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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The legalization of marijuana, or at least the attempt to do so, has gained steam. But recreational use still is illegal in most states and federally, meaning those who are caught with marijuana without a prescription can face criminal charges. In North Dakota, more than 50 percent of the drug arrests have involved marijuana for several years, according to the Attorney General's Office. Arrests have been on the rise in the state, and it appears large busts are becoming more common.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—A long list of potential funding cuts proposed by President Donald Trump could target programs that serve North Dakotans and Minnesotans, Congress members said this week. But the U.S. lawmakers don't think the president's budget—at least in its entirety—will fly in Congress. Trump called for $4.4 trillion in spending for 2019, a 10 percent increase from government spending in 2017, according to a report in the Washington Post. However, multiple agencies face cuts while others could see boosts in funding.
THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn.—Thief River Falls Public Schools is looking into a December high school house party linked to sexual assault charges.
BEMIDJI, Minn. —A northwest Minnesota man accused of having a cache of pipe bombs in rural Red Lake County now faces federal charges.
THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn.—Three Thief River Falls residents face murder and drug charges in connection to an overdose death. Aaron Daniel Zimmerman, 40, Nathan Charles Mock, 22, and Nicole Lee Baker, 30, had initial appearance hearings Monday, Feb. 12, in Pennington County District Court, where they were charged with one count each of third-degree murder and a third-degree controlled substance crime. Baker also was charged with a second third-degree controlled substance crime, as well as a fifth-degree controlled substance crime.
EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. — The future is bright for the solar sector in Minnesota, state and industry leaders said this week. Minnesota boasted 4,256 solar jobs in 2017, a 48 percent increase from 2016, according to the National Solar Jobs Census. The eighth annual report from the Solar Foundation ranked Minnesota 16th for job growth, Gov. Mark Dayton's office said in a email last week.
KENNEDY, Minn.—A northwest Minnesota town clerk and treasurer is suing the town and its leaders claiming they defamed her and violated open meeting laws. Mary Cooney Of Kennedy said they spread rumors about her and retaliated against her after she attempted to push the City Council into discussing allegations against her in open meetings. Cooney, who will resign from her city post in mid-February, filed the lawsuit against the City of Kennedy, its City Council members, the mayor and former employee Kevin Balstad on Thursday, Feb. 8, in Kittson County District Court.
BADGER, Minn.—Two northwest Minnesota men face numerous charges after a bar fight led to shots fired in Roseau County. Jordan Milo Foss, 33, of Badger, and Brandon John Peterson, 28, of Roseau, Minn., appeared Tuesday in Roseau County District Court. The chain of early Saturday morning events reportedly started with an altercation at Skippy Finns' Bar in Badger, investigators said in court documents.
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.