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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BAUDETTE, Minn.—A Baudette man could face 20 years in prison if found guilty of pointing a gun at officers during a confrontation in northwest Minnesota. John Clarence Centoben, 75, is scheduled to appear Wednesday, August 22, in Lake of the Woods District Court on a first-degree felony of use of deadly force against a peace officer. The charges stem from a July 31 call to Centoben's home after the Lake of the Woods County Sheriff's Office received reports of "increasingly alarming behavior" by the man, according to court documents.
CROOKSTON—A McIntosh, Minn., man awaiting trial on allegations that he sexually abused a child has been accused of raping a separate minor. Jeremy Allen Jerdee, 39, was charged Monday, August 13, in Polk County District court with two felony counts of criminal sexual conduct—one in the first degree and the other a second-degree charge. The case comes after a child said Jerdee began raping her in 2011, according to court documents. At the time the alleged acts began, the child was less than 10 years old, court documents said.
THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. -- A former Thief River Falls Council member has pleaded not guilty to accusations that say he assaulted a city leader during a committee meeting. Joshua Mark Hagen, 38, entered the plea Monday in Pennington County District Court after saying he would fight the fifth-degree assault charge that stemmed from a July 10 scuffle at City Hall in this northwestern Minnesota city of about 8,500 residents..
HALLOCK, Minn.—Kittson County investigators are taking another look at a missing person case that is two decades old after learning that foul play may have contributed to her disappearance. The Kittson County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday, Aug. 7, in a Facebook video it had leads regarding Becky Jo Look, who has been missing since 1995. Deputies spent Wednesday searching an undisclosed area for evidence in Kittson County, Sheriff Steve Porter said. Hallock is about 70 miles north of Grand Forks, N.D.
GRAND FORKS—The head of the nation's security will make a stop Thursday, Aug. 9, in Grand Forks County, a first for the recently appointed official. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will visit the Grand Sky Unmanned Aerial Systems Technology Park to review the area's developments for the UAS industry, according to a news release from U.S. Sen. John Hoeven's office. She also will attend a roundtable with unmanned aircraft experts and leaders in the state, the release said Tuesday.
GRAND FORKS—Red River Valley farmers are hitting the fields early to get small grains in the bin, but some are worried later crops such as soybeans and corn could be in trouble if rain doesn't come soon. Combines started rolling in the fields this week, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture received scattered reports of producers beginning the hard red spring wheat harvest in North Dakota and Minnesota, according to crop progress reports released by the agency early this week.
ROLETTE, N.D.—A multibillion-dollar package meant to combat agricultural losses in a trade war with China has left farmers and economists wondering how the money will be distributed. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday plans to authorize up to $12 billion in assistance for farmers "in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation," referring to China's tariffs against U.S. products. China imposed those sanctions after President Donald Trump announced tariffs on Chinese imports.
GRAND FORKS—Vice President Mike Pence had two words of ammunition for military personnel when he spoke Wednesday, July 25, at Grand Forks Air Force Base: "Stay ready." "Bring your very best to this enterprise," he said. "Mind your mission. Mind your people, because here at the Air Force base, you are doing work that is providing security for the greatest nation in the history of the world."
THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn.—Criminal charges have been filed against two men involved in a fight last week at Thief River Falls City Hall. Former City Council member Joshua Mark Hagen, 38, faces a fifth-degree misdemeanor charge of assault, and City Council member Jerald Dean Brown, 73, has been charged with disorderly conduct. The charges were filed Wednesday, July 19, in Pennington County District Court, a week after a fight broke out between the two during an Administrative Services Committee meeting in City Hall.
FERGUS FALLS, Minn.—Federal prosecutors say an Oklee man had plans to start a "second American Revolution," wrote down instructions for bomb-making and identified multiple targets, including the IRS, police, teachers and "the rich."