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Published January 14, 2014, 09:06 PM

East Grand Forks council to fill empty seat in February

The East Grand Forks City Council has developed a timeline for replacing Alderman Ron Vonasek, who died Dec. 9.

By: Ryan Bakken, Grand Forks Herald

The East Grand Forks City Council has developed a timeline for replacing Alderman Ron Vonasek, who died Dec. 9.

Applications at City Hall will be accepted through Jan. 30 and interviews of candidates by council members will be held at City Hall on Feb. 11. A replacement will be chosen to fill the First Ward opening at the Feb. 18 council meeting.

“We want to move along as fast as we can,” Council President Craig Buckalew said.

The appointee will serve until the end of the year. A November election will be held to determine the next First Ward council member.

Vonasek, 62, was appointed to the council in 2011 after the death of longtime Alderman Dick Grassel and then was elected to another term in 2012.

The cause of Vonasek’s death is still undetermined, according to his son, Shane Vonasek.

Traffic lights sought

Also at Tuesday’s work session, council members expressed their wish to install traffic lights at the intersection on Minnesota Highway 220 North and 23rd Street Northwest, which is just north of Northland Community and Technical College.

“There’s more truck traffic there than there used to be and new housing out there that brings new traffic,” Alderman Henry Tweten said. “And there’s an expectation of more students attending Northland.

“It’s dangerous. I’m worried a severe accident could occur there.”

Greg Boppre, city engineer, said that adding stoplights requires daily traffic of at least 4,000 vehicles coming from each of the four directions. Although the north-south traffic likely meets the standard, the east-west traffic probably is short. A 2011 survey showed about 1,200 vehicles traveling daily from the east and the west.

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