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Jax Daily Record Monday, Feb. 1, 201612:00 PM EST

50 years ago: President of new Florida Junior College begins organization

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

The first day on the job for the president of the new Florida Junior College started early.

It began at 4:30 a.m. when J. Bruce Wilson left his home in Brevard County and drove to Jacksonville, where he met local education officials, established a place to work and toured possible sites for the two-year college.

One of his first stops was the Atlantic Coast Line Building, now the CSX Building, where he moved into a temporary office in Room 1330.

Wilson then sat in with Duval County School Superintendent Ish Brant during a staff conference.

Afterward, he and Brant visited the abandoned South Jacksonville Elementary School on Flagler Street, which was being considered as a temporary site for FJC.

They also stopped at Annie Lytle School at 1011 Gilmore St., where some school administrative offices were located.

Another stop was the Navy’s Cumberland housing project at Roosevelt Boulevard and Park Street. The site is now Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Kent Campus, its first.

At a luncheon with Brant and about 23 school supervisors, Wilson laid out his hopes for the new college.

“We have a wonderful opportunity here. Our real success will depend on how we build our courses, program and curriculum,” he said. “With your support and your assistance, we can build a real good junior college.”

Lee Henderson, assistant director of the Division of Community Junior Colleges for the state Department of Education, said Wilson, former president of Brevard Junior College, was the right man for the job.

Henderson said it usually took two years to open a junior college that would enroll 2,000 students.

“But Bruce Wilson is a man used to doing the impossible. His record at Brevard Junior College demonstrates that. You will find him energetic and able, but he will need the wholehearted support of this entire community,” said Henderson.

• Television was about to be transformed in North Florida with the addition of WJKS TV-17.

When the station began broadcasting Feb. 19, the city no longer would be the largest U.S. city with only two national television network stations.

“Jacksonville should have three commercial stations broadcasting all three national networks,” said Fred Weber, executive vice president of Rust Craft Broadcasting Co., owner of WJKS, and of the parent company, Rust Craft Greeting Cards.

The ultra-high frequency (UHF) station would be an affiliate of the American Broadcasting Co., and would televise ABC network programs.

Plans called for a broadcast day beginning at 11 a.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Sign-off time would be about 11:30 p.m.

Most of the programming would come from the network during the early months of the station’s operation. Local news and other local programs would be added later, Weber said.

He added ABC was broadcasting in color about one hour each evening, but the network planned to switch to color for all of its evening programs in the fall.

Workmen were installing the antenna on the 549-foot tower and other equipment at the station’s headquarters on Hogan Road south of Beach Boulevard.

The station’s transmission strength would be 1.03 million watts, making it one of only two UHF stations in the U.S. with that much power.

It would serve an area within a 50-mile radius of the station and also would be available to community antenna Television for customers in Brunswick, Waycross and Gainesville.

• The City Commission established a policy with regard to copying public records of the city by reporters from newspapers and television stations.

After lengthy discussion of the matter by commissioners and after a motion that a policy be adopted, J. Mims Ingram, commission secretary, when asked for his records, said “What is the policy?”

Commissioner Claude Smith Jr. said, “The policy is that we will photograph anything they want and make a reasonable charge for it.”

Asked after the meeting if that meant only the city would make photocopies of public records or if reporters would be barred from bringing cameras to copy records, Smith said no to both questions.

He said reporters could bring their own cameras and copy records.

The controversy came to a head when a request for photocopying city credit card vouchers came from WJXT TV-4 News Director Bill Grove after City Auditor John Hollister refused to let a reporter from the station copy records without permission from the commission.

Hollister said the reporter was shown the information he sought and allowed to make extensive notes.

He was refused permission to make photocopies because of the amount of time it would take from city employee duties.

Commissioner Dallas Thomas, who was responsible for the auditing department, said the policy might be troublesome.

“We can’t have every Tom, Dick and Harry pulling out records,” he said, but added the city was required by law to keep and preserve records and make them available for viewing by the public.

Thomas said he didn’t mind doing it, but there was time and expense involved.

• The Duval County Civil Service Board approved creation of the position of County Fire Inspector at the request of County Fire Coordinator Jerry Kirkland.

He told the board one of the reasons the position was needed was to keep up with inspections of the 83 public schools in the unincorporated areas of the county.

Kirkland and County Fire Marshal Henry Meizer said in the three years Meizer had been on the job, written reports were made on 22 of the 83 schools.

They said during the inspections, they found “many, many things wrong” that did not conform with state fire code.

“We have submitted them to school officials and they are working with us beautifully,” Kirkland said.

• Jacksonville was selected to receive one of 24 national distinguished achievement awards in the annual Cleanest City competition.

The announcement came from the National Clean Up, Paint Up, Fix Up Bureau in Washington, D.C.

Presentation of the award would be Feb. 15 in Washington at a ceremony hosted by Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson.

The Jacksonville entry in the contest, a collection of newspaper clippings and data on activities by groups that participated in the cleanup effort, would be on display in the Statler Hilton Hotel in Washington Feb. 14-15.

Criteria for the competition included home and community beautification, prevention of slums and rehabilitation of blighted areas, improving health and safety standards, teaching of juvenile decency and fire prevention programs.

• Florida experienced a short period of unusually cold weather in 1965.

Gov. Haydon Burns was so concerned about the citrus crop, he convinced the U.S. Department of Labor to authorize immediate importation of foreign workers to help with the emergency harvest of 15 million boxes of early- and mid-season fruit that otherwise might be lost due to freezing weather.

He said help also was promised to expedite harvest of 43 million boxes of Valencia oranges that normally would not be ready to be picked for two or more months.

In Washington, Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz authorized importation of 1,200 laborers from the British West Indies to help pick the freeze-damaged crop.

More than 1,500 workers from nearby states also were expected to assist, Wirtz said.

Burns said he had no estimate of financial loss but the situation could be comparable to the 1957 freeze in which Florida suffered a loss of 20 million boxes of oranges but not as severe as the 1962 freeze.

“So far, there has been no damage to the citrus trees,” he said. “But since tree damage is not apparent until the thaw period, it’s too early to tell.”

The cold wave spread a killing frost on Tuesday as far south as the Everglades and a low temperature of 35 degrees was recorded in Miami, the lowest in 25 years.

In Tallahassee, it was 14, one degree below the day’s low for Anchorage, Alaska.

• Members of the Duval County Patrol, Jacksonville Police Department and Florida Highway Patrol were issued by the state Road Department credit cards for use on toll roads.

The cards were expected to save time.

Prior to the new program, officers had to stop at a toll gate and then fill out and sign a form with information about what organization they represented and the type of vehicle they were driving.

With the card, the toll gate tender took the plastic card and, using a roller, superimposed the information on the card onto an IBM card.

The cards were assigned to a car or vehicle. On the reverse side, they were stamped “For Official Use Only.”

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