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1993: Plant shakes, rattles and blows - Odessa American: 75th Anniversary

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1993: Plant shakes, rattles and blows

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Posted: Friday, September 11, 2015 6:00 am

Dynagen settlement: Dynagen reaches an agreement with city and state officials to experiment with cheaper methods of pollution control. Meanwhile, in September, a tentative settlement was announced in a lawsuit by south Odessa residents who complained that noxious vapors from the plant had posed a health threat. Dynagen agreed to pay $1.6 million in compensation to the more than 1,000 plaintiffs in the case and to provide 15 college scholarships a year for young people who live near the plant. At the end of 1993, 800 plaintiffs had agreed to the proposed settlement, with the rest unsatisfied and hiring their own attorneys to continue with the lawsuit.

Mojo disqualified: Permian High School is disqualified from the state football playoffs after allegations arise that the Panthers used an ineligible player. The player transferred from Odessa High after the start of the season under a liberal transfer rule that was part of the school district’s federal desegregation agreement. Permian won an injunction that allowed it to play, and defeated Lubbock Coronado in the first round of the playoffs. The injunction was lifted a week later and Permian forfeited the playoff victory.

Champion Part II: In a repeat of the previous year, an explosion at Champion Technologies causes a fire and the evacuation of nearby residents. An investigation concluded that workers inadvertently mixed two chemicals, benzyl chloride and diethylenetriamine, sending a large vapor cloud into the air. The accident forced the closure of parts of Highway 80 and Loop 338 as well as the evacuation of schoolchildren, hotel guests and neighborhood residents.

Jail crowding: The 237-bed Ector County jail held more than 400 inmates by the fall, causing county commissioners to approve the sale of $14 million in bonds to build a 660-bed law enforcement center. Meanwhile, commissioners had to spend as much as $1.2 million to house as many as 100 inmates in jails elsewhere.

Politics: Fred Crawford’s decision not to seek re-election clears the way for a race between attorney Lamar Casparis and homemaker Marilyn Hall for Crawford’s City Council seat. Casparis won easily with 58 percent of the vote. However, incumbent Jaime Ramirez lost his District 5 seat to schoolteacher David Edwards by four votes, and District 4 incumbent Bob Slider fought off contender Melissa Haynie to win another two-year term. Hall, Haynie and Edwards were touted as conservative Christian candidates whose campaigns focused on “family values.” Hall and Haynie were criticized by opponents for making their opposition to abortion the focal point of their political platforms.

Headlines:

  • A breach of contract suit involving Zsa Zsa Gabor is moved to Midland from San Antonio. Despite the assistance of legendary attorney Melvin Belli, Gabor was ordered to pay $200,000.
  • In a remarkable accomplishment, an Odessa team wins the boys state track and field championship for the second straight year. Odessa High won the 1992 championship, despite finishing second in the district meet. In 1993, Permian High captured the state title as well.
  • In November, a couple wins a $3.4 million Lotto jackpot with a ticket purchased at a Fina station, 22 miles west of Seminole.
  • On Feb. 26, a terrorist bomb explodes in the parking garage of the World Trade Center in New York, killing six people.
  • More than 70 men, women and children die during a federal raid April 19 on the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco.
  • The boys are back in Super Bowl XXVII with the Cowboys up 52-17 over the Bills.
  • The movie “Jurassic Park” is released.
  • Michael Jordan announces his retirement.
  • Charlie Ward wins the Heisman.

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

Odessa, TX

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