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It is now the Jacksonville Port Authority's Talleyrand Marine Terminal, but Jacksonville's original international ocean freight facility was the Talleyrand Docks and Terminals, above. The first contract for a major upgrade of the port was awarded this...
Jax Daily Record Monday, Jul. 11, 201612:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Grand jury investigation of city purchasing continues

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

The Duval County grand jury continued its investigation of city government practices with a new focus on purchases made by the Recreation Department and by some officials and employees and their wives.

The purchases were made at Harry Finkelstein Co. at 633 W. Bay St., which specialized in sporting goods.

One subpoena directed a store employee to appear before the grand jury and bring records related to purchases of TVs, appliances, watches and jewelry.

Nine witnesses were summoned in the investigation of city purchasing practices, which was ordered by Circuit Judge Marion Gooding.

• Jacksonville-based Wood-Hopkins Construction Co. was awarded a $2.3 million contract — about $500,000 below the estimate for the work — to begin the $15 million renovation of Talleyrand Docks and Terminals.

Although a $1.9 million bid from a St. Petersburg firm was the lowest of six submitted, the Jacksonville Port Authority rejected it on the grounds the bid did not conform to advertised bid specifications.

• A proposal to increase Jacksonville bus transfers by 7 cents and weekly commuter passes by 55 cents was being asked by the Jacksonville Coach Co., a private firm that operated local mass transit, to City Council.

Cost of a transfer would go from 5 cents to 12 cents and the weekly pass would go up from $3.95 to $4.50 under a bill introduced by the Public Service and Motor Transportation Committee.

Rising costs for labor and bus equipment made the increase vital, said company officials.

“We desperately need a rate increase and we take this step reluctantly, knowing there will be some opposition from customers,” said Charles Hornbuckle, coach company vice president of finance.

He said he hoped the fare hikes would be authorized at the council’s next meeting.

• Owners of The Seminole Club along Hogan Street thought the $437,300 tax assessment on the property in 1966 was about $107,000 too high.

At a hearing before the Duval County Tax Equalization Board, attorney William Barfield, representing the club, petitioned for the reduction on the two-lot property.

He cited a recent appraisal that said the property was worth $300,000, which coincided with the 1965 tax assessment.

• The near-explosion of a moonshine still during a fire that endangered children brought to light a growing danger, as makers of illegal liquor were being flushed out of the woods and setting up operations in more urban areas.

“Operation Dry Up,” a combined federal and state crackdown on moonshine stills along the Florida-Georgia border was driving illicit operators into hiding in barns, chicken houses and Downtown buildings.

The growing danger of fires caused by stills was pointed out by Marvin Dunn, supervisor in charge of the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division of the IRS.

• A hobby was something you went nuts over to keep from going crazy. Work was something you did when you’d rather be doing something else.

That was the opinion of Nathan Mallison, superintendent of the city Recreation Department.

He said the American people had 116 billion hours of leisure time each year to fill with any activity they wanted.

“People don’t realize that recreation constitutes a balance wheel which helps to level the strain and stress of the atomic age,” he said.

Mallison said leisure time, “once the property of the idle rich,” was an open door leading to a world of talent many people never realized they possess.

“During the Depression in the 1930s, when jobs were almost unavailable, many people found they could make their living by expanding what had formerly been a hobby,” Mallison added.

“Everyone is born with creative instincts. With the right facilities, people could be guided into the expression of skill that could be beneficial for the rest of their life,” he said.

• Thirty soldiers bailed out of a burning C-111 military transport plane that crashed in West Jacksonville. There were no reported injuries.

According to a Navy spokesman, 27 of the men were from a Florida National Guard Special Forces unit comprising personnel from Miami and Tampa.

• Membership in the four YMCA branches in Jacksonville increased to 13,215 — an increase of about 80 percent since 1956.

The 10-year report was made by George Creswell, YMCA general secretary.

On the financial side, Creswell said the organization’s total operating income in 1965 was $340,446, including $99,000 from the United Fund, which was used entirely for youth program expenses.

• The state Department of Education approved a site for the new Florida Junior College at Jacksonville, now Florida State College at Jacksonville.

The location deemed most suitable was the adjoining Brest-Hodges and Lindbergh properties along Beach Boulevard. The site had been offered to the school at no cost.

• The Board of County Commissioners awarded a contract for construction for more than 1 mile of sidewalk along Fort Caroline Road between University Boulevard and Rogero Road.

Noting the lack of a sidewalk was a safety hazard for students who attended Fort Caroline Junior High School and Fort Caroline Elementary School, Commissioner Bob Harris called for bids on the sidewalk

The only bid, for $6,999, was submitted by Glacey Thomas, but a contract could not be awarded until the Duval County Budget Commission approved a transfer from a contingency account, which Harris also requested.

• Jacksonville’s U.S. Post Office, in an effort to show support to servicemen in Vietnam, presented a flag to be sent to the 173rd Airborne Brigade deployed there.

Postmaster James Workman Jr. gave the flag to Brig. Gen. Ellis Williamson, a past commander of the brigade, in a formal ceremony at the George Washington Hotel.

Williams was scheduled to fly with the flag to Vietnam, where he would present it to the troops.

The unit was chosen to receive the flag because many of the soldiers serving in it were from North Florida, Workman said.

• Duval County school officials were hoping more people would be going to the dogs during the 1966-67 school year.

More than $275,000 was expected to be received for the school budget from the state Racing Commission. Not all of the anticipated funds would come from the dog tracks –– some would come from horse racing.

All counties, regardless of size or population, received the same amount of money. In 1965, Duval County schools received $225,000 from pari-mutuel racing.

• The City Council Laws & Rules Committee recommended approval of a bill to prohibit naming public facilities in honor of living people.

At the first public hearing, no one commented on the proposed legislation. On the motion of council member Cecil Lowe, the committee approved the bill.

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