The Year in Review
Last updated 2/5/2019 at 12:58am
The 48th annual Deutschesfest arrived, and Odessa rolled out the welcome mat to the many friends, family members, former residents, long-time repeat visitors and first-timers to the town’s celebration of its founding by many German-speaking immigrants at the turn of the 20th Century.
As the cost of operating a business has risen in many areas, including wages, postage, paper products and software licenses, The Odessa Record had to raise its subscription and advertising prices. Notice was given that a general increase would be forthcoming by the beginning of November.
The complete results of the Lincoln County Fair were published in The Record, and many Odessa residents were among those winning ribbons and prizes.
Results of this year’s Fest, according to Chamber of Commerce treasurer Larissa Zeiler, were slightly better than last year judging by the numbers alone. Some bills are still outstanding, although Zeiler did her best to estimate what they might be. Some minor sources of revenue had also not yet been turned in.
The estimated net income for Fest 2018 thus stands at approximately $7,500, down considerably from 2012’s $27,000 record high for the new century. The record low for the past seven years occurred in 2017 when the net income was $5,500. So Chamber president Zach Schafer said he was hopeful that this year marks the beginning of an upward trend in Fest revenue.
The once very active group of senior citizens known as the Primetimers voted to disband their organization. The group that once held regular bingo nights and supported various other activities for its members and their friends and families saw attendance at its regular meetings dwindle to only three or four people out of the 28 listed on its roster.
The group’s bank account was closed and its money was donated to the Old Town Hall Rejuvenation Society. The group’s documents were stored at the Old Town Hall in the event that a future group of seniors might want to reactivate the organization.
Although the Primetimers will no longer be organizing social events, those who have remained active in it will continue to enjoy one another’s company during the Senior Meals that will continue to be served at the Old Town Hall each Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, as the meal program is sponsored by a different organization.
Odessa resident Mark Allen was served with search warrants at his home and an out-of-town area in which were stored cars, recreational vehicles and scrap metal. A very large police presence was on hand to serve the warrants, provide traffic control and conduct the searches. Ultimately, Allen was arrested by Odessa police chief Tom Clark on a charge of possession of methamphetamine, according to Lincoln County Undersheriff Kelly Watkins.
Law enforcement personnel from Adams County, Lincoln County and Odessa Police Chief Tom Clark were all on hand. The largest contingent of seven to 10 vehicles was from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, which had arrested Allen in Adams County within the past two weeks and charged him with possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of methamphetamine and possession of a loaded weapon in his vehicle, with other charges also pending, Watkins said.
Odessa Memorial Healthcare Center is in the process of hiring three new primary care and hospital providers, following the resignation of two full-time staff, Rich Ervin and Debbie Fogg. Their decisions were separate, but they both agreed to stay in their current positions until November.
The Odessa Town Council meeting brought out a relatively large crowd of townspeople to debate once again the issue of farm animals in town. The current town ordinance states that no farm animals are allowed within the town limits. Those seeking waivers or perhaps rezoning or some kind of temporary accommodation were mainly school-aged youngsters in FFA and 4-H wanting to raise hogs or other animals for their agricultural classes and projects.
Until fairly recently, town kids have been allowed by friendly farmers and ranchers to house their livestock on properties not too far out of town. Given the lawsuit happy state of our society today, however, it would seem that no one is willing any longer to take the risk that someone else’s child might get hurt on their property. Places that used to be available to town kids no longer are.
The community center was decorated in a black and white Tiger theme. Even the dessert bar, where community members outdid themselves baking and purchasing sports-themed desserts for attendees to enjoy, followed the same theme.
Four schools from five different towns across the Bi-County joined Odessa for the 9th Annual Bi-County STEM Challenge. Odessa, Wilbur, Creston, Soap Lake and Harrington showed up at Wilbur High School at 9 a.m. to compete in the annual science-like “Junkyard Wars.” Each school brought a team of students to vie against the other schools for the traveling trophy. Team Odessa, consisting of Tori Weishaar, Eric Johnston, Tim DeWulf, Pilot Weishaar and Chloe Winkler, were the winners of the 9th Bi-County STEM Challenge and brought the illustrious Golden Flask Award back home once again!
The Youth Group of the Odessa Community Ministerial Association and the drivers who assisted them collected 2,000 pounds worth of food donations from the community during the recent food drive for the upcoming holiday season. The group gathered in the fellowship hall of the Foursquare Church to organize and unpack the donations which will be gathered into holiday baskets for members of the community who request assistance from the food bank over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
The Odessa Tiger football team completed a perfect season, 14-0, after their win in the Tacoma Dome against Almira-Coulee-Hartline, 63 to 12. ACH was plagued by turnovers. The ball was kept in the Tigers’ hands and made for a record breaking game, with 40 points in the first quarter alone.
Odessa Mayor Bill Crossley confirmed that Officer Bryce Peterson has retired from the Odessa Police Dept. and that police chief Tom Clark was let go for what Crossley described as “the best interests of the town.”
At the next meeting of the Town Council a crowd nearly filled the Odessa Public Library, as citizens were eager to learn as much as possible about the council’s efforts to provide police coverage until two new officers can be hired.
Steps were taken immediately by the mayor to arrange for police coverage, while at the same time the search for two new officers began. A special meeting was called for December 5 for the purpose of approving a temporary contract with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office for added patrols of the Town of Odessa and the surrounding areas. At that meeting the council approved entering into a contract but deferred additional discussion to the December 10 meeting. The shock of losing both Odessa police officers within days of one another and the speed with which an interim contract was created and submitted for approval by the town council did not set well with some Odessa residents, so the meeting was attended by a standing-room-only crowd. Questions were fired at the mayor and council members by several of the spectators, who wanted to know more about why the two officers were so suddenly gone from the department and also about the proposed coverage contract with Lincoln County.