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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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.
LANCASTER, Minn. — A decision to reduce hours at the Lancaster and Roseau ports of entry puts federal convenience ahead of the needs of the people, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday, Dec. 13. Beginning Jan. 7, Roseau's port will close at 8 p.m instead of midnight, according to a Tuesday news release issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Lancaster, which is open until 10 p.m., will close at 6 p.m. in the winter and 8 p.m. in the summer. The decision was rooted in a strategy to realign resources to other ports with more traffic.
It's hard to imagine what a 1 million-square-foot facility looks like. Imagine if the Metrodome were built in Thief River Falls instead of Minneapolis. The 900,000-square-foot stadium that was once home to the Twins and Vikings is about 100,000 square feet smaller than Digi-Key Electronics' expansion in Thief River Falls.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Just because workers don't have a bachelor's degree, that doesn't mean they can't be successful. Jason Heintz, store leader for Scheels in Grand Forks, said he looks for an eagerness to learn, hard workers, self-teachers and people who have the right attitude, even if they don't have that four-year degree. "What we are really looking for is people with strong attitudes who can deliver great customer experience in this store," he said. "A lot of those qualities are a lot more important than the paper that says they have a degree."
A Washington Post reporter who moved to a Minnesota county he once called "the absolute worst place to live in America" has helped the population grow by one. Christopher Ingraham, a politics, drug policy and data journalist, told the Herald he and his wife, Briana, were having a baby in June, but William Jeffrey Sean Ingraham came six weeks early at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, according to the reporter's Facebook page.
Republicans in the congressional district that represents western Minnesota are seeing a backlash from a Facebook post calling Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the state's "Head Muslim Goat Humper." The post, which was taken down shortly after it was posted Monday to the Minnesota 7th District Republican Party's Facebook page, said U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., "has been sliding up to Minnesota's Head Muslim Goat Humper, Keith Ellison. Heck, they're now hunting buddies." The post went on to ask if Muslim refugees were coming to western Minnesota.