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Michelle Rindels does stint writing for Associated Press

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POSTED September 7, 2009 1:05 a.m.

The Rev. Mark Rindels no longer shepherds the congregation at Sequoia Heights Baptist Church in Manteca where he was pastor for 17 years.

But the Rindels name lives on - at least on the Internet. If you do a Google search, you will find a list - longer than a laundry list, in fact - of entries by that surname.

But don’t be surprised if you have to click on way past page 12 to get to the pastor’s name. However, here’s a short cut: click on the name Michelle Rindels and you’ll read some nice vignettes about the reverend. You’ll even see his smiling face.

Michelle is the middle child of the former Sequoia Heights pastor and his wife Yvette.

And she has, indeed, come a long, long way since her byline graced the pages of the Manteca Bulletin during her summer breaks from Biola University in the last two to three years.

If you’re one who keenly pays attention to bylines, you’ve probably ran into Michelle’s name while perusing Associated Press stories datelined Los Angeles. She had the job waiting for her after she graduated with a double major in journalism and Spanish from Biola in June. Luck had nothing to do with it. It’s all about talent, as those who are familiar with her writings, including myself, are quick to point out.

Her reporting assignments have run the gamut - from the arrest of Antioch resident Phillip Garrido, the suspect in the kidnapping of an 11-year-old girl in South Lake Tahoe 18 years ago, the burial of pop icon Michael Jackson; the raging wildfires in Southern California, to the nomination of two Episcopalian homosexual priests as assistant bishops in Los Angeles.

Her name pops up quickly on any search engine because her stories have been carried by dozens of Associated Press subscribers. Unfortunately, the Bulletin, which is also an AP subscriber, was not one of them. But the Bulletin is not alone. Two other newspapers with larger circulations did not carry her byline either. That’s not an uncommon practice among newspapers, especially when the AP story is simply abridged or condensed into a brief.

However, here are some of the stories she has covered as an AP reporter just this summer alone, with just a few of the news media outlets that have picked them up for print and online publications:

•Nevada renews push to poach businesses from California - Mercury news and Washington Times, et al
•(Life goes on in smoky downtown LA as fire rages - The Associated Press,, LA Times Online,,,,,,, and several other news outlets.
•Yang’s win inspires Asian golfers around the world -
• Dangerous citrus pest found in California -,,,
• Nevada renews push to poach businesses - California Mercury news and Washington Times.

Her introductory line to that Nevada story is classic Michelle, at least the Michelle that I knew here at the Bulletin and the Michelle that her growing number of reader fans are quickly finding out: “Talk about kicking a neighbor while he’s down: Nevada is spending $250,000 for an ad campaign that compares California legislators to talking chimps....”

I caught up with Michelle at her AP office in Los Angeles on Friday morning. I made the quick phone call - I knew she’d be busy with deadlines - to congratulate her on her recent stories about the Lake Tahoe kidnapping case. Funny that I would be calling at that time because she had been thinking about me just a few days ago, were her first to me after the initial hellos.

During her summer jobs here at the Bulletin, we had a few moments to share conversations in between interviews, photo assignments and furious deadline writing mostly in the morning when the newsroom is usually quiet. By the way, Michelle graduated salutatorian from her class of 2005 at Sierra High School.

I think it was more of divine intervention, maybe I should say inspiration, that made me dial her number that day. As it turned out, she told me Friday was her last day as an intern at the Associated Press office in Los Angeles. Her plan after that? She said she “probably (will) go back home to Grass Valley, Calif. (pop. 14,922) in Nevada County.” That’s where Pastor Rindels - with wife Yvette and their children, Ryan (who is now graduated from college and is a missionary in Suriname), Michelle and Matthew - moved his family after leaving Manteca about two years ago.

Michelle tells me her father is now pastor of the First Baptist Church there.

There’s more - lots more - to tell about Michelle, but that will be another story, or stories, all together. But if you Google her name, chances are you’ll read her blog stories about “Nate, the Christian Windshield Repairman,” her “dad’s insistence on hiring Christians for just about any household repair project,” and the following nugget of wisdom from her brother Matthew: “Some plumbers come to fix the toilet. Others come to leave a legacy.”
To contact Rose Albano Risso, e-mail or call (209) 249-3536.

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