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Local mom starts support group for hydrocephalus

Local mom starts support group for hydrocephalus

TRACY - Since Joey Chavez’s diagnosis with hydrocephalus, the 8-year-old has had nine brain surgeries, starting at age 2. The most recent was Dec. 9, when he had a shunt replaced at Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland.

His mother, Kim Ruiz, impressed with her son’s fortitude, has turned their shared experience into motivation to help others with the same condition.

Joey has had three shunts, a procedure in which a doctor skillfully guides a catheter through the brain matter, Ruiz explained, to combat the fluid that builds up inside his brain cavities.

Thia Megia heads to Las Vegas on 'American Idol'

Thia Megia heads to Las Vegas on 'American Idol'

MOUNTAIN HOUSE - Thia Megia once again wowed the judges to advance to the next round in Fox’s 2011 “American Idol” on the Thursday, Feb. 17, show.

The 15-year-old Mountain House resident’s rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” had Jennifer Lopez whispering to Steven Tyler, “She’s amazing.”

Megia, a high school student in Tracy, advanced to the round of 100 last week, and now has advanced to the round of 60 in next week’s Hollywood Round 4.

On Wednesday, Feb. 23, the contestants will sing to Beatles music in Las Vegas.

And on Thursday, Feb. 24, Megia will vie for a spot in the top 24 and a place in the semifinals.

Megia broke new ground by being one of the first 15-year-old singers allowed to compete since an age reduction went into effect for the 10th season of the hit show. The prior minimum age was 16.

Local sex assault survivor, 15, aims to increase awareness of violence

Local sex assault survivor, 15, aims to increase awareness of violence

RIPON - The SavingStephanie organization will work with the Ripon Police Department to increase sexual assault awareness in our community. SavingStephanie is a sexual assault awareness organization that was founded by sexual assault survivor, Stephanie Braithwaite, 15, to increase community awareness and provide support and referrals to sexual assault victims.

The organization, lead by this courageous young woman, intends to work with the Ripon Police Department and Police Chief Ed Ormonde, to carry this message to the community by tying teal colored ribbons to the antennas of all the police departments’ patrol cars, community service vehicles, and volunteer vehicles. The ribbon recognizes every person affected by sexual assault and offers a symbol of hope to every Survivor on the path to healing. These ribbons will stand as a reminder that sexual violence is everyone’s issue, and that there is hope and support for those affected by it.

Local sex assault victim aims to bring awareness to violence

Local sex assault victim aims to bring awareness to violence

MANTECA - The SavingStephanie organization will work with the Manteca Police Department to increase sexual assault awareness in our community. SavingStephanie is a sexual assault awareness organization that was founded by sexual assault survivor, Stephanie Braithwaite, 15. She started her own organization, SavingStephanie, to increase community awareness and provide support and referrals to sexual assault victims.

The organization, lead by this courageous young woman, intends to work with the Manteca Police Department and Capt. Charlie Goeken, to carry this message to the community by tying teal colored ribbons to the antennas of all the police department's patrol cars. The ribbon recognizes every person affected by sexual assault and offers a symbol of hope to every survivor on the path to healing. These ribbons will stand as a reminder that sexual violence is everyone’s issue, and that there is hope and support for those affected by it.