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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Grand Forks Public School has agreed to give a developer several parking spots that will be used to expand a project for downtown apartments, a grocery store and a bank. But the $120,000 received by the district in the trade deal may not go toward developing more parking spots for Central High School as initially recommended by the developer and school administration.
Like many who enlist, Grand Forks Police Chief Mark Nelson said he joined the military because he needed help paying for college. An enlistment that began in 1982 with the U.S. Army Reserve evolved into a decades-long military career for Nelson. That included 22 years with the North Dakota National Guard and working his way up to the highest enlisted ranking a North Dakota soldier in the Guard can achieve.
Grand Forks Police are investigating the cause of death for a man whose body was found Friday afternoon in the back of a pickup near downtown Grand Forks. Officers responded just before 4:30 p.m. Friday to the 400 block of North Fourth Street, where they found the man unresponsive in the enclosed box of the vehicle, according to a news release. Emergency responders could be seen looking into the box of a pickup parked near an alley behind house.
DEVILS LAKE—An order that threatened a Devils Lake jail with closure has been lifted. The North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation vacated its September 2017 order of noncompliance against the Lake Region Law Enforcement Center, according to a document signed Monday by DOCR Director Leann Bertsch. The multi-county jail has been under scrutiny from the DOCR for more than a year. An order of temporary closure was put in place after an August 2017 inspection found the LEC violated 41 of the state's correctional facilities standards.
CROOKSTON—Dispatchers could hear arguing and Tawnja Rene Wallace saying part of her name before her phone went dead during a 911 call moments before she was allegedly strangled to death by her boyfriend, a police officer said Wednesday in court. Crookston Police Sgt. Shane Mendez detailed in Polk County District Court what unfolded when he and another officer responded just before 5 a.m. May 3, 2017, to the 911 hangup call from 104 ½ S. Broadway, Apt. 2. That was less than five hours before investigators found Wallace's body in her apartment's bathtub at the same address.
Grand Forks Police are looking for a sex offender who has failed to register multiple times. Jordan Thomas Granger, 31, has "absconded from his duty to register as a sex offender" and has had no contact with his probation officer, according to a Tuesday Facebook post by the Grand Forks Police Department. Officers believe he is in the Grand Forks area.
DEVILS LAKE—A man who served 21 years behind bars for his involvement in the shooting death of a Devils Lake convenience store clerk could be heading back to prison after prosecutors allege he violated multiple conditions of his probation, including allegations he committed assault and battery twice on the Spirit Lake Nation.
Grand Forks Public Schools may call on students to help build a 5,000-square-foot addition to a residential treatment center for children in Grand Forks, and the reward will be using most of the new space for free.
Grand Forks Public Schools could receive $120,000 to develop parking if it gives seven parking spots to a downtown development that will house apartments, a bank and a grocery store. The facility committee unanimously approved amendments to a land exchange contract with Hugo's and Pure Development, which plans to build a mixed-use, four-story building at the corner of DeMers Avenue and North Fifth Street. The project slated for the parking lot at that location would feature a Hugo's Family Marketplace location, an Alerus Financial branch and apartments.
CROOKSTON—A Crookston Walmart employee who was charged after a confrontation with a customer over a loaf of bread is expected to appear in court next month. Patricia Garcia Mendrano, 53, of Grand Forks has been summoned to appear Feb. 7 in Polk County District Court on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. A criminal complaint filed Monday gives more details into the confrontation on Jan. 6 at 1930 Sahlstrom Drive.