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—A temperature warm-up is melting snow and ice fast, causing some farmland and banks along the Red River to flood. A flood warning issued last week by the National Weather Service in Grand Forks continued Monday along the Red River from the Canadian border through Grand Forks County. Central Traill County also was in the warning, and has had overland flooding along the Goose River, said Alyssa Scheve, the North Dakota State University extension agent for Traill County.
A Twin Cities wolf advocacy group said there are other ways to co-exist with wolves without using lethal methods to control populations, and wants to end the practice of snaring in Minnesota. "Most people don't know that hidden all over our woods are snares that trap dogs and wild animals alike, holding them in misery until their death," Howling for Wolves said in a statement earlier this year. "Our woods are just not safe. These barbaric and unselective wire nooses catch and maim whoever walks by. Banning snaring would be a step to reduce assaults on wildlife and pets."
RURAL LAKE BRONSON, Minn.—To Randy Coffield, raising cattle is not just a business. It's his life. "I came in as a greenhorn, and I've learned a lot over the years," the rural Lake Bronson rancher said as calves played in the straw-filled corrals behind his house. Calving season was starting to taper off in mid-March when Coffield, who lives in Kittson County, said he got three hours of sleep, mostly because he had to get up multiple times in the middle of the night to check his herd of 270 cows.
RURAL HATTON, N.D.—Mike Littlefield was 34 when he settled in Hatton 24 years ago. That was the 35th move in his life. The retired Air Force major is a satellite automotive technology teacher for Grand Forks' Red River High School who has worked in Hatton, Northwood and Mayville. His family tree is rooted in farming, and he enjoys the quietness of country life. At any time, Littlefield and his wife can turn off the lights and look at the stars with no interference from city lights.
GRAND FORKS—A company that wants to build a biorefinery north of Grand Forks has asked the county to issue $80 million in bonds on its behalf. The Grand Forks County Commission approved during a Tuesday, Feb. 6, meeting a resolution that sets the stage for a public hearing for the Red River BioRefinery bond. The $80 million bond has not been approved, but if the commission does say yes, the county would facilitate selling the bonds for the company. The bonds also would be tax-exempt.
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."
THOMPSON, N.D.—A Crookston, Minn., woman has been accused of forcing her son to run away with her and trying to steal a FedEx truck from an employee who tried to help her get her vehicle unstuck from a ditch in northeast North Dakota. Trisha Mary Berg, 37, appeared Thursday in Grand Forks District Court after she was arrested Tuesday evening at a rural Thompson residence. That's where a FedEx driver was making a delivery when he stopped to help Berg, whose vehicle was stuck in a ditch, according to a criminal complaint.
GRAND FORKS—A company that plans to build a $2.5 billion fertilizer plant near Grand Forks has applied for a six-month extension for several permits. Northern Plains Nitrogen (NPN) has sent a letter of intent to the city to extend its water and discharge permits, NPN Chief Operations Officer Larry Mackie said Wednesday. The city will provide water to the plant, which is expected to be built on a 320-acre site northwest of Grand Forks.
EDINBURG, N.D. — It's not uncommon for Dr. Charlotte Klose to drive 80 miles to see her patients. "We cover a huge area," she said. "I travel all the way to west of Langdon, N.D. I go south of Grand Forks to the Thompson, N.D., area." The Edinburg doctor travels all over eastern North Dakota making house calls, or rather barn calls. Klose is among a rare breed in rural America: large animal veterinarians. Vets play a key role in helping ranchers succeed. That often means long hours and being accessible at night, on weekends and during holidays.