Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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July 10, 2010

Sullivan’s Salvos 7/13/10

In this edition:

*Census Geek
*Solon Beef Days
*Iowa Book Festival
*Williams Prairie Hike
*Did You Know?

*Census Geek
I’ll admit it… I am a Census Geek. I love looking at data and trends, and trying to make sense of it all.

Here is a bit of data… then I’ll share a few thoughts.

Johnson County’s population through the years: 1960 = 53,000. 1970 = 72,000. 1980 = 81,000. 1990 = 96,000. 2000 = 111,000. 2010 = ~ 133,000.

Here are some other interesting stats: Johnson County grew by 18.1% this decade, compared to 2.8% for the rest of Iowa.

The average Johnson County home is valued at $132,000, compared to $82,000 statewide. The median income in Johnson County is $6,000 higher than the median for the state. About 4% of all retail sales in Iowa take place in Johnson County.

94% of Johnson County kids earn high school diplomas, compared to 86% statewide. 48% of Johnson County residents over age 25 have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, compared to 20% for Iowa as a whole.

Johnson County is younger, healthier and more diverse than almost every county in Iowa. We even have a lower than average commute time! (17 minutes in Johnson County compared to 19 as a statewide average.)

So, what are we to make of this information? I would interpret this as backing up my preconceived notion that Johnson County is a great place to live, work, and recreate!

There are plenty of naysayers out there. They aren’t too large in number, but they make a lot of noise. These folks will spend hours telling you how Johnson County is poorly managed and doing everything wrong.

So – where are their statistics? I can produce numbers (far more than the sampling here) that speak very well of Johnson County. We have much of which we should be proud! Are we perfect? Of course not. We can always improve. We simply need to realize that Johnson County is a very special place, and that is in part due to the efforts of many good folks.

Now get out there and enjoy this great county of ours!

*Solon Beef Days
The Grandaddy of all the small town festivals occurs this weekend in Solon, as the 39th annual Beef Days celebration hits town.

I never hesitate to mention that I was there at that first event; my dad was playing in the softball tournament and I went along to watch. I have not missed very many Beef Days over the years, either… and I’m proud of that!

There are many great events at Beef Days – here is one in particular. If you have never seen the Hay Bale Toss, check it out! It has become legendary in a very short time! But get there early Friday night – the place gets packed!

*Iowa Book Festival
As a member of the UNESCO City of Literature Board of Directors, I have enjoyed a front row seat from which to view the planning and organizing of the Iowa City Book Festival.

I think this event is going to assume a spot next to the Arts Fest and Jazz Fest as a must-do summer attraction. There are author events, films, food, games, and all sorts of interesting activities. Be sure to get your City of Literature passport filled on Sunday to become eligible for great prizes!

The Iowa City Book Festival runs Friday through Sunday at Gibson Park next to the Main UI Library, though some events occur all over town.

There are lots of events associated with this growing festival! Please check out all the offerings at:

*Williams Prairie Hike
The State of Iowa was once a vast sea of tall grasses and beautifully colored flowers. Today, these magnificent views are rarely seen outside prairie remnants or in restored prairies that Iowans have planted. The 21-acre Williams Prairie is one of these botanical jewels. Home to over 320 species of vascular plants and eight bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) this jewel is well known for its botanical diversity.

Join Johnson County Conservation Board Vegetation Specialist Dave Wehde and Naturalist Brad Freidhof on Thursday, July 15th at 6:30 p.m. as they explore this beautiful natural area.

Participants should meet at the Williams Prairie just prior to 6:30 p.m. dressed in long pants and prepared to walk through the prairie. Boots are recommended as Williams Prairie is likely to be wet from recent rainfall events and the hydrology of the site. Bug repellent and a water bottle are recommended as well.

Williams Prairie is located north of Oxford. From the State Highway 109 and Highway 6 intersection go north on Old Highway (F28) for about .7 mile. Bear right onto Cemetary Road NW for about .8 mile. Turn left (west) onto Grabin Road NW. Proceed another 1.1 miles to Black Hawk Avenue NW and turn right (north). The entrance to the Williams Prairie will be on your right hand side (east).

For more information about this or other JCCB sponsored events, please contact the Johnson County Conservation Department office at 645-2315 or 645-1011. You can also contact Brad Freidhof by e-mail at

*DID YOU KNOW? Iowa has approximately 1/100 of the US population. (~3 million out of ~307 million.)

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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