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Opposition to museum tax proposal goes to Facebook January 25, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Museums.
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Less than a week ago, the city council of Joplin, Mo., voted to put a tax referendum on the April ballot to fund a move and expansion of the Joplin Museum Complex to Memorial Hall.

Already, the opposition to the one-sixth-cent sales tax has organized on the Internet, with a “Save Memorial Hall” group on Facebook, according to the Joplin Globe. (Although the title of the group makes it sound as if Memorial Hall would go the way of the wrecking ball, which it is not under the proposal.)

As of Monday night, 219 people have joined the group, including two city council candidates, Kelly Maddy and Erik Wright, reported the Globe.

Maddy said he is not opposed to relocating the museum, but he does not support the current proposal because he believes the hall should remain as it as, a memorial to veterans, and that options for museum relocation should have been studied by the council. [...]

“I’m very much in favor of the museum finding a great location and having the museum downtown,” Wright said, “but there’s a bunch of questions that went unanswered. The City Council voted on this very quickly, and there’s a lot of concerns as to what are they going to do for venues, events, and the fact that we would be losing Memorial Hall.”

Of course, not everyone is against the proposal …

Allen Shirley, president of the Friends of the Museum, said some people who initially were against the proposal based on what they heard from others have given the plan reconsideration after hearing a complete presentation.

“We’ve not had a chance to present our plan to the public yet,” Shirley said. “That is what we are in the process of doing now, setting up opportunities with veteran groups and organizations to express the facts involving our plan. …

“We have between now and April to get our message out, and we will be working with various members of our organization with groups to give them straight information and, maybe just as importantly, to answer questions.”

Perhaps the museum’s education efforts will bear fruit come the April election. But it sounds like the opposition has gotten a head start.

Motel living January 25, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Signs.
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Here’s a nice video of the sights and sounds of two Route 66 icons — the Wigwam Motel of Holbrook, Ariz., and the Blue Swallow Motel of Tucumcari, N.M.

Tulsa district proposes rules to allow rooftop signs January 25, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Signs.
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Tulsa’s Blue Dome District, of which an older alignment of Route 66 goes through, wants a change in the city’s ordinances that would allow rooftop signs in the district’s restaurants and bars.

Elliot Nelson, owner of McNellie’s Public House and El Guapo Mexican Cantina in the district, says the rooftop signs would help those businesses stand out for tourists visiting downtown and motorists passing on nearby U.S. 75 and Interstate 244, he told the Tulsa World.

Nelson said he would like to put a rooftop sign on another business he owns, Yokozuno, 309 E. Second St., and on a bowling alley he hopes to open by late summer.

Blake Ewing, the owner of Joe Momma’s, 112 S. Elgin Ave., wants to put rooftop signs on two businesses he’s opening just south of Joe Momma’s — Boomtown Tees and The Max Retropub.

Nelson said, “What we have in mind is historic-looking neon signs similar to what you would see along Route 66.”

As examples, Nelson cited the historic Meadow Gold sign near Peoria Avenue and 11th Street (aka Route 66), the recently restored Mayo Hotel downtown, and the iconic Cain’s Ballroom in the Brady District — all of which predate the city banning rooftop signs in the 1980s.

A hearing is set for Feb. 17 to address the proposal to allow new rooftop signs in the Blue Dome District.

A closer look at the Wigwams January 25, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels.
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The Press-Enterprise newspaper in the Los Angeles region posted a story about the origins of the famed Wigwam Motel on Route 66 in on the San Bernardino and Rialto line.

What got overlooked in the story is that the motel was a haven for prostitution and other shady activities for many years. The property was turned around by Jagedish and Ramila Patel after they bought it in 2002. The family renovated the grounds, chased out the bad elements, and improved the whole neighborhood. They won the Cyrus Avery Award in 2005 for their efforts.

There’s another Wigwam Motel on Route 66, it being in Holbrook, Ariz. It’s also well-run and well-preserved.

A tour of Cross Ministries January 24, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Religion.
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Here’s a 10-year-old video of someone who visited each of the 10 stations of Jesus’ crucifixion at the Cross Ministries complex off Route 66 in Groom, Texas.

The site is simply known as the Big Cross.

A video farewell to Bob January 23, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, People.

Here’s a video tribute to Route 66 artist and ambassador Bob Waldmire, who died about a month ago.

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