Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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November 5, 2011

Sullivan’s Salvos 11/8/11

In this edition:

*Happy Birthday, Rachel!
*Election Day
*Veteran’s Day
*Support the Troops – End the War!
*Agricultural vs. Commercial
*Congratulations Lori Brooks!
*Did You Know?

*Happy Birthday, Rachel!
Happy Birthday to my daughter Rachel, who turned 20 on November 6. Rachel is a 2010 graduate of City High, and is now in the US Army, currently stationed at Fort Lee, Virginia.

Happy Birthday, Honey! I love you!

*Election Day
Today is Election Day. Vote!

*Veteran’s Day
Happy Veteran’s Day on November 11. My thanks to all the men and women who have served our country. I appreciate your service, and wish you peace.

If you are looking for a way to mark Veteran’s Day, the Veterans For Peace Chapter #161 is sponsoring an Armistice Day Observance to be held on Friday, November 11th at the Clinton St. entrance to Old Capitol. The observance will begin @ 10:30AM, and bells will be rung @ 11:00 AM, as they were rung around the world at the end of WWI in 1918 and on each November 11th for decades thereafter.

Armistice Day is a day to promote peace and to remember the victims of war, both veterans and civilians. The entire community is welcome. Co-sponsored by Iowa NEA Peace & Justice Caucus, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and PEACE Iowa. Celebrate and recapture peace on 11/11/11/11!

*Support the Troops - End the War!
I have had this sign up since 2002. Nine years. It looks as though the reason I put it up – the Iraq War – is almost over.

Unfortunately, I cannot see taking the sign down yet. I see no clear vision for an end to the war in Afghanistan. Bin Laden is dead. Al-Qaeda is but a couple thousand people, spread across the globe. Neither Afghanistan nor any other part of the world is safer because of our presence there. Being in Afghanistan simply costs too much in both money and lives.

The sign has been vandalized a couple times, and blown away once. Another just plain wore out. My friend Ed Flaherty is always kind enough to come up with a replacement. I hope this is the last such sign I’ll ever need.

*Agricultural Versus Commercial
The Board recently had a very interesting discussion that could have far-reaching implications. The changing nature of agriculture is leaving some of our zoning rules wanting.

Agriculture is changing. While corn, soybeans, and hogs still rule the rural landscape, we are seeing many different types of agriculture right here in Johnson County.

Look at orchards and wineries, for example. Growing fruit is most certainly agriculture. But what about the processing of that fruit? Can you process only what you grow, or can you process for other growers? What about tasting parties? What about receptions of 500 people? What about selling things you did not grow? Should their buildings be inspected? Should they be taxed at a commercial rate? How many trees make an orchard? How many vines add up to a vineyard? These are but a few of the many unanswered questions.

We also currently require that a landowner have over 40 contiguous acres in order to be considered a farm. This angers both Amish and small organic farmers, who many times do not need and cannot afford 40 acres. Problem is, if you lower that number, the developers are lurking! Careful, or we will have a county full of 10 acre lawns where farms used to be, which is undoubtedly the worst possible environmental outcome. We must preserve farmland, and changing the definition of a “farm” to a smaller acreage will have the opposite effect.

Perhaps the most radical change is that city folk are now going out to the farm to get their food. For thousands of years, human beings have been taking food from the farms to the urban centers. Now many urban folks are reversing that process.

Obviously, this change has impacts. More people now drive gravel roads. Farmers need to provide parking, and perhaps restrooms. Farmers want big signs, which are now prohibited. All these changes can create conflicts with both rural residents and “traditional” monoculture farming.

It is safe to say that Johnson County has a lot of work ahead in trying to balance the wants and needs of conventional versus “new” agriculture. Please let me know if you have any thoughts to share!

*Congratulations Lori Brooks!
Congratulations to Lori Brooks on her upcoming retirement. Lori began her career with Johnson County Ambulance on February 1, 1988. In her 23 years she has responded to over 6800 calls for service.

Lori began working for Johnson County Ambulance when emergency responders were virtually all male, and has been a real trailblazer. She will also be the first paramedic to officially retire from the service. Congrats, Lori!

*DID YOU KNOW? Croatia was the first country to recognize the United States in 1776.

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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