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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GILBY, N.D.—Brent Schmitz was expecting a 50- to 60-bushel soybean crop this year, but he said he'll be lucky to get half of that after heat and dry conditions burned out his plants as they started to form pods. "This year started out good," the Mekinock, N.D., farmer said. "It just all of a sudden turned dry. Everything just shut off."
It was a mostly quiet night for the primary election in northwest Minnesota, but the two county commission races that needed to be narrowed were too close to call Tuesday night. With 15 of 18 precincts in Roseau County reporting for the District 5 commissioner seat as of 9:50 p.m, Daryl Wicklund took 43 percent of the vote, Jerry Peters had 37 percent and Larry Emery garnered 20 percent, according to unofficial results. Election officials had counted 367 votes as of press time.
West Elementary School in Grand Forks will not have a kindergarten class this year. The northside school at 615 N. 25th St. was expected to have seven students in its fall kindergarten class, so Grand Forks Public School administration decided in the spring to move the students to other schools, spokeswoman Tracy Jentz confirmed Tuesday.
THIEF RIVER FALLS—A former Thief River Falls Council member has pleaded not guilty to accusations that say he assaulted a city leader during a committee meeting. Joshua Mark Hagen, 38, entered the plea Monday in Pennington County District Court after saying he would fight the fifth-degree assault charge that stemmed from a July 10 scuffle at City Hall.
THIEF RIVER FALLS—One of three people accused in connection to an overdose death earlier this year in Thief River Falls has pleaded guilty in the case. Nathan Charles Mock, 23, of Stephen, Minn., was sentenced Monday in Pennington County District Court to 36 months in prison for a third-degree controlled substance crime, a felony. In exchange for a plea deal, the third-degree murder charge for the overdose death of 23-year-old Samuel Dejesus Cabrales was dismissed.
A former UND student who went missing has been found.
The yearly numbers for drunk driving arrests by North Dakota State University police have dipped into the single digits, a sharp contrast to the law enforcement agency at UND. NDSU police made five driving under the influence arrests last year, a slight uptick from the 2016 count of three, according to statistics gathered by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation. By comparison, the UND Police Department arrested 69 motorists suspected of driving drunk last year, up from 66 in 2016, according to the BCI.
There are no plans to completely redraw Grand Forks Public Schools' boundaries, but leaders may consider sending one small area of the city to a different elementary school to accommodate growth. The facilities committee is slated to review a request to move some Viking Elementary School students in south Grand Forks to Discovery Elementary School, according to documents from the district. The land proposed to be redistricted into Discovery's boundaries is between 32nd and 40th avenues south and South 20th and Washington streets, according to the documents.
An East Grand Forks City Council member will seek re-election this November, and he will have a challenger. Marc DeMers told the Herald on Friday he plans to run for his at-large seat. The council member has held the post since January 2015, though he previously served on the council from 2008 to 2012. "It's always a tough decision when you decide whether or not you are going to run for office," he said. "I feel like I have unfinished business to do in East Grand Forks on that council."
The deadline to appear on the ballot for the East Grand Forks City Council is next week, and only one resident has applied for one of three seats up for election, according to City Hall. Voters will decide Nov. 6 who will fill the council positions for Wards 2 and 4, as well as an at-large seat. The deadline to file and appear on the ballot is 5 p.m. Tuesday, but City Hall has not received any applications for the Ward 2 and at-large posts as of 3 p.m. Thursday, City Administrator David Murphy said. Tim Johnson has applied for Ward 4, Murphy said.