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 Grand Forks woman who killed her children sent several text messages to others before turning a gun on herself, including one stating, "Nobody is going to have to deal with us anymore." More than 200 pages obtained this week by the Herald detail the deaths of 35-year-old Astra Felicia Nicole Volk and three of her children—Tyler, 14, Aiden, 10, and Arianne, 6. The children were fatally shot by Volk in early May at their Grand Forks home. Volk then killed herself in the early hours of May 3 with a handgun she bought legally the morning before her death.
FORT TOTTEN, N.D.—Lionel Dunn was the 111th person to get a free tribal ID card from the Spirit Lake Nation. The Fort Totten man checked out his new card with a smile Wednesday at the Blue Building, the center for tribal government on the reservation. Dunn was a part of a steady flow of tribal members who trickled into the building this week so they could get new IDs. It's all because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld a state election law requiring North Dakotans to have a residential address on driver's licenses or ID cards to vote.
Meth and heat exposure contributed to the death of a Grand Forks man in the county jail after an hours-long standoff, officials said. Samuel James Nelson, 36, died July 9 from "excited delirium associated with methamphetamine toxicity and prolonged exposure to a hot environment," Jail Administrator Bret Burkholder said, based on information he received from the Grand Forks County coroner.
DEVILS LAKE—A Devils Lake corrections officer missed a check on the cell of an inmate who killed himself in the hours leading up to his death, according to a police report. The Devils Lake Police Department ruled the death of 57-year-old David James Grove of Devils Lake a suicide. The report stated he used a bedsheet to hang himself from a bunk bed Sept. 2 while in a cell at the Lake Region Law Enforcement Center.
A former UND student used more than $40,000 from his fraternity for a long list of purchases, including designer clothes and other high-end items, according to recently released court documents.
The closed Ray Richards Golf Course may be revived, but UND also is investigating how the land can be used for drone activity as well.
FARGO—A Fort Totten, N.D., man plans to plead guilty on a federal charge related to the death of his girlfriend. John Willard Greywind, 43, was set to go to trial Tuesday in U.S. District Court on charges of second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter, but a sentencing date has been scheduled for Jan. 8. Documents filed in early October state Greywind wishes to plead guilty to the latter charge, though a plea agreement had not been filed as of Tuesday.
Thursday's debate for the U.S. Senate election in North Dakota gave residents a chance to compare Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer side by side for the first time, with both candidates claiming victory. But political experts were hesitant to declare a winner, and they said the brief matchup was far from the lone factor in deciding who will win the coveted seat. "I could be proven wrong, but I don't see this debate as being decisive in the election," said Mike Jacobs, a former publisher and editor for the Grand Forks Herald.
BISMARCK — In the last of their scheduled debates, North Dakota candidates seeking the state's lone seat in the U.S. House had to answer questions on a range of topics, including international relations and a trade war with China.
CROOKSTON—Two veteran officers with the Polk County Sheriff's Office want the county's top law enforcement position. Chief Deputy Jim Tadman and Sgt. Randy Sondrol are vying for the votes of Polk County residents in an attempt to take over for Sheriff Barb Erdman, who said in January she will step down after being in the office for eight years. Both candidates have had a hand in a variety of areas for the Sheriff's Office, from the SWAT team to patrols to narcotics. They also have served as supervisors and have trained multiple deputies.