Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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December 27, 2009

Sullivan’s Salvos 12/29/09

Happy New Year! 2009 was a tough year for many of us. For me personally, it was one of the most difficult years I have ever endured. It feels good to be able to turn the page. I hope 2010 is a great year for you and yours!

2009 is coming to a close, and it is time for honoring a few select Johnson County residents with that most treasured of honors, the Salvos Salute. A few observations:

* This is the fifth annual set of awards, and there are always more people who deserve awards than there are awards to give. We live in a great County!

* There are some people out there that could win every year. I am trying to honor different folks, but repeat winners are not out of the question. As a matter of fact, 2009 sees our second-ever repeat winners!

* Salvos Salutes do not have specific criteria, but you can bet that in general, most of the winners are courageous, advocate for peace and justice, have good ideas, speak truth to power, avoid hypocrisy, and look out for the less fortunate.

Without further adieu, your 2009 Salvos Salutes go to:

*Jen and Dawn Barborouske: This Iowa City couple challenged Iowa’s marriage laws, and the Iowa Supreme Court agreed. Let us be clear – Civil Rights should NEVER be subject to the whims of the majority! These two plaintiffs and their children will forever be heroes to me!

*Jim Dane, Johnson County Farm Bureau: An all-around great guy who is often asked to serve whenever the Ag community gets a seat at the table. Unfailingly fair and decent, Jim represents local farmers extremely well.

*Helen Lemley, Lone Tree Farmer’s Market: Councilor Lemley has done a bang up job of infusing some energy and enthusiasm into Lone Tree’s Farmer’s Market. A little creativity has generated outstanding results. Our small towns need this type of thing.

*Laura Hoover, Friends of Jefferson-Monroe Public Library: The people of Swisher and Shueyville deserve a public library. After 10 years of hard work by local volunteers, the library is a reality! There are plenty of kudos to go around, but no volunteer deserves more credit than Laura Hoover.

*Paul Deaton, Johnson County Board of Health: Fine particulate matter, secondhand smoke, binge drinking, sexually transmitted diseases, groundwater contamination… there are several controversial issues in Public Health. Johnson County never backs down from these and other challenges, primarily because of the leadership of the Chair of the Board of Health.

*Doug & Lori Lindner, Solon Economist & North Liberty Leader: According to the Gazette and Press Citizen, it is impossible to fully cover local news. Newspapers are dying, and there is nothing anyone can do to fix it. Pick up a copy of the Solon Economist or North Liberty Leader, and you will immediately see that the other papers are wrong. Doug & Lori and their small staff do it all. Nobody covers local news better… nobody!

*Consultation of Religious Communities: This ecumenical group has done many good things in our community, most notably organizing and staffing the homeless shelter overflow for the past 5 years. These folks live their faiths!

*Larry Meyers, late of the Board of Supervisors: What a brave man! I wish I were half the person my late colleague was. Larry was a great guy, and I miss him. Rest in Peace, Larry.

*Joan Vandenberg, Iowa City Community School District: The ICCSD serves many kids who face tremendous challenges. It is Joan’s job to marshal whatever resources are available, and help these kids to succeed. It is NOT easy, and Joan is a true champion for kids who often have no one else in their corner.

*Le Ann Tyson: Le Ann is a local realtor who has dedicated her life to helping honor our military veterans. LeAnn has spearheaded several local proceedings, including Wreaths Across America and several other events. Our vets have a true champion in Le Ann!

*SuEllen Novotny, Visiting Nurses Association: the VNA has a challenging mission, serving the ill and disabled in our county. For-profit home health companies skim off all the well-insured patients, leaving the poor and underinsured to the VNA. SuEllen has embraced this challenge, and VNA continues providing necessary care to our most vulnerable citizens.

*Steve Semken, Ice Cube Press in North Liberty: There isn’t much left that is truly “local”. But we are blessed with a fantastic local book publisher in Steve Semken. Ice Cube Press in North Liberty publishes many books about Iowa and/or by Iowa authors; everything they do is first class.

If you think I missed someone, please let me know. I want to know about all the great things residents of Johnson County are doing. Perhaps you will alert me to a future winner!

We live in a great county! Thanks to all the award winners for doing so much to make that so!

Government is GOOD! How do I know? Because of volunteer Boards and Commissions. Volunteer citizens assist local governments in providing direction for Veteran’s Affairs, Conservation, Public Health, Planning and Zoning, Social Services, MH/DS, and SEATS are just a few of the County Departments who rely on volunteers for direction.

Citizen involvement - brought to you by your GOVERNMENT!

DID YOU KNOW? Ancient Greeks started the tradition of using a baby to signify the New Year around 600 B.C. They would carry a baby around in a basket to honor Dionysus (the God of Fertility) and symbolize his annual rebirth.

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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