TV news anchor Jessica Brown on Greece, going for the gold in London, and eating her way through Boston

She’s been here for only four months, but new WCVB-TV Channel 5 news anchor and medical reporter Jessica Brown has already fallen in love with her new city. “It’s so beautiful and there’s so much culture here,” said Brown. “I’m a huge theater nerd, and seeing ‘Hadestown’ at the Opera House was a great introduction to Boston’s cultural scene,” she said, adding that she has also been impressed – maybe too impressed – with the city’s culinary offerings. “I’ve been trying to eat my way through the city, which has been a mistake,” she said. “I need to roll it back and slow down.” Prior to joining WCVB, Brown worked in Cincinnati, Ohio, and before that in Joplin, Mo., and in Atlanta. She called WCVB a “tight-knit station” and said “it’s been a great experience thus far.” We caught up with the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native, who lives in Boston with her 4-year-old rescue pup, Rocco, to talk about all things travel.

Favorite vacation destination? Greece. And it almost didn’t happen: One of my girlfriends and I were trying to plan a trip and the idea came up, but we thought it would be more of a trip for couples. We decided to go anyway because we found a good deal. It was the best decision. Santorini is absolutely magical. The images from Oia were more beautiful than you can even try to capture on a camera phone. The people were so kind and the food was good. And we experienced all the adventurous things you could all over that island – from ATVing around the island, to jumping off a cliff in Amoudi Bay, to checking out the hot springs in the Aegean Sea, to trekking to Mykonos with the best of them. We caught every magical sunset on the islands … it’s truly an event every night. A must-do trip; it’s one that I would do every summer if I could.

Favorite food or drink while vacationing? I look at food as part of the fun. I want to try whatever is local to the area, and any new mixed cocktail on the menu that sounds good. But a good steak always makes me happy.

Where would you like to travel to but haven’t? Japan. It’s top of my list. I just haven’t laid out all the details yet of how I’ll do it and how much time I want to be there. I want to experience everything from the food, the people, the history, the culture. … I would love to start in Tokyo and end up in Osaka.

One item you can’t leave home without when traveling? Portable charger is a must. Also, I’ve learned now to stash a few snacks like protein bars, or something easily packable, just in case … whether you need it at the airport or on a long hike.

Aisle or window? Aisle. You just get that little bit of extra room to sleep on the side if you need so you don’t accidentally nod off on the passenger next to you. Yep, it’s happened!

Favorite childhood travel memory? Growing up, I would go to Jamaica, where my father is from, and Costa Rica, where my mother is from, almost every other year – alternating years to visit family. We would always go off the beaten path at some point during our trips. I always knew, even as a kid, that it was cool to have family from all over. I think that those trips with my family sparked my craving to explore so many different states, countries, and especially cultures.

Guilty pleasure when traveling? I splurge on the food. One time in London I got a chocolate dessert with actual gold on it. I was in London, so I went for it! Judge if ya want.

Best travel tip? Don’t wait. Even if you don’t have someone to go with, go anyway. Also, do at least one thing outside of your comfort zone.


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Fury as Dudley Council scraps Anchor Lane tip deal over Wolverhampton Council’s ‘price hike’

Dudley residents are fuming after the council scrapped its deal to use a Wolverhampton Council-owned tip near Coseley.

Anchor Lane tip in Lanesfield has been frequently used by Dudley locals for a number of years.

However, it’s all about to change as Dudley Council has axed its deal after the ‘annual fee was put up by 65 per cent’.

But Wolverhampton Council claims it asked Dudley Council to pay a ‘fair and proportionate’ price towards running costs of the site.

It also claims it’s not fair for Wolverhampton residents to fork out for Dudley residents to use the tip.

Dudley Council said it was left with ‘no choice but to end the agreement’ on April 1 after the rise.

In a statement, Heidi Marsh-Geyton, acting director of public realm, said: “The agreement has been in place for many years but following a big increase in the annual charge we have had to end that agreement.

“We have offered to increase our fee on a number of occasions, but this has been declined. It is really important we maintain a balance between providing first-class, convenient services and facilities for residents while also providing value for money.

“We are extremely disappointed and we have not taken this decision lightly, as we know this change will cause inconvenience for people who are used to using the Anchor Lane site. But I would urge them to use the facilities at Stourbridge instead.

Ross Cook, City of Wolverhampton Council’s Director for City Environment, said: “We asked that Dudley Council pay a fair and proportionate share of the running costs for Anchor Lane.

“This included staffing costs and the cost for disposal of waste from the site, taking into account the number of Dudley residents using Anchor Lane.

“Unfortunately we were not able to reach an agreement however it is not right for people living in Wolverhampton to subsidise use of the site for Dudley residents.”

Wolverhampton Council also added that Dudley residents are not permitted to use Wolverhampton’s Shaw Road Household Waste & Recycling Centre.

Residents have expressed their fury about the shock change on Dudley Borough’s Facebook page after it made the announcement just one day before it comes into force.

Tony Sheldon commented: “So they can’t afford the extra 65 per cent, they couldn’t afford a few thousand pounds for computers for home learning during covid but they can afford £120,000 for the artificial turf in the town centre.

“Yet another kick in the teeth for Coseley residents.”

Kaylee Walker posted: “That’s an 18 mile round trip for me to Stourbridge when anchor Lane is 0.4 miles! Coseley is going to be fly-tip central.”

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Ian Robertson-Pike suggested: “So maybe it’s time to look for a site on that side of Dudley- instead of the extra amount of traffic and pollution caused by driving across to Stourbridge?

“Isn’t it about time our MP stepped in? Dudley Council is wasting money on AstroTurf for a deserted town centre. They are supposedly looking at cutting flytipping on Wren’s Nest this won’t help at all.”

Marie Harnett said: “Just a joke! Especially when our council tax has just gone up!”

Natalie Jayne Ellis Oakley agreed: “This is ridiculous. So I can’t drive three minutes to the tip from Sedgley, I need to drive 20. How utterly stupid.

“Fly-tipping will increase I imagine, people will throw everything in the black bins. So disappointing. Does our council tax decrease to compensate the petrol to drive there? I bet not.”

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Come Travel With Anchor Dana Perino Of FOX News Channel

Dana Perino currently co-anchors FOX News Channel’s morning news program America’s Newsroom (weekdays 9-11AM/ET) and serves as co-host of The Five (weekdays 5-6PM/ET).

Perino contributed to the network’s Democracy 2020 election coverage which garnered the highest ratings for election night in cable news history with 14.1 million total viewers.

Prior to joining FOX News, Perino served as the White House press secretary for President George W. Bush, where she was the first female press secretary in a Republican administration. She was appointed to the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors in 2010 by President Obama, where she served for three years following her confirmation by the United States Senate. She is the author of the new book Everything Will Be Okay: Life Lessons for Young Women (from a Former Young Womanwhich hit stores just a few days ago. Come aboard now as she reveals some of her travel secrets including her “love at first flight.”

Where is your favorite vacation spot?

I’m going to say Spain. I don’t have a particular spot. I love the entire country, the food, people history, culture, weather. It is one of the most spectacular places to visit.  I also have a fondness for South Carolina – the beauty and the light and certainly the people. I grew up in Wyoming and Colorado, so when I have a chance to go there, in the summer months, I have an affection for that dry air and sunshine.

Tell me about some of your travels with President Bush. How did you stay fit and trim during all of that travel, and also keep up your energy?

I didn’t have a chance to exercise much – I just didn’t eat a lot – I needed better nutrition – it was all self-imposed – eat on the go, eat on the run.  Condy Rice really inspired me – she got up every morning and exercised. In my last year with President Bush we visited 52 countries – I experienced so much.  It gave me a “recon” mission as to where I would return – I would love to return to Africa to volunteer. We  went to Fish Hoek – it’s just south of Capetown – It was a Pepfar organization  (Editor’s note: The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief — Pepfar — is the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history.) It was called “Living Hope” and it had to do with HIV Aids treatment and support. My husband Peter and I volunteered there for a couple of weeks. We are also supportive of Mercy Ships and have been to Congo and Benin, a tiny country in Africa — they are surgical hospital ships that serve the west coast of Africa. (Mercy Ships helps provide free lifesaving surgeries for people where medical care is nearly non-existent. )

FOX News was very supportive and I would go and sit with patients and play with the kids and do some reporting while my husband did the videotaping. FOX put together a TV package that aired about our trip. We’ve done that twice. I still hear from Mercy Ships that people reach out for more info based on the reporting that I did and which aired on Fox news. We have an intention to go and do a longer-term volunteer mission at some point.

What brand of luggage do you use? 

My suitcases are Tumi – they are very functional, long-wearing and durable. I just checked two of my Tumi bags (Editor’s note: Dana called me from the airport in Texas)  — and MZ Wallace for my carryon and backpack.

What health and beauty products are you never without when you travel?

Aquaphor – essential for my lips, and L’Occitane hand lotion and I always have to have Retaine eye drops. I have to have those three things.

How do you combat jet lag?

My husband’s philosophy is just act like it’s whatever time it is when you’ve landed. What works for me? On the first day I unpack, don’t lie down, keep going and take a nap in the afternoon. Sometimes I need to do that two days in a row and then I’m fine.

What frequent-flyer memberships are you part of? 

Delta, United, American.

Where did you honeymoon?

Santorini, Greece. We were in an Air BNB before it was invented – my husband had business in Athens and a family there insisted that we stay at a special home on the hillside. And they insisted on paying for it. They were happy for Peter that he had found someone! He is a CEO of GreenSleeve Surgical.   Peter rented a motorcycle and we zipped all around the island. I loved eating Greek salad. Now, every morning I eat Greek yogurt, walnuts and honey, and Peter makes it for me every night so I can eat it in the morning. That started 23 years ago. We met on an airplane – on American Airlines –  we were sitting next to each other by chance. Two hours later we were in love.  I was going  from Denver to DC via Chicago, and he was going from Denver to Chicago.   It was “Love at first flight.” We are friends with two other couples we met on planes – you should keep your eyes and ears open when you get on a plane – you never know!

What are some of the destinations on your Bucket List?

A big trip with Abercrombie & Kent – my “after-election” treat – from Buenos Aires down the coast of Argentina, then north to Chile, and end in Santiago. But it had to be postponed. But I would still really like to do that. Peter really wants to go to the Galapagos. And a lot of Spain that I haven’t experienced. 

Do you have a favorite hotel?

Great question! I haven’t been to that many – the St. Regis in Washington DC.  Another lovely spot is The Montage, Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina.

How do you stay so fit and trim in your travels?

I always try to do a little bit of something – I used to take my DVD videos with me – now I have a Peloton and an app – so I do a barre or Pilates or even cardio session. And yoga. It is one of the most important things I do when I travel. 100% even if it’s just for five minutes and just a Sun Salutation to stay limber. It makes travel easier to manage.

Best souvenir you ever bought ?

I used to have a “Tack-orium” at the White House  —some kind of crazy lighter or keychain– all these tacky souvenirs — but the best is two paintings from a woman in Santorini who painted beautiful watercolors – they are framed and hang in our home today. My favorite.

For more about my Wanderlust Travels, please Follow me on Instagram at @Debbikickham. To read more excellent travel features, please subscribe to

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‘Traveling Texas with Ann Harder’ Veteran 25 News anchor returns with new semimonthly segment

Veteran 25 News anchor Ann Harder stepped away from the news desk last year, but now, she is coming back with a new semimonthly segment connecting viewers with people, places, and things all uniquely Texan.

The station matriarch while in her 25th year with 25 News retired and stepped away from the anchor desk in 2020.

On March 2, 2021, she returns for “Traveling Texas with Ann Harder” continuing her passion for storytelling and journalism.

Harder started her television career with KXXV in 1996 after establishing a broadcasting career in radio.

Although, she has been away from the grind of a nightly newscast since last February, Harder is ready for a return to the airwaves on KXXV and KRHD.

“Everyone at the station has been missing Ann,” 25 News Director Sylvia Villareal said about Harder’s return. “The viewers are missing her, and the news department hasn’t been the same. We’ve all been missing Ann’s smile, encouragement, and lovely voice. Fortunately, our station matriarch is coming home.”

“Traveling Texas with Ann Harder” will focus on what makes the Lone Star State such a different place and will give viewers the chance to see and hear those stories all within a tank of gas from Central Texas and the Brazos Valley.

The first segment premieres March 2, which also happens to be Texas Independence Day. Viewers can expect to learn about the symbol uniting every Texan – representing the state’s courage, purity, liberty, and above all, loyalty.

Tune in Tuesday, March 2 at 6 p.m. for the debut of “Traveling Texas with Ann Harder.”

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