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 — Red River Valley potato producers had a strong start to the shipping season this year despite a lack of available truckers. But the trucking shortage likely won't improve as the holidays approach, industry leaders said.
EDINBURG, N.D.—Edinburg lost nearly seven decades of history when four potato warehouses burned to the ground Friday morning. Multiple fire departments responded shortly after 4 a.m. to the blaze at warehouses owned by J.G. Hall and Sons, one of the largest potato producers in the Red River Valley. It's unclear how the fire started, but the flames moved from one building to the next as firefighters tried to put out the fire in freezing temperatures and windy conditions.
The first winter storm of the season brought icy conditions, high winds and cold temperatures Thursday, and some areas in northwest Minnesota got hammered with 8 inches of snow. The wintery weather could be here to stay, at least through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service. A low front brought in winds exceeding 60 mph Thursday, with Grand Forks clocking a high speed of 64 mph, meteorologist Ryan Knutsvig said. The city recorded about 0.2 inches of snow.
GRAND FORKS — That banana at the local grocery store certainly isn't yellow when it begins its long trip from Central America to the Upper Midwest. When it's picked and first put into containers, the popular fruit is leaf green and as hard as a rock, said grocer Hornbacher's President Matt Leiseth. Two or three weeks later, the clusters are placed on the shelves of stores, ready to be taken home. "Banana's are the No. 1 fruit," he said. "Just about everyone loves a banana."
EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn.—Waiting for the sugar beet harvest to start in the Red River Valley is like Christmas in a way, East Grand Forks farmer Nick Hagen said. "You know what you've asked for, and you've probably shaken the box a few times," he said Tuesday, Sept. 26, when asked what this year's harvest could yield. "So you sort of have an idea, but until you crack open the box, it's only a good guess."
DEVILS LAKE, N.D.—A biodegradable products company that took the place of a failed business in Devils Lake could be evicted from a city-owned building after falling months behind on lease payments. BioFiber owes the city $18,000, or three months worth of rent, for the building, said Rachel Lindstrom, executive director of the Devils Lake Economic Development Corp. The company has until Oct. 1 to make the payments, the Devils Lake Building Authority decided Tuesday. Otherwise, BioFiber will be evicted.
GRAND FORKS — The North Dakota-owned flour mill in Grand Forks saw slightly better profits than last year, and those numbers should continue to improve thanks to a $38.8 million expansion and hard work from its staff, the state's lead agricultural regulator said Wednesday, Aug. 23. The State Mill reported a profit of $9.7 million for the last budget year that ended in June, slightly up from $9.3 million during its 2016 fiscal year. It's a positive change but still far behind the record of $16.7 million set in Fiscal Year 2015.
NIAGARA, N.D. — Ask anyone who knows the Wolfgram brothers and they would tell you they are old school, or rather old farm. Their farmyards are home to antiques and machinery most farmers would have traded in years ago. A 1949 Allis Chalmers tractor, a 1982 John Deere 8820 combine, a vintage John Deere chain and cup portable elevator, pickups and trucks from the 1960s, '70s and '80s, and many more.
MANVEL, N.D.—Ag producers in the Red River Valley are "cautiously optimistic" about an agreement limiting U.S. imports of Mexican sugar, especially after years of depressed sugar beet prices. "I think it gives us good reason to be cautiously optimistic. There are benefits to it," Scott Johnson, who raises beets near Manvel, said of the agreement. "We got changes, which are going to help us as long as they can enforce them."
NEWFOLDEN, Minn.—For Jerad Liedberg, getting up in the early morning to climb into a tractor or go check the fields is a tradition that has been in his family almost 125 years. Sometimes he has a little helper with him. "My oldest likes to ride in the tractors," the Warren, Minn., farmer said of his 3½-year-old daughter, Greta. He also has a younger daughter, Lindsey, who is 1½ years old. "(Greta's) got a lot of questions. She gets a lot of field tours."