Officer David Rigney touched many lives
By Shaun Tilghman
News Editor – North Manchester News-Journal
Just over a week has passed since the accident that claimed the life of North Manchester Police Officer David Rigney, and in the wake of tragedy, communities across Wabash County have joined together not only in mourning the loss, but also in celebrating his life.
The 39-year-old LaFontaine native was off-duty when the crash occurred last Monday afternoon. Rigney was heading south on State Road 15 when his SUV fishtailed and crossed into the northbound lane, where it was struck by a school bus, before returning to the southbound lane and being struck by another vehicle – he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sgt. Brian Enyeart, a veteran of the North Manchester Police Department, said the loss was devastating on many different levels.
“People outside of law enforcement don’t understand the bond that law enforcement officers have – it’s more than just as coworkers or even friends, we truly are ‘brothers in blue’,” Enyeart said. “There is a lot of stuff that is easier to talk about with other officers than with other people, because they just don’t understand. With Dave, you always knew if you needed anything you could call him and he would be there to help you out.”
by Gary Andrews
Not only did the Wabash Lady Apache basketball team open their 2014-15 season with an impressive 60-44 win over Mississinewa Friday; they got to be part of history as senior Claire Cromer went off for 42 points to set the Wabash single game scoring record.
The Lady Apaches dominated right from the start, jumping out to an 11-0 lead and leading 14-4 after the end of the quarter. Claire Cromer had all 14 points for Wabash.
Mississinewa would cut the Wabash lead to 16-10 early in the second quarter before Shelby Stone buried two shots from behind the arch to build the lead to 22-10. The Indians again cut the lead to single digits before Cromer drained back-to-back three’s, then hit four straight free throws to increase the lead to 31-18. At 31-22 Cromer would hit a shot before the buzzer as Wabash led 33-22 at the half.
Kristin Cromer and Sarah Puckett would get in on the scoring action in the third while Claire Cromer kept rolling as the Lady Apaches built their lead to 45-25 before leading 45-26 after three.
Claire Cromer would hit a three to get the Wabash scoring going in the fourth as sister Kristin hit two free throws as Wabash rolled to a 60-44 win.
Claire Cromer led the way with 42 points. Shelby Stone and Kristin Cromer added 6 points each, Sarah Puckett 4, Katie McCauley 2.
By Bill Barrows
Periodically, I have the privilege to witness heartwarming and amazing things that happen in the course of my daily activities in youth sports at the Wabash County YMCA. This week, I watched as a young man took a huge step forward on a long road back to regaining his health.
Jace Randel’s parents, Jason and Amanda, registered him to play 4th & 5th grade tackle football in August. Jace expected to play with a number of his classmates on the Cowboys team this fall while learning some life lessons along the way. He had no idea the roller coaster ride he had in front of him.
”On Aug. 20 (ironically, the same day as the first football practice) Jace began not feeling well. I took him in to his pediatrician after a few days of stomach pain. He ordered blood work, just to be sure it wasn’t an appendicitis. The blood work came back abnormal,” explained Amanda.
After consulting with their pediatrician, the Randels prepared for a trip to Riley Hospital.
“The Pediatrician explained to us that Jace's blood work had come back abnormal, and after consulting with a few Riley Oncologists, they thought Jace had leukemia.” Amanda continued, “We were being sent to Riley to run more blood work and prepare him for a bone marrow biopsy.” Jason & Amanda told their son what this meant; Jace was crushed.
“I told him that we were NOT putting our faith and trust into one test. We would be putting our faith in God who, we KNEW, could do anything!!” She explained, “What a calming affect that can have on a person, to know WHO is in control and WHO is all powerful,”
The blood work at Riley came back inconclusive. Jace received a platelets transfusion in order to perform the biopsy to prevent excessive bleeding. He had an allergic reaction to the platelet transfusion. Instantly, he began to break out in hives and his throat started swelling. After giving him large doses of Benadryl, he was finally able to sleep. The biopsy came back negative. Several other tests were run, for conditions such as; mono, autoimmune markers, and vitamin deficiencies, and all came back normal. Normal was a relative term. Jace wasn’t getting any worse, but was also wasn’t getting any better either.
by Gary Andrews
The Southwood VolleyKnights had one last game scheduled for the year Saturday and it was the state championship. The Lady Knights had won nine straight games to win the sectional, then defeated Clinton Central 3-0 for the regional title. Last Saturday Southwood won the very tough Bremen semi state by topping Adams Central 3-1 and Hammond Bishop Noll 3-2 for the semi state title. Saturday at Ball State the VolleyKnights had the task of taking on defending state champion Providence for the state title.
Southwood, the 2A public school state champion hung tough, but the power hitting of Providence ended up being too much as the VolleyKnights fell 17-25, 14-25, 18-25.
Providence got off to a 10-3 start in game one before the Knights shook off the championship jitters and started to go to work. Emilie Harnish would get a kill and Bailey Lundmark a block during a 5-0 run to close the gap to 10-8. Providence would then score 10 of the next 14 points to open a 24-15 lead before two Sami White tips kept the game alive, but one last Pioneer kill ended game one 17-25.
Southwood jumped out to a 4-0 lead to start game two with Sami White serving. Kaitlyn Murphy had a kill with White scoring on an ace and a tip. Bailey Hobbs would get a kill as the Knights extended their lead to 8-3 before the Pioneer’s got hot. Providence would score 6 of the next 7 points to tie the game at 9 before a White tip and an Emilie Harnish ace made it 11-9. With Southwood up 12-10 the sleeping giant awoke as Providence went on a 10-1 run to grab a 20-13 lead on their way to the 25-14 final.
by Shaun Tilghman
Despite the inclement weather, a large group gathered at the North Manchester Covered Bridge on Friday morning to take part in the dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting that marked the bridge’s official reopening. Although Friday was the official reopening, the bridge was actually open to traffic as early as Thursday.
Wabash County Bridge No. 645 (North Manchester Covered Bridge, S. Mill Street over the Eel River) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Smith Bridge Company, from Toledo, Ohio, built the bridge in 1872 for approximately $3,515; the entire structure is built of wood, put together with pins, iron bolts, and square cut nails.
Following the disastrous fire that nearly destroyed the Roann Covered Bridge, the North Manchester Covered Bridge remains the only one in Wabash County with most of the original structure intact. Restoration of this unique bridge was recently undertaken to repair or replace deteriorated truss members, flooring, roofing, and siding in order to extend the life of this structure for future generations to utilize and admire.
Wabash County Commissioners Brian Haupert and Barry Eppley were both pleased with the results of the project. “I feel really good about the project and it turned out really nice,” said Haupert.
“The bridge was definitely in need of repair,” he continued, “and actually, when we took some of the siding off we found out it was probably in a little worse condition than we thought. They did get a little behind on the project, but that was for some unforeseen structural deficiencies and those are things that you just can’t help. They still only lost 44 days on the project and it looks good now. There is still a little bit of work to do – they’re waiting on some shingles and they still have some painting to do – but they’ll get it looking nice by next spring and hopefully by then we’ll have some grass growing in the area again.”
Eppley added, “It’s nice to have it battened down before the end of the year, especially since winter came a little early. There are still a few things to get finished up but I’m sure they’ll get that all taken care of without much trouble. It turned out fantastic, and it’s an accomplishment that wouldn’t have been possible without the additional funding we attained. We’re just glad to be able to hand it over for another generation to enjoy.”
Existing materials and construction details were reused as much as possible and the construction was completed with the approval of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources - Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, along with various permitting agencies and local officials.
Federal funds, secured from the National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program and the Transportation Enhancement Fund, paid for 80 percent of the design and construction costs. Wabash County paid the remaining 20 percent with local high way money.
“It’s nice because the 80/20 split is an opportunity for the people here in Wabash County to get some of their federal tax dollars back, so it was good to be able to put it back into a project like this,” Haupert explained.
Overall, the project had a price tag of approximately $1 million, which included $180,300 for engineering costs, $805,000 for construction costs, and $90,500 for construction inspection costs. United Consulting (Indianapolis) handled the design and construction inspection, while CLR Inc. (Vincennes) and Square and Level Construction (Bridgeton) served as the general contractor and covered bridge contractor, respectively.
“This bridge has been a long time coming and we appreciate everyone being here today,” said Steve Jones, vice president of Business Development & Marketing for United Consulting. “I personally would like to thank the Commissioners – Brian, Barry, and Scott (Givens) – along with Highway Superintendent John Martin, for allowing us to work on this important project. I’d also like to thank INDOT for all of their help and guidance on this project, as well as the Federal Highway Administration for their contributions to the project. And I would especially like to thank the Town of North Manchester for their patience during the closure of the bridge for this project.”
Dan Reitmeyer, general superintendent for CLR Inc., described the project as fairly average in terms of the restoration work that needed to be done. “It was far less intensive than some of the bridge projects we’ve worked on,” he continued. “The biggest delay came while we were waiting for the utilities to get moved away from the bridge; other than that, most things went as planned. We still have some touch-up painting to do in a couple of spots and then just some general clean up, but for the most part it’s all done.”
Mark Berry, from United Consulting, did the construction inspection for the project and said the walkthrough Friday morning was to make a list of touch-up items that still need to be completed so they’ll have that information on file.
“A lot of what’s left to do involves painting, because we just ran out of good painting weather,” Berry added. “It took a little longer than anticipated, but sometimes you run into things you didn’t expect; for instance, we’re jacking up a bridge that has been settling for over 140 years, so some of those bolts just didn’t want to come out. Overall though, it went really well, and the contractor said a lot of times costs will go up 30-40 percent with these projects, but we were able to keep well beneath that, which is due in part to us being able to reuse so much of the original lumber.”
Haupert wrapped things up by complimenting the companies involved with the project and thanking them for their efforts. “Everybody was really great to work with, especially United Consulting, INDOT, CLR, and the Historic Preservation Program,” he said.
“This is the culmination of the ‘Year of the Detour’ in North Manchester,” Haupert concluded, “and I’m glad we could finish most of the projects off by the end of the year. We want to thank everyone that was involved in this project – it turned out fantastic and everybody should be proud of the work they’ve done here. It’s nice to give this little Christmas present to the county and the town; so again, thank you for all of your hard work.”