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 former Concordia College football player was arrested Thursday night after police said he exposed himself to a woman on UND's campus. Seth Logan Kreil, 19, could face a indecent exposure charge, a Class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a $3,000 fine. Officers arrested Kreil around 10 p.m. Thursday after he was reported exposing his genitals to a woman at the UND Wellness Center, UND Police Sgt. Danny Weigel said. Kreil was booked into the Grand Forks County Corrections Center at 11:15 p.m.
THOMPSON, N.D.—Thompson Public School will have to wait at least a year before it can ask voters to approve a bond referendum for an expansion project, but school leaders doubt that will happen any time soon. "I would say it's a very small (chance) that we would be voting on something in a year," Superintendent John Maus said Friday.
Grand Forks has seen a dramatic increase in vehicle break-ins since last year, and police are warning the public to beware. The Grand Forks Police Department has received 180 reports of vehicle break-ins since the beginning of the year, according to a news release issued Thursday. That's almost a 60 percent increase from the same timeframe last year—113 burglaries. Police said there have been a significant number of break-ins this month, with 26 reported as of Thursday afternoon. That's about three times the number during the same stretch last year.
The mystery of the severed fingers in the East Grand Forks park seems to have been solved. Police have DNA results pointing to the owner of two severed fingers found in May on a picnic table at a Red River State Recreation Area campsite, according to a news release. The digits came from a Grand Forks man who was involved in a fireworks accident in downtown Grand Forks about a month earlier, East Grand Forks Lt. Rodney Hajicek said in the release Thursday.
DEVILS LAKE—A Devils Lake man accused of burning down a Hardee's restaurant is expected to go to trial after a judge rejected the defense's motion Tuesday to suppress evidence and statements obtained during a search. Michael January Ott, 25, was charged last fall in Ramsey County District Court with arson, a Class B felony, burglary, a Class C felony, and two misdemeanor charges of possession of drug paraphernalia after police arrested him in connection to the Oct. 25 fire at the Devils Lake restaurant.
An Arvilla, N.D., man quietly wiped away tears Wednesday as he was sentenced to two years in prison for threatening to shoot police officers during an hours-long standoff in June at a Grand Forks motel. Chance Christian Jacobson, 43, pleaded guilty in Grand Forks County District Court to terrorizing and reckless endangerment, both Class C felonies. The minimum sentence for his crimes is two years, said defense attorney Jessica Ahrendt as she cited North Dakota Century Code.
THOMPSON, N.D.—Voters in Thompson rejected a $10 million school expansion Tuesday by a vote of 642 to 592. While 52 percent were in favor of the project, 60 percent was required for approval. The school district posted the unofficial results on Twitter at 11:15 p.m. Voters turned out in record numbers to decide for the second time this year whether the school should fund an expansion project with a $10 million bond, delaying results well into the evening hours.
DEVILS LAKE—The Lake Region Law Enforcement Center may be going social. Last week, Director Rob Johnson updated the center's board about efforts to reach out to the community, including possibly launching a Facebook page. "It's a good way to get information out," Johnson said. The Devils Lake jail also is in the process of updating programs to send emergency messages to residents. The LEC currently utilizes CodeRed, which allows residents to enter contact information, for emergency notifications, such as a tornado or active shooter.
When Carlie Sheer first set foot on UND's campus as a freshman, she said she was "beyond nervous." But this year the sophomore from Fisher, Minn., is on the other side. Sheer and other returning class members were on hand Saturday as UND's first-time students flooded campus. She and fellow students wearing green shirts pointed freshmen toward their dormitories and help them carry belongings into their new university homes.
DEVILS LAKE—A Devils Lake woman who prosecutors said tried to escape custody three times—once while attempting to stab a deputy and another after a judge let her leave jail to take care of finances—will spend up to 10 years in prison. Jennifer Lynn Robinson, 30, was sentenced Friday in Ramsey County District Court on five Class C felony charges: attempted aggravated assault, preventing arrest, possession of methamphetamine, attempted escape and escape, according to a news release from Ramsey County State's Attorney Lonnie Olson.