The Salem Town Board comes together following the town’s last meeting in 2017. From left: Supervisors Dan Campion and Ted Kmiec, Town Chairperson Diann Tesar, Town Supervisors Dennis Faber and Mike Culat (Gail Peckler-Dziki/The Report).


By Jason Arndt

Another year, and another series of changes for the now-former Village of Silver Lake and Town of Salem, when the two municipalities officially merged operations on Feb. 14.

The changes were approved by the state Department of Administration towards the end of 2016.

The merger created the Village of Salem Lakes and effectively ended business in the Town of Salem, which was a recognized municipality in 1842, six years before Wisconsin was welcomed into the United States.

Then-Salem Town Chairwoman Diann Tesar, who presided in the municipality’s last meeting Feb. 13, noted it brought a historic end to the town.

“Salem became a town in 1842 even before Wisconsin became a state,” Tesar said at the Feb. 13 meeting where nearly 70 people were in attendance. “This year marks the 175th year for Salem and the last.”

A day after the merger, the Village of Salem Lakes made its first decision, appointed Bill Hopkins to fill a vacant trustee seat left by Dan Withers. Withers stepped down at the end of 2016.

With the merger, the Salem Lakes Village Board experienced a shakeup, starting with a Feb. 21 primary election.

The Feb. 21 primary featured four former Town of Salem supervisors, two incumbent Silver Lake trustee holdovers and two challengers.

In the April general election, the ballot saw holdovers Patrick Dunn and Erik Ericksen against former Town of Salem supervisors Ted Kmiec, Dan Campion, Dennis Faber and Mike Culat.

While Kmiec, Campion and Culat secured trustee seats, the Village of Salem Lakes had a new leader, when Tesar defeated incumbent Bruce Nopenz for the role of president.

Around the same time, the Village of Salem Lakes suspended the Public Safety department, which eventually dissolved.

The Public Safety department, under the former Town of Salem, was used primarily to patrol area waterways.

In response, the Village of Salem Lakes reached contracts with a handful of Kenosha County Sheriff’s deputies to conduct water patrols.


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