Meet Our Staff
Born on the heels of sister publication Wrightsville Beach Magazine — to fill a void in local community news reporting — Lumina News has been informing and educating New Hanover County through outstanding journalism and photography since May 2002. Lumina News is a locally owned weekly publication that has received more than 50 awards for public service, advertising and exceptional editorial content.
Pat Bradford is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a BS and BA, Teaching in Communications and Communications Arts. She began her local entrepreneurial career as a Real Estate Broker, maintaining overall top producer status within a three-office real estate firm for many years in the late ‘90s. She has served as senior editor and journalist of Wrightsville Beach Magazine and The Lumina News since their inception. She took over the duties of publisher and CEO of the company in June 2003.
Kim Benton joined Lumina News in November 2012. She grew up in Wilmington, N.C. Kim graduated in 1993 from E.A. Laney and in 2006 from Cape Fear Community College with an associate degree. She has three children; Jon, Morgan and Katelyn. They enjoy spending time at the beach and attending church at Pine Valley Church of God.
Lumina News Managing Editor Marimar McNaughton is the Editorial Director for our sister publication, Wrightsville Beach Magazine. She is the recipient of the Willie Parker Peace Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians for her book, “Columbia on the Scuppernong,” Sweet Bay Tree Books, 2008. She is also the author of “Outer Banks Architecture,” John F. Blair Publishers, 2000 and editor and project manager for “Outer Banks Recipes from the Blue Point Bar & Grill.”
A native Wilmingtonian, Cole Dittmer graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a minor in Spanish. Cole began working for Wrightsville Beach Magazine in Aug. 2011 as an intern and stayed on to become a staff writer for Lumina News, and a contributing writer and proofreader for the magazine. With his primary beat being the town of Wrightsville Beach, Cole enjoys learning about the community and investigating coastal, environmental and transportation issues, as well as the variety of outdoor activities available around Wrightsville. When he’s not writing, Cole likes to spend every possible free moment surfing, playing golf, cooking, rooting for the Tar Heels and enjoying the natural beauty of his hometown.
Miriah Hamrick graduated Phi Beta Kappa from West Virginia University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and philosophy and a minor in religious studies. She began her career in journalism at New South Media, working on a family of magazines showcasing life in West Virginia. She moved to Wilmington in January 2014 and joined the Lumina News team in March 2013 as a contributing writer before transitioning to a full-time position in April 2014. She enjoys learning about her new home by covering county government, real estate and environmental issues among other areas of local interest. When not writing for work, she enjoys journaling and creative writing, reading, cooking and karaoke.
Michelle Saxton is a graduate of Ohio University’s journalism school. Her professional background includes jobs with a radio station, newspaper, magazines and The Associated Press in West Virginia. She joined Lumina News as a contributing writer in 2010. Michelle is married with two children and enjoys running, swimming and caring for the family dogs.
Susan Zedella Miller
Susan moved to Wilmington from Columbus, Ohio, in 2004 after accepting a position in the English department at John T. Hoggard High School, where she taught for three years. She is a grammar enthusiast at heart, and in addition to serving as associate editor of our sister publication, Wrightsville Beach Magazine, Susan also enjoys working as the developmental editor for independently published novelists and nonfiction writers. In her spare time, Susan enjoys volunteering for the Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project, and supporting live local theater.
Director of Photography
Originally from Currituck County, director of photography Allison Breiner joined the Wrightsville Beach Magazine and Lumina News staff in July 2003. She began her career at The Daily Advance in Elizabeth City after earning a bachelor of fine arts in photography from Savannah College of Art and Design in 1996. After more than five years of working in California for a commercial photographer in Sacramento and then The Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs, she’s happy to call Wilmington home.
Allison’s North Carolina Press Association awards for her work at Lumina News include first and second place honors in feature photography (2008 and 2009) and first place for a photo page (2005).
Joshua is a professional photographer shooting people, places and things. A native of Wrightsville Beach, Joshua decided to return to North Carolina with his wife Karla to plant some roots, after living in San Diego and Santa Barbara. He worked with many photographers while attending the Brooks Institute of Photography, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in advertising. Joshua enjoys fishing offshore and in the creeks throughout the area, and can also be found riding waves when the conditions come together.
Cissy joined Wrightsville Beach Magazine and Lumina News in May 2005. Although her childhood was spent roaming the U.S. from military base to military base, her family has deep roots in Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington, where she is happy to finally have put down roots of her own.
Sales and advertising
Jill joined Workin4U, Inc. in February of 2003. She often says “the wind blew us here.” Shortly after 9/11, she and her husband Ron decided they didn’t need to live in Central PA, so they opened the map and looked at every beach community from New Jersey to South Carolina.Wilmington offered exactly what they were looking for: the beach, the University and Historic Downtown. The name of their boat reflects Jill and Ron’s philosophy: Life’s Too Short.