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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CROOKSTON—A Walmart employee will face a criminal case related to a confrontation with a customer last weekend in Crookston. The Crookston City Attorney's Office has filed a complaint in Polk County District Court against 53-year-old Patricia Mendrano of Grand Forks, according to a news release issued Friday afternoon by the Crookston Police Department. She will be charged with disorderly conduct, the release said.
Altru Health System said it did not discriminate against a Scientologist doctor while he worked there, denying any claims it forced him to resign. In a court document filed last month in federal court, the Grand Forks health care provider denied any wrongdoing and allegations by Dr. Ralph Highshaw, who claims in a lawsuit Altru "engaged in unlawful employment practices," violated his civil rights, created a hostile work environment and retaliated against him because of his religion.
DEVILS LAKE—After a four-year fight, a former Devils Lake jail administrator has reached a settlement in a federal lawsuit with the facility after she claimed leadership there fired her because she is a woman. A stipulation for dismissal filed Dec. 31 in North Dakota's U.S. District Court says the Lake Region Law Enforcement Center and its former operations director Denny Deegan have reached a settlement out of court. The case was terminated Dec. 8.
THIEF RIVER FALLS—A Thief River Falls man faces numerous charges after police said he used Facebook to try to lure who he thought was a underage girl into having sex. Lane Allen Anderson, 22, was set to appear Friday in Pennington County District Court on seven felony counts of electronic solicitation of a minor. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
EDMORE, N.D.—A former pastor faces 10 years in prison after being accused of stealing almost $35,000 from his parish in northeast North Dakota over the past 14 years. Donald Lee Reynolds, an Edmore resident who was born in 1959, is scheduled to appear at the end of the month in Ramsey County District Court on a Class B felony charge of theft.
It took Grand Forks Red River High School sophomore Chase Eagan and his classmates about a week to program a small, clawed, four-wheeled robot to correct itself if it strayed from its path as it traveled down the school's hallway. Some of the autonomous vehicles performed the task almost perfectly, while others needed a little tweaking for a job that required a lot of coding. But the coding and building is part of the reason Eagan chose the elective class as part of his curriculum. "I've always really enjoyed building robots," he said.
Potential medical marijuana dispensaries soon can apply for applications to open in the Devils Lake, Jamestown, Dickinson and Minot regions. The North Dakota Department of Health announced Tuesday it could open the application period for those areas by the end of the month. The regions are the last of eight areas in North Dakota to accept applications for medical marijuana dispensaries.
FARGO—An East Grand Forks man will spend 25 years in a federal prison for selling fentanyl-laced drugs that killed a Grand Forks woman in 2017. U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier sentenced Anthony John Tozer, 33, on Monday in Fargo to 300 months behind bars after pleading guilty to a controlled substance crime that resulted in the death of Faith Burns, a 20-year-old woman who died Dec. 17, 2017, after ingesting heroin that was laced with fentanyl, according to court documents.
Grand Forks Public Schools will use space in the Herald building for its student transitional education program, despite concerns from a state agency that move could violate the rights of children with disabilities.
Grand Forks Public School Board members decided to give themselves a bump in pay, but not before several minutes of debate and multiple votes on how large the increase should be. The board voted 7-2 to increase annual salaries for members from $3,500 to $4,000. The board did not increase pay for the president, who makes $4,000 a year.