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
The North Manchester community is already in preparation for the annual FunFest By The River celebration next week, and along with the numerous activities people look forward to each year, this year’s schedule includes several new additions.
Traditionally, FunFest is advertised as a three-day event, but with multiple activities now scheduled on Wednesday and Sunday, it is really more like five days. This year’s festival is considered to officially begin on Thursday, Aug. 7th and to end on Saturday, Aug. 9th; however, there will be four activities on Wednesday evening and four more activities on Sunday.
“We seem to be creeping out of our borders on each end, as there are now several events taking place on Wednesday and Sunday as well,” said Laura Rager, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. “On the Wednesday preceding FunFest this year, there is now a Powder Puff football game, a performance by Charles Billingsley, and a bonfire, as well as the start of the tennis tournament.
“The Powder Puff game came about because our theme for this year is ‘homecoming’, which was originally intended to relate to the number of people that come home to North Manchester during this time every year. Over the years we’ve learned that a lot of people schedule their family reunions, class reunions, or large get-togethers around FunFest because it gives everybody such a great opportunity to see old friends. So, that’s what our original intention was; but, when people began to think about school starting again soon and the start of football season being just around the corner, that different aspect of homecoming just kind of crept its way in and stuck.
“For most of us on the FunFest Committee, Powder Puff football is synonymous with bonfires, and Manchester Community Schools was not only gracious enough to provide the football field for our new event, but also the venue and the wood for the bonfire as well. I think that all will make for a very fun addition; now, whether it will continue going forward, that just kind of depends on how popular it is. I know it took a while for the idea to catch on but now we seem to have people gaining enthusiasm for it.”
Another new event preceding the official start of FunFest is the concert on Market Square sponsored by Shepherd’s Family Auto Group. The featured performer will be Charles Billingsley, who is a contemporary Christian artist.
“It kind of ties into our Playin’ in the Streets summer music program that we started last week because this falls on a Wednesday night, but it also happens to be the Wednesday before FunFest, so it kind of got tied into that as well,” Rager explained.
“On Sunday, we have our Summer Blast Baseball & Softball Tournament, which was really successful last year, so that’s kind of a carryover event,” she continued. “The Izaak Walton League Prize Shoot is also on the Sunday following FunFest, and this year, the Strauss-Peabody Aquatic and Fitness Center is offering a ‘Dive-In Movie’ on Sunday as well. They will have free open swim while they show a movie up on the wall, so you can bring your floats or rafts and enjoy what sounds like it will be a really neat event.”
Rager went on to say that, while the Chamber Raffle has long been a part of FunFest, the prize this year is a little different. The winner will still be drawn during the Cruise-In Car Show on Friday night, but the prize is now a brand new Cub Cadet UTV (utility vehicle) with a hydraulic lift bed and four-wheel drive.
“It’s been really well received,” she added. “We’ve actually been pleasantly surprised by the number of women that are excited about winning it.”
According to Rager, the five-member band Small Town will provide entertainment on the Crossroads Stage both Friday night and Saturday night. “They do a great variety of music and will cover some well-known songs from several different genres,” she said. “They’ve been very well received here over the last couple years and they’re great to work with, so we thought it would be fun to bring them in for Friday night this year as well.”
“The Kiwanis ‘Ride for Riley’ is in its second year,” Rager continued, “and that’s a great event for a great cause, as all the proceeds go to Riley Children’s Hospital. People seem excited about that event, especially since it includes rides of several different lengths (50 miles, 20 miles, and 5 miles).
“Also, there will be a Craft Beer Tasting on Saturday evening. The Chamber is sponsoring the event in conjunction with the consortium of Home Brewers here in North Manchester. The idea for this event is different than that of a beer tent though; the intent is for people to experience different beers and the brewing process, so it’s more like an educational event.”
In terms of this year’s FunFest, Rager says just being out of the construction phase downtown is an asset in itself.
“I’m sure there were some people last year that thought stuff would still be all torn up and decided to take a year off from attending FunFest,” she concluded. “Everything is all put back together now, it’s very easy for people to get around, and it’s very attractive.”