The Odessa Record -

This Week in Odessa History

Moisture pleases farmers; taking issue with Crab Creek flood plain definition


March 15, 2018

100 years ago

The Odessa Record

March 15, 1918

Farmers expect bumper crop. Jubilant over reserve moisture now in ground. Over three feet of precipitation in stubble. No end in summer fallow: The three-quarter inch of moisture which fell in the shape of rain and snow Tuesday night brought the total rainfall since October first up to six inches and also another broad smile upon the faces of the Odessa country farmers who are now jubilant over the prospects for a bumper wheat crop along with the big price now assured for the year. Another unusual thing has happened this season, every particle of moisture that has fallen during that time on summer fallow ground has been taken up by the soil, giving it a moisture reserve that has not been equaled in years.

Snow fell so fast for a few hours and was so heavy that Dr. Ganson says that before daylight it was impossible to run a Ford down hill on high in its six inches of depth. The warm sun the next morning cut it so that it was practically all gone by noon and put a stop to the seeding which had begun, until the soil is dryer. Some of the southwest farmers have good sized tracts sown. C.C. Low has over 100 acres sown. C.W. Laabs reports that he had 200 acres in the ground before the rain. He is also authority for saying that there is over three feet of moisture in his stubble fields and that in summer fallow there was no end to it. Andrew Janke said practically the same of the summer fallow in a conversation with The Record man before the big rain came.

Very few have started seeding on the north side where the season is later and the rain will make seeding, which generally is on in full blast at this time of the year, a little later but there will be no complaints as every wheat farmer realizes that rains like that means dollars in his pockets at harvest time.

75 years ago

The Odessa Record

March 11, 1943

The Odessa high school alumni officers held a meeting at the home of Mrs. George H. Gies and discussed plans to hold the regular annual business meeting, with a public dance, omitting the annual banquet, owing to the rationing.

Farmers will be able to take to the fields within a few days, as spring opens after one of the longest winters of recent years. With labor shortages and unusual conditions, there will be a problem for the rancher.

The Odessa Grange, with 22 members, was in fifth place in a contest among the granges of the state, tied at this place with Broadway Grange of Yakima. The contest closed on March 1.

The decision of the city water department to provide 1000 gallons of additional water in the minimum rate, means that a potential 288,000 gallons of water will be given. There are 288 water accounts served in the town.

Henry Lesser Jr., Odessa, a former citizen of Russia, was admitted to United States citizenship at the spring naturalization hearings in the superior court Tuesday.

Word has been received that Miss Viola Raugust, student at WSC has been elected to the executive council of the sophomore class and also named as a committee head for the Scroll breakfast sponsored each year by Spurs, a sophomore honorary.

Miss Lois McKee, a stenographer in the office of Paul H. Phillips, county prosecuting attorney, was burned painfully about the face Sunday as an oil stove which she was attempting to light exploded.

A dinner honoring Weldon Haase, who has left this week for the United States navy, was given on Sunday at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Haase. On Saturday night at the Hardung ranch near Lamona, friends gathered for a farewell dance in his honor, with Harvey Haase and the Hardung brothers as hosts.

Pvt. Reuben Els has returned home from Maryland, where he was stationed with an army unit, having received his discharge in order that he could operate the Els brothers’ ranch this season.

Through the medium of this very column we are glad to report that William (Rusty) Reiner and Art Grening were able to meet each other in Australia, after hearing that they were both stationed there.

James Odell left Tuesday morning for Fort Douglas, Utah, for army service.

Joe Hardung writes from the Las Vegas gunnery school to let us know that the present school lasts six weeks, after which some go into combat, others on to advanced school for four months. At the close of the Las Vegas course he will be given his silver wings as a member of a plane crew.

Weldon Weber was fortunate enough to be on door guard duty when Mrs. Roosevelt made a surprise visit to their school at Urbana, Ill. The first lady asked him where he was from and how he liked the school, catching Weldon without proper speech.

50 years ago

The Odessa Record

March 14, 1968

Grange opening to be Saturday: A Grand Opening of the new Grange Supply Co. of Odessa store, parts department and repair shop has been scheduled this Saturday, March 16, Alvin Wacker, manager, states. In addition to the Grand Opening, John Deere Day has been scheduled at the same time.

The new steel frame, cement block and masonry building, measuring 60 x 144, has been constructed on the same site as that of the original business established in 1933. The old office-warehouse structures have been moved to the west to make room for the new structure which extends from the gas pumps to the north alley.

Anne is chosen inspirational player: Anne Evavold, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Don Evavold, received “Inspirational Player,” on Gonzaga University’s Girl’s Varsity Basketball team. She was presented the award at the annual Pine League banquet. The Pine League consists of, Eastern Washington College, WSU, Whitworth, and Gonzaga.

The girl’s team finished their season last week by placing fifth in the “C” division of the Northwest Basketball tournament. University of British Columbia swept through their games for 1st place, “A” division.

25 years ago

The Odessa Record

March 11, 1993

Town seeks new study on Crab Creek flood plain: When Katie Harkins, natural hazards program specialist of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, came to Odessa last Friday afternoon she thought she was here to sign up the town for the National Flood Insurance Program.

Odessa was suspended from the program in 1988 because the Odessa Town Council refused to adopt a flood plain ordinance which would comply with a flood insurance study made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the agency in 1986.

Instead of explaining the program as it now exists and reinstating the town in the program as she had expected to do, Harkins went back to her Bothell, Wash. headquarters to ask her superiors if engineers couldn’t reevaluate Odessa’s flood plain and come up with new flood risk data for Odessa to be used in establishing flood insurance rates and in qualifying the town for eligibility of federal grants and funding.

The Friday meeting, called after Mayor Denny McDaniel has requested that a representative of the agency visit Odessa to discuss the town’s flood insurance problem, was attended by Council members Carl Ryan, Tony Williams and Clark Zweig, as well as McDaniel and a number of concerned property owners.

The 1986 study concluded that the dikes along Crab Creek through Odessa didn’t meet specifications of the precautions required in the event of a catastrophic flood, termed by the Corps of Engineers as a 100-year flood. The term refers to flood events of a magnitude which are expected to be equaled or exceeded once on the average during any 100-year period.

The town rejected the agency’s study because council members believed it was based on faulty data.

The flood plain of Crab Creek through Odessa was shown on maps of the Corps of Engineers to cover all of downtown Odessa and to extend more than the full width of the town’s area from east to west town limits. The dikes were described as being ineffective in controlling overbank flooding, even though they are higher than the arch of the First Avenue Bridge, which was built to accommodate the highest flood waters ever recorded in Odessa.

Furthermore, the study concluded, Odessa is prone to summer thunderstorms, causing flash floods in Crab Creek.

Without the town’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, property owners in Odessa no longer are able to obtain flood insurance. And at a time when the town is seeking funding for a sewer study, non-participation in the program means that Odessa is not eligible for grants or loans for that project or any other water system improvement in the area defined by the flood insurance study as being in the flood plain.

Non-participation further disqualifies the town for federal disaster assistance in the form of loans for repair or reconstruction of buildings. No Federal mortgage insurance is available within the area identified as a flood hazard zone. The town could also be held liable by residents and/or businesses unable to obtain flood insurance.

Williams asked if the burden was on the town to prove that the study was faulty.

“Would we have to hire an engineer to challenge the federal government on the study?” He asked. “The maps are vague in showing the flood plain gradients and elevations,” said Williams, adding that this has previously been pointed out to the agency, and that no one has ever come to Odessa to check out the town’s complaint or to verify the accuracy of the study.


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