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 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 -- 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.
BISMARCK — Republican Kelly Armstrong is projected to take North Dakota’s U.S. House seat. With 357 of 424 precincts reporting as of 10:20 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, Armstrong, a state senator from Dickinson, had 62 percent of the vote in the three-way race for the state’s only seat in the House, according to incomplete and unofficial results.
FORT TOTTEN, N.D. -- Lionel Dunn was the 111th person to get a free tribal ID card from the Spirit Lake Nation. The Fort Totten man checked out his new card with a smile Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the Blue Building, the center for tribal government on the reservation. Dunn was a part of a steady flow of tribal members who trickled into the building this week so they could get new IDs.
A Libertarian candidate who ran for North Dakota secretary of state this year before being told he couldn't appear on the general election ballot is asking voters to write him in as agriculture commissioner. Roland Riemers of Grand Forks announced Tuesday night we will seek the office held by Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring. Goehring is seeking re-election for a third term but faces a challenge from state Sen. Jim Dotzenrod, D-Wyndmere.
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — A proposed swine farm near Devils Lake that would house hundreds of hogs wouldn't be the first of its kind in North Dakota. Yet the one proposed by Grand Prairie Agriculture has attracted a lot of attention from advocates and opponents. "There certainly have been a large number of comments" regarding the farm, said Karl Rockeman, water quality director for the North Dakota Department of Health.
Grand Forks Police are investigating a Saturday evening death that was the result of an altercation between two patients at a mental health facility. Emergency staff responded at 7:13 p.m. Saturday to Red River Behavioral Health System at 1451 44th Ave. S. for an unresponsive subject, according to a news release. Altru paramedics arrived at the scene before police and determined the person was deceased, the release said.
GRAND FORKS — U.S. Senate candidates in North Dakota already are spending big bucks to win their race, but U.S. House hopefuls also are trying to get their names on the minds of voters. State Sen. Kelly Armstrong, R-Dickinson, and former State Sen. Mac Schneider, D-Grand Forks, have spent tens of thousands of dollars in the race to capture a seat held by U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. Cramer is vacating his post and hoping to defeat incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., in what could become one of the most expensive races in state history.
GRAND FORKS — North Dakota's Republican and Democratic candidates for the U.S. House race butted heads for a third time, calling each other out on their votes in the state Legislature and support of national policy. State Sen. Kelly Armstrong, R-Dickinson, and Grand Forks attorney Mac Schneider, a Democrat who served in the Senate from 2009 to 2016, exchanged barbs Tuesday night, Sept. 11, in a live broadcast on Prairie Public Broadcasting. The debate was sponsored by AARP, and PPB News Director Dave Thompson moderated.