• Jacksonville Port Authority members approved a resolution in support of a recommendation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deepen the St. Johns River channel to 42 feet from the mouth of the river to Trout River and requested further studies on the feasibility of extending the deepening project all the way to the Main Street Bridge.
F.P. Conroy, the authority's attorney, said a hearing had been scheduled for Sept. 25 in Circuit Court on the authority's petition to validate the first $1.54 million of revenue certificates to finance improvements to port facilities.
The authority also instructed George Register of Register and Cummings, engineers for the Blount Island project, to negotiate with Kaiser Gypsum Co. regarding proper placement of dredging spoilage on the island during construction of the company's new plant near Dames Point.
Register said Kaiser was nearly ready to award the dredging contract and there would be 100,000 yards of spoilage.
Authority members were touring other Florida ports and one thing was clear, said authority member Frank Peterson.
"We have a long way to go in catching up with them but I am not dismayed," he said.
Authority member J. Dillon Kennedy said the primary difference between Duval County's new port authority and the agencies visited was that they were receiving state grants and were not limited to borrowing for expansion and improvements.
Members agreed that with 16-19 ports already in operation, it would be years before Duval County would receive funds in view of Florida's tax structure.
"We can't borrow the kind of money they will be given, but with our natural assets, particularly Blount Island, the Jacksonville port will lend itself to becoming a larger and more successful port than any we visited," said Peterson.
• Jacksonville Public Library trustees urged an increase of $106,137 in the city's 1964 budget for library operations.
Library board Chairman Cecil F. Bailey told City Council members a transfer of $15,000 was needed to balance the library's 1963 budget.
He reminded the council that $45,000 had been borrowed from library operating accounts to make up deficiencies the city salary account and only $30,000 had been paid back.
Bailey said the library electric bill was two months past due and other accounts for supplies were so short that no supplies could be ordered.
The proposed 1964 budget for public libraries included nine new positions, one of them for a business manager.
Bailey told council members that salaries paid for professional library positions in Jacksonville were as much as $800 below the national average.
He said since 1958, circulation had increased 48 percent and the cost of books had risen 20 percent. With increased circulation, an increase in activity at branch libraries and material and salary costs, the library needed a larger appropriation for 1964, Bailey said.
• Hemming Park's checker players were put in the shade when the first of several canopies planned for the park was installed.
Due to a severe winter in 1962-63 and constant damage from birds, many trees in the park had died and the city park department removed them.
The tree removal raised a storm among checker players and park visitors who complained about the lack of shade.
• Kirby McDonald, executive director of the Jacksonville-Duval County Safety Council since 1962, submitted his resignation to take another job.
He told directors of the council that he was to be an investigator for Duval County's new public defender on Oct. 1.
A veteran of police work, McDonald retired as a captain in the traffic division of the Jacksonville Police Department in 1962, shortly before taking on the top executive position with the council.
• The Board of County Commissioners voted to investigate what powers it had to screen the character and motives of people acquiring liquor licenses in Duval County.
On a motion by Commissioner Bob Harris, the board directed County Attorney J. Henry Blount (for whom Blount Island was named) to check into the matter and report to the board.
"I have been getting complaints from residents of the county relating to the type and character of people who have been buying liquor stores in the county and it might well be that where there is smoke, there's fire," said Harris.
Blount said after the board meeting that the existing law empowered the State Beverage Department to pass on transfers of liquor licenses.
• William McCoy, assistant to the Jacksonville University dean of faculty, said the school would offer in the fall 13 non-credit short courses with a schedule of one meeting per week for eight weeks.
There was no age limit and courses were open to the public. No examinations would be given, but certificates of completion would be awarded.
Courses would be offered in music appreciation, effective speaking, committee dynamics for club leaders and members, creative writing, modern social problems, law for the layman, humanities, basic design and drawing, basic veterinary science, the novel, local gardening and horticulture, the short story and tragedy.
• An Army-Navy explosive ordinance disposal team from Cecil Field Naval Air Station removed the detonator from a Navy practice mine that drifted onto the beach south of Ponte Vedra.
Lt. Winfred Hampton, Jacksonville Naval Air Station information officer, said the only explosive in the mine was a small charge in the detonator and its removal made the mine safe. He said the disposal team from the Cecil Field-Yellow Water Naval Magazine found the letters and numerals "South Carolina, October 1960" and a serial number on the mine casing.
Although the mine was a relatively harmless practice type, Hampton warned the public to stay away from such objects until they contacted authorities because the next one could be extremely dangerous.
His remarks were prompted by reports that several spectators tried to peel barnacles off the mine before the disposal team arrived.
The mine was found on the beach a mile south of the Ponte Vedra Store, a former World War II Coast Guard station, and about 7 miles north of St. Augustine.
• Food Fair grocery store clerks were back to work after voting to accept a three-year contract that provided wage increases, reduction in hours and increased health and welfare benefits.
The settlement ended a 23-day walkout.
John R. Pendergrass, international representative of the Retail Clerks International Association, said members of Jacksonville Local 441 approved the contract by a vote of 96-30.
The contract called for across-the-board wage increases of 10 to 30 cents per hour and gradual work week reductions from 42.5 hours to 40 hours.
Pendergrass said more than 400 union clerks would return to work at 30 regional Food Fair stores affected by the walkout.
The strike began Aug. 23 after initial talks broke down. The Food Fair stores remained open during the strike despite pickets.
• The governing board of the Garden Club of Jacksonville adopted a resolution requesting the City Commission budget funds to create a park around Treaty Oak on the Southbank.
The tree and the property around it were purchased by the duPont family to save the tree from being cut down in the 1930s.
The property purchased was bounded by South Main, Alvarez and Flagler streets and Miami Road.
The City Advisory Planning Board was concerned about the future of the tree after it learned a developer wanted to build a nine-story apartment building near the 800-year-old live oak.
The Garden Club's board asked the commission to acquire more land around the tree and to demolish a nearby skating rink.
In addition, the club asked the planning board to deny rezoning of the land around the tree to prevent the apartment development.
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.