Editors and Writers

Founder and contributor: Dave Wheelan was born and raised in Winnetka, IL, Over the last thirty years, he has worked in the fields of communications, institutional development, and strategic planning with the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation, Washington College, The Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, and the University of California, Berkeley. He founded the Community Newspaper Project in 2009, which currently supports two e-newspapers on the Eastern Shore.

Senior Writer: Peter Heck has been best known locally for his many years as a reporter for the Kent County News, he has also written over 100 book reviews for such publications as the Kirkus Review and Newsday, as well as spending two years as editor at Berkley Publications. A native of Chestertown, with degrees from Harvard and Johns Hopkins, Heck also has written ten novels, two of which were genre best sellers. He is also an accomplished musician, playing guitar and banjo.

Senior Writer: Jane Jewell comes to the Spy with a distinguished background in writing, editing, and photography. Since moving to Chestertown, Jane worked at Washington College in the computer department, then as the executive director of the Science Fiction Writers of America. She also has contributed photos to the Kent County News. Jane currently serves on the board of the National Music Festival and has been active as a coach with the Character Counts! program in the Kent County Public Schools.

Reporter: Daniel Menefee worked for the Chestertown Spy from 2011-2014 and also reported from the Maryland General Assembly in 2012 and 2017 for the Maryland Reporter. Dan’s reporting from the legislature was made possible with grants from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and the James L. Knight Foundation. Dan has covered local government in Kent and the region’s delegation in the state legislature.  Dan is a graduate of University of Baltimore School of Communications and completed some graduate work in journalism at University of Maryland. When Dan is not working he’s restoring his home and tending to his vegetable garden.

Habitat Editor: Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.

Art Director: Jean Dixon Sanders has been a painter and graphic designer for the past thirty years. A graduate of Washington College, where she majored in fine art, Jean started her work in design with the Literary House lecture program. The illustrations she contributes to the Spies are done with watercolor, colored pencil and ink.

Contributing Arts Editor: Mary McCoy is an artist and writer who has the good fortune to live beside an old steamboat wharf on the Chester River. She is a former art critic for the Washington Post and several art publications. She enjoys the kayaking the river and walking her family farm where she collects ideas and materials for the environmental art she creates, often in collaboration with her husband Howard. They have exhibited their work in the U.S., Ireland, Wales and New Zealand.

Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland.  Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He  also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer.  In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in political science and journalism and a master of science  degree in strategic intelligence from the Joint Military Intelligence College. He lives in Easton with his wife, Liz, and a Yellow Labrador Retriever named Sandy, the subject of periodic Spy columns.

Columnist Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

Columnist Jamie Kirkpatrick is a writer and photographer with homes in Chestertown and Bethesda. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington College Alumni Magazine, and American Cowboy magazine. “A Place to Stand,” a book of photographs and essays about Landon School, was published by the Chester River Press in 2015.  A collection of his essays titled “Musing Right Along” was released in May and is already in its second printing. Jamie’s website is www.musingjamie.com.

Columnist George Merrill is an Episcopal Church priest and pastoral psychotherapist.  A writer and photographer, he’s authored two books on spirituality: Reflections: Psychological and Spiritual Images of the Heart and The Bay of the Mother of God: A Yankee Discovers the Chesapeake Bay. He is a native New Yorker, previously directing counseling services in Hartford, Connecticut, and in Baltimore. George’s essays, some award winning, have appeared in regional magazines and are broadcast twice monthly on Delmarva Public Radio. He and his wife, Jo, live in St. Michaels.

Columnist Nancy Mugele is the Head of School at Kent School in Chestertown and a member of the Board of Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s.

Columnist Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al recently published Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books.

Columnist Amelia Blades Steward is founder of Steward Writing and Communications, a public relations firm in Easton. Her company focuses on copy writing, editing services, and communications plans for nonprofit and for profit companies, small businesses, and local governments. She has written nonfiction articles for national, regional, and local publications for over 33 years. A lifelong storyteller, Steward published her first book in the spring of 2014, a memoir which she co-authored with Charles H. Thornton, entitled “Charles H. Thornton: A Life of Elegant Solutions.

Contributing Editor: James Dissette is the founder of monthly community newspapers in Oregon, Michigan and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  He is the 1971 winner of the Sophie Kerr Award for Creative Writing, and most recently published Fierce Blessings, a collection of poems in 2008. He is a partner at Chester River Press and recently designed their current publication, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey as translated by Alexander Pope and is currently working on his book, A Hungry Moon.

Contributing Editor: Kathy Bosin is a master gardener, hobby photographer, writer and food-lover, Kathy captures her observations about life in Talbot County on A Chesapeake Journal as well as the Spies. With a Masters Degree in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, Kathy’s career has ranged from psychiatric social work in the inner city – to pioneering urban gardens as a platform for community development, and creating large scale public art on display in cities across the country. She lives in Bozman with her husband, artist/master printer Kevin Garber.

Technology Director: Derek Beck is a UI designer and front-end developer for user interface design and branding. He works  primarily Photoshop, Espresso, jQuery, WordPress, and Google Chrome.  He is the founder and owner of abovecreative.com.



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