Thumbs up: Welcome back to Williston, Cara
Today is a big day in Williston history, as the first Miss America from North Dakota prepares for her first public appearances in the state.
Cara Mund was crowned on the stage at the Bakken Elementary Auditorium in June, so it’s fitting that will be the location of her official introduction this evening. Also fitting is that there will be dozens of people present who have worked hard over the last three decades to make her win possible in the first place. Jack Dyville, B. Michael Quale, Marilyn McGinley, Renee Rogness, Ted Linseth and others have been involved with the Miss North Dakota pageant since it came to Williston 32 years ago, and they deserve credit for making the pageant what it is today.
Mund did the hard work to become Miss America — she’s dreamt of the crown since she was a young girl, and more than just dreaming about it, she gave the effort required to make her dream a reality.
The efforts of Dyville, Quale, McGinley, current Executive Director Kathy Jones and current President Debbie Richter, along with dozens of others, set Mund and other competitors up for success, though.
Everyone who has supported the pageant deserves to be proud of Mund and her accomplishment, and we’re sure today’s celebrations will continue the strong tradition the Miss North Dakota Scholarship Organization started more than 30 years ago.
Thumbs down: Letting a suspect slip away
In July, a warrant for the arrest of Christian Desir was filed in Northwest District Court. Desir, who is accused of raping a woman earlier this year in Williston, was in court this week to have a bond set for those charges. When the warrant was filed, Desir was being held by immigration authorities in Canada. Sometime in July, he was released on bond and wasn’t re-captured until September.
Desir is innocent until proven guilty in both the rape case and the immigration case, but the situation raises a serious question. Namely, why did Canadian authorities release him at all when there was a warrant for his arrest in the United States? The extradition process is supposed to allow authorities in one country to arrest someone when that person is being held by authorities in the other. In the end, Desir was re-arrested and extradited, so will have his day in court. Canadian law enforcement should have followed their obligation in the first place, though, and started the extradition process in July, rather than allowing him to evade authorities for several more months.
Thumbs up: Innovative educators
Two Williston principals are taking part in a cutting-edge program and deserve much credit for being willing to think differently about how schools are run. Williston HIgh School principal Jason Germundson and Hagan Elementary principal Darla Ratzak are both taking part in the School ReTool fellowship. The three-month program runs through the end of November, but it will hopefully have long-term benefits for not just their schools but all of Williston Public School District No. 1.
The pair are among only 20 administrators from around the state taking part in the fellowship, making it an honor to have them be involved. Participating in the fellowship takes time and effort, and that demonstrates their commitment to finding new ways to engage students. The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction also deserves credit for putting on the fellowship.
We are excited to see the end results of the projects Germundson and Ratzak are working on and look forward to new ideas on how to make learning more focused on students.