April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers business and political stories. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family continues to raise registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as the Dickinson city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.
Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.
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Grand Forks Air Force Base appears to be safe from another round of base reviews after the process was left out of recent legislation. But North Dakota needs to continue its strategy to make the base irreplaceable, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said. The U.S. Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act with amendments on Monday. What was not included in the act was the authorization of a Base Realignment and Closure round, known as BRAC.
Grand Forks is done paying for its share of the downtown Corporate Center, with plans to sell the buildings that were seen as a turning point for post-flood development. On Monday, the Growth Fund Committee approved five-year leases for Alerus Financial Corp.; Brady Martz and Associates; and law firm Camrud, Maddock, Olson & Larson, all original tenants of the Corporate Center. The city issued a nearly $5.7 million bond to build the $14.4 million center, which was completed in 1999 and includes the buildings at 401 and 402 DeMers Ave.
Vinyl Taco will start serving Mexican dishes next week in Grand Forks. The Fargo-based restaurant announced via Facebook it would open Thursday at 1970 S. Columbia Road. Construction on the restaurant began earlier this year after Borrowed Bucks Roadhouse was razed at that location. The Grand Forks location is the first outside Fargo.
A Jimmy John’s along one of Grand Forks’ busiest streets has opened. The gourmet sandwich chain has started serving subs Tuesday at 1403 S. Washington St. It’s part of a 4,050-square-foot strip mall that is expected to have other tenants. Owners of the building are working with possible tenants, but nothing is official yet, said Eric Olson, a local partner in Grand Forks Jimmy John’s shops.
Two advisers to President Donald Trump will be keynote speakers next week in Grand Forks during a meeting focused on the oil industry. The North Dakota Petroleum Council will meet Sept. 26 through 28 at the Alerus Center for its 36th annual meeting. The three-day event will feature more than 20 panelists and speakers, including Vincent DeVito, counselor on energy policy for the U.S. Department of Interior, and Stephen Moore, a policy adviser for Trump.
Health care and education continue to be king when it comes to employers in North Dakota and Grand Forks County, with the state having one of the heaviest concentrations of medical staff by population in the country, according to national and state data. For the fifth year in a row, Altru Health System was the largest employer in 2016 for Grand Forks County, Job Service North Dakota said last week in an annual report. Altru also was the fourth biggest employer in North Dakota behind No. 1 employer Sanford Health, Wal-Mart (second) and Catholic Health Initiatives (third).
Imagine your city's population growing from 1,744 resident to nearly 7,500 in one year. That was reality for Watford City during the oil boom years, but the city was likely serving 10,000 to 15,000 people who lived in the area, said Brent Sanford, North Dakota's lieutenant governor and the city's oil boom-era mayor. "As a frame of reference, today they are still graduating 60 to 70 kids, but there are 150 kindergarteners," he said, referring to the children who were born during the height of the boom.
A Grand Forks firearms business appears to be moving into the Amazing Grains Natural Food Cooperative space. Brothers Firearm Shop has posted banners in the windows of the former food co-op at 214 DeMers Ave., with one sign saying, "Coming soon!" The exact timeline of the opening is unknown. The co-op that owned Amazing Grains closed the store in May after disappointing sales over several years. The business started selling organic food and natural products in 1972. It was in different locations around the city until it moved to its downtown shop in 2000.
There was a time when 38 percent of JLG's Architects' work came out of Williston, CEO and President Lonnie Laffen said. The Grand Forks business was so busy that it had to buy a company plane, which was cheaper and more efficient than driving every day from Minot, the closest city that had available hotel space, he added.
Eastern North Dakota and parts of northwest Minnesota are in a tornado watch until midnight Wednesday, the National Weather Service announced Tuesday afternoon. Meteorologists issued the warning in advance of a line of storms expected to develop near Devils Lake Tuesday afternoon. The storms should strengthen as they move into the Red River Valley around 7 p.m., said Vince Godon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.