Five things you need to know today, April 8

Take a look at the news in and around Odessa on Saturday, April 8. Find complete local news coverage in the Odessa American every day, online at and our daily E-Edition at
1. The latest cost estimate of the downtown hotel and conference center shows the city-backed project ran over budget, with the Odessa City Council signaling support to cover about $1.8 million in unexpected costs for the facility aimed at sparking a broader revitalization of the area.

2. Investment and the job growth spurred by it would always be welcome for Odessa’s south side but private businesses would ultimately decide where to settle, District One Odessa City Councilman Malcolm Hamilton said Friday during a town hall-style meeting. 

3. Almost 500 Ector County Independent School District students in the Scholars in Progress program will compete in the annual Chess for Champions tournament set for 9 a.m. to noon today at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin gym.

4. An Odessa woman was arrested Thursday on charges that she beat her 9-year-old nephew with a belt for playing with his Lego toys when he was grounded.

5. IN SPORTS: The Permian and Odessa High boys gymnastics teams were hoping to have a clear idea after the first day of the Region III Championships Friday of where they stood on the leaderboard.