About Dave Wheelan

NTBR (Need to be Right) in Recovery by Angela Rieck

I suffer from NTBR. This syndrome has hurt my career, caused problems with friends and family and resulted in a lot of embarrassment. While I am in recovery, I have learned that there is no cure, instead, I must remain committed to a lifelong process of healing.

Yes, I suffer from the “Need to be Right” (NTBR). (And if you don’t agree with these initials, chances are that you are a fellow sufferer.) I do not suffer alone, on the Eastern Shore and within my own family, I have found a haven for similarly infected people. I have been a part of, or witnessed, heated arguments about the pronunciation of a name, the best year for crabs, the best football team, the greatest game ever played, politics, etc.

The field of psychology has been slow to recognize this debilitating disorder and it is not included in the DSM 5. While I am sure that you can identify fellow sufferers, you might wonder if you, too, are afflicted by this syndrome. Since this disease is not yet recognized, I have taken it upon myself to list some questions that may help you discern if you are a fellow sufferer.

Do you feel a need to correct people who are obviously mistaken?

If you are found to be wrong, do you (a) storm away or (b) offer a reason for your error?

Do you find a need to interject into other people’s conversations, to inform them of their errors?

Are you exasperated that others don’t recognize the correctness of your political positions?

If you answer yes to any of these, you, too might be suffering from this malady.
Being a trained psychologist, I have begun to contemplate the causes of this disease. Is it nature or nurture? To answer this question, I reflect back on my own childhood (N=1).

Growing up on the Eastern Shore, I recall my Tantes (aunt, in German) were strong women with equally strong opinions. One Tante was an excellent cook who notoriously omitted ingredients when sharing a recipe.

I remember one incident where a Tante called to wish my father a happy birthday. I was a college student, and the manifestations of the syndrome were beginning. I thanked her and let her know that my father’s birthday was actually the next day. I kindly offered to give him the message in time for his birthday. This is the dialog that ensued.

“No, his birthday is today.” Tante Clara huffed.

“Well, I guess that we have been celebrating the wrong day for all of these years,” I replied smiling to myself.

“Well, you sure have. Young lady, you put your mother on the phone, I want to tell her what a rude and conceited daughter she raised.”

I cupped the receiver and called, “Mom, it’s for you.”

I guess that I never really had a chance.

Angela Rieck was born and raised on a farm in Caroline County. After receiving her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland, she worked as a scientist at Bell Laboratories and held management jobs at AT&T, HP, and Medco. Angela is also a wife, mother and an active volunteer serving on the Talbot County School Board for 13 years and fostering and rehabilitating over 200 dogs. After the death of her husband, Dr. Rieck returned to the Eastern Shore to be with her siblings. With a daughter living and works in New York City, she and her dogs now split their time between Talbot County and Key West, FL.

Mid-Shore Food: LTO on High, Stams, and the Return of Neyah White and Brandywine Hartman to Chestertown

While Chestertown foodies will need to demonstrate a bit more patience over the next few months, there are some promising signs that High Street will soon be the center of a dining revolution in the not too far future.

That’s because of the Mid-Shore return of Neyah White and his wife, Brandywine Hartman, who is heading up a massive effort to restore the building where Andy’s and the Lemon Leaf restaurant called home until a few years ago as well as the old Stam’s Drug Store down the street.

Neyah, a native of Kent County, very quickly became one of San Francisco’s best known and successful bartenders in the 2000s when he moved there after college. With a remarkable career launched at some of that city’s most popular bars, including the Clift Hotel, Bacar, Mecca, and Supper Club, and then opening up the legendary Nopalito and Nopa, Neyah swiftly became rose to the top of the mixed drinks hierarchy from almost the day he settled in the Bay Area. But his one consistent long-term plan from day one was to return to Chestertown and open up his own bar.

That plan worked well for his bride to be, Brandywine Hartman, who had created her own remarkable reputation as one of the Fog City’s most applauded pastry chefs. With her background working with two of the city’s two Michelin-rated restaurants, Brandywine found herself as one of the stars of the critically-acclaimed Bar Agricole in the SOMA part of town before the two plotted their exit from California to return to Neyah’s hometown in 2016.

Since that time, life has come with a new baby, a temporary pop-up bar where JR’s and Andy’s was located, and more permanent plans to take the reigns of a entirely new bar once the High Street building has been renovated, and the re-establishment of Stam’s a few blocks down as the home of an ice cream parlor and pastry shop.

The Spy caught up with Neyah, Brandywine and their daughter Suzie, a few weeks ago to talk about their new quality of life and their long-term plans of putting Chestertown on the foodie map in the Mid-Atlantic region.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about LTO please go here.


The Trippe Gallery to Host Book Signing of Judge John North’s New Book on Chesapeake Bay Log Canoes

The Trippe Gallery will be hosting a book signing of “Tradition, Speed and Grace: Chesapeake Bay Sailing Log Canoes” by the author John C. North II from 5-7 pm on Friday December 7. “North’s log canoe sailing experience exemplifies two major themes of this unique fleet:tradition and innovation” writes Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s Chief Curator Pete Lesher in the book’s Foreword. The book relates the wonderful history of this sailing vessel and is illustrated by photographs new and old, and paintings by Marc Castelli. It belongs in the library of every Eastern Shore resident!

For the month of December, the gallery’s featured exhibit is “Small Jewels for the Holidays”- small paintings, photographs, table sculpture, books and calendars to gift for that special someone on your list!

The Trippe Gallery is located at 23 N Harrison St. For more information please call 410-310-8727.

Profiles in Spirituality: After Pittsburgh with Rabbi Peter Hyman

Given the daily pounding America is getting with its unending breaking news cycle, it might be helpful to recall that the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting only took place only five weeks ago. This horrific attack at the Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation left eleven dead and seven injured in its aftermath, and left the country, and particularly its Jewish community, shocked and grieving.

That sense of disgust and outrage came very quickly to the Mid-Shore as well.  With the region’s new growth and pride of its Jewish community, this news was greeted with even heightened sense of concern for its neighbors and friends. There was also a desire for many to process this senseless act, which might be one reason that over 500 people gathered at Temple B’nai Israel shortly after the massacre to honor its victims and hold hope for the future.

The Spy thought it would be a good time to check in with B’nai Israel’s Rabbi, Peter Hyman, who also directs the Satell Center for Jewish Life on the Eastern Shore, to help understand how a community recovers from such a painful trauma.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about the Temple B’nai Israel or the Satell Center for Jewish Life on the Eastern Shore please go here

Masculinity, Sexual Violence and Young Men

If there is one thing Beth Anne Langrell knows in her role of director of For All Seasons, Inc. on the Mid-Shore, if you want to have men, and particularly young men, listen to someone about uncomfortable topics like sexual violence and masculinity, it doesn’t get any better than to have a former quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles lead the charge.

And that is precisely what Langrell did the other day when she recruited former professional football player Don McPherson to speak to those men from Chestertown to Easton on those very subjects last week. Blessed with having special “street cred” given his remarkable career, Don speaks candidly of the dangers to our society, and especially women, as boys develop into men without understanding their masculinity.

The Spy sat down with Don McPherson at the Bullitt House for a chat on the challenges of men in a society that continues to embrace false and unrealistic concepts of what a Man” is in our culture while avoiding the topic of sex and intimacy. The results of which can lead to anger or criminal behavior.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about For All Seasons and their efforts to end sexual violence on the Mid-Shore please go here.

Spy Podcast: Two Friends Talking “Money”

Welcome to the Talbot Spy’s first effort in using the podcast model as one of our many tools in telling stories. While we welcome our readers to watch these broadcasts, they have been created with listening in mind, without significant editing, and to be enjoyed as a long-form presentation.

And that is undoubtedly the intention here as the Spy starts a new series entitled “Two Friends Talking.”  Knowing of the joy, humor, and a good bit of wisdom that comes when two close friends sit over coffee and chat about a serious subject, the Spy was eager to find some way to share the remarkably educational moments that come with that exchange. Beyond the hard talk of local politics or neighborhood chatter, these conservations can unexpectedly drift from the mundane to the intellectually-demanding task of understanding the meaning of words like faith, compassion, death, kindness or forgiveness.

While many nationally-broadcast programs bring well-known personalities together for such dialogues, the Spy wanted to bring this kind of exchange to the local level; respectfully listening to, and learning from, the heart-to-heart talks of those in Talbot County known in the community as being both wise and candidly self-aware.

Two of those that truly fit that bill are Amy Haines (founder and owner of Out of the Fire) and her friend of many years, artist and educator Sue Stockman. And with the Spy’s eternal gratitude, these fearless two have agreed to be part of this experiment.

Once a month, Amy and Sue will randomly select a word out of a large bowl filled with dozens of words that the two agreed in advance on as worthy of a conversation. All of which was to take place one Sunday every month in Amy’s cozy basement.

Beginning each program with the aromatherapeutic benefit of burning a bit of palo santo, Amy and Sue plop down on the sofa with that one word for thirty minutes for thought-provoking, humorous, and sometimes touching moments of reflection.

This month: Money.

Offered to our Spy readers with minimal editing, we hope you will enjoy as much as the Spy does, of these two friends talking.

This podcast is approximately thirty-five minutes in length.


Three Letters to the Editor: Laura Price Should be County Council President

Examining the results of the recent Talbot County Council election,  I was delighted to see that Laura Price was decisively reelected. She deserves a seat for her committed, diligent and hard work on the Council for the last eight years and the voters recognized that.   Unfortunately during her eight years, she was not elected to serve as president, probably because she was frequently a part of a minority on the board with respect to some important but contentious issues.  The voters have indicated their approval of her work and its time the Council gave her a turn as president.

Marcia Fidis
Talbot County


I voted for Laura Price for Talbot County Council. I did so because I studied all the candidates and found her to be principled, knowledgeable of County issues, capable of major financial responsibilities and supports the issues that I deem most important.

After the election, the voting history of past County Council elections to President and Vice President were recovered:

011 – Dirck Bartlett / Corey Pack
2012 – Corey Pack / Andy Hollis
2013 – Dirck Bartlett / Corey Pack
2014 – Corey Pack / Laura Price
2015 – Corey Pack / Laura Price
2016 – Corey Pack / Jennifer Williams
2017 – Jennifer Williams / Corey Pack
2018 – Jennifer Williams / Corey Pack

It appears that Ms. Price was denied a higher leadership role during eight years in office.

Whether this was unintentional or if purposely blocked by others on the Council, it is time to allow her the right to lead as President of Talbot County Council. Her past experiences and record of accomplishments, as well as her lead in the number votes she received in the election make this the obvious choice.

Please vote for Laura.

Abby Lewis


Let’s be fair.

Laura Price has served on the Talbot County Council diligently and effectively for eight years, but has not had a turn to be president.  It is her turn now and the Council members should elect her as president when this decision is made on December 3.

Jane Bollman




Spy Profile: John Sprinkle on Saving Places on the Mid-Shore and in America

Historic preservation as a concept is not new anymore. In fact, this unique American movement proliferated from such humble beginnings of a few local women saving Washington’s Mt. Vernon in 1858 to now a dedicated agency like the National Park Service with its multi-million dollar budget designed to certify, protect, and sometimes purchase the country’s most important buildings and landscapes of our history and culture.

And like many things on the Mid-Shore, the Spy came upon one man from the region who not only participated in the selection of many of those special places but has written extensively about local and national efforts to help save them.

John Sprinkle, a Chestertown native, is the offspring of a mother from the multigenerational Brooks family of Kent County, and an architect father who specialized in historic preservation, knew very early on that his future would be tied to the past. After completing a masters in historical archaeology and then a doctorate in history from the College of William and Mary, John soon joined the National Park Service and eventually led the agency’s National Historic Landmark Survey, co-directs its Federal Preservation Institute, it’s educational wing, and is also the bureau’s historian.

While his vita has shown a broad interest in the field, he has also participated at the local level where he serves on the City of Alexandria’s Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission and teaches at the University of Maryland’s School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. And in his spare time, John writes books on the subject, with the latest being Saving Spaces: Historic Land Conservation in the United States.

John came back to his hometown last month to give a reading at the Bookplate and was willing to stop by the Spy HQ for a chat about his unique background and his observations on how historic preservation has changed over the years.

This video is approximately eight minutes in length. To purchase of copy of Saving Spaces: Historic Land Conservation in the United States please go here.

The Spy Columnists: George Merrill

It seems somehow fitting that the Spy will be ending our series on our public affairs columnists with George Merrill on Election Day. Perhaps the most apolitical of the five writers that volunteer each week to offer their unique point of view with our readers, George, an ordained Episcopal minister, has been the most inclined to bring public debates down to questions of spirituality and the workings of the soul.

While George does not skirt the issues of the day, his Sunday essays have been more about his only reaction to the challenges of life than focusing on the foibles of a particular politician or policy. His intense interest in his own makeup encourages the reader to explore their own sense of soul as they work through the news of the day.

Now eighty-four years old, Merrill has also reached a point where he can, he laughingly notes, “say anything I want,” knowing full well that this sense of liberation has allowed him the freedom to explore and take delight in what he doesn’t know as much as the wisdom that comes with living over eight decades.

In his Spy interview, George talks about his writing style, spirituality and politics, and the pure enjoyment he has in taking pen to paper.

This video is approximately eight minutes in length

Exit Interview: County Council’s Dirck Bartlett Does Not Go Quietly into that Good Night

For many years now, the Spy has tried to catch up with those leaving important positions in Talbot County for what we call an “exit interview.” The phrase comes from the world of human resources departments, eager to have candid insights from departing employees on how their organizations can run better.

In most cases, these Spy interviews have been helpful for the same reason.  Be it an art museum, college, or local government; these conversations allow our subject, free from the restrictions of a formal role, to highlight their institution’s successes and potential challenges in the future. It is also an excellent time to take a modest victory lap in recalling their most meaningful moments in those leadership positions.

In the case of Dirck Bartlett, however, who is concluding his twelve years on the Talbot County Council, his exit interview with the Spy was much more than just a casual word of concern of certain things. Most of his time was spent on talking about the forces at work in Talbot County who are attempting to systematically undo Talbot’s long-standing commitment for land protection and conservation. These same agents, he believes, showed their influence over a majority of his fellow Republican council members in 2018 in such matters as zoning, community noise management, and short-term vacation rental regulations.

Bartlett also does not hold his fire in talking about his views on the Talbot County Republican Central Committee, the fraud committed by those who created “Sears Wheeler,” who was exposed by the Star-Democrat as a fictitious writer of letters to the editor of that newspaper and on the Talbot Spy; the power and influence of developer Jeanie Bryan and the poor judgment of fellow council member Chuck Callahan for accepting a campaign donation from her; and, finally, the deceptive practices of the newly created Common Sense Talbot political action committee.

This video is approximately twenty-four minutes in length.