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Longtime chairman set to retire

Photo by Gretta Stark Ken Peterson is retiring after 34 years on the Hammond Town Board, 24 of which he served as town chairman. Peterson said he and his wife plan to travel and spend time with their family.

After 25 years as chairman of the Hammond Town Board, Ken Peterson has decided to retire.

"I've had enough years as a public servant and I'll be 80 years old next summer," Peterson said.

Peterson has lived in the Town of Hammond all his life, and has been a part of the board for 34 years, including the 25 he served as chairman.

Peterson said he has seen much growth in the Town of Hammond since he joined the board in 1979. The population has gone from 870 to more than 2,000 residents.

"We built a new town hall about 12 years ago and that's worked out real good," Peterson said, "and a ball park and a playground for small children."

Peterson said he didn't face any particular challenges during his time as town chairman. However, he said it was a demanding job.

"You're on duty all the time, seven days a week," Peterson said. "Around the clock you get telephone calls."

In addition to being chairman of the town board, Peterson also served many years on the United Fire and Rescue board.

Now that he has retired, Peterson said he and his wife plan to spend more time with their family, especially their 14 grandchildren.

One of Peterson's grandsons is a quarterback for the Baldwin-Woodville football team. One of his granddaughters is a cheerleader.

"We (will) do some travelling and then go to football games," Peterson said.

Greg Gillis, Town of Hammond Supervisor, has served on the board with Peterson since they were both chosen in the same election. He said Peterson is a "good old farm boy" who has "got his head on straight."

"He's done an awesome job throughout the years," Gillis said.

The Town of Hammond is holding a party in Peterson's honor April 16, at around 8:45 p.m., following the town's annual meeting. The event will be open to the public and will include refreshments, according to Town of Hammond Clerk Linda Hawkins.

She said the event will be a chance for Town of Hammond residents to wish Peterson good luck in his future endeavors.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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