Loser Abby Rike says, Make good lifestyle choices
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANKJunior high and high school students were treated to a couple of special
speakers Monday during an assembly in the Mabank High School gym.
Jillian Michaels, the tough-as-nails trainer on NBCs 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 Mabanks 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.
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
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 cant be, or can or cant
do, she said. You can achieve whatever you want. Ask yourself, why not
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.
Texas county churches torched
By Julie Vaughan
Monitor Staff Writer
CARROLLJust 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
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
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
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
He said his office, along with ATF, Texas Rangers and the Smith County Sheriffs
Office, have been conducting investigations since the start of the year, keeping an eye on
Both structures are a total loss, Seaton said of the two churches burnt during
Monday nights 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
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.