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Newspaper names Dawn Welch Oklahoma’s Woman of the Year December 31, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in People, Restaurants.
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Dawn Welch, owner of the historic Rock Cafe on Route 66 in Stroud, Okla., was named Oklahoma’s Woman of the Year by The Oklahoman newspaper today, according to the newspaper’s BAM’s Blog.

The Oklahoman no doubt honored Welch because of her tenacity, which the story details:

In 2008, Welch watched helplessly as the historic cafe, which she has owned since 1993, burn down. A year and nine days later, in May, she triumphantly reopened the Route 66 landmark. (In the meantime, the ever-busy Welch published a cookbook.)

The Rock Cafe has been around for 70 years, and it is one of Stroud’s top attractions and an immense source of community pride. The community has experienced a decade of hard times since it was ravaged in the May 1999 tornado that destroyed the town’s Tanger outlet mall, and it could ill afford to lose a landmark like the Rock Cafe.

Welch not only saw that the cafe was rebuilt, she is again filling the walls with community memorabilia, from newspaper clippings about the high school football team to artwork from customers.

She recently got some help filling the wall space from Pixar chief John Lasseter, who based the Porsche character Sally from his 2006 film “Cars” on Welch after meeting her on his Route 66 travels. Lasseter recently sent Welch a box of new “Cars” stuff to replace what burned in the fire.

Welch also published a cookbook, “Dollars to Donuts,” this year.

The main Oklahoman story about Welch’s honor is here. A key excerpt:

She tells people not to give up on how they want to live their lives.

“Dream big, and then work hard. Very hard,” Welch said.

“People are always waiting to do what they love versus just doing it or getting to it,” she said. “I have a lot of people who tell me all the time they’re going to do something in a year, or we’re going to do this. I had lost everything at the Rock Cafe, and a year and nine days later, I was able to put it back up.”

And get this — among the finalists that Welch beat were Ree Drummond, aka Pioneer Woman, who boasts a humongously popular blog and best-selling cookbook by the same name; and multiplatinum country artist Carrie Underwood.

Scenes from the marathon December 30, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Sports.
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This is a just-posted promotional video posted of the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, which was held a few weeks ago. Very well done.

In case you’re wondering, the music is by U2, from its latest album.

The next Route 66 Marathon is Nov. 21.

Weekly “Route 66″ radio show begins Saturday in Joplin December 30, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music, Radio.

Radio host Terry Hester is debuting a new weekly music show, “Route 66,” at KZRG in Joplin, Mo., on Saturday.

In an e-mail, Hester said he would be playing the top pop hits from 1957 to 1972 to “relive the music of the Mother Road,” along with “bits of audio from that time frame … radio commercials, news events, etc.”

Mentioned on the playlist were the Beatles, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Platters, The Beach Boys, Buddy Holly, The Temptations and more. Hester said he’d also tell of upcoming Route 66 events, if applicable.

The show will air from 8 p.m. to midnight each Saturday. If you’re in the area, the station’s frequencies are at 1310 AM and 102.9 FM. Also, KZRG streams on the Internet here.

KMOX-AM in St. Louis has used a similar format to Hester’s with its “Route 66″ show for several years. Bob Moore, former executive editor of Route 66 Magazine, also hosts a “Route 66″ show of music and musings at B.O.U.N.C.E. Radio on the Internet and at KTOX radio in Needles, Calif.

Not just any meeting December 29, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Bridges, Events, Highways, Preservation, Route 66 Associations.
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The quarterly meeting of the Route 66 Association of Missouri, set for Jan. 16 after a noon lunch at Matt’s Steakhouse in Rolla, isn’t going to be just any meeting, according to a report by Three Rivers Publishing.

First, a Missouri Department of Transportation official will be discussing the Old Route 66 Bridge at Route 66 State Park near Eureka. The dilapidated bridge is in danger of being razed if an alternative preservation plan isn’t found.

Also, Great River Engineering representatives will talk about the Missouri Route 66 Byway Corridor Management Plan.

The plan is a required element of the byway and outlines plans to involve local communities and maintain, improve and promote Route 66. This project will fund the development of a 10-county corridor management plan for the Missouri Historic Route 66 Byway. Great River Engineering has developed a website outlining the plan. It can be accessed by visiting http://Route66.greatrivereng.com.

The next step in the plan process will be to conduct public meetings in each of the Missouri Route 66 counties. All government officials, business owners and other interested individuals are encouraged to attend the meeting in their area, or other scheduled meetings.

Here’s a list of the byway meetings by county. Each runs from 6 to 8 p.m., and public participation and discussion are encouraged:

  • Lawrence County: Jan. 12, Mount Vernon Branch Library, Mount Vernon. Contact: David Eslick, 417-889-9332.
  • Jasper County: Jan. 19, Powers Museum, Carthage. Contact: Michelle Hansford, 417-237-0456.
  • Greene County: Jan. 21, Library Station, Springfield. Contact: David Eslick, 417-889-9332.
  • Webster County: Jan. 28, Empire Bank Building, Marshfield. Contact: David Eslick, 417-889-9332.
  • Laclede County: Feb. 2, Lebanon-Laclede County Library, Lebanon. Contact: Judy Wallmark, 417-588-6110.
  • Pulaski County: Feb. 4, Pulaski County Tourism Bureau, St. Robert. Contact: Debbie Rhew, 573-759-7994.
  • Phelps County:  Feb. 9, Phelps County Courthouse, Rolla. Contact: Mark Stauter, 573-341-2932.
  • Crawford County: Feb. 11, Recklein Auditorium in Cuba. Contact: Rev. Norman Heironimus, 573-259-3481.
  • Franklin County: Feb. 16, Tri-County Senior Center, Pacific. Contact: Ron Sansone, 314-575-1771.
  • St. Louis County: Feb. 17, Kirkwood Community Center, Kirkwood. Contact: James Crooks, 317-293-2540.

Here’s the Missouri association’s lunch registration form if you want to attend.

“Santa Monica Noir” December 28, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Movies.
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I think it’s safe to say that Emory Duick’s triumphant stroll to the Santa Monica Pier today didn’t end like this.

Emory Duick takes a long walk to the Pier December 28, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, People, Sports.

Emory Duick, the 71-year-old man who decided to walk or jog Route 66 to encourage fellow senior citizens to be more physically active, reached the end of his 2,250-mile journey today when he made it to the Santa Monica Pier at the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, Calif.

Duick reached the “spiritual” end of Route 66 at 11 a.m., according to the Journal & Topics Newspapers Online. Starting in Chicago, he accomplished the feat in 209 days — an average of a little more than 10 miles per day. Duick had hoped to make it to the Pier by New Year’s, and accomplished that with days to spare.

This next excerpt is highly dubious, though:

He may be the only person who has actually journeyed on, or next to, the entire 2,200-mile length of the road, starting on Chicago’s lakefront on June 2.

That is incorrect. Jonathan “Willy” Williams did it a few years ago, as did Dennis “Pain Walker” Kinch and Steve “Fat Man Walking” Vaught (although Vaught’s journey remains in some dispute because he may have skipped walking some miles near Albuquerque). Then you had several dozen guys who ran it back in 1928 during the fabled Bunion Derby. And I’m fairly certain others have done it, also.

Nevertheless, Duick’s accomplishment is worth noting. I’ll post more links to more news stories about him as they come.

UPDATE: The Daily Herald in the Chicago area has a good follow-up on Duick’s feat.

UPDATE2: Journal & Topics Newspapers has filed an updated story on Duick.

UPDATE3: Here’s a story by the Santa Monica Daily Press from a few days ago.

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