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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THIEF RIVER FALLS—A Thief River Falls man has been accused of kidnapping a woman and repeatedly assaulting her, with court documents detailing how they were let go by a Minnesota state trooper during a traffic stop before he eventually was chased down by police. Frank Anthony Kaiser, 32, was arrested Tuesday afternoon in Thief River Falls on felony charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment, domestic assault by strangulation, three controlled substance crimes and fleeing in a motor vehicle. His first court appearance was Wednesday in Pennington County District Court.
An East Grand Forks man faces five years in prison after being accused of illegally voting while on probation in 2016 in Minnesota. Jared Daniel Benson, 24, appeared Tuesday in Polk County District Court on a felony charge of being an ineligible voter who knowingly votes. Court documents allege he filled out a Minnesota voter registration application on Nov. 8, 2016, in East Grand Forks and claimed he was eligible to vote in the 2016 election.
Two Grand Forks news personalities will decide which city has the best water in North Dakota. Grand Forks Herald columnist Marilyn Hagerty and WDAZ anchor Matt Henson have been chosen to judge the Drinking Water Taste Test championship at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Alerus Center, according to a news release. The competition that will pit North Dakota cities against each other is part of the 90th annual North Dakota Water and Pollution Control Conference. Three finalists will be judged by national experts, Hagerty and Henson.
CROOKSTON—An Emerado, N.D., man awaiting trial on charges of criminal sexual conduct in Polk County has been accused of lying before a judge in the case. George Robert Lyons, 37, was charged Monday in Polk County District Court with perjury and could face five years in prison if convicted of the crime. The charge stems from a December 2015 case in which he was charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct.
THOMPSON, N.D.—A woman whose home recently was remodeled by dozens of volunteers while she was receiving cancer treatment has died. Kerri-Lynn Larimer died Saturday at her home after battling metastatic melanoma for almost a year. She was 44 years old. "She was always all-encompassing, just loved everyone, and everyone loved her," her close friend Gina Roller said, adding people will remember her for her free spirit. Larimer was diagnosed with the skin cancer in November. She traveled to Mayo Clinic in late September for treatments.
DEVILS LAKE—A proposed swine farm near Devils Lake that would house hundreds of hogs wouldn't be the first of its kind in North Dakota. Yet the one proposed by Grand Prairie Agriculture has attracted a lot of attention from advocates and opponents. "There certainly have been a large number of comments" regarding the farm, said Karl Rockeman, water quality director for the North Dakota Department of Health.
FOSSTON, Minn. -- Law enforcement agencies are investigating a Friday afternoon collision that involved a semi and train. The Minnesota State Patrol was seen at the scene of the crash at a railroad crossing near Fosston. It’s unclear how the collision unfolded or if any injuries were reported. The Herald has reached out to the State Patrol for details on the crash. Check back for updates as this story develops.
Three students have joined the Grand Forks Public School Board as members in what Superintendent Terry Brenner called a historic move. One student each from the three high schools were welcomed this week to the board during the Monday meeting. They will not have a vote when it comes to making decisions for the district, but they will have a voice at the table. Senior Anastasia Usatii will represent Central High School, junior Riley Thoreson was chosen from Red River High School and senior Averi Bullinger will serve as the Community High School representative.
The two sheriff candidates in Grand Forks County have spent the last several months trying to meet as many people as possible and get their names on voters' minds. "I've been just staying steady and and working hard," Sheriff's Sgt. Andy Schneider said. "I don't know any different than hard work, so that's what I've been doing." "We're out working hard," Sheriff's Lt. B.J. Maxson said of his campaign. "We've been busy. ... Anytime I can stop and talk with someone, I talk with them."
RURAL MANVEL, N.D.—October rains had stalled farmers in the Red River Valley trying to get their crops off the field, and this week's early snowstorm has pushed the finish line back even further. Still, sugar beet and soybean farmer Scott Johnson is optimistic about the harvest. "We're just hoping for some sunshine and warm weather," said Johnson, who has crops near Manvel. As of Tuesday, the National Weather Service in Grand Forks reported 1.82 inches of rain for October, more than an inch above the average for the month to that date.