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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GRAND FORKS — North Dakota has topped several lists for drunken driving, with statistics ranking the state high for the rate of alcohol-related deaths.
ROLETTE, N.D.—A Rolette man has pleaded not guilty to murder charges related to an eight-hour standoff in July. Ronald Wayne Wootan, 49, faces life in prison without parole if convicted of killing 27-year-old James Pochant of Rugby, N.D. On Monday, Wootan denied the allegations laid out in a criminal complaint that say he fatally shot Pochant, whose body was found at 605 Third Ave. in Rolette after a late July standoff. Wootan has been charged with a Class AA felony of murder.
GRAND FORKS -- A Grand Forks lawmaker will submit a medical marijuana bill that he said will help put doctors’ fears of liability at ease when they recommend the substance. Republican State Rep. Steve Vetter has drafted a bill with the help of the Legislative Council that would allow doctors to state the condition of a patient who may benefit from medical marijuana. He is working to get support for the proposed legislation.
GRAND FORKS — North Dakota and Minnesota, along with other parts of the U.S., have reported more extreme weather in recent years, including more damaging hail storms, severe droughts, heavier rains, hotter temperatures and longer growing seasons.
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — A northwest Minnesota man who planned to start a “second American Revolution” will spend five years in prison for storing a cache of pipe bombs at his hunting property. Federal Judge John Tunheim handed down the 60-month sentence to Eric James Reinbold, 42, of Oklee, Minn., Friday morning in Fergus Falls. In July, a jury found Reinbold guilty of possessing unregistered destructive devices after a three-day trial.
MANDAN, N.D. -- A Belcourt School Board member was arrested this weekend at a Mandan hotel after allegedly saying he would kill a woman. Jeremy Lee Laducer, 44, appeared Monday, Dec. 3, in Morton County District Court on a Class C felony count of terrorizing and a Class B misdemeanor of disorderly conduct. The former charge carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison.
GRAND FORKS — A man was arrested Monday, Dec. 3, in relation to a bomb threat that forced the Grand Forks Public Library to be evacuated, police said. Police arrested Raymond Lassiter, 34, Grand Forks, after the bomb threat was reported by library staff, according to a news release. Lassiter is expected to face a disorderly conduct charge, police Sgt. Jay Middleton said.
GRAND FORKS — North Dakota’s House minority leader will not seek another term as the head Democrat in one of the Legislature’s chambers. Rep. Corey Mock of Grand Forks announced Saturday, Dec. 1, he would step aside from a another term as the lead Democrat in the state House, leaving the title open to Rep. Joshua Boschee, D-Fargo.
GRAND FORKS — Grand Forks Police continue to investigate how a student saying someone looked like a school shooter escalated into a false report of an active threat Monday, Nov. 26, at Red River High School. The investigation into the comments is ongoing and active, but the incident officers responded to Monday evening likely won’t result in criminal charges, Grand Forks Police Lt. Derik Zimmel said.
GRAND FORKS -- An Iowa man was ordered to spend more than a year behind bars for trying to use Craigslist to arrange sex with an investigator he thought was a 14-year-old girl. Ryan William Baker, 33, of Coralville, Iowa, said nothing as Judge Donald Hager sentenced him to five years in prison on a Class B felony of luring minors by computer. The crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, but Baker signed a plea agreement for a lesser punishment.