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
Wabash County Habitat for Humanity celebrated the opening of its new office space with an open house May 30. Previously, the organization worked out of an open office at Friends Church, and before that, there was no office in Wabash County. This represents the second major step in the local affiliate’s transition from a volunteer-only model to a full-time, staffed model, the first step of which was the hiring of Executive Director Steve Miller last year.
“It’s been a really smooth transition,” Miller said during the open house.”
Other than a few leaky pipes, the house was in good condition and structurally sound. After receiving some donations in the form of furniture, they did some decorating and made it their own.
“We actually moved in three weeks ago. That’s why its good to have volunteers, because otherwise it would not look like this. We’ve been really blessed in a lot of ways.”
The organization’s new office is a repurposed house located at 375 N Manchester Ave., on the corner of State Street. Two volunteers who helped with the project are interior designers, who Miller said made a huge difference. Terry Echard of Lafayette donated the house to the organization.
“We finalized the donation in November, and we talked about, could we rehab it and turn it into an affordable house for a homeowner, and that didn’t quite work,” said Miller. “And then we talked about, well, we could sell it, and we didn’t like that idea, so could we put our office there, and we talked about it and the key thing was making sure we could utilize the property properly.”
An educational conference room occupies the lower level’s main room. This will be used primarily as a space for homeowner and financial literacy education, as well as the organization’s board meetings. Past that, you can find Miller’s office and a smaller seating area. In the back, you can find a bathroom and a kitchen, which Steve and the volunteers made use of to prepare a few snacks for the open house guests.
In addition, the house has a second story, and the detached garage has an apartment above it. Miller hopes to use the house’s upstairs to house an AmeriCorps volunteer in the future. The apartment above the garage was recently designated as a space for Growing Grounds to house women in need.
“Once we got that finalized, that’s when we kind of pulled the trigger and turned the utilities on,” said Miller. “We’ve got room to grow and add staff.”
Habitat for Humanity is always looking for volunteers to help with upcoming projects. They have two pieces of property in Wabash on which they are looking to build and find homeowners for. Recent changes in mortgage and credit regulations have changed the organization’s homeowner application process substantially, making it more difficult, but may assure long-term affordability. The local affiliate has seen substantial growth in recent years, which is both exciting and challenging.
“The most difficult and challenging stage of growth for a habitat affiliate is the one this affiliate is making right now,” said Miller. “Going from all volunteer to hiring staff, and getting all that stuff in place, and really getting intentional. The board is starting to look strategically at how we’re going to grow, where we’re going to be an asset to the community, and how we’re going to impact, because we’re on the end of the housing continuum, so how are we going to help this community all the way down to the homeless on the street?”
Still, the most important things in making the organization function are the volunteers and supporters.
“A big part of it is the volunteers, and that’s another thing we’re trying to grow is our volunteer connection,” said Miller.
Anyone 16 and older can volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity build site. One thing Miller is currently working on is reaching younger students who are interested in the cause but not yet able to help build houses. One of the way’s he’s getting kids involved this summer is through a “Nickels for Nails” fundraiser. Miller says that the average nail used to build a house costs about five cents.
“This is a way that even little kids, like at vacation bible school, can help out,” said Miller. “They’re going to have a nickel drive.”
Another way the organization is reaching out for support is through their most recent piece of equipment, a playhouse that will be used as a parade float. It was built by the campus chapter before school let out this year.
“[We’re] trying to get the word out, because a lot of people still don’t know we have a Habitat here in Wabash,” said Miller. “Even some that do don’t realize what it is we really do and how we work. We thought, ‘Well, we can’t be at every festival, but we can be in every parade, so we built this little playhouse and it’s going to be in all the county parades.”
Habitat is selling parade float sponsorships to those who would like their company’s name displayed. At the end of the parade season, the playhouse will find a new home, but for now, it sits in front of the new office, making the corner quite recognizable.
As Miller and the board settle into their new location, they are looking forward to their next building project. For more information on the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, or to inquire about volunteering and/or donations, call Executive Director Steve Miller at 260-563-9188.