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
The Indiana Department of Education released 2013 accountability grades for schools across the state on Friday, Dec. 20. Educators, administrators, parents, students and community members can now see if their school made the grade. The legitimacy of these grades, however, is questionable.
The formula used to determine these grades was put in place in February 2012 and will soon be replaced by a new system following an accountability report released by Indiana Superintendent Glenda Ritz and Southwest Allen County Schools Superintendent Steven Yager this past October.
The reason the current grading system lasted only a year is due to calculation that many educators find dubious and difficult to interpret. Prior to February 2012, the grading system was very straightforward. The letter grade was solely based upon the percentage of students who passed standardized tests. If 80-89 percent passed, the school received a B. Scores between 90 and 100 percent earned schools an A, with Cs, Ds, and Fs going to schools with passing rates of 70-79 percent, 60-69 percent, and 59 percent and below respectively.
The system put in place in 2012 attempted to take more factors into account, including graduation rates, Advanced Placement exam scores, and a “growth model,” the most controversial of the new measurements. The growth model attempts to grade student improvement by comparing individual student growth over the course of a year to that of all students in the state who received the same score the previous year.
The growth model used in the current grading system is quite complex. Like the old system, schools receive a baseline grade according to the percentage of students who pass standardized tests. From there, a formula is used to calculate “high growth,” “standard growth,” and “low growth” distinctions for each student. Students are separated into two groups, the top 75 percent of students and the bottom 25 of students in each school. The school’s letter grade can then be raised or lowered based on the amount of improvement the students made in comparison with students in all other schools in the state.
The biggest problem with the current system is that it fails to accurately reflect the real scores of the students at each school. This can be best explained using a hypothetical standardized test with an optimal score of 100 and a passing score of 60. Both Student A and Student B took and passed the test last year, receiving scores of 60 and 90 respectively. This year, the two scored a 70 and 92 respectively. If the state’s average improvement for students scoring a 60 last year was 6 points, Student A would be considered “high growth.” If the average improvement for students scoring a 90 last year was 4 points, Student B would be considered “low growth.” In turn, Student A would help to boost his/her school’s score, while Student B would hurt the school’s score, regardless of the fact that Student B did much better on the test. The fact that Student B scored well last year makes it harder for him/her to fall into the “high growth” category, and easier for him/her to contribute to the school’s potential grade reduction.
The complexity of this highly simplified, hypothetical scenario makes it easy to see why educators have advocated for a new grading system. In addition, the standardized test grading, including the growth model, only accounts for 60 percent of the overall grade. The rest is comprised of graduation rates and “college and career readiness” (based upon Advanced Placement exam scores, International Baccalaureate exam scores, college credits received, and industrial certifications earned. Finally, the weighted proportions themselves change each year, the weight put on “college and career readiness” increasing by 5 percent each year, offset by a decrease in the weight of Math and English scores. This makes it very difficult for educators and administrators to gauge real improvement year to year. If you are lost at this point, you’re not the only one. Even State Superintendent Ritz is confused by the system.
“I cannot tell any school what their grade represents,” said Ritz at the April meeting of the Indiana State Board of Education. “It lacks transparency. School districts are wondering how it is that they’re supposed to improve and get to the next letter grade — what does that represent?”
Ritz and Yager hope to clarify the grading system and increase transparency with the new system of calculation proposed this past October.