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 public universities have blocked websites containing child porn in an effort to promote a safer environment for learning. The North Dakota University System implemented the measure Monday that will block web pages with child porn from being accessed via its institutions' networks. It's all part of an initiative that started at the University of North Dakota, University Police Chief Eric Plummer said.
LARIMORE, N.D.—It's unlikely there will be any more legal action to overturn a North Dakota Supreme Court ruling that says victims of a fatal 2015 bus-train crash near Larimore must split $500,000, an attorney said.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — North Dakota likely won't open the application process for medical marijuana dispensaries until at least mid-May, but cities and counties already are preparing. The State Department of Health began accepting applications for potential medical marijuana manufacturers on Friday. Applications will be accepted through April 19, and soon after the state will pick two manufacturers.
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.
An East Grand Forks man has been accused of selling drugs out of a trailer and workshop. James Edward Kirchoffner, 44, appeared Tuesday in Polk County District Court on several drug charges, including two first-degree controlled substance crimes of sale, a second-degree controlled substance crime of possession and a third-degree controlled substance crime of sale, all felonies. He was arrested March 8 at 1019 Fifth Ave. N.E. after police learned from buyers they were getting meth from that location.
The last of 13 defendants charged in a drug conspiracy connected to a fatal 2016 shooting at a Grand Forks truck stop has been sentenced to 16 years in prison. Federal Judge Ralph Erickson handed down the sentence on Tuesday to Ryan Scott Franklin, 39, for his part in a drug conspiracy that investigators said led to the death of Austin Forsman on March 11, 2016, at the Flying J Truck Stop. Pursuant to a plea agreement signed in August, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess and distribute a controlled substance.
BISMARCK—The victims of a train-bus crash that killed two people and hospitalized 10 children more than three years ago near Larimore, N.D., will be limited to splitting $500,000 in damages, North Dakota's highest court ruled Monday. The statutory damage cap for tort claims against a political subdivision is constitutional, the State Supreme Court ruled in its opinion written by Justice Lisa McEvers. The ruling affirms the one issued by a Grand Forks District Court Judge.
Fargo Democrat Josh Boschee channeled President Donald Trump as he called out North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger on Saturday, March 17, in Grand Forks. “There is a lot to be said for an individual with (25) years of experience, but when that individual refuses to keep up with some of the most basic technological advances, it’s time for us to drain the prairie and elect a secretary of state who will move us forward,” Boschee told the Democratic State Convention delegates at the Alerus Center.
GRAFTON, N.D. — A Park River, N.D., man accused of having hundreds of child pornography images has been ordered to serve more than seven years in prison. Judge Laurie Fontaine handed down the sentence Thursday in Walsh County District Court to Steven Dale Dishner, 42, after he pleaded guilty in November to 100 counts of possessing certain materials prohibited, all Class C felonies. He initially was charged with 486 counts, but the remaining charges will be dismissed.
GRAND FORKS—A petition to decriminalize marijuana in North Dakota is seen by some as overbroad, but backers of the petition said the potential measure was made that way to force legislators to pass regulations if they want to. What that regulation will look like probably won't begin to take shape unless voters approve the ballot measure in November.