Saturday, November 21, 2015

American Pilgrims on Camino adds ‘Spiritual and Walking Guide’ to Book List

The latest addition to the American Pilgrims on the Camino book list is Stacey Wittig’s Spiritual and Walking Guide: León to Santiago. American Pilgrims on Camino (APOC), a non-profit organization, provides information to pilgrims that includes links to online resources, book lists, CD and music lists and Camino essays. The APOC Camino reading list includes […]

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Navajo Code Talker celebrates Veteran's Day and his 94th Birthday

Navajo Code Talker Dan Akee turns 94 on Veteran's Day 2015. Wife Margaret looks on.
Navajo Code Talker Dan Akee turns 94 on Veteran's Day. A celebration will be held in Tuba City, Arizona, for the retired Sargent Major who served in the United States Marine Corps during WWII. He lives on the Navajo Nation less than 60 miles from the East Entrance of Grand Canyon National Park. Dan Akee is one of twelve Navajo code talkers left in the United States.  He was one of over 44,000 Native Americans who served in the US military during WWII and one of 450 trained Navajo code talkers.  Dan Akee will be 94 years old on his birthday on November 11, 2015.

“I am very happy that all Navajos should be very proud of us because their language has been used … The whole United States were very proud of us. It took 25 years till it was released -- until we could start talking about the Code Talkers. I am very happy a lot of people respect me," said Dan Akee in an exclusive Vagabonding Lulu interview. He was the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest honor awarded to service men and women.
Congressional Medal of Honor in the hands of 94-year-old veteran and Navajo Code Talker
In the 1960s Dan Akee built a home, which is now in dire need of repair and renovation.  He is currently not able to reside in the house due to its unlivable condition. Red Feather Development Group, a non-profit with offices in Flagstaff, Arizona, and Bozeman, Montana, is coordinating a campaign to raise $70K in donations and in-kind materials to renovate his home by Christmas Day 2015.  Red Feather has been serving Native Americans and housing needs for over 20 years.

"When we heard about Navajo code talker Dan Akee, we knew we had to do something quick," said Mark Hall, Executive Director of Red Feather Development Group in a press release.  "We are thrilled in how the Veterans and the entire community is responding, it’s beautiful."

"All I want to do before I die, is live in the house I built with my own hands 60 years ago," said Dan Akee to his son Danny Akee who is his caretaker. Dan Akee is in a wheelchair full time and was recently hospitalized for pneumonia.
Akee family home in Tuba City, AZ, is in need of renovation.
"When my father was in the hospital, he wasn’t praying for his health, he was praying for the money to fix the house. Now that Red Feather has gotten involved, we know my dad’s dream of living in his house is going to come true," Danny Akee smiles and get tears in his eyes to think of this
happening for his father, a national hero, his hero.
Danny Akee, son of WWII Code Talker in home that needs renovation.
Dan Akee was born in Coalmine Canyon on the Navajo Reservation and named Red Moccasins. He is a descendant of the Kiyanni and Ashihii clans, born on November 11, 1922. Dan Akee was 21 years old when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1943, shortly after the outbreak of WWII.  He trained as a code talker at Camp Pendleton and was detailed to the 4th Marine Division, 25th Regiment. From 1943-45, Akee took part in some of the most ferocious fighting in the Pacific including the Marshall Islands, Saipan, Tinian and two campaigns of Iwo Jima.  He memorized over 555 Navajo words in a highly classified system of Code Talk, which is credited as helping win the Battle at Iwo Jima.   During the war, the Navajo Code Talk was never broken.  It took Dan Akee over five months to memorize the secret codes.

Red Feather is sponsoring a crowdfunding campaign on Generosity.com, one of the Indiegogo sites to enlist thousands who care about Veterans to help raise $70,000.   When significant donations are made, donors will receive original Akee family Navajo sand paintings as a thank you gift.  Danny Akee and his wife Marie are already in production at their art studio next door to the house that is being renovated.
Danny's wife, Marie Akee creates traditional sand paintings for donors.
"We better get started, we think lots of people are going to help us make this dream come true," quipped Danny Akee.
"We are approaching the renovation in a four-phased approach," Joe Seidenberg, Program Manager for Red Feather noted. "We are starting with the most critical items first like the roof, windows and doors and working our way up from there. Please call us if you have access to materials or labor, this is going to take everyone coming together to pull this off."

Red Feather has planned a bathroom and kitchen renovation that will allow veteran Dan Akee full handicap access along with wheelchair access ramp to the house.  A kickoff work party was held Saturday, November 7. Over 30 volunteers from the surrounding community came out last Saturday to begin preparing the house for renovation.  The work party included President of the Navajo Nation, Russell Begaye, Vice President Jonathan Nez and some of their staff, numerous local veterans, staff from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and members of the Akee family. The goal is to have the Akee’s home completed for Christmas.

  1. Go to the Red Feather Development Group website and donate directly at www.redfeather.org
  2. Go to Indigogo and contribute to the Dan Akee Going Home crowd funder
  3. Call Red Feather Development Group in Flagstaff, AZ at 928-440-5119 and let us knowwhat in-kind donation you would like to make or if you have a volunteer organization that can provide renovation labor.  
For more information: 
Red Feather Development Group, a non-profit organization
2501 N. 4th Street, Suite 17, Flagstaff, AZ  86004
928-440-5119 (office)
Norena Gutierrez, Director of Development & Communications

Stacey Wittig is "Vagabonding Lulu" who searches the world for interesting stories. Read about her most recent book, Spiritual and Walking Guide: Leon to Santiago on Camino on Amazon.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ski Season Begins Friday, Nov 20 at Arizona Snowbowl

Flagstaff, Ariz. -- Arizona Snowbowl officials announced the projected opening day for the resort’s 2015/2016 winter season.  Ski and snowboard season begins on Friday, November 20, 2015 at Arizona Snowbowl.

Vagabonding Lulu (L) happy with hubby Dan Wittig at AZ Snowbowl
“With the new mountain improvements at Arizona Snowbowl and a strong El Nino in the forecast, our team is excited to kick off the ski season by opening earlier this year,” said James Coleman, a general partner of Arizona Snowbowl.  “One of our major initiatives is to expand the length of ski season at all of our resorts so our guests can have more time to enjoy the slopes.  Both Arizona Snowbowl and Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort are preparing to be the first resorts in Arizona and New Mexico to open this season.”

New for 2015/2016!  Arizona Snowbowl is installing the ski area’s first new chairlift in 30 years. The new Humphreys Peak Lift is the resort’s first quad, spanning more than a half-mile with a vertical rise of 775 feet while serving multiple new intermediate trails.   Over 5,000 feet of snowmaking has been added to the Ridge ski trail that will ensure great snow conditions from Midway down on the most popular ski run at Snowbowl.  Five additional snowmaking fan guns have been purchased to increase production.  Planning and engineering is advancing in preparation of future lifts, including the Grand Canyon Express high-speed lift. Construction images may be found here.

Long-range forecasts are calling for a strong El Nino and above-average precipitation in Arizona, New Mexico and southern Colorado.

Arizona Snowbowl is part of a collection of southwest ski resorts, including Purgatory Resort, Pajarito Mountain Ski Area, and Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort.  Resort officials also announced new multi-day pass products that will be available for purchase this fall, providing more choices for skiers and snowboarders and savings on lift tickets. For $50, receive a free day of skiing at one of the four resorts with the Power Card, plus 5 days of discounted lift tickets at each resort: Arizona Snowbowl, Purgatory, Sipapu, and Pajarito.

Also new this season, the Power Pack, as low as $129, offers three days at Arizona Snowbowl or Purgatory, or up to six days at Pajarito or Sipapu, or the Power Pack may be used in a combination of ways at the various four resorts.  Starting at $199, the Power Pack Plus offers five days at Arizona Snowbowl and Purgatory, or up to 10 days at Pajarito or Sipapu, or a combination at all resorts.  Special pricing is available for adults, kids ages 17 and under, and college students.

“The new Power Card and Power Packs offer skiers and snowboarders the freedom to choose from a variety of ski resorts in the Southwest,” stated Coleman.  “You can ski your home mountain or explore new resorts all within a convenient drive of one another.”

Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort announced its opening day of Nov. 14.  Purgatory Resort will open Nov. 21, and Pajarito Mountain opens Nov. 27.  Sipapu, Purgatory, and Pajarito are set to open earlier than in recent history.

James Coleman is managing partner of three ski areas, including Purgatory Resort, Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort, Pajarito Ski Area, and one of the general partners at Arizona Snowbowl. The four resorts have more than 3,000 acres of terrain, 28 lifts, more than 200 trails and 13 terrain parks. A massive $10 million multi-resort capital campaign was recently announced providing significant mountain improvements, including new lifts, more trails, and additional snowmaking infrastructure across the four southwest resorts for the 2015/2016 ski and snowboard season.  For details, visit www.ArizonaSnowbowl.com.

Monday, October 12, 2015

‘Day by day, step by step the author takes us on the coveted journey,’ GoodReads Review

GoodReads reviewer, Linda Kissam examines “Spiritual and Walking Guide: Leon to Santiago.” Read the complete review at http://ift.tt/1G2vpdF It’s quite fashionable to create a “Bucket List.” For most people this is a life list of accomplishments they hope to check off before they leave the earthly plane for the next really big adventure. If you’re […]

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Confraternity of St James adds ‘Spiritual and Walking Guide’ to CSJ book list

The Confraternity of St James recently added Spiritual and Walking Guide: Leon to Santiago on El Camino to their prestigious Camino Library and book list. The Confraternity of St James is a British association founded “to bring together those interested in the medieval pilgrim routes through Spain and France to the shrine of St James […]

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Special Chicago Screening: ‘Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago’

Chicago-area friends, Don’t miss this opportunity to view the film “Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago” on Wed Sept 2, 2015 7-9pm. Meet documentary “star” and co-producer Annie O’Neil. This is one of my fave Camino films. Learn about her next film project and share Camino stories over wine after the show… wish I […]

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