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2009: Oil pains and Gary Gaines - Odessa American: 75th Anniversary

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2009: Oil pains and Gary Gaines

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Posted: Sunday, September 27, 2015 7:00 am

The year 2009 had some signs of recovery with new business popping up but unemployment remained high for most of the year.

Hometown boy does good: West Texans welcomed President George and Laura Bush back to Midland as they left their home at the White House. A rousing speech and a grand welcome awaited the couple.

Hey, don’t we know that guy? Gary Gaines returned to his old stomping grounds as head coach of the Permian High School Panthers. The football coach was called to serve after Darren Allman took a head coaching job at Austin Westlake.

Wild weather: An April storm ripped through Odessa. Some called it a tornado that hit that Easter Sunday but the National Weather Service said none were confirmed. Trees were uprooted and some homes were destroyed.

New jewel: In April West Texas winds pushed the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center groundbreaking inside the CEED Building but the excitement about the center was clear. “One word: fantastic,” UTPB sociology professor Joanna Hadjicostandi said regarding the 108,000-square-foot facility scheduled to open in January 2012. “It does a lot for the university having music students go there. But, it does more by bringing all the community outstanding performances.”

State Rep. Tom Craddick received much of the thanks during the ceremony, but he in turn recognized Cy and Lissa Wagner, who supported the project with Lissa’s mother, the late Ellen Noël. “You are all really the key to all of this,” he said.

Craddick ousted: Midland’s State Rep. Tom Craddick was ousted as speaker of the house.

Spider again: In April the Ector County Coliseum was turned into a sort-of courthouse as 358th District Court Judge Bill McCoy hosted 217 prospective jurors for a resentencing trial of Michael Dean “Spider” Gonzales. He had been convicted and sentenced to death in 1995 for the slaying of his neighbors Manuel Aguirre and Merced Aguirre.

Piggy: We all worried about the deadly swine flu as cases around the world were confirmed. Lots of scares in Odessa but few confirmed cases.

Economic pinch: By August local charities were feeling the pinch as the economy was troubled and unemployment was high. A bright spot was the work of REXtac bringing the old Flint Hills Resources plant back online.

Another local bright spot was the plan for Chimney Rock shopping center, which now houses Academy, Best Buy, Marshalls and others.

Skater boys and girls: The city of Odessa completes a new skate area at Sherwood Park. The area immediately drew skaters who could practice their moves in a safe environment.


  • Happy birthday Bronchos. Odessa High School celebrates 100 years.
  • Odessa City Councilman Michael Sanchez died.
  • Permian High School football player Julio Rangel, an offensive lineman, suffered a spinal injury during practice on Aug. 31. During a homecoming pep rally he took the microphone in the middle of the basketball court and looked around at thousands of his classmates. “We love you, Julio,” a girl shouted from the stands. With his legs propped up on his wheelchair, the injured Panther expressed his gratitude to his classmates for their support during his hospitalization the past several weeks.
  • Burlington Coat Factory opens up at Music City Mall.
  • Oil prices were often in the $60 or so per barrel range but began a bit of an uptick by May.
  • Permian’s Shartanae Swearengin and Ryan McDowell both won gold at the state track and field championships. She in the girls 800 meter run and he in the 110 meter hurdles.
  • Ector County Commissioners begin a crackdown on illegal dumping particularly in West Odessa.
  • The Texas Governor’s Mansion catches fire and arson is suspected.
  • A 62.5 mile pipeline to pump natural gas from the Yates formation to move natural gas is finally completed.
  • Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th U.S. president.
  • The Steelers beat the Cardinals 27-23 in Super Bowl XLIII.
  • Taylor Swift appears on cover of Teen Vogue.
  • Taylor Swift appears on Rolling Stone cover.
  • Taylor Swift is simply everywhere you look.
  • LeBron James named NBA MVP. Like Taylor Swift, he is everywhere.
  • Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett die.

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