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Remembering a Mojo legend Save $94.55 inside today Coach Gene McCanlies had lasting impact on Permian. >> SPORTS

$6,059 in coupons so far this year with the Odessa American. (not in all areas)

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2013

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Fill the Stocking, help Odessans Empty Stocking Fund goal is $150,000 for Salvation Army BY NATHANIEL MILLER nmiller@oaoa.com

Alicia has never been the kind of person who has asked for help, and thought she never would be. But when tragedy hit her family earlier this year, she had no choice but to seek assistance from somewhere. “I’ve been in a tight, tight place with income, and I didn’t think this year I would be able to give my kids Christmas,” Alicia said. Already a mother of three boys ages 12, 8 and 7 years old, Alicia (not her real name) lost her oldest child in a car accident earlier this year. In addition to her own children, Alicia and her husband also agreed to become the guardians of her brother’s three children — two girls and a boy — after they were

MARK STERKEL|ODESSA AMERICAN

Salvation Army Lt. Joe Contreras gets the red kettle stands ready Wednesday morning at the Salvation Army storage facility. Preparations are also under way for the annual Empty Stocking and Angel Tree drives. removed from their home because of supposed child abuse. Alicia said she wanted her nieces and nephew to stay with family. >> See STOCKING Page 8A

oaoa.com

ABOUT THE EMPTY STOCKING FUND >> The Empty Stocking Fund was created by the Odessa American in 1995 and has raised more than $1.2 million. >> Empty Stocking funds enable the Salvation Army to provide toys and food baskets to needy families in Odessa. >> This year’s goal is $150,000. >> Donors names to the Empty Stocking Fund will be published in the Odessa American daily. Donors may also remain anonymous. >> Donations to the Empty Stocking Fund may be mailed or delivered to the Salvation Army Community Center, 811 E. 10th St., or the Odessa American, 222 E. Fourth St. ZIP codes for both are 79761. >> For information, call the Salvation Army at 3320738.

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M O R E D E A L S T H A N YO U C A N S H A K E A T U R K E Y L EG AT

W E H AV E A W I N N E R DALLAS BOUND >> Odessan Vicki McEwin is the winner of the OA’s Ultimate Cowboys Fan contest.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED >> Several groups and individuals have issued challenges to ring a bell at a Salvation Army kettle this year. See Page 8A.

$1.50

PAG E 9 A

COVERED WITH COLOR FOR A CAUSE

QUICK hit Homeless awareness This week through Nov. 25, Odessa Links will participate in National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week by kicking off the Point in Time donation drive Monday. Donations will be accepted at the Odessa Links, 119 W. Fourth St, Suite 201. Items needed include new blankets, gloves, scarves, long johns, thermal socks, warm hats and winter wear. Other items needed include travel size hair care products, shaving items, soap, deodorant, dental care items, feminine hygiene products and alcohol-free mouthwash. Monetary donations will also be accepted, and checks may be made payable to Odessa Links. Call Odessa Links at 432-582-0099.

ON THE NET >> https://links .communityos.org

ON THE NET >> thecolor run.com Participants of all ages were doused in four different colors as they made their way around the 5K Color Run race Saturday morning around Parks Legado in Odessa. PHOTOS BY EDYTA BLASZCZYK ODESSA AMERICAN

Paint race makes big splash Inaugural Color Run draws more than 2,000

>> FROM STAFF REPORTS

WEATHER

INDEX

BY CHRIS BARTLETT

6D Mostly sunny. BRIDALS Wind west CLASSIFIED 8D at 10 mph CROSSWORD 15A to 20 mph. DEATHS 3B LIFE & TIMES 1D MOVIES 7B 76 OPINION 4-5D 1C 52 SPORTS TELEVISION 6B PAGE 2A

cbartlett@oaoa.com

BUSINESS T O D AY DRILLING REPORT U.S. RIG COUNT NEW MEXICO WIND ENERGY MONTHLY OIL & GAS STATS PERRYMAN COLUMN BBB COLUMN BUILDING PERMITS IT’S GEEK TO ME ORGANIC FUELS

10A 10A 10A 10A 12A 13A 13A 14A 16A

Odessa High School students and Texas Scholars Seleste Salomon, center, and Miranda Gavaldon spray runners Saturday morning with blue dust during The Color Run near Parks Legado.

More than 2,000 people participated in the multicolored mayhem of Odessa’s inaugural Color Run on Saturday morning near the Parks Legado Shopping Center. Color Run Race Coordinator Tyson Green said the organization has 5K events all around the nation throughout the year and

that it is a means of getting people active in a fun way. “It’s a paint race — it’s something a lot of people haven’t done,” Green said as he prepared for the first wave of runners to cross the finish line. “A lot of people, this is their first time running in awhile. It’s not competitive so it’s just something to get people out and having fun.” Green, who has helped with 15 of the events, said

the turnout was good for a town the size of Odessa, but in their bigger cities like St. Louis, the turnouts can be anywhere from 15,000 to 30,000. Cody Clemmer of Odessa said this was his first time to participate in the Color Run and that he definitely plans on attending more in the future. “There’s a good attitude here — it’s a good family, all >> See COLOR RUN Page 8A


8A

ODESSA AMERICAN

LOCAL

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2013

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED

Stocking

Ring-a-ling, the kettles are here Salvation Army looking for volunteers for fundraising

Members of the Odessa High dance and cheer squads will be facing off to see which team can raise the most money for the Salvation Army.

BY NATHANIEL MILLER nmiller@oaoa.com

Other than Rudolph’s shiny red nose, the Salvation Army is about to start setting up the season’s second most famous red item. That’s because the organization will soon place their famous kettles around town as part of their seasonal fundraising effort. Though separate from their larger Empty Stocking Fund drive, the kettles are also a source of income to help the Salvation Army keep its doors open and provide assistance to those in need. Odessa Corps Officer Lt. Joe Contreras said this year, he is looking at setting up kettles in 13 different locations around the city, but has one major problem: he doesn’t have enough volunteers to ring the bells. “We don’t have a lot of people,” Contreras said. The kettle’s origins go back to 1891 when Joseph McFee, a former sailor in England, put out a kettle in San Francisco’s Market Place to collect funds to give a free Christmas meal to the area’s poor. Currently, Contreras said they only have a handful of people who have volunteered to ring the bells throughout the holiday season. When the Salvation Army can’t find anyone to ring the bells, Contreras said they hire part-time workers. How-

RYAN EVON ODESSA AMERICAN

KETTLE CHALLENGES >> Friday: Jay Hendricks and Tatum Hubbard, Music City Mall entrances. Challenge lasts from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. >> Dec 6: Odessa High Showgirls and OHS Cheerleaders, Walmart at 4210 JBS Parkway. Challenge starts at 4 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. >> Dec 7: Downtown Lions Club, Sam’s Club, 4230 JBS Parkway; vs. the Odessa Rotary Club, Walmart, 4210 JBS Parkway. Challenge lasts from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.

HOW TO VOLUNTEER >> For more information about how to volunteer, visit the Odessa Salvation Army at 810 E. 11th St., or call 332-0738. ever, it costs about $500 a week for each paid ringer, and Contreras said they’d rather have the money go toward other services. Contreras said he has also been asking local businesses to sponsor kettles, meaning they would help pay a non-volunteer ringer salary and have their company’s logo on the kettles. So far, he added, only Forrest Tires has agreed to sponsor a kettle. Contreras said he’s also called several local

churches and mailed letters out. Westminster Presbyterian Church has signed up to ring bells on Dec. 3 and Dec. 10. “That’s why volunteers are so huge for us,” Contreras said. In an attempt to bring attention to the Salvation Army’s lack of volunteers, local television personalities for CBS 7 Jay Hendricks and Tatum Hubbard will challenge each other to see who can raise the most money. On Friday, the two anchors will be outside of the main entrances of Music City Mall between noon and 2 p.m. ringing the bells. They are currently trying to recruit people to sign up for their “teams” to ring the bells the rest of the day. OA Editor Laura Dennis and Photo Editor Mark Sterkel will ring for Team Tatum and Team Jay from 10 a.m. to noon Friday. Hendricks, a former board member for the Salvation Army, said he’s served time as a bell ringer in the past and said he had a good turnout when peo-

Color Run >> From Page 1A

age event,” Clemmer said covered in different colors minutes after crossing the finish line. “It definitely brings people together.” Whitney Flippin of Odessa said she participated in the Dallas Color Run in April and the Color Vibe in Midland before participating in Saturday’s event. “I didn’t think there would be this many — it really surprised me this many turned out,” Flippin said. “More people should still check it out because it’s for a good cause.” Flippin said knowing what charity the donation goes to is important to her and is one of the reasons she makes it a point to participate in as many as she can. Though the Color Run organization is for profit, Green said they do make a donation to a specific charity at every city they have an event in. The selected charity for Odessa was the United Way and Executive Director Tom Pursel was out in full force at the event with

EDYTA BLASZCZYK|ODESSA AMERICAN

Participants in The Color Run start the 5K race with a burst of color Saturday morning near Parks Legado. more than 200 volunteers courtesy of the United Way. “We were approached by the Chamber and asked if we would like to be the charity of choice,” Pursel said. “Of course we wanted to volunteer and participate in any way we can.” The United Way, Pursel said, stood to make about $8,000 in donations from the Color Run as their annual fundraising campaign comes to a close. As they found themselves far behind last year’s mark, he said the donation would greatly help the 22 organi-

zations the United Way serves. Cost to participate in the event was a pre-registration fee of $40 per individual and $35 a person in groups of four or more leading the organization to make at least $70,000 off the event. Green said though the year is winding down as far as events go for the organization, they have already planned to put Odessa back on the calendar for 2014. He did not have a specific date set as of Saturday.

ple knew which location he was at. “I hope it brings people out,” Hendricks said about using his star power to get people to volunteer. Contreras said the news duo aren’t the only ones who have challenged each other, and that the Odessa Lions Club and the Rotary Club have challenged each other to help raise funds while providing volunteers for the kettles. The Odessa High School Showgirls and the OHS cheerleaders will also be having a friendly competition, something Showgirls director Janelle Bell said goes with the team’s mission of community service. “I think it honestly softens their hearts,” Bell said. “Instead of going through their lives thinking about what they’re going through … they think about the more important things like how they can help those less fortunate.” The ultimate goal, Contreras said, is to raise $100,000. “If everyone gave just $1, we would hit our goal, no problem,” Contreras said.

>> From Page 1A

Alicia is also a student at Odessa College, something she said helps keep her mind off the recent death of her daughter. While she said the cost of her degree isn’t that expensive, having to pay for the funeral costs of her daughter and feeding three additional mouths — one of which is 16 months old — is starting to take its toll on the family’s bank account. “They’ve been saying, ‘You know Christmas is almost here,’ ” Alicia said about her children’s conversation to each other. “They say they have to be extra good or they won’t be getting anything.” So for the first time in her life, Alicia said she had to ask for help. Going to the Salvation Army, Alicia applied for assistance through the nonprofit’s Angel Tree program, which features angels hung on a tree assembled in shopping centers and malls. At the same time, the Salvation Army of Odessa will soon be starting up their largest annual fundraiser — the Empty Stocking Fund. The Empty Stocking Fund, originally started by the Odessa American in 1995, goes hand-in-hand with the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. This year’s Empty Stocking Fund goal is $150,000; up from the $105,000 goal set last year. During the Christmas season, the Salvation Army also sets up their red Kettles to raise additional funds. Lt. Monica Contreras, who is coordinating the fundraising efforts of the Salvation Army, said the reason for the goal is because the Odessa community donated $144,442.54 in 2012.

“I think with the way the economy in Odessa is, it’s doable,” Contreras said of this year’s $150,000 goal. The money raised during the fundraiser goes toward more than just providing toys at Christmas; the money is also used to help provide food to those who can’t afford a meal, clothing from the thrift store on West 42nd Street, and to give assistance to those who can’t pay utility bills. “Christmas is about giving … but we can’t do that alone,” Contreras said. In 2012, an anonymous donor pledged to match dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000 during the earlier part of the campaign after the fundraiser stumbled out of the gate. In 2011, another anonymous donation of $50,000 was given to the Salvation Army at the last minute to help them meet their goal. During the month of December, the OA runs daily stories on the front page throughout the campaign to highlight families in need. Contreras said she wasn’t worried about setting the goal much higher than the previous year, saying she has the utmost confidence in the community coming to the aid of the 240 applicants who have applied for assistance during the Christmas season. “Need needs no season (for giving),” Contreras said. “But this is the season we highlight it.” Alicia said in the past, she has donated old clothing to the Salvation Army’s thrift shop. She said she’s been amazed by the communities’ response to giving when it comes to fundraising needs. “The fact people are willing to pull one of those angels off the tree … man oh man, just talking about it, it’s just amazing,” Alicia said.


Home cookin’

Save $89.00 inside today

Falcons knock off Javelinas. >> SPORTS

$6,330 in coupons so far this year with the Odessa American.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2013

QUICK hit Lend a hand this Christmas An Odessa father is left by his wife and now faces Christmas and raising the children alone. Ken, not his real name, is struggling to make ends meet this holiday season. Without some help, Ken and his children won’t have a happy Christmas. This struggling family can have a good meal and gifts under the tree through the Empty Stocking Fund, an annual fundraising effort by the Odessa American and the Salvation Army. Donations will provide food, clothing and toys for needy families in Odessa. This year’s goal is $150,000. Find out how you can help on Page 2A.

(not in all areas)

facebook.com/OdessaAmerican

oaoa.com

twitter.com/OdessaAmerican

21 ECISD schools under watch Independent monitors look to help campuses meet standards BY LINDSAY WEAVER lweaver@oaoa.com

Keeping tabs on the schools around Ector County that did not meet the standards on last spring’s state tests is a group of five monitors, and it is just one angle of support for the 21 schools that are on a serious time crunch to improve. “(They) bring expertise to

the school and help them improve in those areas that fall short and could be that fresh set of eyes,” DeEtta Culbertson, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency, said. She added: “Someone who may have dealt with or has knowledge of the same issues and could bring in new ideas to improve those areas.” The oversight public school

districts in Texas are leveraged under the “Texas Accountability Intervention System.” Better known to educators as PSPs, or professional service providers, these retired educators are tasked with making sure schools are following the rules of their improvement plans when the schools fail to meet the state’s accountability standards. At ECISD, there were 21 schools in 2012-13 that were below standards and now must improve or face consequences. According to TEA, on average 75 to 80 percent of cam-

puses are unacceptable the first year and use PSPs, and usually do not go into a second year of required improvement, Culbertson said. The state began using PSPs in 2004. “I feel good about their role and because none of us know everything,” interim Superintendent Thomas Crowe said. “It’s good to get outside eyes to say you might have missed it here, reworking, asking the tough questions” that people close to the issue may not see. Crowe expects the PSPs to help guide and develop the >> See ECISD Page 2A

>> Heritage Holiday Parade of Lights: www.heritage holiday.org Jonette Severse helps her son Randall staple lights on a portion of the ‘Despicable Me’ themed float made by American Eagle in their warehouse. The float will be in the annual Heritage Parade of Lights on Saturday.

Nicole Caballero, Hays

INDEX

BUSINESS T O D AY HOMEGROWN CHIEF’S APPRAISAL DRILLING REPORT U.S. RIG COUNT BBB COLUMN RESTAURANT REPORT PERRYMAN COLUMN WALL STREET GLANCE IT’S GEEK TO ME

9A 10A 10A 10A 12A 12A 13A 13A 14A

CHRISTMAS KIDS

>> Go to www.oaoa .com and click on this story to download a copy of the campus monitor job description for 2013-14.

ON THE NET

>> www.oaoa.com >> FROM STAFF REPORTS

6D Mostly sunny. BRIDALS Southwest CLASSIFIED 1E wind at CROSSWORD 8D 10 mph. DEATHS 2, 3, 5B ETC. 8D LIFE & TIMES 1D 72 OPINION 4-5D 1C 44 SPORTS TELEVISION 6B PAGE 2A

LEARN MORE

H O P E F L O AT S

ON THE NET

WEATHER

$1.50

EDYTA BLASZCZYK ODESSA AMERICAN

Christmas parade floats taking shape Participants gear up for annual event BY NATHANIEL MILLER nmiller@oaoa.com

This will only be the third time that Erika Benavides has participated in the annual Heritage Holiday Lighted Christmas Parade, but she’s already got an impressive track record. During her first year, the

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and student council sponsor at Richard Milburn Academy said she and the students won third place in the “schools” category. After not entering the following year, Benavides said the school’s second attempt ended up with a sec-

ond place finish in the same category. This year, she’s hoping for history to follow the same trend and end with a first place award. “That’s what we’re hoping for,” Benavides said with a laugh. Even if the school does not win an award, Bena-

vides said what stands out the most for her is the fact that the students are the ones who organize the theme and spend their free time putting the float together. Using an 18-wheeler with a flatbed trailer that is pulled by her husband, Benavides said between 30 and 40 students will come and put the float together before the big parade.

“Getting it all together and seeing the kinds being involved and working together … to me, that’s amazing.” Benavides and all the other entries for this year’s Christmas parade will have until Dec. 7 to get their floats ready before they take to the parade route starting at 6:30 p.m. As usual, the route will >> See PARADE Page 7A

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2013

Ector County’s chief appraiser retiring Colleagues praise McCord for commitments to taxpayers MORE INSIDE

Nayer Rodriguez >> Age: 1. >> Parents: Jose Rodriguez and Melony Cruz. Odessa.

24

days until Christmas

>> Check out McCord’s latest Chief’s Appraisal column.

PAGE 10A

BY JON VANDERLAAN jvanderlaan@oaoa.com

Karen McCord has never met an angry taxpayer she didn’t like. But after 12 years as the chief appraiser in Ector County and 29 years with the Ector County Appraisal District, the woman who prided herself on being available to

the public is now retiring. McCord started off with the City of Odessa before becoming an appraiser with ECAD in 1985, where she eventually rose up to assistant chief appraiser under then-Chief Appraiser Jim Goodwin. When Goodwin suddenly died in 2001, McCord was named as the chief appraiser >> See McCORD Page 7A

Karen McCord laughs as co-worker Stewart McKeehan tells a story during her retirement party Tuesday at Yum Yum’s Cafe & Bakery. RYAN EVON ODESSA AMERICAN


OPINION

PAGE 4D

WWW.OAOA.COM

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2013

IN OUR VIEW

Do Americans prefer deception? Community always comes through THE POINT — Generosity of Odessans needed as Empty Stocking Fund begins Thanksgiving Day.

T

his is the 19th year that this newspaper has teamed with the Odessa Salvation Army to sponsor the Empty Stocking Fund, and we’re going to need a lot of help from generous and helpful groups, businesses and individuals intent on continuing to help the less fortunate in our community. The Empty Stocking, most will remember, was started to enable the Salvation Army to provide toys and food baskets to needy families. Last year, the fund raised more than $140,000 and helped more than 300 Odessa families. And some years, it has been a challenge for Odessans to meet those needs during the holiday period when charitable donations are so much in demand. But since more than $1.2 million has been raised since the program was instituted in 1995, we hope the journey to this year’s goal of $150,000 can be completed in the relatively short time at hand. We have been fortunate that a lot of caring folks have put this cause on their annual schedule, and they are faithful at getting their donations to the Salvation Army in time for these disadvantaged children and families to have something to appreciate about the holidays. We are more than happy to list the names of contributors and any people or causes they choose to honor with their money. But we also understand if they want to do so anonymously and will list the donation as such. We also appreciate businesses and individuals who take the Empty Stocking Fund as their primary charitable donation. The great thing about giving to the Empty Stocking Fund is the fact that even the smallest contribution matters. All of those involved with the effort appreciate the individual donations, but our thankfulness is nothing compared to the gratitude of those who will benefit. And we know from experience that being an Empty Stocking benefactor can provide enormous satisfaction when you realize that you’ve helped provide Christmas for a lot of children who wouldn’t otherwise have anything. For the record, donations to the Empty Stocking Fund may be mailed or delivered to the Salvation Army Community Center, 811 E. 10th St., or the Odessa American, 222 E. Fourth St. ZIP codes for both are 79761. Additional information can be had by calling the Salvation Army at 332-0738. We hope that a lot of thoughtful folks will find a way to get on board with this effort and help make Christmas dreams comes true. Also, it’s not too late to volunteer to become a bell ringer. Students can earn Texas Scholars hours and the Salvation Army welcomes community groups and organizations willing to help ring the bell. There have even be a few challenges this year between local community groups to see who can raise the most while ringing the kettle bells. Call 332-0738.

WILLIAMS WALTER WILLIAMS

>> Williams is an economics professor at George Mason University and is also a syndicated columnist.

FIND OUT MORE >> Visit the official websites for the Social Security Administration and Medicare at www.ssa.gov and www. medicare.gov

There’s more to the deceit and dishonesty about Social Security and Medicare discussed in my recent columns. Congress tells us that one-half (6.2 percent) of the Social Security tax is paid by employees and that the other half is paid by employers, for a total of 12.4 percent. Similarly, we are told that a Medicare tax of 1.45 percent is levied on employees and that another 1.45 percent is levied on employers. The truth of the matter is that the burden of both taxes is borne by employees. In other words, we pay both the employee and the so-called employer share. You say, “Williams, that’s nonsense! Just look at what it says on my pay stub.” OK, let’s look at it. Pretend you are my employer and agree to pay me $50,000 a year, out of which you’re going to send $3,100 to Washington as my share of Social Security tax (6.2 percent of $50,000), as well as $725 for my share of Medicare (1.45 percent of $50,000), a total of $3,825 for the year. To this you must add your half of Social Security and Medicare taxes, which is also $3,825 for the year. Your cost to hire me is $53,825. If it costs you $53,825 a year to hire me, how much value must I produce for it to be profitable for you to keep me? Is it our agreed salary of $50,000 or $53,825? If you said $53,825, you’d be absolutely

right. Then who pays all of the Social Security and Medicare taxes? If you said that I do, you’re right again. The Social Security and Medicare fiction was created because Americans would not be so passive if they knew that the tax they are paying is double what is on their pay stubs — not to mention federal income taxes. The economics specialty that reveals this is known as the incidence of taxation. The burden of a tax is not necessarily borne by the party upon whom it is levied. The Joint Committee on Taxation held that “both the employee’s and employer’s share of the payroll tax is borne by the employee.” The Congressional Budget Office “assumes — as do most economists — that employers’ share of payroll taxes is passed on to employees in the form of lower wages than would otherwise be paid.” Health insurance is not an employer gift, either. It is paid for by employees in the form of lower wages. Another part of Social Security and Medicare deception is that the taxes are officially called FICA, which stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act. First, it’s not an insurance program. More importantly, the word “contribution” implies something voluntary. Its synonyms are alms, benefaction, beneficence, charity, donation and philanthropy.

ACCORDING TO JIMMY MARGULIES

THUMBS UP to those taking time to help the less fortunate this week. >> This represents the opinion of the Odessa American. Email oaletters@ oaoa.com and let us know if you have a thumbs nomination.

L AW M A K E R S FEDERAL OFFICIALS >> U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, Republican of Midland, 2430 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515-0001. Phone 202-225-3605. Fax 202-225-1783. Odessa Office, 411 W. Eighth St., Fifth Floor, Odessa, TX 79761. Phone: 432-331-9667. Fax 432-3326538. Midland Office, 6 Desta Drive, Suite 2000, Midland, TX 79705. Phone 432-687-2390. Fax 432-687-0277. Email: http://conaway.house.gov/Contact/default.aspx. >> U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, Democrat, 431 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515. Phone 202-225-4511. Email: https://gallego.house.gov/contact/email-me. >> U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican, 455 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Suite SDB-40B, Washington, D.C., 20510. Phone 202-2245922. Email: http://www.cruz.senate.gov/contact.cfm.

Politics in a stupor is often better BY RON HART

STATE OFFICIALS >> Rep. Tryon Lewis, Republican of Odessa, District Office, 119 West 4th St., Suite 206, Odessa, TX 79761. Phone 432-332-0937. Fax 432-332-0394. Austin Office, Room E2.318, Capitol Extension, P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768-2910. Phone 512-463-0546. Fax 512463-8067. Email: tryon.lewis@house.state.tx.us. >> Sen. Kel Seliger, Republican of Amarillo, Odessa Office, 4840 E. University, Suite 205, Odessa, TX 79762. Phone 432-5507476. Fax 432-367-0034. Midland Office, 6 Desta Drive, Suite 3360, Midland, TX 79705. Phone 432-620-0436. Fax 432-686-7748. Austin Office, Room E1.606, Capitol Extension, P.O. Box 12068, Austin, Texas 78711. Phone 512-463-0131. Fax 512-475-3733. Email: http:// www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist31/dist31.htm.

To offer your opinion on any issue: WRITE “Public Forum” Odessa American P.O. Box 2952, Odessa, TX 79760

EMAIL To send your comments to the OA via the Internet, address them to oaletters@oaoa.com

FAX: 432-333-7742

WINNER PULITZER PRIZE 1988

“Let peace begin with me”

PATRICK CANTY PUBLISHER LAURA DENNIS EDITOR

This newspaper is dedicated to furnishing information to its readers so they can better promote and preserve their own freedom and encourage others to see its blessings. Only when man is free to control himself and all he produces can he develop to his utmost capabilities. We believe that freedom is a gift from God and not a political grant from anarchy. It is self-control. No more. No less. It must be consistent with the truths expressed in such moral guides as the Coveting Commandment, the Golden Rule and the Declaration of Independence.

Which one of those synonyms comes close to describing how Congress gets Social Security and Medicare money from us? There’s more deceit and dishonesty. In 1950, I was 14 years old and applied for a work permit for an after-school job. One of the requirements was to obtain a Social Security card. In bold letters on my Social Security card, which I still possess, are the words “For Social Security Purposes — Not For Identification.” That’s because earlier Americans feared that their Social Security number would become an identity number. According to the Social Security Administration website, “this legend was removed as part of the design changes for the 18th version of the card, issued beginning in 1972.” That statement assumes we’re idiots. We’re asked to believe that the sole purpose of the removal was for design purposes. Apparently, the fact that our Social Security number had become a major identification tool, to be used in every aspect of our lives, had nothing to do with the SSA’s getting rid of the legend saying “For Social Security Purposes — Not For Identification.” I wonder whether political satirist H.L. Mencken was right when he said, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

HART RON HART

>> A syndicated op-ed humorist, award winning author and TV/radio commentator, you can reach Ron Hart at Ron@Ronald Hart.com, Twitter @RonaldHart or visit RonaldHart .com

“Yes I have smoked crack cocaine … It was probably when I was in one of my drunken stupors …” — a bold admission from Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford, the most straightforward politician in the business of politics today. It’s too bad Chris Farley is not around to play him in the movie. What he is saying is: “Media get it right. I am not a coke head — I am just a pass out/blackout drunk. Nothing to see here, keep moving. What happens in a drunken stupor, stays in a drunken stupor. We all know that. What part of ‘drunken stupor’ don’t you understand?” This is such a toxic political scandal that Obama has already denied knowing anything about it. Clearly Rob Ford, like most politicians, is a camera-craving narcissist. He is one of the few world leaders who feels our NSA does not watch him enough. But he has not harmed anyone except himself. In fact, Mayor Ford’s actions while smoking crack have been less damaging than what Obama has done to us while stone cold sober. Obamacare was a fraud, sold to the American people by lying. It will cost millions of families their health insurance, and others will be forced to pay more if they can get their old insurance back. Bernie Madoff did not damage as many people with his fraud as Obama has. At least Mayor Rob Ford cut costs for taxpayers in his city,

reversing years of overspending. He apparently has gotten some crack cocaine off the streets — and into his body. If Canada had an ill-conceived “war on drugs,” as we do in the U.S., he’d probably fight for Colombia. Ford has issues. But to be fair, after a long day, stuffed into his suit, apologizing, ribbon cutting and presenting visiting movie stars with the Kilo to the City, who wouldn’t like to unwind with some crack cocaine while in a drunken stupor? The mayor admits that his behavior is embarrassing, but no one goes to prison for being an embarrassment. Otherwise, Joe Biden would currently be serving three to five years in jail. Hollywood and the New York media elite do not view cocaine use as much of a problem; rather, it’s more of a networking opportunity. They downplayed accusations that Obama sold cocaine in college. I viewed it as a positive; at least it means he had some business experience. If Obama sold drugs, it’s safe to say it was not via a website he designed. Obama has correctly asked his DOJ to reduce jail time for crack convictions. Federal prisons are filled with minor drug offenders, and Illinois jails are filled with ex-governors. The biggest threat to Mayor Ford’s health is that he overeats. After a long day of apologizing, he devoured 4,000 calories of food in one meal at a local eatery. Even more troubling, the bus boy is missing. Doesn’t crack cocaine make

one thinner? He must cut his cocaine with Canadian bacon. By all accounts, the rotund Rob Ford is a good man to have on your side politically (but not in a small canoe). On Monday, the Toronto City Council stripped Ford of most of his powers. Those are two visually troubling words you don’t like to hear together: Ford and stripped. If you can be accused of crude language, sexual innuendo, pill-popping, drinking at work, and bringing a hooker to an office St. Patrick’s Day party and still cut taxes and fees, then kudos to you. I’d vote for Charlie Sheen if he would balance the budget and reduce the role of government in our lives. Ford’s popularity increased during these scandals. People seem to like candor, lower taxes and fewer regulations. Rob Ford has done a good fiscal job of making government less costly. People will look beyond some boorish personal behavior; in some small way, this explains why Chris Christie is popular. Contrast him with our president, a debonair huckster, a finely tailored empty suit who always blames others. Obama raises taxes, wastes our money and incompetently manages our bloated government. He has already sealed Ford’s fate by telling the people of Toronto, “If you like your mayor, you can keep your mayor — period.” So it’s just a matter of weeks until Ford is replaced with a more expensive mayor of Obama’s choosing that no one likes or wants.


OPINION

PAGE 4D

WWW.OAOA.COM

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2013

IN OUR VIEW

Do Americans prefer deception? Community always comes through THE POINT — Generosity of Odessans needed as Empty Stocking Fund begins Thanksgiving Day.

T

his is the 19th year that this newspaper has teamed with the Odessa Salvation Army to sponsor the Empty Stocking Fund, and we’re going to need a lot of help from generous and helpful groups, businesses and individuals intent on continuing to help the less fortunate in our community. The Empty Stocking, most will remember, was started to enable the Salvation Army to provide toys and food baskets to needy families. Last year, the fund raised more than $140,000 and helped more than 300 Odessa families. And some years, it has been a challenge for Odessans to meet those needs during the holiday period when charitable donations are so much in demand. But since more than $1.2 million has been raised since the program was instituted in 1995, we hope the journey to this year’s goal of $150,000 can be completed in the relatively short time at hand. We have been fortunate that a lot of caring folks have put this cause on their annual schedule, and they are faithful at getting their donations to the Salvation Army in time for these disadvantaged children and families to have something to appreciate about the holidays. We are more than happy to list the names of contributors and any people or causes they choose to honor with their money. But we also understand if they want to do so anonymously and will list the donation as such. We also appreciate businesses and individuals who take the Empty Stocking Fund as their primary charitable donation. The great thing about giving to the Empty Stocking Fund is the fact that even the smallest contribution matters. All of those involved with the effort appreciate the individual donations, but our thankfulness is nothing compared to the gratitude of those who will benefit. And we know from experience that being an Empty Stocking benefactor can provide enormous satisfaction when you realize that you’ve helped provide Christmas for a lot of children who wouldn’t otherwise have anything. For the record, donations to the Empty Stocking Fund may be mailed or delivered to the Salvation Army Community Center, 811 E. 10th St., or the Odessa American, 222 E. Fourth St. ZIP codes for both are 79761. Additional information can be had by calling the Salvation Army at 332-0738. We hope that a lot of thoughtful folks will find a way to get on board with this effort and help make Christmas dreams comes true. Also, it’s not too late to volunteer to become a bell ringer. Students can earn Texas Scholars hours and the Salvation Army welcomes community groups and organizations willing to help ring the bell. There have even be a few challenges this year between local community groups to see who can raise the most while ringing the kettle bells. Call 332-0738.

WILLIAMS WALTER WILLIAMS

>> Williams is an economics professor at George Mason University and is also a syndicated columnist.

FIND OUT MORE >> Visit the official websites for the Social Security Administration and Medicare at www.ssa.gov and www. medicare.gov

There’s more to the deceit and dishonesty about Social Security and Medicare discussed in my recent columns. Congress tells us that one-half (6.2 percent) of the Social Security tax is paid by employees and that the other half is paid by employers, for a total of 12.4 percent. Similarly, we are told that a Medicare tax of 1.45 percent is levied on employees and that another 1.45 percent is levied on employers. The truth of the matter is that the burden of both taxes is borne by employees. In other words, we pay both the employee and the so-called employer share. You say, “Williams, that’s nonsense! Just look at what it says on my pay stub.” OK, let’s look at it. Pretend you are my employer and agree to pay me $50,000 a year, out of which you’re going to send $3,100 to Washington as my share of Social Security tax (6.2 percent of $50,000), as well as $725 for my share of Medicare (1.45 percent of $50,000), a total of $3,825 for the year. To this you must add your half of Social Security and Medicare taxes, which is also $3,825 for the year. Your cost to hire me is $53,825. If it costs you $53,825 a year to hire me, how much value must I produce for it to be profitable for you to keep me? Is it our agreed salary of $50,000 or $53,825? If you said $53,825, you’d be absolutely

right. Then who pays all of the Social Security and Medicare taxes? If you said that I do, you’re right again. The Social Security and Medicare fiction was created because Americans would not be so passive if they knew that the tax they are paying is double what is on their pay stubs — not to mention federal income taxes. The economics specialty that reveals this is known as the incidence of taxation. The burden of a tax is not necessarily borne by the party upon whom it is levied. The Joint Committee on Taxation held that “both the employee’s and employer’s share of the payroll tax is borne by the employee.” The Congressional Budget Office “assumes — as do most economists — that employers’ share of payroll taxes is passed on to employees in the form of lower wages than would otherwise be paid.” Health insurance is not an employer gift, either. It is paid for by employees in the form of lower wages. Another part of Social Security and Medicare deception is that the taxes are officially called FICA, which stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act. First, it’s not an insurance program. More importantly, the word “contribution” implies something voluntary. Its synonyms are alms, benefaction, beneficence, charity, donation and philanthropy.

ACCORDING TO JIMMY MARGULIES

THUMBS UP to those taking time to help the less fortunate this week. >> This represents the opinion of the Odessa American. Email oaletters@ oaoa.com and let us know if you have a thumbs nomination.

L AW M A K E R S FEDERAL OFFICIALS >> U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, Republican of Midland, 2430 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515-0001. Phone 202-225-3605. Fax 202-225-1783. Odessa Office, 411 W. Eighth St., Fifth Floor, Odessa, TX 79761. Phone: 432-331-9667. Fax 432-3326538. Midland Office, 6 Desta Drive, Suite 2000, Midland, TX 79705. Phone 432-687-2390. Fax 432-687-0277. Email: http://conaway.house.gov/Contact/default.aspx. >> U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, Democrat, 431 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515. Phone 202-225-4511. Email: https://gallego.house.gov/contact/email-me. >> U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican, 455 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Suite SDB-40B, Washington, D.C., 20510. Phone 202-2245922. Email: http://www.cruz.senate.gov/contact.cfm.

Politics in a stupor is often better BY RON HART

STATE OFFICIALS >> Rep. Tryon Lewis, Republican of Odessa, District Office, 119 West 4th St., Suite 206, Odessa, TX 79761. Phone 432-332-0937. Fax 432-332-0394. Austin Office, Room E2.318, Capitol Extension, P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768-2910. Phone 512-463-0546. Fax 512463-8067. Email: tryon.lewis@house.state.tx.us. >> Sen. Kel Seliger, Republican of Amarillo, Odessa Office, 4840 E. University, Suite 205, Odessa, TX 79762. Phone 432-5507476. Fax 432-367-0034. Midland Office, 6 Desta Drive, Suite 3360, Midland, TX 79705. Phone 432-620-0436. Fax 432-686-7748. Austin Office, Room E1.606, Capitol Extension, P.O. Box 12068, Austin, Texas 78711. Phone 512-463-0131. Fax 512-475-3733. Email: http:// www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist31/dist31.htm.

To offer your opinion on any issue: WRITE “Public Forum” Odessa American P.O. Box 2952, Odessa, TX 79760

EMAIL To send your comments to the OA via the Internet, address them to oaletters@oaoa.com

FAX: 432-333-7742

WINNER PULITZER PRIZE 1988

“Let peace begin with me”

PATRICK CANTY PUBLISHER LAURA DENNIS EDITOR

This newspaper is dedicated to furnishing information to its readers so they can better promote and preserve their own freedom and encourage others to see its blessings. Only when man is free to control himself and all he produces can he develop to his utmost capabilities. We believe that freedom is a gift from God and not a political grant from anarchy. It is self-control. No more. No less. It must be consistent with the truths expressed in such moral guides as the Coveting Commandment, the Golden Rule and the Declaration of Independence.

Which one of those synonyms comes close to describing how Congress gets Social Security and Medicare money from us? There’s more deceit and dishonesty. In 1950, I was 14 years old and applied for a work permit for an after-school job. One of the requirements was to obtain a Social Security card. In bold letters on my Social Security card, which I still possess, are the words “For Social Security Purposes — Not For Identification.” That’s because earlier Americans feared that their Social Security number would become an identity number. According to the Social Security Administration website, “this legend was removed as part of the design changes for the 18th version of the card, issued beginning in 1972.” That statement assumes we’re idiots. We’re asked to believe that the sole purpose of the removal was for design purposes. Apparently, the fact that our Social Security number had become a major identification tool, to be used in every aspect of our lives, had nothing to do with the SSA’s getting rid of the legend saying “For Social Security Purposes — Not For Identification.” I wonder whether political satirist H.L. Mencken was right when he said, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

HART RON HART

>> A syndicated op-ed humorist, award winning author and TV/radio commentator, you can reach Ron Hart at Ron@Ronald Hart.com, Twitter @RonaldHart or visit RonaldHart .com

“Yes I have smoked crack cocaine … It was probably when I was in one of my drunken stupors …” — a bold admission from Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford, the most straightforward politician in the business of politics today. It’s too bad Chris Farley is not around to play him in the movie. What he is saying is: “Media get it right. I am not a coke head — I am just a pass out/blackout drunk. Nothing to see here, keep moving. What happens in a drunken stupor, stays in a drunken stupor. We all know that. What part of ‘drunken stupor’ don’t you understand?” This is such a toxic political scandal that Obama has already denied knowing anything about it. Clearly Rob Ford, like most politicians, is a camera-craving narcissist. He is one of the few world leaders who feels our NSA does not watch him enough. But he has not harmed anyone except himself. In fact, Mayor Ford’s actions while smoking crack have been less damaging than what Obama has done to us while stone cold sober. Obamacare was a fraud, sold to the American people by lying. It will cost millions of families their health insurance, and others will be forced to pay more if they can get their old insurance back. Bernie Madoff did not damage as many people with his fraud as Obama has. At least Mayor Rob Ford cut costs for taxpayers in his city,

reversing years of overspending. He apparently has gotten some crack cocaine off the streets — and into his body. If Canada had an ill-conceived “war on drugs,” as we do in the U.S., he’d probably fight for Colombia. Ford has issues. But to be fair, after a long day, stuffed into his suit, apologizing, ribbon cutting and presenting visiting movie stars with the Kilo to the City, who wouldn’t like to unwind with some crack cocaine while in a drunken stupor? The mayor admits that his behavior is embarrassing, but no one goes to prison for being an embarrassment. Otherwise, Joe Biden would currently be serving three to five years in jail. Hollywood and the New York media elite do not view cocaine use as much of a problem; rather, it’s more of a networking opportunity. They downplayed accusations that Obama sold cocaine in college. I viewed it as a positive; at least it means he had some business experience. If Obama sold drugs, it’s safe to say it was not via a website he designed. Obama has correctly asked his DOJ to reduce jail time for crack convictions. Federal prisons are filled with minor drug offenders, and Illinois jails are filled with ex-governors. The biggest threat to Mayor Ford’s health is that he overeats. After a long day of apologizing, he devoured 4,000 calories of food in one meal at a local eatery. Even more troubling, the bus boy is missing. Doesn’t crack cocaine make

one thinner? He must cut his cocaine with Canadian bacon. By all accounts, the rotund Rob Ford is a good man to have on your side politically (but not in a small canoe). On Monday, the Toronto City Council stripped Ford of most of his powers. Those are two visually troubling words you don’t like to hear together: Ford and stripped. If you can be accused of crude language, sexual innuendo, pill-popping, drinking at work, and bringing a hooker to an office St. Patrick’s Day party and still cut taxes and fees, then kudos to you. I’d vote for Charlie Sheen if he would balance the budget and reduce the role of government in our lives. Ford’s popularity increased during these scandals. People seem to like candor, lower taxes and fewer regulations. Rob Ford has done a good fiscal job of making government less costly. People will look beyond some boorish personal behavior; in some small way, this explains why Chris Christie is popular. Contrast him with our president, a debonair huckster, a finely tailored empty suit who always blames others. Obama raises taxes, wastes our money and incompetently manages our bloated government. He has already sealed Ford’s fate by telling the people of Toronto, “If you like your mayor, you can keep your mayor — period.” So it’s just a matter of weeks until Ford is replaced with a more expensive mayor of Obama’s choosing that no one likes or wants.


Grandfalls-Royalty STATE CHAMPIONS! Cowboys win 73-28 over Milford. >> SPORTS

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2013

Save >> $122.50 in coupons inside today. $6,672 so far this year with the Odessa American. (not in all areas)

Two killed in West Loop 338 wreck BY COREY PAUL cpaul@oaoa.com

Two people died in Ector County on Saturday afternoon, after two pickups collided in the intersection of West Loop 338 and West Eighth Street. A Ford Ranger was traveling east on West Eighth Street and a Dodge Ram was traveling south on the loop before the collision, which happened at about 4 p.m., according to Trooper Adrian Olivas with the Texas Department of Public Safety, who was investigating at the scene. Olivas’ interview with media was halted by a DPS sergeant and questions were referred to Trooper Elena Viramontes, the DPS spokeswoman in >> See WRECK Page 8A

WEATHER

Sunny. Wind southwest at 5 mph to 10 mph.

58 26

PAGE 2A

INDEX BRIDALS 6D CLASSIFIED 8D CROSSWORD 7D DEATHS 3B, 5B LIFE & TIMES 1D MOVIES 7B OPINION 4-5D SPORTS 1C TELEVISION 6B

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CHRISTMAS NEED AND GIVING BACK

Four children and homeless Not a boom for all; more than 800 ECISD students without permanent home BY LINDSAY WEAVER lweaver@oaoa.com

For a long time, Valerie Reeves was too ashamed to say anything.

From a small table by a window at the Burger King on East 42nd Street where Reeves works, she opened up about her life as her two boys — 7-year-old twins —

climbed on the indoor playground. As the boys laughed and crawled through the plastic tunnels after each other, Reeves broke down.

“They’re typical boys, they run, play in the dirt, eat dirt,” Reeves, 36, said about the boys who attend an Ector County Independent School District school. “But they struggle a lot with not having things, struggle with not having a home. All in all, they’re good kids.” Six months ago, Reeves >> See HOMELESS Page 6A

HOMELESSNESS IN ECISD Year

Number of homeless students ID’d 2010-2011....................................797 2011-2012....................................878 2012-2013 ................................1,001 2013-2014 (through Dec. 11)..820 Location of children Amount Shelters..........................................44 Doubled-up ................................667 Unsheltered ..................................76 Hotel/motel ..................................33 Total ....................................820 >> SOURCE: ECISD, Community Outreach Center

‘When you give a gift’ Odessa Christian Faith Center has Christmas for kids

Dallas Veliz, 6, thanks Pastor Paulette Caywood for her presents during Kidz Christmas at the Odessa Christian Faith Center on Saturday. The church gave presents to about 300 children from Odessa HUD housing sites.

BY COREY PAUL cpaul@oaoa.com

One of the ministers, Elton Emiliano, explained the thinking at Odessa Christian Faith Center, where more than 200 children squealed in anticipation of their Christmas presents. “When you give a gift to someone, you open them up to receive more than just the gift,” Emiliano said. “You open them up to receive your love, your time and the effort you put in.” So before the presents were messages from the >> See GIFT Page 8A

RYAN EVON ODESSA AMERICAN

Empty Stocking needs filling Annual Christmas fundraiser far behind anticipated goal

CHRISTMAS PET

BY CHRIS BARTLETT

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2013

cbartlett@oaoa.com

Despite a roaring economy there is a still a great need for some struggling Odessa families this Christmas season. If more funds aren’t donated to the Empty Stocking Fund this year, some of those families could go without a good holiday meal and small gifts for the children as the program remains almost $130,000 away from the $150,000 goal

needed to provide for more than 300 families. This is the 19th year the Odessa American has partnered with the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program for the Empty Stocking Fund and with less than a week until the 2013 drive ends, the Empty Stocking Fund has raised $22,011. Lt. Monica Contreras with the Salvation Army said she knows that there is tremendous prosperity within the community coupled >> See EMPTY Page 7A

RYAN EVON|ODESSA AMERICAN

Lt. Monica Contreras, left, eyes the arrangement of where toy donations should go as Kim Carpenter organizes recent donations in the Salvation Army warehouse on Friday. The Salvation Army is currently far below its goal for the Empty Stocking Fund that provides toys for children in need.

YOU CAN HELP Scooter >> Age: 10 months. >> Owners: Oscar and Samantha Chavez, Odessa.

10

days until Christmas

>> Struggling Odessa families can get help for Christmas gifts for children and a holiday meal through the Empty Stocking Fund. Donations large and small are appreciated and all funds raised go to help needy Odessa families have a good holiday meal and Christmas gifts for the children. The Empty Stocking Fund is an annual fundraising effort by the Odessa American and the Salvation Army. FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN HELP ON PAGE 2A.


SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2013

LOCAL

Rise >> From Page 6A

if I’m mentally prepared for this.” She said adoption wasn’t an option. “I couldn’t do that after carrying them for so long. I just couldn’t do it,” she said. As hard as she works to save her checks from Burger King to pay for rent, it’s just not enough. “These oil fielders can afford the rent, but where does that leave us? With the regular jobs, you know?” Reeves said. For Reeves — and other homeless people in Permian Basin — it’s touch and go. RYAN EVON|ODESSA AMERICAN

Frank Rodriguez and Lt. Monica Contreras hand toys from the News West 9 toy drive out of a truck to Kim Carpenter and Jackie Ontiveros outside the Salvation Army warehouse on Friday.

Empty >> From Page 1A

with tremendous need and programs like the Angel Tree and Empty Stocking Fun help to supplement those needs and get people in the community back on their feet. Contreras is a self-proclaimed product of the Angel Tree program. “I was young and with a child,” Monica explained. “My husband’s family had been officers (with the Salvation Army) for 46 years and they helped us out. It opened up my eyes—people really did care and I wanted to be a part of that.” She said since then she and her husband have been completely immersed in the Salvation Army and its dedication to help those in need. “We had a family come in just the other day—the father was out of a home,” Contreras said. “He was a single father with two kids and didn’t have butane, out of heat, no food, nothing. We were able to sign them up for Christmas program. We had a client that didn’t have electricity and wasn’t able to cook food. These programs come in and

help those people.” This year a $1,000 donation came from a business owner who chose to keep his name anonymous because “the Bible teaches that the left hand should not know what the right hand is doing” so that the act of giving will be recognized and not the person doing it. The donor said he feels that the Contreras’, Joe and Monica, are doing an amazing job. “There is a need right now,” he said. “The area is enjoying great times economically as a while, but there are people who fall through the whole so to speak. People need a hand up and not a hand.” The donor said he felt that the programs the Salvation Army endorse work to that end. Contreras is worried about where the funds stand today but she hopes

that this year’s Empty Stocking Fund campaign will end on a strong not like the one in 2012. “I know we were down quite a bit last year at this point but I don’t know if it was this low,” Contreras said continuing that the largest donation, $50,000, came in the last week of the 2012 campaign. She wanted people to know that every bit counts and they appreciate any donation that people feel compelled to give. “Many people say they wish they could do more,” Contreras said. “Everyone’s different— some people have $5, some people have thousands of dollars and everyone’s contribution can make a difference; like I said — whether it’s a penny or a fountain of pennies.”

ON THE NET >> www.uss.salvationarmy .org/Odessa

S-O-S In an ECISD school, a homeless child will qualify for a free lunch and other basic needs that extend a bit further such as school supplies, Randolph said. They see “quite a few” families who are dealing with domestic violence on a regular basis so the hope is that a teacher or staffer may have more sympathy for a child, that can make a difference for a child. “While their lives may be in chaos, we want their school life under control. The same teacher, same friends so everything is comfortable,” Randolph said. He praised the benefits of the McKinney Vento Act because, previously without the law, a situation could perpetuate the chaos a child might face at home as they were moved from school to school. Randolph expects the number of homeless children to increase as the school year goes on. The solution for Reeves — as others have experienced after moving to the Permian Basin when they hear about the free-flow of jobs — is to leave. “I wish I could just move

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ODESSA AMERICAN us out of Odessa. We just wouldn’t struggle as bad,” Reeves said. Housing assistance is limited for a single mother of four children with little or no family in town. Her plan is to continue to save for rent, or at least for a hotel, and then get out of town; perhaps to Oklahoma where she has family. “She’s right,” Randolph said about few resources for housing for single mothers like Reeves. “She would be a good candidate for (Family Promise) but most people in that type of situation choose to live with family. There’s a stigma.” The Salvation Army has a men’s and women’s shelter, with one family room, but it was too far of a walk for Reeves to work and to childcare while carrying two infants. “There are resources out there for a family or single mom, but it’s tough no matter what,” Randolph said. “If you look at a person working at Burger King, doesn’t have a car, barely cover the rent, it’s just hard.” The Salvation Army, too, is struggling this year as the annual Empty Stocking Fund is well below the goal to help families this Christmas season. The families who need help never seem to subside. “We had a father displaced by a death in the family with 4- and 5-yearolds. The electricity was shut off for another woman who came in. Those kinds of circumstances, that’s what we’re here for,” Salvation Army Lt. Monica Contreras said. Lodge case worker Kaye Hanks said the stories of those who are willing to help others “really touch your heart.” A woman came in with tears in her eyes because she wanted so badly to buy a toy for the Angel Tree child she selected, Hanks said, but she just

7A

couldn’t afford it. “You see the hearts of people and that’s what the season is about,” Contreras said. A beautiful gesture by a stranger was bestowed on Reeves and her boys not too long ago. They had been walking for a while and came to rest outside Albertsons on Eighth Street. A man named “Steve” asked if he could take Reeves to her home, and if she was OK. She wasn’t. Concerned about her boys’ safety “Steve” took her to a hotel and paid for the family to stay for a week, including a deposit for the microwave so she could make warm meals. “All I could do was cry. Don’t find too many people like that,” Reeves said. Reeves said she believes in God and is determined to not lose her faith, that that will carry her through. Two weeks ago, she went to Jesus House to pass out blankets to people living on the street during the ice storm. “I think God’s going to repay me for helping somebody else. I was fortunate to get someone to get a hotel room. These people weren’t fortunate enough,” Reeves said.


Rivalry hoops

Passing of a pioneer

Odessa High, Permian face off on the court. >> SPORTS

Country music legend Ray Price dies at age 87. >> PAGE 7A

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2013

QUICK hits Open house on Thursday The folks at the the Parker House Ranch Museum, 1118 Maple Ave., want to show off their displays during a Christmas open house. The open house is scheduled 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at the museum.

ON THE NET >> Parker House Ranch Museum information: www.discoverourtown .com/TX/Odessa/Attractions/ parker-house-ranchingheritage-museum/171092.html

facebook.com/OdessaAmerican

ON THE NET >> UTPB Cultural Leadership & Diplomacy: www.utpb.edu/cultural leadership

>> FROM STAFF REPORTS

Four lose lives in weekend accidents BY COREY PAUL cpaul@oaoa.com

Two people died Saturday on West Loop 338. The Texas Department of Public Safety would report the driver of a Ford Ranger failed to stop at a red light, causing the collision that killed him and his passenger. Another man died early Sunday morning, when a DPS trooper reported he

veered into westbound traffic on FM 2020. Hours later, a 27-yearold Odessan died on Farmto-Market 1788 in Midland, according to city spokesperson Sara Higgins. The Midland Police Department was still investigating Monday. And so, as the end of the year approaches, the death toll rose by four on the roads of Midland and Ector

INDEX

CLOSING PRICES

Posted: $94.00 Futures: $97.48 Natural Gas: $4.279 Oil prices rose after new signals that Europe’s economy is on the mend and the ongoing closure of export terminals in Libya. STOCKS 4B

RYAN EVON|ODESSA AMERICAN

Texas State Troopers investigate the scene of a collision between a Dodge Ram and a Ford Ranger at the intersection of the West Loop 338 and 8th Street on Saturday. Both occupants of the Ford were killed in the collision.

MARK STERKEL ODESSA AMERICAN

Veteran gets early Christmas present Family of seven awarded house through non-profit When Emil Busby was overseeing the construction of a new home back in 2012 near Eastridge Road, he had no idea he would be living in it almost a year later.

In fact, Busby, a former staff sergeant with the Army, was building the home with Permian Homes in conjunction with Operation Finally Home, a nonprofit organization that builds free custom homes for wounded veterans. But Busby — saying he’s

honored — added he feels that there are those more deserving of the home than he is. “He talks about, ‘Yeah, I didn’t lose my leg, I still have all my toes and my fingers,’ but sometimes the scars that our veterans suffer are the ones you can’t see,” wife Sunny Busby said. Growing up as a military brat, Emil Busby said he moved to Odessa as a child and later graduated from

Odessa High School in 1999. After graduation, he immediately joined the Army. During his 10 years in the service, Busby said he was a cavalry scout, a position that involves reconnaissance and locating enemy combatants. Busby also said he served three deployments, mostly during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. On several occasions, Busby said, their vehicles

would be blown up by improvised explosive devices. One attack though, was so severe; he said it has left him with a permanent limp. Busby is also undergoing treatment for PostTraumatic Stress Disorder. “We’ve got really good armor, we’ve got really good protection, but a concussion, the kind of concussion you can get from very large explosive devices, it gives you traumatic >> See NEW HOME Page 5A

Generous donor issues charitable challenge Anonymous contributor will match up to $65,000 for Empty Stocking Fund

6A Sunny. Light ATB 5A and variable BLOTTER winds. CLASSIFIED 5B COMICS 9B DEATHS 6A OPINION 4A 65 SPORTS 1B TELEVISION 7A 37 XWORD 9A, 8B PAGE 2A

counties. A request for data about the total number of fatal wrecks in the counties was pending Monday. Midland and Odessa officials reported each city had seen 20 die in wrecks within the city limits. DPS Trooper Adrian Olivas reported those killed in the Ranger on Saturday as Ruben Hinojos Gandara, 62, and Paula Sanchez, 71, both of Odessa. Gandara was driving west on West Eighth Street, ignored the red light at the intersection of West Loop 338 and collided with >> See WRECKS Page 10A

Sunny and Emil Busby sit in the living room of the house that was awarded to them and their children through Operation Finally Home, a nonprofit organization that provides free custombuilt homes to wounded veterans.

nmiller@oaoa.com

WEATHER

75 CENTS

HOME SWEET HOME

BY NATHANIEL MILLER

Mariah Vasquez, Hays

twitter.com/OdessaAmerican

Traffic fatality toll increases

Leadership program A two-week distance learning program is scheduled for March 24 through April 4 through the division of Continuing Education/Outreach at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Students can earn an “executive certificate” in cultural leadership and diplomacy. Registration ends Feb. 28 and the fee is $395 with the reference book included. This will be a unique certificate program, according to UTPB and perhaps, the first of its kind in the United States where the advocacy for cultural leadership are emphasized as an integral element of growing sustainable communities. Write to cultural leadership@utpb.edu or call 432-552-2555 for more information.

oaoa.com

OANEWS@OAOA.COM An anonymous donor has put up a sizable donation for the Empty Stocking Fund, challenging Ector County residents to donate and help the

Salvation Army get all of the promised funds and to help their needy neighbors at the same time. Salvation Army Lt. Joe Contreras said the anonymous donor put up a $65,000 match-

ing donation on Monday, which will match all past and future donations to the fund up to that $65,000 number. So far, the Empty Stocking Fund has raised $36,886, with the final date to collect donations on Friday. This year’s goal of $150,000 seems a bit more in reach with the generous challenge donation.

Contreras said in his six years with this and other Salvation Army locations, he’s never received a donation of this size. “It’s very important. Up till now it’s been looking pretty bleak. Just hasn’t been coming,” Contreras said. “It’s an answer to prayer. We keep >> See DONATION Page 5A

MORE INSIDE >> Find out how you can help families this Christmas season.

PAGE 2A


TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2013

LOCAL

Malnourished boy flown to Lubbock; foul play suspected OANEWS@OAOA.COM Authorities were investigating possible child abuse after Odessa police officers on Saturday reported the discovery of a malnourished 10-year-old boy, who was subsequently flown to a hospital in Lubbock. The Ector County Sheriff’s Office was handling the investigation, said Sgt. Gary Duesler, spokesman for the agency, after police determined the boy and his family lived in the county. Duesler said investigators executed a search warrant

at a home in the 19000 block of South Highway 385 but declined to discuss what that search yielded, citing the ongoing investigation. The incident stemmed from a call made late Saturday morning to Odessa police about a woman threatening her child in Ross Dress for Less, 3887 E. 42nd St., Duesler said. A sales clerk who made the call gave police a license plate number for the van that the family drove away in, Duesler said, and a police officer found and pulled over that vehicle.

At that point, the officer reportedly noticed the boy needed medical attention, Duesler said. The boy was taken to Medical Center Hospital before being moved to Lubbock. The boy reportedly had siblings, and Child Protective Services was notified. Meanwhile, the parents of the boy were arrested on felony theft warrants out of Burleson County, records show. Each was released from the Ector County Detention Center on a $25,000 bond — one on Saturday and the other on Sunday.

BLOTTER The following is a list of felony criminal activities reported to the police. Numbered addresses of locations where crimes occur are rounded to the nearest hundred block:

AG G R AVAT E D A S S AU LT W I T H A D E A D LY WEAPON >> A Midland man reported someone he knew hit him in the face and chest with a pistol, causing minor injuries, and then caused $300 worth of damage to the hood and side of his 2006 Pontiac GTO at about 5 p.m. Saturday in the 3000 block of East Business 20.

someone broke into his home, causing $600 worth of damage to a door at about 2:16 a.m. Saturday in the 1400 block of Keeling Street. >> An Odessa man reported someone entered his home and took $8,000 in cash sometime between 4:20 a.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday in the 3100 block of North Hancock Avenue.

D E A D LY C O N D U C T >> An Odessa man and Odessa woman reported someone shot a gun at their home at about 1 a.m. Saturday in the 2100 block of West Fourth Street. No injuries were reported.

DEBIT CARD ABUSE A S S AU LT ( FA M I LY V I O L E N C E ) >> An Odessa woman reported a family member assaulted and choked her at about 1:40 a.m. Sunday in the 700 block of Purdue Street, causing swelling to her chest. Police reported she appeared in good condition and was not taken to the hospital by ambulance.

BURGLARY OF A BUILDING >> 7-Eleven, 1000 N. Grant Ave., reported someone entered the business, causing about $500 worth of damage to a door, and took an 18-pack of beer worth $22 at about 2:41 a.m. Sunday.

BURGLARY OF A HABITATION >> An Odessa man reported someone entered his home and took a $300 video game console, $839 in cash and a $500 ring sometime between 4 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday in the 1300 block of East 44th Street. >> An Odessa man reported

>> An Odessa man reported someone used his debit card at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday at an undetermined location.

POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE >> A 25-year-old Odessa man was arrested on charges of cocaine possession and felony evading arrest, after police reported finding him with less than one gram of the drug after a foot-chase at about 1:52 a.m. Saturday in the 4000 block of East 42nd Street. Joseph A Galindo, 3806 Walnut Avenue, was listed as being held Monday in the Ector County Detention Center, which also showed a charge on a felony unlawful possession of a firearm warrant and five traffic offenses. Bond on the Saturday felony charges totaled $15,000.

THEFT >> An Odessa man reported someone took his $3,000 travel trailer at about 3:10 p.m. Friday in the 5300 block of Andrews Highway.

>> An Odessa man reported someone took his $7,000 trailer, $150 desk, $150 toy motorcycle and $150 TV stand sometime between 8 a.m. Thursday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the origin block of Hawaii Cove.

UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A VEHICLE >> An Odessa man reported someone took his 2012 Kawasaki motorcycle worth $5,000 sometime between 5 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Sunday in the 1500 block of Castle Road. >> All American ChryslerJeep Dodge, 2510 E. Eighth St., reported someone took a 2013 Dodge Ram worth $49,845 sometime between 4 a.m. and 3 p.m. Friday. >> Accelerated Pump Services, 1460 W. Interstate 20, reported someone took a 2012 Ford F-150 worth $22,725 and 15 brass pumps worth about $3,000 sometime between 8 p.m. Thursday and 6 a.m. Friday. >> An Odessa woman reported someone took her 2008 Toyota Highlander worth an undetermined amount at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday in the 1500 block of Dotsy Avenue. >> An Odessa woman reported someone took her 2011 Nissan Altima worth $17,999 sometime between 10 p.m. Thursday and 10:20 a.m. Friday in the 4800 block of Oakwood Drive. >> An Odessa man reported someone took his 2013 Toyota Tundra worth $42,000 sometime between 12:30 a.m. and 10:25 a.m. Saturday in the 5300 block of North Grandview Avenue. >> An Odessa man reported someone took his 2007 GMC Sierra worth $10,000 at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday in the 3300 block of North Faudree Road.

ODESSA AMERICAN

A GIFT FOR UTPB

Shots fired at home; none injured OANEWS@OAOA.COM

MARK STERKEL|ODESSA AMERICAN

Reneé Henderson Earls, second from right, president of the board for the Education Foundation, discusses the contribution of $40,000 that the Education Foundation is providing to the University of Texas of the Permian Basin for the Education Foundation Scholarship Fund. Also present at the presentation from left are Rodney Hurt, Education Foundation; David Watts, president of UTPB; Earls; and Brooks Landgraf, Education Foundation. A 3:1 challenge grant is tied to the funds making a total of $160,000 in scholarship funds available to ECISD graduates that attend UTPB.

Donation >> From Page 1A

praying and asking God to help us during this time of raising funds.” Contreras said the anonymous donor said it was time to get the fund going, and didn’t say much else about the donation. “I don’t know that he’s throwing down the gauntlet here, but he’s put up a big chunk to see if people can match it,” Contreras said. “Obviously we would really like to see it matched.” Another anonymous $10,000 donation came in Monday as well as several

$1,000 donations. Donations big and small can help needy Odessans. The Empty Stocking Fund was created by the Odessa American in 1995 and has raised more than $1.2 million. Empty Stocking funds enable the Salvation Army to provide toys and food baskets to needy families in Odessa. All money donated goes to Odessa families who have been screened by the Salvation Army for need. See page 2A for more on the donors and on how to give to the fund.

A 65-year-old Odessa man told police Saturday morning that someone fired at his home in 2100 block of West Fourth Street, where he had been asleep inside with his wife, according to a police report. No injuries were reported from the shooting, which was reported at 9:24 a.m. Saturday. Officers confirmed shots were fired at the house, police reported. Cpl. Steve LeSueur, the police spokesman, said there were no suspects and the investigation remained ongoing. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Odessa Police Department at 432333-3355.

ON THE NET >> www.odessapd.com

ON THE NET >> www.oaoa.com

The exciting online bridal announcment and news destination serving West Texas' newly engaged couples. Brides-to-be can register online at WestTexasBrides.com and share their engagement and wedding stories, photos, videos and more. Brides-to-be can choose a print and online package to suit their needs. The print & online package includes your engagement or wedding announcement published in the Life & Times Section of the Sunday Odessa American. Visit WestTexasBrides.com and upload your engagement or wedding story and share it with your family & friends.

5A

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The final game

‘Home for Christmas’

Adams leads Bearcats into championship. >> SPORTS

Odessa Christian Faith Center plans show. >> RELIGION

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2013

QUICK hits A live nativity Witness a live nativity at Second Baptist Church, 711 E. 17th St., with their annual Tableau, a live Nativity scene, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. today, Sunday and Monday and from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Call 337-8381.

ON THE NET >> www.sbcodessa.com

A happy show The Inaugural “Light the Theatre Christmas Show” is scheduled at 8 p.m. today at the Ector Theatre, 500 N. Texas Ave. Tickets are $20 at the door. Call 432-580-0898 for more information.

facebook.com/OdessaAmerican

oaoa.com

twitter.com/OdessaAmerican

Group spreads Christmas joy Salvation Army food, gifts help brighten holiday; Empty Stocking helps 210 families, 650 children BY NATHANIEL MILLER nmiller@oaoa.com

Standing outside the Salvation Army on Friday morning, Aurora Gomez waited patiently for her turn to collect the gifts from the organization. A bus driver with the Ector County Independent School District, Gomez said she is also trying to raise her three grand-

children — ages 12, 10 and 9 — whom she has been looking after for the past three years. Their parents, she said, were no longer in their lives. Along with paying for rent, clothing and groceries, Gomez said she first heard of the Empty Stocking Fund and Angel Tree programs when she approached the Salvation Army earlier in the year to get

assistance for her bills. “I’m very glad there’s someone out here helping us,” Gomez said. “Not all of us work for the oilfields.” During the annual event in which the Salvation Army provides boxes of food and Christmas items purchased through the Angel Tree Program and the Empty Stocking Fund, Lt. Monica Contreras

MORE INSIDE >> See today’s Empty Stocking donation list. | Page 2A with the Salvation Army said she had more than 300 applications, which equaled to more than 800 children helped. In 2012, Contreras reported helping 211 families, which equaled about 650 children. The reason, she said, was because of the exploding population because of the oil boom in the Permian Basin. >> See STOCKING Page 7A

C E L E B R AT I N G T H E K I N G O F K I N G S An aerialist that was brought in from Las Vegas spins in the air while the Celebration Choir sings ‘Come Messiah King’ to Baby Jesus during the opening night of The Permian Basin Christmas Celebration presented by First Baptist Church on Friday in the new Worship Center. The celebration will continue at 7 p.m. today and Sunday.

ON THE NET >> ectortheatre.com

Gifts stolen FORT WORTH Bundles of gifts for eight needy families have been stolen from a Salvation Army warehouse. The bundles filled with items bought by donors from lists hung on Angel Trees were stolen Thursday night. Salvation Army spokesman Pat Patey said eight families hadn’t yet picked up their bundles. >> FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

WEATHER

INDEX

Mostly sunny. CLASSIFIED 1C COMICS 6C Wind southwest DEATHS 5B at 20 mph MOVIES 6B to 30 mph. OPINION 4A RELIGION 1B 58 SPORTS 1D 37 TELEVISION 6B PAGE 2A XWORD 3C, 7C

CLOSING PRICES

Posted: $95.75 Futures: $99.32 Natural Gas: $4.418 The price of oil edged up after the U.S. government said the economy grew at a faster rate. STOCKS 7D

75 CENTS

PHOTOS BY EDYTA BLASZCZYK ODESSA AMERICAN

Right: Curtis Brewer, the Associate Pastor of Worship and Celebrations, sings ‘The Glorias of Christmas’ with the Celebration Choir during the opening night of The Permian Basin Christmas Celebration presented by First Baptist Church on Friday in the new the Worship Center. There were between 250-300 people from the church involved with the production that tells the Christmas story and the birth of Jesus. Far Right: One of the Three Kings walks down the isle to present the baby Jesus with a gift during the song ‘We Three Kings.’

CHRISTMAS PET SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2013

Gift provides rent for homeless mother Prayer group from CrossRoads Fellowship offers to pay rent for mother of four BY LINDSAY WEAVER lweaver@oaoa.com

Stormy >> Owners: Don and Rosemary McNatt.

When nothing seemed to be looking up for Valerie Reeves, who is homeless and a single mother to two sets of twins younger than the age of 7, she was blessed with the kindness of strangers. A prayer group from CrossRoads Fellowship is

paying for six months of rent and bills for Reeves and her four children to live in a home near Permian High School. It’s within walking distance of her job at Burger King on East 42nd Street. A week ago, the Odessa American published a story about Reeves’ plight as she struggles as a single working mother caring for

six-month-old twin babies and 7-year-old twin boys. On Friday morning, the OA checked in with Reeves at Burger King. Her demeanor was vastly different from days ago when she spent an afternoon crying over her children going without necessities and the shame she felt about having children she can’t take care of.

Now, Reeves was smiling and saying “thank you” over and over to those who have helped her. Out of the blue, two men from a men’s prayer group at CrossRoads Fellowship came by Burger King and asked her about her situation, Reeves said. “They said they wanted to help fund a house to lease, pay the rent up to six

4

days until Christmas • Immediate Delivery/No Credit Check • Bunk Beds $169 • Serving West Texas for Over 30 Years • Twin Mattresses $68 • Full Mattresses $99 • Brands such as Ashley, Millenium • Rustic Furniture 50% off & Corsicana • Sofa and Loveseat $599 EVERYTHING IN • Dinette Sets $199 STORE MARKED DOWN

months so I could get back on my feet,” Reeves, 36, said. “I couldn’t do nothing but cry.” She and her children have been homeless since July living in a car for a while until the father of the twin babies took the car, and since then, she’s been at her sister’s home in Odessa. Each year the prayer group, who wish to remain anonymous, helps out a >> See GIFT Page 7A


SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2013

L O C A L & S TAT E

Gift >> From Page 1A

MARK STERKEL|ODESSA AMERICAN

Volunteer Moses Alvarez, right, helps Salvation Army Lt. Joe Contreras assist in loading bicycles for a family that was one of many that had applied for assistance through the Salvation Army/Odessa American Empty Stocking or Angel Tree programs.

Stocking >> From Page 1A

“It just continues to grow,” Contreras said, adding that she was still receiving calls up until Thursday from people asking if they can still apply for the program. Along with Angel Tree, most of the Christmas items provided during the event are paid for through the Empty Stocking Fund, a joint venture between the Salvation Army and Odessa American that started in 1995 and has helped raise more than $1.3 million during the past 18 years. As of Thursday, the Empty Stocking Fund had received $140,566, short of its $150,000 goal. The deadline to donate has been extended to Monday in order to try to hit the $150,000 mark. Last year’s goal was

$105,000 but almost $140,000 was raised. A $20,000 donation by Odessa’s Dickson Process Systems and an anonymous dollar-for-dollar matching donation of $65,000 has helped the fund get closer to its goal. Ben Dickson, one of the owners of Dickson Process Systems, said the company has donated to the Empty Stocking Fund in the past, adding it was important to take care of those in the community who may be struggling because of the economy. “I think the oil and natural gas around generates a lot of jobs, especially right now in this part of the county,” Dickson, a native Odessan, said. “You get a lot of people who make good money and some are still struggling, so it’s im-

portant to take care of your community.” Joe Elizondo said he had a job, but the high cost of living had made it hard to give his three children gifts for the holidays. “I can’t believe how high the rent is,” Elizondo said. “When I get paid, I might have $50 left over.” With twin boys at 9-years-old and another son at age 11, Elizondo said it was “pretty cool” the Salvation Army helps the community. He added that his children weren’t asking for anything specific for Christmas and would be happy with whatever they received. “It definitely makes them happy,” he said.

ON THE NET: >> Salvation Army: www.salvationarmy.org

RETAIL AND CLASSIFIED DISPLAY Publication Date Wednesday, December 25 Thursday, December 26 Friday, December 27

Deadline Monday, December 23 Monday, December 23 Tuesday, December 24

Noon Noon Noon

BASIN SMART SHOPPER Wednesday, January 1, 2014 Tuesday, December 24

5 p.m.

CLASSIFIED LINE ADS DEADLINE Wednesday, December 25 Tuesday, December 24 Thursday, December 26 Tuesday, December 24

9 a.m. Noon

family, a member of the group said on Friday. So after one member read the story in last Sunday’s edition of the OA, they decided they wanted to meet Reeves. “Her story touched our hearts,” the man said. From there, they pitched in to pay for rent and bills ahead of the holidays. “We think this is important that she has a job, she’s working hard. She just needs a lift. She just needs some help,” the man said. “If a person’s willing to help themselves it means a lot … she just needs a little nudge along the way,” he added. On Thursday, Reeves and her boys got a look at their three-bedroom home. “They were super, super excited,” Reeves said about her 7-year-old twin boys who attend elementary school in Ector County Independent School District. That night, another gesture of generosity would

ODESSA AMERICAN

7A

HOMELESS IN ECTOR COUNTY >> ECISD runs the Community Outreach Center, comprised of social workers to help students and families that struggle. Reeves said it was a godsend to get her boys set up to ride the bus and stay in their school. That opportunity actually comes from the McKinney Vento Act, a federal law that guarantees enrollment and stability for homeless children in school. It also provides funding to states to support programs to help homeless students. >> According to Lead ECISD Social Worker Scott Randolph, this year is on pace to account for the highest number ECISD identified homeless (in shelters, on the streets, living in hotels or living with other families). >> This school year, 820 students are identified as homeless, Randolph said, a 25 percent increase from the same time last year. >> Thirty-three children are living in hotels, 44 children live in shelters, 76 are unsheltered (in cars usually) and the majority, 667 children, live in ‘doubled-up’ situations when several families share one residence. come to the Reeves’ family. A 50-person biker group showed up at Reeves’ sister’s home and brought her a crib, baby clothes and two bags of food. “Yes, I cried then too. Most definitely,” Reeves said. Now, the men’s prayer group is working as hard

and fast as they can to get Reeves, her babies and her boys in the home this weekend. “So they can enjoy Christmas with a roof over their heads,” he said.

ON THE NET >> ectorcountyisd.org

Forecasters warn of significant icing along I-44 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NORMAN, OKLA. The Storm Prediction Center says icing could occur in the next few hours from northwestern Texas across central Oklahoma and into Missouri, but that warm ground temperatures could diminish part of the threat. An interstate ramp at Okla-

homa City was closed for 35 minutes Friday night. Freezing rain rates of greater than one-tenth-ofan-inch per hour could occur along the I-44 corridor, including Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Joplin from Friday night into Saturday morning. The greatest ice accumulations are expected on

elevated surfaces, given that the past few days have been nice and the ground is still warm. Oklahoma highway officials said Friday evening that the ramp from eastbound Interstate 40 onto northbound I-35 just east of Oklahoma City was closed for more than a half-hour due to icing.


OPINION

PAGE 4A

WWW.OAOA.COM

OUR VIEW

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2013

ACCORDING TO GLENN FODEN

Generosity is heartwarming THE POINT — Thanks to you, our Empty Stocking Fund is a success again this year.

W

e know that many Odessa families do not benefit from our robust economy. The working poor needed a boost this year and Odessans stepped up just as they always do. Every year, Odessans amaze us with their generosity to those less fortunate in our community. The generosity shown this year to the Salvation Army and Odessa American Empty Stocking Fund is just amazing. As of today, the Empty Stocking held a whopping $145,616 — just about $4,500 less than the $150,000 goal for this year. The Empty Stocking Fund is a joint project of the Salvation Army and the Odessa American to raise funds for a Christmas meal and holiday toys for children. This partnership goes back to 1995 and, with this year’s donations, has raised more than $1.35 million to help those who are struggling in Odessa. In all, Lt. Monica Contreras said the organization was helping about 650 kids and 211 families. Boxes of food were also being handed out that contained bread, canned goods and turkey vouchers for families to claim before Dec. 31. Every single donation is much appreciated. There were many anonymous donors and many businesses who shared their own good fortune with others. An anonymous donor issued a challenge. The donor agreed to match every donation dollar for dollar up to $65,000. That donation and many others helped propel the fund. On Friday, the Salvation Army was able to spread both the word and good cheer to those who came to pick up their food baskets and gifts. Hundreds of happy families walked away with food and gifts. The happiness of the occasion was evident on the faces of those participating. Thank you to the businesses that donated and to the Odessans who shared their good fortunes with others this Christmas season. We knew we could count on you. Merry Christmas to each and every one of you.

ACCORDING TO JIMMY MARGULIES

L AW M A K E R S FEDERAL OFFICIALS >> U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, Republican of Midland, 2430 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515-0001. Phone 202-225-3605. Fax 202-225-1783. Odessa Office, 411 W. Eighth St., Fifth Floor, Odessa, TX 79761. Phone: 432-331-9667. Fax 432-3326538. Midland Office, 6 Desta Drive, Suite 2000, Midland, TX 79705. Phone 432-687-2390. Fax 432-687-0277. Email: http://conaway.house.gov/Contact/default.aspx. >> U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, Republican of Lubbock, 1424 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515. Phone 202-225-4005 or 888-763-1611. Fax 202-225-9615. Email: http://www.randy.house.gov/. >> U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, Democrat, 431 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515. Phone 202-225-4511. Email: https://gallego.house.gov/contact/email-me. >> U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, Republican, 517 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20510-4304. Phone 202-224-2934. Fax 202-228-2856. Email: http://www.cornyn.senate.gov/ public/index.cfm?p=ContactForm. >> U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican, 455 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Suite SDB-40B, Washington, D.C., 20510. Phone 202-2245922. Email: http://www.cruz.senate.gov/contact.cfm.

GUEST VIEW

STATE OFFICIALS >> Rep. Tryon Lewis, Republican of Odessa, District Office, 119 West 4th St., Suite 206, Odessa, TX 79761. Phone 432-332-0937. Fax 432-332-0394. Austin Office, Room E2.318, Capitol Extension, P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768-2910. Phone 512-463-0546. Fax 512463-8067. Email: tryon.lewis@house.state.tx.us. >> Rep. Tom Craddick, Republican of Midland, District Office, 500 West Texas, Suite 880, Midland, TX 79701. Phone 432-6823000. Fax 432-684-4864. Austin Office, Room CAP 1W.09, Capitol, P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768-2910. Phone 512-463-0500. Fax 512463-7722. Email: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/memberpage/email/?district=82&session=83. >> Sen. Kel Seliger, Republican of Amarillo, Odessa Office, 4840 E. University, Suite 205, Odessa, TX 79762. Phone 432-5507476. Fax 432-367-0034. Midland Office, 6 Desta Drive, Suite 3360, Midland, TX 79705. Phone 432-620-0436. Fax 432-686-7748. Austin Office, Room E1.606, Capitol Extension, P.O. Box 12068, Austin, Texas 78711. Phone 512-463-0131. Fax 512-475-3733. Email: http:// www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist31/dist31.htm. >> Sen. Carlos Uresti, Democrat of San Antonio, Austin Office, P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Station, Austin, Texas 78711. Phone 512-463-0119. Fax 512-463-1017. Email: http://www.senate.state.tx .us/75r/senate/members/dist19/dist19.htm.

To offer your opinion on any issue: WRITE “Public Forum” Odessa American P.O. Box 2952, Odessa, TX 79760

EMAIL To send your comments to the OA via the Internet, address them to oaletters@oaoa.com

FAX: 432-333-7742

WINNER PULITZER PRIZE 1988

“Let peace begin with me”

PATRICK CANTY PUBLISHER LAURA DENNIS EDITOR

This newspaper is dedicated to furnishing information to its readers so they can better promote and preserve their own freedom and encourage others to see its blessings. Only when man is free to control himself and all he produces can he develop to his utmost capabilities. We believe that freedom is a gift from God and not a political grant from anarchy. It is self-control. No more. No less. It must be consistent with the truths expressed in such moral guides as the Coveting Commandment, the Golden Rule and the Declaration of Independence.

Attending college is not enough There are many students who want to go to college but simply aren’t ready academically. At the community college level, about 10 percent of the students would be better off in adult basic education.

BY JOHN BASS Texas has made great strides in terms of getting more students of all backgrounds beginning the path to a higher education in our community colleges and four-year institutions. We are seeing record enrollment year in and year out, and that is something to be proud of. The other end of the higher education story is far more disheartening. While we are getting more and more students in, we are not doing enough to get them out with a degree or certificate. Try as we might, we simply are not seeing an increase in college completion rates. That is unacceptable for a student to put their time, money and effort into an education and then not walk across the stage with a meaningful degree at the end of the process. This lack of higher education completion could be deadly to our economy. Today, only around 30 percent of Texas 25-to 35-year-olds have some kind of degree or certificate. That is 10 percent lower than the national average. Listen to this statistic. According to the Higher Education Coordinating Board out of 100 8th graders, only 12 will have a college degree or post-secondary certificate in 10 years. We must make changes that will help students navigate through college at a price both they and their parents can afford and in a time frame that will put them into the workforce. Complete College America calls these ideas “game changers.” I call them common sense. Our Legislature this session put part of one of the recommendations in place, tying 10 percent of community college funding to increasing completion rates. We support expanding that to every state funded college and university. Money is a great motivator for getting change and results. There are many students who want to

go to college but simply aren’t ready academically. At the community college level, about 10 percent of the students would be better off in adult basic education, and at the four-year schools, some students should get remediation from a community college before entering the four-year university setting. We must also consider changing remediation so students can use those skills immediately to pass courses that count toward graduation. For instance, allowing them to take a remedial algebra course at the same time they take college algebra. When a student enters a situation that they are not ready for, more times than not that leads to failure. Students are not finishing college on time. I believe we need to redefine what it means to be a full-time student. For many degrees it takes 15 credit hours per semester to get a degree in four years. Currently, to be considered a full-time student it only takes 12 credit hours per semester. Do you see the problem? The number of hours it takes to earn a degree should be what we consider full time. More scheduling flexibility would help students who work be able to group their classes into a time block and group their work into another time block and ensure they would have some time left to study and rest. That would be a great help to students, who are working their way through school, maintain a full time class load. Keeping students on a so-called “guided pathway,” setting out a clear roadmap with clear goals that end in a degree, will also mean more success. If Texas is to maintain a competitive workforce in the 21st century, we simply must to better. I know we can. John Bass is chairman of the board of the Texas Association of Business.

THUMBS UP to the Dallas Cowboys for keeping their playoff hopes alive with a comeback victory over the Washington Redskins. >> This represents the opinion of the Odessa American, but we welcome ideas for both positive and negative comments on current topics. Just email oaletters@ oaoa.com and indicate you have a thumbs nomination.


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