Area newsmakers

Park(ing) Day expands for third year

On September 20, expect to see more than just cars in downtown parking spaces as Wilmington Downtown Inc. (WDI) hosts its third annual Park(ing) Day, part of a worldwide event dedicated to the creation of more urban open space.
WDI from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. will fill the parking meters at four spaces, versus last year’s two, to create a faux park in the street. The spaces will also have different themes – sustainable and renewable energy, sustainable food systems and agriculture, fitness and health, and a children’s area.
“We want to have these spaces be active,” says Clark Henry, a member of WDI’s Dream Committee. “It has a lot of value in the people making connections between interfaces on 
the street.”
-Lori Wilson

Wilmington purse designer plans Oscars trip

Nancy Ihlefeld crafts one-of-a-kind handbags made of recycled leather and hardware. 

The Wilmington designer plans to take part in the Red Carpet Celebrity Style Lounge at the 2014 Academy Awards, taking more than 100 of her handbags and clutches for promotional giveaways to guests at the pre-Oscars event in February.
The price tag for participation is considerable: $18,000 to $20,000. 
Through her website (, Ihlefeld is appealing to friends and others for donations to make the trip.
-Jenny Callison

Donna Brazile to visit UNCW

UNCW Presents brings Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile to speak on “Women in Politics – Are We There Yet?” at the Burney Center on September 30.
A committee identified women’s leadership as one of the major issues to discuss this year, says Shane Fernando,UNCW’s director of campus life arts and programs.
“She has an extremely powerful story to share with our students and our community,” Fernando says. “It’s pretty unbelievable what she has accomplished.”
Brazile has worked on every presidential political campaign from 1976 to 2000 and was the first African-American to run a presidential campaign. She also served as interim head of the Democratic National Committee. 
Tickets are $10 for the public and free for UNCW students, faculty, and staff. For ticket info, call 962-4045.
-Lori Wilson

Local publisher wins NNPA award

Mary Alice Thatch, publisher of The Wilmington Journal, which has covered the local African-American community for more than eighty-five years, recently won the Publisher of the Year Award from the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA).
The NNPA represents more than 200 African-American community newspapers nationwide, according to its website.  
Thatch says she thinks she won due to her involvement with The Wilmington Ten Pardon of Innocence Project, which successfully pushed for Gov. Beverly Perdue to pardon the group of civil rights activists.
Thatch’s grandfather started The Wilmington Journal in 1927. After a career in education, she returned to work with the family newspaper business.
“It’s a part of me,” she says.
-Lori Wilson