The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 9, 1976 · Page 175
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December 9, 1976

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 175

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West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Thursday, December 9, 1976
Page:
Page 175
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Kf eve Mitchell 1 We are getting into my favorite time of year again - winter in South Florida. It's not so much that I enjoy the cool weather down here, although I do very much. I know it's sadistic and rotten of me, but what I really enjoy is the cold weather they're having up North. Did you see that weather story in The Post the other day? Started out like this: "The temperature dropped to an unofficial low of 45 below zero Tuesday in Balkan Township, Minn., and to an unofficial 41 below in Thorhult, Minn. "It was bitterly cold almost everywhere in the Midwest in the aftermath of a snowstorm that left 6 inches of snow on metropolitan Chicago and South Bend, Ind. I know exactly what they're talking about. I spent four bitter winters in Wisconsin, and I left feeling that I had barely escaped with my life. During that first win- died me thoughtfully, then said, "Are all southerners crazy, or is it just you?" By January, I was beginning to understand what he meant. The love for snow is inversely proportional to the amount you have to shovel out of your driveway. In Wisconsin, you have to shovel quite a bit. - By the first of February, I had 5-foot snowbanks on both sides of my driveway. It definitely wasn't melting, because snow doesn't do much melting when the high for the day is 16 or 17 degrees. Then it got cold. For a solid week, the temperature never got above 2 or 3, and at night it plunged to 20 and 30 below zero. "Good God, Howard, how can you people stand this?" I said. "Nobody was meant to live with this kind of cold." "You call this cold?" Howard snorted derisively. Turn to MITCHELL, C2 later. "Back in North Carolina, it always melts in k &y or two." Howard laughed sardonically. "It'll melt," he said, "It'll melt next May, but there'll be a lot more on tdp" ' of it before then. Just wait 'til January and Februafy when the blizzards start. You'll really see some snow then." T i' ter, I was a source of much amusement to the natives of the region. In October, I looked out the window of the newspaper office and said "Hey, look! It's snowing!" I received a number of puzzled looks, and several snickers. "Of course it's snowing," said a grizzled old copy editor named Howard. "It's October, and late October at that." "The snow hasn't melted yet," I observed a week "That's great," I said. "I love snow." Howard St 1 i Also Serving Okeechobee County The Palm Beach Post News of MartinSt.Lucie THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1976 SECTION ft 'tr New FP Police Chief On Leave From Job 1 vtljri 'm-trJTi I i I 1 w "Therefore, the option of a leave of absence was open to me, and in realization that I am not independently wealthy and must work to support myself and my family, the leave of absence was the most reasonable course of action." Merritt explained that under Knoxville rules he is completely detached from that department, draws no salary and accrues no job or pension benefits. "At my choice I may return to the rank I held as assistant chief at the expiration of my leave of absence," he explained. Merritt served 19 years in the Knoxville Police Department. He wouldn't say yesterday that he is sure he will go back there at the end of a year. Neither did he say he will remain here longer than a year. Merritt did say, however, that he is enrolling in Rollins College to pursue a masters degree at the same time he will be reorganizing the Police Department here. "I can assure you that I will be able to devote the necessary time to fulfill the commitments and responsibilities of my position as chief of police while pursuing my studies. I fully realize that this is a tremendous work load, but in order to better prepare myself, and to set an example for the employes of the department, I will be pursuing this course. Leslie said that now that he's found out about the chief's intent to go to school while serving here he's having second thoughts about hiring him. "I appreciate the fact that the man's wanting to improve his education, and while he's apparently planning to do it on nights and weekends I'm wondering if we can spare the time." said Leslie. He said he wasn't aware of the full facts when he made his decision to vote for Merritt, and he's sure the matter will be brought before the commission again for discussion. By JOHN BARTLETT Post Staff Writer FORT PIERCE - New Police Chief Gerald Merritt confirmed yesterday that he is on a year's leave of absence from the Knoxville Police Department and may go back there next year after he earns a masters degree from a Florida university. Merritt, hired last week by the City Commission after a series of controversial hearings, issued a statement confirming reports of his planned return to Knoxville. Merritt had not mentioned his intentions to city commissioners, who chose him as the new chief over the objections of large segments of the community. "I did not know anything about that leave of absence. I was just surprised when I found it out. It doesn't make the ones who voted for him look so good," said City Commissioner Jack Long, who didn't vote for Merritt but held out for a local candidate. Commissioner Grover Leslie, who switched his vote to Merritt from a local applicant and was the deciding factor in Merritt being chosen, said he, too, didn't know about the leave of absence. Mayor Ben L. Bryan Jr. was out of town yesterday and couldn't be reached for comment. He also voted for Merritt. Merritt late yesterday issued a statement saying that he told Knoxville city officials he wanted a one year's leave of absence so he could corne and serve as chief in Fort Pierce and, in the meantime, get his masters degree from a college here. Merritt explained he asked for a leave of absence to secure his old job, because he knew he was coming to a "high-risk" position in Fort Pierce. "The person taking a position of police chief in Fort Pierce with the goal of developing an efficient and effective department is taking a high risk," he said. IJ i 'v k : I Conveyors Move Oranges to Sorters Fruit Not as Shiny To Veteran Packers Teachers To Resume pasteboard cartons used now. They said they wonder whether, 20 to 40 years hence, the fruit would be smaller yet. "I doubt that," said packing house foreman Charles Williams. He said he felt different growing conditions, plus a change in the weather, may be responsible for the diminished size of the fruit. "Fruit should start to size up better before it gets worse." he said "There are changes you notice from year to year," Williams said. "For instance, last year we had a lot of 'rough and out-of-shape fruit but this year we're getting nicer fruit. It's just small is all." Another worker, in charge of packing and grading, said the condition of the soil has a lot to do with the size of the fruit. Pete Brown said that as orange and grapefruit trees get older, they produce smaller fruit. He said citrus diseases also "take a toll on crops and could be one reason for changes in appearance. According to Brown, there may be as much as an lV2-inch difference in the size of today's oranges compared to crops 20 or 30 years ago. He said as fruit growers replace old trees, there should be a reversal in the trend toward smaller fruit. By LINDA HARBISON Post Staff Writer FORT PIERCE - If those oranges and grape- V fruit on the grocery shelves don't look as big andi bright as they used to, your eves aren't deceiving you. " 1 According to workers long-experienced in the ' handling of citrus, local fruit is a lot smaller than it was 40 years ago. "It doesn't have the same shine,'; says Clemmie Davis, a citrus packer for the last 42 years. While noting that the oranges and grapefruit seem to taste the same as ever, Mrs. Davis, arf employe of Tuxedo Fruit Co., said she felt the change in , appearance may be due to several factors, including f the quantity of fruit grown nowadays. f "Back in the old days, they didn't grow as much fruit as they do today. And maybe they cared for it better since there was less fruit to worry about." W j ' A fellow worker at the packing house, Otjifi Brown, has been working in and around the frtiit , business for 24 years and agrees the size of fruit is,." not what it used to be. ' . The two women were around when orange and grapefruit were wrapped individually in paper befftre being packed in wooden crates, as opposed to the Talks i i - f Si- jS C J ' , i - - mam" ' ' ' " - . ' J Hi . - ' t r", ' - y This is a photograph of a painting by Julie Sneed Bartlett of Lt. Col. Benjamin Pierce which hangs in the St. Lucie County Historical Museum. Society Launches Stamp Campaign Union Threatens Strike in January By JIM REEDER Post Staff Writer STUART - Negotiators for the School Board and teachers union have agreed to resume contract talks, but the Martin County Education Association (MCE A) Tuesday night stood firm in its refusal to participate in hearings before a special master. The MCEA voted last week to reject the School Board's latest contract offer and has threatened to strike in January unless the board comes to terms the members accept. MCEA President Leonard Lee appeared at Tuesday's meeting to inform board members of the decision, but said he sees no point in the MCEA submitting a whole new package to negotiators. The School Board has asked the state Public Employes Relations Commission (PERC) to assign a special master to recommend a settlement to their differences, but MCEA members rejected this idea. "We refuse because it is time-consuming and expensive," Lee said. "If the special master should find in our favor, what can we expect out of the board?" School Board Atty. Doug Sands said it is unfortunate MCEA will not accept the procedures he said they are obligated to follow under the law. "The next move is up to MCEA and PERC," Sands said. Lee accused the School Board of only offering the teachers "molehills" and said "teachers will not accept molehills . " Lee said the teachers would be pleased to negotiate, but would not work a whole year without a contract. 'U P' Ottie Brown sorts oranges with skilled hands at Tuxedo Fruit Co. in Fort Pierce. Mrs. Brown has been working in the fruit business for 24 years and agrees with fellow workers that the size and appearance of citrus products is not what it used to be. Staff Photoi by Linda Harbison ' muhu By JOHN BARTLETT Post Staff Writer FORT PIERCE - Fort Pierce will win national recognition, at least among stamp collectors, if the St. Lucie County Historical Society's plan to get a commemorative stamp approved by the U.S. Postal Service is a success. The Historical Society wants the Postal Service to recognize Lt. Col. Benjamin K. Pierce on a stamp in 1978. Pierce, during the Seminole wars, commanded the fort which later was named for him. The Historical Society Board of Directors got the idea for the stamp during a recent program presented to the group by a stamp collector, said Historical Society President Maude Coffee. She said that stamp collector Bill Taylors suggested trying to get a commemorative stamp for the area. The Historical Society wrote to Postmaster General Benjamin Bailer in Washington and asked him for details. Bailer wrote the group that community support is the answer and that signatures would be needed from over 50 per cent of the adults living in the city. Since then, Mrs. Coffee and the other society directors have been planning a campaign which will get them that community support. "We think Col. Pierce is a natural to be remembered, because besides having the fort and city named for he him, he was one of the country's outstanding military officers in the years before the Civil War," she explained. "He served here during the Seminole wars around 1838-42, and the fort was named after him on a vote of the men stationed here. He was also the brother of Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States," she explained. r J ft. I 1 r x i 4 , r Iff, . ;v.'.'.j.4

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