Big Cedar Property Owners Association
August 2021 Newsletter
The election for two open seats for commissioners on the Big Cedar Protection and Rehabilitation District (PRD) is less than one week away. Please plan to cast your vote on Wednesday, August 25, 2021. Each voter can cast two (2) votes. These positions are important as the commissioners manage many services and regulations on Big Cedar Lake. The meeting will start at 4:30 and voting will begin at 5:30 PM. In an earlier email, we indicated ballots could be cast starting at 4:30, that is incorrect. Ballots can be submitted beginning at 5:30 PM. Each voter can cast a vote for two (2) candidates.
POA Endorses Ross Anderson and Dave Claussen for PRD Commissioners
Last year we researched and prepared a procedure to endorse candidates. We follow documented best practices and model our process after Sierra Club. We used that process for the spring Town Board election and followed it again for this PRD election
Ross Anderson: We have endorsed Ross Anderson for the following reasons
- As an attorney Ross can help interpret and evaluate legal opinions especially powers granted under Wis statute 33 that define the powers of PRD and relationship with the town.
- As a former school board member and later president of the West Bend School District Ross has experience in leading public organizations and dealing with different views.
- His school board experience plus his legal background gives him an exceptional understanding of state and federal rules for public office including meetings and public records.
- Ross is a long-time resident of Big Cedar Lake.
- He is committed to protecting and preserving the lake.
- Ross supports the POA effort to get Cedar Community to commit to promises to protect the shoreline through a conservation easement and maintain the 300 ft barrier from Germain Village Rd.
Dave Claussen: We have endorsed Dave Claussen for the following reasons
- Dave is a long-time resident of Big Cedar Lake. He is completing his first term on the PRD board and as an incumbent has gained knowledge and understanding about PRD operations that put him in a position to help lead the PRD forward.
- Dave strongly supports the 2019 PRD survey of residents as a guide to identifying the wishes of residents.
- Dave led key initiatives in the PRD to set up areas of responsibility for each commissioner so that all issues did not rely on the Chairman for action
- Because of Dave’s commitment to limit lake overcrowding, while preserving our watershed, water safety, and natural environment, he is a frequent target of certain online critics, who desire to load more boats and increase commercial development on the lake. He is a strong advocate for many POA positions.
Matt Haldemann: We had an excellent conversation with Matt Haldemann, but we are not endorsing him at this time.
- Matt indicated he is not pushing particular issues or regulations
- Matt is running for the PRD board because he wants to serve to work with people and get the best solution for property owners
- As having 20 years as an Educator and an Educational Administrator, he feels that he has the experience to leading an organization’s efforts, making prudent decisions while balancing different opinions as well as educating people the needs of the lake.
- Matt is a life-long resident of Big Cedar Lake.
- He is an avid fisherman and wants to support fishing on the lake
- He is committed to preserve and protect the lake
- Matt would like to see Cedar Community continue to serve this area but also would like to see that their shoreline be permanently preserved in its natural state
Jeff Braun: We learned of Jeff’s plans to run for PRD commissioner rather late in the process. Jeff and his family have lived in Cedar Lake Hills since 1998. We asked him to participate in our endorsement interviews. He noted for us that his schedule would not permit him to interview with the POA for this process, however he did submit his bio (see below).
Big Cedar Protection and Rehabilitation District
The PRD is responsible for lake management including, weed cutting and pickup, lake patrol, lake regulations such as speed limit and time of day as well as no-wake zones. The PRD also contracts for garbage collection for all homes within the PRD district.
We are aware of four individuals who are running for the two open seats, Dave Claussen is currently a PRD commissioner and is running for reelection. Ross Anderson is an attorney and has lived on the lake for many years. Matt Haldemann is a life-long resident of Big Cedar and currently lives on the peninsula. Jeff Braun first came to Big Cedar Lake in the early 1970’s. He and his wife live in their home on Big Cedar they purchased in 1998.
All the candidates for PRD commissioner than we know of have provided their bios that we are happy to present below. The POA thinks it is important to provide information about all the candidates so that residents can make informed decisions about which candidates to support. We asked each candidate to provide their own bio. The four candidates provided us the following biographical information.
I am a lifelong resident of Big Cedar Lake. As a child I grew up on Boettcher Dr. and enjoyed swimming, fishing and enjoying Big Cedar Lake. After college I was fortunate to move back to the area, first living on Highland Park dr. and then moving onto the peninsula where I reside now. I live here with my wife and two young daughters.
As having 20 years as an Educator and an Educational Administrator, I feel that I have the experience to lead an organization’s efforts, making prudent decisions while balancing different opinions as well as educating people the needs of the lake.
Ross and his wife Heidi live on German Village Road. They have been married 45 years and have been lake residents since purchasing their home in 1978. They raised their three sons here and have four grandchildren who have also grown to love and appreciate Big Cedar Lake. Ross is an attorney in Milwaukee at Husch Blackwell LLP (formerly Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek) and has worked there for 45 years, practicing as a trial lawyer specializing in professional liability, real estate and construction lawsuits. During that time, he spent many years on his firm’s Board of Directors and is now in its General Counsel’s office. He also served on the Boards of Carthage College and the West Bend United Soccer Club, along with serving as a Board member and President of the West Bend School Board. He is a former director of the Big Cedar Lake Property Owners Association.
He is running for PRD Commissioner because he has grown to love this lake and treasure the unique resource that all of us have to use and enjoy. His primary goal is to continue protecting and preserving Big Cedar Lake for everyone using the lake, especially for future generations. He is firmly committed to carrying out the PRD’s statutory responsibility to protect and improve the quality of the lake and the safety of everyone using and enjoying Big Cedar Lake.
My name is Jeff Braun and I am running for a spot on the Big Cedar Lake PRD .
I first came to Big Cedar Lake in the early 1970’s, when my parents rented a cottage on N. Lake Dr. for 2 weeks in July. My brothers and I quickly made friends with some of the neighborhood kids and those friendships continue today. The next summer, my parents extended our rental to 3 weeks, and for the next 12 years, those three weeks of summer were my favorite weeks of the year! Our days were spent on the lake skiing, knee-boarding, swimming, sailing, fishing, or just cruising around in the boat. I remember thinking at a young age that this was were I wanted to live when I grew up!
In the mid 1980’s, I met a girl on the lake, who’s family had a cottage on N. Lake Dr. After dating for several years, we were married in June of 1991. We spent almost all of our summer weekends at her family’s summer home on Big Cedar. In January of 1998, We realized our dream of living on Big Cedar Lake, as we purchased our current home! It has been the best place to raise a family, and I have absolutely loved watching my children grow up on the lake, and learn how to swim, drive a boat, fish, water-ski, wake board, and make life-long friendships.
I was a member of The Muskego WaterBugs water-ski show team (an amateur version of the Tommy Bartlett water-ski show) from 1977-1995, and again from 2005-2016, when my 10 year old daughter joined the show. During my 30 years with the WaterBugs, I held several positions, including Vice-President, Show Director, Safety Coordinator, Tow-boat driver, and several others. During my time with the ski show, we worked closely with the Little Muskego Lake district to assist with preventing invasive species, fundraising for the Lake Association, as well as for some of the lakes dredging projects. We also worked with the Muskego Park and Rec dept. to put on a “learn to ski” event every summer.
Close to home, I was active in coaching youth baseball and basketball programs when my children were younger, and was active in the Memorial Go-Kart program at Slinger Speedway for several years. And I currently continue to help my son with his racing team, “Zach Braun Racing”. This year, we were blessed with our first grandchild, and I look forward to re-living all of these great “firsts” with my grandchildren in the coming years! If you live on the west side of the lake, you have probably seen me ride past on my bicycle, as I regularly ride the lake roads from Highland Park Dr. to the end of North Lake Drive and back.
I would love the opportunity to serve on the PRD and work to ensure that ALL of the lake residents can continue to enjoy this lake as much as I do!
My wife Michelle and I live on Highland Park Drive, on the southwest shore of Big Cedar. I was raised in the town of Erin, attended Hartford High School and graduated from Hawaii Pacific University. My wife Michelle and I own a Manufacturer’s Representative agency and work in Real Estate Development and Property Management. We have two fantastic grown children, both of whom were fortunate to grow up on the lake. I was honored to be elected as a BCL PRD commissioner in 2018 and I am running for a second term.
Getting to know many lake residents and being privy to their concerns has made me committed to addressing the issues Big Cedar Lake faces. Protection and Rehabilitation Districts were established by Wisconsin Statute because the State felt issues facing Lake Districts were best handled by Lake District Residents, and not necessarily other elected officials outside the lake community. The BCLPRD is comprised of seven commissioners, and only 5 are elected by you, the residents of the PRD. The other two commissioners are appointed by the Town of West Bend and Washington County. The appointed commissioners owe their allegiance to the town and county, not to the Big Cedar Lake District resident. In my role on the PRD, I represent you, the lake district property owner.
In my first term on the board, I took a leadership initiative in creating a survey of what you, the residents, said were the priorities for Big Cedar Lake. In that survey, you spoke loud and clear that you wanted the PRD to protect the BCL watershed, provide safety for water activities and limit commercial and dense residential development. In my first term on the PRD, I helped the PRD achieve those goals. I am asking for your vote on August 25th, to continue working toward those objectives.
PRD MEETING – Agenda Items
Due to the cost, the proposal to dredge and improve the support structure of the Genthe retention pond will be voted on at the PRD annual meeting on August 25. The cost of the work is expected to be up to $80,000.
During the heavy rains of last week, retention ponds provided an important service by both holding some water and filtering sediment. The retention ponds are important facilities that help preserve the water clarity and quality of the lake. The POA supports the proposal to dredge and improve the support structure of the Genthe retention pond. We hope our members will vote to approve this expenditure.
At 5:30, the schedules calls for PRD Operations Manager, Jeff Rollins, and Public Works Supervisor, Bob Lee, to lead a discussion on operations. The discussion will include the operation and impact of Ordinance 2021-2, which moved the water traffic lane from 150 ft from shore to 200 ft from shore. This is an important opportunity for the public to comment on this ordinance. The POA encourages residents to voice their opinion on this and any other PRD operational issues.
POA Membership Dues
At this time of year, POA directors are going through their neighborhoods soliciting for POA membership. An important part of this process is for residents to let these POA representatives know how they feel about any lake issues and concerns they have. Please take the opportunity to talk with your POA representative.
We also strongly encourage you to pay the $20 annual dues via our online portal at this link -> https://bigcedarlake.org/onlinepayments/
Recent Big Cedar POA activities and initiatives include:
- support for fishing club stocking program
- at DNR request, formed focus group for Big Cedar pan fishing study
- support for 4th of July Fireworks
- on behalf of POA members, work with PRD on weed cutting and pickup
- working with residents on traffic/speed measures on Hwy 144
- support for Biodiversity and other bird and animal studies on Big Cedar
- support for clean water and invasive species control programs
- working with Cedar Communities to preserve natural state of shoreline
- serve as resource and information source for members for variety of lake issues
- communication to members through newsletters, email, and meetings to give residents information about lake news as well as PRD and town actions