• Speaking to the Aviation Committee of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce, City Airports Commissioner Louis Ritter made a plea for Jacksonville's business community to support construction of a new airport.
He said building a new airport would be cheaper in the long run than rehabilitating Imeson Airport and would provide safety factors that were being "pushed to their limit" at Imeson.
City Auditor John Hollister Jr. and George Carrison, acting as a volunteer financial adviser, presented data on a new airport.
Carrison said that with two key "breaks" in the airport situation, it would be possible for the City to finance a new $21 million airport solely from revenue from the proposed new facility.
One factor was possible financial aid from the Federal Aviation Agency, which had before it an application from the City for $1.5 million in matching funds. Total anticipated FAA aid through 1967 was nearly $7 million.
The other factor, which Carrison said was strictly a legal question, was whether the City Commission would have the authority to declare Imeson Airport surplus and sell it. Imeson had been appraised at $8 million. The proceeds from the sale could be used to reduce the amount of money the City would have to borrow to build a new airport, Carrison said.
The day after Ritter made his plea, the agency earmarked $2 million in matching funds for the proposed new airport.
• City Attorney William Madison told City Council that as of Sept. 1, Jacksonville's billiard parlors would be co-ed.
Since 1942, it had been a violation of a City ordinance for females and minors to patronize pool halls, but the state Legislature had emancipated female pool shooters.
Madison said the City had no choice but to conform since state law superseded local ordinances.
A bill was introduced to Council to amend the ordinance to allow anyone 21 years of age or older to patronize pool halls. Military personnel under 21 would be allowed in the establishments, as would other minors who had written permission from their parents.
Minors would not be allowed in pool halls where alcohol was served and a minor's permit to shoot pool in a parlor could be revoked by the parent, the business operator or police.
• The Oakwood Volunteer Fire Department was abolished and absorbed by the Arlington, St.Johns Bluff, Southside Estates and Hogan-Spring Glen departments.
Fire coordinator Jerry Kirkland recommended to the County Commission that the Oakwood unit be abolished. He said an investigation showed the change would "give the people in that area better fire protection and save the County at least $6,500 for this coming year."
Abolition of the Oakwood unit left Duval County with 15 active volunteer fire departments.
• Duval Medical Center Executive Director Michael Wood spoke to the Rotary Club of Jacksonville at the Mayflower Hotel. He outlined a concept for a project that could give the city a medical center "as outstanding as any in the country."
Wood displayed renderings of a 500-bed hospital with a receiving hospital and an emergency room.
He said the long-range plan would include a rehabilitation facility, a professional building, a heliport and housing for residents, medical students and interns.
Wood predicted the expanded medical center would cost at least $25 million and could take as long as 15 years to be fully realized.
• A coroner's jury ruled that John Herbert Conner killed his wife because, he said, "she had been spraying nuclear atoms on my bed."
The ruling was a legal formality because Conner already had admitted shooting his wife with a shotgun as she slept.
Conner was being held at the Duval County jail while jurors and Justice of the Peace Dorcas Drake heard testimony regarding the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
An official of the court said Conner was not required under law to be present at the inquest and "we left him in jail because we thought he might go berserk."
Testimony revealed Conner had been in and out of mental hospitals since 1946 and that he was on leave from a Veterans Administration hospital in Augusta, Ga., at the time of the shooting.
State Attorney William Hallowes said a three-member panel of psychiatrists probably would be appointed to determine whether Conner was mentally competent to be held legally responsible for the death.
• City Council was urged to amend milk regulations to allow a reduction of the amount of butterfat in milk sold to consumers without mandating a reduction in the price of the milk.
The bill as written would allow farmers to sell to dairies milk with less butterfat, but the dairies would have to increase the level of butterfat, which would likely result in milk with less butterfat reaching consumers.
Only Grade A pasteurized milk with a butterfat content of 4 percent was allowed to be sold in Jacksonville in 1963. If approved, the proposed change would allow milk distributors to sell milk to consumers with a butterfat content of 3.5 percent.
Spokesmen for the dairy farmers said the change would bring about a price reduction, but distributors said a price reduction could not be expected.
After the farmers' bill was introduced, City Health Officer E.R. Smith said the proposal was not about health, it was about economics. He said milk with as little as 3.5 percent butterfat was a "healthful product."
Jacksonville had the highest butterfat content requirement in the state in 1963, with other cities requiring 3.25 or 3.5 percent butterfat content in milk sold to consumers.
Council President Clyde "Red" Cannon sent the milk bill to committee for public hearings.
A bill sponsored by the Jacksonville Boxing and Wrestling Commission to raise the license fee for wrestlers from $3 to $10 also was deferred. The commission also asked that wrestling referees pay an annual license fee of $15, up from $5.
Another bill sent to committee for review was a proposal to increase the salary of the acting mayor from $30 a day to $35. In 1963, as is the custom now, the Council president serves as acting mayor when the mayor is out of town.
• An 80-foot radio tower was installed on the roof of City Hall along East Bay Street as part of a major revamping of the City's communication system.
The new tower atop the 231-foot building would be used primarily by the City Electric Operations Department, which had to communicate with field crews as far away as Fernandina and Green Cove Springs.
Construction of a 300-foot tower near the City Signal Bureau along First Street in Springfield was rejected as being too costly, said Assistant Signal Bureau Chief Robert Elton.
The new City Hall transmission facility would be more than 300 feet high because a 20-foot antenna was to be placed on top of the tower.
The entire communication system upgrade was budgeted at $200,000, including installation of new radios in 120 City vehicles.
Have you ever wondered what life was like in Jacksonville half a century ago? It was a different era of history, culture and politics but there are often parallels between the kind of stories that made headlines then and today. As interesting as the differences may be, so are the similarities. These are some of the top stories from this week in 1963. The items were compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library's periodical archives by Staff Writer Max Marbut.