Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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October 8, 2015

Sullivan’s Salvos     10/13/15

In this edition:

*RIP Art Small
*Congratulations, Val!
*Domestic Violence Awareness Month
*A Mink In My Yard!
*Community Rights Workshop
*Did You Know?

*RIP Art Small
         Johnson County lost a true giant recently with the passing of my friend Art Small. (It is difficult to avoid the “size” puns here – but if you knew Art, you’d know that is just fine. Remember – he came up with “Think Big. Vote Small!”)

         Art Small represented Johnson County in the Iowa Legislature from 1970-1986. He was a progressive stalwart, and a fierce advocate for the U of I.

Art was a brilliant man with a fantastic sense of humor. I got to know Art and Mary Jo quite well in the 1990s, and they were kind enough to share their vast knowledge and experience with an upstart young politico.

         Art also deserves our thanks for coming out of retirement to run for the US Senate against Chuck Grassley in 2004. While Art got waxed in a poor year for Democrats, he fought the good fight and raised many important issues on the campaign trail.

         What I found most interesting about that campaign was the relationship between Art and Senator Grassley. Apparently, they ate lunch together almost every day when both served in the Iowa Legislature. Art often referred to good times the two had shared in the past. It was striking to see how Grassley dealt with it. More than once, I saw/heard him say something to the effect of, “It just isn’t like that anymore, Art.” Grassley looked really sad. You could see that both men longed for a past that was more civil, more bipartisan, and more fun.

         As I remember Art, it is that sense of humor that stands out. Art never took himself or anything else too seriously. He lived a fun-filled life, and brought great joy to all who knew him. RIP, Art Small.

*Congratulations, Val!
         Valerie Kemp is retiring this week from the Department of Corrections. Val does this job extremely well – so well, in fact, that a couple of years ago, she was named the National Corrections Officer of the Year.

         So yes, she is excellent at her job. But that just doesn’t sum up the impact she has had on myself and many others.

         Most people in Johnson County share a pretty similar worldview. We want to live in a safe community, where everyone is healthy, successful, happy, and treated fairly. Who can argue with that?

         Thing is, achieving such a community takes work. Lots of work. People have to do their parts, and they have to call out injustice when they see it. That requires a certain courage most folks lack.

         Valerie Kemp does not lack courage. She has always challenged me to do more and to do better. She has been fair but firm. She has held me accountable to the things I say I believe.

         So she talks it. More importantly, she walks it.

         Working hard. Going above and beyond. Volunteering. Showing up when needed. She has absolutely walked the walk. Valerie Kemp has always been a person that inspires me with her work.

         I guess I’ll just have to sum it up by saying Valerie Kemp is a hero. An honest-to-gosh hero in our midst. Unsung, but a hero. I honor her, and I wish her all the best in her retirement.

*Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and I want to take this opportunity to share some statistics with you.

The Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) has been serving Johnson County since 1979. Services include emergency shelter, 24-hour crisis line, support and advocacy services, youth services, and community education. DVIP served 1,933 people in FY15, including 133 children. 1,217 were Johnson County residents.

The State of Iowa mandated some consolidations two years ago, and DVIP now serves 8 counties for most services, and 13 counties with their 24 hour crisis line. Johnson County sources make up about 25% of DVIP’s funding, but 60% of their clients come from Johnson County. They serve about 350 individuals in the shelter each year; 80% of them are Johnson County residents. Another 60 or so people annually are served through contracts with hotels. The average shelter stay is about 45 days.

There are many events scheduled for October; to see the whole list and/or to learn more about the Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DVIP), visit

*A Mink In My Yard!
         On the morning of September 30, I looked out into my backyard, and I saw the craziest thing – a dark reddish creature about a foot long, with a foot long tail. Snub-nosed, and very muscular, I first thought it was a cat. But upon closer inspection, I realized it was a weasel-type animal!

         I was only 30 feet away, so I got a very good look. After checking with Brad Friedhoff at Johnson County Conservation and spending some time on an internet search, I believe the creature I saw was a mink!

         I am always amazed by the amount of wildlife that strays through our yard - deer, coon, possums, rabbits, squirrels, and more birds than I could ever count. Yet we are very much in the east central part of Iowa City. We do have a creek that runs through our yard; I think this serves as a wildlife corridor.

         I spent a lot of time in the woods and in the creeks as a kid, and I’ve seen all kinds of critters. But I don’t believe I have ever seen a mink in the wild – until now!

         There is so much habitat loss nowadays; that is likely what pushes these animals into my yard. But it is great to see them adapting!

*Community Rights Workshop
The 100grannies are sponsoring a “Community Rights Workshop” with national leader Paul Cienfuegos, Saturday, Oct. 17, Coralville Public Library, Schwab Auditorium.

You will learn:
· Why counties and communities can’t keep out harmful activities like Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), pipelines, and big box stores. PLUS: The dirty secret about regulatory agencies.

· Why corporations are "people," with more rights than human beings and nature is an exploited commodity.

· Find out how we can change the system so that community rights take precedence over corporate rights, and future generations and the rights of nature can be protected.

· How 200 communities in nine states have already passed legally binding, locally enforceable laws that ban harmful corporate activities and rein in the "rights" of corporations; and we can do it too!

Registration: 8:45 a.m. Program: 9:00 till noon. Admission is free.

“We the People Are More Powerful Than We Dare Believe”

See video at

*DID YOU KNOW?  When asked about the biggest challenges their clients face, the DVIP staff responded with affordable housing, transportation, and access to mental health care.

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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