Kohler board fills two seats

by Amber DeFere
Review Correspondent

KOHLER – The Village Board chose from four candidates to fill two vacant trustee positions at their Sept. 18 meeting.

Susan Jaberg and Charles Keller resigned their positions a month earlier.

All four of the applicants for the open seats were given a chance to address the board to outline their qualifications and interest in the positions.

The board then selected Kristine Strange and John Ewert to fill the vacancies.

Strange, a resident of Kohler for three years, told the board she had previously vacationed in the village for 25 years, attempting to find a home in the “quaint and homey village” with each visit.

Having found her “forever home” in Kohler, Strange told the trustees that, even though she hasn’t lived in the village long, she is “as Kohlerized as they get.”

Strange, a Kohler Ambassador, has extensive home restoration experience.

She told the board her goal as a trustee would be to “help keep Kohler the way it is,” because people seem to always want to change things that are already perfect the way they are.

Ewert, a resident of the village for two years, is a volunteer firefighter and community director for Road America, with 20 years experience in communications and motorsports.

“I’m not going to glean or gloat too much,” Ewert told the board, but did shine a light on how his experience at Road America has given him knowledge as to how boards, like the Village Board, work.

“If you’re going to be part of your community, it’s important to serve your community,” he told the trustees.

Kohler resident Matt Jacobson appeared before the board to appeal a ruling by the Property Committee regarding a basketball hoop he erected in his yard.

The committee determined that the setup violated the village’s building code.

Jacobson said the incident was a case of misunderstanding during the application process.

He said his family believed the hoop was authorized, only to discover after putting it up that it violated the code.

Jacobson sought a variance to allow the hoop to stay up, noting that no neighbors had objected and that similar structures exist elsewhere in the village.

The board noted that the problem is with the base of the hoop, which is closer than the allowed setback and would make plowing the street difficult in winter.

Jacobson then offered to take the pole down during the winter. But trustees decided that being lenient on the rule for one person would make them seem inconsistent and create an unfair situation of deciding where to draw the line for one person and not another.

The board did not address the issue of how to deal with other such structures already in place that are also in violation of the village codes.

The board set in motion the process to hire a new full-time employee in the Public Works Department.

The Finance Committee reported on several items.

The board accepted the financial management report from Ehlers and Associates. The report was tabled last spring until several projects were resolved.

There was a report on progress on the hospital deal. Although rights have been signed off on, an agreement with Aurora is still being worked out and needs Kohler Co. approval. The company’s response has been received, but discussion of it was scheduled for the October board meeting.

Jaberg and Keller were formally recognized for their years of service on the board.

The board accepted the resignation of Dietmar Wohlgemuth from the Plan Commission and the Board of Review. David Warner was named to take both of spots.

The sales tax revenue-sharing agreement with the county was approved by the board.

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