During the November 1st Apopka City Council meeting, several members of the Apopka Area Concerned Citizens Council (AACCC), and other Apopka residents used the public comments period to express their displeasure over the Apopka Historical Society's decision to not re-stock the book “The Pennings of Perrine Slim: Stories of Northwest Orange County Florida”.
On Friday, November 3rd, The Apopka Chief published an account of the meeting, which included a description of the public comments, as well as a response by Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer defending the Apopka Historical Society's actions.
On Sunday Cheryl Kilsheimer, President of the Apopka Historical Society, emailed a statement to The Apopka Voice in response to the allegations and to The Apopka Chief's article. The statement is endorsed by the vast majority of the Apopka Historical Society Board, and their names are listed at the end of the response.
Here is Cheryl Kilsheimer's statement:
"The article in The Apopka Chief, “Mayor defends criticism of his wife’s actions as group president” saddens me beyond belief. Clearly what happened at the November 1 City Council meeting was a politically motivated, manufactured stunt to hurt my husband by using me. And The Apopka Chief bought it: hook, line and sinker.
Here’s the real story: The Apopka Chief chose to do no fact checking or investigating of the claims of a group the Apopka Area Concerned Citizens Council (AACCC) to ascertain the truth. The Chief printed one side’s version of a story. Had The Chief made a simple phone call to either myself or any other board member, it could have avoided putting the community through the turmoil of such a public spectacle.
Why would The Chief publish such blatant untruths? It’s clear: The Apopka Chief intends to “carry the water” for Joe’s opponent and they will use anyone or anything – no matter how sacred to our community - to achieve their goal.
As the President of the Apopka Historical Society, I can state that the following are the unequivocal facts of what recently happened at the Museum.
The Apopka Chief also took it upon themselves to include another lie about Ed Velazquez. Mr. Velazquez is a retired Vietnam Army Veteran, a member of the Elks and a board member on the Apopka Historical Society. Neither he nor any other board member has ever turned away a volunteer because of the color of their skin. There is simply no factual backing for that statement and The Apopka Chief therefore owes him an apology.
In regards to Ms. Beverly Byrd alleging that the museum has an “arrangement” with Orange County School Board Member Christine Moore, this is another lie. If The Apopka Chief would have done any fact-checking at all, they would have learned the books by Ms. Moore were purchased by a Museum board member and donated to the museum.
I have to respond to Ms. Byrd’s rude and uncalled-for behavior at the recent Apopka City Council meeting. I have never and would never treat your mother disrespectfully. But I ask: Why would you treat my husband, the Mayor of Apopka with such disregard? With all due respect, you don’t even know him. I assure you Ms. Byrd, many people have won elections for which I favored the other side, but I would never disrespect the office or the person who puts themselves, their family and friends through the process of running for election. If this is customary of a “southern gal from Apopka,” then I feel sorry for Apopka.
This is an attack on my character which is unfounded. I’ve donated my time, my personal money and have persuaded my friends to donate their time for our museum. I cherish it and my ability to give back to our community through it.
If The Apopka Chief had made one phone call, or sent one email or inquiry of any kind to anyone with knowledge of the truth, this article would not have been written and this political stunt would have been seen for what it is.
In closing, I have long been concerned that The Apopka Chief was writing articles that contained a great degree of bias. Now I realize The Apopka Chief’s articles are worse than biased. They are woefully uninformed and devoid of facts.
Lastly, I share with my fellow Museum Board Members a concern that the museum has been used as a pawn in this vicious, politically motivated attack that brings with it racial overtones that are unnecessary and unfounded. The Museum is about our collective history in Apopka and politics has no place in its walls and we would hope that it not be used to further anyone’s political agenda."
Reviewed and endorsed by the following Apopka Historical Society Board members:
Betty Ann Huntsman
Hilda and Larry Leudenburg
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Cheryl Kilsheimer and the Apopka Historical Society Board, and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Apopka Voice.
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