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Forum editorial: Bouquets to Fargo eye doctor

PRAIRIE ROSES: To Dr. Steve Bagan, a Fargo ophthalmologist, and his three children -- Alissa, 24; Mike, 23; and Joe, 19 -- who returned recently from a five-day service trip to the Ukraine. Bagan has performed hundreds of free cataract surgeries ...

PRAIRIE ROSES: To Dr. Steve Bagan, a Fargo ophthalmologist, and his three children -- Alissa, 24; Mike, 23; and Joe, 19 -- who returned recently from a five-day service trip to the Ukraine. Bagan has performed hundreds of free cataract surgeries during 15 years of service trips to places like Peru, India, Nigeria and Ecuador. The latest trip, organized by the Minnesota chapter of Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity, took a group of 15 to Shchors, a city of 20,000 people in the former Soviet Republic. During the trip, Bagan performed 16 surgeries, while his sons and daughter helped fit 2,000 people with glasses. Bagan said he loves his volunteer work and hopes to be able to do even more of it in the future. Our community is fortunate to have a man like Bagan in our midst.

PRAIRIE ROSES: To all those behind the $40 million drive to build a new campus for Sitting Bull College, serving Standing Rock Reservation, which straddles the border between North Dakota and South Dakota. So far, the college has raised $10 million and has constructed a cultural center and 10 houses for students and staff. Those buildings are part of the first of three planned expansion phases. The first phase will include a new science building, multi-media classroom and faculty offices. The college, which opened 30 years ago, can currently offer two-year degrees, but is seeking accreditation to offer four-year degrees. The college's current enrollment of 308 students is a record. When the first phase is opened, Development Director Sterling St. John said he hopes to see enrollment jump to 1,000 students. One of the college's goals is to spur business development on the reservation where unemployment ranges from 25 percent in summer to 65 percent in winter. Those are laudable goals and we hope they are achieved.

PRAIRIE ROSES: To all those involved in the Youth Opportunity Program administered by CHARISM, a nonprofit agency, in collaboration with Job Service North Dakota. The program helps youth reach for their education and career goals. Co-directors Kate Johnson and Becky Biersbach are working at this time of the year to match teens with employers on the jobsite. They have been able to place 10 of 25 teen-agers enrolled in the program in Job Service-funded positions in the Fargo community. CHARISM (Community of Homes and Resources in Service to Many) serves a concentrated population of low-income families and children in the McCormick Park neighborhood. Julie Gunkelman, director of the CHARISM Community Center, said the teen-agers involved in the program have one thing in common -- they're eager to get experience in the working world that will lead to productive jobs. It sounds like a great program to us.

PRAIRIE ROSES: To the North Dakota and Minnesota high school students who took home top awards last week at the 53rd Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Cleveland, Ohio. Eighteen North Dakotans were among 1,500 students from around the world competing for more than $3 million in scholarships and other prizes. Brian Fisher of Mandan High School won a $5,000 scholarship for the top award in the botany category. He also will receive another $3,000 for a first place award. Brian Grondahl of Maddock High School will receive $3,000 for a first place in the microbiology category. Other winners included Teresa Jentz of Hankinson High School and Adam Wohl of Minot High School. Minnesota winners included Emily Stoll and Camille Erickson of Perham High School and Rebecca Krystosek and Hilary Fultz of Bagley High School. Our congratulations to all the winners.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper's Editorial Board

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