Tulsa Route 66 activists honored

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Congratulations to a transplanted Tulsa couple who received well-deserved national recognition for promoting Route 66. Ron Warnick and Emily Priddy were honored last weekend at the 2008 National Route 66 Festival in Litchfield, Illinois.

Ron received the "Person of the Year" award for his blog, Route 66 News, a clearinghouse for news from Chicago to Santa Monica and everywhere in between along the Mother Road.

Emily was selected by author Michael Wallis for the inaugural Wallis award for (as she put it) "for being a noisy writer/photographer/firebrand." Denny Gibson put it another way: "In [Wallis's] description of the award, he used the words talent, energy, and passion and those certainly apply to the first Wallis 66 award winner, Emily Priddy."

As he describes in an entry earlier this week, Ron saw a need three years ago and stepped in to fill it, creating a central clearinghouse for news from the highway -- positive and inspiring stories of entrepreneurs restoring a piece of roadside history and local officials getting clueful about the tourism value of the highway, alerts about endangered properties, happy news of festivals and foreign roadies here to encounter Americana firsthand, sad news of the passing of Route 66 pioneers and Route 66 landmarks.

Through Route 66 News, historic highway lovers learned of the impending doom of the El Vado Motel and were able to communicate with Albuquerque's city leaders to help them understand the value and significance of the property as a historic asset. Route 66 News notified us of the tragic fire at the Rock Cafe, helping to rally support for clean up and restoration.

Ron's reflection on winning the award is worth reading. He writes about how experiencing Route 66 changed his life, why he started Route 66 News, and why he chose the blog format for the site:

Route 66 News was never intended to be a blog. But the more I investigated the Internet avenues available, it became clear that blogging -- with its ease of writing stories, its archives and its multimedia capabilities -- was the way to go. So here we are, in the blogosphere.

The winner of the Will Rogers award this year is another Route 66 internet pioneer. Swa Frantzen of Belgium launched his Historic66.com website in 1994, which has to make it one of the oldest sites on the World Wide Web still in operation. Looking in vain for the kind of turn-by-turn guide needed to tour the decommissioned highway, he created one of his own, a resource for his fellow archaehodophiles the world over.

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Giant Bob said:

"Route 66 News" was a smooth ride, until I started hitting the Bush Derangement Syndrome editorial landmines, ruining stories that could otherwise have held interest. They seemed to become more frequent, and I decided to exit.

Route66News said:

Giant Bob, out of 2,900 posts on Route 66 News, there is a total of six that mention President Bush. That is 0.2 percent of the total.

Out of those six posts, four were straight news stories about Hampton Inns receiving an award from the president in 2006 for its preservation work on historical sites, including Route 66.

The other two were analysis pieces that didn't take a stance on the president himself.

So where is this allegedly "frequent" "Bush Derangement Syndrome" that you speak?

Giant Bob said:

Hi Ron,
I'll link in a second, but first I'd like to clarify one or two smallish details.

In my comment above, I said "seemed to become more frequent", leaving room for the possibility that I'm not the last word on the subject. In fact, prior to the item I'll link below, I recall coming across only one previous cringe-worthy (to me) R66N item. I believe it cited the Iraq war in some way. It stuck in my mind, though I didn't post a comment. When I came across this item, it pushed my button, as you can see in my comment at that time.


Here's what you said:
"...at the risk of getting political, the only way this will turn around in the near term is when a new person takes charge at the White House in 2009. America’s standing in the world has suffered on the current guy’s watch for myriad reasons, and it probably won’t get markedly better until he leaves. That’s the sad truth."

My allusion to BDS in the comment here on BatesLine may have been a little strong, and I apologize if it was out of line. You're certainly NOT deranged, and you certainly DO good work with R66N, and deserve the recognition.

Nonetheless, I saw in your 2007 comments a knee-jerk tendency to blame Bush for what... overzealous airport security? Nanny-state socialist sensibilities? Geez, I thought the airport security thing was brought about by you know, box-cutters, shoe-bombs, and fake-IDs, along with the overnight switch from contractors to a brand new untested federal bureaucracy.

Foreign opinion? I see and welcome the tourists I encounter. I give directions. I hope they come back for more kicks. But if they're wallowing in the BushChimpyHitler derangement that "makes them hate us", like some who commented in the item I linked, then I'm glad they stayed home.

I hope this explains my remarks in a reasonable light, and why I continue to stand by them.


Route66News said:

Since you've already admitted that you exaggerated your claims against me, I'll take your criticism with a grain of salt.

I stand by that comment you've just cited, and other readers agreed with me as well.

The fact was, Discover America's alarm in the big drop of foreign travel to the U.S. is not a mirage, and that a change at the top is probably the only way to turn it around.

The president has a very low standing in this country and other nations -- that's a fact. It's highly unlikely his low approval ratings will improve much in the relatively short time that remains his term. I don't see how that can be refuted.

U.S. Customs is a branch of the federal government, and as executive, the president indeed has a voice in how it is operated. That also is irrefutable. The cases of undue tourist harassment, as chronicled by conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan, have only grown since the initial post. If the president gets credit for how Customs operates, he also gets the blame if it's overzealous.

So you've found one post, albeit grounded in fact, that offended you out of more than 2,900 that have been posted. All that I can say is that you seem to have extraordinarily low tolerance.

Giant Bob said:

Well thanks for your gracious response. So much for courtesies.

As a former reader of R66N, which I loved, I was flummoxed by the wannabe political punditry, which smacked of BDS. It ruined the feel, the experience. It was like hitting a pot-hole at 65, jarring. I'd been visiting the site regularly and had never seen you do that before last year. So yes, to me, it was "increasing".

It wasn't the only example, just the one I could google easily while composing my reply to you. I mentioned the other I could recall, being something about the Iraq War. I believe you were covering a war protest that took place in a community along 66. Didn't notice any "support the troops" posts on R66N around that time, though it could have escaped my attention.

The anti-war article didn't push buttons like the foreign tourist piece, because I saw it coming and skipped over it, though it stuck in my mind. But I'm interested in news relating to foreign tourism, and didn't see the landmine until I'd already stepped on it.

That's quite a stretch, placing personal responsibility on any president for the actions of individual law enforcement agents, especially during a war that threatens our own shores. But if you're getting your news from Andrew Sullivan, then it doesn't surprise. OBTW, Andrew "Heartache" Sullivan isn't well regarded among coservatives, and he certainly isn't one himself.

Mixing your political agenda with R66N may be exactly what a segment of your readers want from you, Ron. It just didn't work for me.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 28, 2008 10:00 PM.

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