The Odessa Record -



October 31, 2019

In response to Traig Weishaar’s letter to the editor this week, we would like to call attention to our original reporting on May 23, 2019, in which we covered the presentation by the HempTech Consulting, Inc. team to the Odessa Economic Development Authority on May 21, 2019. The five team members mentioned then and again in last week’s article concerning the most recent OPDA meeting were identified in a full-color pamphlet distributed to the attendees at the May meeting.

If the information taken directly from the pamphlet provided at the May 21 meeting was indeed “untrue and misleading,” it is puzzling that our reporting in May produced no objections from any of the parties mentioned.

The figure of 150 acres was also mentioned in that pamphlet and repeated during the presentation: “[Weishaar] is preparing 150 acres for the successful growth of our crops commencing in the months of June and July.” Admittedly, such “preparation” and what was actually planted may have ultimately involved very different acreage. We agree that direct contact with the people involved would have been the better approach to the story we ran last week, especially since so much time has gone by since May.

We walk a fine line here at The Record, attempting to bring the news in a timely manner while also meeting each week’s relentless deadline. We will redouble our efforts to reach out to people for the very latest information available. We regret any discomfort our reporting may have caused the Weishaar family.

This past month’s town council meetings were handled rather quickly, and both adjourned in well under an hour. On October 14, a public hearing was held regarding closeout of the General Sewer Plan Design completed through a Community Development Block Grant. Steve Nelson of CenturyWest Engineering in Spokane answered questions about the sewer plan and also reported that phase two of the water-main installation and repaving work at various points throughout the town has been completed following a final walk-through by the engineer and public works director Rod Webster.

The council approved an ordinance regarding improvement of Seventh Avenue, a street that existed in name only until very recently. With the purchase of several lots on the south hill and the expressed intention of the new landowners to build a home on two of the lots, a water main to the property had to be installed under said Seventh Ave. Rather than build a complete paved road to the tune of $300,000, the council, after consultation with town attorney Mark DeWulf and citizens residing in neighboring properties, opted to adopt Ordinance #707 allowing an exception to street construction standards for Seventh Ave. As a result, Seventh Ave. will be graded and graveled in accordance with the definitions of an alley.

Fire chief Don Strebeck reported that open burning was being allowed until the end of October.

Town Marshal Brent Dell said citations have been sent to property owners in violation of the nuisance ordinance of the Town of Odessa. Dell also said a violent-incident drill was being planned, with participation by the police, fire fighters, EMTs and other first responders. The Marshal’s Office is also searching online for a replacement police cruiser for the Crown Victoria.

Mayor Bill Crossley reported that a new furnace was being installed in the community center to replace the furnace that failed recently. He also announced that Kelly Reyes of Odessa has been hired as the new deputy clerk following April Strebeck’s departure to a different job.

The October 28 meeting was preceded by a public hearing on the preliminary 2020 budget for the town:

General $ 536,362

Cemetery $ 35,632

Streets $ 796,910

Hotel/Motel $ 1,500

Cum. Reserve $ 7,000

Water $1,003,160

Solid Waste $ 237,951

Sewer $ 455,000

State remit $ 100

Total $ 3,073,615

There was no public comment during the hearing.

The council adopted a resolution to raise water rates due to inflation. It also set public hearings for revenue sources and the property tax levy, as well as for the final budget at the November 12 meeting, and a 2019 budget amendment hearing for the December 9 meeting.

Marshal Dell reported 10 traffic citations, three dog complaints, three medical-assist calls, one ID fraud case and three threats of suicide. He urged those present to be aware of others dealing with depression or mental health issues and providing a shoulder to lean on if needed.

Dell continues to seek a suitable replacement for the Crown Vic.

Webster reported getting leads on grant money available for adding new cemetery plots at a meeting he attended.

Crossley said he met with the FBLA students at school about civic needs they might be able to help the town with, including additional refurbishing of the Old Town Hall, repair and maintenance of the swimming pool and upkeep of the cemetery. He had proposed to the group an “Adopt a Grave” program to trim up the grass around headstones for family members no longer residing in Odessa or to assist those who may be too elderly or infirm to do such physical work.


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