukd ask that 06880 police chief and our first selectwoman answer if gun laws are important to consider in school safety. Dan speaks to them regularly so I respectfully asked Dan to reach out for their comments. I wonder what the Newtown families think. Should we listen to the schools that have been faced with horrific violence?? Thank you

    • You can’t purchase an AR-15 in CT.

      • Yes. Thanks. But you do buy it in many states and transport it. You do also buy it out of the trunk of a gun seller That’s the problem Jack. Are gun laws relevant to school safety ?

      • Sandy Hook elementary school slaughter weapon was an AR 15 rifle. He has other guns as well. Was that close enough to 06880 ? Are gun laws relevant to school security inn06880. Let’s hear what our limite chief says and out first select woman.

  6. Lyman update. Page 7 todays New York Times article start’s Zelensky says Russia is counting on US elections to stop the flow of aid to Ukraine. I sent a copy of the article to Dan. My point is 06880 is not insulated to local issues. The way we live in 06880 and our values are affected by national politicians. Which politicians are against giving Ukraine aid? If you care about the democratic values of USA and Europe one needs to be knowledgeable on the views of politicians. ??

  7. Half the emails you are sending contain no content

What do you think? Please comment!