Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

New data from researchers at UC Davis and Fresno State present a disturbing picture about disconnected youth in Central California. As many as 17 percent of valley teens are either not in school and don't have a job. That's more than double the statewide average of 8.2 percent. Left unaddressed, the disconnect could worsen the valley's poverty problem and contribute to other social ailments from crime to health issues.

Last summer, President Obama announced a new policy, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It allows certain immigrant youth to remain in the country and obtain a work permit, without fear of deportation.

“This is a temporary stop-gap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely, while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven and patriotic young people,” Obama said, when he announced the program in June 2012.

Flickr user bob_in_thailand / Creative Commons License /

There’s a nasty California disease spreading so fast that even our baseball teams have caught it.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics /

A controversial bill that’s been stuck for more than a year has squeaked out of the California Assembly. The measure would give juveniles sentenced to life without parole the chance to request a parole hearing.

Six Democrats joined every Republican in opposing the bill, including GOP Assemblyman Donald Wagner. “This is breaking faith with every relative of a murdered victim who was told, don’t worry, the killer will never see the light of day again.

It used to be a rite of passage for teens, getting a summer job at a fast food restaurant or the mall. But with an economy that continues to struggle, the state's teen unemployment rate is around 36 percent. But there are several new programs that aim to help teens get a taste of life in the workforce, and local companies that are working with non-profits and the government on this issue. Juanita Stevenson reports on how a summer job changed one teen's life.

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the City of Fresno's new "fiscal sustainability plan," and find out what city leaders are doing to avoid bankruptcy. We also hear about efforts to bring solar power to Valley homes, and a new program that aims to help disadvantaged kids and share with them the joy of cycling.

Valley Edition for March 27, 2012:

Segment 1: Rural homeless:
Many people think of homelessness as an urban issue, but small towns and rural communities throughout Central California are facing this issue as well. This week on Valley Edition, we talk to Matthew Macedo, a Hanford teen who has produced a documentary film called "Homeless in Hanford" about what inspired him to take on this issue. Joey Cox of the Kings Community Action Organization in Hanford, and Felix Vigil, Director of the Madera Rescue Mission also join our discussion about rural homelessness.

Part 1: Health Care Reform, 1 Year Later - Last March, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. This sweeping and controversial law aims to expand health coverage to millions of previously uninsured Americans, with the bulk of the new programs beginning in 2014. But many Valley residents, who currently lack coverage, or lost their insurance after losing a job in the recession, have yet to feel the impact of the legislation.