Author: Lisa Renner

Retailers roll with new restriction on tobacco sales to minors

At convenience stores and gas stations across the state, bright yellow signs are posted prominently on front doors: “Under 21/ No Tobacco.” Libby Brown, a 16-year-old from Turlock, has no problem with the new state law, which went into effect in June, even though it raised the legal smoking age from 18. She wasn’t planning to smoke anyway. “I think it’s a good law because it will make it so there’s not as many smokers,” she said. But 18-year-old smoker Paige Shafer, who lives in North San Juan, is upset that her once legal right to use tobacco has been abruptly taken away. She now has to get others who meet the age limit to get her cigarettes.

The debate over marijuana legalization and kids

The pending ballot battle over a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in California raises a crucial question: would the change expose more children to pot or protect youth from access to the drug by tightening regulations?

Foster care reform faces challenge: finding enough homes

There’s no doubt in Veronica Morales’ mind that placement in a caring foster family is far superior than placement in a group home. The Turlock resident, who spent much of her childhood in family foster care, said her brothers seemed like “robots” after their stay in a heavily structured group home.

New RX for Kids: Get Outside and Move

It’s not often that 7-year-old Joseph gets to play in the water, but the wheelchair-bound boy had a great time doing just that on a trip to Crab Cove at Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda.

Health Grants Go to Small Communities With Innovative Approaches to Obesity, Smoking

To motivate Lake County residents to get moving earlier this year, public health workers used a charming mascot named Rocky the River Otter. They handed out several of the stuffed animals and asked participants in their “Move More 20+14” physical challenge to photograph themselves exercising next to the cute toys. Rocky ended up in pictures at such locations as an elementary school hula-hoop session, yoga classes and on top of a mountain. The challenge, which asked participants to do moderate exercise 20 minutes a day for 14 weeks, beginning in January, was one of many projects funded through the Community Transformation Grant Small Communities Program.

In Counties Where Teen Pregnancy is High, a Sex Ed Program Offers Promise

The teen boys in the San Joaquin County Juvenile Detention Center had a lot of questions for the two sex education instructors who paid them a visit. Among them: Where are free local clinics that provide testing for sexually transmitted diseases? Is there a cure for AIDS? Can you use ear wax to find out if your partner has an STD?

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