Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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December 25, 2015

Sullivan’s Salvos     12/29/15

In this edition:

*Happy New Year!
*No Salvos Next Week!
*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 2016!

*No Salvos Next Week!
         There will be no Salvos next week, as I am pursuing a life long dream – watching the Hawkeyes play in the Rose Bowl! I simply cannot tell you how excited I am! Pasadena or bust!

Salvos will resume with an edition dated 1-12-16, which should arrive in your inboxes a few days before that date.

*Salvos Salutes!
2015 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 tenth 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 daily heroism of someone like our firefighters, police, and paramedics. There are also examples that garner international attention. 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 2015 Salvos Salutes go to:

Kirk Ferentz: The Salute is not about the 12-0 start or the Rose Bowl birth. It is about the willingness to take an honest look at what he is doing, listen to his critics, and make positive changes. That is a great example from which we can all learn.

Tom Jacobs: After several decades as a respected labor leader, Tom decided to retire. He should have gotten a Salvos Salute at that time. Watching him serve as a husband, father, grandfather, and friend shows he deserves a Salute for those roles, too. What a kind, generous, thoughtful, caring man! I am proud to call Tom a friend!

John Kenyon: It was fantastic that Iowa City received the City of Literature designation from UNESCO in 2008. But there was no blueprint (and no funding) that came with the designation. It has been up to John to navigate the egos and silos that made this effort a challenge. And navigate he has! The City of Literature organization is strong and growing stronger under John’s capable leadership.

Lisa Metzler: This Solon woman dutifully works every day to ensure that foster and adoptive children and foster and adoptive families have what they need. Then she goes home from work and serves as a foster and adoptive parent herself! Do not kid yourself - Lisa is a true hero!

Andre Perry: The Englert Theatre has become one of the most important cultural and civic resources in all of Johnson County. The building itself is beautiful, but the building did not do that. Andre Perry did. If this young man comes to you with an idea, do yourself a favor and tell him yes!

Dave Wehde: We are aware of the award winning writers and champion wrestlers in our midst. But did you know that Johnson County Conservation is home to probably the top Naturalist in the business? Dave Wehde has been serving the people of Johnson County a long time, and yes, he really is that good! Dave’s role will only grow (pun intended!) as we battle the many invasive species that threaten our landscape.

Chris Henze: Should we really recognize not one but TWO Johnson County employees who deal with weeds? Actually, yes we should! Johnson County won the award for having the top Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management program in the whole country! This was the result of years of fighting, years of volunteering, and years of advocacy on the part of many people. But Chris is the guy who has pulled it all together and made it all work.

Jesse Case: Johnson County became the first county in Iowa to adopt a Community ID program. Then Johnson County became the first county in Iowa to raise the minimum wage. If you want to find a single person most responsible for these accomplishments, look no farther than Iowa City Federation of Labor President Jesse Case. Neither of those things happens without Jesse’s leadership – period.

Robin Clark-Bennett: Jesse Case gets the credit for the above accomplishments, as he should. But they might not have happened without the tireless and unsung efforts of Robin Clark-Bennett. Speaking Spanish to low wage workers, advocating with policy makers, convincing clergy that our fights were just… Robin was everywhere, doing the dirty work that led to the passage of these important issues.

Jean Jordison: Throughout our community, people donate time, talent, and treasure. Some people make a show of it; others do so quietly. One of the quiet heroes is Jean Jordison. She has given so much to a couple local low-income immigrant families that it boggles the mind. But that is just the start – her giving is felt throughout the community. If everyone contributed the way Jean does… well, I cannot even imagine. Her contributions are truly extraordinary!

Bill Greazel: The Johnson County Assessor’s Office is the best in the state, bar none. That is borne out by every possible statistical measure. And it has been that way for decades. Why? Because (now retired) Johnson County Assessor Bill Greazel was there. Between technological advances and good old-fashioned hard work, Bill made the Johnson County Assessor’s Office the envy of all others. And that is good for you! It means valuations are fair and accurate.

LaTasha DeLoach: The Salute was coming for her work as Johnson County’s Disproportionate Minority Contact Coordinator, a role in which she fights for a more just world for people of color. Then LaTasha went out and won a seat on the ICCSD Board of Directors, bringing an important voice to a growing and diversifying district. She will have to split the Salvos Salute for her work at both her paid and unpaid jobs!

Mike Ryan: Did you follow the minimum wage discussions in Tiffin? The debate there was more robust than in any other city in Johnson County. Throughout that debate, one person emerged as a vocal champion for low wage workers – Councilor Mike Ryan. The fire Mike demonstrated while fighting for a higher minimum wage was really exceptional. The people of Tiffin are lucky to have such a passionate public servant!

Teachers: They all get a Salute. Every one of them. Not only have they done their typical great work – arguably our most important work – they have done so while under attack from the Branstad Administration. Teachers, you deserve so much better. Hang in there, and keep up the great work!

Congratulations to all our winners! I look forward to all the great things you’ll accomplish in 2016!

*DID YOU KNOW?  131 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-

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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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