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Jax Daily Record Monday, Feb. 9, 201512:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Mayor Ritter outlines vision for Jacksonville's future

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Before a crowd of more than 300 business and civic leaders, Mayor Louis Ritter unveiled his plan for developing Jacksonville into a regional center.

Addressing the seventh annual meeting of the Downtown Council of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce, Ritter shared what he referred to as his “outline for action.”

The plan included reorganizing the city police department; improving education, including establishment of a junior college; pollution control; expanded outdoor recreation; a rapid transit system; airport and seaport development; utilization of available federal programs; and industrial development.

“I cannot promise the assured accomplishment of these objectives, but I shall promise a full measure of effort within the confines of my ability, knowledge and energy,” Ritter said.

During the meeting, Homer Brunkhorst, vice president of Haverty Furniture Co., was elected chairman of the council to succeed Warren Hendry Jr. of the architectural firm of Kemp, Bunch and Jackson.

In his annual report, Hendry said the council’s efforts were felt beyond the urban core.

“Although we are called the Downtown Council, we cannot act on Downtown matters without it affecting the interests of the entire county,” he said.

• Lou Frost, first assistant public defender for the 4th Judicial Circuit, was appointed general counsel for the state Board of Health.

However, Carlton Maddox, who held the job at the time, said he had not yet submitted his resignation.

“Nobody discussed it with me,” he said. “I suppose I will submit my resignation immediately.”

Frost said he would not resign from his $10,000 a year job part-time job with the public defender’s office. He also was associated in private practice with E.E. Durrance in their firm Durrance and Frost.

• The Meninak Club honored the Paxon High School football team, the host team in the 1964 Meninak Bowl, when it battled a squad from Greenville, Miss., to a 6-6 tie on a rain-soaked field. Proceeds from the game were used to build a classroom at Pine Castle School.

Speaking to the club at the Mayflower Hotel, Meninak President George Utsey Jr. introduced the team and the players were presented with mementos from the game.

The highlight of the meeting was a short talk by Gary Pajcic, Paxon’s star quarterback and an honor student who would attend Florida State University in the fall. It was noted that he was called on to speak unexpectedly and “did a fine job.”

Pajcic briefly reviewed the team’s season, stating two of the main reasons for the team’s success were the leadership of the seniors and the way the team stuck together.

“Before the season, we thought we might have a pretty good team,” he said. “But in our first game we played a 13-13 tie with Ribault. Then we had to struggle to beat Englewood, and after that we began to wonder if we were really as good as we thought we were.”

• Barbara Jean Innes, 32, a former teller in the Central National Bank, was found guilty on 33 counts of a 36-count indictment that charged her with misappropriating $13,322 in bank funds.

When Innes appeared in federal court for trial, she attempted to enter a plea of guilty to the indictment, but U.S. District Judge Bryan Simpson refused to accept it and went ahead with a non-jury trial. After her conviction, Innes was released on a $2,000 recognizance bond, which she had posted after her arrest.

After the guilty verdict was announced, Innes told Simpson she had three children, the oldest 15, and that she was separated from her husband and was supporting the children without assistance.

Simpson suggested Innes consider arrangements for the care of her children after March 5, when he would impose sentence if a motion for a new trial was denied.

“I am not saying what sentence I may impose,” he said. “But I would advise you to make arrangements for the care of the children in the event you receive a confinement sentence.”

Innes spent more than two hours on the witness stand during the trial. Her explanation for most of the items mishandled while she was in charge of the bank’s collection department was that she made errors in her records or charged collection items to the wrong account on advice of the cashier of the bank, who died before Innes went on trial.

• The new Haydon Burns public library was given its first inspection by city commissioners and members of the Board of Library Trustees.

Taylor Hardwick, architect on the project, conducted the tour of the $3 million building. He reported construction was more than 60 percent complete, with work on the interior just getting underway. Target date for opening the three-story block-long building along Ocean Street between Adams and Forsyth streets was the first week in September.

Library Director Harry Brinton said the facility would open with nearly 300,000 volumes and could expand easily to offer 500,000 books.

The contract price on the library was $2.4 million, with another $440,000 earmarked for books, equipment and furnishings. The Auchter Co. was the general contractor.

• The North Florida Council Boys Scouts of America was given a 52-foot yacht to help raise funds to develop the new Baden-Powell Scout Reservation.

The vessel was presented by Quealy Walker, president of Dixie Paint and Varnish Co. of Brunswick, Ga.. on behalf of the firm.

It was accepted for the council by Prime F. Osborn, council president, and Horace Williamson, council scout executive, who said the council would like to raise at least $10,000 from the sale of the yacht.

The money would be used to build an Explorer Scout base at Baden-Powell Reservation, a 700-acre camping site near Melrose in Putnam County that was acquired in January by the council.

• City Highways and Sewers Commissioner Henry Broadstreet said he would ask the State Road Board for a complete repaving of Main Street from Bay Street to Evergreen Cemetery. Other projects requested included repaving Hendricks Avenue from Miami Street to the intersection with San Marco Boulevard.

He said the Main Street improvement project involved more than merely resurfacing the roadway and should include removing the existing surface and repaving the street, since numerous layers of asphalt layed down over the years were developing ruts and ridges.

• The Arlington Civic Chorus was formed by the adult division of the Duval County Board of Public Instruction.

The group would be under the direction of Bill Clarke, choral director at Terry Parker High School and director of music at St. Johns Presbyterian Church. The chorus was open to all interested singers in Jacksonville.

• Shipments of explosives rolled through Jacksonville as the United States escalated military activity in North Vietnam.

Large semi-trailer trucks were escorted through the city in several convoys by patrol cars. Police sources said the shipments were bound for Mayport Naval Station.

The Navy declined to comment on the ordnance other than to say, “We haven’t gone to any stage of alert other than normal readiness.”

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