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1985: No pass, no play and more water - Odessa American: 75th Anniversary

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1985: No pass, no play and more water

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Posted: Thursday, September 3, 2015 6:00 am

No-pass, no-play: House Bill 72, passed during a 1984 special session of the Legislature, introduced the concept of no-pass, no-play to extracurricular activities in high school.

The law barred students from participating if they received a failing grade in a subject over for a six-week period. Parents of two Permian High School players filed suit against the Ector County Independent School District after their sons were barred from spring football practice. In May, 244th District Judge Joe Connally issued restraining orders allowing them to participate in spring drills. School officials said 43 PHS band members were ineligible to compete in the autumn state marching band contest held in Austin.

Lawsuits: Allegations of animal abuse and neglect at the Ector County-Odessa Animal Shelter by a fired animal control officer led to an investigation. The inquiry resulted in the construction of a new euthanasia chamber, the hiring of an additional part-time employee, the formation of a three person advisory committee and a $500,000 lawsuit by the employee.

Allegations by another fired employee, a former computer programmer in the county’s Data Processing Department, prompted another investigation. Subsequently, the employee’s supervisor and the office manager both resigned. Though the investigation concluded that the charges were either unfounded or unprovable, the employee sued the county for $6 million, claiming she was fired for reporting perceived wrongdoing by her boss. The two suits were the first filed in the Permian Basin under the 1983 Texas Whistleblowers Act, which states that public employees may seek legal damages and reinstatements to their jobs if they believe a supervisor terminated them for reporting wrongdoing.

Reservoir: A seven-year battle for approval of Stacy Reservoir (now O.H. Ivie) ended successfully in 1985. The Austin-based Lower Colorado River Authority had fought all the way to the Texas Supreme Court against construction of the dam that would create the reservoir. The high court blocked the dam’s construction on Nov. 14, 1984, but on Jan. 9, 1985, it remanded the disputed permit to the state’s water commission. Later that month, officials of the contending water districts ironed out a compromise which cleared the way for work to begin. In August, Ector and Midland County voters passed $11 million in bonds to purchase 16.54 percent of the reservoir’s water supply.

AIDS deaths: Two Odessans succumbed to the AIDS virus in the summer. A former Houston resident fell victim in August, and on Sept. 19, a former New York resident died of the disease at Medical Center Hospital. The two victims in Odessa were the only cases of AIDS reported in a 17-county region which included Ector and Midland counties.

Headlines:

>>Permian High’s bid for the first back-to-back state championships in 5A since Austin Reagan (1967, 1968) were thwarted when Houston Yates beat the Panthers 37-0 in the final.

>>A Delta Airlines L-1011 passenger jet crashes at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Aug. 2, killing 133 people. An investigation blamed the crash on wind shear.

>>A joint French-U.S. team locates the wreckage of the passenger liner Titanic, about 500 miles south of Newfoundland.

>>The 49ers win the Super Bowl XIX over the Dolphins 38-16.

>>The movie “The Breakfast Club” is released.

>>Bernhard Langer wins the Masters.

>>Michael Jordan named rookie of the year in the NBA.

>>Steve Jobs quits Apple.

>>Microsoft releases Windows Version 1.0.

>>Bo Jackson wins the Heisman.

>>Ricky Nelson dies.

>>Correction: The actor Yul Brynner died in 1985.

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

Odessa, TX

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