Jennifer Von Ohlen
DASSEL, MN While still in love with Lake Washington and the people who enjoy and protect it, Lake Washington Improvement Association (LWIA) board member Ken Klehr retired May 1.
Klehr served on the board for eight years seven as its president. Were it not for his third battle with cancer, Klehr would still likely be actively involved with LWIA.
The LWIA is a team of volunteers, whose primary quest is to manage and protect the water quality of Lake Washington.
“[There are] hundreds of hours volunteers put in [each] year,” stated board secretary Steve Ullom.
Two of those hardworking volunteers are Klehr and his wife, Cathy, who said her husband regularly put in more than 30 volunteer hours a week for the benefit of the board and the lake.
“He’s one of those 100 percent dedicated,” she said. “So often, I’ll say, ‘can’t you do something else?’”
In serving as president and an all-around loyal board member, Ken Klehr was involved in each LWIA project, and regularly recognized the amount of effort from each LWIA member.
“We take on a project, and do it completely and thoroughly,” Klehr stated.
He also mentioned in his newsletter retirement address that “over time, [he has] seen [the] Lake Association become one of the most productive and proactive in the state.”
Some of the board’s achievements include redesigning its holding pond, achieving the IRS 501c3 designation for charitable organizations, and developing and implementing a Eurasian water milfoil project.
To date, Lake Washington is the only lake in the state to see two years without milfoil, an invasive plant accidentally introduced to North America from Europe.
Lake associations across the state are “in awe of what we have done,” noted board member Pat Hanson.
Klehr attributes LWIA’s success entirely to its board members, saying he has absolute faith they will continue to achieve great accomplishments in his absence.
“I think [the current president, Steve Grotbo] is going to do a great job,” stated Klehr. “He comes from a leadership position, while I think I focused on micromanagement.”
Before removing himself from the board entirely, Klehr will be using the summer to help with the transition and pass his projects off to other LWIA members.
“[During] the eight years I’ve been on the board, I’ve enjoyed [it] immensely,” said Klehr.
“It’s mainly because of the board members and the organizations who have helped us financially, and their [additional] support to make us one of the top lake boards in the state,” Klehr added.
While not on the board, LWIA members and non-menbers can expect to see Klehr on the lake.