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2004: ‘FNL’ released, prostitution scandal - Odessa American: 75th Anniversary

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2004: ‘FNL’ released, prostitution scandal

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Posted: Tuesday, September 22, 2015 9:00 am

“Friday Night Lights”: While many Odessans had for years complained at their portrayal in the book “Friday Night Lights” by Buzz Bissinger, thousands wanted to help with the film version of the book.

Director Peter Berg spent a good part of 2004 filming on scene in Odessa and many became used to seeing stars like Tim McGraw and Billy Bob Thorton around town. The film also held a premiere in Odessa as an education benefit.

Prostitution scandal: On a less happy note — and on an Odessa scandal that was also eventually made into a movie — residents of Odessa sat on edge and waited for about two months for police to release “The List” of names involved in Odessa’s sex scandal. In early June, the Odessa American broke a story about a yearlong police investigation into

prostitution at The Healing Touch massage parlor. On July 27, police arrested 74.

Drug ring: Also drawing heavy police focus was the culmination of a four-year investigation into the Aryan Circle prison gang and its run of the methamphetamine trade in the Permian Basin.

On March 25, police officers announced the indictment of 29 members of the Permian Basin chapter of the Aryan Circle. Six of those were charged with “continuing criminal enterprise” and all 29 were charged with possession with intent to distribute 15,000 grams — or 33 pounds — of methamphetamine.

Only six of the indicted were at large, and they were quickly rounded up. The others were already incarcerated throughout the Permian Basin.

In all, 19 of the indicted pleaded guilty and the other 10 went to trial. After a five-week trial, all 10 were found guilty in late July.

Helicopter crash: In March, Medical Center Hospital’s CareStar air ambulance crashed near Pyote. The helicopter accident killed four people — pilot Mickey Price, paramedic Paul Lujan, and two Mexican nationals, Pedro Urias, 3, and his mother, Ana Urias.

Saying goodbye: ECISD Superintendent Roy Benavides turned in his keys and cleared out his office as terms of his $172,000 separation agreement. His resignation was official in November. He was eventually replaced by Wendell Sollis.

Big rocks: In June an Odessa-styled version of England’s Stonehenge was built at UTPB.

High jumper. Toby Stevenson was hoping for Olympic gold but won silver in the Olympics. Toby finished second to fellow American Tim Mack in the men’s pole vault, winning the silver medal with a vault of 5.90 meters (19 feet, 4.5 inches). Mack cleared 5.95 meters (19 feet, 6.5 inches) on his third and final try to win the gold.

All the presidents: The Bush House, located on University Boulevard near the JBS Leadership, was refurbished in 2004.

Tragedy in Iraq: Marine Cpl. Daniel Amaya, at a height of 6-foot-3, lived every inch of life, the Rev. Curtis Brewer said his 2004 memorial service “He enjoyed life. He lived it to the fullest,” Brewer said from the pulpit of First Baptist Church of Odessa.

Brewer said Amaya lived a full life beyond his service to his country. That life included skydiving, bungee jumping, skiing, cheerleading and playing in the school band. Amaya’s mother, Kacey Carpenter of Odessa, learned of her 22-year-old son’s death after she and her family returned to their home in Odessa from Easter services. Amaya, a rifleman with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, was killed Saturday, while serving in Iraq. He was shot twice by hostile fire while on duty in the Al Anbar Province in Iraq.

 Wascally wabbits: Jackrabbit sculptures all over town remain today but were originally placed in 2004. Parks and Recreation Director Steve Patton said 30 painted jackrabbit sculptures created for Odessa’s Jackrabbit Jamboree have been placed around the city.


  • Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson handily won the Republican nomination and office for Ector County Sheriff. Donaldson received 6,883 votes, or 58.5 percent. His opponent, Carl Rogers, brought in 4,884 votes, or 41.5 percent, with 11,767 people casting ballots.
  • Nissan Titan is first produced.
  • Miley Cyrus, 12, auditions for Hannah Montana.
  • Super Bowl XXXVIII ends with the Patriots over the Panthers 32-29.
  • Hey friends! Facebook launches.
  • Phil Mickelson wins the 68th Masters.
  • Randy Johnson pitches a perfect game.
  • A little fella named LeBron James wins NBA Rookie of the Year.
  • Former President Ronald Reagan dies.
  • Lance Armstrong wins 91st Tour de France.

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