April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises 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 a 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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A bump in property taxes for residents in the Grand Forks Public School District may be put on hold. When the School Board meets today, it will hear recommendations from its finance committee to not add three mills to the 2018-19 budget, in an effort to create a special reserve fund. The increase would generate $700,000 a year for emergency spending, but it's unclear how the funds would be used, School Board President Bill Palmiscno said last week. "There is some hesitation on what it can be used for," he said. "It doesn't really explain exactly what we can use it for."
Local races in northwest Minnesota have taken shape, with some cities attracting multiple candidates. "It's very exciting that we have a number of candidates," Crookston City Administrator Shannon Stassen said. "We talk about wanting people to be engaged in their city government and wanting to be a part of moving things forward in a positive way. I think that is a good indication that people want to."
U.S. House hopeful Charles Tuttle says a juvenile court ruling that found he had sexual contact with a young child won't stop him from running for Congress. The Minot resident who was cited this month in Grand Forks with having political advertising on a public right of way also faced child abuse accusations in Ohio more than 15 years ago as he fought for custody of his children. The Delaware County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division in Ohio found the minor was an "abused child as a result of the sexual contact," according to the opinion.
Grand Forks educators hope a tool that allows parents to compare prices for school supplies will make shopping easier and help families save money. All Grand Forks Public Schools that have a school supplies list are using TeacherLists, a tool that links to retailers, brings up the items needed for each grade and allows parents to print the list or order online. "We try to make it as convenient as possible," said Kelli Tannahill, principal for Lewis and Clark Elementary School.
BAUDETTE, Minn.—A Baudette man could face 20 years in prison if found guilty of pointing a gun at officers during a confrontation in northwest Minnesota. John Clarence Centoben, 75, is scheduled to appear Wednesday in Lake of the Woods District Court on a first-degree felony of use of deadly force against a peace officer. The charges stem from a July 31 call to Centoben's home after the Lake of the Woods County Sheriff's Office received reports of "increasingly alarming behavior" by the man, according to court documents.
CROOKSTON—A McIntosh, Minn., man awaiting trial on allegations that he sexually abused a child has been accused of raping a separate minor. Jeremy Allen Jerdee, 39, was charged Monday in Polk County District court with two felony counts of criminal sexual conduct—one in the first degree and the other a second-degree charge. The case comes after a child said Jerdee began raping her in 2011, according to court documents. At the time the alleged acts began, the child was less than 10 years old, court documents said.
GILBY, N.D.—Brent Schmitz was expecting a 50- to 60-bushel soybean crop this year, but he said he'll be lucky to get half of that after heat and dry conditions burned out his plants as they started to form pods. "This year started out good," the Mekinock, N.D., farmer said. "It just all of a sudden turned dry. Everything just shut off."
It was a mostly quiet night for the primary election in northwest Minnesota, but the two county commission races that needed to be narrowed were too close to call Tuesday night. With 15 of 18 precincts in Roseau County reporting for the District 5 commissioner seat as of 9:50 p.m, Daryl Wicklund took 43 percent of the vote, Jerry Peters had 37 percent and Larry Emery garnered 20 percent, according to unofficial results. Election officials had counted 367 votes as of press time.
West Elementary School in Grand Forks will not have a kindergarten class this year. The northside school at 615 N. 25th St. was expected to have seven students in its fall kindergarten class, so Grand Forks Public School administration decided in the spring to move the students to other schools, spokeswoman Tracy Jentz confirmed Tuesday.
THIEF RIVER FALLS—A former Thief River Falls Council member has pleaded not guilty to accusations that say he assaulted a city leader during a committee meeting. Joshua Mark Hagen, 38, entered the plea Monday in Pennington County District Court after saying he would fight the fifth-degree assault charge that stemmed from a July 10 scuffle at City Hall.