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Jax Daily Record Monday, Mar. 30, 201512:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Junior college approved to serve Duval and Nassau counties

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Duval County received approval for establishing its long-sought public junior college, to open for a freshman class in fall 1966.

The word came from Tallahassee when the State Board of Education designated the county as a junior college area to serve Duval and Nassau counties.

The action was taken after the school boards of both counties submitted resolutions in which each agreed to provide its proportionate share of the required financial contribution to the budget of the junior college.

During architectural planning and construction time, the junior college would operate in temporary quarters in the South Jacksonville Elementary School at 1480 Flagler Ave., which was scheduled to be discontinued as a grade school in the 1965-66 year.

Advisory committee members were Fred Kent, attorney and president of the State Junior College Board; Mrs. Page Haddock, president of the Florida Congress of Parents and Teachers; and the Rev. R. Wilbur Herring, Baptist minister.

• A 10-year-old boy was injured when he and a companion, 12, attempted to escape from the Juvenile Shelter at 107 Market St.

The injured escapee was taken to Duval Medical Center and was treated for a broken wrist before he was returned to the shelter.

Juvenile authorities said he fell about 16 feet while trying to climb down a drain pipe from the top floor of the three-story shelter.

After hitting the ground, he ran about 25 feet before collapsing beneath the window of a room where Juvenile Court Judge Lamar Winegeart was talking with several members of the Junior League.

“We could hear him crying,” said Winegeart.

The 12-year-old companion, instead of trying to continue his escape, ran back into the shelter to summon help.

The pair was among a group of boys playing on the shelter rook, which was enclosed by a fence.

The boys pushed a piece of gym equipment against the fence and climbed over it, then started making their way down the drain pipe.

• City commissioners cleared suspended police Capt. Harry Branch of a bribery charge but demoted him to detective sergeant for misconduct and continued his suspension without pay through Dec. 31, 1965.

After a two hour closed-door executive session, commissioners found the charge that Branch took protection money from former gambler and moonshiner Hodges McGee Sr. was not sustained.

Branch, an 18-year veteran of the police force, stood before the commission in City Hall as Mayor Lou Ritter admonished him for failing to meet his responsibilities.

“We took careful note of your almost 18 years as a police officer. In your record, we found many commendations.

“As to your work on the morals detail, we found you didn’t fulfill your responsibilities as well as you did before coming on the detail. We feel that the evidence introduced during this hearing shows a complete laxity on your part and on the part of officers who worked with you,” Ritter said.

The demotion put Branch at the lowest rank in the detective division, which also reduced his base salary from $605 to $515 monthly.

• Circuit Judge William Durden said golf courses had no exemption as far as real estate taxes were concerned when he ruled that all property in Duval County be assessed at fair market value.

The question of golf courses came up at a hearing requested by attorneys for Duval County Assessor Ralph Walter on whether the assessor’s office was properly conducting a stepped-up re-appraisal program.

Specific questions asked of the court involved the golf courses, appraisal of unimproved acreage and if it was proper to consider financing arrangements and mortgages in determining cash value.

“It is the general theory of the law of taxation that all taxpayers fall within a general class and that unless they have some constitutional or legislative exemption, either in whole or in part, they are assessed and pay taxes on an equal basis,” Durden said referring to the golf course question.

He also said 99 percent of property purchases involved financing and it was proper to consider that in assessing property value.

• A check for $20,604, representing net profit from the “A Night at the Netherlands” benefit ball for the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra Association, was presented to the association by the ball committee.

Taking part in the presentation were Mrs. Sterling Dutton, co-chair of the ball with Mrs. Paisley Boney III; association President Charles Hoffman; and Hugh Abernethy, association president-elect.

It was noted the benefit was the most successful in the history of the event. Proceeds would be used to help underwrite the orchestra’s operations. Other income was derived from membership contributions, ticket sales and an annual series of pops concerts.

• The 11-day strike at Anchor Hocking Glass Corp. at 2121 Huron St. ended with more than 300 of the idled 460 employees going back to work.

The back-to-work order came as a result of union and management negotiators in the glass container industry, meeting in Atlantic City, agreeing on a new three-year contract. The new agreement called for a pay increase of 24 cents an hour over three years.

The contract called for hourly wage increases of 10 cents the first year, 4 cents the second and 10 cents the third year.

The average hourly wage at the plant in 1965 was $2.29, according to the federal government, but union officials said that figure was higher than prevailing wages.

Harvey Conover, local plant manager, said the plant was to undergo some equipment upgrades before all of the employees would be called back to work. He estimated the facility would be back in full operation within two weeks.

• A student pilot crash-landed his rented Piper Cub on a baseball diamond between Ribault Junior and Senior high schools when the aircraft ran out of fuel. The single-engine plane landed in center field, slid into second base and flipped over on the pitcher’s mound.

Pilot Ed Burton walked away from the wreckage uninjured after bringing the plane in low over a heavily populated area for his landing.

Several people, including a father and son who were flying a model airplane in the school yard, were warned out of the area by Burton, who made one low pass over the field shouting “get out of the way” before he set down the Piper Cub.

Burton, who had only 35 hours flying experience, said he left Fargo, Ga., headed for Herlong Field. He said the weather was clear when he took off, but became foggy when he approached Jacksonville.

“I realized when I was just south of Callahan I wasn’t going to have enough fuel to make it all the way to Herlong,” said Burton. “So I just had to look around and try to find a spot.”

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