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Jax Daily Record Monday, Sep. 7, 201512:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Mayor Ritter appoints committee to study city's water pollution problem

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Mayor Lou Ritter announced appointment of a 14-member citizen’s advisory committee on water pollution control.

Dr. Sanford Mullen, a physician and chair of the Public Health Committee of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce, was named to head the group.

Also named to the committee were Commissioner of Highways and Sewers Henry Broadstreet, Commissioner of Health and Sanitation Claude Smith Jr. and County Commission Chair Lem Merrett.

The committee would include city and county engineers, city and state sanitary engineers and other professionals to assist in considering options and techniques for water pollution control.

In announcing the group, Ritter cited the recent legislative establishment of an air pollution control board for Duval County. He said his purpose in creating a group to study water pollution was “to get total community action in the city and the county on the problem.”

Broadstreet said he would ask City Council to appropriate funds in the 1966 budget to update a water pollution study conducted in 1957 by the engineering firm of Metcalf and Eddy. That study recommended an area-wide sewer system be developed over a decade or so to meet demands of the growing urban area.

Mullen said it was vital that action be taken soon to eliminate water pollution so the Jacksonville area would not be in the position of New York City, which had a serious water shortage even though the Hudson River flowed by it.

• Duval County’s teachers voted overwhelmingly to become members of one large professional group: The Duval Teachers Association.

Leaders in the merger of four teaching groups said the results of the ballot were far beyond their highest hopes.

A total of 4,518 teachers voted to join the new organization and only 137 voted against the proposal.

“I am just thrilled to death,” said Connie Cason, president of the Duval County Education Association and one of the merger leaders.

She said the teachers in the Duval County system were among the first in the nation to vote individually to merge into one body.

Prior to 1965, teachers belonged to one of four groups, two white and two black. They were the Duval County Education Association and Duval County Classroom Teachers Association (white) and the Duval County Teachers Association and Duval County Classroom Teachers Association (black).

The four groups already voted individually to disband if the merger proposal was approved by at least 60 percent of the members of all the organizations.

“To me it means the profession (teachers, principals, supervisors and coordinators) is determined to take a very active role in developing a good school system in this county,” Cason said.

• The General Services Administration received three proposals for public use of the Cumberland Road Housing property at Park Street and Roosevelt Boulevard.

The school board asked for a portion of the 48-acre tract for a school administration center; the city was interested in obtaining the land for recreational purposes; and the state Road Department proposed the construction of a highway interchange there.

The housing project, 168 duplexes, was built during World War II to provide quarters for families of Navy personnel.

The federal government was evaluating an independent appraisal of the property. Conferences with all parties interested in obtaining the property would be scheduled, said W.H. Sanders, GSA regional administrator.

The property eventually became the site of the Florida Junior College Kent Campus, now Florida State College at Jacksonville.

• The contract to operate the “Golden Downtowner” bus, a free shuttle for shoppers, was renewed for another year.

Homer Brunkhorst, chair of the Downtown Council of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce, signed the agreement with Jacksonville Coach Co., which in 1965 was the private operator of mass transit in Duval County.

The free bus service began in 1959 and the $780 monthly cost was supported by advertising. The service averaged 1,800 passengers per week.

• The Duval County Board of Public Instruction adopted amended rules concerning how complaints were handled.

The new policy was worked out by board members at a closed-door meeting in School Superintendent Ish Brant’s office. The session delayed for 32 minutes the start of a scheduled school board meeting.

The board then went into regular session and adopted the policy. Before the meeting was over, the rules were criticized by representatives of the League of Women Voters and the Citizens School Action Committee as an effort to keep the public from being heard.

The policy was intended to let the superintendent handle complaints about administrative matters, rather than bringing them first before the board. The amended policy also gave the superintendent the responsibility for putting on the agenda matters he was unable to resolve.

After complaints were voiced that Brant might not act on some matters, the policy was revised to provide the chair of the school board also receive a copy of each request for action the superintendent received.

The new format mandated that complaints be submitted in writing at least 10 days before the next scheduled board meeting and a copy delivered to the chair.

If a complaint was handled by the superintendent, Brant would provide a report on the matter to the board. If the issue could not be handled administratively, Brant would notify the board the matter should be placed on the agenda for the next meeting.

Board member Henry Kincaid, who drafted the rules, said his intention was “to try something orderly for a change.”

• James Rinaman Jr., a 30-year-old Jacksonville attorney, was named local chairman of the 1966 March of Dimes.

He was counsel for the Duval County Legislative Delegation in 1965 and was involved in the annual March of Dimes effort to fight birth defects since 1962.

Rinaman said the goal for the Jan. 2-30 campaign would be to raise $55,000 for birth defects research.

• The St. Johns River shared the guilt for Duval County’s beach erosion issues, but the original culprit was the river itself, according to erosion experts.

Oscar Rawls, acting chief of the planning and reports branch of the Jacksonville District Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the corps determined the jetties increased beach erosion to the south.

But any natural river or artificial cut along Florida’s East Coast would cause a buildup of sand to its north and erosion to the south, he said.

“In recent years the corps has come to realize that jetties do have an adverse effect on the beaches down drift,” Rawls said. “Without jetties, however, you would deny Jacksonville access to the Atlantic Ocean by the St. Johns River.”

The local build-up was most prevalent at Fort George Inlet. Rawls said sand also built up just south of the jetties because of the swirl of currents, but south of that, erosion began.

In addition, prevailing winds and tide created a north-to-south migrating river of sand.

As long as a particular spot on the beach received as much sand from the north as it gave up to the south, the beach remained stable. When more sand stopped at that spot than traveled southward, a buildup resulted. If less sand was deposited there, there was erosion.

The jetties tended to trap sand which built up to the north, but also provided a barrier that prevented sand from entering the river, which would clog the channel over a period of time.

“Before jetties were built at the mouth of the St. Johns in the late 19th century, dredging operations went on constantly,” Rawls said. “Even though the channel was much shallower than it is now, trying to keep it open became a losing game. Jetties are necessary evils to the maintenance of navigable depths in rivers and inlets.”

• The Fuller Warren and Mathews toll bridges were in a battle for revenue honors during August, with both carrying more than 1 million paying vehicles.

According to the state Road Department, the Warren span won narrowly with 1,063,971 vehicles and toll revenue of $171,190. The Mathews carried 1,060,994 vehicles with revenue of $166,035.

That was a 9.2 percent increase compared to August 1964 for the Warren and an 8.1 percent jump for the Mathews.

The Trout River Bridge recorded the largest August increase in traffic: 15.4 percent above 1964 with 433,824 vehicles and income of $72,939.

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