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
As you travel around the county, you may have noticed thin yellow signs with a bike and an arrow going up in many new locations. On Thursday, July 17, the last of 102 signs was fastened to its post outside Lagro to complete the 104-mile Wabash County Bike Trail.
Years ago, the county mapped the route for a bike trail based on features that cyclists look for in a route. The current route begins and ends at Paradise Spring Historical Park, taking cyclists along low-traffic roads past 17 historic points of interest from Lafontaine and Somerset to Roann and North Manchester. It also links Salamonie and Mississinewa reservoirs.
“When riders come into a new area to ride, they’re looking for certain types of pieces to a quality ride,” said Christine Flohr, executive director of tourism at the Wabash County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “One, is some hills and scenery, but they also want it to be unique and specific to that ride, and that’s what makes this unique. It is designed specifically to tell a part of our history and a part of our story.”
Though some form of the trial has been in place for decades, it lacked trail markers. Riders could look at a map of the trail, but remembering each turn on a trail as long as this was nearly impossible. With the signs now in place, following the trail is easy, even for those unfamiliar with the route.
“It’s not only important for new riders to know where the route is, but to remind vehicular traffic that this is actually a recognized bike route throughout our county,” said Flohr. “For their safety, it’s critical to make sure that vehicular traffic is aware that they’re sharing the road with riders. The motivation to install the signs was for safety.”
Flohr was sure to show gratitude to the groups that made the signs possible. The city and county allowed the signs to be placed, as did Miami County, into which the trail takes a brief departure as it crosses the Mississinewa Dam.
“But there’s an expense to them, so finding a financial contributor like Midwest Eye Consultants to help sponsor the cost of these signs is pinnacle,” said Flohr. “Dr. Greg Garner is a cyclist, and he’s an enthusiast about it and has enjoyed riding with the Rock City Bike Club for years, and he recognized the need for the signs as well.”
The signs will prove useful for local groups, such as the Rock City Bike Club, which Flohr estimates has about 60 members. In addition, a well-marked bike route will serve as a catalyst to draw in more riders from outside the county.
“We estimate about 3,300 cyclists cycle the trail from out of the county each year,” said Flohr, whose position requires her to monitor tourism in all forms.
It was critical that the sign installation was complete before September, as the Dam to Dam Century Ride is scheduled for the 14th. There are currently 112 riders signed up for the event, and Flohr expects that number to approach 200 by the day of the ride. This will be the first opportunity to showcase the newly marked trail to a large group of people. With riders traveling from four states for the event, Flohr hopes the signs will help to put Wabash on the map as a cycling destination.
“We’ve already seen a significant increase in interest in our community just since we launched the Dam to Dam Century bike ride,’ said Flohr. “We can look at places like Wisconsin and Ohio and Michigan that are specifically interested in our area since we launched our Dam to Dam bike ride, because that’s what our analytics tell us, so seeing about a 47% increase just in website traffic that is specific to this ride tells us that it’s going to increase and drive more tourism.
“People who are driving far distances are coming into our area and staying the night. That’s what we want,” Flohr added. “We want people to enjoy Wabash County as a day trip, as a weekend trip, and eventually grow it to be weeklong vacation trips.”
This year’s Dam to Dam Century Ride will include: a Friday night screening of the Heartland Film Festival Grand Prize Winner, Rising From Ashes, a movie about the Rwandan National Cycling Team; a discounted spaghetti dinner at Harvey Hinklemeyer’s; post-ride entertainment; and “swag bags” with items from Living Essentials and Cliff Bar, among others. Thanks to local government, the Wabash County Highway Department, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and Midwest Eye Consultants, the ride will be complete with a well-marked route.