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Jax Daily Record Monday, May 30, 201612:00 PM EST

50 Years Ago: Winn-Dixie's Davis brothers offer their airplane to new governor

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Have you ever wondered what life was like in Jacksonville half a century ago? It was a different era of history, culture and politics but there are often parallels between the kind of stories that made headlines then and today. As interesting as the differences may be, so are the similarities. These are some of the top stories from this week in 1966. The items were compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library’s periodical archives by Staff Writer Max Marbut.

Gov. Haydon Burns’ successor in January would have the opportunity to use the same airplane that Burns used while in office to fly around Florida to support his efforts to bring new business to the state.

Burns, former mayor of Jacksonville, was defeated May 24 in a Democratic primary runoff election by Miami Mayor Robert King High.

The four Davis brothers of Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. said they would continue to offer their personal Convair 240 to the state for a $1-a-year lease after the Jan. 3 inauguration.

The statement was issued by James Davis, chairman of the board of Winn-Dixie; A.D. Davis, executive committee chairman; and M. Austin Davis and Tine Davis, vice presidents.

In a letter to the Florida stockholders of the grocery chain, the Davis brothers said they wanted to make it clear there was no ulterior motive in furnishing the plane for Burns’ use.

“It was a civic-minded gesture of which we are proud. Many other states we compete with to get new business have such equipment,” they said.

The statement also said, “Florida is a great state. It has a great future if properly developed and we hope to help where we can. We are indebted to Florida for the start of our success.”

• Circuit Judge Frank Elmore was elected presiding judge of the 4th Judicial Circuit at the annual meeting of judges serving Duval, Clay and Nassau counties.

He succeeded Judge William Durden.

Elmore, 68, was a Jacksonville native and had served on the circuit bench since Dec. 27, 1960. He graduated from Sewanee Military Academy and received his law degree at the University of Florida in 1926.

After practicing law in Jacksonville from 1926-34, he served as an assistant counsel for the National Recovery Administration and then as special assistant to the U.S. attorney general.

Elmore was a past president of The Jacksonville Bar Association, a past member of the board of governors of The Florida Bar and a member of the council of the section of antitrust law of the American Bar Association

• “We’ve talked a lot about rats, but they’ve not been in evidence enough to get public support,” said Dr. Patricia Cowdery, acting Duval County health officer.

At a meeting of the County Commission, she presented a study concerning an increase in rat infestation in populated areas.

Cowdery’s report, along with the public’s reaction to seeing the rodents, was worth $7,000.

That’s how much the commission appropriated to hire a team to spread rat poison where it was needed, under the direction of the health department.

Cowdery said she didn’t believe the rat population had increased, but rising water levels in creeks and streams had forced them to higher ground, and consequently out into the open where people could see them.

“It’s a potential problem instead of an actual one,” she said.

• A man who admitted to buying a bottle of liquor for two minors in Jacksonville Beach was fined $250 and sentenced to 30 days in jail.

“I want to make an example of you,” Jacksonville Beach Municipal Judge Raymond Simpson told Herman Perry.

“There is no way we can stop these young people from getting alcohol when there are people like you who will furnish it for them,” the judge added.

Perry, a laborer and caddy, was charged with vagrancy, intoxication, contributing to the delinquency of minors and with furnishing liquor to minors.

Jacksonville Beach Police Lt. J.M. Alford arrested Perry on May 20 after watching him talk to two minors, 16 and 18, near a liquor store on Beach Boulevard.

The minors were not identified.

Alford testified he saw Perry leave the boys, go to the liquor store and return a short time later and hand them a package.

Perry admitted he bought a half-pint of sloe gin for the minors at their request.

He said they gave him $3 and he bought the liquor and some wine and cigarettes for himself.

It was the first time he bought liquor for minors, Perry said.

• Picketing at the Jacksonville Terminal Co. that could shut down much of the railroad service through Jacksonville was banned by Circuit Judge Roger Waybright.

The action placed the picketing situation by Florida East Coast Railway striking unions back to where it was when the strike began in January 1963. Pickets would be allowed only at Bay and Stuart streets, the entrance used by Florida East Coast workers.

For more than three years, the railroad had been struck by 11 non-operating employee unions.

After the railroad changed work rules, the original group of pickets was joined by the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, the Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen, and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Engineers

Those groups went on strike and set up picket lines at the terminal May 4.

The terminal company obtained a restraining order in May in federal court similar to the injunction issued by Waybright.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in Atlanta threw out the order signed by District Judge William McRae.

Waybright said the state court had jurisdiction and denied the union’s contention the strike was strictly a federal matter.

His ruling stated that picketing the entire terminal would “adversely affect an entire economic area, from Duval County to Key West, Florida, and would cause economic strangulation of the entire state.”

The prohibition on picketing at the terminal, except at Bay and Stuart streets, included a ban on seeking to get employees of the terminal company to quit their jobs. It also prohibited interfering with the operation of the terminal.

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