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
On the evening of Tuesday, May 27, the Metropolitan School District of Wabash County’s school board met in the district’s administrative office to address a variety of subjects. Primary among these was the approval of a list of reading materials for use in the district’s secondary English classes.
The list sparked controversy in April when parents discovered that several of the books included objectionable content. After parents expressed concerns at the April 29 meeting, four selections were removed from the list. At the May 13 meeting, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls became the focus of the debate. The vote was ultimately tabled, as board member John Gouveia was absent due to a professional obligation.
While the previous board meeting was filled with concerned (and outraged) parents, the most recent meeting saw an abundance of teachers present to show support for the English department. Two parents commented on the book list, most notably, Teresa Sears, who offered suggestions for an alternative English class, among other things.
“I talked to Indiana State Education, I talked to an attorney, and we have a right to have the Bible, not as a biblical class, but as a literature class,” said Sears. “If we put these things in front of our kids… OK, we’re not going to ban books. That’s fine. I respect the teachers who want to teach it, but their morals are not my morals. It’s legal to have a class on the Bible as a literature study, and I’m just asking for that as an alternative. And I will back off, and they can teach whatever they want.”
Sears added that when her girls are in a class with a teacher that they like, but content is being taught that is against their morals, it takes the fun out of school. Northfield English Department Head Erin Sapusek addressed the request.
“Last year, we offered an elective class of the Bible as literature, and it was not able to go,” said Sapusek. “We only had four students that signed up, and with our small staff and tight scheduling, we are not able to offer a class for just four students.”
Before the board members discussed the matter, a parent asked about the length of time that would be allowed for parents to review the books being taught in their students’ specific classes.
“The teachers have said to me that actually, once we know what the list is, they can get the list out this summer,” said Superintendent Sandra Weaver.
“Certain books will be for certain classes,” English teacher Denise Stouffer clarified. “You’ll find that out if you go online when we sit down as a department and say, ‘this is what’s being taught for this particular class.’ But we just got the kids out the door.”
The district hopes to have the lists posted early in June.
With public comments concluded, the board addressed the issue. All eyes were on John Gouveia, as the public had yet to hear his thoughts on the book list. After thanking the public for their opinions and involvement in the issue, he addressed recent comments regarding the merit of the district’s teachers.
“I’m…cognizant of the fact that we only set policy,” Gouveia said about the board. “We’re not educators. I’m not an educator. I’m not a lawyer. I’m not a CPA. I tell all my clients I’m a dumb banker.
“What has saddened me though, is the fact that this board takes a lot of pride in allowing a lot of opportunity for public comment. In the last several weeks, through social media, print media, there has been a lot of denigration of our professional staff, and that is sad, because we have some very fine administrators and educators and people that absolutely love our children. First and foremost, they think about those kids every day - when they first wake up, when they go home, and when they wake up again. They have kids in our system. I have kids in our system. Likewise, you represented yourselves because you have children or grandchildren in our system.
“Our board has established a civility toward coaches. They have equally said the same for our teachers - that they are human beings and they deserve our respect. We have charged them with the education of our children, and we have relied upon them to be the wisdom and choice in the classroom. And I know that has been called into question without direct comment or question to those teachers. I would hope that all these parents would engage our teachers first, because they are wonderful people, and being such, they have our children’s best interest at heart.”
Gouveia then spoke specifically to the book list.
“The book list, this process, I believe in my heart has worked,” Gouveia continued. “I look at the age in this room, a few younger, some older, some right around my bracket. The pedagogy may be different than what you and I experienced in school. It does not change the fact that it is the content taken out of context that sometimes we as adults get hung up on, and we don’t give our children enough credit, nor the educators the credit they deserve to moderate the discussion in that classroom.”
Gouveia then specifically addressed the Bible, as referenced by Sears earlier in the meeting.
“My best friend in life is a minister and a church pastor,” Gouveia said. “He told me that nobody should read the Holy Bible by themselves without having a learned individual help them through the process of understanding. Equally, we put that teacher in the classroom to do the same thing in our processes. With that, I am moving to the acceptance of the entirety of the slate of literature.”
Immediately following Gouveia’s remarks, the board voted unanimously to approve the book list for use over the next six years.
Following the vote, the board approved a variety of unrelated agenda items, including three grants and a donation, totaling more than $20,000. The board approved the employment of summer school staff, Sally Winters and Angela Knoche as speech pathologists for the Wabash-Miami Area Program, Tanner McCarty as a summer custodian, Devin Bechtold as a summer technician, and Stephanie Salmon as a second grade teacher at Metro North Elementary.
The board also approved the retirement of bus driver Allen Wrisk and the resignation of Erin Sapusek, a Northfield High School English teacher. She has accepted a position teaching English at Wabash High School.
Finally, the district announced the hiring of Patrick Hopkins as the new varsity basketball coach at Northfield (see page 24). They also announced the hiring of a new Chief Academic Officer, Melissa Brisco, to replace Lavonne Sparling, who is retiring. For more on Brisco, look for an article in next week’s edition of The Paper.