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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LAKOTA, N.D.—The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear the case of a North Dakota rancher who claims law enforcement used excessive force on him when they struck him multiple times with a Taser. Tim Lamb, an attorney representing Rodney Brossart in the civil case, received a letter Monday, May 21, saying a writ of certiorari has been denied, effectively ending the review of the lawsuit by Supreme Court officials.
THOMPSON, N.D. -- A 57-year-old man who died Wednesday night, May 23, in a fiery crash that shut down southbound traffic on Interstate 29 Wednesday near Grand Forks has been identified and the driver of the other vehicle faces possible charges. Wayne O’Connell of Shelly in far western Minnesota died at the scene after he was ejected from his 1953 Ford pickup. Emergency crews responded at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday to the crash about 3 miles north of Thompson. A 2000 Peterbilt semi hauling cattle rear-ended the pickup’s trailer, according to a news release issued late Thursday night.
GRAND FORKS—A woman who shot and killed three of her children here before killing herself legally bought the gun a day before the shooting, police confirmed Thursday, May 24. Astra Volk, 35, purchased a handgun from Super Pawn in Grand Forks the day before she used it in the May 3 murder-suicide, Grand Forks Police Lt. Derik Zimmel said. Police found the bodies of Volk and her three children—Arianna Talmage, 6, Aidan Talmage, 10, and Tyler Talmage, 14—during a welfare check at their home.
GRAFTON, N.D. — North Dakota has one contested primary race for the state Senate, but the office's incumbent, Tom Campbell, won't be on the ballot for that contest. Two Republicans — Robert Fors of Larimore, N.D., and Carrie Wallace of Northwood, N.D. — and Democrat Nikolaus Groenewold of Larimore are running for Campbell's Senate seat in District 19. Campbell, a Grafton Republican, didn't file the paperwork to run for the seat he has held since 2013. He said last week he doesn't plan to run for re-election, and his political future is "unknown."
Police found a man dead and a woman shot Thursday in a Grand Forks apartment. Police responded at 11:29 a.m. to the 2500 block of Seventh Avenue South, where they found a man dead and woman with “what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries,” according to a news release. Police said the injuries suffered by both victims appeared to be gunshot wounds. The woman was taken to Altru Hospital. Multiple police and emergency vehicles were seen at an apartment complex in the area.
GRAND FORKS—U.S. House candidate Kelly Armstrong will be one of the first to say a drawn-out trade war with China will kill North Dakota's soybean industry. He wants to be the one who makes sure the White House understands that as it negotiates better trade terms for U.S. farmers, the Republican said during a Wednesday, May 16, visit with the Grand Forks Herald editorial board.
GRAND FORKS—The owner of a Grand Forks house is not responsible for the overdose death of a man who ingested illegal drugs at the house, the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled this week. But the lone dissenting justice said the issue should have its day in court.
FARGO—A Florida man has pleaded guilty to charges connected to an international drug investigation sparked by the overdose death of a Grand Forks man. Anthony Santos Gomes, 33, of Davie, Fla., admitted to money laundering and conspiring to distribute drugs that resulted in death or serious bodily injury, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Fargo announced Monday, May 14. He was connected to a group that trafficked drugs, including fentanyl, from China through Canada and then to multiple states in the U.S., including North Dakota.
GRAND FORKS — Two Grand Forks sisters who have been accused of giving a man a fentanyl patch that caused his death are expected to plead guilty to federal charges. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Fargo filed cases against Holly Dawn Soeby, 37, and Kelly Jo Nelsrud, 40, on Monday, May 7. Each face a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance resulting in serious bodily injury to and the death of a person referred to as "M.J." on Jan. 17, according to charging documents filed in federal court.
LENGBY, Minn.—The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating why a Grand Rapids, Minn., school bus driver lost control of the vehicle before a Monday morning rollover sent him, a dozen students and a teacher to hospitals in northwest Minnesota.