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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HILLSBORO, N.D.—A Florida woman will avoid jail time for causing a crash last month in Traill County that took the life of an unborn child. Traill County District Court Judge Tom Olson accepted a plea deal for Claudia Rae Grace, 75, of The Villages, Fla., who entered a guilty plea to a Class A misdemeanor count of aggravated reckless driving. She was sentenced to 360 days behind bars, the maximum punishment for the charge, but Olson suspended the entire jail sentence, pursuant to the plea agreement.
U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson tapped World War II Gen. Henry "Hap" Arnold when describing where the unmanned aircraft industry was headed. "Take everything you've learned about aviation in war and throw it out of the window, and let's go to work on tomorrow's aviation," she said Tuesday at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks as she quoted the five-star Air Force general's quotes from the 1940s. "It will be different from anything the world has ever seen."
Parents who were supposed to send their kindergarteners to West Elementary School in Grand Forks are worried the elimination of the class will have long-term impacts. "I'm not prepared to send my child to that school now, but now I don't have a choice," Diana Duchscherer told Grand Forks Public School Board members Monday. Duchscherer was one of two parents with kindergarteners slated to attend West who spoke during Monday's meeting. It was the first time the board met since parents were informed the class would be canceled.
A biorefinery that will turn sugar beet stock into ethanol in Grand Forks will break ground this week. City, state and economic leaders are expected to speak Wednesday at the ground ceremony for the Red River Biorefinery, an 80,000-square-foot facility that will convert more than 500,000 metric tons of agricultural byproducts per year, according to a news release. The plant should produce 100 to 200 jobs for construction and about 25 permanent technical jobs, said Jacek Chmielewski, managing member for BioMass Solutions.
A bump in property taxes for residents in the Grand Forks Public School District may be put on hold. When the School Board meets today, it will hear recommendations from its finance committee to not add three mills to the 2018-19 budget, in an effort to create a special reserve fund. The increase would generate $700,000 a year for emergency spending, but it's unclear how the funds would be used, School Board President Bill Palmiscno said last week. "There is some hesitation on what it can be used for," he said. "It doesn't really explain exactly what we can use it for."
Local races in northwest Minnesota have taken shape, with some cities attracting multiple candidates. "It's very exciting that we have a number of candidates," Crookston City Administrator Shannon Stassen said. "We talk about wanting people to be engaged in their city government and wanting to be a part of moving things forward in a positive way. I think that is a good indication that people want to."
U.S. House hopeful Charles Tuttle says a juvenile court ruling that found he had sexual contact with a young child won't stop him from running for Congress. The Minot resident who was cited this month in Grand Forks with having political advertising on a public right of way also faced child abuse accusations in Ohio more than 15 years ago as he fought for custody of his children. The Delaware County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division in Ohio found the minor was an "abused child as a result of the sexual contact," according to the opinion.
Grand Forks educators hope a tool that allows parents to compare prices for school supplies will make shopping easier and help families save money. All Grand Forks Public Schools that have a school supplies list are using TeacherLists, a tool that links to retailers, brings up the items needed for each grade and allows parents to print the list or order online. "We try to make it as convenient as possible," said Kelli Tannahill, principal for Lewis and Clark Elementary School.
BAUDETTE, Minn.—A Baudette man could face 20 years in prison if found guilty of pointing a gun at officers during a confrontation in northwest Minnesota. John Clarence Centoben, 75, is scheduled to appear Wednesday in Lake of the Woods District Court on a first-degree felony of use of deadly force against a peace officer. The charges stem from a July 31 call to Centoben's home after the Lake of the Woods County Sheriff's Office received reports of "increasingly alarming behavior" by the man, according to court documents.
CROOKSTON—A McIntosh, Minn., man awaiting trial on allegations that he sexually abused a child has been accused of raping a separate minor. Jeremy Allen Jerdee, 39, was charged Monday in Polk County District court with two felony counts of criminal sexual conduct—one in the first degree and the other a second-degree charge. The case comes after a child said Jerdee began raping her in 2011, according to court documents. At the time the alleged acts began, the child was less than 10 years old, court documents said.