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, N.D.—A Grand Forks man charged with attempted murder in a convenience store shooting last summer has pleaded guilty to reduced charges. Jody Christopher Bergland Jr., was sentenced Tuesday, Jan.16, in Grand Forks District Court to five years in prison for aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon, a Class C felony. He initially was charged with a Class A felony count of attempted murder and reckless endangerment, a Class C felony, but the plea agreement downgraded the more serious charge.
Northeast North Dakota and several counties in northwest Minnesota are under a no travel advisory, with high wind gusts, blowing snow and frigid temperatures causing dangerous conditions. “Intermittent whiteout conditions” persist Monday morning in the north Red River Valley, the National Weather Service in Grand Forks said. A band of light snow likely will bring less than an inch of snow, but winds are gusting up to 35 mph, the weather service said.
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.
LANGDON, N.D.—A Thursday night fire destroyed a 115-year-old building that contained the Langdon General Store, marking the third major blaze in two days in the north Red River Valley. The building's destruction means downtown Langdon has lost not only a historical structure but the opportunity for another business to occupy the space in the near future, General Store owner Alex Chaput said. "It was just a majestic building," he said. "The history is gone."
Northwest Minnesota's U.S. representative and North Dakota's Democratic senator are near the top of a list of congressional members who voted against their party last year, while North Dakota's Republican senator ranked last. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., each ranked second for voting against their party during the 115th Congress, according to watchdog website ProPublica. Heitkamp voted against her party 22.5 percent of the time, while Peterson did so with 27.3 percent of his votes.
GRAND FORKS — Bitcoin's popularity is on the rise, and with it skepticism and excitement have mounted for the digital currency. Its value against the U.S. dollar has exploded in recent months. One bitcoin was worth about $780 a year ago today but is now worth more than $1,760. The currency finished its first week of trading with gains of about 17 percent as of Friday morning, Dec. 15.
LANCASTER, Minn. — A decision to reduce hours at the Lancaster and Roseau ports of entry puts federal convenience ahead of the needs of the people, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday, Dec. 13. Beginning Jan. 7, Roseau's port will close at 8 p.m instead of midnight, according to a Tuesday news release issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Lancaster, which is open until 10 p.m., will close at 6 p.m. in the winter and 8 p.m. in the summer. The decision was rooted in a strategy to realign resources to other ports with more traffic.
Three people have been accused of housing a meth lab in an East Grand Forks apartment. James Marvin Sackett, 33, of East Grand Forks, and two Grand Forks residents, Joshua Clyde Roudebush, 24, and Sonya Lee Barbieur, 32, were each charged Friday in Polk County District Court with manufacturing methamphetamine, a first-degree felony. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Customers who wait until the last minute to get a Christmas tree may not have much to choose from as suppliers deal with a tightening market, industry leaders said this week. Parts of the country may see a lower supply than normal, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. As a result, customers are shopping early, said association spokesman Doug Hundley.
MINNEAPOLIS—A defense attorney claims a Clearbrook, Minnesota, man sentenced this week for shooting at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter is a "nonviolent, peace-loving human being" who overreacted to what he believed was a life-threatening situation.