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.
- Member for
- 3 years 10 months
RED LAKE FALLS, Minn.—A Red Lake Falls woman accused of killing a 2-month-old child can get out of jail for $50,000, if she abides by certain conditions. A Red Lake County District Court judge on Wednesday, July 11, ordered Sarah Leah Kortan, 30, to be held on a $500,000 bond without conditions after being charged with second-degree murder. She was taking care of her cousin's infant when the baby girl stopped breathing June 20 at Kortan's home.
PEMBINA, N.D.—A Minnesota man, after being sentenced in Canada, now faces criminal charges in North Dakota after investigators said he tried to smuggle child porn into the country. Craig Eugene Leslie, 27, of Anoka, Minn., appeared Monday in Pembina County District Court in the far northeast corner of North Dakota on five Class C felony charges of possessing certain prohibited materials. Criminal documents allege Leslie had four photos and a video depicting children who appeared to be less than 10 years old being forced to engage in sexual acts.
GRAND FORKS -- The Grand Forks Police Department has identified two officers involved in a shooting that left one man dead early Sunday morning. Cpl. Jordan Drees and Officer Michael Ruit have been placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting that killed 41-year-old John Francis Murphy III. The two officers responded shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday after a report of a suicidal subject with a firearm, according to the Police Department.
GRAND FORKS -- A Grand Forks man arrested Monday, July 9, died shortly after an hours-long standoff. Samuel James Nelson, 36, was taken about 7:15 p.m. Monday from the Grand Forks County Correctional Center to Altru Hospital, where he passed away shortly after arrival, Jail Administrator Bret Burkholder said Tuesday morning. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the cause of death.
GRAND FORKS — North Dakotans seem to come out in mass when their leaders lose a loved one. That's just the way they are, U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said. "They want to reach out and be supportive, and that's who we are as a state," she said. "Lloyd Omdahl always says, 'We are just one big small town,' and I think that's what we do in North Dakota. We support each other, even if you don't agree with each other."
GRAND FORKS—A fired employee has been accused of attacking his former boss with a hammer in a Grand Forks robbery case. Kyle Joseph Duray, 24, of East Grand Forks, Minn., appeared Thursday in Grand Forks District Court on a Class B felony count of robbery with a dangerous weapon. The charge stems from an August robbery.
DEVILS LAKE—Two Devils Lake residents have been charged with sexually assaulting an underage teen multiple times at different locations in Ramsey County, charging documents say. Patrick Alan Leiphon, 51, and Sherene A. Kraft, 50, are set to appear Monday, July 9, in Ramsey County District Court in North Dakota on five charges each of gross sexual imposition, all of which are Class A felonies.
GRAND FORKS—A 38-year-old Grand Forks man has been sentenced to spend 20 years in prison for giving a teenager sleeping pills and then sexually assaulting her multiple times, but he plans to appeal the conviction. George Robert Lyons, 38, sat quietly in his chair Monday before Grand Forks District Judge John Thelen handed down a sentence of 40 years in prison with 20 years suspended. He intended to speak during the Monday sentencing hearing but became emotional. At times, he looked back into the courtroom crowd with bloodshot eyes.
FARGO—A Rhode Island man acted as an "organizer" of an international drug ring and helped distribute tens of thousands of fentanyl pills across the U.S., federal prosecutors alleged in recently unsealed court documents.
GRAND FORKS—Oil production and revenue for North Dakota is trending above forecast, but don't expect the state to restore funding that was cut in recent years, leaders said. "Is it going to open the door to a bunch more spending? No," said Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources. "It's not that good yet." Allocations from oil and gas revenue for June equaled $217 million—that was 72 percent ahead of the forecast, according to the most recent monthly update from the North Dakota Legislative Council.