• January 15, 2021

1968: Killed in Vietnam, city government shake-up - Odessa American: 75th Anniversary

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75 years of the Odessa American 1968: Killed in Vietnam, city government shake-up

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Posted: Monday, August 17, 2015 5:30 am

Gambling probe: On Jan. 21, W.D. Noel, the chairman of the Texas Liquor Control Board, ordered agents to check out the Inn of the Golden West amid rumors of gambling on the seventh floor.

Though the investigation continued for several weeks, no suspicious or unsavory activities were discovered. Undaunted, Noel reorganized the TLCB. Administrator Coke Stevenson, a former Texas governor, resigned under pressure following the dismissal of several top officials.

After a five-month investigation, charges of gross mismanagement were made against Stevenson, but an exhaustive report found "no direct evidence" that could lead to criminal indictments against anyone connected with the TLCB. The report, however, cited "many irregularities, cases of favoritism, bad judgment and poor administration."

Murder charge: On March 26, a 10-month investigation into the mysterious death of Paul Moss, a pioneer rancher, lawyer and oilman, reached a surprising climax when an Ector County Grand Jury charged Bill Eugene Scott, 39, with murder. Scott pleaded guilty and received a 25 year prison sentence.

Desegregation: In August, a Civil Rights Compliance team from Washington D.C. came to Odessa to conduct a two-day inspection of the desegregation status of schools. One member of the six-man team told school officials that at least five of it schools are "still identifiable by race." The overall conclusion by the team was that though Odessa had made progress in desegregating its schools, there were "remaining vestiges of duality in the school system."

City shakeup: Five top city officials, including City Manager W.E. Routh, resigned in the last few months of the year. Routh announced his departure in early October, but declined to offer reasons. On Oct. 31, Mayor Jim Reese disclosed that the city council had requested Routh’s resignation in a secret meeting on Sept. 15. Ronald J. Neighbors replaced Routh as city manager, and planned to revamp the city’s organizational structure.

November election: The Republican presidential ticket of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew carried Ector County, with third party contender George C. Wallace running a respectable second. Democrats Hubert Humphrey and Edmund Muskie lagged far behind. The GOP claimed two new seats in the Ector County courthouse, as Ray L. McKim became the new judge for the 161st district court and Bill Elms became commissioner of Precinct 2.

Railroad decision: On Nov. 23 the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the Texas and Pacific Railroad, which had opposed a lower court ruling allowing construction of a railroad line from Odessa to Seagraves. Construction on the 78-mile line began in 1969.

Globe completed: The Globe of the Great Southwest, a replica of the original Globe Theater built for Shakespeare’s acting company in 1598 in London, opens in 1968.

Vietnam death: Army staff sergeant Marvin "Rex" Young, a 1965 Permian High School graduate, died near Ben Cui in Vietnam on Aug. 21. Young assumed command when the squad leader was killed during an attack. Young was killed while providing cover for his men as they withdrew. For his heroism, Young would win the Medal of Honor.

Headlines:

>> Sen. Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated in Los Angeles on June 5, shortly after winning the California Democratic Primary, by Sirhan Sirhan, a resident alien.

>> The Rev. Martin Luther King is assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4.

>>In Super Bowl II the Green Bay Packers win again 33-14 over the Oakland Raiders.

>> Catfish Hunter pitches a perfect game.

>>Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan.

>>”Rosemary’s Baby” is released.

>>O.J. Simpson wins the Heisman.

Information is drawn from news accounts, archives and other historical records.

 

 

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