Monday, February 20, 2006
AUTISM PREVENTION BILL KILLED,
ANOTHER GO BIG ED HALL-OF-FAMER NAMED,
AND HOW TO FINISH 1st OR 2nd IN A SPELLING BEE
The Legislature’s Health Committee killed LB 790 last week. It was a blow to all those who are convinced that Thimerosal, the mercury-containing additive in childhood vaccines, is behind the atrocious and horrendously expensive increase in autism and other developmental delays, learning disabilities and behavioral disorders with which our schools are trying to cope. The bill would have banned it. Seven states have already done so, and similar bills are pending in 25 more states.
At the hearing, Sen. Joel Johnson of Kearney reportedly trashed the credibility of the people who came to Lincoln to testify for the bill, or wrote in support of it, including Rep. Tom Osborne and Sen. Chuck Hagel. Johnson reportedly said that, while he respects them, they aren’t M.D.’s . . . the implication being, so what do they know?
Interestingly, our neighbor Missouri recently banned Thimerosal, and there are seven doctors on the legislative health committee in Jeff City, LB 790 proponents told Go Big Ed.
Proponents gave the Unicam’s health committee two-inch files of background with statistics such as autism’s explosive increase correlating to the increase in childhood vaccinations: one child out of 10,000 had autism 20 years ago, but now the ratio is 1/166.
Former Nebraskan Linda Weinmaster, who helped prepare for the hearing, said those in attendance felt that Sen. Johnson “bullied” the other senators, except for sponsor Arnie Stuthman, into killing the measure. “It’s very disappointing that they did not take the time to look at the science and instead took the word of the agencies that are conflicted by, and profit from, vaccinations.”
But for reasons closer to home, this may get itchy for Sen. Johnson. He has provoked some rather distinguished and powerful Nebraskans, including Sen. Hagel, and Congressmen Tom Osborne, Lee Terry and Jeff Fortenberry, who all supported the bill.
One of the people who testified for LB 790, whose opinion was negated by Sen. Johnson because he’s not a doctor and can’t POSSIBLY understand complex subjects, was Robert Julian, a retired executive from Peter Kiewit Inc. in Omaha, one of the most generous philanthropists in the state.
He is past chairman of the Hastings College Foundation, a member of its Board of Trustees, and past chairman of its investment committee. He has received the college’s highest honor, the “Pro Rege Society.” He also has been a mainstay on the board of Childrens Hospital in Omaha, which knows a little something about children’s health issues.
Sigh. Back to the drawing board, I guess.
JOINS GO BIG ED HALL OF FAME
FOR AUTISM ADVOCACY
Another distinguished Nebraskan who supported LB 790, Gail Werner-Robertson, has been named to the Go Big Ed Hall of Fame. She is honored for raising $700,000 to help the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s autism efforts at its Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders. She has organized an annual benefit dinner and golf tournament; this year’s event is scheduled for June 3-5.
Ms. Werner-Robertson, whose family owns the Werner Enterprises trucking firm, holds a law degree from Creighton University, serves on Creighton’s Board of Directors, and is one of the nation’s most important wealth managers through the company she founded, GWR Wealth Management LLC.
She also has two sons with autism.
HOW TO FINISH 1st OR 2nd
IN YOUR COUNTY’S SPELLING BEE
Two handsome eighth-grade lads were pictured in an online newspaper for taking first and second in the McPherson County Spelling Bee. What makes it delicious is that they’re the ONLY two eighth-graders in McPherson County. Congratulations, boys, and many thanks to the good people out there who organized and staffed this event. We all know that spelling bees are important, even if there aren’t that many “bees” in the hive:
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