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Former longtime Bemidji mayor Doug Peterson dies

Doug Peterson, former longtime mayor of Bemidji.

BEMIDJI - Doug Peterson, former longtime mayor of Bemidji, died Tuesday morning at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, his family confirmed Wednesday. He was 75.

Peterson was mayor from 1975 through 2000, a period when the west side of Bemidji was developed from plain forest into a wide swath of retail stores and restaurants.

"My father told me when I was first elected mayor, 'You can lead this community to either grow or die. And there's no in-between,’ " Peterson told Minnesota Public Radio in 2001. "You don't stand still forever … and I chose to try to make it grow."

Peterson also forged a connection between Bemidji and the city of New Orleans, signing a proclamation declaring the two as “sister cities” with then-New Orleans Mayor Ernest Morial in 1986.

In addition to his role as mayor, Peterson served his community as a volunteer firefighter and a member of the city council. He held a variety of private sector jobs, including as a salesman for Little Falls Granite Works for three decades and as co-owner of several small businesses.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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