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TV show about Route 66 airs tomorrow May 31, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Television.
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“Access Rewind,” a television show which focuses on people and attractions in the Inland Empire of Southern California, is airing a one-hour Route 66 special tomorrow.

Here’s a sneak peek:

The Facebook page of “Access Rewind” is here. The show is produced by Inland Empire Media Group, based in San Bernardino.

Local television listings can be found here. IEMG also has an online stream.

Circus elephants help with Joplin cleanup May 30, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Animals.
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No, we’re not making this up. Here’s a video by CBS News.

I’ve seen no news story about this yet, but here’s a description of the video:

Instead of taking the day off, circus performers and their trained elephants decided to pitch in and help the town of Joplin, Mo. clean up the devastation caused by a massive tornado.

I don’t have a problem with this. My father raises Clydesdale draft horses, and they thrive on work and attention. I suspect trained elephants are the same.

UPDATE 5/31/2011: Here’s a new video. This elephant didn’t have much trouble pulling out a wrecked SUV.

Joplin tornado, continued May 30, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Weather.
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The Joplin Globe newspaper, as usual, provided more excellent coverage of the deadly tornado, including a visit Sunday by President Obama and reactions from locals to the memorial ceremony later that afternoon.

This video contains the speeches by both Gov. Jay Nixon and the president at the memorial service:

A photo gallery of the governor’s and president’s visit to the destroyed area can be found here.

The number of missing people has dropped to 43. And St. John’s Medical Center, which took a direct hit from the tornado, has set up a temporary site in a nearby parking lot.

A Joplin church that was destroyed by the storm held services in a parking lot with lawn chairs Sunday.

Tonya Pike says that motel rooms from Springfield, Mo., to Tulsa are “at a premium” because of the surge in aid workers, construction crews, and homeless residents in Joplin. She advises Route 66 travelers to make reservations ahead of time in that region.

The Facebook page of Joplin Tornado Recovery remains valuable. FEMA also has a list of Missouri-approved charities.

UPDATE: Found this exemplary column by one of the Tulsa World’s editors.

Route 66 motel in Flagstaff played role in creation of Code Talkers May 30, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Motels.
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El Pueblo Motel, which sits on Route 66 in Flagstaff, Ariz., played a critical role in the creation of Navajo Code Talkers for use of military communication during World War II, according to an article today in the Arizona Daily Sun.

Philip Johnson built what was then called El Pueblo Motor Inn in 1937, and it remains the city’s oldest motel on Route 66 outside of downtown.

It was from the motel that Johnston engineered the recruitment of Navajos to serve in the Marines as Code Talkers.

The property itself is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as a national landmark because it exemplifies the motor court building type and it is associated with an individual who made significant contributions to American and world history. […]

The El Pueblo Motor Inn is one of 27 remaining motels, out of 50 in 1960, from Chicago to Los Angeles that contribute to the National Historic District of Route 66.

Johnson, who was born in 1892 in Topeka, Kan., came to Flagstaff at age 4 with his missionary father. He learned to speak Navajo while playing with the local children on the reservation. Johnson served in the Army in World War I, and noted that Comanche Indians were being used as code talkers by military units.

After Pearl Harbor was attacked and America entered the war, Johnston wrote a “Proposed Plan for Recruiting Indian Signal Corps Personnel,” which he submitted in February 1942 to Major General Clayton B. Vogel and his staff to convince them of the value of the Navajo language as code.

“Because of the fact that a complete understanding of words and terms comprising the various Indian languages could be had only by those whose ears had been highly trained in them, these dialects would be ideally suited to communication in various branches of our armed forces,” he wrote.

Johnston recommended recruitment from the Navajo tribe, because at 49,338 member, it was the largest tribe in the U.S., according to his research in 1942.

Johnson also joined the Marines at age 50 in 1942. After the war, he became an advocate for Native American issues until his death in 1978.

Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library keeps a collection of Johnson’s papers in its archives, although it’s noted that a sizable gap occurs between 1942 to 1945 — probably due to the top-secret nature of Johnson’s work at the time.

Memorial Day tribute 2011 May 30, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, People.
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Here is a list of military personnel from Route 66 towns who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq. I’ve also added informative links to each of the fallen, wherever possible.

Above is a song written more than 15 years ago and performed by Bruce Robison. It later became a big hit for the Dixie Chicks. It was a Vietnam story, but the story remains relevant.













Granite City


St. Louis




St. Clair

















Oklahoma City


Las Vegas

Santa Fe


Los Lunas








San Bernardino







Rancho Cucamonga




Los Angeles

(Sources: CNN.com, icasualties.org, WashingonPost.com)

Historic Monrovia hotel embroiled in dispute May 29, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels.
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The historic Aztec Hotel along Route 66 in Monrovia, Calif., apparently no longer faces foreclosure, but its future remains up in the air, according to a well-sourced story by the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

The Monrovia Patch reported earlier this month that the architecturally distinctive hotel would be part of a foreclosure sale on May 16.

Owner Kathie Reece-McNeill prevented that from happening — at least temporarily — with a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing that postponed the auction. But she is now ensnared in disputes with her bank and receiver Joel Hiser, who’s been managing the 1924 property since January.

There’s a lot of he-said-he-said in the story. But what’s apparently beyond dispute is the Aztec Hotel desperately needs roof repairs:

In court documents, Hiser and the bank alleged they found the Aztec in “deplorable condition,” including rat infestations, faulty smoke detectors and fire alarms, filthy guest rooms and a roof in need of major repairs – leaks have already caused the ceiling to come down in some rooms. […]

And Glen Duncan of the Route 66 Preservation Foundation said:

“It really needs a totally new roof; that was the primary thing,” Duncan said, noting Reece-McNeill might need a partner to put funds into restoration. “There’s no money in anybody’s budget to do a reroofing.”

Reece-McNeill has owned the hotel for more than a decade, and has spent a lot of money on renovations, as recently as 2007.

Her wallet also was flattened by a dubious ADA lawsuit (that she won) and a settlement of a liquor-license suspension that came allegedly from trumped-up charges by local police.

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