Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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May 25, 2017

Sullivan’s Salvos     5/30/17

In this edition:

*Memorial Day
*Award Winner!
*Middle Class
*Don’t Mow The Ditch!
*Did You Know?

*Memorial Day
Monday, May 30 is Memorial Day. I hope you have a wonderful holiday, and I hope you spend at least a part of it remembering those who have died while serving our Country. Happy Memorial Day to all!

*Award Winner!
An informational kiosk at Johnson County’s Armory and Veterans Memorial has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo) in the category of Information Technology. The NACo awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that enhance services for residents.

The kiosk, installed in 2013, is located south of the Johnson County Administration Building at 913 South Dubuque Street in Iowa City. Like its companion webpage (, the kiosk maps the location of paver bricks engraved with the names of veterans and supporters and a link to the honoree’s biography, if available. The Armory, constructed in 1937, was destroyed during the 2008 floods. The memorial was created not only to honor Johnson County veterans and supporters, but also to educate the public on the history of the Armory.

In addition to the NACo Achievement Award, the kiosk also won the Iowa State Association of Counties’ (ISAC) Excellence in Action Award in 2016. ISAC’s Excellence in Action Award is a competitive awards program that seeks to recognize innovative county government employees, programs, and projects.

*Middle Class
         Is it tougher to make a go of it in today’s America? The answer is definitely YES!

A 2014 Bankrate survey found that only 38 percent of Americans could cover a $500 emergency-room visit or car repair with money they’d saved. A report published last year by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that 55 percent of households didn’t have enough liquid savings to replace a month’s worth of lost income.

Before you go blaming this on the “bad choices” made by Americans today, consider this: median net worth has declined steeply in the past generation—down 85.3 percent from 1983 to 2013 for the bottom income quintile, down 63.5 percent for the second-lowest quintile, and down 25.8 percent for the third, or middle, quintile.

         People are living on the edge because they simply are not making enough money! Income inequality – behind climate change, the foremost issue facing America today!

         We have seen this first hand with Foster Children. Most of us have a place we could stay for two weeks if need be. Most of us could get someone to let us use a printer. Many of us could get a ride if we needed one. Many of us could borrow a bit of money if necessary. Some of us have someone we could call to help change a tire. Some of us have a person that would bail us out of jail.

         For a whole bunch of Americans, this is not true. And when you lack these things, you lose jobs. Lose jobs, and you lose housing. And the downward spiral begins…We have created a society full of people living on the edge. It simply has to change!

*Don’t Mow the Ditch!
The County’s Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management (IRVM) program reminds residents that Iowa law prohibits the mowing of ditches along county secondary roads and state primary and interstate highways each year prior to July 15. The no-mow order allows time for hatching and development of ground-nesting birds and pollinators.

Johnson County Roadside Vegetation Manager Chris Henze said that in 2010, legislation changed the date from July 1 to July 15. “Studies have shown a significant increase in nesting success, with more nestlings ready to fledge, given this extra time,” Henze explained. The law also expanded the restrictions to include county roads, thereby protecting an additional 500,000 acres of vegetated right-of-way statewide.

“The two-week extension also allows refugia—a suitable habitat—for pollinators during these peak flowering times for many native plants,” Henze said.

Exceptions to the law allow for maintaining sightlines and for controlling weeds. Cutting for hay is not among the exceptions. The law reads:

Mowing roadside vegetation on the rights-of-way or medians on any primary highway, interstate highway, or secondary road prior to July 15 is prohibited, except as follows:
  • Within 200 yards of an inhabited dwelling
  • On rights-of-way within one mile of the corporate limits of a city
  • To promote native species of vegetation or other long-lived and adaptable vegetation
  • To establish control of damaging insect populations, noxious weeds, and invasive plant species
  • For visibility and safety reasons
  • Within rest areas, weigh stations, and wayside parks
  • Within 50 feet of a drainage tile or tile intake
  • For access to a mailbox or for other accessibility purposes
  • On rights-of-way adjacent to agricultural demonstration or research plots

“In an agricultural state like Iowa, the law serves as a reminder to mow only the shoulder and leave the rest for the birds,” Henze said. “Aggressive mowing weakens vegetation along slopes, which allows erosion and soil loss. That can also create openings for weeds.”

Visit the Secondary Roads page at and click on Roadside Vegetation Management for more information on the County’s IRVM program.

Iowa City.
City of Literature.
Motivates Haiku.

*DID YOU KNOW?  Johnson County’s IRVM policy was awarded the 2011 Achievement Award for Roadside Vegetation Management for our Native Plant Community Policy. The award was presented at the annual conference of the National Association of Counties, a national organization representing county government with a membership of about 75 percent of US counties.

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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