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 — Kenzie Holm's car purred, but not for the reason it is supposed to. A kitten that took an 80-mile ride in the engine compartment of Holm’s vehicle was stuck under the hood, but mechanics at the Rydell Car Service Center were able to pull the little black fur ball to safety while changing the oil.
THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn.— A Thief River Falls man has been accused of kidnapping a woman and repeatedly assaulting her, with court documents detailing how they were let go by a Minnesota state trooper during a traffic stop before he was later chased down by police.
THIEF RIVER FALLS—A Thief River Falls woman has been accused of stealing more than $11,000 from a man with dementia. Peggy Lynn Mehrkens, 53, appeared Monday in Pennington County District Court on five charges of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, three of which are felony counts that each carry a maximum punishment of five years in prison.
THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn.—Family and friends in the Thief River Falls area in far northwest Minnesota are mourning a mother and her two children after they died in a tragic crash. Cassandra Flatland, 28, of nearby Viking and her two sons, 4-year-old Hudson Jones and 1-year-old Cooper Jones, died Wednesday afternoon when the vehicle they were in collided with a pickup north of Thief River Falls. The crash remains under investigation by the Marshall County Sheriff's Office.
The sugar beet harvest is about to go full steam ahead, and Red River Valley farmers are set up to see higher yields than expected at planting, officials said.
CROOKSTON, Minn. — A McIntosh man has been accused of possessing child porn depicting young children, with one video showing a sexual act with an infant. Lucas James Coyle, 24, was scheduled to appear Thursday in Polk County District Court to face 13 felony counts of possessing pornographic work involving a minor. Each charge is punishable by up to five years in prison.
CROOKSTON, Minn. — A Polk County jail is investigating how an inmate allegedly overpowered a corrections officer and stole a jail vehicle before leading officers on a six-hour manhunt Wednesday. Tony Mitchell Krueger, 20, of Bagley was back in custody Wednesday night, Aug. 22, after escaping with a Northwest Regional Correctional Center transport vehicle in Crookston. He had not been charged as of 1 p.m. Thursday in connection to the incident, but he likely will face multiple charges for the manhunt, Polk County Sheriff Barb Erdman 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—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.