Thursday, February 11, 2010






  Biggest Loser Abby Rike says, “Make good lifestyle choices”
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–Junior high and high school students were treated to a couple of special speakers Monday during an assembly in the Mabank High School gym. AbbyAndJillian.jpg (199886 bytes)
Jillian Michaels, the tough-as-nails trainer on NBC’s hit series “The Biggest Loser,” and Season 8 contestant Abby Rike of Mabank spoke to students about choices regarding food and exercise.
The assembly was filmed by the production crew from the show, and is scheduled to air on NBC Tuesday, April 27.
Rike spoke to the group first, saying that making really good choices gives you power.
“Life is hard, and negative choices do not have to define you,” Rike said.
Rike told the audience that life is not fair, as she reminded them of the car accident that claimed the life of her husband and two young daughters. She emphasized, “you do not have to be a victim.”
“You are here for a reason and purpose, and today is your day to choose differently,” Rike told the gathering as she explained about selecting the right foods and exercising.
Rike still works out one hour a day, five or six days a week, she said. One of her favorite exercises is to jog around the walking trail in Mabank’s George Watts Park.
The experience on the show gave Rike a renewed spirit, wonderful friends, nutrition information and “gave me my life back.”
Rike fielded questions before introducing Michaels, who shocked the students by telling them that their life expectancy is shorter than their parents. AbbyHug.jpg (187635 bytes)
“Texas is one of the five unhealthiest states in the United States, and in 20 years, three out of four people will be overweight,” Michaels said. “Dreams are your destiny, and they should motivate you to be the best ‘whole’ you that you can be.”
She told the group that young people are spending seven hours a day in front of the TV or electronic devices, adding they need to make their health a priority.
As Michaels and Rike took more questions, one freshman girl was overwhelmed by a lack of support for her quest to lose weight. Michaels responded by telling the sobbing girl “all of you can be, or do, whatever you decide to do.”
“Do not let anyone tell you what you can and can’t be, or can or can’t do,” she said. “You can achieve whatever you want. Ask yourself, ‘why not you?
“You have the power inside to choose differently,” she pointed out.
Rike and Michaels thanked Mabank High School for hosting them. “The Biggest Loser” does one show on the road each season, but this was the first time the show has come to a high school, the director said.

NE Texas county churches torched
By Julie Vaughan
Monitor Staff Writer

CARROLL–Just over the Van Zandt County line in neighboring Smith County, two more churches fell victim to fire Monday night.
This comes only days after a fire at the hands of an arsonist destroyed the sanctuary of Russell Memorial United Methodist Church in Wills Point.
Dover Baptist Church, located on State Highway 110, and Clear Springs Primitive Missionary Baptist Church located on Willow Branch Road off Farm-to-Market 1995 were the latest churches to be hit.
Smith County Fire Marshal Jim Seaton said although it is unusual to have two working church fires back-to-back, they are calling these fires “suspicious” at this time.
Fire departments from Van, Ben Wheeler, Edom, South Van Zandt, Lindale, Dixie, Noonday, Chapel Hill, and Red Springs assisted in stopping the two blazes.
Van City Fire Marshal Terry Blackmon said the Van Volunteer Fire Department received the call at approximately 9:54 p.m. and was first on the scene at Clear Springs Primitive Baptist Church.
Blackmon said they were assisted by six to seven departments and as many as 60 firefighters at one time.
“When we arrived on the scene there was fire showing on the roof,” Blackmon explained.
Due to wind and weather conditions, volunteer firefighters had to resort to an exterior fight to battle the blaze, he said.
The sanctuary at Clear Springs is counted “a total loss,” he added.
There is no way of telling at this time the exact location the fire was started, but it was started from the interior of the church.
Seaton said his office has been working closely with the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives) and the Texas Rangers in their investigation process after more than nine East Texas churches have fallen victim to fire this year.
Those churches include:
• Faith Church in Athens, Jan. 1,
• Lake Athens Baptist Church, Jan. 12,
• Grace Community Church in Athens on Jan. 12,
• Tyland Baptist Church in Tyler, Jan. 16,
• First Church of Christ, Scientist in Tyler, Jan. 17,
• Prairie Creek Fellowship Church in Lindale, Jan. 20,
• Russell Memorial United Methodist Church in Wills Point, Feb. 4, and
• Dover Baptist Church and Clear Springs Missionary Baptist in Smith County, Feb. 8.
Seaton said security would remain on location at both churches, along with a suppression unit, until investigators could get inside and make a determination into the cause of the fires.
He said his office, along with ATF, Texas Rangers and the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, have been conducting investigations since the start of the year, keeping an eye on churches.
“Both structures are a total loss,” Seaton said of the two churches burnt during Monday night’s fires. “I asked that you be vigilant and call in anything suspicious to ATF.”
Fortunately, no injuries to civilians or firefighters have occurred as a result of these church fires.
“Be assured we are doing our best to find this person or persons,” Seaton said.
He urged those responsible to “please stop it.”
Anyone with information about any of the church fire are encouraged to contact the ATF tip line at (903) 675-0061 or (903) 675-0062.
“We need all the help we can get,” Seaton added.

Copyright 2010, MediaOne, L.L.C.