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 — Grand Forks County has one of North Dakota's highest percentages of workers in the food services and accommodations industry, but finding help for the sector isn't easy. "I've seen the quantity of applicants rise a little bit in the short term here, but overall it's been pretty tough to find a warm body," said Matt Walkowiak, owner of the Ground Round in Grand Forks. "We probably went the better half of last year with 20 positions available."
GRAND FORKS—A former University of North Dakota student accused of possessing child pornography claims officers violated his Miranda rights and told him he couldn't make any calls while in custody.
THOMPSON, N.D.—Two Fargo men were arrested early Thursday morning in Grand Forks County after a pursuit through the county. Steven Ross Johnson and Dustin A. Stautz were taken into custody after the chase ended about 10 miles west of Thompson, N.D., on N.D. Highway 15. Both were arrested on North Dakota warrants, and Johnson likely will be charged with driving under revocation and fleeing in Grand Forks District Court.
Law enforcement in Grand Forks soon will be able to take unmanned aircraft with them while on patrol. The Northeast Region Unmanned Aircraft Systems Unit will begin proactive deployment of their aircraft March 1, according to a news release from the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department. That means officers trained as pilots will be able to take the unmanned aircraft systems, also known as UAS or drones, with them as they patrol their areas.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Supreme Court cannot determine if a felon who murdered a gas station clerk in Devils Lake more than 20 years ago should be released from jail early because the possible parole date hasn't happened yet, justices ruled this week. The court unanimously dismissed an appeal by Marlon Leon Comes, 37, for post-conviction relief. Comes pleaded guilty in 1996 to Class AA murder and Class A robbery for the fatal shooting of Donald Jerome in December 1995 at the Devils Lake Superpumper. He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. — A fourth person has been charged in connection to the overdose death of a Thief River Falls man. Robert Louis Bellanger-Fohrenkam, 35, of Bemidji, Minn., had an initial appearance hearing Tuesday in Polk County District Court, where he faces felony charges of third-degree murder and first-degree controlled substance crime. The criminal case is the result of an investigation into the Feb. 8 death of 23-year-old Samuel Dejesus Cabrales, who was found unresponsive at a Thief River Falls residence.
The legalization of marijuana, or at least the attempt to do so, has gained steam. But recreational use still is illegal in most states and federally, meaning those who are caught with marijuana without a prescription can face criminal charges. In North Dakota, more than 50 percent of the drug arrests have involved marijuana for several years, according to the Attorney General's Office. Arrests have been on the rise in the state, and it appears large busts are becoming more common.
GRAND FORKS—Plans are in the works to honor the Lamoureux twins in Grand Forks after their dramatic win this week at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and some people want a permanent sign showing love for the gold medalists. The city of Grand Forks is looking at several options in planning an event to honor Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, City Administrator Todd Feland said. The Grand Forks natives helped lead the U.S. women's hockey team to victory over Canada.
BELCOURT, N.D.—Threats of violence against a high school on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation have prompted staff to cancel classes until next week. Turtle Mountain Community Schools in Belcourt sent its students home Thursday morning after receiving a threat aimed at the district's high school, according to a Facebook post by administration. The district announced it would not open any of its schools for class Friday due to "the continued threats of violence," a Facebook post stated.
BELCOURT, N.D. -- A school on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in north-central North Dakota sent its students home Thursday morning, Feb. 22, after threats of violence triggered a lockdown. Turtle Mountain Community Schools in Belcourt locked the school down Thursday morning, according to the school’s Facebook page. Police have been contacted and are “in charge of the situation,” the post said.