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1998: Miss Texas, a lot of snow - Odessa American: 75th Anniversary

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1998: Miss Texas, a lot of snow

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Posted: Wednesday, September 16, 2015 5:00 am

Crime: The remains of an apparent murder victim were found south of Interstate Highway 20 just one week into 1998. Barry Woods had been shot in the head. In December, gang violence captured center stage with the trial of a 16-year-old Odessa boy, charged with gunning down his best friend, a fellow gang member. Judge Jim Bobo ruled that Albert Lopez would be tried as an adult for the fatal shooting of Cesar Fabela, 16. At the time of the slaying, Fabela was already facing trial as an adult in the stabbing of Shannon Sotelo, 17, on August 13. Shocking crimes notwithstanding, the Police Department reported on May 11 that major crimes in Odessa were decreasing, with half as many on the books as seven years ago.

Education: In February, UTPB completed its first new building in 25 years. The 27,830-square foot building, which includes a visual arts studio, cost about $25.8 million. In other education news, the school board approved a salary schedule June 16 that gave ECISD teachers and librarians an average 3.11 percent pay increase for the next academic year.

Klan rally: In Late January, four people claiming to be members of the Ku Klux Klan spoke on the steps of the courthouse as a crowd of 100 gathered to boo and taunt them. Two of the four were dressed in cloaks and pointed hats. The Klan came to the courthouse again in June, and was met by a crowd of 200. Both incidents were peaceful, and no arrests were made.

Drug task force: In June, charges of criminal wrongdoing brought against the Permian Basin Drug Task Force prompted the governor’s office to discontinue funding, a move that put the agency out of business. A new drug task force was organized in September called the West Texas Narcotics Enforcement Tax Force.

Miss Texas: In July, Odessa native Tatum Hubbard was named Miss Texas. “I feel fantastic,” Hubbard declared. “It was the last time I could compete because contestants must be between 17 and 24. So it was a now or never situation.” She competed at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City in mid-September.

Economy: The Odessa City Council cut Community Development Block Grant funding for a revolving small business loan program while approving an $85,000 expenditure which would be used to purchase the Floyd Gwin Soccer complex. Later in the year, using resources from a voter-approved economic development fund, the Odessa Development Corporation convinced a Spokane telecommunications supplier to open a facility on the west side of town. The plant was expected to create 51 permanent full time jobs within five years. Also, a new oilfield parts manufacturing company began moving its plant from Kansas to Odessa, while one of the biggest ostrich raising companies in the nation bought a 400-acre hatchery and slaughterhouse in southeast Ector County.

Headlines:

  • On Dec. 11, 9.75 inches of snow were recorded at Midland International Airport, the largest recorded snowfall in Midland-Odessa history. As much as a foot of snow was reported in some area towns.
  • After reaching almost $27 a barrel in February, crude oil prices plunged to below $11 in December, triggering layoffs and downsizing by petroleum companies throughout West Texas.
  • Midland Lee beats San Antonio MacArthur 54-0 for the state Class 5A Division II football championship, the 16th state title won by a member of the so-called “Little Southwest Conference” of schools in Odessa, Midland, San Angelo and Abilene.
  • Super Bowl XXXII ends with the Broncos over the Packers 31-24.
  • Bill Clinton famously declares: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinky.”
  • Forty-two people were killed in Kissimmee during a tornado outbreak.
  • James Earl Ray dies in prison.
  • The Disney classic “Mulan” is released.
  • The novel “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” released in the United States.
  • Ricky Williams wins the Heisman.
  • "Titanic" wins best picture at the Academy Awards.

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

Odessa, TX

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