Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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December 26, 2014

Sullivan’s Salvos     12/30/14

In this edition:

*Happy New Year!
*RIP Don Saxton
*No Room At The Inn?
*Salvos Salutes!
*Did You Know?

*Happy New Year!
         Happy New Year to all Salvos readers! I hope you and your loved ones enjoy a wonderful 2015!

*RIP Don Saxton
         Former Oxford Mayor Don Saxton recently passed away after a sudden illness.

         Don was honored with a Salvos Salute in 2013, at which time I wrote the following:

         Four generations of Oxford residents know Don as Mr. Mayor. He did it all – from stray dogs to natural disasters and everything in between. No Mayor volunteered more time on Boards and Commissions. Don decided to hang it up after 44 years, and he leaves a small city as well managed as any in the County.

         Don Saxton was truly a wonderful man. My condolences to his family and friends.

*No Room At The Inn?
This past Tuesday Johnson County voted 5-0 to approve $16,000 toward the new Shelter House-led effort to create a temporary "wet shelter" in Iowa City.

I am very proud of this long-overdue effort. We have needed such a space for decades. Now we need to ensure the long-term existence of such a shelter into the future.

While I certainly recognize that not all who read this are Christians, I cannot help but find a parallel between those objecting to this shelter and the folks who told Joseph and Mary there was no room at the inn.

"That which you do to the least among us, you do to me. " - Matthew 25.

*Salvos Salutes!
2014 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 ninth 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!

* The focus is on Johnson County. It is certainly worth noting the heroism of someone like Malala Yousafzai, or Ebola healthcare providers. But we have everyday heroes right here in Johnson County that deserve a shout out.

* 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.

* 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 2014 Salvos Salutes go to:

Karla Miller: The retired Director of the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP), Karla has spent a lifetime serving victims. Her calm demeanor can fool you; Karla is a fierce advocate! Public understanding of rape has come a long way since the 1980s, and while we have a long way to go, pioneers like Karla have led the change.

Robin Hepker: Look at the brochures, logos, and other materials for any local nonprofit. Odds are good the work was done at no or low cost by Robyn Hepker. As the principal in an award-winning local design firm, Robyn could earn a lot more for her valuable time. But she chooses to donate this huge amount of work because she cares deeply about our community.

Joyce Berg: Johnson County has a magnificent partnership with the UI Tippe College of Business that enlists students as volunteers to do taxes for low-income residents. The program brings over $1.5 million to our poorest residents each year, but it would not happen without the commitment of Joyce Berg. Each year obstacles crop up, and each year Joyce sees to it that those obstacles are overcome.

Bob Downer: Iowa City attorney Bob Downer achieves the rarest of honors, earning his second Salvos Salute. This award is specifically for Bob’s work on the Iowa Board of Regents. In an environment that has become very reactive, Bob continues to advocate for calm, well-reasoned, data driven decisions. The next couple decades of the UI are at stake, and we need leaders to get us through the storm! We are very fortunate to have Bob on the Board at this time!

Royceann Porter: A black kid got in trouble at West High? Call Royceann. A black woman had a problem with a store in Coralville? Call Royceann. No matter the issue, Royceann Porter has become the “go-to” person for the local African American community. The community is too large and diverse to have a single spokesperson, but Royceann is widely respected as a problem solver. Understand – this is a tremendous weight to place on one woman’s shoulders! But Royceann has proven herself to be up to the task.

Tracy Mulcahey: North Liberty is bursting at the seams with children, many of whom are poor and lack transportation. As people fretted over how these kids would spend the summer, Assistant City Manager Tracy Mulcahey simply took the bull by the horns and created a free summer lunch program. At virtually zero cost to local taxpayers, hundreds of meals got served. And Tracy did it all, from securing donations to cooking chicken to washing dishes.

Ginny Naso: After retiring from United Action for Youth (UAY) after many years, Scoop should have some time on her hands. My guess is that she spends much of it the same way she always has - advocating for children in need. Thanks for all your good work, Ginny!

Chris Buresh: UIHC Physician and Coralville resident Chris Buresh cofounded Community Health Initiatives (CHI) Haiti, and has led dozens of trips to the country. Dr. Buresh combines public health best practices with dogged determination to accomplish amazing things. Even more importantly, he leads CHI with deep respect and compassion for the Haitian people. This is NOT “charity” as you know it; this is an organization actually empowering the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere. Chris – there are no words. You, sir, are a true hero!

Warren McKenna: Where would you find THE leader in solar energy in the Midwest? Look no farther than Farmers Rural Electric Coop in Frytown, Iowa! General Manager Warren McKenna has added Iowa’s largest solar array to go with all kinds of wind and conservation efforts. We have seen the future of energy, and it is in Frytown!

Amy Nielsen: The former Mayor of North Liberty insulted Amy by telling her she was “completely unqualified” to serve on the City Council. So she ran for Mayor and beat him. North Liberty is full of young families, who now have a voice on the city council. And make no mistake – Amy is not only qualified; she is good!

Chris Taylor: Another new Mayor, the young Mr. Taylor took the reigns in Swisher after both the Mayor and Clerk resigned. Chris stepped in and righted the ship, and never looked back. He has demonstrated a sharp mind and a caring heart, and it appears Swisher is in good hands for years to come.

Sally Scott: There is greater momentum for affordable housing than at any time in my memory, and much of the credit for this is due to Sally Scott. She led the charge in creating the Affordable Homes Coalition, which is appropriately asking elected officials to step up in our most critical area of need. A calm and thoughtful leader, I expect big things in the future from Ms. Scott!

John Etheredge: See last week’s Salvos for a longer write up on my friend and colleague John.

Tom Larkin: While Senator Harkin has rightfully received many accolades for his years of service, kudos are also due to his loyal staff person Tom Larkin. Coralville resident Larkin has been the local face of the Senator for years, assisting Johnson County residents with federal issues. Tom is a great guy, and he will be missed!

BJ Sullivan: This one is my favorite ever! Like every high school senior, his relationship with his Dad can be strained at times. No time for family dinners, lots of eye rolling – you know the drill. But BJ has had to overcome a lot in a short life – more than most of us can even dream about. He is a survivor and a champion. And when I see my son in the community - working multiple jobs, standing up for the rights of others, volunteering at local nonprofits, organizing fundraisers, taking mission trips, working with elementary students, caring for senior citizens…damn, I’m proud! I love you, BJ! Now clean your room!

Congratulations to all our winners! I look forward to all the great things you’ll accomplish in 2015!

*DID YOU KNOW?  117 individuals/groups have received a Salvos Salute since they were started in 2006.

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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