2013 Annual Letter from Kurt & Marieluise Riegel

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    307A Monterey Ave, Annapolis MD  21401
E-mail   Kurt.Riegel@gmail.com       Marieluise.Riegel@gmail.com   
Verizon cell       410.507.2999   410.997.2241
Facebook   facebook.com/kurtriegel   facebook.com/marieluiseriegel
Skype name   kurt.riegel   marieluise.riegel

This was a year chock full of new experiences, family additions and events, and the pleasures of settling ever more deeply into our town with old and new friends.

You'll find more here about what we've been up to during the past year than even Edward Snowden and Julian Assange have spilled the beans on.

And we also send our best wishes to you for a great 2014!


Tanya & Veronique advanced their house atop Mulholland Drive with a new addition, new roof, amazing plants & landscaping and have even managed to keep their miniature dachshund and cat from the mouths of coyotes.

It has perhaps the best view in Los Angeles. Vero works as a house manager for several far too wealthy families in LA. Tanya is churning out movies to beat the band, Editor of the following films this year: The Way, Way Back; Bad Words; Million Dollar Arm.

Sam and Quyen
's son Maximus continues growing and developing. His intelligence, good humor, and athletic ability are astonishing.

He runs and climbs fearlessly, at every minute giving the impression he is about to topple – but somehow he doesn't. Sam's work doing voice-overs, directing voice talent for Disney shows "Sofia the First" and "Wander Over Yonder" and writing for "The Sing-Off" continue. Quyen has been doing films all over the country, Russia, VA, NY, etc. Her backyard garden is a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables that will keep this family happy and healthy.

Eden and Andrew Miller
with son Jack undertook a big renovation & addition to their house in North Hollywood, making space for their new son Henry, born just in time for a tax deduction this year.

Jack's vocabulary already has an amazing range and precision – der Apfel fällt nicht weit vom Baum. Andrew continues to work as a screenwriter/producer and Eden does voice-over work, auditions and acting when she can get away from her growing family responsibilities.


& Kurt traveled to California for Thanksgiving to see Kurt's children and their growing families. It was a great trip, time well spent with all three families, their spouses and children, with Thanksgiving dinners in triplicate and more.

We got caught up on all the cool things happening in LA, like art exhibitions at the Los Angels County Museum of Art (LACMA), went walking in the hills, and other adventures.

mother Jane is turning 104 on Jan 14, 2014 and is good shape, active, alert, and is still smarter on her worst days than we are on our best days.

She lives in her house between Lexington and Glasgow VA, a magnet for her expanding flock of children, grandchildren, and new great grandchildren. All love to visit her and the family place called Gulchleigh.

Here she is, with Tanya, on a visit this Christmas.


Pasha & John Marlowe continue their busy and interesting New Hampshire life with children Josh, Emily & Jamie. John is teaching, and Pasha runs a fitness facility, organizes races and other events for the community.

John is in Africa for a month to make a direct and very personal contribution to improving life in a small village.


Pasha & John                           Tonya & Kevin       

and Kevin Sweet have been at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand this last year, she with a permanent post and he for a year to line up a permanent job later, but he'll return to UAE for a final year's teaching.

They describe a wonderful environment for living and playing, spending this Christmas mountain biking the Southern Alps on New Zealand's South Island. We look forward to visiting them one day, perhaps even sailing in those magnificent waters.


Mark Stewart & Taya Aillery are doing wonderfully, are engaged to be married, and are working at full tilt to finish plans for the big day. They live in Silver Spring and are seriously considering buying a house that will serve for the long term.

Mark is the master of all things that are "sustainable" at the University of Maryland, and Taya continues teaching, this year in a new and better school.

Travel, Sailing, & Skiing

Travel was light because Kurt threw himself into local electoral politics for most of the year. It was all-consuming, more about that later. But postponed travel meant that we tasted the delights of Annapolis that much more. We love our walkabout neighborhood in Annapolis, feet and bicycles providing welcome escape from indeterminate sentences within 4-wheeled boxes.

We again rented out our house during the Naval Academy's Commissioning Week (graduation) intending to go sailing, as is our custom. However scheduled campaign events and appearances put a crimp on plans and so only a day sail or two was possible during that week. Drat ... the sacrifices one must make for politics. We had firm plans to sail to the Small Boat Festival in the Fall, but two events conspired to intervene: Maise had a show, and the wind failed to appear. Sailing without wind is, well, not sailing at all. An engine is not even close to being a condolence.

But, after the primary election and after the general election, Kurt took off and sailed single-handed to the Eastern Shore for overnights, if only to get the cobwebs out of his brain. The final trip of the year saw gusts of 40 knots and temperature of 28 F, so the challenge definitely swept the cobwebs away.

Kurt, Linda, Ed, Maise, Bonny at Park City UT

Together with Ed & Linda Gray we did get to sail to Rock Hall, north and across the Bay for the annual Pirates and Wenches Fantasy Weekend, meeting up with Nancy & Doug Fineberg. Amazing costumes, music o' the period, hearty grog, and comely wenches abounded!

Skiing at Park City was fabulous, thanks also to Linda & Ed Gray accompanied by their daughter Bonny. Bad luck, though. Within the first hour of skiing this year, Kurt fell and further aggravated last year's shoulder rotator cuff injury, and wrenched a knee badly enough to kill skiing for the week. As usual, the fall was on flat snow rather than a steep slope, maddening.

We'd planned a second week of skiing with Dick Morgenstern and Devra Davis, in Jackson Hole, but the injury messed that up, big time.

Other Activities

Maise exhibited her crafts at Art on the Avenue in Alexandria, and at an ALS benefit show in the Annapolis Sheraton. Her craft work has focused on design and fabrication of garments made from sweater and other materials, on display at her on-line shop at Etsy.

Her garden at the front of our house is a neighborhood marvel, and it's yielded tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, blueberries, herbs, peas, beans. Her family is appreciative, and she also has the gratitude of the 'hood's deer, groundhogs, raccoons, birds and rabbits. We do notice that the bees have disappeared, a nationwide environmental problem, and that production in our modest little plot is noticeably depressed for lack of pollination. We may set up a hive, something we did 20 years ago with great success.

Maise lost her mother Ruth last Easter. This past summer she visited her sister Stefanie in Kiel, and father Werner in Altwarmbüchen. She had a wonderful time and only regrets that German bread is so amazingly good that it is impossible to resist.

Kurt's bicycle was stolen 10 feet from the office of the Mayor. Really. He had mixed emotions, having joked so many times "I don't lock it because I hope it'll be stolen. Then I can buy a new one." Lucky me.

Technology: We've joined America's obsession with Internet videos and social media networking. Usually hip to advancing technology, we regressed in one area to give up on wi-fi to run a Cat 5 Ethernet wire out one window, across the roof, and in a door to Maise's studio. Pretty clumsy, but it works better. We're iPadded, Win-Eighted, MKV'd, Skyped, Tweeted, Vined, GPS located, 6-core multi-threaded, on the Cloud – and less productive than ever.

Civic Life

Our neighborhood is great. We participate in the West Annapolis Dinner Club, a periodic dinner that roves among neighbors' houses, as often as possible. An unusual highlight this year was a progressive dinner, each of 3 dinner courses served in a different neighbor's house. Kurt's on the Board of the West Annapolis Civic Association and finds working with neighbors for our little corner of town interesting and rewarding.

On the steering committee of the West Annapolis Sector Study, we've been working to define rules and design friendlier to street-level retail businesses, address some pesky traffic problems, make our neighborhood more hospitable to pedestrians and bicyclists, and protect/enhance our natural environment with better access for citizens. Annapolis has privatized, destroyed, and walled-off much of our natural environment, water access, and recreational space. More and more citizens lose touch with these treasures, thereby losing knowledge of their value and any commitment to maintain them.

Mayor Josh Cohen walks the plank

We've lived in and visited many nice places and are a little discouraged over a myopia solely focused on parking rather than the things that really matter – vitality from attractions, activities, civic events, pleasant spaces, performances, art, music, all the things that draw people in and entice them to linger.

The long-running saga of Market House came to an end with the grand opening of a renovated building, new geothermal heating/cooling system, and flock of new merchants. City Dock needs every attraction it can get, to serve as magnets drawing people to this wonderful center of life in Annapolis.

Mayor Josh Cohen rashly promised that if he missed a scheduled opening date, he'd "walk the plank." And so he did, Kurt's photo at the left. If you doubt that politicians have courage, consider the microbial status of Spa Creek waters!

In the interest of contributing to water quality, we suspended 6 cages of oysters on neighbors' docks and continue their care, just an occasional shake from time to time to keep them clean for transplantation into the main stem of the Severn River a year later.

Kurt continues as a member of the Annapolis Environmental Commission, the Severn River Commission, the Severn River Association board, and the Fort George Meade Restoration Advisory Board. He's accepted an appointment as the Anne Arundel Sierra Club's political director, to put experience gained, as described below, to some use.

Last year's Annual Letter described the great backyard hen controversy, with the passage of a local ordinance liberalizing the rules so that a few hens could be kept by those of us who like fresh eggs and some involvement in the local food movement. Little did we expect what also followed. The arts and business communities picked up on the controversy as the perfect launching platform for an arts competition and to improve our outdoor spaces. The principal entry corridor into Annapolis is West Street, now lined with over 20 artistically enhanced chickens, no two alike except for their underlying fiberglass forms. They have sparked joy, conversation among strangers, photographs by the thousands, and visits to our town by the curious and light-hearted.

Kurt with a few West Street Chickens

Your Election May Last More than Four Hours

The most significant commitment Kurt made to civic life was his decision to file as a candidate for Ward 2 Alderman on the Annapolis City Council. It was a fascinating year-long experience. He filed early, in January, for an election to be held the following November. A reason was to allow plenty of time to develop support, define issues, and conduct a campaign. Another reason, rather lamely thought out, was to discourage competitors, a poor idea on two grounds: 1) it was ineffective, because Tim Mennuti entered the race shortly thereafter; 2) competition for a place on the Democratic Party slate is beneficial because it helps to establish a solid base for the general election. Tim and I both ran good campaigns, respectful and energetic, and when I emerged as the primary victor, I was stronger by virtue of increased visibility in the community, and campaign experience gained in the primary election.

I won the primary election by a margin of 3 to 2 and campaigned all summer against a well-established incumbent. I had no illusions about the difficulty of the task and always expected a close result. It was close indeed, and I lost. If only 22 votes out of the 1531 cast had switched, the outcome would have been reversed. The campaign web site, summarizing many of the events, issues, and displaying photographs and videos is at KurtRiegel.com

I am so pleased and grateful for the support, hard work, and counsel from so many old (and new) friends, family, and others in my campaign for City Council.  My supporters were amazing, contributing time, energy, ideas, dollars, and passions to make this campaign so much more than it would have been otherwise.

A candidate always worries, at the beginning, whether putting himself forward might only leave him standing forlornly alone. Many responded with such enthusiasm and generosity that no one can doubt the broad commitment of some of the best people there are anywhere, to the ideas and hopes for Annapolis put forward in the campaign.

It was a fascinating experience, one that Marieluise and I will always be grateful for.  It has connected us to our town in ways, and to a depth, that would not otherwise have been possible.  It has informed us well about the passions, problems, and accomplishments of amazing people and institutions. Here are some of the very special people who helped, in so many ways. Please tell me if I missed you.

Abby Williamson, Alex Pline, Ashley Heffernan, Bill O'Leary, Bob vom Saal, Bob Waldman, Bryan Barrett, Bryan Granger, Carl Snowden, Carolyn Granger, Cathy & Marcel, Cathy Biern, Chris Groobey, Chris Patrick, Chris Trumbauer, Christian Zazzali, Connie Rubino, Constance Ramirez, Corinne Irwin, Craig & Sandra Kellston,, Danielle Williams, David Prosten, Debbie McKerrow, Debora Katz, Devra Davis, Diane Butler, Dick Morgenstern, Don & Hope Schroeder, Duane Wilding, Ed Connors, Ed Gray, Ed Spencer, Eden Riegel, Forrest Mays, Fred & Paula Fishback, Gail Smith, Gerald Winegrad, Ginny Vroblesky, Gwenn Azama, Ian Pfeiffer, James J Lombardi, Jan Scopel, Jared Littmann, Jeffrey Henderson, Jim & Henriette Leanos, Jim Hutchison, Jim Martin, Joanna Conti, Joe Budge, John Eldridge, John Giannetti, Josh Cohen, Karen Jennings, Kathleen Nieberding Temprine, Kenneth Kirby, Kim Forry, Kitty Higgins, Kristine Smith, Lawrence Harris, Lee Finney, Lee Wieland, Lenore Riegel, Linda Gray, Liz Barrett, Lyn Collins, Marieluise Riegel, Martha Johnson, Matthew Silverman, Melinda Hamilton, Merry O'Brien, Mike Robinson, Nick Berry, Norvain "NT" Sharps, Pat Edwards, Paul Murphy, Paula Whisted, Phebe & Bruce McPherson, Ray Sullivan, Rhonda Pindell-Charles, Richard Schoenfeld, Ross Arnett, Ross Geredien, Sam Riegel, Sandy Stevenson, Sari Kiraly, Steve Harrison, Steven Johnson, Sue Eitel, Tatiana Riegel, Ted Weber, Tim Mennuti, Tracey Hartman, Verna Bean, VK Holtzendorf


May health and happiness be with you during 2014. Enjoy life, create memories, and let the small stuff go. Have a wonderful year, keep in touch with us, come visit or sail with us on Starducks, and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Pictorial Supplement

(Click for Larger Images)

Raft-up of Riegel, Tilley, Gray Sailboats on the Eastern Shore.

Eden, Maise, Jack, Kurt


Andrew, Sam, Maximus, Jack, Eden


Kurt, Maximus, Sam

Shelly, Anna, Christina, Kurt, Maise, Mark, Cindy

Pasha, Jamie, Taya, Maise, Kurt, Emily, Josh, Mark, Craig

Kurt, Tonya, Mark, Maise, Taya

Cape Cod: John, Jamie, Pasha, Maise, Kurt, Emily, Josh, Taya, Mark, Susan, Craig

Cape Cod: Susan, Josh, Craig, Mark, Taya, Maise, Jamie, Emily, Kurt Pasha, John

Emily, Josh, Pasha, Jamie, John

Kurt with Park City's version of Bullwinkle


Kurt magically levitates Lexi, and Maise models her creation

Kurt, Devra, Dick, Maise

Pirates celebrating bounty o' the sea


Maise, Jeanie & Tex Harris, Kurt, Kris Smith



Maise, Lexi, sister Dee walk fearfully during hunting season

Charlie & Maise in LA's Bradbury Building

Thanksgiving on Mulholland Drive in LA

Maise, Susan, George, Tanya 

Bonny, Kurt, Maise, Linda, Ed

Kurt at LACMA's James Turrell show

Kurt with LACMA's 340-ton Rock, moved 105 miles.
As yet unanswered: "Why?"


Political Supplement

These are among the many images that emerged during
Kurt's run for election as Alderman in Annapolis Ward 2.

(Click for Larger Images)

With supporters: Jim, Linda, Henriette, Maise, Kurt, Ed, Kris, Paul


Kurt & McGruff the Crime Dog


Mayor Josh Cohen & Kurt Riegel

front: Sheila Finlayson, Josh Cohen, Rhonda Pindell-Charles
r: Mike Busch, Joe Budge,John Astle, Kurt Riegel, Ian Pfeiffer, Jared Littman

Sen. John Astle, Kurt Riegel, Speaker Mike Busch

A flock of West Street chickens


Posted at home.comcast.net/~qmhdk/x2013

    307A Monterey Ave, Annapolis MD  21401
E-mail   Kurt.Riegel@gmail.com       Marieluise.Riegel@gmail.com   
Verizon cell       410.507.2999   410.997.2241
Facebook   facebook.com/kurtriegel   facebook.com/marieluiseriegel
Skype name   kurt.riegel   marieluise.riegel


Lexi, levitated by her exuberance after a fresh snowfall

May health and happiness be with you during 2014. Enjoy life, create memories, and let the small stuff go. Have a wonderful year, keep in touch with us, come visit or sail with us on Starducks, and we look forward to seeing you soon!