About Dave Wheelan

WC Starr Center’s Patrick Henry Fellow Robert Parkinson and Fake News in 1774

One of the more intangible gifts from Washington College to the greater Chestertown community every year is a bit of a sleeper. While on the face of it, the Patrick Henry Fellowship at WC’s Starr Center is a somewhat standard, but prestigious, one-year academic appointment that many colleges and universities offer a visiting scholar,  rarely are these folks housed in the center of town, or in the case of WC, the Patrick Henry house on Queen Street.

For close to a decade, the Patrick Henry Fellows have made Chestertown’s historic district their temporary  home, which comes with a level of social interaction with neighbors that has led to lifetime friendships. Those include such remarkable scholars and Chestertown friends as Wil Haygood and Henry Wiencek.

Now the college and town welcomes historian Robert Parkinson and are eager to learn more about his newest project which puts a historical spotlight and impact on a major massacre that took place in 1774, the false reporting of who committed this horrific crime, and the impact it had on Colonial America.

We invited Dr. Parkinson to Spy HQ last month to talk about his research and perhaps wet the whistle of many interested in how this incident helped fueled the outbreak of the American Revolution.

This video is approximately four minutes in length 



A Chat with Mayor Willey: A New Footbridge and Proof of Concept for the Easton Economic Development Corporation

Mayor Bob Willey of Easton is well-known for being a soft-spoken type. Leaning on his conservative instincts and a Talbot County upbringing, he’s never been eager to become too animated in his support of a town initiative or project. Let the facts be presented calmly, without due pressure, and a consensus will emerge, seems to be his thinking.

That has certainly been the case with the long-term Port Street redevelopment project and all its moving parts. But it’s also clear from our most recent Spy interview with Mayor Willey can’t disguise his excitement over the completion of a major footbridge at the end of Glenwood Avenue that will not only connect Easton’s residents to the town’s growing Rails to Trails, but will also extend the length of the hiking and biking pathway an additional 2.5 miles.

Willey also can’t hide his satisfaction that the success of the footbridge project also highlights the unique capacity of the nonprofit Easton Economic Development Corporation (whose board he sits on) in making this a reality. Using the talent of dozens of its volunteers, many of whom have international reputations in fields like engineering, finance, architecture, and urban planning, the EEDC was essential in helping Easton take one of its first significant steps in reclaiming the town’s only waterfront.

The Spy sat down with the mayor yesterday to understand more how this substantial bridge’s construction was assisted with this private-public partnership; how the bridge’s addition will play a critical role in the long-term enhancement of Easton Point’s public access,  and its longer-term impact for the town’s comprehensive design for the Port Street corridor from the Tred Avon Riverfront to downtown Easton.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about the Port Street Redevelopment Project and the Easton Economic Development Corporation please go here

The Oyster Dudes of Horn Point Lab: A Chat with Drs. Matt Gray and Louis Plough

As Horn Point Laboratory’s Louis Plough pointed out during a recent Spy interview, the oyster world of research is a small one, so it was no real surprise for he and his colleague Matt Gray would finally be working together after knowing each other for so long. And because of that fact, it’s also not a shock to see how much enjoyment they have working together. But there should be heavy stress on the word “work” since their current research project might have significant implications for the Chesapeake ecosystem.

Over the next three years, Drs. Plough and Gray, along with a team of students and research assistants, will be exploring the impact of oysters raised in a hatchery environment. While there may be a common assumption that these oysters would be no different from those that breed naturally in the Chesapeake, these scientists have more than a hunch that their biological makeup is altered enough in that environment to have some impact of the Bay and its existing sea life. How much impact is yet to be known at this early stage of the project, but with the increasing growth of oyster hatcheries, their findings could be essential information as this new industry moves forward.

The Spy sat down with Matt and Louis at Horn Point last month to get to know them and their important work.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about Horn Point Laboratory please go here. To learn more on genetics and what is in our waters from Louis Plough at Science Bytes Thursday, October 18 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm at Piazza Italian Market. Register here 

Mid-Shore Arts: Potter Ken Sadler and the Pleasure of Raku

Ken Sadler’s late life journey into pottery would normally be a good story in itself. Discovering the art form from an accidental encounter with Paulus Berensohn’s book, One’s Way With Clay, when well into his late 60s, Sadler not only took up the potter’s wheel but became totally absorbed with clay, including his passion for Raku pottery, the ancient Japanese method of using direct flame to release special colors and exterior surfaces.

But it’s not all “high art” with Ken’s work. Perhaps influenced by his clown character, Dr. Goodwrench, who has appeared at the Easton hospital for years, he has a complete line of clay snakes (and other garden art) that are realistic enough to scare one’s favorite Eastern Shore gardener, or more recently, his creation of “Watchers,” figures designed to be his modern version the St. Christopher medal; very capable of  special protection for its owners.

When Ken and his wife, Sarah, recently sold their Oxford house and moved into Londonderry on the Tred Avon, Ken transferred his studio to the Davis Art Center in Easton to continue both his serious and not so serious pottery. That’s where the Spy found him last month and we had a brief conversation with him about the special pleasures that come with Raku.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Davis Art Center please go here



Talbot Hospice Fetes Guthrie Members

Gigi and Steve Hershey, Jim Farrell, and Judy Gieske

More than 140 Talbot Hospice Guthrie Society members were honored at a donor appreciation party in September hosted by Jim and Maxine Farrell at their home, Canterbury Manor. The Guthrie Society is a giving society for top donors that give at a designated level each year to the Annual Campaign. Named after one of Talbot Hospice’s founders, Dr. Eugene “Buck” Guthrie, this group of dedicated donors exemplifies and honors Dr. Guthrie’s vision and commitment to the Talbot Hospice mission and his passion for making a difference in the end-of-life experience for patients and families served by hospice.

Guthrie Party Hosts Jim and Max Farrell, TH Executive Director Vivian Dodge, and Board President Steve Slack.

Canterbury Manor is a colonial revival mansion on Bailey’s Neck built in 1906 featuring sweeping views of Trippe Creek and award winning gardens. “We want to share Canterbury Manor with our community,” said Maxine Farrell.  “It brings us great pleasure to entertain this important group of Talbot Hospice supporters.”

Mary Choksi and Debbie Willse

Executive Director Vivian Dodge took the opportunity to express her appreciation for Guthrie Society members and their support for the hospice mission. “Our donors are an inspiration. They have given their time, efforts, resources, commitment, and love to Talbot Hospice. Their gifts and support make it possible for Talbot Hospice to exist and to close the gap of nearly $485,000 in care and services that is uncompensated.”

Talbot Hospice has been providing hospice and grief support services in Talbot County since 1981. For questions about our services or for more information visit TalbotHospice.org or call 410-822-6681.



  1. Talbot Hospice Guthrie Society party hosts Jim and Maxine Farrell, Talbot Hospice Executive Director Vivian Dodge and Board President Steve Slack, September 14, 2018 at Canterbury Manor
  2. Mary Choksi and Debbie Willse attended the Talbot Hospice Guthrie Society Party September 14, 2018
  3. Gigi and Steve Hershey, Guthrie Society Party Host Jim Farrell, and Judi Gieske enjoyed the evening at Canterbury Manor


Mid-Shore Arts: The Other National Music Festival with WC’s Matt Palmer

Perhaps to the surprise of many in Kent County, Chestertown is the host of not one, but two national music festivals. The better-known one that comes at the end of spring is the much-beloved National Music Festival. But the other, the Eastern Shore Guitar Festival, sponsored by Washington College’s department of music, should be looked upon locally with the same pride and excitement as its more famous counterpart.

For close to a decade, WC has been the host of this gathering of some of the best and most talented classical guitar performers today as they offer both concerts and learning opportunities for students eager to join their ranks. And the man leading the charge, professor Matt Palmer, a highly accomplished guitar player in his right, is genuinely pleased with the growing attendance and greater awareness.

The Spy spent a few minutes with Matt at Spy HQ in Chestertown last month to hear more the festival and what he has planned for next week as the Festival joins Washington College’s Concert Series is some unique offerings.

This video is approximately minutes in length. For more information and schedule details of the Eastern Shore Guitar Festival 2018 please go here.

A Conversation with Spy Columnist David Montgomery and 1st District Candidate Jesse Colvin

It is usually the case that the Spy uses editorial discretion in presenting candidates for public office. To serve our readers, and respect their limited time to consume this form of video interviews, we have long used the practice of editing the comments of those running for office down to digestible segments to quickly get to the core of their policy platforms and qualifications. While we still think that this is a useful approach, and will continue to use it, we nevertheless are always eager to explore different formats to objectively as possible present different points of view.

That is indeed the case with our experiment with the Avalon Foundation’s public access television station (MCTV), to present, unedited, a healthy and respectful conversation between conservative Spy columnist (and acclaimed economist) David Montgomery, and Democratic candidate Jesse Colvin for Maryland’s 1st Congressional District, for a one-to-one interview, from beginning to end, on some of the critical issues facing this country in the 2018 midterm election this November.

We plan to interview Rep. Andy Harris using the same format on October 16.

This video is approximately forty minutes in length.


Bobby Lippincott: Oxford’s Native Son Takes the Helm at Star Worlds

To get a perspective on the significance of the Star Worlds race going on in Oxford this week, serious sailing experts point to the fact that many of the America’s Cup winners first tested their skills on these twenty-three-foot boats to prepare for that ultimate test. With a design going back to 1910, all competitive sailors have a special reverence for the Star class as well as the men and women who travel the world to win one of the sailing community’s most demanding and coveted prize.

The fact that this truly international event, with more than sixty boats entered from around the globe, finds itself on the Mid-Shore after being hosted in places like Miami, San Diego, and Buenos Aires, has delighted tiny Oxford with hundreds of sailing crew and fans planning to attend. But no one in Talbot County is more thrilled than Bobby Lippincott.

The grandson of a Star boat designer, with family members winning silver and gold awards going back to the 1940s, with one annual race actually called the Lippencott Memorial, this native son of Oxford, finds himself in a once in a lifetime opportunity, after years of painstaking training, demanding travel, and expenses, to compete in his hometown and keep a remarkable family legacy going as the third generation of Lippincotts takes the helm.

The Spy talked to Bobby at the Tred Avon Yacht Club last week on the Star Class, the Lippincott history, and his devotion to keeping this unique sailing heritage alive and well.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. To follow the Star Worlds competition please go here for the latest results. 

Chesapeake Film Festival Spotlight: ‘An Island Out of Time’ Director Sandy Cannon-Brown

Sandy Cannon-Brown is no stranger to documenting the devastating effect of sea level rising on the Eastern Shore. Along with writer Tom Horton and photographer Dave Harp, this trio has focused on the fragile state of the Delmarva since they started working as a time with the production of Beautiful Swimmers Revisited in 2017, followed by their devastating tale of the local impact of climate change on the Mid-Shore with High Tide in Dorchester, a widely applauded film on the grim forecast for Dorchester County and their future fight against rising water levels.

Now this gang of three have added a new installment to their portfolio with the premiere of An Island Out of Time at this year’s Chesapeake Film Festival next week, which follows Smith Island natives Mary Ada and Dwight Marshall, whose families date back to settlement of the island in the 1600s, who celebrate the distinctive culture of this small community as this severe threats it faces in the future.

The Spy sat down with Sandy at the Bullitt House recently to talk about her second life in documentary filmmaking (she was a television news broadcaster in her first one) and her special celebration of Horton and Harp as they continue their mission of putting a special spotlight on the Eastern Shore’s past and future.  She also highlights some of the fun planned for the Chesapeake Film Festival this year in her capacity as CFF’s vice-chair of the board of directors.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. An Island Out of Time will premiere on October 13 at the Chesapeake Bay Marine Museum at 7:30pm. For more information about the Chesapeake Film Festival and ticket sales please go here 

You Do Matter: For All Seasons and Suicide Prevention on the Mid-Shore

It is most often the case that the subject of suicide comes up in conversation after a celebrity or public figure ends their life that way.  That was indeed the case when Anthony Bourdain killed himself in France during the summer.

And it is to the credit of the media that stories like Bourdain are now going beyond the sensational details and more frequently talk frankly about mental illness and the impact it has throughout the country. It is an occasion to have a national conversation about suicide.

In a local way, that is what For All Seasons wants to have with their “No Matter What…You Matter” suicide prevention campaign kicking off October 5th in Easton.  The staff and volunteer leaders of the Mid-Shore’s behavioral health provider, including director Beth Anne Langrell and Allie Prell, the chair of this year’s You Matter campaign, want the region to have those same conversations but with friends and family, and particularly with those that may be a risk of self-harm.

The Spy spent some time with Beth Anne and Allie at the Bullitt House last week to get their perspective on this awareness drive and their hopes for a community reaching out to loved ones for honest conversations about mental health.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about For All Seasons and its No Matter What…You Matter” suicide prevention campaign please go here