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' winter has been worse that Fargo's, but it has been mostly average, according to meteorologists. Data graphics presented by the National Weather Service show both Grand Forks and Fargo will fall into the average category for winter severity, but Grand Forks lingered in the severe section of the graph for most of the winter, while Fargo was on the low end of the spectrum.
An East Grand Forks man has been accused of selling drugs out of a trailer and workshop. James Edward Kirchoffner, 44, appeared Tuesday in Polk County District Court on several drug charges, including two first-degree controlled substance crimes of sale, a second-degree controlled substance crime of possession and a third-degree controlled substance crime of sale, all felonies. He was arrested March 8 at 1019 Fifth Ave. N.E. after police learned from buyers they were getting meth from that location.
Drug crimes in Grand Forks jumped nearly 50 percent last year, and its police chief is warning residents substance abuse is still a "significant issue for the community." The Grand Forks Police Department reported 570 drug crimes last year, a 47 percent increase from the 2016 count of 388, according to its annual report released Tuesday. That's the largest count in the last decade and the second highest percentage increase for 2017. It fell behind loud party violations, which jumped 61 percent from 51 offenses in 2016 to 82 last year.
The last of 13 defendants charged in a drug conspiracy connected to a fatal 2016 shooting at a Grand Forks truck stop has been sentenced to 16 years in prison. Federal Judge Ralph Erickson handed down the sentence on Tuesday to Ryan Scott Franklin, 39, for his part in a drug conspiracy that investigators said led to the death of Austin Forsman on March 11, 2016, at the Flying J Truck Stop. Pursuant to a plea agreement signed in August, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess and distribute a controlled substance.
BISMARCK—The victims of a train-bus crash that killed two people and hospitalized 10 children more than three years ago near Larimore, N.D., will be limited to splitting $500,000 in damages, North Dakota's highest court ruled Monday. The statutory damage cap for tort claims against a political subdivision is constitutional, the State Supreme Court ruled in its opinion written by Justice Lisa McEvers. The ruling affirms the one issued by a Grand Forks District Court Judge.
Medication Take Back Day will have a competitive twist this year with a "Battle of the Badges." The Grand Forks Police Department, Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department and UND Police Department will be just north of Altru Hospital at the 860 S. Columbia Road parking lot collecting expired medication from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday. The drive-up, drop-off Medication Take Back Day is part of an effort to gather unused medication, including pills, liquids, creams and patches.
A nearly $61,000 grant will allow the criminal and civil divisions at the Grand Forks County Courthouse to combine into one area. Renovations in the southwest corner on the first floor of the courthouse are expected to get underway in the coming weeks, Grand Forks County Clerk of Court Rebecca Absey said. Protective glass will be installed at five access windows in the hallway wall, giving employees more room for desks.
Fargo Democrat Josh Boschee channeled President Donald Trump as he called out North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger on Saturday, March 17, in Grand Forks. “There is a lot to be said for an individual with (25) years of experience, but when that individual refuses to keep up with some of the most basic technological advances, it’s time for us to drain the prairie and elect a secretary of state who will move us forward,” Boschee told the Democratic State Convention delegates at the Alerus Center.
A Grand Forks man who faced life in prison after being accused of sexually assaulting two children has signed a plea agreement for a lighter sentence. Tyrell Everett Phelps, 27, changed his plea in the case to guilty on Wednesday in Grand Forks District Court. If a judge agrees with the plea agreement, he would serve five years in prison.
A Grand Forks man accused of shooting a rifle at others during a drug deal this week and having a homemade bomb at his apartment also has been charged with growing marijuana. Devon Michael Atticus Hricak, 20, was charged Friday in Grand Forks District Court with a Class B felony of manufacturing marijuana; three Class C felonies of reckless endangerment with extreme indifference; a Class C felony of possession or sale of a machine gun, auto rifle, silencer or bomb; and discharge of a firearm within a city, a Class B misdemeanor.