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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GRAND FORKS — A government shutdown looms as U.S. lawmakers try to come up with a compromise to approve an extension for a spending bill. At stake is the possible closing of federal agencies. "Nonessential" workers could be sent home if a spending deal or continuance resolution is not reached by midnight Saturday, Jan. 20. What's unclear is who is essential and who would take a temporary absence of leave, both across the nation and in states like Minnesota and North Dakota.
GRAND FORKS—A former University of North Dakota football player has pleaded guilty for his part in dealing marijuana. Demon Taylor, who was an offensive lineman for the Fighting Hawks, entered an open plea Thursday in Grand Forks District Court to a Class B felony of possessing marijuana with intent to deliver or manufacture and possessing drug paraphernalia. His sentencing date has been set for March 5, and he faces up to almost 11 years in prison and a $23,000 fine.
GRAND FORKS—Bob Rost spends most of his time leading the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department, but before and after school, he grabs a stop sign and dons his crossing guard gear as he helps children cross the street at J Nelson Kelly Elementary School. It's one reason why the sheriff, who has been directing foot traffic at the Grand Forks school nearly every morning and afternoon for 13 years, could become "America's Favorite Crossing Guard."
GRAND FORKS — Keith Urban is coming to Grand Forks this fall. In a surprise pop-up show and announcement, the country music singer from New Zealand said Wednesday, Jan. 17, he would take to the road with his "Graffiti U World Tour 2018." That includes an Oct. 14 stop at Ralph Engelstad Arena, according to a news release from the event center. Urban has found success as a Grammy Award winner who has produced platinum records. Some of his hits include "Somebody Like You," "You'll Think of Me" and his 2016 recording with Carrie Underwood "The Fighter."
GRAND FORKS—A California property management company is in talks about bringing a possible tenant to the Macy's space at Columbia Mall in Grand Forks, an executive said. Ownership of the 99,000-square-foot building was transferred Jan. 9 to Joy 2001 Inc. of Downey, California, according to the Grand Forks County records. Macy's sold the space—along with other properties it owns across the country— last month during an online auction for $396,666.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—A Grand Forks man charged with attempted murder in a convenience store shooting last summer has pleaded guilty to reduced charges. Jody Christopher Bergland Jr., was sentenced Tuesday, Jan.16, in Grand Forks District Court to five years in prison for aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon, a Class C felony. He initially was charged with a Class A felony count of attempted murder and reckless endangerment, a Class C felony, but the plea agreement downgraded the more serious charge.
Northeast North Dakota and several counties in northwest Minnesota are under a no travel advisory, with high wind gusts, blowing snow and frigid temperatures causing dangerous conditions. “Intermittent whiteout conditions” persist Monday morning in the north Red River Valley, the National Weather Service in Grand Forks said. A band of light snow likely will bring less than an inch of snow, but winds are gusting up to 35 mph, the weather service said.
A Grand Forks man sexually assaulted a teenager after giving her sleeping medication, a jury found Friday, Jan. 12, but he's been acquitted on accusations that he raped the girl and forced her to have oral sex. George Robert Lyons, 37, was found guilty Friday in Grand Forks District Court on one Class AA felony count of gross sexual imposition. The jury determined it could not convict him on the two other charges with the same classification. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.
GRAND FORKS—A Grand Forks man has been ordered to serve 65 months in prison for his part in an operation to import and distribute fentanyl across North Dakota and northwest Minnesota. On Tuesday, Judge Jeffrey Remick sentenced Tucker Christian Collings, 20, after he pleaded guilty Aug. 24 in Polk County District Court to a first-degree count of selling 50 grams or more in narcotics. He faced 40 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
MICHIGAN, N.D. — The person who bought a winning lottery ticket worth $25,000 a year for life in northeast North Dakota is running out of time to claim it. The Lucky for Life ticket sold between Aug. 11 and 14 matched the five winning numbers needed to win $25,000 a year for life, according to the North Dakota Lottery. The person has until Feb. 10 to claim the money. Otherwise, the money will be transferred into the state's general fund.