Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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June 20, 2009

Sullivan’s Salvos 6/16/09

It has been a rough week for me, as I lost my maternal grandmother on Wednesday. Granny was my caregiver when I was young, and I was blessed to have her as a huge part of my life.

Julia Jack spent over 93 years on the family farm, only recently moving to the Solon Care Center. She was a caring, intelligent, fun-loving woman who was a proud farmer and an environmentalist since before the word had been coined. She was the kind of grandmother that drives parents crazy, spoiling her grandkids.

She left me many gifts – an enthusiasm for learning, a fascination with history, a love of nature, some basic cooking skills, an interest in gardening, a devotion to public radio, and a pretty decent sense of right and wrong. I owe her more than I can ever repay, and love her more than I can ever express. Rest in peace, Gran.

The annual Iowa City Pride Festival will be held Saturday, June 20th. There has never been more to celebrate, so join in the fun! The parade is at noon on Saturday the 20th; see the Connections website fore more info:

IBEW Local 1634 is holding its 10th annual fishing tournament at 7 AM on June 27 at Sandy Beach. The event includes cash prizes in 7 different categories, lunch, door prizes, drawings, and an all around good time!

Tickets are $10, and can be purchased from Local 1634. Please call 319-295-1034 for more information.

I have always found it interesting that Iowa City has preconceived Neighborhood Associations. I understand that there are physical features (rivers, highways, etc.) that tend to create very real boundaries. Yet it seems fundamental to me that neighborhoods must define themselves.

For example - according to Iowa City, my neighborhood is defined by Lemme School, which is about eight tenths of a mile away. Yet I live less than one block from Hoover Elementary, where all my kids have gone to school. The community spaces we use are parts of Hoover and City High. When my neighbors and I speak of ”neighborhood”, we are more likely to extend the boundaries eight tenths to the north (Regina), south (Hy-Vee), or west (toward downtown). No one in what we define as our “neighborhood” participates in the City’s preconceived Neighborhood Association.

Things were much different when I was growing up on the farm. No one tried to define our neighborhood but us. We defined our rural “neighborhood” as anyone within a few miles any direction. The definition included residents of three counties. A shared rural lifestyle was just as important as a shared geography.

Folks involved in the controversial road projects that were proposed for Prairie DuChein and Newport Roads reported that they came out of the ordeal with a much stronger sense of their own neighborhoods. I am hearing similar reports from friends who were flood victims.

The way in which we define our neighborhoods is central to several current hot button topics.

The controversies over school district boundaries are partly about neighborhoods. Newer neighborhoods feel as though they are not given the same deference as those that are more established. (And some cynics might add, wealthier.) Controversies over Roosevelt elementary, Idylwild, the location of the new Shelter House, downtown drinking, the Sutliff Bridge, historic districts, and perceptions regarding crime and safety are all neighborhood related.

I would argue that neighborhood boundaries are mostly invisible, and change periodically based upon the people involved. I feel this is the key to dealing with neighborhood issues – respecting the connections that exist.

DID YOU KNOW? Johnson County residents are 85% Caucasian, 5% Asian, 5% African American, 4% Hispanic, and 1% other. (Source: US Census Bureau.)

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.

These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned.

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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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