Wingate couple survives storm at sea

A cruise ship that was thrashed in a major storm on the Atlantic Ocean returned Wednesday to its home port in New Jersey. On board during the frightening journey were Wingate residents Clark and Rebecca McCorkle.

Their story began Saturday when they boarded the ship around noon after flying to New Jersey on Friday. It was the 13th time they had boarded a cruise ship, but they had never imagine what was in store for them.

“Every couple of years Clark and I decide to go on a nice vacation,” Rebecca said. “Clark got online and found the Anthem of the Seas and we wanted to check it out. They have some features on-board that other cruise ships do not have.”

The ship pulled out of the bay in New Jersey on Saturday and headed toward the journey’s first stop at Cape Canaveral. By Tuesday, the couple was to be basking in the sun in the Bahamas. It never happened.

On Sunday, the Anthem ran into some rough seas and passengers were told to expect some rough weather. At around 2 p.m. the ship’s captain

ordered all passengers and staff to their cabins, he said it was going to get bad — and it did.

Soon 30- to 40-foot waves fueled by winds in excess of 165 miles per hour were pounding the ship. The captain then informed passengers he was being forced to turn the boat around for safety reasons. As he turned the ship, it began to list. The ship, with 4,500 passengers on board, was listing at 30 percent for nearly two hours. Rebecca and Clark hunkered down on their couch.

Things got worse. The ship continued to turn over on its side and was listing at 45 percent. The McCorkles admitted they were scared while they stayed inside their eighth floor cabin.

“Clark was laying with his head on my lap and his feet pressing against the dresser just to keep us from falling off the couch,” Rebecca said. “We had an eighth-floor balcony room in the

middle of the ship. When we looked out the balcony door we could see no skyline, only water.”

The ship continued to be battered by the storm and remained at the 30 percent lists or more for nearly four hours. During the worst of the storm, Rebecca said they made contact with loved ones at home, including their three college-aged children. 

“We knew we had to contact our kids and let them know we were still OK,” Rebecca said. “Even though we had not said it to each other, we knew we needed to text home in case things got worse.”

In the text Rebecca told her daughter to start praying and to pass the prayer request to others. Soon Rebecca started to feel at ease.

“I just felt an ease come across me as more and more people evidently started praying for us,” she said. “It really was amazing how quickly I started feeling much calmer.”

After four hours, the ship started to right itself as the storm lessened. The captain informed all the passengers to remain in their rooms as the crew started to clean up the ship.

Thankfully, the boat never lost power through the ordeal.

“We were both very happy that our television still worked and we were able to watch the Super Bowl,” Rebecca said. 

During the ordeal, all the couple had to eat was a small can of Pringles and candy bars. Later in the evening another can of Pringles was offered by a member of the service staff.

When the sun started to rise Monday, passengers were allowed to leave their rooms and head for breakfast. Rebecca said there was a lot of debris and broken glass spewed all over the ship. Some of the floors had suffered some flooding, especially the rooms toward the front of the ship. Rebecca said it was obvious the ship sustained a lot of damage, including one of its two engines.

“The staff had their hands full preparing breakfast,” Rebecca said. “The kitchens had refrigerators tipped over and one restaurant had all of it dinnerware broken as it fell off the shelves. But really, the staff did a good job and fed us a decent breakfast. Then as the passengers started telling their stories, a special bonding started happening. That ended up being a pretty neat thing. We had survived a potential disaster together and we had become friends.”

The voyage back to New Jersey continued without incident. Slowly but surely, the staff and crew started putting the ship back into normal condition. Some of the boats features were not opened again.

“The pools all had debris including broken glass in them and a lot of doors and windows were broken,” Rebecca said. “Everything was pretty much in shambles.”

When they made it back to port, the McCorkles decided to stay on board Wednesday because they did not have a return flight to Indianapolis. They did eventually arrive home Thursday afternoon.

Carnival has since announced it will refund all cruise fares and offer a half-priced fare on a future trip. Rebecca, who has previously worked as a travel agent, said they will probably use the reduced price on a future trip.

For now, the McCorkles are just happy to have their feet on the ground of their Wingate farm and memories of a voyage they will never forget.

Clampitt arrested on 2 felony counts

A Crawfordsville man was arrested Thursday on charges that he entered school property as a serious sex offender.

Stuart Allen Clampitt, 42, (a.k.a. Allen Conners) was arrested at his home by deputies from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. Clampitt is a long-time employee of the Sagamore News Media, the parent company of The Paper of Montgomery County. He currently serves as editor of The Paper.

Clampitt was booked into the Montgomery County Jail at 1:08 p.m. Thursday. He paid a $2,000 cash bond within the hour and was released.

Clampitt is listed on the Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry following a child molestation conviction Sept. 30, 1996 in Hendricks County. Since his conviction, Clampitt has pleaded guilty to violating the terms of his probation. Additionally, he has sought to have the court remove the sexually violent predator status from his record, but has been denied. Clampitt has been on the registry since March 22, 2005. He is due to come off the registry July 5, 2016. 

The recent felony charges filed against Clampitt stem from two separate incidents on Jan. 29 when Clampitt allegedly visited the Crawfordsville Community Schools Administration Office, which is next to Hose Elementary School. Later that day he was on school property at Southmont High School.

A source from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said deputies witnessed Clampitt exiting Southmont High School on Jan. 29 when Clampitt and other members of the media and public were asked to leave the school building while law enforcement investigated an electronic threat. 

“I think there’s two sides to every story,” said Tim Timmons, publisher of The Paper of Montgomery County and CEO of Sagamore News Media. “Facts will come out that will make a difference.”

Attempts to reach Clampitt for comment were unsuccessful Thursday night.

A Level 6 felony is the lowest level of felony in Indiana. It carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between six months and two and one half years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. In certain instances, the court may enter a judgment and conviction as a Class A misdemeanor.

Love that Lasts

Valentine’s Day can make love seem like a commodity, but it’s commitment that should be celebrated.

Bob and Mary Garing met in February 1955 at a bowling alley. It was during the time of the Korean War, and Bob, who was 24 at the time, had just left the Navy.

“She was sitting there with her sister and her brother-in-law,” Bob recalled. “And I knew her brother-in-law. So I started talking to them, and things were going really well! I thought, ‘Wow! There are some possibilities!’”

But he later noticed a shiny roadblock on her left hand.

“I looked down,” Bob said, “and she had a diamond on. I thought, ‘Whoa, Bob. You better back off.’ So I kinda cooled it.”

Luckily, one of Mary’s friends also happened to be Bob’s sister. About two weeks later, Bob’s sister called him and told him to get in touch with Mary. She had just given back her ring.

The two began dating, and Bob said it didn’t take him long at all to figure out Mary was the girl for him. She knew it too, but she made him be patient. And even though asking Mary’s father for her hand in marriage is the hardest thing Bob said he’s ever had to do, Mary was worth the stress and the wait.

“It was magic from the moment we met,” Bob said. “I gave her an engagement ring on August 1 (Mary’s birthday). Then we got married Sept. 24, 1955. My gosh! It was February to August! That was such a long time!

“From then on,” he smiled, “we’ve had 60 years of blissful marriage.”

Mary had a stroke four years ago, but, Bob said, “we’re making it.”

But that’s what the couple has been doing for 60 years—taking the situation they’ve been giving and making it work.

“You have to learn to compromise,” Bob said. “The more you listen, the less problems you’re gonna have. And you have to be able to negotiate and work together. And if you have a situation that you don’t agree upon, you’ve gotta meet in the middle. Work on what you think is right and what she thinks is right and come up with a compromise.”

When Tom Pugh met Alberta, he knew that he liked her. Alberta, on the other hand, wasn’t quite as sure.

“I really didn’t know whether I liked him or not!” she laughed.

In fact, her mother didn’t even allow her to go on a date with Tom for a while. But once that date finally happened, her mind was set.

“I pretty much knew (he was the one) after I went on my first date with him,” Alberta said.

The two have been together for 66 years now, and a lot has changed since that first date. Two dollars won’t cover a film, hamburgers and a milkshake anymore, she said.

But the secrets to a successful marriage, like Alberta said she’s had, haven’t changed at all.

“Respect each other,” she said. “And you have to have give and take. Settle your arguments, and there will be arguments. Just don’t go to bed mad.”

In fact, Bill and Ellie Stieg said that people are too quick to get divorced today.

“If you want to stay married,” Ellie said, “that’s what you do. It’s not easy, and it’s not fun sometimes.”

“But it turns out for the better when you sit down and solve your problems,” Bill added.

Coming from two people who have been married for 65 years now, it’s safe to say they know what they’re talking about.

Bill and Ellie met sometime in 1946 or 1947 while they were both working at a corporation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

“One day I looked up, and I saw this young man,” said Ellie, who was a secretary for Bill’s boss at the time. “And he was good-looking—cute! He was an engineer in training. Well I didn’t really care what he was! I just thought he was cute!”

As they both looked at each other and smiled, Bill said, “So then I had to go in and talk to the boss every now and then so I could peak at her!”

The couple began writing notes to each other during the work day, and they went to great lengths to make the contents of the notes a secret.

“We wrote notes to each other in Morse code,” Bill said. “I didn’t want any of those workers there checking up on what I was saying to Ellie. And I don’t think many of them knew Morse code.”

“I didn’t know it either!” Ellie said. She explained how she would have to look at an instructional book each time she wrote back to him. “It took me forever to write a note!”

Many of their dates were spent sitting in the harbor, watching sailboats go back. Simple, Ellie called them.

“And she wouldn’t object to it,” Bill said. “So I thought this was an unusual girl. That was kind of a lousy date.”

Well Ellie eventually did say something, and Bill got more than he had bargained for.

“The first date where we finally did something different,” Bill said, “she said these taverns in Milwaukee serve pizza. Well pizza was something brand new. Only Chicago had pizza. I said, ‘Well we’ve got to go find out what pizza is.’ So she took me to a tavern for the first time.” 

Bill and Ellie married in 1966, and they still get along just as well as they did back then.

“We were very lucky,” said Bill, as he held Ellie’s hand. “We were able to get together and raise a family we can be proud of.”

Input sought for new pocket park

Area residents are encouraged to attend a community meeting concerning the new pocket park, which will be 

located at the corner of West Pike Street and South Washington Street.


The new pocket part is one of the Stellar projects.

The public meeting is scheduled to take place Feb. 17 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Hays Center, which is on third floor of the Chase Building.

The meeting will be broken down into three main parts:

• Learn and discuss – This portion of the meeting will focus on the discussion and prioritize the under-lying values of what the citizens want in their pocket park.

• Research other pocket parks – This part of the meeting will focus on looking at different amenities that have been found at other pocket parks around the state of Indiana.

• Prioritize – This part of the meeting participants will prioritize the amenities most important to them. This will be done with the realization that the space is limited as are resources.

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton has expressed some of his ideas for the pocket park. He hopes to have an elevated area to possibly act as a stage for different events. He said he sees the pocket park becoming a well-used addition to the Farmers Market, which is located at the same intersection. 

The mayor also said he would like to see community outdoor movies shown on the wall of the business just to the north of the park. Barton said Wabash College has indicated they too would possibly use the pocket park for some of their activities.

“I can think of a number of things that could happen in a small park that will help attract people to the downtown,” Barton said.

The mayor has presented some of his ideas, but now he is ready to hear what ideas the community has for the pocket park.

This event is sponsored by the Wabash College Democracy and Public

Discourse —who will be facilitating the discussion— and the City of Crawfordsville. 

The public is encouraged to come and share their views and be a part of the discussion.

Board approves two CFD requests

A grant from the Montgomery County Community Foundation will enable the Crawfordsville Fire Department’s Community Paramedic Program to visit homes in a new vehicle.

The Crawfordsville Board of Public Works & Safety approved the request to purchase a Chevrolet Equinox from Christi Hubler Chevrolet in the amount of $22,964. The newest paramedic service from the CFD should be under way this spring.


CFD Assistant Fire Chief Jim Fulwider said the department received bids and believed the all-wheel vehicle would be the best fit for the program.

The CFD was also given approval to purchase new emergency extrication equipment for the purchase price of $45,885. Source of funds to purchase the multi-use equipment will be the Major Rescue Funds Account.

CFD Chief Scott Busenbark told the BOW the equipment is an upgrade of the extrication equipment they now have. The new equipment is battery powered and is safer to use. It will also enable firefighters to use the equipment easier inside large buildings such as a manufacturing building.

Crawfordsville Code Enforcement Officer Barry Lewis requested the help of the city street department to clean up trash and other items on property located at 1920 Elmore St. The owner of the home will have until Tuesday to clean up the trash or the street department will do so. The cost of the cleanup will be the responsibility of the homeowner.

The route for the annual Montgomery County Boys and Girls Club 5K was approved. The course will start at the club and go south on Whitlock Avenue and turn east on Elmore Street.

Participants will then travel through Pleasant Meadows and go west on Valley Drive to Covington Street. The course will end where it started at the boys and girls club parking lot.

Resident Linda Love-Surface received permission to have a dumpster placed on Pike Street at the Heritage Heights Apartments. 

A request from the county commissioners was approved for a temporary disability parking space located near the courthouse on Washington Street. The space is needed for a county employee until the new courthouse parking lot is complete. 

The contract in the amount of $27,925 was approved for the demolition of the property located on 1509 E. Main Street.