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Peterson changes the guard

Thu, Jan 26th, 2012
Posted in All Progress Edition

Jennifer Wood

2010 was a year of growth for Peterson, even at the most basic level: city hall. The changing of the guard began in September 2009 with the resignation of former mayor Dick Lee, who had served the city for over 12 terms, the rough equivalent of 25 years. Following the resignation, councilor Chuck Eidenschink was appointed as new mayor and resident Bill Grindland was elected to fill the vacant council seat.

However, the November 2010 ballot brought even more changes as the community saw long-time councilman Tim Hallum and newcomer Jennifer Wood vying for the mayoral seat.

Wood, a Lincoln, Nebraska, native, has resided in Peterson since November of 2004. The 44-year old mother of three and registered dietician led a door-to-door campaign highlighting openess of communication between the public and the city. When the election results posted, it saw Wood as the winner by an 11 vote margin (56 to 45).

"Progress is good," says Wood enthusiastically. "We've got a new sewer plant, we're updating the city website and ordinances. We've got two fresh, new faces on the council. I think we'll all bring innovative, new ideas."

Eidenschink moved to a two-year seat on the council after winning a special election. Councilors Bill Grindland and Jan Smaby continued on the council.

Gail Boyum, a highly-active community member, as well as secretary for RADAR (Rushford Area Disaster Alliance for Recovery), filled the remaining council seat taking the position held previously by Randy Benson. "This town is incredibly well-organized," said Boyum when questioned about her new position. "I think we'll work really well together."

Boyum said she will wait a while to test the waters with new ideas, but sees Peterson continuing to move in a postive direction. "We've been under good leadership. We have so many things going for us for a small town."

As Wood mentioned, the city of Peterson has nearly completed the work on its new sewer treatment plant. City clerk Lolly Melander said the city received a $700 sewer grant, half of which was a city match that was bonded for. "The building is wrapping up," indicated Melander. "We've just got the walk through and we should be up and running."

In other expansion plans, the city, in cooperation with Canton and Whalan, was the recipient of a Small Cities Development Grant to improve housing. In Peterson's portion, the city will see $20,000 being awarded to eight residents for new homes. The $20,000 is over 12 years and requires no repayment.

"Things are going great," adds Melander. No doubt there will be more good news in the year to come.

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