History often repeats, and there often are parallels between the news of today and 50 years ago. Here are some of the top news stories of this week in 1967 compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library’s periodical archives by Associate Editor Max Marbut.
Bill signed for vote on consolidated government
In Tallahassee, Gov. Claude Kirk, witnessed by members of the Duval Legislative Delegation, signed the Duval County government consolidation bill that would put the proposal on the ballot for voters to decide Aug. 8.
Kirk said he thought consolidation would be “a great thing for the county.”
He also said he would be happy to campaign for the plan, if someone invited him to do so.
“I don’t know, though — my support could be the kiss of death,” Kirk added.
Even though he endorsed the plan, Kirk said he could not vote for it because he recently had moved his voter registration to Leon County after living in Duval for 10 years.
“I couldn’t get over to vote in the Jacksonville city elections, so last week I shifted my registration to Tallahassee,” Kirk told state Sen. Tom Slade after Slade invited the governor to vote in favor of consolidation in the referendum.
The day after the signing ceremony, civic leaders tied together the ends of a bright red ribbon to formally open the headquarters of Citizens for Better Government, a group formed to promote voter interest in approving the upcoming referendum.
Campaign workers already were busy in the office at 32 W. Duval St.
James Lumpkins, campaign finance chairman and vice president for membership of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce, said consolidation would “give us a government where the total leadership of our community will be joined in a united effort; a government that will be responsive to citizens and their needs; and a government that will assure a dollar’s value for a dollar spent.”
The tying of the ribbon, in contrast to the more traditional ribbon-cutting, symbolically emphasized bringing together many facets of local government into a compact, well-organized and efficient structure, according to Citizens for Better Government officials.
“We are indeed on the threshold of a bright, new future. The opening of this campaign headquarters is an example of democracy in action,” Lumpkins said.
Claude Yates, the organization’s general chairman and a past president of the chamber, and D.J. Lanahan, chairman of the Publicity Committee, participated with Lumpkins in the ceremony.
Artificial reef planned off Atlantic Beach to boost fishing
A sandy stretch of the ocean floor about 12 miles east of Atlantic Beach was scheduled to become the graveyard for hundreds of tons of junk cars, concrete and metal in the interest of improved fishing.
The U.S. Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife selected the area to construct an experimental artificial reef.
The site would be one of only five along the entire East Coast and the second under construction when the permit was expected to be approved in July.
“We want to know how to improve fishing. It’s that simple,” said Dick Stone, an oceanographer at the Sandy Hook Marine Biology Laboratory in Highlands, New Jersey.
“We think these reefs will provide protected areas for larvae and other fish foods that will prove attractive for migratory gamefish,” he added.
In 1960, a group of fisherman banded together under the name Jacksonville Offshore Fishing Club.
Their first project — done without a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — was construction of an artificial reef that came to be known as Montgomery Reef.
Club members were working with the Sandy Hook scientists to plan the new reef and gather local support for the project.
City rededicates ‘Tablet of Commandments’ at Hemming
The purpose which inspired placement in Hemming Park of the “Tablet of Commandments” in 1957 was reaffirmed by civic and spiritual leaders in a rededication service.
City Commissioner of Utilities Clyde Simpson unveiled the 6-foot-tall tablet, which had been provided with a new aluminum and glass encasement.
“This is an occasion that underlines the principles underlined in the Constitution of the United States by our founding fathers which preserves the right of every man to worship freely. It is ample proof that Americans, no matter what congregation, faith or creed they belong to, can come together in freedom and join hands and hearts in observance of the great principles of the Ten Commandments,” he said.
Kenneth Soud, a layman active in promoting establishing the tablets, reported he made a three-week pilgrimage around the state, seeking support for the installation of similar displays in public parks in other cities.
“More than 50 cities have requested blueprints for the construction of similar tablets, all of which have been provided, free of charge, by the City of Jacksonville,” he said.
The ceremony was sponsored by the Greater Jacksonville Ministerial Alliance in cooperation with the Downtown Council of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce.