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SMITH: It was almost like Alexis was there

More than six weeks after the horrific highway crash that killed her aunt, 17-year-old Alexis Vargas is recovering from her latest surgery at UCSF.

But that didn't keep her from taking part in a special salute to Elsie Allen High senior-class athletes at Wednesday night's home basketball game. A Skype connection let her watch on her laptop the Senior Day honors for her

fellow Class of '13 cheerleaders and basketball players.

And when her name was called and her achievements recounted, everyone saw her face, live, on a large projection screen.

With her parents at her bedside,Alexis struggled for the composure to thank her school and community for the "support, love and good vibes" that are helping her through the experience she called "challenging and extremely painful."

WINE NO: A hush came over the Santa Rosa Golf & Country Club ballroom when the time came to present thank-you gifts to the reception's guest speakers, noted twins and health/vitality authors Judi and Shari Zucker.

Normally hereabouts, it's a a nice bottle or two of wine.

But in their talk to members of WHAM, Women's Health at Memorial, the two blonde boosters of an active vegetarian lifestyle made clear they believe alcohol of any kind deserves a spot on the treat-as-poison list.

"The red-wine industry loves to tell you it's good for your heart," Judi Zucker told WHAM, which just gave Memorial Hospital $30,000 for services for women and children. "The truth is, all alcohol is toxic for your body."


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