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—One of the Thief River Falls City Council members involved in last week's fight with other civic leaders at City Hall has resigned. Josh Hagen spoke briefly Tuesday at the beginning of the council's meeting before saying he would resign effective immediately. His sudden departure comes a week after an argument during an Administrative Services Committee meeting led to a physical altercation involving punches and a chair.
The Grand Forks School Board has approved pay raises for teachers. Board members unanimously voted "yes" on the 2018-19 teacher contracts Monday, less than a month after the Grand Forks Education Association did the same. That means along with built-in increases based on experience, teachers will get a 3 percent increase.
A lawsuit aimed at Obamacare could deal a blow to protections for North Dakotans with Medicaid and pre-existing conditions, two former national leaders from the state said Monday. "We have much more to lose if that lawsuit were successful," former U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., said of North Dakotans during a visit to the Herald.
WARROAD, Minn.—A Warroad man has been accused of sexually assaulting a young child inside a campground bathroom in Roseau County. Dalton Cruz Kezar, 18, appeared Monday in Roseau County District Court on three felony counts of criminal sexual conduct. Two of the counts are in the first degree and each carries a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison. The last charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
WARREN, Minn.—Charges are possible after a fight broke out Saturday night at the American Legion in Warren. The Marshall County Sheriff's Office responded after 10:30 p.m. to the bar at 424 N. First St., where two people "got into it," Sheriff Jason Boman said. "What we were told is people were trying to break up the fight, and somebody got knocked over," he said. "I think at first it became a little altercation between two people and it kind of advanced from there, but I don't think it was a bunch of multiple people fighting. It was just pretty much two people."
A mother murders her children then kills herself. Two officers are involved in a fatal shooting. And a five-hour standoff ends, but the suspect dies the same day. The Grand Forks Police Department responded to all of those cases in a little over two months. Lt. Derik Zimmel, who has been with the Police Department for 20 years, said he couldn't recall a streak of violent, high-profile cases in such a short span of time. "We're kind of seeing a little bit of a trend in that regard—higher profile, more violence, more intensity," he said.
Two officers involved in a July 8 fatal shooting have been praised throughout their careers with the Grand Forks Police Department, with their files showing no signs of misconduct or complaint. Superiors have called Cpl. Jordan Drees and Officer Michael Ruit professional and dedicated in annual reviews, and no complaints have been filed against the two, according to documents obtained by the Herald in an open records request. The officers shot and killed 41-year-old John Francis Murphy III during a July 8 confrontation in south Grand Forks.
Investigators have released the name of a woman who died after drowning in a pool this week in Grand Forks.
The Grand Forks jail has passed several state inspections since it was given an order of noncompliance following the death of an inmate last year. The North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, however, still says the facility is on probation for another six months.
THIEF RIVER FALLS—At least one Thief River Falls City Council member has denied accusations he threatened and took a swing at a colleague after a fight involving a thrown chair erupted Tuesday at City Hall.