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Nebraska was once a leader in establishing juvenile courts, but a recent study shows that the state incarcerates troubled kids at one of the highest rates in the nation.
A group of Nebraska lawmakers is looking into its options to change that statistic. On Thursday, many spoke out at a public hearing at the State Capitol giving their input on a bill that would overhaul the state’s juvenile justice system by moving to community-based treatment and closing the two juvenile jails located in Kearney and Geneva by 2015.
While lawmakers look into their options, some are simply providing alternatives, hoping to keep kids on the right track by giving them a place to pursue their passions. Mike Smith founded The Bay two years ago to fuel his passion for skating and to give local youth a place to hang out.
After several months of construction, The Bay is celebrating the grand opening of its brand new youth complex Friday night in Lincoln with an all-night skate-a thon.
Previously located in Lincoln's Gateway Mall, The Bay now occupies more than 28-thousand square feet. The new location contains a state of the art skatepark, an art gallery and and office for the organization's full-time youth outreach worker.
A second phase of construction which includes a concert venue, cafe and coffee shop, which are expected to be completed by the end of 2013.