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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ROLETTE, N.D.—A multibillion-dollar package meant to combat agricultural losses in a trade war with China has left farmers and economists wondering how the money will be distributed. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday plans to authorize up to $12 billion in assistance for farmers "in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation," referring to China's tariffs against U.S. products. China imposed those sanctions after President Donald Trump announced tariffs on Chinese imports.
GRAND FORKS—Vice President Mike Pence had two words of ammunition for military personnel when he spoke Wednesday, July 25, at Grand Forks Air Force Base: "Stay ready." "Bring your very best to this enterprise," he said. "Mind your mission. Mind your people, because here at the Air Force base, you are doing work that is providing security for the greatest nation in the history of the world."
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—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.
RURAL LAKE BRONSON, Minn.—To Randy Coffield, raising cattle is not just a business. It's his life. "I came in as a greenhorn, and I've learned a lot over the years," the rural Lake Bronson rancher said as calves played in the straw-filled corrals behind his house. Calving season was starting to taper off in mid-March when Coffield, who lives in Kittson County, said he got three hours of sleep, mostly because he had to get up multiple times in the middle of the night to check his herd of 270 cows.
RUGBY, N.D.—Rugby leaders say the city has officially reclaimed its title as the "Geographical Center of North America," ending a yearslong fight between two North Dakota cities over who deserves the name. The Rugby Chamber of Commerce announced Friday it had reached a settlement with Hanson's Bar of Robinson, N.D., saying bar owner and Robinson Mayor Bill Bender will stop using the trademark he registered in 2015. "The parties are pleased to have reached an amicable resolution of their differences," the Chamber statement said.
WASHINGTON—A bill aimed at websites that host sex trafficking ads is headed to President Donald Trump's desk. The U.S. Senate passed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act Wednesday with a vote of 97-2, sending it to the president's desk for his signature. The bill would amend the Communications Decency Act to say facilitating the act of selling humans for sex online is not protected under the First Amendment but is a violation of federal criminal code, according to the bill's summary.
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 — This season's flu is on pace to hit four times as many people it did last year, with health officials hoping it will peak soon. National experts say this year could be the country's worst in nearly a decade, according to the Washington Post.
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.