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Plan Today, Succeed Tomorrow

Athletes do it. Chess players do it. Novelists, successful scientists and even salespeople do it. These days, everyone who wants to make big things happen is planning ahead in order to succeed. What about you? When it comes to planning ahead to reach your goals, are you falling in line or falling behind? Thinking ahead can help you achieve your goals and, even more importantly, bounce back faster when you’re met with unexpected failures or setbacks.   What can you do today to make sure your health and fitness goals are met tomorrow? Maybe you need to pack a lunch to avoid that daily fast food fix, stock your pantry with healthy snacks so you have something to munch on, make a new bedtime routine so you get all the shut-eye you need, or sleep in your workout clothes so you’ll have no excuse to miss a morning workout.   Thinking "two steps ahead" means utilizing the present to make it easier to achieve your goals in the future. What are you waiting for? Here’s how to do it now, before you waste a few more minutes or lose your motivation altogether.   Think about Your Actions Take some time to envision yourself reaching your long-term goal, whether it's losing 40 pounds, running a 5K, or reducing your cholesterol. All of these big goals can (and should!) be broken down into specific behaviors that will increase your health and wellness. Losing 40 pounds may involve reducing and tracking your calories while also starting a consistent fitness program. Running a 5K starts with your first step, then requires a plan to slowly build endurance over several weeks. And reducing your cholesterol can happen when you make heart-smart food choices and increase your daily activity.   Taking it a step further, each of these action steps requires a plan or "mini goal" if you're going to achieve it.  Maybe you'll aim for a specific number of exercise minutes per week, servings of fruits and vegetables per day, or miles per month. Achieving these goals is easier when you start thinking ahead and formulating a process that fits into your schedule. When you spell out exactly what you’re working on, it will be so much easier to track progress toward your mini-goals and stay on course toward your bigger goals.   Head Off Potential Hurdles: Prepare Your Plan B You’ve planned to exercise three times a week and you're sticking with your program really well. Your workout wardrobe is freshly laundered. You’ve commandeered a babysitter during your evening runs. Best of all, you've scheduled your exercise sessions like appointments in your calendar. You're doing great.   But all of a sudden, a giant work project is dropped in your lap and you realize you’ll need to work from home every night this week to meet the deadline. Sound familiar?   Whether it's a nasty flu virus, a change in your partner’s work schedule, or a car in the shop, there will always be obnoxious and unexpected hurdles that can spring up and ruin your best laid plans. You can either wait for them to derail you or you can think ahead about all the possible scenarios that might get in the way of your goals—and plan how to tackle them in advance.   As soon as you’ve set mini goals for the week and put your commitments on the calendar, the next thing you should focus on is finding room for flexibility. Maybe you can pencil in a morning workout on the weekend as a backup plan, or make a list of healthy take-out options in case you find yourself in a dinnertime crunch. And if you have trouble resisting those donuts in the office break room, you’d better be sure to pack nutritious and delicious mid-morning snacks in your bag. Having a plan B in place before you need it means you're thinking strategically and will be more likely to stay on track.   Commit...and Don’t Quit Committing to any lifestyle change takes time and continued effort. If you’re having trouble implementing your strategic plan (and plan B's), here are some strategies that will help you sidestep obstacles that may arise.

  • Make your commitments public so that everyone around you knows the goals you’re working toward. If your boss, partner and friends have all heard you profess your plan, they’ll be more likely to support you (or at least they’ll know what you’re up to)--and you'll be more likely to stick with it to save face.  
  • Engage your friends and family in some friendly fitness activities. Get your colleagues involved in an exercise challenge, start a walking club after work, or put together a neighborhood gardening group. If you can encourage others to join your wellness quest, you’ll be more likely to remember your commitments. Plus, you may even plant the seeds for others’ health and fitness success.  
  • Keep track of your achievements. Sometimes, when you’re working hard to fit healthy habits into your schedule, it can feel like the rest of the world is against you. Seeing the progress you make toward your own goals will help you notice change and stay true to your healthy self—even in the event that you mess up. Log your workouts online, track your calories and H2O intake, and draw smiley faces on your calendar when you finish each yoga class. Keeping track will remind you how far you've come, which can help you keep the faith when life gets in the way of your best intentions.
Make Friends with Failure Even after you’ve set benchmarks for success, put a halt on potential hurdles, and prepared a plan B, you can still be sure that the road to health and fitness won’t always be smooth and straight. A storm will sweep in overnight and ruin your morning run. That family road trip will be wrought with tempting treats at truck stops. Though these problems may seem counterproductive, getting familiar with failure can be helpful in its own way. When you experience a succession of small setbacks or changes in course, it helps you hone your skills at dealing with issues that are outside of your control. Even the greatest athletes and strategic planners in the world fail—sometimes badly and sometimes publicly. But those who are great don't let failure define them or stop them. They set goals, plan ahead to avoid or minimize mishaps, and get back up and keep going when things don't go according to plan. They roll with the punches—and you can, too!Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=1735

Is Weight-Loss Hurting Your Relationship?

Weight loss is tricky business, especially when you're in a relationship. After all, many people fall in love because they share common interests, such as watching the same sitcoms every Thursday night, going out for rich Italian food or playing video games together. However, what happens when one person in the relationship swaps his or her Thursday night TV-watching for group cycling? Or decides that ordering roasted chicken and steamed veggies is a better option than creamy fettuccine alfredo? Or that the Wii Fit is actually more fun than Super Mario Brothers? I smell relationship trouble a-brewin'. Losing weight and adapting to a healthy lifestyle requires a lot of change—change that your partner may not be ready for. In fact, according to some recent SparkPeople polls, 34 percent of respondents said that their spouse, partner or significant other sabotages their weight-loss efforts more than anyone else in their lives, and 43 percent said they their significant other negatively influences their eating habits. On the flip side, 24 percent say that they would be bothered if their partner gained weight, and 55 percent said they might be bothered, depending on how much weight he or she gained. Overall, it's easy to see that weight can play a heavy role in your relationship If you feel like your relationship may be under strain because of your weight-loss efforts, there are some general warning signs to look for. Typically, these types of actions are rooted in something larger than the direct issues, so it's important to understand them fully to know where your partner's or your feelings are coming from. In general, the "why" of a behavior comes from deep-seated emotion of which you or your partner may not even be aware. For just that reason, we've added an "emotional why" section to each warning sign exploring the emotion that might be behind these behaviors. Because we know how important support is to reaching your goals, we've included some action tips on how to improve whatever situation you may be facing. This way, you can find a way to maintain your healthy lifestyle without sacrificing the health of your relationship. 5 Signs Weight Loss is Hurting Your Relationship (and What to Do about It) 1. Your partner makes negative statements about you changing. SparkPeople member SULYLE admits that weight loss has affected her marriage. At 5 feet 6 inches, she's 13 pounds from her goal weight of 140 pounds (that's a BMI of 22.6, considered a "healthy" range for her height). Still, she says that she gets comments from her husband and his family that she's "skinny" and needs to stop losing weight. She's from the Dominican Republic, where curvier women are considered beautiful, but she doesn't feel attractive at her current size. SULYLE's story isn't that unusual. Your significant other may make other negative comments about your own weight loss or changing body because it signals change. And change is scary for your other half. The emotional why: Fear is behind this type of behavior. SULYLE's partner is afraid of losing her and life as he knows it. While she may be ready to change, he may be afraid and reluctant to take the first step, and he may be insecure that she will leave him, so he comments negatively about her changing body in hopes that things will go back to the way they once were. What to do: Create new rituals together so that your loved one is involved with your new lifestyle. You don't have to give up Friday date night. Try dinner at a restaurant with healthier options, or when you go to the movies, order a smaller size of popcorn (no butter) and a diet soda. See if he or she will walk around the block with you (take the kids if you have them) to catch up after dinner. Be sure to include your partner in as many ways as you can, and reassure them that you love them for who they are. If the behavior becomes overwhelmingly negative, do not be afraid to talk to your partner about how those comments make you feel. After all, a relationship is a two-way street and open communication helps prevent a head-on collision. 2. Your partner makes you feel guilty. Does your partner make you feel guilty about the success you've had with weight loss? Does he or she complain that you're not around as much or give you the guilt trip when you skip cuddle time or dessert to hit the gym? Whether your partner makes you feel guilty on purpose, or you just feel guilty for taking time for yourself, it's not a good feeling to have, and it can be detrimental to a relationship if it goes on too long. SparkPeople member THREADIE-LISA had a similar issue with her fiancé when it came to her gym membership. She says that he would grumble to his friends about how much time she spent at the gym or "jokingly" say that she spent more time with the elliptical than with him. The emotional why: Nostalgia. Your partner loves you and wants to spend time with you. He or she may miss what used to be rituals in your household and relationship. These comments may also reflect some of the fear of change mentioned above. What to do: Compromise. THREADIE-LISA ended up quitting the gym for financial reasons but has kept up with her exercise by using workout videos at home. "We are both happier, and I am more fit and less stressed for time. So, in the end his complaining helped!" she says. Don't be afraid to compromise when you can! However, remember that you deserve to be healthy and happy. If your loved one is putting a guilt trip on you, encourage him or her to join you. Couples workouts allow you to spend time together and exercise at the same time. And if it's just you feeling bad, then remind yourself that being fit is what you worked for and you deserve to feel good about your accomplishments. 3. Your partner tries to sabotage you. Sabotaging behavior can run the gamut, from your partner picking up your "favorite" fast-food burger on the way home (even though she knows you're trying to cut back) to begging you to sleep in when you have a date with that Spinning bike at 6 a.m. One very common example is having a partner who brings junk food into the house and then eats it in front of you, especially if the junk food is your favorite and one you have trouble avoiding. The emotional why: Jealousy and fear. Although it may not seem like it, your partner may actually be very jealous of your progress and is sabotaging your efforts to keep you exactly as you are. He or she may be afraid that if you lose weight, you'll get more attention from the opposite sex and possibly leave the relationship for someone else. What to do: Reaffirm your partner that you're still the same loving person you were before. Then read this entire SparkPeople article on how you can defend yourself from saboteurs, and follow the fantastic tips! 4. Your partner starts gaining weight as you're losing weight. If you've noticed that your partner has gained a few pounds during the time you've lost weight, this could be cause for concern. Your partner may be upset with your weight-loss success and may be rebelling against you—consciously or not-- by eating more, higher-calorie food. If this is the case, tread lightly. This will probably be a very touchy subject for your partner. He or she may also be eating emotionally for comfort as a way to deal with the deep-rooted emotions (fear, anger, jealousy) about your positive changes. The emotional why: Resistance and guilt. Your partner is probably feeling resistant to change and guilty about his or her own body and unhealthful habits. They may even be worried that as you get healthier, you won't love him or her as much anymore. SparkPeople member Amy says that her husband has been "self destructing" and views all of her positive changes as threatening to him. In fact, she says that she's been sleeping in an extra bedroom for the last few weeks because of his constant resistance to the positive changes she's trying to make in her life. What to do: If you're in a situation as Amy is, talk to your partner openly and regularly. Your partner may be very, very sensitive about this issue, so you may not want to bring the weight gain up directly, but rather ask how he or she is feeling during this time of change. Reassure your partner that you're still the same person and still love them. And invite them to join in some of your small changes or start something as simple as a SparkStreak! And if it's more serious than that or your attempts are ignored, consider getting a relationship counselor involved. 5. You look down at your partner. If you're a few pounds into your weight-loss journey and overhauled your lifelong habits, yet can't understand why your partner hasn't done the same, then honestly ask yourself: Do you look down on your partner? Do you feel like the changes you've made are going to create lasting friction between the two of you? Whether you indicate these feelings to your partner (directly or indirectly) or keep them to yourself, he or she can probably sense how you're feeling. Everyone wants their partner to be proud to be with them. When you stop being proud of your other half, it can really hurt your relationship. The emotional why: Pride and fear. Right now, you may be very proud of yourself for your changes—and you should be! But it's important to respect everyone's journey and realize that you can't force someone else to change. You may also find yourself being harsher on your loved one because he or she may remind you of where you started (a place where you don't want to return). What to do: You may not agree with all of the choices your partner makes, but try to be as understanding as possible. Remember how hard it was for you to change in the beginning? Remember how you had to decide to do it for yourself, not for someone else? Revisit that time in your past and treat your partner how you would have liked to be treated then. Recognize the reasons for your emotions. You don't have to encourage unhealthy habits, but try to be as understanding and encouraging as possible. If you're faced with many of the issues above, don't despair. A relationship may get rocky from your new dedication to a healthy lifestyle, especially in the beginning of your weight-loss journey, but many say that getting in shape and eating right actually helps their relationship in the end. Take SparkPeople member XCSARAH, who said that her weight loss has both hurt her relationship and improved it. Even though she says that she sometimes gets annoyed when her husband wants to do something that cuts into her workout time or gets frustrated when he eats an entire bag of chips in front of her, getting healthier has improved their relationship. "Any annoyances that have come from this journey have certainly been outdone by the benefits," she says. Now that's an inspiring and encouraging statement to anyone who is struggling with weight-related relationship issues. At the end of the day, your significant other should be one of the biggest and most supportive allies you have in getting healthy. However, you can't expect others to change over night. Getting healthy and losing weight is an incredibly personal journey, and it can't be started by telling someone what to do; it has to start with the person wanting to change. So be as nice and supportive to your partner as you'd like them to be to you. Follow the tips above and recognize what's really behind you and your partner's actions to continue on your weight-loss journey and keep your relationship strong. After all, leading by example is one of the most powerful ways to influence others in a positive way!Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=1187

5 Mind Games You Need to Stop Playing

Motivation is like cold hard cash: You can never have too much! And when you’re trying to lose weight (for the umpteenth time for many of us) you know that you need a wealth of motivational strategies you can count on. But, with so many motivational tips and tricks to sift through, why are we so often losing our motivation rather than reaping the rewards?   One reason is that some of the most popular motivation strategies people use are mind games—games that don't really work for the long term. At first glance, they all seem helpful, but most are actually bound to fail. Instead of playing Russian roulette when you’re choosing a weight-loss strategy, read on to find out how you can beat the odds and pick a winner.   Mind Game #1:  Going for the Gold You have your perfect weight and pants size in mind. With a big, bold goal to aspire to, you start biking to work, cooking lighter, packing your lunch, skipping that morning latte, and taking the stairs. Then, three busy, butt-busting weeks later…the scale hasn’t really budged and you’re trying on the same size in the dressing room. Deflated, you start snacking a bit here and slacking a bit there, and your dream of a whittled waistline slowly fades from view.   Motivation Makeover: Going for the gold is a great way to start your weight-loss plan; setting a long-term goal can help you to keep an eye on where you’re headed. But it’s also important to remember that your goal weight is far from the only benefit of incorporating healthy eating and exercise—and it could be a long ways off. Taking note of smaller, more subtle changes (more energy, better sleep, lower cholesterol, better mood, etc.) can help you stay motivated, even if the pounds aren’t coming off as quickly as you’d hoped. Setting some shorter-term goals (1 pound, 5 pounds)—especially ones that aren't based on the scale (like getting to the gym 5 days a week) can also help you stay on track.   Mind Game #2:  Starting Out Super Strong It’s Sunday evening and you realize that you spent the weekend indulging on brews, barbeques, and binges. A twinge of guilt has you psyched to start speeding down the road to wellness first thing Monday. So you restock your pantry with healthy eats, download a hardcore training app to your phone, and plan out the next month's food and workouts. You figure that going full throttle is the way to reach your weight-loss goals as quickly as possible. And why not? You're excited for it! But two weeks into your overhaul, your muscles are so sore you have trouble rolling out of bed, you’re sick of salads and you’re already thinking about throwing in the towel.   Motivation Makeover: Maintaining motivation is like running a marathon. Instead of starting at full speed and running out of steam, it is better to focus on simply putting one foot in front of the other. Set small, achievable goals so that you can build momentum and feel successful in the beginning, and pat yourself on the back when you conquer each one. No matter how long it takes to reach the finish line, you’ll be reaping the rewards for years to come.   Mind Game #3:  Taking the Road Less Traveled There will always be a new diet or exercise program that promise fast progress and fantastic results. Reading about the latest food fad or watching a perky personal trainer push sweat-drenched clients through an infomercial workout can definitely spark your motivation. Who wouldn’t want to try an effective 4-minute workout or slim down fast with a celebrity-backed diet supplement? Deep down, we all know the truth: People are getting paid for those advertisements and whatever motivation you’ve mustered up during the commercial break will fade fast if you don’t get those "as seen on TV" results that were so motivating to you. Trying every new fad that comes on the market may leave you broke and brokenhearted.   Motivation Makeover: If you want a plan that works long term, stick with the tried and true. Keep your eating close to the earth with whole fruits, veggies, grains and lean meats. Get up and moving with whatever activity suits your style and schedule. Remind yourself that following through with real nutrition and fitness habits is a process: It takes the proper planning and commitment that can’t be found in a book, a box or a bottle.   Mind Game #4:  Flying Under the Radar You’re already feeling self-conscious about losing weight, so you certainly don’t want your friends and family making more of a fuss. Besides, you’re confident that you can do this all on your own! So what if your plan to be stealth has you skipping out on lunch with friends and sneaking veggies to parties in your purse? Going it alone may seem like a good idea, but it is actually counterproductive. Soon enough, you’ll be feeling lonely and left out, and that’s no way to maintain success in the long run.   Motivation Makeover: Call in the recruits! Whether it’s a neighbor down the street, a fellow play group parent or a Facebook friend, get someone to join you on your weight-loss journey. Studies in behavior science show that changes that you make in the public eye have a much better chance of sticking in the real world. Plus, sharing your weight-loss goals with friends opens you up for great personal payouts like counsel, camaraderie, and accountability from the people who know you best. SparkPeople Community, anyone?   Mind Game #5:  Staring Down the Scale There’s a scale in your bathroom and one next to your treadmill. You check in twice a day and diligently track your weight on a chart on the fridge. Still, even though you’re eating well and exercising, some days the numbers just don’t show it! Seeing real, objective results can be super motivating but being tethered to the scale often becomes a burden. Even though you know that body weight fluctuates throughout each day and hydration (or lack thereof) is usually responsible, unpredictable digits can be deceiving and downright disheartening. If you find yourself frowning at your feet during morning weigh-ins, then your scale is likely sapping your mojo.   Motivation Makeover: Stick that scale in the closet and find inspiration in other numbers (besides your weight). Track specific behaviors to gauge your progress; how many push-ups you can do in a minute, how many miles you walk or bike each week, how many flights of stairs you take each day at work. Keep tabs on a variety of positive results and you won’t be left wanting for fitness focus.     Making use of motivational mind games can really boost your fitness morale. But sometimes, techniques that seem perfectly logical can end up leading you astray. Mastering your own motivation doesn’t have to be a crap shoot. Bet on the time-tested strategies above to get your mind right and you’ll be sure to cash in on long-term wellness!Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=1676

Finding Inspiration In Your Biggest Temptations

Getting motivated--and staying motivated--can be difficult, and when temptations abound, it seems like the world is conspiring to keep you indoors, on the couch and stuck in your unhealthy life. Instead of viewing temptations as roadblocks, think of them as motivators--the devil on your shoulder, if you will. Their presence in your life should be just what you need to keep you from losing momentum, standing still or taking a break from your healthy journey. If you stop, they'll get you; if you stay one step ahead, you'll always come out on top. Temptations are like misunderstood Muses. They give you the chance to be creative while reaching your goals. Temptation No. 1: Sleeping in or hitting the snooze alarm. Inspiration: Taking care of your body. Get your eight hours a night. If you're consistently sleeping through your alarm or hitting the snooze bar more than twice, consider changing your sleep schedule. Try to head to bed earlier--even just 15 or 30 minutes can make a difference. To help you stay healthy and manage your weight, you need adequate sleep. Sleep loss affects the levels of certain hormones, which can in turn affect your metabolic processes and adversely affect your health. Sleep experts say most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health and safety. When we don’t get adequate sleep, we accumulate a sleep debt that can be difficult to "pay back" if it becomes too big. The resulting sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job, and on the road. Sleep loss also can cause a lack of desire to achieve goals because you feel fatigued and "run down." Sleep is also important in developing lean muscle tissue. When you work out, you are actually tearing your muscles – sleep and proper nutrients help rebuild the muscle so that you get stronger. Temptation No. 2: Grabbing takeout or stopping at a drive-thru. Inspiration: Making smart choices. Ideally, you should drive by the drive-thru and cook healthful meals at home every night. However, not all takeout is created equal, and you can find some healthful options at chain restaurants and even your neighborhood deli. See this temptation as a challenge to be creative and bring home a healthful meal when you're in a hurry. Plan ahead if you can, build a meal around vegetables and choose small portions to keep your takeout from taking away your self-control. (Find hundreds of tips and strategies to help you make smart, healthy choices when you're away from home here.) Follow the same rules at a restaurant that you would at home: Choose whole grains when possible, fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit, and opt for lean cuts of meat and low-calorie preparations. Baked potatoes, side salads, fruit cups and milk are ubiquitous at fast food restaurants these days. See this as an opportunity to stare French fries in the face--and win! Temptation No. 3: Grazing on junk food all night long. Inspiration: Getting to the root of a problem. Before you start chastising yourself for blowing your calorie budget after a good day of healthy, mindful eating, think about why you are snacking. Mindless munching is usually anything but. Are you thirsty? Many hunger pangs are actually just thirst in disguise. Drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes. If your hunger subsides, you weren't really hungry after all. What did you eat for dinner? If you tried to save calories or reduce your carb intake by having a green salad or just a plate of veggies, it's no wonder you're hungry. Your body needs a bit of variety to stay happy. Protein takes longer to digest and helps keep you fuller longer. Toss some grilled chicken chunks, a small can of tuna or a half-cup of beans on your salad tomorrow night to give it some staying power. In the meantime, reach for a small servings of whole-grain crackers with a tablespoon of nut butter. The combo of fat, protein and carbs will tide you over until morning. Are you stressed or upset about something? Instead of reaching for the chocolate bar or the chips, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Eating your feelings leaves you feeling worse than when you started. Go for a walk, get out of the kitchen, remove trigger foods from the house--whatever it takes. To get a handle on emotional eating, you first need to understand it. Learn more about this common food problem, which is the cause of 75% of overeating, according to experts. Once you know your food weaknesses, you'll be prepared to confront those evening cravings instead of surrendering to them. Temptation No. 4: Vegging out on the couch. Inspiration: Taking time for you. You get home from work and gaze longingly at the sofa. You had a long day, and a bit of rest sounds much better than socializing or spending time with others. You just want to be alone with your feet up, mind empty and the TV on. Devote a chunk of time each week or each day to yourself. Maybe it's 15 minutes, or maybe it's two hours. Put yourself first as often as you need to. Instead of punishing yourself for being lazy, use this "me" time in a productive way. Do a crossword puzzle, read a book, watch a movie, call a friend, pick up knitting, or cuddle with your child or partner. Anticipate this respite from the hustle and bustle of your life and plan for it. Watch your favorite TV show, paint your nails, ask your partner to give you a foot rub. Reward yourself for being motivated, sticking with your healthy lifestyle plan and working out regularly. A bit of time spent doing nothing can help carry you through the rest of your hectic and action-packed life. (Read our Rest & Relaxation articles for more tips.) Temptation No. 5: Skipping your workout. Inspiration: Changing up your workout. You know how great you feel when you finish a workout: refreshed, revived and rejuvenated. You feel strong, confident and happy. So why would you want to skip exercise? Quite often, the reason is boredom. Does your workout schedule run on repeat? Do you do the same thing at the same time and in the same place every day? Now that you've made fitness a part of your life, try shaking up your routine from time to time. Instead of walking laps around the park in your neighborhood, try taking a new route. Instead of doing the same-old pushups and crunches, check out SparkPeople's free library of exercise demos. If you belong to a gym, trade the Stairmaster for the elliptical or the treadmill for the stationary bike. Tired of your DVDs? Trade with a friend or head to the library. Take a new class: Zumba, cardio dance, Pilates, yoga or Spinning are fun ones to try. Ask a trainer at your gym or a fit friend for suggestions. Speaking of which, one of the best ways to shake up your workout is to enlist a friend to blast calories with you. You can catch up on each other's lives while you firm up. When temptations step in your path, don't cower. Confront them and enlist them as your allies. Soon you'll be stronger and more determined and will have traveled a little farther in your healthy living journey.Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=1356

Florida Woman pulls a machete at a day care

A Florida woman took “custody battle” to a new level when she pulled a machete on a day care worker, police said.

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Ashley Dailey, 25, attempted to pick up a child she didn’t have custody over in Sunrise, Florida. After being denied the child, Dailey pulled the machete on the employee and threatened her, 7News reported. 

“She didn’t have custody ...the grandma did,” Chris Piper, Sunrise police spokesman, told the Miami Herald

Dailey fled from the scene as soon as the cops arrived, which sparked a brief chase, according to 7News.

Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies were able to stop her on I- 95 just after 10 a.m. this morning, reported 7News. 

However, Dailey wouldn’t go down that easily. Deputies had to break Dailey’s car window to take her into custody, according to 7News. 

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen guns at a day care. Last January, two armed men tried to rob a day care in West Palm Beach.

Donald Trump taps Sonny Perdue as his agriculture chief

President-elect Donald Trump picked former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue on Wednesday to be his agriculture secretary, tapping a veterinarian-turned-politician who was the state’s first Republican governor in more than a century to lead the sprawling department.

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Perdue, 70, had emerged as Trump’s leading contender to run the agriculture department in recent days, and he is said to have impressed the New York businessman with his experience in public office and in the private sector.

The announcement could come as soon as Thursday.

Perdue becomes the second Georgian selected to join Trump’s Cabinet after U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Roswell was tapped as health secretary.

And Trump went down to the wire with the Perdue pick, making him his last Cabinet selection before he is sworn into office Friday. The choice was mired in political wrangling, with some factions pushing Trump to opt for someone from the Midwest or to diversify his Cabinet by naming a Hispanic official.

If confirmed, Perdue would become the new head of the $140 billion agency, which dictates the nation’s farm policy and also oversees the food stamp program. He would be the first agriculture secretary from a Southern state since Mike Espy of Mississippi headed the department in the early 1990s.

Perdue has been tight-lipped about the drawn-out process, but he interviewed with Trump on Nov. 30 and enthusiastically sought the job.

“He asked me what my skills sets were and I told him what they were, aside from having been governor, as a business person and primarily in agricultural commodities, trading domestically and internationally,” Perdue told reporters after that meeting. “And he lit up.”

His onetime protege, Nick Ayers, played a key role in helping both Perdue and Price land Cabinet posts. Now a top aide to Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Trump’s transition team, Ayers cut his political teeth on Perdue’s 2002 campaign and has been a longtime aide to the former governor.

“Georgia walks away with two of the most consequential Cabinet secretaries who happen to be the two most qualified for the job,” said Ayers, who is married to a cousin of Perdue’s and was a finalist to lead the Republican National Committee. “It’s a testament to the president’s extraordinary decision making and his appreciation to Georgia.”

A native of Perry, Georgia, Perdue helped craft the state’s agriculture policy in the 1990s as a Democratic state senator from Houston County before switching to the GOP in 1998.

His surprise victory over Gov. Roy Barnes in 2002 – making him Georgia’s first GOP governor since Reconstruction – triggered a Republican wave in Georgia that flipped the state Senate and then the state House. Georgia Republicans now control every statewide office in Georgia.

As governor, he carved out a reliably conservative record that included legislation aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration and creating new photo ID requirements for Georgia voters.

He also oversaw Georgia’s decades-long water dispute with Alabama and Florida and the state’s response to an epic drought that prompted him to call for stiff water restrictions. At the height of the drought in 2007, he joined with other state officials on the statehouse steps to lead a solemn prayer for rain that drew national headlines.

He attracted scrutiny for using taxpayer money to build the Go Fish Education Center near his home in Bonaire, Georgia. The facility has attracted about one-fifth of the visitors expected to use the facility and the state still owes at least $12 million for the project, which the New York Times dubbed a “symbol of waste” when it opened.

Since leaving office in 2011, Perdue has run a string of trucking, agriculture and logistics firms from his base in Middle Georgia – role that helped him appeal to Trump.

He was not always an enthusiastic Trump supporter - he initially endorsed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and then former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush - but he stumped for Trump across Georgia in the final months of his campaign and served on the president-elect’s agriculture advisory board.

Aside from Ayers, Perdue will have another powerful ally in Trump’s orbit: His first-cousin, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, an early supporter of the incoming president.

“Sonny’s background in business, his medical background, his executive background as a governor make him an ideal choice,” David Perdue said. “In fact, I think he may be the best choice I know in America to be in that ag position.”

Meet the soft-spoken chainsaw artist behind Bikers for Trump

“People are pouring into Washington in record numbers. Bikers for Trump are on their way,” President-elect Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

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At the helm of the bikers brigade but poles apart from Trump’s bombastic style is Chris Cox. The charismatic and exceedingly polite leader of Bikers for Trump is a chainsaw artist who lives in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, right outside of Charleston. He sold sculptures of dolphins and pelicans in gas station parking lots to finance his travel to the cross-country series of biker rallies that eventually led to this week’s strong showing of supporters roaring into Washington on two wheels.

The bikers are using the term “wall of meat” for the human protection ring they indeed to form around Trump supporters and possible detractors, but it’ll be a peaceful stand, Cox says.

“We don’t want any of our members out there in shouting matches,” he said during a recent interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We don’t want the destruction of private property.”

Cox was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, and grew up in Washington. His father, Earl Cox, was a journeyman political operative, working for the departments of Agriculture and Labor, and on George H.W. Bush’s campaign in North Carolina. Chris Cox caught the political bug early and worked with Bush’s vice president, Dan Quayle, during campaign events.

“That’s where I learned how to throw political rallies,” he said.

He studied political science and communications at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, but dropped out before graduating. The 48-year-old hasn’t been married, doesn’t have kids and lives with his mom and stepfather in a stately brick home in a well-heeled subdivision – all freedoms he readily notes make his road warrior lifestyle a possibility.

And here’s the other thing about the head of Bikers for Trump: he’s not really much of a biker.

“I’ve had bikes on and off my whole life, but I’ve never considered myself that quintessential biker,” he said. "I don’t wear chaps, I don’t go to meetings. I’m a lone wolf guy.”

So how in the world did he come to lead Bikers for Trump? Almost by accident.

“The way it started was kind of bizarre,” he said.

In 2013 he became interested in HR 1836 – the Monuments Protection Act – spurred by the site of World War II veterans locked out of the National World War II Memorial amid a government shut down. The National Park Service at the time said it had no choice, but the site of elderly veterans unable to pay tribute to their fallen brethren quickly became a political flashpoint.

Among other things, HR 1836 stipulates that the federal government would agree to keep facilities open even times of government shut down. (Read the entire bill here; it was referred to the subcommittee on federal lands in 2015).

His interest led to action and during the government shutdown, intriguing headlines started cropping up.

“Mystery man mowing Lincoln Memorial lawn told to move on by park police,” the Kansas City Star reported.

“Mystery Man Spotted Mowing Lincoln Memorial Lawn Despite Shutdown,” the Huffington Post noted.

Guess who the mystery man turned out to be?

“Lincoln Memorial lawn mowing hero Chris Cox gets a chainsaw for his shutdown efforts,” The Washington Post reported in a follow-up piece.

His interest in Trump as a candidate stemmed from Trump’s vocal support for veterans, among other topics that interested him, and he figured becoming part of a successful presidential campaign would eventually lead to support for the monuments bill.

“Even though I’m not a veteran I work on behalf of veterans,” he said. “I was trying to serve my country with my bill.”

His first rally attracted about 50 people in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

“We got some media. I was testing the waters,” he said. “People were saying, ‘You can’t harness bikers. They’re not political. They’re not going to show up. If they do it’s going to be to drink some beer.'”

Subsequent rallies in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina., and throughout Florida started growing. In August, the group had a presence at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip, a huge annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. Miranda Lambert was the headliner. Bikers for Trump later flocked to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention.

Life on the road was interesting, but hardly glamorous. Cox often slept in a camper and would stop every few weeks to knock out a few wood sculptures he could sell for a few hundred bucks to finance travel to the next town.

“My air conditioning was a fan,” he said. “My bathroom was a milk jug. There’s nothing romantic about it.”

His campaign tactics honed with the Quayle camp served him time and again. He’d roll into a new town, hook up with a bar popular with bikers and spread word via social media.

“I go into an area and I don’t know anybody and within four or five days I’m showing up with a couple hundred guys,” he said.

Cox, now a familiar face on Fox News, where he’s been giving updates leading up to the inauguration, was assiduous in pointing to news coverage to document his recollections from the road. (Here’s a dispatch from Sturgis. Here’s a piece on him from the Tampa Bay Times. And here’s a more recent piece from The Washington Post.)

“You can check sources and research the facts and figures,” he said. “I know that’s important to journalists.”

Courtly comments like that, and his cotillion-class table manners (during a casual lunch at a chain restaurant he nibbled at a piece of bread with a knife and fork, thanked each server for his or her contribution to the meal and then mopped a tiny drop of sweet tea with his napkin, lest he cause any mess), may seem a bit of a departure from the guy he’s been rallying for.

But Trump’s ballast and Cox’ unconventional tactics seemed to fit.

“Since it wasn’t a mainstream candidate I couldn’t build this coalition in a mainstream manner,” he said.

Cox often attended Bikers for Trump rallies on rented wheels, or else towed his bike on his flatbed truck, where his dog, Trigger, often joins him in the cab. He’s been in Washington for weeks, getting ready to lead an Inauguration Day rally in John Marshall Park, not far from where official swearing-in events will take place.

“Believe it or not President Elect Donald Trump just called me to thank all the Bikers For Trump for all their hard work,” he said in a recent social media post. “He’s instructing his staff to give us the resources to put on the best rally possible. So hats off to all the bikers. I’ll see you in Washington DC for the inauguration.”

And after this?

“I won’t miss it,” he insists of all the travel, rallies and media attention. He said he plans to head back home and concentrate on his art.

“You don’t have a lot of opportunities to serve your country,” he said. “It was exciting but I’m enjoying sleeping in my own bed.”

Truck driver who caused crash that killed nursing students weeps in court

A truck driver who caused a crash that killed five nursing students wiped away tears in court Wednesday.

John Wayne Johnson and the company he worked for, Total Transportation of Mississippi, are facing a civil lawsuit from crash survivor Megan Richards, of Loganville.

Johnson pleaded guilty to several charges, including five counts of first-degree vehicular homicide, and is serving five years in jail for the crash.

He wept as lawyers played audio of state troopers questioning him the morning of the crash on Interstate 16 in April 2015.

"For what it's worth, very sorry, emotional to the families and all. It is something that definitely not intentional. I say, I can't explain why, how what, and being in shock right now,” he said in the recording.

Johnson was driving a tractor-trailer when he plowed into two cars carrying seven students from Georgia Southern University.

Two of the students survived.

The trucking company has already admitted responsibility for the wreck and reached multi-million dollar settlements with the one survivor and the families of the other students.

Now a jury will decide how much compensation Richards should receive for the injuries she suffered in the horrific crash.

PREVIOUS STORIES:

Wednesday, jurors heard from a medical experts and a witness who pulled Richards from the fiery wreck.

Army Sgt. William Robenolt graphically described the chaos he witnessed that day.

Robenolt compared the scene to an Army vehicle hitting a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

“A lot of noise, a lot of people, a very chaotic scene. You could hear the fire from the car, you could hear things falling, melting and falling off the car. You could hear the sounds of metal just expanding and contracting from the heat and popping,” he said.

Richards' lawyers say she still suffers from a traumatic brain injury.

Johnson, along with Richards and her family, could take the stand as soon as Thursday.

Stay with WSBTV.com and watch Channel 2 Action News for complete coverage as this trial continues.

Falcons WR Julio Jones misses practice with toe injury

Falcons All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones was held out of practice on Wednesday after aggravating his sprained toe in Saturday's playoff win over Seattle.

Jones is expected to play in Sunday's NFC championship game against Green Bay. He did not appear to favor the injury as he walked through the locker room before the practice.

First injury report of NFC Championship week for Falcons pic.twitter.com/LdhtkgXpi6— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) January 18, 2017

Jones participated in a walk-through session early Wednesday before missing the regular practice.

Coach Dan Quinn says the plan is to "get him more work as the week goes on."

RELATED STORIES:

Jones missed two games with the toe injury. He still finished second in the NFL with 1,409 yards receiving on 83 catches.

Defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (shoulder), wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (foot) and safety Keanu Neal (foot) were limited.

#Falcons Pro Bowlers @M_Ryan02, @devontafreeman & @alexmack55 prepare for the NFC Championship #RiseUp pic.twitter.com/nlcqg547D0— Anthony Amey (@AnthonyAmeyWSB) January 18, 2017

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

World’s primates in crisis, on track for extinction, new study warns

Half of the world’s primates, including gorillas, apes, monkeys, lemurs, and others are in crisis and on track for extinction, mainly due to a growing human population and habitat loss.

Some “60 percent of primate species are now threatened with extinction and 75 percent have declining populations,” according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. That means around 300 of the world’s 500 species of primates are currently threatened or endangered, the survey found.

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Nonhuman primate species are essential for a healthy environment and balanced ecosystems, which humans also need to survive, the study said.

"This truly is the 11th hour for many of these creatures," study co-leader Paul Garber, an anthropology professor at the University of Illinois, told USA Today.

Garber also said many primate species will disappear quickly, over the next 25 years, unless the world takes action.

“Raising global scientific and public awareness of the plight of the world’s primates and the costs of their loss to ecosystem health and human society is imperative,” the study warned.

The threats to primates’ existence also include industrial agriculture, cattle ranching, logging, mining, oil and gas drilling, hunting, illegal trade in primate parts, and as pets.

 

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