Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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September 28, 2008

Sullivan’s Salvos 9/16/08

We have apples! Seriously, the tree in our yard (and the one in our neighbors’ that spills into our yard) are bursting at the seams.

I hate to admit this, but I’m not positive exactly what variety we have here. I know it is a crossbreed. This variety does not get to be a deep red, but rather a red-pink-green mix that really makes each fruit an individual.

Since we do not spray, these apples aren’t as attractive as the ones you’ll find in the store, but I have not found any bugs. Most importantly, I know that they are good to eat as is, excellent as applesauce, and PERFECT for pies!

I simply hate to see all this good food go to waste, but there is no way our family has the time to harvest everything we have. So please – if you want apples – come get some.

Just reply to this E-mail or give me a call at 354-7199 and we will arrange a time when you can pick a few. You are free to use my picker and my ladder, but bring your own buckets or bags.

I ride my bike to work when my schedule permits. The route I take cuts through part of the Hoover Elementary attendance area, and runs the length of the Longfellow Elementary attendance area. Some of the really pleasant things I see as I ride are the large numbers of Hoover and Longfellow kids walking to school.

If you look at Census Bureau statistics on commutes, you’ll see that far fewer children walk and/or bike to school these days. Some of this is poor urban planning. Some is a lack of affordable housing near schools in some places. Some is poor school planning. Some is overprotective and/or overindulgent parents. Whatever the causes, I worry about this trend.

The walk to school is good exercise. It connects a child to her community. It facilitates interaction with other children. Children build confidence and real world skills.

It is a small but important ritual. I realize it cannot work for everyone, but I applaud those families whose children walk to school.

Johnson County recently received a Jail/Courthouse Site Suitability Study from Durrant Incorporated. This document looks at 4 potential jail sites, and weighs the pros and cons of each.

In addition, we recently discussed the option of sharing a jail with Linn County. (To some degree, that is what we have been doing for 8 or 9 years.) It appears that such an arrangement might be more costly than separate facilities. Interested parties will continue to research the feasibility of this type of agreement, but it does not look promising. Ironically, if we had the mass transit between the two counties that we ought to have, sharing agreements such as this would be more workable.

As I have said all along, costs really matter here. Costs always matter, of course. But costs matter particularly in this case. Not only because the projected costs ($60-80 million) would make such a project the most expensive in the history of Johnson County government, but because to most folks, the jail and the courthouse are simply expenses. Most Johnson County residents use neither building. Say all you want about the efficacy of maintaining the institutions of a civil society, but it is difficult to get people to pay for something they do not use. It is even harder to ask them to spend money on people for whom they probably do not have much sympathy.

The Board is now reaching the point where we need to gather a great deal of input from the public. In order to help facilitate this, Durrant will be holding public meetings throughout Johnson County. The first public meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 17 from 10-12 at the Coralville Public Library. The second will be held on Tuesday, September 23 from 5:30-7:00 at the North Liberty Recreation Center. The third public meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 8 from 5:30-7:00 at the Iowa City Public Library.

In addition, you can review the study online at the Johnson County website (, and offer your comments there. And, as always, feel free to contact me to share your thoughts.

I want to thank one of my colleagues for taking what I see as a very positive initiative. Supervisor Terrence Neuzil approached me the other day, suggesting that the three Democratic nominees for Johnson County Supervisor (Pat Harney, Terrence, and myself) do no campaigning between now and Election Day.

Terrence’s reasoning is as follows: the three Democratic nominees are unopposed. So raising money, putting up yard signs, etc. just wastes time and energy that could be otherwise directed toward electing Barack Obama and reelecting Tom Harkin and Dave Loebsack.

I could not agree more. Frankly, I have been so busy just doing the job that I haven’t given a lot of thought to campaigning. Other than marching in parades, I haven’t done much.

So Terrence and I will not be bothering you this fall! (I have not spoken to Pat, but my guess is he will be on board as well.) Rest assured, however – I’ll be working hard on other campaigns! I urge you to do the same!

DID YOU KNOW? 7.24 million acres are burnt by wildfires every year in the US, double the average of the 1990s. Most scientists blame global climate change for much of the increase. (Source:

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

"Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents.

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As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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