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Jax Daily Record Monday, Jan. 4, 201612:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Judges find hygiene an issue in city and federal courts

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Even with 216 cases on the docket, on Monday morning, Municipal Court got off to what was described as a “sweet beginning” to mark the first session in 1966.

For the first time in its history, court was recessed 10 minutes while the courtroom received a large dose of air freshener on orders from Judge John Santora.

He called the recess after several prisoners appeared before the bench, obviously worse for lack of a bath during a three-day or longer stay in jail.

The court closed the previous Thursday, the day before the long Gator Bowl and New Year’s holiday weekend, which accounted in part for the large number of cases on the docket, said a court official.

During that time, police continued to make arrests. Many of the prisoners, herded together in crowded cells, had neither bathed nor changed clothing since their arrest.

After a dozen or more defendants filed past the judicial nose, it began to wrinkle. A few more cases and Santora began to frown.

That’s when he ordered a recess. He then dispatched a police officer to a nearby store for air freshener.

Within a few minutes, the officer returned and released a cloud of floral spray. The lavender fragrance wafted around the courtroom, enveloping several officers.

“No matter what I say, my wife is never going to believe me when I go home smelling like flowers,” said one bailiff to another.

“This is the sweetest day we’ve ever had in court,” the other said.

Two days later, a defendant in federal court was sentenced to a shave, a haircut, a bath — and four years in prison.

David Minnis, 21, came into court to receive a sentence for transporting a stolen car across state lines. He was wearing a “beatnik-type” beard, extending in a narrow strip from sideburn to sideburn, and a “Beatle-type” hairstyle.

U.S. District Judge William McRae Jr., reviewing Minnis’ record, noted it included 16 arrests. The first was when he was 16 and the record included eight charges involving stolen vehicles.

“It appears that in a few days after getting out of jail, you would commit another unlawful act,” McRae said to Minnis.

After imposing the four-year sentence, McRae directed the U.S. marshal to see to it that Minnis be shorn of his beard and flowing locks — and get a bath.

• An all-day groundbreaking ceremony for Regency Square Mall, near the intersection of the Arlington Expressway and Atlantic Boulevard, began with a breakfast for 175 business leaders at the Thunderbird Inn hosted by Martin and Joan Stein, owners of the shopping center.

The day ended in a pouring rain as Gov. Haydon Burns and Joan Stein broke ground with chrome-plated shovels.

Burns, who was celebrating the first anniversary of his inauguration, said he never imagined Jacksonville would have air-conditioned streets Downtown.

“But you’ve come pretty close to it in Regency Square,” he said.

The first major enclosed mall in the city, Regency Square would be the largest air-conditioned shopping center in the Southeast when it opened, scheduled in 1967.

Mayor Lou Ritter paid tribute to the Stein family for its contributions to the community.

“They are giving us the great things we need to make the Jacksonville area a regional center,” he said.

• Anyone could get anything they wanted out of life if they exerted enough effort of the right kind, said Ray Monsalvatge of Savannah, Ga.

An evangelist on the importance of individual enterprise, he brought his presentation, “Uncork Your Hidden Talents,” to the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Jacksonville at the Mayflower Hotel.

“You can’t get something for nothing, but the price is usually not so simple as money. The price is usually effort,” said Monsalvatge. “You have plenty of money if you’re spending less than you’re making. Anybody who’s complaining about money usually is blaming somebody else.”

Criticizing government welfare programs, he said anyone who was not financially independent was inviting the federal government into their life.

“A war against poverty isn’t going to get off the ground unless it starts at home. A welfare state, socialism or communism — these aren’t natural,” said Monsalvatge. “A competitive society is natural. I never saw a bunch of squirrels taking up a collection of nuts for other squirrels that won’t work.”

• Duval County Rep. William Basford Jr. announced his candidacy for the new 58th Senate district seat in the Florida Legislature.

The at-large seat was created by reapportionment and would be voted on in Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties.

“It has been a real honor to be allowed to represent the people of Duval County during my two terms in the state Legislature,” Basford said. “I will continue my efforts to eliminate waste in state spending and, most of all, always maintain my independence and forthrightness in regard to all matters concerning these three counties.”

Meanwhile, Lew Brantley announced his candidacy for the Group 4 seat in the state House of Representatives, to replace Basford.

• During a preliminary hearing on charges of draft evasion, a man described as “an admitted black Muslim” demanded to see U.S. Commissioner P. Donald DeHoff’s credentials before signing the bond fixed for him.

DeHoff produced no credentials. But he told Clifton Thirley X Haywood that if he didn’t sign the bond, he would be turned over to the U.S. marshal and taken to the Duval County jail.

Haywood signed the bond without further remarks.

According to D.K. Brown, special agent in charge of the FBI Jacksonville district office, Haywood was arrested by agents on a complaint filed Sept. 13 before a U.S. commissioner in Brunswick, Ga. The complaint charged that Haywood failed to report for induction into the armed forces when ordered to do so by a draft board in Kingsland, Ga.

Haywood posted a $2,000 bond and was released. He waived preliminary hearing and said he did not want an attorney.

He was ordered to report to the U.S. District Court in Brunswick for arraignment on a draft-dodging charge.

• New construction and improvements in Jacksonville in 1965 increased $19.3 million to reach a year-end total of $50.8 million.

City Supervisor of Building H.R. Oatman reported new office buildings and other non-residential construction dominated the year’s permit applications, with a total value of $37.5 million.

Non-residential construction permits for 16 new office buildings indicated a total value of $31.7 million. Permits were issued for 199 single-family dwellings valued at a total of $1.2 million and for 22 multifamily dwellings valued at a total of $365,000.

The office issued 2,461 permits for additions, alterations and repairs amounting to a valuation of $5.6 million and 1,370 permits for building equipment and other installations representing a value of $6.2 million.

• Income at the Jacksonville Beach municipal golf course nearly tripled since the city took over the links in 1963, said City Manager Philip Kinsey.

The first year’s gross was $52,000. Revenue nearly doubled to $102,000 in 1964 and when the final greens fees were tallied, $137,500 was the total for 1965.

Kinsey credited part of the increase in revenue to the installation of lights along nine holes of the course which allowed the course to schedule tee times after sundown during the summer.

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