Fifty years ago, in April 1967, a local state trooper put an end to a crime spree and Apalachicola planned for May Day as the Vietnam War raged on. In addition to reporting the news, The Times made the news, as the plaintiff in a civil suit against a telephone company executive accused of making derogatory remarks about the newspaper at a Rotary Club meeting in Port St. Joe. Whatever its reputation, the newspaper’s accounts must not have been doing too poorly. That same year they announced a plant modernization and expansion on land near the airport, as the publisher moved from a “hot metal” letter press to offset printing..
Please note the line in the entry below about the “long history” of the newspaper that tells how “the Times was born when the Tribune and Herald consolidated in 1885.” Take a look inside the index on the very bottom of the front page in this week’s edition, and you will note that it reads Vol. 132 No. 1, because it is the beginning of our 132nd year in uninterrupted publication.
Our Chasing Shadows question this week: Does anyone have a picture of May Day at Trinity Church? If you do, we would like to see it. Please call the Times at 653-8868 or email Lois Swoboda at firstname.lastname@example.org
Trooper White nabs most wanted fugitive
State Highway Trooper C.N. ”Chuck” White apprehended a fugitive from the state penitentiary in Walla Walla, Washington who was on the FBI list of most wanted criminals. The arrest was made in Apalachicola. Franklin Albert Babbitt, 29, was arrested by White on April 28 on a charge of “operating a vehicle with an improper tag” and “driving with an improper driver’s license” after White became suspicious of the man and had his automobile tag checked. His identity was learned Wednesday when information arrived from Washington.
Babbitt came under suspicion after he rented a room in an Apalachicola apartment house and subsequently was involved in a wild drinking party in the apartment house.
He was evicted by the city police.
Trooper White then decided to check further on Babbitt because he was driving with an out-of-state tag. White also had information that Babbitt had a lot of money.
A check of the license plate on Babbitt’s Ford revealed that the plate belonged to a Plymouth automobile registered to a man who is in jail in Pennsylvania. White then took Babbitt to the Franklin County jail for further investigation.
Information furnished by the National Automobile Theft Bureau (NATB) reported the 1966 automobile driven by Babbitt was stolen from an auto agency in Neenah, Texas on August 8, 1966.
According to a report from the FBI the fugitive escaped from the penitentiary during May 1966 where he had only six months left to serve on a 15-year sentence.
White said Babbitt insisted during the interrogation that there was mistaken identity until White assisted by Deputy Boyd Howze confronted him with tattoos, scars and other information furnished by the FBI.
Babbitt then related how he escaped the prison fled to Utah where he made a down payment on a car and then drove to Wisconsin.
When the engine burned out in his car he stole the 1966 Ford he said and worked his way to Baltimore where he was arrested for check forgery. He jumped bond there came south and finally ended up in Apalachicola coming from Carrabelle where he had been arrested on a drunk charge.
Babbitt came to Apalachicola about three weeks ago where he was employed by a local seafood company on one of their shrimp boats until his arrest last Friday.
Babbitt, who is wanted on a long list of charges across the country, was released to Deputy Marshall Herbert Montgomery Wednesday on a federal warrant for “unlawful flight to avoid confinement” and “interstate auto theft.”
2 Carrabelle girls enlist in US Army
The Tallahassee Army Recruiting Station announced that Miss Linda Faye Rodgers and Miss Jean Viola Tousignant, Carrabelle High School graduates of Carrabelle, enlisted in the US Army Women’s Corps recently.
Miss Rodgers and Miss Tousignant are presently at Fort McClellan near Anniston Alabama, where they will spend eight weeks in basic training, preparing themselves for special training and interesting assignments.
Miss Rodgers and Miss Tousignant graduated from Carrabelle High School last year and decided to join the US Women’s Corps to obtain a training skill and see the world.
The Carrabelle young ladies were recruited by S. Sgt. Ennis T. Odom, US Army Recruiter with the local Army Recruiting Station.
Times awarded $15,000 damages in telephone suit
The case of Apalachicola Times publisher J.A. Maloney, Plaintiffs against St. Joseph Telephone and Telegraph Company and Vice-president B. Roy Gibson, Defendants, was given to a Franklin County jury shortly after 8 o’clock last night.
The suit was filed two years ago after Mr. Gibson made an attack with derogatory remarks about the Times at a Rotary Club meeting in Port St. Joe.
After carefully instructing the jury on points of law, Circuit Court Judge Ben Willis gave the jurors a choice of several verdicts. Shortly after midnight the jury returned awarding the plaintiff compensatory damages of $10,000 and punitive damages of $5,000. (Roughly $109,000 in 2017 dollars).
In the Rotary club address which was later printed and mailed to the telephone company’s subscribers, Gibson said the Apalachicola telephone exchange had lost 74 subscribers in 1964 and attributed the loss to the “unprogressive, anti-business” policy of the Apalachicola Times.
It was proven in court yesterday that Apalachicola actually had gained 19 phone subscribers in 1964 and the alleged “loss” was due to a transfer of subscribers from the Apalachicola section of the directory to the newly established exchange in Eastpoint.
Witnesses for the plaintiff were Sheriff H. O. Marshall, I. D. Wade and Steve Gablick. Malcolm Johnson, editor of the Tallahassee Democrat gave testimony at a pretrial deposition.
Relative to the anti-business charge it was brought out in court that the plaintiff had personally spent several thousand dollars for trips to Washington, New York and Miami in an effort to interest industrialists in Franklin County. It was disclosed that the plaintiff had, in fact, gone to Washington shortly after the Area Redevelopment Act was passed in 1961 and had Franklin County declared a depressed area. As a result, Apalachicola received a matching funds federal grant of approximately $60,000 to build a new water tower and improve the city water system. Subsequently Apalachicola and Carrabelle have received numerous federal grants available to depressed areas for improvements and construction of municipal facilities.
Attorney for the plaintiff was J. Ben Watkins.
Attorneys for the defense were Ford Thompson of Starry and Thompson, Tallahassee and C.H. Bourke Floyd of Apalachicola.
Times will be moved to new location
After 86 years or more of doing business at 90 Commerce Street the Apalachicola Times has acquired sufficient land for a long overdue plant modernization and expansion.
The new location will be in the former county hospital at the local airbase.
After extensive remodeling and extension of the building, modern offset printing equipment will be installed at the new location. It is estimated the transition will require about three months. In the meantime the Times will be published with the present “hot metal” letter press equipment. Most of the office furniture and several pieces of the new equipment have been delivered and will be moved to the new location once building repairs are completed.
One of the new devices already delivered for the printing department is an IBM Auto-Typist. This machine automatically types “original” letters from a form letter resembling a perforated player-piano record. Operated in conjunction with the new Addressograph which has an identical type face, the machine production exactly equals that of 25 expert typists.
The offset printing press greatly simplifies newspaper makeup and production. What required four or five days for typesetting and makeup with the letter press method can be done in one day with the offset press. Offset also has the advantage of almost unlimited local news photo coverage and color for display advertizing.
Long before the Civil War and back in the days during which all type was hand set, Apalachicola had the first daily newspaper in Florida. Forerunners of the Times were the Tribune (established in 1881) and the Herald (established in 1884). The Times was born when the Tribune and Herald consolidated in 1885.
In 1900 the business section in Apalachicola was almost entirely destroyed by fire. The Times building and equipment went up in flames. J.K. Johnson publisher of the Times when the fire occurred got back into business by trading a large parcel of land for a four-page flat bed Cottrell press which has printed the Times for 66 years and is still in use. The land for which the press was traded is part of a large tract which recently sold for $1,000 an acre which makes our old Cottrell one of the highest priced newspaper presses in the country.
The Times publisher is fully aware that current local economic conditions do not warrant expansion, however, we have faith in the growth potential in Franklin County. Besides we have good reason to look to the future with confidence and optimism.
Native son awarded Purple Heart
Army Sgt. First Class John C. Henderson, a native of Apalachicola,, received the Purple Heart medal and second award of combat Infantry badge at ceremonies at Martha Army Hospital, Ft. Benning, GA. Presentation was made by LT. Gen. Leonard D. Henton , Army Surgeon Gen. Sgt. Henderson was wounded in Vietnam action against the enemy.
He is the brother of W.T. “Willie” Henderson, 59 Avenue C, Sgt. Henderson’s wife lives in Tampa, Florida.
Miss Cindy Kirvin May Day Queen
The 1967 May Day Fete will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church lawn at Gorrie Square; Wednesday, May 3 at 4 p.m. Miss Cindy Kirvin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Kirvin will reign as Queen. Miss Kirvin was chosen by her fellow classmates at Chapman High for being an outstanding student and has selected Mr. Raymond Jenks as her King.
Miss Kirvin’s attendants will be Misses Larke Huckebe, Sandra Marshall, Grace Gay, Brenda Mabrey, Sally Shelt and Janice Thomas. Attendant’s escorts are Brent Mabrey, Jimmy Gander, Joel Norred, Mike McDonald, Randy Randolph and Franklin Johnson.
Junior Attendants to the Queen are Carolyn Harper, Caron Spikes, Donna Sintikakis, and Genie Nichols. Their escorts are Joe Kirvin, Richard Quackenbush, John Wasmund and John Nichols. The crown bearer is Bob Zingarelli and flower girls are Misses Jennifer Kirvin and Valerie Seyforth.
The public is cordially invited to the springtime celebration.