North Platte resident Ed Reiker presented the city council with a petition Tuesday signed by 2,939 people who say they do not want Planned Parenthood and what they do – notably, arrange for abortions -- in North Platte.Reiker spoke to the council on behalf of the Western Nebraska Community for Life, a pro-life advocacy group.
Reiker told the council that Planned Parenthood was founded by Margaret Sanger in 1914 in New York City. Reiker said she was a proponent of “eliminating human weeds, namely Blacks, Hispanics and the Irish. Interestingly enough, Hitler studied her writings too.”
Reiker then offered more current data to the council. He said Planned Parenthood is currently facing a billion-dollar lawsuit for $28 million in Medicaid mis-billing in Iowa.
He said nearly 60 percent of Planned Parenthood income comes from abortions and 90 percent of the women that go to a Planned Parenthood facility end up aborting babies.
Reiker said 18 percent of the abortions at Planned Parenthood facilities are administered to teenagers. He said at this time Planned Parenthood has a billion dollars in revenues a year and receives at least one-third of that in U.S. tax money funding.
Reiker said that Planned Parenthood jeopardizes women’s health and safety by providing misleading and inaccurate information regarding the risks inherent in abortion.
Reiker said Planned Parenthood also endangers young people with sexually transmitted diseases by promoting birth control to teenagers, which causes them to be more likely to have sex when they are too young, outside of marriage.
Rieker gave the petitions to Mayor Marc Kaschke. The council made no comments.
In other action, Councilman Dan McGuire moved to invest the Newburn Fund with First National Bank of North Platte.
Judy Pedersen seconded the motion and it was approved 5-3. Larry Campbell, Jim Carman and Tim Barrett voted no.
McGuire said First National offers the lowest management fee (0.67%) of four banks that applied, and they are local.
Carman said he wasn’t comfortable with plans that invest only 20 percent in safe and secure Certificates of Deposit and 80 percent in higher risk ventures. He said he would be friendlier toward the bank if the percentage of money in higher risk investments weren’t so large.
“I oppose it, simply because we shouldn’t risk any of it,” Carman said.
Campbell said he didn’t like the “eggs all in one basket” idea of the entire fund at one bank.
Barrett agreed with Carman’s outlook.
The Newburn Fund is a nearly $2.5 million bequest that is entirely dedicated to city parks.
The money is currently in certificates of deposit, which are yielding very low dividends. Two weeks ago, executive director Eric Seacrest of the Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation told the council that the fund be diversified, with $500,000 remaining in local bank CDs and accounts, $500,000 in stocks and real estate investment funds, and $1.5 million in cash equivalents, plus bonds.
In other action, the council:
• Adopted 8-0 on first reading Ordinance #3862 annexing a lot at the corner of Valley Vista and Echo Drive. Property owner Thomas Timmerman requested the annexation.
• Approved 8-0 the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the city of North Platte and the International Association of Firefighters Local #831-AFL-CIO. The agreement pays off-duty firefighters a minimum of two hours, at “time and a half,” if they are called to work, and the agreement allows firefighters to accumulate up to 120 hours of comp time instead of overtime pay.
The wage scale for firefighters was not changed.
Firefighters start at $12.29 an hour but are paid for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The base pay amounts to $34,944 a year. On the other end of the scale, the chief makes $26.03 an hour, or $75,800 a year.
• Approved 7-1 a two-year collective bargaining agreement with city workers, represented by Nebraska Public Employee’s Local 251.
Barrett cast the only no vote. Barrett said he still has a problem with the recent wage study of city employees around the state, and how wages are divided. He feels the scale is unfair to those in the middle of the scale.
• Also, the treasurer’s report was pulled from the agenda by Mayor Marc Kaschke. He said it is awaiting further audit figures.
Arts Center renovation
Also, the council approved the following items 8-0:
• A contract with Wayne Dowhower Construction for Creativity Unlimited Arts Council to install a new stairway and elevator at the Prairie Arts Center building – the historic 1913 Post Office at Fifth and Jeffers.
The cost of the improvements is $470,901.
Of the total, the city and the Creativity Unlimited Arts Council will use $300,000 in Community Development Block Grants. The city is simply the CDBG pass-through agent. The other $170,901 will be paid entirely through CUAC’s funding sources, according to council documents.
The agreement, which fulfills state and federal requirements, is 38 pages long.
• Marilyn McGahan to the city planning commission.
• A special designated liquor permit on from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. on Nov. 9, with an alternate date of Nov. 23, at Smoker Friendly/T&D Liquors, 825 S. Jeffers, for a product tasting.
• A special designated liquor permit from 4-10 p.m. on Nov. 8 for McFarland Family Farms/Mac’s Creek Winery of Lexington, at Quality Inn and Suites, for wine sampling/tasting.
This report was edited and clarified Wednesday morning. For more about Planned Parenthood, see this week's edition of the Bulletin's print paper. George Lauby contributed to this report.