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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GRAND FORKS — A government shutdown looms as U.S. lawmakers try to come up with a compromise to approve an extension for a spending bill. At stake is the possible closing of federal agencies. "Nonessential" workers could be sent home if a spending deal or continuance resolution is not reached by midnight Saturday, Jan. 20. What's unclear is who is essential and who would take a temporary absence of leave, both across the nation and in states like Minnesota and North Dakota.
GRAND FORKS—Bob Rost spends most of his time leading the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department, but before and after school, he grabs a stop sign and dons his crossing guard gear as he helps children cross the street at J Nelson Kelly Elementary School. It's one reason why the sheriff, who has been directing foot traffic at the Grand Forks school nearly every morning and afternoon for 13 years, could become "America's Favorite Crossing Guard."
GRAND FORKS—A California property management company is in talks about bringing a possible tenant to the Macy's space at Columbia Mall in Grand Forks, an executive said. Ownership of the 99,000-square-foot building was transferred Jan. 9 to Joy 2001 Inc. of Downey, California, according to the Grand Forks County records. Macy's sold the space—along with other properties it owns across the country— last month during an online auction for $396,666.
A Grand Forks man sexually assaulted a teenager after giving her sleeping medication, a jury found Friday, Jan. 12, but he's been acquitted on accusations that he raped the girl and forced her to have oral sex. George Robert Lyons, 37, was found guilty Friday in Grand Forks District Court on one Class AA felony count of gross sexual imposition. The jury determined it could not convict him on the two other charges with the same classification. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.
MICHIGAN, N.D. — The person who bought a winning lottery ticket worth $25,000 a year for life in northeast North Dakota is running out of time to claim it. The Lucky for Life ticket sold between Aug. 11 and 14 matched the five winning numbers needed to win $25,000 a year for life, according to the North Dakota Lottery. The person has until Feb. 10 to claim the money. Otherwise, the money will be transferred into the state's general fund.
A bill aimed at websites that facilitate online sex trafficking has enough votes for passage in the Senate, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said Thursday, Jan. 11. The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) has 65 sponsors, Heitkamp said. She believes that number could grow to 70.
GRAND FORKS – The accuser in an eight-year-old sexual assault case against a Grand Forks man told jurors Wednesday, Jan. 10, she believes the defendant sneaked sleeping pills into her drink before he allegedly raped her when she was a young teenager.
GRAND FORKS — The owners of an apartment complex where two UND students were raped at gunpoint in 2013 are not responsible for what happened to the victims, their attorney said in court documents.
The Red River Valley could see a one-two punch, first with an arctic blast then a possible blizzard hitting the area midweek. A winter storm watch will be in effect Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning for most of east North Dakota and northwest Minnesota as an arctic cold front moves into North Dakota Tuesday evening, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Forks. Temperatures are not expected to reach above zero for the foreseeable future, with lows dipping into the negative teens and negative 20s, according to the forecast.
With costs on the rise, North Dakota farmers could see another challenging year despite projections that some crops could yield positive returns, one expert said. Soybeans are expected to be another moneymaker for farmers this year, according to the farm management office with the North Dakota State University Extension Service. Producers planted more acres of soybeans than any other crop in North Dakota for the past two years, surpassing hard red spring wheat, in second place, and corn, in third.