Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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July 24, 2010

Sullivan’s Salvos 7/27/10

In this edition:

*Johnson County Fair
*UI and the Jail
*GIS Award
*Jesus the Socialist?
*Love at the County Fair
*Did You Know?

*Johnson County Fair
The Johnson County Fair runs July 26-29 at the Fairgrounds just south of Iowa City on Oak Crest Hill Road SE (aka “Old 218”). Actually, the Fair ends Friday with the sales… but most folks never see that side of things.

I love the Johnson County Fair. Sure, I am biased… I am a member of the Johnson County Ag Association. But compared to our peer counties, these folks do a great job!

For starters, we offer free parking and free admission! It does not get any better than that! Many county fairs have sold their souls to attract big country music acts; now they charge $5 to park, $10 to get in, and still more for concert tickets. Basically, their county fairs have become unaffordable for many families.

The Johnson County Fair also remains an alcohol-free event. This, too, adds to the family-friendliness.

You will find a bit of everything at the fair. Check out the 4H projects and exhibits in Montgomery Hall. There is always remarkable art, photography, woodworking, crafts, and more.

It would not be the fair without exploring the livestock exhibits. I am always amazed by the care our 4H kids demonstrate.

I enjoy seeing the latest in farm equipment and implements, learning new gardening tips, and visiting with local artisans and craftspeople. The contests are fun, and the entertainment is a pleasure.

You can visit with people from County government, and talk with locals about the issues of the day. And then there is the food. Gotta eat the food!

The fair is Americana. Garrison Keillor could not make it up. It is real, it is wonderful, and it is in our backyard.

For schedules and full details on the 2010 Johnson County Fair, see:

*UI and the Jail
I was frustrated to learn of the recent UI offer to buy Sabin School from the ICCSD.

It is not so much that Johnson County needs the Sabin building; we have pretty much decided to go a different direction. But there are three primary things that get under my skin:

First, I was one of 5 county officials who met with UI officials in November of 2009. At that meeting, the UI folks said they would let us know before they attempted to acquire any property south of Burlington Street. Instead, we had to read about it in the paper. That is not what we were promised.

Secondly, the UI is certainly a contributor to jail overcrowding. Granted, studies have shown that the impact of hosting drunken UI students overnight is overrated. UI students are not the root cause of the overcrowding. But do they contribute? Hell yes, they contribute! The UI ought to be doing more to help Johnson County solve this problem - it is their problem, too!

Finally, it is worth reminding everyone exactly WHY it is so difficult to expand the current jail. The UI owns the land that surrounds the jail on three sides. If they would sell just an area roughly 300’ by 60’, 18,000 square feet total, less than half an acre, the current jail could be expanded to meet our needs. The UI would still own virtually the whole city block. If the UI would cooperate, just a tiny bit, Johnson County would already have an expanded jail.

I wish the UI was more interested in cooperating with Johnson County on this important matter of public safety.

*GIS Award
Johnson County won a great honor a couple weeks ago when awarded the Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) award at the ESRI International User Conference in San Diego, CA.

We had 3 employees attend the conference. Jim Harken (GIS Project Specialist), Josh Busard (Assistant Planner), and RJ Moore (Asst Zoning Administrator).

Johnson County is one of 150 organizations out of approximately 300,000 (one out of 2,000) selected to receive this award. The success of our GIS program is the result of inter-departmental cooperation and hard work. Congrats to all involved!

*Jesus the Socialist?
I recently heard a right-wing talk show personality state that “anyone who believes in the redistribution of wealth is a socialist.”

Now, I do not personally fear being called a socialist. But then I started thinking about the most well known advocate of redistributing the wealth.

If socialism is good enough for Jesus, I guess it is good enough for me!

*Love at the County Fair
Everything’s special about LOVE AT THE COUNTY FAIR, a play involving several love stories, on stage in the Iowa City area July 30 and 31.

A troupe of students and others, with and without special needs, will perform this original stage play. It is written and directed by Janet Schlapkohl, an Iowa City Schools theater director and founder of the Combined Efforts Theater.
True to the county fair theme, the play will be performed in a tent at the Country Camp Farm the weekend following the Johnson County Fair – complete with lemonade, hot dogs and cotton candy.

This is the second summer season for the Combined Efforts group, and follows eight years of presentations during the school year. In addition to producing a show, this non-profit theater program has the unique goal of bringing together talented performers and backstage crew of all ages with and without special needs. All participants seek the joy and challenge that theatre performance provides in the creative spirit of collaborative effort.

Dates and times: July 30 and 31 at 6:00 p.m. Location: 3418 Osage Street SW Iowa City. Reservations: Call 319-354-3369 and leave a message. Tickets: $5.00 adults, $3.00 students, children under five are free. (Tickets available at the door.)

*DID YOU KNOW? The Johnson County Community Health Needs Assessment is now available on the County website.

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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