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 Eric Stearley
In mid-November, John Boardman was mowing his lawn when he noticed a visitor near his home. The visitor was about 35 pounds, tan in color, and what John believed to be a cocker spaniel. John’s cousin, who lives on Shady Lane Drive, had seen the visitor before, but was never able to get very close. The little guy stuck around, often hanging out near the crest of a hill at the edge of the Boardman property.
“I called the animal shelter after a few days,” said John. They had gotten calls about this dog, but they couldn’t get close enough to catch it after trying several times. The dog was scared of everything and everybody, and he never got within 100 feet of a person.”
Animals roaming around the south side of town was not unusual according to John, who recounted multiple run-ins with stray cats, for which he keeps a cage in the basement. Something about this little dog, however, stuck with John and his wife Marilyn. They could tell he was wearing a collar, and they knew someone must be wondering where their pet was.
“I put food out for him and put water in a container with a bird bath heater under it to prevent freezing,” said John. “I’d try to get him to eat, but he wouldn’t come up and eat when I was around. At night, he’d come up then.”
Most days when the couple woke up, the food would be gone, but it made the young dog no less afraid of humans. With the weather only getting colder, the Boardmans started to worry about the dog’s safety. His fur was well overgrown, but the temperature was starting to drop below freezing regularly. The Boardmans worried so much about this little dog, it kept them up at night, thinking and wondering where the scared little dog was spending its nights. The Boardmans’ neighbors had taken notice of the newcomer as well. Stella Denney had seen the dog narrowly escape being struck by a car on Peterson Drive. Bob LaMont had noticed the dog a few weeks before, as it followed him from a distance on his way to the market to get a paper each morning. Florence Draper had talked to police about the dog after they knocked on her door at 5:30 a.m. one morning after receiving a complaint of a loose dog running around her house. Draper, who told John that she doesn’t like animals, but that she just couldn’t sleep at night thinking about that little dog out in the cold. John decided to take things into his own hands.
Though not a huge dog, the cat cage he had in the basement was not big enough. He got a cage from the animal shelter and started putting the dog’s food inside the trap. Though the dog may have been irrationally scared of humans, he was very smart. John would watch as the dog, afraid to step inside the cage, would reach in with one paw and pull the food outside before devouring his meal. As John put the food further inside the cage, the dog would reach further inside to remove it.
Afraid to step inside a structure intended for capture, John decided to build a small doghouse, hoping that it would at least give the dog a sheltered place to sleep. Not only would the dog go nowhere near the doghouse, but avoided the Boardmans’ open garage and Bob LaMont’s open utility shed. John once moved the dog’s food dish under the overhang of his garage to keep it out of the rain, but the dog had no interest in getting that close to a building.
With no luck capturing the dog, John went to the vet seeking alternative measures.
“I went to the veterinarian and asked him ‘what can I do about this dog that is so scared?” said John.
The vet sold him some tranquilizers, which he put in a small amount of wet dog food.
“He came up and ate it, and he got slowed down a bit,” said John. “He’d come up closer, but you’d go out there and he wouldn’t even come close. He’d go over there across the hill and lie down in the sun.”
A week later, John went back to the vet for another dose. This time, the vet instructed him to give it all to him at once. The dog ate the medicated food and walked off. John went outside and waited.
“I stayed out there for, gosh, two or three hours,” said John. “I about froze my buns off out there. He came up and I had a whole pocket full of treats. He’d take one out of my fingers. I’d try to touch him and I was trying to grab his collar, but it just wouldn’t work.”
Then came a cold, wet, winter storm.
“We had that bad snow, seven inches of snow, and it was just colder than a well digger’s hind end, and I didn’t know where the little guy was staying, because that was zero,” said John.
John’s neighbor, Florence Draper told him that she thought he was sleeping on her stoop at night. The dog had peeked in her window one night and scared her. John put a rug on the stoop and the dog slept on the rug the next two nights. The following day, John called for him to come eat, and for the first time ever, the dog came up onto the Boardmans’ back porch. Before, the dog wouldn’t even take food from the bottom step, only eating if his dinner was out in the open of the back yard.
Five days before Christmas, Wabash got a heavy, cold rain. John and Marilyn were sitting in their living room when they heard something at the back door.
“Marilyn said ‘look there,’” said John. “He came up on the porch and looked in the window, and by golly, I couldn’t believe it, he put up his paw and scraped on the window.”
They opened the door and told him to come in, but once again, he was timid. He put one paw in, and then decided against it, retreating back to the porch steps. It didn’t take long before he came back, putting both paws in the doorway. This time, he came inside. The Boardmans dried him off with a towel, as he was soaking wet.
“He just spun around, and he was so happy, and he jumped on me and jumped up on Marilyn and wanted petted and he ran all over,” said John. “He stretched out on a pillow and just rested. From wild dog to a pet in a few minutes.”
But the 35 pound tan cocker spaniel had always been a pet; he was a very scared, very confused pet that was very far from home. A quick look at his collar tag and they were able to find his identification. They got his information through the American Kennel Association (AKA) and called his owner. After two months in the elements, he was a very dirty dog. John had planned to take him to their groomer, the place he takes his two shih tzus, Candy and Eitz, but there was no time. Forty-five minutes later, his owner, Christine, pulled into their driveway.
Along with his owner’s contact information, the AKA provided the little dog’s name, Jasper. The one-year-old cocker spaniel had been on the loose since before Halloween. Jasper was a family pet and soon-to-be 4-H project for the family’s children, but Jasper would not be entered into the Wabash County Fair, because he was not a Wabash County dog. Jasper’s two-month journey had taken more than 20 miles from his home in Grant County.
“I don’t know how in the world he got from there to here,” said John. “I just know it ain’t by taxi.”
When Jasper’s owner Christine came to the door and called his name, Jasper jumped up and ran over to her, showering her with affection. They spent a few minutes on the floor, Jasper rolling over to have his favorite person pet him. She showed the Boardmans how to put Jasper to sleep instantly, by rubbing a certain spot on the side of his belly. She also told them that when he’s groomed, the white spot on the top of his head is actually shaped like a heart.
“She said ‘oh, my daughters are going to be just absolutely thrilled when they get home from school and he’s here,’” said John.
Christine’s daughters had been devastated when Jasper didn’t come home. She contacted animal shelters and the AKA to report that her dog was missing. Though the Wabash County Animal Shelter knew about this dog, they were never able to get close enough to make an identification or to scan the microchip implant which would have immediately alerted them to the dog’s situation. John guessed this had likely been the case in Marion and other areas as well.
After a few minutes, Christine told Jasper that it was time to go. He walked to the family’s van a new dog. He jumped through the sliding side door of the van and they pulled out of the driveway.
“There he was, sitting up in the passenger’s seat just looking out the window just like he’d been doing that all his life,” said John.
With just 5 days left until Christmas, the youngest, hairiest member of a family was reunited after months of separation.
“Why he came here, I don’t know that,” said John. “This is, I would say, for Florence Draper, Bob LaMont, and me personally, our greatest Christmas present.”