Laura’s Quick Questions for Sven Peterson

Ursaphobic Sven Peterson, left, and Maddie Peterson plan to enlarge their family in October.

Editor’s note: We are introducing a new feature at in which Perryites will be asked questions that elicit quick, short responses. Some questions are thoughtful while others are more “free and easy,” to quote Dierks Bentley. Questions may morph over time or remain constant. To join in the fun, Laura will answer one question herself in each Q&A session. If you would like to answer Laura’s Quick Questions, then send us an email with your name and the best way to contact you:

The first person happily to engage in this experiment is Perry City Administrator Sven Peterson.

Sven lives in Perry with his wife, Maddie, and their two dogs—Dixie (a Plott hound) and Goldie (a yellow lab). Sven graduated from Perry High School and went on to get his bachelor’s degree in community and regional planning from Iowa State University and his master’s in public administration from Drake University.

Sven is the sixth generation of the Peterson family living in our thriving town. He and Maddie are looking forward to adding a seventh generation in October 2022.

Here we go.

Laura: Name a song you could listen to on “repeat” for forever.
Sven: “Free and Easy” by Dierks Bentley. (“Pair of boots and a sack of clothes, free and easy down the road I go. Hangin’ memories on the high line poles, free and easy down the road I go.”)

Laura: App on your phone that you use the most.
Sven: Email, calendar or Snapchat.

Laura: What’s your favorite thing to do in Perry?
Sven: Handlebar Happy Hour at La Poste.

Laura: Best photo spot in Perry.
Sven: Gotta go with the Big Bike.

Laura: What’s the longest bike ride you’ve taken to, through, or from Perry?
Sven: Perry to Winkleman Switch (south of Jefferson) on the Raccoon River Valley Trail (about 26 miles).

Laura: What’s the strangest statement anyone has ever made to you?
Sven: While giving a tour for 3rd-graders I shared the process of flushed toilet water travelling through underground pipes to Perry’s wastewater treatment facility where it’s treated and released into the river. I’m sure the teacher directed the students to thank me and share one thing they’d learned. One student wrote, “I learned that when I flush the toilet it goes to you.” (Perceptive student, Sven. I think she’s adeptly summarized your function within the river of City government.)

Laura: What do you wish you really understood about Perry?
Sven: Why people from out of town sometimes have a greater appreciation of our community than we do.

Laura: What one thing would you like to see happen in Perry that hasn’t happened yet?
Sven: Completing the downtown revitalization with the streetscapes and seeing the full beauty of our downtown develop as more people invest in building renovation.

Laura: Favorite Perry comfort food?
Sven: Prime rib.

Laura: When people come to Perry for the first time, what do you think surprises them the most?
Sven: People oftentimes come to Perry with pre-conceived notions. Then they see the variety of restaurants we have to offer, the beautiful, unique Hotel Pattee, and all our wonderful shops. They experience and enjoy the food, art, and shopping. They never expected it and are happily surprised.

Laura: What’s the one thing that you really wish all Perryites understood about you personally?
Sven: A lot of us that work for the city are from Perry. Everything we do we are doing for our own hometown. A lot of care and thought go into each decision. I feel lucky that I can give back to the community—to my hometown.

Laura: Name one of your hidden talents or interests that may surprise people.
Sven: Juggling. (In many ways, Sven!)

Laura: Scariest animal?
Sven: As a child — bears. (Parents, beware of those educational nature shows you think are beneficial.) One night I had a nightmare, woke up scared, and locked all the doors in the house to keep the bears out and inadvertently locked out my dad. That didn’t go well. (I had to Google Plott hound to make sure I got it right in the introduction and my screen popped up, “originally bred to hunt big game, like bear.” Coincidence, Sven? An added layer of protection in case of a bear invasion?)

Laura: Favorite Iowa day trip?
Sven: Northeastern Iowa is beautiful. Trout fishing in Decorah.

Laura: What book changed your life?
Sven: “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie. Susie Moorhead suggested it when I was an intern for the city. (No family relation to Andrew Carnegie, who funded Perry’s gem that is the Carnegie Library Museum.)

Laura: What is your favorite binge watch?
Sven: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Beyond enjoying the show, I was watching it and said that the resort in the show was what I imagined when grandpa talked about the resort he went to when he lived in New York. And it was! It’s the same resort. “Yellowstone” is a close second.

Laura: Motto/saying/rule to live by.
Sven: Treat others as you want to be treated.

Laura: If you could go with no cost to you, would you go into space?
Sven: Yes.

Laura: Number of speeding tickets in your lifetime?
Sven: One.

Laura: Person you’d most like to meet.
Sven: Dierks Bentley. (We’ve literally come full circle.)

Laura: I’ll answer the name of the song I could listen to on “repeat” forever: “Revolution” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.


  1. That was an awesome Q & A! I enjoyed reading it and look forward to more of these sessions!! Great job, Laura!


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