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.
Last fall, Gary Henderson and his friends discovered a way to do something they love – smoking meat on a barbeque – while supporting a local non-profit – the LIFE Center. After hauling their smokers to the parking lot of the Wabash County Historical Museum and cooking through the night, they managed to serve nearly 800 people and present the LIFE Center with $6,300.
With this success, Henderson and his fellow smokers decided to make it an annual event. This year, there will be a few changes. For one, the event has been moved to Paradise Spring Historical Park, which is a bit more scenic and spacious than the parking lot. The timing has also been tweaked a bit.
“We’re going to do an evening service instead of noon,” said Henderson. “Last year, we cooked over night, and we were exhausted, so we’re going to try serving the public at 5 p.m.”
They also plan to have kids games during the day while the adults tend the smokers. In addition to expanding the number of contestants and patrons, Henderson hopes to add to the organizations that benefit.
“It’ll be the LIFE Center, and then we’re going to probably add a couple local organizations,” said Henderson. “What we’re looking for are organizations that are not supported by anyone or anything else. We want the local, small not-for-profits that aren’t getting help. That’s what we strive for and look at.”
In addition to those organizations receiving funds, Henderson hopes that Smokin’ For A Cause can become a venue for charitable organizations to educate the public about their services. Nonprofits can reserve booth space for no charge. Henderson only asks that, if the organizations choose to sell something at the event, they donate 10% to the event’s cause.
“My vision is that one day, we’d be surrounded by not-for-profit organizations explaining what they do,” said Henderson. “I want the community to know what we have here. I just want people to know where to go. It’s an educational thing.”
One thing that is sure to be the same is the fierce but friendly competition between teams. Last year, Greg Coyne captained the winning team, “Holy Smokes BBQ,” beating out 13 teams. So far this year, Henderson said he has about eight teams signed up, but expects that number to expand to more than 20 by the registration deadline of Aug. 20.
“Most of the teams are guys. We don’t plan out that far,” Henderson joked. “Their wives are probably beating on them right now, saying, ‘you better get your registration in,’ you know. But we’re guys. We’re lucky to plan out three or four weeks in advance, but in order for me to do a better job ordering pork and stuff, I would like to have some kind of an idea.”
All of the pork used in the competition is provided for the contestants. Key members of the organization set up their smokers at the Wabash County Fair, not only to promote the September event, but to raise money to cover the pork.
“Last night, we sold $2,000. We’ve been through 400 pounds of pork,” Henderson said as he searched a local grocery store for more ribs during the fair, adding that fairgoers ate through 15 slabs of ribs in 51 minutes. “This one at the fair has been incredibly fantastic. We’re giving a percentage to the LIFE center, but what we’re doing the fair week for is to raise money for marketing and to buy the pork for September.”
Henderson is expecting to purchase at least 1,500 pounds of pork for this year’s event. In order to get all the meat cooked, he’ll need the help of many teams, and encourages anyone who is interested to come and try it out.
“We’re all amateurs. This is for the cause. We don’t allow any professionals,” said Henderson. “If you have a grill, we’ll show you how to smoke on it. If you don’t have any way to get it there, we’ll come and get it. It’s all backyard. It’s all amateur. I don’t care what you have. I don’t care if you’ve never smoked before. It’s a great time to show you how, and it’s just a great evening.”
The smokers will be fired up in the early hours of Saturday, Sept. 20. Public dinner service will begin following the announcement of the winner at 5 p.m.