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Jax Daily Record Monday, Jun. 13, 201612:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Air pollution was suspected cause of running stockings

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Jacksonville’s female residents were asked to not throw away stockings that developed a run for no apparent reason because Dennis Falgout wanted the holey hosiery.

The request was purely for scientific reasons.

At a meeting of the Duval Air Improvement Authority, acting Director Falgout reported results of research stemming from an incident April 19-20, when women working at the county courthouse discovered their stockings running.

Falgout collected four damaged stockings, which were sent for analysis by what were described as “professional microscopists.”

Their evaluation of the hosiery indicated a “strong inference” the damage was caused by sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere.

However, the report noted the finding was inconclusive, since only four samples were submitted for testing.

More samples were needed, the report said, to pinpoint the precise cause of the runs.

Falgout emphasized he was only interested in stockings that ran for no apparent reason and he didn’t want stockings that had been snagged.

In other business, the authority heard staff reports on complaints involving The Glidden Co., Trumbull Asphalt Co. and Lloyd A. Fry Roofing Co.

It was reported The Glidden Co. planned to install an electrostatic precipitator in its boiler stack to reduce chemical emissions.

“The management of The Glidden Co. is to be commended for the conscientious and responsible manner in which they have sought to eliminate a condition which has been a nuisance to their neighbors,” said George Auchter, authority chairman.

Reports on the Trumbull and Fry firms said the companies’ officials had “replied negatively to our requests to install sampling ports in their stacks and to provide us with other information regarding their chemical processes, although we assured them the information would be kept confidential.”

• An insurance specialist and television news reporters were subpoenaed to appear before the Duval County grand jury as it continued its probe of alleged misconduct in local government.

Summoned to appear were Norm Davis of the WJXT TV-4 news staff and Charles Cook, a former reporter at the station.

Also ordered to appear by Assistant State Attorney William Hallowes was H.W. Donovan, a local insurance expert who was working for the city as a consultant.

One of the charges Circuit Judge Marion Gooding suggested the grand jury should prove or disprove with its investigations was whether the city was wasting public funds by not purchasing insurance coverage through a competitive bid process, which would violate the city’s procurement regulations.

Asked how long the investigation would last, Hallowes said it would be “protracted — several months at least.”

• A U.S. Supreme Court decision restricting police interrogation of suspects and stating a confession could not be used at trial unless a defendant had been told of his right to remain silent was not well-received by city and county law enforcement officials.

“If you are going to play a game where one side has no rules and the other side has very restricted rules, who is going to win?” asked Assistant Chief of Police R.C. Blanton of the Jacksonville Police Department.

“The restrictions placed upon the police officer by the Supreme Court tend to hinder instead of benefit the cause of justice,” he added.

Inspector H.V. Branch of the Jacksonville Detective Division said most of the court’s rulings were not in favor of law-abiding citizens and interfered with an officer’s ability to perform his proper duty.

“That is why it is so difficult to recruit new policemen,” he said.

The position of law enforcement officials was summed up in a statement by Assistant Chief of Police Robert Hobbs.

“We are interested in the protection of society. The only way we can protect society, however, is to solve cases. Many times, there are crimes committed where there are no witnesses or physical evidence. Interrogation is a vital part of such cases and any restrictions placed upon the interrogation of suspects does not only hinder the law enforcement officer, but it also hurts society,” he said.

• A proposal to grant Duval County residents free borrowing privileges at the Jacksonville Public Library was approved by the library’s board of trustees.

The county would pay the library $90,000 for those privileges.

The action followed a letter from the County Commission that confirmed the commission placed the sum into its proposed budget for 1966-67. Jacksonville’s City Council and the Duval County Budget Commission also would have to approve the plan.

Library Director Harry Brinton emphasized the proposal, if approved by all involved agencies, would grant to county residents only free borrowing privileges.

It would not enable the expansion of bookmobile service into the county or the opening of branch libraries outside the city limits.

The $90,000 figure was 15 percent of the library’s operating budget, which the county would contribute for the first year of the expansion of services.

The second year, the county would pay 20 percent of the operations cost and the third year, 30 percent.

“I think it is an important beginning for us and an even more important beginning for them (the county),” said Cecil Bailey, trustee chairman.

• A man wearing a floppy fishing hat held up a branch of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association and walked away with more than $18,000 in cash.

Investigators said the man was so calm when he left the branch in the crowded Cedar Hills Shopping Center he attracted virtually no attention.

A witness said he saw a man leave the savings and loan with a paper bag under his arm, but did not realize what had happened.

Three tellers were threatened by the robber, who used a snub-nose handgun.

Everyone in the building was aware there was a robbery in progress when the man, estimated to be in his early 30s, ordered tellers to look away from him and start getting money from their cash drawers.

“That gun and the paper sack were the best withdrawal slips I ever saw,” said one of the tellers.

The man was described as tall and slender with a fair complexion. He was smooth shaven but had a small mustache painted on his lip.

He wore a brown plaid shirt and the fishing hat with the brim pulled down over his head.

Police officers and FBI agents began combing the county hoping to find some clue to the bandit’s identity.

• Retirement should be by choice, not by compulsion because of age, said U.S. Rep. Charles Bennett.

The congressman from Jacksonville shared his opinion during his address at the president’s breakfast at the ninth annual biennial convention of the National Association of Retired Civil Employees at the George Washington Hotel.

Bennett said many senior citizens had no desire to retire from work and for many, Social Security and retirement benefits were no substitute for a paycheck.

“We are beginning to make major breakthroughs on a federal, state and local level in helping senior citizens to live full and constructive lives and to keep them in the mainstream of American life,” he said.

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