Kapellen will be missed in Elkhart Lake

THERE IS OFTEN NOT a lot of continuity in local government. While many support term limits at all levels of government, a counter-argument is that at least some continuity and long-term service, at least at the local level, can provide many positive benefits.

One prime example of that comes in the village of Elkhart Lake, where Village Board member Steve Kapellen attended his last meeting last week.

Kapellen submitted his resignation as he will be moving to Florida in retirement next week and it was accepted, reluctantly, by his fellow trustees.

It brings to an end nearly four decades of service to the village, dedication and institutional history that will be missed.

Since first joining the board in the early 1980s, Kapellen saw many changes in the little village he has called home since the early 1970s.

That time was, of course, not without several controversial issues that divided the village, such as the creation of Elkhart Lake’s first tax incremental finance district and other moves to aid the creation of The Osthoff resort complex, and the building of the joint village/town of Rhine fire station.

After careful consideration, Kapellen was not afraid to reach a decision on what he thought was best for the village and the majority of its residents, then act on that position – even though it might cost him some votes and jeopardize his position on the board.

It is a testament to his wisdom and vision that the positions he took on those and other contentious issues proved in the long run to be the best for the village and its continued growth and development – and probably a big reason why his friends and neighbors continued to put him back on the Village Board election after election.

By the time his last years rolled around on the board, he represented a link to the past and a knowledge of where the village had been and what it had done that no one else in village government could offer.

That provided a wise voice and counsel for many actions the board and the village would take. He continued to the end to take a lead role in many important village actions, such as the new contract with the village of Howards Grove for the Elkhart Lake Police Department to provide patrol service in their neighboring village – an agreement which should prove to be beneficial for both villages.

The village of Elkhart Lake has been blessed over the years to have many dedicated, long-time public servants – whether trustees like Kapellen or village officials like former Clerk/ Treasurer Jeanette Moioffer – to provide a firm guiding hand through good times and bad.

Elkhart Lake will miss Kapellen’s quiet, effective dedication and service to the village. He truly represented what is best about local government and public servants. He knew – as we should all keep in mind – that no one can be all things to everyone or please everyone. But he also served conscientiously, tirelessly and with passion for his hometown.

That’s all we can ask of those we elect and who serve us, and we could probably find no one else who personified all of that more than Steve Kapellen did, for more than a third of a century.


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