The Good Life Men's Magazine - Nov/Dec 2016

TheGoodLife

Featuring Christopher Zimmerman - Conductor of the FM Symphony, Mr. Full-Time Dad, Local Heroes - Fargo Police Community Trust Officers and more in Fargo Moorhead's only men's magazine.

BY: BEN HANSON • MR. FULL-TIME DAD • PHOTO BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

Ahh, Thanksgiving. A time when

families gather into confined spaces

and around overcrowded dining room

tables to stuff their faces, give thanks

and air their grievances about politics

and their employers. It’s dinner and a

show, and you don’t even have to tip.

Two weeks after the most ridiculous

presidential election we might ever

see, this Thanksgiving promises

to be particularly enjoyable. I’m

already thankful for the prodding and

mocking that will grow less subtle as

the day drags on... and the punch bowl

dries up.

Aside from the passive-aggressive

Midwestern political dinner theater,

I’m also thankful for several very

specific reasons. As a stay-athome

dad, I’ve developed a serious

appreciation for things that I either

used to take for granted or otherwise

completely overlooked. It’s a running

total, but here’s the list (as it stands

right now):

The enduring legacy of stereotypical

gender roles.

2 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

I’m no sexist, but I sure am thankful

for the slow pace of gender equality

when three hours into a five-hour road

trip I pull the family station wagon

into a rest stop and find that only the

women’s restroom is equipped with a

baby changing station. It’s a small gift,

but as I sit in the blissful silence of the

men’s room (while my wife tends to

our son), I give thanks for the poopy

diaper pardon this unjust world has

bestowed upon me.

Drop-in daycare at the gym.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at me,

but I’m in the best shape of my adult

life… and I owe it all to being a stayat-home

dad with a gym membership.

For two hours a day—almost every

day—I get to drop Macklin off to play

with kids his own age under the care

of the best staff I’ve ever dealt with.

It’s a beautiful arrangement: Mack

cheers when I drop him off, I go

admire myself in the mirror while I

do some curls, and then I come back

to a well-fed, even more cheerful kid.

Thank you gym. Don’t ever leave me.

Brilliant bibs.

One of my daily goals is to keep

Macklin in the same outfit throughout

the entire day. It’s not as easy as it

sounds, considering his lack of fine

motor skills and his relentless need to

eat. Nonetheless, I’m successful most

days thanks to… and I can’t believe I’m

saying this… IKEA. It may be my least

favorite place in the world—seriously,

it’s a human ant farm—but, damn if

those Swedes don’t know they’re way

around a bib. All the way around. To

give you a visual, imagine putting on

a rain jacket backwards. With one of

these full-sleeve, straight-jacket-esque

IKEA bibs, you could wear your (or

your wife’s) wedding dress, eat a pile

of runny spaghetti with your bare

hands and walk away spotless.

Liquid ibuprofen.

Drugs are bad, kids. But drugs for

kids are great. When Mack’s gums are

getting shredded by two blunt molars

and a prison shank-worthy incisor (all

at once), I can’t leap off my “Down

with Big Pharma” soapbox fast

enough. And if you think that makes

me a bad parent, come over and let

me stab you in the mouth with a

handful of toothpicks while you try to

take a nap, then we’ll talk… if you can.

The family zoo membership.

Economically speaking, our family

membership to the zoo has been

the best $65 we’ve ever spent. It’s

a built-in outing whenever we want

(or need) it. There’s food, animals, a

playground and sunshine. Plus, that

single membership has gotten us into

other zoos and aquariums around the

country for free, and free anything is

my favorite.

Restaurants. All of them.

Family dinners that require no cleanup...

enough said.


Three-hour naps.

Unfortunately, Mack’s epic three-hour naps are

becoming a thing of the past, but they were great

while they lasted. Not only would he wake up

refreshed and singing to himself in his crib, I’d get

a ton of work done while he snoozed… usually with

enough time for a quick nap of my own. (Yes, you

should be jealous.)

Never having to set an alarm clock.

The worst part about having a regular job is being a

slave to the alarm clock and other people’s arbitrary

schedules. True, Mack’s schedule can go from

predictable to bonkers without explanation, but he’s a

baby. It makes sense for him to act childish. It makes

no sense, however, for an adult to throw a fit and

demand a team meeting at 4 p.m. on a Friday. As a

stay-at-home dad with an above-average happy child,

I’m incredibly thankful for the ability to take each day

as it comes without worry of deadlines or alarms…

and I’ve got the blood pressure to prove it.

Bathtime resets.

Bathtime gets a bum rap for reasons I don’t

understand. Macklin loves them, and they’ve proven to

be a reliable reset button whenever we’ve mistakenly

hopped onto the struggle bus and missed our stop.

Just the sound of the tub filling up is enough to turn

his cries into giggles.

Buckles.

Hear this: buckles save lives. I had no idea. Buckles

on car seats, strollers, high chairs, booster seats and

changing tables save lives every day in this country.

My home is brain injury free thanks to buckles.

They’re the last line of defense against a baby case of

CTE. I mean, I can’t be expected to watch him all the

time, right? That reminds me… I’m also thankful for

low expectations. Happy Thanksgiving! •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 3


The

GOODLIFE

MEN’S MAGAZINE

PUBLISHED BY

Urban Toad Media LLP

www.urbantoadmedia.com

OWNER / GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Dawn Siewert

dawn@urbantoadmedia.com

OWNER / PHOTOGRAPHER

Darren Losee

darren@urbantoadmedia.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Jessica Ballou

Meghan Feir

Alexandra Floersch

Ben Hanson

Krissy Ness

ADVERTISING INQUIRIES

Darren Losee / 701-261-9139

darren@urbantoadmedia.com

The Good Life Men’s Magazine is

distributed six times a year by Urban

Toad Media LLP. Material may not be

reproduced without permission. The Good

Life Men’s Magazine accepts no liability

for reader dissatisfaction arising from

content in this publication. The opinions

expressed, or advice given, are the views of

individual writers or advertisers and do not

necessarily represent the views or policies

of The Good Life Men’s Magazine.

4 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


Contents

VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 3

NOV-DEC 2016

18

ON THE COVER

CHRISTOPHER ZIMMERMAN

MOVING TO THE MUSIC

FM Symphony

02

MR. FULL-TIME DAD

10 Things This Stay-at-Home Dad

is Thankful For

06

BUILDING A BRIGHTER FUTURE

Non-Profit Helps Troops Get New Homes

10

HAVING A BEER WITH ...

Dom Izzo - WDAY Sports Director

14

26

CHASING STORMS

Ryan Mauk - Storm Chaser

HOW TO DRIVE A ZAMBONI

In Six Easy Steps

30

LOCAL HEROES

COMMUNITY TRUST OFFICERS

LIGHT IN A DARK TIME

COMMUNITY TRUST OFFICERS

Go Beyond the Badge

READ A PAST ISSUE

issuu.com/

thegoodlifemensmag

LIKE

facebook.com/

thegoodlifemensmagazine

TWEET

@urbantoadmedia

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 5


6 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

BY: JESSICA BALLOU ■ PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA


Homes for our Troops (HFOT) is a

non-profit that helps build mortgage

free, specially adapted homes

nationwide for severely injured

veterans post-9/11 to help them

rebuild their lives.

HFOT provides pre and post

home delivery, financial planning,

household budgeting, home

ownership education and a fullyear

warranty coverage to ensure

the veteran is set up for long-term

success as a homeowner. Since

HFOT’s founding in 2004, nearly

90 cents out of every dollar donated

to HFOT has gone directly to

the program services supporting

veterans.

HFOT assists the most severely

injured service members of all

branches of the military who were

injured in the Iraq-Afghanistan war

since Sept. 11, 2001. HFOT builds

four-bedroom, two-bath, specially

adapted energy-efficient homes of

approximately 2,650 square feet

with more than 40 major special

adaptations to give the veteran full

access, including wider halls and

doorways, automatic door openers,

pull-down shelving and much more.

HFOT aims to build the highest

quality homes using top quality

products that endure the test of

time from brands like Kohler,

Whirlpool, etc. All homes are built to

Energy Star standards to maximize

efficiency and lower utility expense,

and they look for builders with a

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 7


track record of high quality workmanship to reduce

maintenance and expense to the veterans.

The nationwide average cost for HFOT to build one

specially adapted home is $430,000. These homes can

help veterans launch a new career or business, start and/

or grow families, maintain lifelong physical and mental

wellness, complete education, and recover and rest in a

safe, accessible home.

“Myself and my family are

so blessed and lucky.”

– Master Sergeant

Eric Marts

The 18-24 month timeline for these projects involves

about six to seven months for construction. The rest of

that time is spent on land search and permitting. Veterans

do not pay a fee toward the cost of the home, and there is

no mortgage to be paid in the future. The veteran decides

where he or she would like to live, considering proximity

education. Since 2010, more than 90 babies have been

born to parents in HFOT homes with more than 15 due as

of February of this year.

to family and medical centers, school systems, jobs and

more. The HFOT land team locates and provides lots to

the veteran, who makes the final selection.

A veteran must be approved for the Specially Adapted

Housing (SAH) benefits by the Veterans Administration.

Benefits are awarded to veterans with severe physical

injuries, including one or more amputations, full or partial

paralysis or severe traumatic brain injury.

HFOT requires the veteran to participate in a financial

planning program with a pro bono financial planner

for three years. They also provide the veteran with

information on property tax exemptions for which he or

she may qualify.

Sixty-six percent of HFOT home recipients have at least

one child. Seventy-two percent say living mortgage free

has allowed them to start or expand a family, and 50

percent say it allows them to save for their children’s

8 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

As of May 27 of this year, HFOT has built 213 specially

adapted homes in 41 states nationwide. There are

currently more than 70 veterans on the active project list.

For the fifth consecutive year, HFOT has been awarded

a 4-star rating for sound fiscal management and

commitment to accountability and transparency by Charity

Navigator, America’s premier charity evaluator. HFOT

hosts many fundraisers throughout the year, including

silent auctions, conferences, golf tournaments, sporting

events, races and much more.

HFOT is privately funded. Almost 70 percent of the

operational budget is generated by private and family

foundations, individual donors and community fundraisers

nationwide. As a non-profit, all contributions are tax

deductible. To make a donation or for more information,

visit www.hfotusa.org.

Master Sergeant Eric Marts hosts a radio show for AM

970 WDAY called Heroes of the Heartland. When doing

research on issues troops were facing, he saw Homes for


ERIC MARTS

Our Troops. He started looking into the organization,

and he filled out an application. After going through

a background check and other vetting processes,

he was approved to be a part of the program, and

construction is now underway for his new Moorhead

home.

“Myself and my family are so blessed and lucky,” he

said.

Since HFOT chooses a certain number of projects to

work on each year, Marts said he feels so blessed to

be chosen, saying it felt like winning the lottery.

He’s most looking forward to more space and “having

something that is our own with no wheels underneath

it,” he said, as well as “the independence and the

freedom it’ll offer me and the

space to have our kids and

grandkids to be over.”

“I’m so lucky to be involved

with Homes for our Troops,” he

added. “They really are a great

organization with loving, caring

people.” •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 9


BY: MEGHAN FEIR ■ PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

10 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


Dom Izzo isn’t from around here, but

we’re certainly glad he’s a Fargoan

now. The WDAY News sports director

is an adventurous transplant from

Oswego in western New York State,

another city in which the temps drop

and the snow piles up. He was willing

to go wherever his career dared him

to travel, and for 10 years, he’s let

the Fargo-Moorhead area know all

the highlights on high school, college

and Minnesota Vikings updates.

The New Yorker is half Italian and

a full-blooded sports lover, and we

were able to enjoy a glass of water at

Drekker Brewing Co. in downtown

Fargo, though that’s not what they’re

typically known for around town.

Good Life: What’s one thing about

yourself that you think people would

be really surprised by?

Dom Izzo: I drive with two feet.

GL: Like, you steer the wheel with

them?

DI: I have my left foot for the break

and my right for the gas, and I drive

like a grandpa, which drives my fiancé

nuts.

GL: What does being a sports director

require of you?

DI: It’s not for everybody, this

profession. It’s not like we’re curing

cancer or sending people to the moon,

but there are a lot of sacrifices. It’s

weekends. It’s holidays. It’s nights. I’m

on call almost all the time. As soon as

I get up every day, I’m checking and

reading stories to make sure I’m on

top of everything. It’s not a 9-5 gig.

There’s a lot of grind and grit that

goes into the three or four minutes I’m

on each night. I do my own makeup.

I write my own scripts. I shoot and

edit my own video. And I’m glad I do.

It keeps me in touch with all my skills

and sharpens them.

GL: If you could play any sport with a

historical figure from the past, which

sport would you choose, and with

whom would you want to play?

DI: Baseball because I grew up

playing. It was my favorite sport, even

though I wasn’t very good at it. And

probably Lou Gehrig. He was such

an unbelievable baseball player, but

he was an unbelievable guy, too. He

was totally overshadowed by Babe

Ruth. Babe Ruth was setting every

kind of record, and every newspaper

guy wanted to follow what he was

doing. Lou Gehrig is only known for

two things: the number of games he

played in a row and his death. I’m not

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 11


a go-out-and-party kind of guy, and

neither was he. He worked hard.

GL: What is one prank you can recall

pulling on your younger sister?

DI: My favorite team in the whole

wide world is the New York Mets. I

bleed blue and orange. They’ve been

my favorite since I was 5 years old. I

don’t know why I remember this, but

we were at my grandmother’s, and

there was a taped broadcast of a Mets

game on television from the previous

day, which I had already seen. So I

told my sister, “I bet you $5 the guy

up hits a home run,” knowing full well

he would. So, of course, the guy hit a

home run, and I was like, “Hey, you

gotta pay up!”

GL: What is your heritage?

DI: My mom is kind of convoluted. I

think she’s German, for the most part.

My dad’s side is completely Italian,

which is fabulous when I go home.

The eats when I get to go home…

That’s no slight to the Italian joints

in Fargo-Moorhead, but it’s nothing

compared to anything back in upstate

New York.

GL: What are some habits or traits

you acquired from your Italian side?

DI: I think their flare for loudness.

We talk with our hands. That’s the

Italian way. I definitely do that, and I

definitely have the loudness. They’re

very outspoken people, and I love and

hate it about my family. There’s no

filter, but that’s a good thing. We wear

our emotions on our sleeves, and I’m

certainly like that. I have no poker

face whatsoever. Could it help me in

certain situations? Absolutely. But I

wouldn’t change who I am.

GL: If you were to personify yourself

as a type of food, which would you

choose?

DI: Oh, my gosh. So you’re asking my

personality reflected in a type of food?

GL: Yeah! Just your typical Tuesday

question.

DI: Oh, goodness. I would say chicken

parm. It’s my absolute favorite food,

and I don’t know many people who

12 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


don’t like it. I know there are some

people that probably don’t care

for my persona and how I act on

television, but for the most part, I

think I’m a pretty likable guy who

people can sit down with and have

a conversation. Chicken parm is

definitely reliable. It’s never not

good. If someone needs something

from me, I would be there for them.

GL: What’s your favorite game?

DI: Monopoly is probably my

favorite. I play pretty strictly to the

rules. You don’t get any money for

landing on free parking or anything

like that. You’re not supposed to. It

says it in the rules. I can play that

game ‘til the cows come home.

It was the Simpson’s themed

Monopoly, by the way, which is still

one of my favorite shows.

GL: Who do you think would

be a better athlete, Batman or

Superman?

DI: Oh, Superman is a better

athlete, no doubt, because he

doesn’t get tired. He doesn’t even

sweat or bleed.

GL: Who would have more sports

knowledge?

DI: Probably Batman. He’s a

smarter dude than Superman—not

that Clark Kent wasn’t smart, but

Bruce Wayne knows everything.

GL: I think we all know this,

but who would have the better

equipment?

DI: I mean, Superman’s cape

is nice, but the utility belt, the

Batmobile, the Batwing—Batman,

by far.

GL: What does the good life mean

to you?

DI: I think being comfortable in

your own skin and being able to

adjust to anything that life throws

at you. Also, finding balance

between work and home. My work

still dominates my life, and I want

to have a family. I think a lot of

people are still in search of that—to

have that mix of being really good

at home and being really good in

the workplace. I think that’s, to me,

what the good life would symbolize.

I’m working toward it. •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 13


BY: KRISSY NESS ■ PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

Ryan Mauk, 36,

has been chasing storms

since he could drive

Ryan Mauk, 36, has been chasing storms since he could

drive - though not always knowing what he was doing.

Over the years Mauk has amped up his knowledge in

meteorology in sever weather; and for the past three

years he has been chasing tornados semi-seriously

locally and regionally from the tri-state area down as far

as Kansas. He, his wife Alissa and friend/chaser Tom

Reichel formed Northern Plains Chasers in 2015.

When Mauk gets ready to head out for a chase he looks

at different weather models including but not limited to:

GFS (Global Forecast System), NAM (North American

Model) and Euro Models. It is important to gather all the

information you can before and during your chase so

you have the proper tools on your chase. “Meteorology is

the art of professional guessing,” Mauk Said, “I have an

intermediate level of knowledge, enough to know where I

should be in a 75-100 mile radius.”

14 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


At the beginning of this year Mauk began working with WDAY. He emailed

Meteorologist John Wheeler and the two of them sat down with News

Director Jeff Nelson and they hashed out a plan. Since Mauk would be

going out and filming the storms regardless, he suggested his gas be

compensated while he was filming in the viewing area and both Wheeler

and Nelson agreed. Mauk has caught some great storms on film and in

pictures you can find his work online at their website, www.npchasers.com

or on www.youtube.com by searching Northern Plains Chasers. You can

also follow them on Facebook/NortherPlainsChasers and Instagram by

searching: npchasers.

It is important to be very careful and safe when chasing storms. The

proper knowledge is half the battle the other half is protection. Mauk drives

a 2008 Nissan Xterra that is sprayed head to toe with Line-X, a protective

coating, and body armor that fits the contour of the vehicle. This provides

protection from hail and small debris. This does not mean his vehicle is

hail proof and he can go driving recklessly into a storm, but “It does do a

good job of deflecting the big stuff,” stated Mauk. The windshield is made

from Lexan a polycarbonate, which is bullet and impact resistance. There

is also a metal frame with steel tubing with a 4X6 grate that slides out

from the main frame, which covers the windshield. There is no special

insurance is needed for storm chasing, just full coverage on your vehicle.

The thing with tornados is that hail will always be there,” affirmed Mauk.

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 15


“Seeing a tornado

IS ALWAYS AWESOME,

but to see a crazy storm cell

is also exciting.”– Ryan mauk

Mauk is also a nurse at Essentia Health, so he is always

prepared to be a first responder, if needed, in the case

of an emergency while chasing. He carries a pretty

substantial first aid kit and thankfully has never had to use

it.

When chasing, Mauk usually has a “co-pilot” whether it be

a fellow chaser or his wife, but there are occasions where

he goes out alone. There is a lot of work that goes into

chasing storms and you have to be quick but efficient when

heading out. There are good and bad outcomes when on

the chase, “seeing a tornado is always awesome, but to

see a crazy storm cell is also exciting” exclaimed Mauk.

Then again, you could drive hundreds of miles to find

your supercell has diminished. Nature will do whatever it

wants, whenever is wants. “There is something that is very

comforting about the whole, storm chasing thing,” stated

Mauk.

16 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


STORM PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY: RYAN MAUK

Storm chasers prefer discreet supercell

thunderstorms, “Supercells almost make their own

environment, but that being said, if it starts sucking in

cold air it will kill the thunderstorm real quick,” said

Mauk. “Tornado weather is likely to happen on a hot

and humid day with very little cloud cover.”

I asked Mauk for some advice for first time storm

chasers. “If you follow online blogs, or storm chasers

pages, safety is above all, always have an escape

route, always, always, always,” warned Mauk. “There

was this one storm we were chasing in Killdeer, ND

it has a beautiful supercell and it was really foggy and

we saw trailers that were essentially sand blasted

with hail. Windows were blown out and shingles

were ripped from the roof.” Storms can take a nasty

turn at any minute and you need to be aware of your

surroundings and pay attention to maps and wind

direction or you can find yourself in a very dangerous

situation.

Finally I asked Mauk what the good life means to

him, “Living every moment like it’s your last, as cliché

as it sounds, when you are totally in the moment,

witnessing something with that much power and that

much of its own entity it's like you’re kind of one with

God. You are mesmerized, you can’t really explain it,

and it’s just an air of peace.” •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 17


BY: MEGHAN FEIR ■ PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

If you ask Christopher Zimmerman, the conductor of

the F-M Symphony, if he can play any instruments, he’ll

modestly say he “can still play the piano a little bit.”

Fast forward a few days to a Masterworks Concert,

where you find yourself enraptured in the beauty the F-M

Symphony emits with every sound from the strings, hum

from the horns, and rumble from the timpani.

There he is on stage, taking a break from conducting

as he plays the piano, accompanying cellist Sergey

Antonov, the Gold Medal Winner of the 2007 Tchaikovsky

Competition in an encore piece. By his modest,

aforementioned comment, you may have assumed he

could recall how to play “Heart and Soul” on command,

not a Rachmaninoff piece.

Zimmerman has been a grounded wanderer for the

past 22 years of his life. He appears to be comfortable

wherever the music leads him, even if that’s over 4,000

miles away from his original stomping grounds. Lacking

the quintessential dialect of the north, he stands out as he

speaks with his pleasing English accent that occasionally

hints at the decades he’s lived near the East Coast.

Despite his many years spent living in America, no real

sense of home has been felt, and the streets of London

still attempt to beckon him back from time to time. Yet,

somehow, Fargo holds a certain sense of belonging for

Zimmerman.

18 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 19


“I really like this downtown part of Fargo, and I feel really

comfortable here, for some reason. Having been here for not very

long, you can make an identity with a place, just because it’s a nice

place,” Zimmerman said. “I have to say, my wife was not expecting

to like it, but she loved it, she really did.”

Currently residing in Fairfax, Va., close to the Washington D.C.

area to lead the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and the American

Youth Philharmonic, the salt-and pepper-haired maestro has been

traveling to Fargo a week before each one of the orchestra’s five

Masterworks Series Concerts to rehearse with the musicians.

By listening to their seamless execution, you’d assume they had

practiced more than five times together before the performances.

This is proof that ever since his role as conductor began here in

2013, he has easily been able to connect with the performers on

stage at a professionally personal level.

Beginning in London

Raised in a suburb just south of London, Zimmerman and his two

brothers were used to classical music blaring in their household.

Their mother, an American, was a singer and a pianist, and their

father, an Englishman, played the violin. The cultural combination

meant dual-citizenship for the three boys, which would later help

Zimmerman acquire careers in conducting an ocean away.

20 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


While attending Yale for his undergraduate

degree in music, Zimmerman’s interest in

the orchestra as a whole began to brew as he

played in the large ensemble and studied the

piano and violin.

“I wasn’t interested in standing up in front of a

bunch of people and making a complete idiot

out of myself,” Zimmerman said, “but I was

interested in learning the mechanics of this

music.”

During his senior year of college, Zimmerman

decided to take a course in choral conducting

and directed his classmates for his final project.

“I was so nervous, but I got a lot of really

positive feedback. I set up my own little choral

group, and we did a whole program. Then I was

kind of hooked.”

Through more serendipitous encounters, he

became the successor to direct the Yale Bach

Society and eventually attended graduate

school at the University of Michigan to study

orchestral conducting.

Two teaching gigs at music conservatories

and a few orchestras later, Zimmerman

has garnered years of experience with

both teaching in academia and conducting

professional orchestras, encouraging each

musician he encounters to play with precision,

grace and emotion.

Reassessing the Symphony

While Zimmerman loves and conducts classical

pieces, he, like many others, has a penchant for

rock, specifically English progressive. He grew

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 21


up loving bands like Genesis (before Peter Gabriel went off

on his own), Cream, Yes, and King Crimson, to name a few.

He’s a regular guy who happens to equally love classical

music and rock.

But Zimmerman knows there is an apprehension toward

the music made by the composers of old, especially among

men. So he created the perfect analogy to describe the

quick judgments many make before fully experiencing

classical music in all its glory.

“It’s kind of like this. You say to someone, ‘Let’s go get

some sushi,’ and they say, ‘Raw fish? Horrible.’ And then

you ask, ‘Have you ever had any?’ ‘Oh, no, but I know I

don’t like raw fish because it’s squiggly and squishy.’ If you

have sushi, it’s not usually squiggly and squishy, and most

people who have at least somewhat of an open mind can

really get into it. I think it’s the same with classical music.

It’s not going to sound like rock ‘n’ roll. Sushi is not going

to taste like a burger and fries. Given. But it tastes good.”

“For decades, people have said, symphony orchestras are

on the way out; they’re an anachronism; the audiences are

older and dying off. But today, our audiences are bigger,

we have more young people in the audiences than at any

point in our history,” Boyd said. “No matter how much

technology or society changes, people still are drawn to

human excellence. That’s why people watch the Olympics.

That’s why people go to football games. That’s why

people go to rock concerts. When you see human beings

performing at such high levels right in front of your eyes,

there is nothing like that. That’s what symphony concerts

are still all about.”

In the symphony’s 85-year history, it has come alongside

the community as not only a source of entertainment, but

of hope and solidarity, whether that was after the fighting

of the 2009 flood as they put on celebration concerts or

other ways to help the community express and celebrate

itself. It’s a part of the DNA of the area, promoting the

Men need not be dragged to the footsteps of the concert

hall before being seat-belted in by the expectations of the

women who brought them. Linda Boyd, the executive

director of the F-M Symphony since 2007, wants to assure

men that it’s a welcome environment for everyone. There’s

even a stand in the lobby providing beer, wine and nonalcoholic

beverages to nervous newcomers and relaxed

patrons.

Boyd has been involved with the orchestra since 1993 and

has seen a dramatic shift take place in recent years.

22 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


surging energy of music throughout the veins of

its residents. They even host Urban Overture, a

sophisticated and fun night out for people in their

20s and 30s as a preview for upcoming concerts.

“This is a fun night out, and people are still looking

for interesting and meaningful experiences,” Boyd

said.

“We’re trying to not make it snotty in any way and

make it a fun time,” Zimmerman went on to say. “I’m

convinced that many of the people who think they

don’t like classical music, whatever that is, would

like it if they tried. If you just open your ears to the

sounds themselves and not have a preconceived

notion, it will speak to you more than you would

think it would.”

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 23


The Masterworks

Concert Series is

held at NDSU’s Festival

Concert Hall with the next

concert taking place Nov. 12

and 13. Pieces featured are the

“William Tell Overture” by Gioacchino

Rossini, “Concierto de Aranjuez” by

Joaquin Rodrigo, featuring Paraguayan

classical guitar soloist Berta Rojas, and

“Symphony No. 1” by Johannes Brahms.

The pre-concert “Informance” talks begin

45 minutes before each concert in the

adjoining Beckwith Recital Hall. Learn

more at www.fmsymphony.org. •

Christopher Zimmerman

Favorite composers:

“As I get older, the real classical guys like

Bach and Mozart I like more and more. I

used to not like them so much. This is why

I think some people think they don’t like

classical music; it’s so far removed from

today’s world in a way. But I like their music

more because there’s a reason they are so

great.”

Favorite time period:

“Every era, whether you liked the dress

code or not, people are dressed in a certain

way. Then it would change to another

way. Now, someone could come in with

a three-piece suit and we wouldn’t think

he was weird. Everybody can do their

own thing. With the 20th century, that’s

what happened. Some of these geniuses

composed the most amazing music. In the

last 100 years or so, the variety of music

is so great. So that, in a way, is my favorite

time.”

What does “the good life” mean to you?

“Well, like most people, I like lazing around

and eating and drinking; but I think “the

good life” is when life is full of vibrancy and

stimulation, where we are able openly and

unthreateningly to really engage with the

myriad of amazing things that the world

has to offer. Drinking seriously good beer,

seeing the Taj Mahal or trying to get your

head around Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’—

it doesn’t really matter.”

24 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

SERGEY ANTONOV, LINDA BOYD, CHRISTOPHER ZIMMERMAN


Holiday

Giving

This holiday season Urban Toad

Media LLP and The Good Life Men’s

Magazine would like to thank all the

members of our military and their

families. Thank you for your sacrifice

and your dedication.

Please remember these brave men

and woman who give so much every

day. Don’t forget to add them to your

holiday shopping list.

Please consider a gift to one of the

many charities that support our military

members and their families. One less

gift under your tree could make the

world of difference to someone else.

Fisher House

www.fisherhouse.org

National Military Family

Association

www.militaryfamily.org

Our Military Kids

ourmilitarykids.org

Soldier’s Angels

www.soldiersangels.org Veteran

Operation Homefront

www.operationhomefront.net

Semper Fi Fund

semperfifund.org

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 25


BY: KRISSY NESS ■ PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

Have you ever wondered how to drive a Zamboni? The

technical name for this machine is the ice-resurfacing

machine. The machine was named after the inventor

Frank Zamboni; his surname was the registered

trademark for the resurfacer. The Zamboni began as a

propane fueled machine but has been modified in the

recent years to be electric, which is more environmentally

friendly.

I had the opportunity to do a ride along with Lars Hegland

at the Scheels Arena. Hegland has been working at the

arena since 2009, and has worked his way downstairs,

from working in the parking lot to operating and

maintaining the Zamboni(s). This is Hegland’s part time

job - which is a pretty awesome one at that. His full

time job is playing in his band Tripwire. Hegland is very

knowledgeable when it comes to Zambonis and the stepby-step

process was made easier because of that. Lets

kick this off by letting you in on the secrets of driving a

Zamboni.

In six steps I will explain how to run a Zamboni. For this

specific step-by-step we will be talking about electric

Zambonis.

STEP ONE

To begin you must unplug the battery pack, turn on the

machine and fill it with water, which will be laid onto the

ice.

STEP TWO

Lower the hopper - which is where all the snow is

collected. It is raised when you are finished to empty the

snow and dry it out.

26 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


STEP THREE

Release the break, back up and get onto the ice. From

there you will turn on the brush. The brush is used to

pick up excess snow from along the boards; you will only

use the brush for the outside lap.

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 27


STEP FOUR

Make sure the Zamboni is moving forward and lower the

conditioner, the conditioner shaves the ice, collects snow,

rinses the ice and allows new water to be laid onto the ice.

STEP SIX

Turn on the hot water that goes on the ice. Then turn on

the cold water, which is the wash water, it gets snow out of

the cracks in the ice. Finally turn on the wash water pump.

28 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


STEP FIVE

Turn on the vertical and horizontal

augers. The horizontal auger gathers

the snow and the vertical one propels

it into the hopper.

Once you have finished all these

steps you can begin to condition

and smooth the ice. You will take

two outside laps and then go in an

oval shape and come up the middle

until you have covered the entire

rink.

After you have finished conditioning

and smoothing out the ice you will

do all of these steps in reverse and

finish by parking and turning off

your machine.

This article will not make you an

expert at driving a Zamboni but it

will give you enough knowledge to

brag to your friends. So the next

time you find yourself at a hockey

game you can educate all your

friends on what it takes to drive and

operate a Zamboni. •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 29


30 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


They are the guys students ask for by

name at recess. They’re the friendly

faces that represent authority figures.

They are the two men tasked with

creating rules and plans for something

that’s never been done before in

their community. They are the Fargo

Police Department’s Community

Trust Officers, and their mission is

to establish a legacy of trust between

the police and the community they're

sworn to protect.

LOCAL HEROES

BY: ALEXANDRA FLOERSCH ■ PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

Officers Michael Bloom and Matthew

Niemeyer willingly left the downtown

beat to take their positions in October

of 2015. Thanks to a federal grant

to support the National Initiative for

Building Community Trust and Justice

across the U.S., both officers were able

to fill a crucial role in the community:

to reach out and educate citizens.

“To boil our position down, it is to build

trust and transparency,” Niemeyer

said. “The trust part is significantly

more complicated. We are trying to

do something significant within our

community. We are looking for different

holes that need to be filled, where the

police department can play a role in

really making this community better.”

One of the biggest opportunities the

two trust officers first identified was

working with area youth, specifically

from low-income, minority and new

American populations. “We’re working

to help them develop some interests

and hobbies within the community,”

Bloom said. Nationwide studies show

that doing so helps students behave

better in school, perform better

academically and keep them out of

trouble.

There are a lot of things that go into

that programming, not only to reduce

crime, but also to have the police

department play a big role in helping

a lot of these kids pursue a better

life,” Niemeyer added. The goal is to

focus kids’ attention, kids who “would

otherwise just end up playing around

in the park and—out of sheer boredom

and availability—end up getting into

trouble,” he said.

Our job gives us freedom to connect

with people on deeper levels

than most cops ever get to. — Bloom

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 31


LOCAL HEROES

By partnering with organizations

like Charism, the Boys and Girls

Club of the Red River Valley, Legacy

Children’s Foundation, First Assembly

Church and Life Church, to name

a few, the officers are able to hold

events such as Cocoa with a Cop,

Cool Off with a Cop, Fargo United and

C-4 (Character, Community, Charism,

Cops) Summer Camp.

The two officers also work handin-hand

with five area schools to

be a presence in the hallways,

classrooms and playgrounds where

signs of trouble often first show

up. But no matter how much effort

they make, they say it rarely feels

like enough. Originally, the Fargo

Police Department requested four

Community Trust Officers through the

grant, but were only rewarded two.

“It’s such an interesting thing

because—being just two people in

a city of 120,000 people—it’s like

what do we do and how do we do it

effectively,” Bloom wondered aloud.

32 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

“You can have 10,000 ideas, but how

do you accomplish them?”

The answer is slowly. They’ve found

day by day, little by little their progress

becomes more evident.

“When you go to a school and kids

are name-dropping and asking where

(Matt) is when I’m the only one there,

it just shows that the seed he’s planted

is taking root,” Bloom said. “It’s

meaning something.”

The Best Part

Considering the officers are often

flying by the seat of their pants,

Niemeyer said one of his favorite

parts of the job is seeing things come

together, people open up and the

community jumping at the opportunity

to fill a role or contribute in some way.

There are some parents that just flatout

hate cops—for whatever reason.

They will fight us tooth and nail to

work with their kids,” Niemeyer said.

But when they least expect it, they

receive parental consent from parents

they never dreamed would.

For Bloom, relationships mean

everything. “I care about people in

general a lot, which is why I wanted

this spot,” he said. “Our job gives us

freedom to connect with people on

deeper levels than most cops ever get

to.”

In a role like this, it’s easy to become

attached. Bloom admits it's one of

his favorite parts of the job. Unlike a

typical cop who may be tied to a single

beat, Bloom and Niemeyer have the

leeway to not only make those special

connections with the kids they serve,

but also to carve out time to foster

those relationships whenever and

wherever needed.

“It sounds simple but, to me, that’s

the world,” Bloom said. “That’s what

gets my heart stirring—the freedom to

really connect with people and show

them how much an officer really cares

about them.”


The Double Edge

The most fulfilling aspect of the job also doubles as the

hardest. While the officers treasure the relationships

they build, they’re also conscious of the boundaries

they must abide.

“As an officer, you can’t get too close, because it’s my

responsibility—and Matt’s as well—to protect our

families,” Bloom said. “There’s this one boy I want to

take to church every Sunday with me, I want to take

him to the gym with me, I want to be the man in his

life that he doesn’t have.”

A father himself, Bloom admits that he’d adopt a

couple of the boys he works with in a heartbeat… if

he could. “If you don’t see a dad, you want to be a

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 33


LOCAL HEROES

dad,” he said. “But you can’t be a dad

necessarily, because you’re crossing

the line, especially if you have to bust

them one day.”

For Niemeyer, the job exposes life's

harshest realities—people’s stories

that often go untold. He gets to

know people in the community on a

different level; they start to open up.

There are some people that live

really difficult lives and they struggle

with almost everything—food,

clothing, where they live, neighbors,

etc.” he said. “You walk away from

some conversations feeling awful for

what some people are having to deal

with but, at the same time, admiring

them for how they are approaching

their situations.”

34 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

Fighting the Stigma

In the last few years, police

departments across the country have

been forced to deal with the social

and political fallout from the string

of highly publicized police shootings

and subsequent charges of racial

discrimination and profiling.

“Just knowing how only two of us are

taking on that misportrayal over our

entire city is intimidating,” Niemeyer

said. “There’s a lot to do, there’s a

lot of ground to cover, and it’s not

something that’s going to happen

quickly.”

In a very real sense, the role of the

Community Trust Officer is to break

that stigma. “It’s an exciting time to

show people that a lot of the media

has it twisted,”

Bloom said. “It’s

hard when the

story’s always

against your

people. We’re

trying to be light in a dark time.”

The more officers that focus on

building rapport in the community,

the more easily the feeling of trust

will spread. “Once is goes from

two officers to maybe three officers

to five, six, seven and so on… now

you’re getting to that point where

the concept of the department as a

whole being there for the community

becomes a little more fathomable,”

Niemeyer said.

A Balancing Act

Little by little, Officers Bloom and

Niemeyer aim to not just tell people,

but actually show people they

care. “For Matt and I—our whole

department—the whole focus is

to show no matter your race, your


eligion, we’re police and we care about our city,”

Bloom said.

Achieving that level of trust requires a delicate

balancing act of getting close to those who need your

help, but not too close to jeopardize your sworn duty.

The nature of police work has the hard contacts

already in it,” Niemeyer said. “You’re making arrests,

you’re writing citations, you’re taking reports. You’re

doing all those things that policing will always involve

and arguably has to involve.” But the soft, social

contacts are also crucial in building relationships and

trust within the community.

Niemeyer said it's the same challenge any authoritative

figure faces—whether a parent, teacher, boss, etc. If

the only time they interact with you is to scold or come

down on you, the relationship will falter. “You’re not

going to have a positive relationship with that authority

figure unless that person is also coming around and

uplifting you, and is encouraging you, letting you know

that they care,” he said.

A balance between the two is crucial. “If you are out

of balance, that relationship is going to be strained,”

Niemeyer said. “If it’s in balance, I think those bad

times or those hard times, you can absorb them and

you can get through them easier.”

For now, the focus is creating good times, creating

strong relationships in the community. Being in a

position where he can make that possible is part of

the good life for Niemeyer. The good life “is being able

to love what you do,” he said. “Getting that sense of

reward of what you are able to be a part of, knowing it

matters.” That’s true fulfillment.

For Bloom, life’s about starting strong and finishing

strong. Period. The good life means being bold,

courageous and fearless for his community—“leaving a

legacy that people were impacted by,” he said.

“Speaking of the good life,” Bloom said, beaming and

referring to the photo of his one-year-old his wife had

just texted. “That’s my daughter. She’s so cute.” •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 35

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines