McIntosh Mirror: Reflecting news in the Tosh

Want to impact your community? Many of McIntosh's citizen boards have open seats and a council at a loss as to how to fill them.

Light-up McIntosh December 15

Light-up McIntosh will begin at the Civic Center at 6:30 p.m. The event will host Santa Clause and an area choir from six local churches will sing.

12.14.06 -- BREAKING NEWS: Rock thrown through councilman's window after meeting

By CHER PHILLIPS

Even after taking into account the McIntosh Town Council's tumultuous year, it was still a shock to council members and some residents when 2006 went out with a crash.

Only a few people remained in the parking area outside McIntosh Civic Center when a crash resounded as Councilman Howard Walkup climbed into his pickup truck and his window exploded.

Walkup had been showing off this handiwork with the tennis court lights only 10 minutes earlier. At least one small group still congregated near the Civic Center after the last monthly town council meeting of the calendar year arguing about the aging water system and the on-going discussion about the town's historic ordinance.

The crash sounded odd and out of context.

About 10:15 p.m., McIntosh is inky-dark. Even with holiday lights scattered through town, it was hard to make out who hit what from anywhere in the parking lot of the Civic Center. There were no headlights or screeching tires -- just the sound of a crash from Walkup's truck on the Avenue F side of the parking lot.

It seemed from where Councilman Lee Deaderick, Councilwoman Eva Jo Callahan, resident Beverly Dodder were standing that Walkup had backed into something.

But that didn't make sense, since his truck was backed up to Avenue F between a street lamp that doesn't stay on and a tree. There was simply nothing Walkup could have hit.

Something had to have hit him.

Dodder was the first to head over to investigate. Others were waiting for the driver to get out.

"We'd better go find out what happened," she said.

As they walked over, Walkup climbed out of his truck, which was showered inside and out with chucks and slivers of glass that clung to the surfaces of his truck's interior. Walkup, himself, was unharmed -- without a scratch. But he stood there mystified as to why the back window of his cab just shattered.

He said he just got in and turned it on.

"Did you turn on the heat?" I asked. "Was there a temperature change? Anything?"

"No. Not at all." Walkup said.

Dodder, Walkup, Callahan, Deaderick and this reporter stood around the truck bed, as mystified as Walkup. Glass had shattered inside the cab but also back into the truck bed.

Deaderick, tall enough to see into the bed of Walkup's gunmetal gray, Ford 350, 1o-ton truck, reached in and pulled out a chuck of rock slightly smaller than a baseball and asked Walkup if he'd had asphalt in his truck.

It became clear, then, that someone had tossed a rock at his truck window.

The area behind where he was parked was dark. Squinting into the darkness, someone easily could have been hiding in the shadows. Yet, a half block away, Councilman Frank Ciotti was walking his dog, having just gotten home from the council meeting. It was business as usual on Avenue F.

"It could be any one of a hundred things," Walkup said.

He said they might not like his license plate, which says "choose life" or someone might not like his work on the council. He made the point that everything seemed quieter since the new council had taken over and that he felt they'd done what the residents charged them to do.

Walkup, who has served on the council more than 10 years, said that in all his years as a councilman in McIntosh, this was the first time anyone has thrown a rock through his window. He did not run last year but ran to fill the remaining term of former Councilman Jim Strange's seat when he resigned this August. Walkup's agenda in the last few meetings has been to undo some of the ordinances passed by the former council, which he says residents consider contentious.

Since no one saw anyone throw the rock, both Walkup and Callahan said it was impossible to tell what motive was behind shattering the window.

Walkup said almost as soon as Deaderick found the rock in his truck that it could have been either an act of vengeance or a kid playing around. He did say that whoever it was knew he was in the truck when they threw the rock.

Callahan said that it didn't matter who did it, it wasn't a nice thing to do.

"They waited until I started the crank," he said, "Just when it started, that thing exploded."

The Marion County Sheriff's department was called, but they could not immediately dispatch an officer since they only had one on duty at the time. A deputy attended the council meeting earlier that night but left before the incident.

Other residents in the area did not hear or see anything. One woman, who asked not to be named, said whoever did it was a coward and that if he had something to say, it should have been said at the meeting directly to the councilman.

*****


Coming up tomorrow: Report on the council meeting

Check out this weekend: Coverage of Light-up McIntosh

posted by Cher @ 11:06 PM,

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Editor and Publisher:

I'm Cher From McIntosh, FL I'm a graduate student at the University of Florida working on a master's degree in Mass Communication. While I was finishing my undergrad degree in journalism last year, I reported on McIntosh, Fla. for an in-depth reporting class. I figured that the reporting and the public record files should go somewhere people can access them. Reporters don't report to keep the information they find to themselves. Some of that reporting is included here in a forum that allows response. McIntosh suffers because with no news coverage, the local government and the rumor mill have too much potential to run rampant over residents. I moved to McIntosh in the fall of 1999. My profile

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The primary purpose of this blog is to accurately reflect what happens in town public meetings and dispel rumors. I record the meetings and make them available for download. One of the goals of this blog is to offer residents a place to voice opinions. The comments, views and opinions expressed there are not necessarily those of the editor.

 
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