MJSHS Students Subjects of Cyber Threats

By Shaun Tilghman

Last week, Manchester Community Schools (MCS) officials collaborated with students, parents, staff, and ultimately local law enforcement, during an investigation into one Manchester Jr.-Sr. High School (MJSHS) student’s alleged cyber threats targeting 16 fellow students.

According to MCS Superintendent Dr. Bill Reichhart, the potentially dangerous situation came to light on Wednesday evening, when MJSHS Principal Nancy Alspaugh was made aware of threats that some students had received through “Snapchat,” a social networking application. The app allows users to send pictures or videos, along with text and/or symbols (“emojis”), to other users; however, the sender also determines how long recipient(s) have to view the “Snap” before it disappears.

According to a parent of one of the threatened students, the original Snap was a picture collage of 16 MJSHS students that included the caption, “meet the victims shall we,” as well as two symbols: a gun and a devil. The first threat was sent during the school day, followed by others, such as one warning recipients to “check your doors are locked tonight.”

Alspaugh said, “Wednesday night I received a text or an email from a parent alerting me to the problem, and [Athletic Director Jeremy Markham] also sent me a text around that same time because parents had called him about it. So, I went to Dr. Reichhart’s office to discuss it with him and then contacted some of the parents who had called me and said that we would begin an investigation. Several of the parents were very key in sending me more information and more examples of things that had been sent to their children that evening by the student threatening them.”

Dr. Reichhart stated that, the next morning at school, they received additional information from students, staff, and parents. “That information, along with the school security measures we have in place, helped us to identify the student,” he explained.

Alspaugh added, “I had sent out an email to the kids the night before, and lots of kids responded with ideas, suggestions, or information about the situation. We were then able to identify the student we thought was responsible, and quite frankly, the other students involved didn’t want to believe it could be that person, but all things were pointing to that student. I talked to that student at length, and she finally did confess.”

Posted on 2014 Dec 02
Miller Furniture celebrates 60 years in business

After opening its doors on Oct. 3, 1954, Miller Furniture is celebrating its past 60 years in business and announcing its plans for the future. John and Charles Miller have reached an agreement with Steve Wampner, a Marion businessman, to acquire Miller Furniture Company. 

“John, Charlie, and the staff will remain the same, and it will be business as usual at Miller Furniture,” Wampner said. 

“Our customers are the most important thing to all of us, and we will continue to provide them with the same level of service, selection, and value they have received from us over the last 60 years,” said John Miller. “Knowing Steve as we do, it’s gratifying to know that he aspires to these same values.”

The Millers have known Wampner for many years as both a customer and friend.  Through that relationship, discussions developed about the possibility of Wampner joining the company, and those discussions ultimately led to his acquiring the business.

“It has always been our hope that Miller Furniture could continue to serve Wabash and the surrounding areas for many years to come, and Steve’s keen interest in interior design as well as his business experience will allow him to accomplish that,” said Miller.

Wampner recently retired from a successful career at Needham-Storey-Wampner Funeral Services in Marion, where he was a co-owner and president. Wampner has always been interested in interior design and architecture, designing his current residence, as well as serving as the building chairman for the design and construction of the sanctuary at the Brookhaven Wesleyan Church where he is a member. He has also overseen several renovation and redecorating projects at the funeral homes.

Posted on 2014 Dec 02
Mainstreet Property Group pays off part of Wabash’s Economic Development Revenue Bonds

It was announced recently that Mainstreet Property Group, developer of the Fifteen million dollar health care campus in Wabash, has paid off $12,565,000 of the City’s Economic Development Revenue Bonds. The bonds were originally issued by the city to assist the developer in financing the health care campus. The developer had primary responsibility for repaying the bonds, but the city provided credit support in order to help get the project off the ground, with the agreement that the bonds were to be refinanced by the developer within five years.

Now, upon successful completion of the project, the developer has obtained other financing that relieves the city of any obligation on the bonds years earlier than required by the bond documents.

Mayor Vanlandingham stated, “We were pleased when we were able to assist Mainstreet in providing a source of financing for this valuable project in the city, and now we are even more pleased to see that they have been so successful that they are able to refinance the project so that the city is no longer on the hook for the bonds. This is a great example of how a city can encourage economic development and work with the private sector to create jobs and opportunity for its citizens.”

Posted on 2014 Dec 02
Mobley named Interim Administrative Assistant for MJSHS

By Shaun Tilghman

The Manchester Community Schools (MCS) administrative team recently named Dorey Mobley as Interim Administrative Assistant at Manchester Jr.-Sr. High School (MJSHS) following the unexpected resignation of Assistant Principal Lisa Ulrey earlier this month. Mobley, who began her new role on Monday, has served as the lead teacher for Squire Academy this fall and will continue her involvement there until a replacement can be found.

In the wake of Ulrey’s resignation, MJSHS Principal Nancy Alspaugh has spent the last few weeks as the lone administrator in the building while MCS officials searched for a suitable replacement.

MCS Superintendent Dr. Bill Reichhart said that Mobley expressed interest in filling the position of Interim Assistant Principal; although, in her case the title is that of Interim Administrative Assistant, as she does not yet have her Administrator’s License.

“After interviewing Dorey, as an administrative team we thought she would be a fine choice to serve in this capacity until the end of the school year,” Dr. Reichhart explained. “She is currently taking classes to get her Administrator’s License, and she will be finishing that up in May; in the meantime she needs to have the title of Administrative Assistant. So, Dorey will be Director of Squire Academy, and also serve as Interim Administrative Assistant for the junior-senior high school.

“As of [Monday], we have a substitute teacher in Squire Academy, and Dorey is working with that teacher. Also, Wendy Isbell continues to work as an Aide in that room; she is very familiar with the procedures, and the students are very familiar with her, so we feel like we’ve got a pretty good transition plan in place for Squire Academy. We just posted an interim teaching position at Squire Academy for the remainder of the school year, and I suspect that we may have a teacher internally who may be interested in trying that out.”

Posted on 2014 Dec 02
Local church looks toward Africa

By Adam Smith

By their appearances, no one would think that Anne Baraza and Carol Berg are sisters, yet they have lovingly referred to each other as “sis” for years. The two women first came into contact almost six years ago in 2009 when Berg, the website editor for the First United Methodist Church, received an email from Baraza asking for help. They met for the first time in person little over a week ago, and on Nov. 23, Baraza gave a presentation at the church.

Baraza is the CEO of the Riruta United Women Empowerment Programme (RUWEPO) as well as the founder and director of the Children of Africa Hope Mission School. The school is a complementary school for disadvantaged and orphaned children in Ng’ando, a slum area of Nairobi, Kenya. She said that when she emailed Berg, they were very desperate to keep the school running and sent messages to several United Methodist churches in the US. They were asking each church if they could send aid, and one of them happened to be the First United Methodist Church in Wabash.


Posted on 2014 Nov 26
Mayor Vanlandingham proclaims Nov. 28 “Tommy and Trystin Music Day”


by Eric Stearley

On Monday, Nov. 24, Mayor Robert Vanlandingham issued a proclamation during the city council meeting establishing this Friday, Nov. 28, as Tommy and Trystin Music Day in Wabash. The announcement was met with applause and giant smiles on the faces of the honorees.

The father/son duo represented the United States in the 2014 TAFISA World Martial Arts Games in Vancouver, Canada in September. Tommy, 38, brought home a medal of each color, while Trystin, 10, won a gold medal, as well as a bronze.

“It was pretty nerve-racking,” Trystin said about the competition.


Posted on 2014 Nov 26
What’s the deal with these gasoline prices?

by Eric Stearley

The rapid change of gasoline prices can be frustrating. The inconsistency in the value of such a vital commodity can make a trip to the pump feel like a trip to the slot machine – “Should I wait to fill my tank until the price drops? What if it goes up just as I run out? Then I’ve overpaid. But I can’t run out of gas! Maybe the it’s cheaper down the road…” Eventually, you stop the car at a pump, swipe your card, and grab the handle. You watch as the numbers roll by, but unlike a slot machine, you won’t know until the next day, or later in the week, if you’ve won this round.

In late October, gas prices in Wabash approached $3.50 per gallon. While certainly not the highest it’s ever been, it seemed to be more expensive than usual. When locals compared prices in Wabash to those in surrounding towns, they began to wonder why prices at stations in Marion, Huntington, Peru, and North Manchester were falling to $3.00 as prices in Wabash held.

Now, in mid-November, the market has adjusted. On Monday, Nov. 17, the average price in Wabash was $2.93, much closer to prices in the surrounding area: prices for a gallon in Peru range from $2.89-2.97; North Manchester stations are selling a gallon for $2.89; Huntington stations were more expensive than those in Wabash, ranging from $2.95-2.96 per gallon. While it appears that prices have stabilized temporarily, the question remains: what causes the variance in gasoline prices from day to day and location to location?

To answer this question of economics, The Paper reached out to Dr. Michael Kaganovich, chairman of the Indiana University Department of Economics. Kaganovich pointed to two industry-specific factors that could result in price variation between two similar cities.

“First of all, they vary because of county taxes. County taxes may differ,” said Kaganovich. “In Bloomington, our prices are about 20 cents higher than a 20-mile radius, and that’s because Monroe County collects taxes.”

Taxes play an important role in the retail side of the gasoline industry. Federal and state excise taxes each make up roughly 18 cents of the sale price. Sales-use tax is calculated each month based on the average pricing from the six-week period prior to the start of that month, and is roughly 7 percent. In addition, all taxes associated with gasoline must be paid for upfront.

“When I buy gasoline, I pay every tax up front, so then I’ve got a tremendous amount of carrying cost that I have to pay up front instead of paying the government down the road,” said Jim Reynolds, owner of J.M. Reynolds Oil Company, a local petroleum retailer. “So when I pay my sales tax, you’re looking at somewhere between 56-59 cents of excise and sales tax on a gallon of gasoline right now. If anybody’s making a lot of money off gasoline it’s the government.”

Given that the national average profit for a gallon of gasoline in a cash sale is 15 cents, it’s easy to see how taxes play a large role in the gasoline market, however, neither the city nor county levy an additional tax on gasoline, so a difference in tax rate isn’t responsible for the price variation.

“It could be that your town requires a specific gasoline formula,” Kaganovich continued, “and this means that the regional refiner has to manufacture gasoline with a specific formula, and this means there may be less supply of your specific type as opposed to some other [type,] so that will affect prices, but I doubt that’s the case. That may be the case in Chicago or in California; they notoriously demand some specific formula.”

Posted on 2014 Nov 18
Local Author Publishes First Children’s Book

by Sandy Johnson

Following her childhood dream, Wabash native Sarah Dawes Graham recently published her first children’s book, Baxter’s Big Adventures, an exciting tale of a pup’s early life and the lessons he learns about the true meaning of friendship.

Growing up, Graham received much encouragement from her parents, who assured her that “all things are possible when you have a dream and you always have someone supportive,” she told The Paper.

A couple of years ago, Graham began writing her manuscript. With inspiration from her own dog, Baxter, the book’s canine character and his adventure soon evolved. Having the summer off, and with the support and encouragement of her husband, she completed the manuscript in a couple of months. Soon after, she started to look into the publishing process, but that came to a halt due to other responsibilities and events in her life. The manuscript sat until recently, when Graham decided to take time to revisit the topic of publishing the book.

With the writing task completed, Graham began the search for someone to illustrate her book. “I wanted the story to come through a child’s eyes,” she explained. After seeing a drawing of a dog that 12-year-old Bella-Saige David of Wabash had drawn, Graham decided to ask her to illustrate the book.

A homeschooled student who had been drawing for some time, David had won local art competitions and honed her creative talents with the help of an art tutor. To Graham, she was the perfect artist for the job. To David, the opportunity to use her creative abilities as an illustrator was one she couldn’t pass up.

Posted on 2014 Nov 18

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