15-year-old Jessalyn Hartsfield of Liberty is a high school freshman and cheerleader who's the size of the average 9-year-old. Jessalyn is one of only 100 people in the U.S. with the rare condition called primordial dwarfism, which delays a person’s growth starting in the womb. “[Doctors] told me when I had her that she wasn’t going to make it 24 hours,” said her mother, Jessica Rivera. The condition causes decreased life expectancy, and her mother says she may always have to live at home. Because she may never get to celebrate the milestone of marriage, her parents want her to feel like a princess for her Sweet 16 birthday bash in August. so have commissioned TLC Bridal in Boardman to customize a ball gown for her for the event.

Ina R. Madison became highly emotional when she handled her late husband’s neatly pressed dress blues for the first time in several decades. Ernest Madison, served in the Marines from 1968 to '71 during the Vietnam War, processing the bodies of soldiers flown back after they were killed in combat, and died March 26, 1996, at age 47. His uniform served as a backdrop for a Black History Month program Saturday at New Bethel Baptist Church to honor the Montford Point Marines, the first black Marines able to serve in World War II after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order barring segregation in the military.

A film created by computer students at the church showed a series of interviews with men, some of whom had served in the Montford Point regiment and others who lauded the Marines’ achievements, valor and patriotism as they fought to protect a country that still subjected them to racism, segregation and ostracism.

Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown urged attendees at Saturday’s Black History Month’s Feast of Salads at Wick Park to pass their personal “black history” on to their children and the community's young people so the stories don't get lost. Brown said his father was in and out of prison most of his life, and he was determined to stop that cycle. "That’s part of my black history,” the mayor said, noting that other family members found success, serving in the Korean War and working for the U.S. Postal Service or “chugging away” at St. Elizabeth Hospital. Event organizer Annie Hall, who heads East Side Crime Watch, said she named the event “Feast of Salads” because the South Carolina sharecropper family in which she grew up basically ate whatever grew in their large garden.

More than 200 students at Youngstown State University danced for dollars Saturday during the third annual Guinathon, a dance marathon to raise money for Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. Guinathon student organization is partnered nationally with Children’s Miracle Network hospitals and specifically works to support Akron's Children's. Isabel Stoeber, Guinathon executive director, said this year’s fundraising goal was $62,000. The money is used to help families who can’t afford services at the hospital, which does not turn away families based on lack of finances, she said.

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