IN 2009, Richard Johnson was looking for board members
for a start-up nonprofit called masonboro.org that was
going to take on the uphill task of keeping Masonboro
Island from being closed to visitors by policing the trash
and mayhem from public drunkenness ensuing every holiday.
When Lumina News was founded in 2002, I resigned my
chairman’s seat on the Wrightsville Beach Historic Land-mark
Commission, desiring to avoid any potential conflict of
interest by serving on a board and holding it accountable as
media. With that same ethic, I turned Johnson down. I have
frequently wished I had not had to make that choice, because
masonboro.org is an incredible group.
In addition to saving the island for the rest of us to enjoy,
each August the nonprofit resumes its Masonboro Island
Explorer trips for all fifth-graders in the New Hanover
County school system. To be able to tell that story, I have
ridden along. It’s a wonderful day, regardless of age. Some
of the students have never seen the ocean or been on a boat,
even though they are native to New Hanover County.
This issue has a couple of tributes.
Tony Rivenbark, executive and artistic director for
Thalian Hall, passed away July 19. We have compiled
stories that we’ve written about the history and
construction of Thalian Hall created from interviewing
the incomparable man. For me, Rivenbark became
inseparable from the Hall and Thalian Hall from him; they were one and the same for as long as I can remember.
For two decades I called on him for quotes and stories and events and he never let me down.
Before the world went crazy, this magazine held some fascinating roundtable discussions we named our Let’s Talk series. The one
we titled “State of the Stage” was held on the stage at Thalian Hall. I’ll never forget nervously standing down front with the curtain
closed, after having been there for days getting our set right. Behind that curtain stood a huge table, beautifully dressed, a fabulous
chandelier suspended over it, with a wonderful catered meal in the wings, complete with waitstaff.
All the assembled experts on the arts were standing there, barely mingling, mostly looking bored. Up went the curtain with an
audible gasp from these arts pros. A sense of wonder filled the air and remained all evening. It was a very memorable night there on
the stage with Tony at the head of the table to my left, seated in a massive king’s chair. He will be missed.
Next, on to my now 94-year-old friend George Clark, who I have described for many years as the magazine’s number one fan.
George has a young surfer friend who began spending time on his porches and listening to his stories of growing up in Wrightsville.
She heard how George was one of the original lifeguards at Wrightsville Beach and she thought to remind town Ocean Rescue
Director Dave Baker of it. George’s legs and knees are not steady enough anymore for him to go down onto the soft sand, so Baker
devised a plan to honor George.
They took him for two rides along the strand in a rescue vehicle. In between, out back of the old fire station, he was presented with
a signed rescue buoy and orange whistle in a simple ceremony. You’ll see from the photos that George had a big time.
Nothing we have done in years has riled up our readers like removing the tide chart. Rest assured it is back where it belongs. We
enjoyed all your calls and emails.
There’s more great reading in this issue. We’ve had a blast putting it together for you, and we hope you enjoy it.
Relationships matter! Hug someone you love today.
Pat’s hair by Frank Potter, styled by Emily Wade both of Bangz Hair Salon.
A Walk Down Memory Lane
HELEN WOOLARD POWELL
Flanked by fifth-graders from New Hanover County schools, Pat Bradford
receives a coveted “Turtle Award” from masonboro.org President Tom
Hackler who said the award is for partnership in protecting public access,
promoting responsible use, and preserving the traditions of Masonboro