50 years ago: Topless dancers arrested and charged with indecent exposure
Two women were arrested for dancing in an Atlantic Beach lounge in “topless costumes” and charged with indecent exposure.
They were released on $500 bond each after a preliminary hearing before Justice of the Peace William Gufford in Jacksonville Beach.
Vivian Stewart, owner of the liquor license at the lounge, known as “Screwy Louie’s,” and Robert Urich, the manager, also were charged with conspiring to corrupt public morals by permitting the women to dance.
Their bond was $150.
• A chartered bus carried members of Mayor Lou Ritter’s Community Improvement Advisory Board through one of the city’s most poverty-stricken areas.
Some of the streets in the Brooklyn neighborhood near Downtown were so narrow, the bus had to pass by them, and some of the turns were so narrow, the bus had to back up and go around the intersections.
The population density in Brooklyn was 74 residents per block, compared to the city average of 53. The age of some of the rooming houses was not known.
“Lou Ritter’s daddy and I collected for Gulf Life Insurance here in 1920 and some of them were old then,” said board member Cloyd Alexander.
Building Inspector Herbert Catman said 76 percent of the dwellings were rental housing and 85 percent lacked one or more of the five major plumbing facilities: hot water, indoor toilets, bathtubs, kitchen sinks or lavatories.
Commenting on the general condition of the structures, Catman said, “I shudder at the thought of fire getting started. It would be almost impossible to control.”
• In Tallahassee, the Public Service Commission ordered Southern Bell Telephone Co. to reduce rates for all residential subscribers 15-30 cents per month.
John Sadler, district manager of the company, said the reductions would appear on bills received after Dec. 22.
Local residential private lines would be reduced from $5.65 to $5.50 monthly. Residential two-party lines would go from $4.45 to $4.15.
Some commercial rates also would be reduced, Sadler said.
• The daily special at Fred Abood’s Green Derby at Riverside Avenue and Roselle Street was a broiled sirloin steak with Derby cocktail cheese mix, “Abood’s famous salad tossed at the table” and choice of a baked Idaho potato or French fries for $2.85.
The restaurant also had entertainment and dancing nightly.
• Edward Acosta and Carl Langston resigned as Duval County budget commissioners.
Acosta gave up his 5th District seat to accept a newly created $10,500 a year post as superintendent of the Duval County Courthouse, custodian of county buildings and county land agent.
Langston, who owned a real estate and insurance business and was developing a campground and trailer lodge in North Carolina, resigned his 1st District post to give more time to his business interests, he said.
There was no immediate indication when Gov. Haydon Burns would appoint replacements or who would be in line for the jobs.
• A bill that would give city employees three weeks of vacation after five years of service and four weeks after 10 years was given a cold reception by the City Council Laws & Rules Committee.
The committee asked the bill not pass when it was presented to the council as a whole and recommended further study of the cost of such a plan.
In 1966, employees got one week of vacation after their first year, two weeks through their ninth year and three weeks after 10 years.
On another bill, the committee approved permitting vendors of potato chips, soft drinks, popcorn, pretzels and other non-perishable items to sell door-to-door.
Municipal Inspector J. Ray Permenter, whose office would license the vendors, asked that the bill be approved.
Such sale of the items was prohibited at the time, but Permenter said it was taking place nonetheless.
“This has been a source of grief to me for long enough,” he said and the committee agreed.
• Adult education in Jacksonville was heading into a banner year, said E. John Saare, director of adult and vocational-technical education for Duval County Public Schools.
As of Oct. 31, there were 8,988 adults enrolled in various programs. Saare estimated that by the end of the 1966-67 school year, there would be nearly 34,000 registrations in the adult program, since many people signed up for more than one course.
The largest enrollment was in adult general education, with 5,039 attending classes. That was followed by 1,674 students in office education and 1,155 in industrial arts classes.
“We thought with the interest in junior college education growing, our adult programs might be affected, but the opposite has happened,” said Saare. “We are enjoying our heaviest enrollment and attendance.”
Classes were offered 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m. year-round at Central Adult School, Stanton Vocational High School Adult Center and Technical High School Adult Center.
Evening classes for adults also were conducted at 13 neighborhood senior high schools.
• A Broward County hairstylist sued the Ringling Bros. Circus for injuries he claimed he suffered when he entered a cage with a lion for a publicity photograph.
In his suit, filed in Duval County Circuit Court, Devlyn Shaw of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea said he at first refused to enter the cage in the Venice Arena in Sarasota County on Jan. 3, 1965.
However, a circus employee induced him to enter, Shaw said, assuring him the animal was “tame, harmless, toothless and clawless.”
When Shaw went in the cage to pose for a picture combing the lion’s mane, the “wild and vicious animal” mauled him, causing “severe lacerations, bruises and contusions to his entire body,” the suit contended.
The complaint also claimed “permanent cosmetic disfigurement.”
In addition, Shaw said he had “terrifying dreams that made sleep difficult, if not impossible” and he could not enjoy recreation, such as swimming or perform his profession to his fullest capacity.
The suit asked more than $10,000 in compensatory damages and more than $10,000 in punitive damages.
Assigned to Circuit Judge Charles Luckie, the suit was filed in Duval County because the defendant, Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows Inc., a Delaware corporation, maintained an office or resident agent in Jacksonville.
• On recommendation of the Bureau of Narcotics, the state Board of Health took under advisement the formulation of stricter laws governing sale and possession of a drug that was commonly available without a prescription.
Meeting in Jacksonville, the board heard testimony from Ray Bellinger, director of the bureau’s Miami office.
Some college students were becoming addicted to paregoric, the trade name for camphorated tincture of opium, and over-the-counter sales should be prohibited, Bellinger said.
Users were “cooking down” the liquid drug and then injecting the residue with syringes, he said.
Bellinger also asked that morphine and opium products be sold only with a prescription, but they weren’t the only problematic recreational drugs in South Florida.
“There is almost no heroin now in Miami, but marijuana is literally running in the gutters,” he said.