Grand Forks Councilwoman Lunski was on vacation during meeting; no word from Kvamme
The meeting included a vote to determine the fate of the controversial Fufeng project, as well as a number of residents calling for council members and city leaders to resign.
GRAND FORKS – City Council member Tricia Lunski missed the Monday, Feb. 6, City Council meeting due to a pre-planned vacation, but it’s unknown why another council member was absent.
Lunski said the vacation was scheduled months in advance.
The contentious meeting included a 5-0 vote to abandon plans for the proposed Fufeng USA corn mill, a project that has drawn considerable controversy over the past 14 months. The decision came after the U.S. Air Force declared the project a national security threat. Also at the meeting, a number of residents spoke during the public-input segment to call for resignations of Grand Forks council members and city leaders.
Kyle Kvamme also was absent. Tuesday through Friday, the Herald reached out multiple times to Kvamme and Lunski – via phone and email – to ask about their absence. Lunski responded Friday; Kvamme has not responded.
City Council President Dana Sande said he was aware that both would not be at the meeting. He said that considering the 5-0 vote, their presence wouldn’t have impacted the decision.
“I don’t think their being at the meeting would have changed any outcome of the meeting at all,” Sande said. “We are normal people that have normal lives, do normal people things. And sometimes schedules don’t work out perfectly for council meetings. We were given exactly four days’ notice that the Air Force decided that they found a national security risk, right? Lots of people schedule things in more advance than four days.”
At the meeting, Councilman Ken Vein called Fufeng "the biggest issue I’ve ever worked on." He also said it has been "the most controversial, and as many of you know I did a lot during the Flood of ’97, and this has brought out some real issues that I think we’ve got to work through.”