Posts tagged with "NPR One podcast"

Why Knoxville Rocks

360 Magazine Culture Editor, Tom Wilmer explores Knoxville—the third largest city in Tennessee.

When people think of Tennessee, Nashville and Memphis get the prime spotlight, and they most often make the top of the to-do list for travelers. But Knoxville has an abundance of attractions that are alluringly unique.

Knoxville’s first iteration as a world-class travel destination happened with a bang when the town hosted the 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair. Today the two remaining iconic vestiges are the Sunsphere tower, and a stunningly beautiful riverside performance amphitheater.

Knoxville is graced with historic architecture, both in the urban core, and surrounding residential neighborhoods, but its the friendliness of the people is an essential ingredient that makes the town so attractive.

Most of the businesses are locally owned. There’s been a recent explosion of new upscale eateries (more than 80 in the urban core) and trendy brew pubs that keep the downtown core hopping in to the wee hours of the night. Festivals like the annual Rhythm and Blooms Blues Festival in May is just a sampler of the live events that take place downtown throughout the year.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW KNOXVILLE VIDEO SLIDE SHOW

Outdoor hiking, biking and kayaking are viral endeavors for locals and visitors alike. Knoxville rightfully touts its super popular Urban Wilderness with more than 1,000 unspoiled acres right in the heart of the city.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE NPR One/KCBX PODCAST INTERVIEW with Angie Wilson at Visit Knoxville to hear the backstory on just why this vibrant town bustles with new, locally-owned businesses.

Carol Evans shares insights about the city’s Urban Wilderness adventures for hikers, bikers. and kayakers. Sam Carlton at the four-star The TENNESSEAN Hotel talks about the Knoxville World’s Fair back in 1982, and how the momentum instilled by the fair continues today.

Tom Bugg, general manager at the city’s two historic theaters—the Tennessee and the Bijou Theatre—paints a vivid picture of Knoxville’s past and present, and how the renovation of the theaters served as an economic stimulus for other downtown revitalization projects.

David Butler, executive director at the Knoxville Museum of Art talks about community engagement through showcasing regional art, educational outreach and gratis admission.

The 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair “Sunsphere”still graces the skyline in the heart of town

Texas Country Musician–from Nashville to NASA

Tom Wilmer 360 Magazine Culture Editor reports from the heart of Texas in Burnet County where he visits with a Texas country music legend.

John Arthur Martinez performing deep in the heart of Texas

John Arthur Martinez has written more than 700 songs, and produced 13 albums including his latest, San Antonio Woman.

One of Martinez’s songs went intergalactic—accompanying the crew of the space shuttle Atlantis.

John Arthur Martinez’s music accompanied the Space Shuttle Atlantis astronauts company while orbiting the earth. Photo Credit: NASA

Martinez, a veteran of the TV series Nashville Star, visits with correspondent Tom Wilmer at the Trailblazer Grill in the Highland Lakes town of Burnet.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO JOHN ARTHUR MARTINEZ KCBX/NPR-ONE PODCAST INTERVIEW

Music segments included in the Podcast: An Early Thursday Morning, The Ride, and Making Good Time used with permission of the artist, John Arthur Martinez.

 

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast DirectoryApple Podcast, the NPR One App & Stitcher.com. Twitter: TomCWilmer. Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer. Member of the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Underwriting support provided by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

The Journey of Hilton Waikoloa’s Simon Amos

360 Magazine’s Culture Editor Tom Wilmer reports from the Hilton Waikoloa Village

More often than not, the coolest stories about upscale hotels and resorts are often untold. While resorts are quick to tout their alluring amenities such as a new spa, or rebranded restaurant, they too often take for granted the unsung, behind the scenes transformative environmental initiatives implemented by management teams.

A classic example is the litany of game changing environmental initiatives spurred by 42 year-old Simon Amos, Hotel Manager at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on Hawaii’s Big Island.

Amos and his associates at the Hilton were the first mega resort in the entire Hawaiian Islands’ tourism industry to ban plastic straws.

Amos noted that more than 800,000 plastic straws were eliminated from the waste stream by switching to a compostable alternative.

Simon Amos’s white board hit list of sustainability initiatives for 2018 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village

Another industry game changer was when Amos and his associates decided to install water bottle refilling stations around the Hilton property–mitigating the wasteful use of individual, disposable water bottles—eliminating as many as 250,000 plastic bottles from the waste stream annually.

Complimentary refillable water containers save hundreds of thousands of plastic bottles from the waste stream

Equally engaging but again not the stuff that a marketing firm would likely select for a glossy advert in a travel magazine is the incredible life journey of a hotel manager such as Simon Amos.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO SIMON AMOS’S NPR One Podcast interview

The hospitality industry started coursing through Amos’s veins as a 13 year-old in England when he was washing dishes and bussing tables.

Earning a National Diploma in Hotel and Catering from Hasting College of Arts and Technology, Amos’s early career path included the honor of serving Queen Elizabeth, a stint as assistant food and beverage manager at the iconic Hilton Park Lane, and working at the Cumberland, and Cadogan hotels in London.

He also worked a as headwaiter aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2, training in food and beverage at the Ritz in London, and working at the fabled Lancaster in Paris. His term at Hilton’s flagship property the Park Lane in London led Amos to accept a position with Hilton Hotels & Resorts in China where he served for five years. He started in food & beverage before accepting the role as  Hilton Beijing’s Operations Manager.

During Simon Amos’s tenure at the Hilton Beijing was creating a special off-site catered dinner for 1,000 guests at the Great Wall of China

A Hilton Beijing Pole Competition instituted by Simon Amos was so successful that it went for five seasons

Simon Amos instituted a super popular Black Tie Charity Brawl during his tenure at the Hilton Beijing featuring eight U.S. fighters matched against eight Chinese

Amos departed China five years ago to work at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island of Hawaii, commencing with a position in food & beverage before assuming the duties as Hotel Manager.

Cherished time off for Simon Amos at the Hilton Waikoloa Village includes deep sea fishing expeditions along the Kona Coast

Amos retains a lifelong passion to source and showcase local culinary offerings, along with a never-ending quest to implement environmental solutions and initiatives at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, even though it’s not the stuff that typically makes the cover of The Sunday Times Travel Magazine or Condé Nast Traveler.

 

World Bicycle Relief transforming lives

Saving the world one bicycle at a time

Culture Editor Tom Wilmer visits with Will King, Bicycle Design Engineer at SRAM’s San Luis Obispo, California R&D high-tech bicycle component facility (RockShox, Trucativ, Zipp, Quarq, etc.). King talks with Tom about SRAM’s involvement with World Bicycle Relief an international nonprofit organization that mobilizes people and transforms lives through The Power of Bicycles.

 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH WILL KING

Fundraisers and individual donations provide specially designed, locally assembled bicycles to students, healthcare workers and entrepreneurs in rural Africa, connecting them with education, healthcare and economic opportunities.

The Buffalo Bikes are a literal life-transforming gift for people in remote African villages and communities. Young girls are primary recipient of the bike, as the transport offers them a safer mode of travel between school and home, and dramatically reduces travel time as schools are often situated far from the village.

Another primary recipient of the Buffalo Bikes are health care workers. One woman that King visited with told him that she travels more than 60 miles per day delivering health care to recipients in remote villages. Dairy farmers are able to increase their deliveries by more than 25 percent, and overall student attendance increases up to 28 percent.

World Bicycle Relief provided some touching life transforming examples: Community Health Worker Ramadhan Bakari cares for 522 people across 105 households in Kakamega County, Western Kenya. But when walking up to 8 km to see each patient, he could visit only a few homes per day.

Things changed in July 2015 when the Malaha Dispensary and Health Center, in partnership with Africa Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) Kenya, received 30 Buffalo Bicycles to strengthen its community health systems. Trips to patients’ homes became 10 minutes instead of an hour or more. And healthcare workers can now visit up to 30 homes a day.

Community Health Workers (CHWs) are crucial healthcare providers in rural Africa. CHWs visit patients at home, transport patients to medical facilities, and provide preventative education and care.

Their work is especially vital for children born in sub-Saharan Africa, who are 12 times more likely than their counterparts in high-income countries to die before their 5th birthday. The region has 11% of the world’s population but carries 24% of the global disease burden. It lacks the infrastructure to provide even basic healthcare to many of its people.

To fulfill their responsibilities, CHWs often walk long distances over rough terrain and in inclement weather. As a result, fewer people get the care they need.

But with a bicycle, healthcare workers can reach 45% more patients and travel four times farther than on foot, research shows.

At the Malaha Dispensary, Clinic Manager Dr. Bernard Ochanda says 60 bicycles are as valuable as one car. Bicycles can cover more territory and serve more people.

Many times, “the bicycle is used in getting the mothers into the clinic for delivery,” says Ochanda. “Compared to home deliveries, delivery at the clinic is far more safe. Traveling by bicycle is far less expensive than hiring a vehicle.”

World Bicycle Relief believes that all individuals should have access to proper healthcare.

The net cost of a Buffalo Bike is around $150, underwritten through donations. To ensure that the bikes remain in operable condition, local villagers are trained as mechanics, and often suggest design improvements to minimize breakdowns.


To learn more and to donate visit: www.worldbicyclerelief.org

Delectable dishes at Pietro's Trattoria in Lodi, California Photo Credit: Pietro's Trattoria

Pietro’s Trattoria a Lodi favorite

360 Magazine Culture Editor Tom Wilmer reports from Lodi, California at Pietro’s Trattoria

Pietro’s has been a favorite with Lodi, California locals since the Italian eatery for three decades.

Family owned by Jim and Annette Murdaca, Wilmer stopped in for a visit with their son, Chef Pete who spent a year and a half learning the craft as an stagiaire (intern) in Calabria and Parma Southern Italy.

CLICK HERE to listen to the NPR/KCBX Podcast interview with Chef Pete

Pete Murdoca in the kitchen at Pietro's in Lodi California

Come along and discover how Pete has infused the family Trattoria with an Old-World cooking style predicated on not only sourcing super fresh locally-sourced ingredients, but also harvesting greens from their own garden.

 

A random sampler of Pietro’s dishes that we savored includes the killer Murdaca’s minestrone soup ($6.50); Capri pizza–with tomato sauce, fior di latte cheese, sausage, basil and calabrian chile ($15); and the Risotto Funghi–Italian rice prepared with portobello, shiitake and white mushrooms topped with truffle oil ($19).

 

 

Pietro’s Trattoria is well worth the detour next time your motoring up or down Interstate 5.
Skid Row Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Jimmy Cheng

Growth Industry: LA’s 60,000 homeless

360 Magazine Culture Editor Tom Wilmer reports from Skid Row at the Cardinal Manning Center Los Angeles

A tale of two cities—a far cry from the best of times for Los Angeles County’s 60,000 homeless

 

 

 

Skid Row in Los Angeles is home to more than 2,000 homeless who sleep on the streets, in doorways, alleys, under bridges, and on streetcars.

 

Skid Row Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Jimmy Cheng

Skid Row Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Jimmy Cheng

CLICK HERE to listen to Tom Wilmer’s NPR.ORG/KCBX podcast interview with Lawrence Hurst, Director of Social Services, and Njambi Kingori, Deputy Director of Social Services at the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul’s Cardinal Manning Center, located in the heart of Skid Row.

Skid Row is just a slice of a larger population of homeless in Los Angeles County with a total homeless population of around 60,000. And this does not include the cities of Glendale, Pasadena, and Long Beach—three of the County’s larger towns.

Skid Row Los Angeles home to more than 2,000 homeless. Photo Credit: Jimmy Cheng

Skid Row Los Angeles home to more than 2,000 homeless. Photo Credit: Jimmy Cheng

More than 30 percent of the homeless population is mentally ill, not to mention the drug addicted and alcoholics. Los Angeles County witnessed a 20 percent increase in homelessness in the past year.

Skid Row Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Jimmy Cheng

Skid Row Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Jimmy Cheng

 

From January 2016 to January 2017, the homeless count rose from an estimated 46,000 to 60,000.

And a dominant driver has been the skyrocketing rents in LA County that averaged a 20 percent increase in rental costs over the past two years alone.

 

Less than two blocks from the heart of LA's Skid Row is a different world--where wealth abounds. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Less than two blocks from the heart of LA’s Skid Row is a different world–where wealth abounds. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

The new growth industry in homelessness is not necessarily drugs and alcohol but people being evicted from their homes due to an inability to pay exorbitant rents. 

There are approximately 1,270 mission and 24-hour shelter beds in the Skid Row area, but there are often more than 2,400 homeless camped out in the greater Skid Row neighborhood.

 

Thankful diner at Thanksgiving Dinner at Cardinal Manning Center in the heart of LA's Skid Row.

Thankful diner at Thanksgiving Dinner at Cardinal Manning Center in the heart of LA’s Skid Row.

Among the numerous agencies caring for LA County’s homeless is the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.

 

 

 

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR Podcast travel show Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer via: 

Apple Podcast

NPR.ORG Podcast Directory

NPR One (APP)

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Twitter: TomCWilmer

Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer

Culture Editor @360magazine

 

Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer winner of the Lowell Thomas Award 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013

Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer winner of the Lowell Thomas Award 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013

 

Big Island Romantic Dining

Culture Editor Tom Wilmer reports from the Big Island of Hawaii where he discovers a romantic dining destination at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Kohala Coast.

 

Manta is the Mauna Kea Resort's fine dining restaurant overlooking Kauna’oa Bay

Manta is the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s fine dining restaurant overlooking Kauna’oa Bay

Everyone I’ve ever met who’s stayed at the legendary Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii —invariably speaks in reverential tones about the place, and they’re quick to voice a desire for a reprise visit. And those who’ve never had the pleasure of making a date with the Mauna Kea, often mention the resort as tops on their must-do list—typically inspired by the raves of their friends who who’ve been there, done that.

 

Kauna’oa Bay at Mauna Kea Resort. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Kauna’oa Bay at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel                                     Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is a special destination-resort that touts an astounding multi-generational fan base. There are many who’s grandparents stayed there in the 1960s, and their parents first took them there as kids, and now they are making pilgrimage-holidays with their kids at the Mauna Kea.

 

Tranquility envelops the spirit upon entering the Mauna Kea's guest check-in reception area

Tranquility envelops the spirit upon entering the Mauna Kea’s guest check-in reception area                                                          Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

The centerpiece of the resort’s setting is the seductive beauty of crescent-shaped Kauna’oa Bay–and the fine-dining establishment, Manta, overlooking the bay with ultra-romantic al fresco dining.

 

An LGBT couple enjoys brunch at Manta Restaurant at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island, Hawaii. zachstovall.com

Brunch at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s Manta restaurant out on the Pavilion. zachstovall.com

Whether or not you’re staying at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Manta is a killer place for a bayside buffet breakfast, Sunday brunch, and of course a romantic dinner date—ideally out on the pavilian overlooking the bay, framed by palms and plumeria.

That’s the big story—the nuances that make Manta a must-do are predicated on the chefs’ culinary philosophies that honor and meld the multi-ethnic roots of the islanders, along with paying homage to the Hawaiian’s Polynesian roots through utilization of “canoe crops”.

 

Manta and Pavilion Wine Bar sunset dining

Manta is Mauna Kea Bech Hotel’s fine dining with sunset a most romantic time

Sourcing local/fresh from the farmer and sea are anchors of the culinary arts at Manta.

Manta sources everything imaginable from Big Island farmers, and the restaurant even put on special dinners—shades of a wine maker dinner–where a farmer or two will join the festivities and talk-story about their passion for producing fresh, local, healthy food with Manta’s dinner guests.

Seafood doesn’t get any fresher, as the local fishermen’s catch is delivered daily to the kitchen’s back door.

 

Mauna Kea Resort's Rio Miceli, Executive Sous Chef. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s Rio Miceli, Executive Sous Chef. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Executive Sous Chef, Rio Miceli was raised on the island but honed his craft in Healdsburg, California, and subsequently fine tuned his skills at the New England Culinary School before returning to settle in on the Big Island.

Miceli’s duties include menu development, and innovations at Manta as well as the resort’s other dining venues.

A taste of Manta’s culinary offerings include a killer Kona Kampachi Sashimi and the Keohole Lobster Papperdelle with garlic cream, summer squash and pork belly lardon for starters.

Tempting entrees include Hawaiian Sweet Potato Encrusted Ahi, and the Mac Nut Encrusted Mahi Mahi.

 

 

Wendle Lesher Director of Food & Beverage at the Mauna Kea Resort and neighboring Hapuna Resort

Wendle Lesher Director of Food & Beverage at the Mauna Kea Resort and neighboring Hapuna Resort

 

Wendle Lesher, Director of Food & Beverage at the Mauna Kea and the neighboring sister property Hapuna Beach Resort, works with Miceli developing innovative new dishes.

Lesher also drives creativity in partnership with the mixologists, and plans special culinary events. Lesher’s latest passion is working with local beekeepers.

In addition to doing his part to provide onsite beehive habitats, the distinctive and incredibly flavorful Mauna Kea honey is utilized by the chefs and is available for purchase by the guests.

Click here to listen to Rio Miceli and Wendle Lesher talk about their culinary passions on the KCBX/NPR podcast.

 

 

KCBX, NPR.ORG, NPR One, iTunes, Stitcher.com podcast

KCBX, NPR.ORG, NPR One, iTunes, Stitcher.com podcast

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR Podcast travel show Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer via:

Apple Podcast

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Twitter: TomCWilmer

Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer

Culture Editor @360magazine

 

 

Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer winner of the Lowell Thomas Award 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013

Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer winner of the Lowell Thomas Award 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013

 

Manta and Pavilion Wine Bar at Mauna Kea Resort

Manta and Pavilion Wine Bar at Mauna Kea Resort

From Super Model to Mobster’s Wife

360 Culture Editor Tom Wilmer met up with Georgia Durante, the author of the best-selling book, The Company She Keeps–chronicling her amazing life journey from the most photographed woman in America to mobster’s wife to Hollywood stunt driver.

 

The Company She Keeps book cover

Georgia Durante grew up in Rochester, New York where her modeling career commenced when she was just 13 years old. Before long her stunning looks propelled her to cover-girl stardom as the most photographed young woman in America—and became known nationwide as “The Kodak Girl”.

 

Georgia Durante--once known as "the most photographed woman in America

Georgia Durante–once known as “the most photographed woman in America

 

Georgia Durante as the Kodak Summer Girl--recognized nationwide

Georgia Durante as the Kodak Summer Girl–recognized nationwide

CLICK HERE to listen to Georgia Durante’s NPR/KCBX podcast interview

By happenstance, she got involved with the mob. Durante says “growing up in Rochester, most all of my friends were Italian.” She says “Everyone knew guys who were involved in the mob, and it was just part of the social fabric and taken for granted. We really didn’t think much about it.

Georgia Durante at height of her modeling career

In her late teens legendary mobsters such as Carlos Gambino, and Sammy Giancana took Durante under the wing. And that’s how she came to marry a mobster, and earned a reputation as a skillful, in-demand mob getaway driver.

 

Georgia Durante and her mobster husband Joe

Georgia Durante and her mobster husband Joe

Durante’s life took an ugly turn when she realized too late her husband was a ruthless and abusive person who had no problem holding a pistol to Durante’s head to play a game of Russian roulette. She eventually escaped from her life as a mobster’s wife. But her modeling career came to a crashing halt when she realized she now had to live a life totally out of the limelight—to hide from the mob and her evil ex.

Durante found the perfect place to live under the radar—she repurposed her mob getaway driver skills by hiring on as a Hollywood stunt car driver, and quickly earned a reputation as one of Tinseltown’s most skilled and daring stunt car drivers.

Georgia Durante at work in Hollywood as a stunt driver

Today, Durante lives in LA where she dedicates her time to speaking before battered women’s groups and running her magical hideaway, Enchanted Manor—an 18,000 square-foot facility situated in the quiet Los Angeles, Valley Village neighborhood cul-de-sac, not far from North Hollywood. 360-degree View of Enchanted Manor

Georgia Durante’s Enchanted Manor in Los Angeles

The Manor is a popular destination for private parties, weddings, gatherings and meetings. It’s also a popular location site for films, music videos, and productions including Lifetime’s production “William and Kate”.

Georgia Durante with her granddaughter at Enchanted Manor

 You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR Podcast travel show Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer via:  Apple Podcast NPR.ORG Podcast Directory  

NPR One (APP)

Stitcher.com

 Twitter: TomCWilmer

Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer

Culture Editor @360magazine

Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer winner of the Lowell Thomas Award 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013

Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer winner of the Lowell Thomas Award 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013