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 Eric Stearley
Years of hard work are paying off for two young Manchester Aquatic Club swimmers. Halle Briner, 10, and Grant Dale, 11, are headed to the Natatorium in Indianapolis this weekend to compete in the three-day Indiana Age Group State Swim Meet, which begins Friday, March 14.
A fifth grader at Manchester Intermediate School, it will be Halle’s second trip to the state competition. She is the daughter of Craig and Nikki Briner. Craig is also the Manchester Aquatic Club head coach.
A fifth grader at Sharp Creek Elementary School, it will be Grant’s third appearance at state. He is the son of Greg and Rhonda Dale. Greg is the Wabash High School Swim Team head coach.
If it weren’t for their size, one could easily mistake Grant and Halle for high school swimmers. During practice, they’re focused, moving smoothly and swiftly through the water with near perfect form. At the pool’s edge, however, it doesn’t take long to realize that the two are simply young kids with exceptional talent. They joke and play around between sets, splashing each other occasionally, doing the things that 10 and 11 year olds do in a swimming pool. Laughter comes easily when they’re not trying to catch their breath, but when Coach Craig says, “go,” it’s back to business.
“It’s a long season, and a lot of kids anymore just don’t have the dedication or work ethic to do it,” said Craig. “It’s tough coming in six straight months, three or four times a week.”
Briner knows firsthand the dedication that it takes to be a top-level swimmer. A state competitor in high school, he still holds the 200-yard freestyle record for Manchester High School, a record he set as a freshman in 1990.
“They’re getting older, swimming some more 200s and a few 500s,” said Briner. “If they’re not swimming 4000-4500 yards, they don’t have the endurance to do it.”
Late in the season, the young athletes start to see their three-mile practice regimen pay off. Both swimmers will be competing in multiple events at the competition this weekend. A bit of luck comes into play with Age Group swimming, as birthdays determine the competition groups. Halle got lucky, as her 11th birthday falls the week after state. She will be competing in every event offered against the best 9 and 10 year olds in Indiana.
“It’s really fun, because I win a lot,” said Halle.
Grant is not so lucky. He turned 11 just weeks before this year’s state competition, pushing him into the much stronger 11-12 year old division. Still, he was able to qualify for state in three events, the 50 yard butterfly, 50 yard backstroke, and 50 yard freestyle.
“It’s tough because you’re not used to them,” said Grant. “You’re always used to winning a lot of your events, and it’s really tough to do that now.”
Qualifying for state as a barely-11-year-old means that Grant will likely be a top competitor when he competes as a 12 year old. At the last state swim meet, Grant made it to the medal podium, finishing 8th in the 100 backstroke.
Swimming at the Natatorium in Indianapolis is an exciting experience for any young swimmer. Several U.S. Olympic Team Trials have been held at the massive facility. Both swimmers remember their first time swimming in the iconic pool.
“It was really big,” said Halle.
“It was pretty cool, because Missy Franklin and Michael Phelps, that’s where they got into the Olympics at,” added Grant.
The two young swimmers enjoy traveling around the state to compete throughout the year. They particularly like the pool at Fort Wayne’s South Side High School. Grant’s favorite pool is in Huntington, where he got his first state cut, swimming faster than the minimum qualifying time. They’re both excited to see the new MAC record board put up in the Strauss-Peabody Aquatic and Fitness Center, where the club holds practice. Halle will have six records on the board, while Grant will have two. Right now, however, the only thing they’re focused on is state.
“We just want to meet our goals,” said Grant.
Being at the top of her age group, Halle is looking for a spot on the podium. Grant knows that at his young age, he probably won’t be a top competitor this year, but he’ll be able to get more experience competing in his new age group. In addition to state cuts, both swimmers have qualified for the Zone competition in the past, a multi-state event that brings swimmers from more than 13 states together in competition.
Spending as much time together as they do, Grant and Halle have become good friends. They are also very competitive. After asking Grant if Halle ever beats him, a debate quickly unfolded.
“Only in the breaststroke,” said Grant.
“Oh, sure!” Halle shot back.
“I whip her in everything else,” Grant continued.
“I’m still beating you by 1/100th (of a second) in the 50 breast,” said Halle.
As a small team from a small town, Manchester Aquatic Club doesn’t have the depth of the state’s larger programs. At this point in the season, they have about a dozen swimmers at any given practice. Teams in Indianapolis consistently have more than 300. Swimming, however, is an individual sport, and team size and strength doesn’t hold swimmers back. Briner has high hopes for the swimmers down the road.
“If you’re looking at doing something in college, swimming is still a sport that, if you’re very good, you’ve got a really good shot at having a college look at you,” said Briner. “If you just want to have it be on you, swimming is the way to do it.”
When asked if they would swim in high school, Halle quickly said, “yes,” while Grant answered, “questionable.” As a future Northfield student, Grant would be only the third Norseman to represent his school in the water, and would likely practice with another team.
But high school and college are still a long way off for the young swimmers. For now, they’re focused on preparing for this weekend’s Age Group State Swim Meet.
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.
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.
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.”