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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A nonprofit rehabilitation center is looking to buy the building it occupies from the city of Grand Forks, and both entities are investigating options to keep a months-old social detox center there, too.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Supreme Court cannot determine if a felon who murdered a gas station clerk in Devils Lake more than 20 years ago should be released from jail early because the possible parole date hasn't happened yet, justices ruled this week. The court unanimously dismissed an appeal by Marlon Leon Comes, 37, for post-conviction relief. Comes pleaded guilty in 1996 to Class AA murder and Class A robbery for the fatal shooting of Donald Jerome in December 1995 at the Devils Lake Superpumper. He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
The legalization of marijuana, or at least the attempt to do so, has gained steam. But recreational use still is illegal in most states and federally, meaning those who are caught with marijuana without a prescription can face criminal charges.
An East Grand Forks veterinary practice will move to a new facility, leaving behind a building that has served as an animal clinic for six decades. Peterson Veterinary Clinic is building a 6,500-square-foot facility about three blocks north of its current clinic at 1525 Central Ave. N.W. Construction crews broke ground on the project in September, and staff plan to open the new facility this summer, said Dr. Kyle Peterson.
A deal for Choice Financial Holdings to acquire a Twin Cities-based banking firm will give the former a chance to expand into new markets, executives said. Fargo-based Choice Financial announced the merger this week with Venture Bank. Choice Financial didn’t disclose how much the merger cost, but it “secured commitments for over $100 million in capital locally to help finance the transaction,” a news release said.
Plans are in the works to honor the Lamoureux twins in Grand Forks after their dramatic win this week at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and some people want a permanent sign showing love for the gold medalists. The city of Grand Forks is looking at several options in planning an event to honor Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, City Administrator Todd Feland said. The Grand Forks natives helped lead the U.S. women's hockey team to victory over Canada.
Grand Forks County will help a biorefinery sell $80 million in bonds. Commissioners approved a resolution this week that would allow Red River BioRefinery to issue the bonds through the county. The tax-exempt bonds would help the company pay for a refinery it plans to build north of Grand Forks.
CROOKSTON—A Crookston man has been accused of kicking his sister's dog to death after it urinated in his shoes. Benjerman Robert Eia, 21, appeared Thursday in Polk County District Court on a felony count of mistreatment of animals—cruelty resulting in death or great bodily harm. He was booked Nov. 26 into the Northwest Regional Corrections Center after the Crookston Police Department investigated a report of a domestic altercation involving Eia and his sister.
BELCOURT, N.D.—A school on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in north-central North Dakota went into lockdown Thursday after receiving a threat. Turtle Mountain Community Schools in Belcourt locked the school down Thursday morning due to a threat of violence, according to the school's Facebook page. Police have been contacted and are "in charge of the situation," the post said. "There was another threat that was reported and all safety protocols have been followed," the school said. "We ask that you not come to get your child or drop them off at this time."
CROOKSTON—A Norman County man could spend up to 30 years in prison if found guilty of raping a teenager over the Christmas holiday. Paul Richard Bruce, 47, Gary, Minn., appeared Tuesday in Polk County District Court, where he faces a first-degree felony charge of criminal sexual conduct. He's accused of forcing a girl who was younger than 16 years old to have sex with him on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, according to court records. The Crookston Police Department investigated the claims.