01.01.2018 Views

The Good Life – January-February 2018

Featuring musician Todd Ruzicka. Local Hero - The Jail Chaplains. Having a beer with John Lamb and more in Fargo Moorhead's only men's magazine. #givingheartsday

Featuring musician Todd Ruzicka. Local Hero - The Jail Chaplains. Having a beer with John Lamb and more in Fargo Moorhead's only men's magazine. #givingheartsday

SHOW MORE
SHOW LESS

You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.

2 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 3


NOT IN MY FAMILY - PART FOUR / HOPE AND DIGNITY<br />

06 OPIOID ADDICTION TREATMENT AND RECOVERY IN OUR COMMUNITY<br />

10<br />

12<br />

16<br />

18<br />

ASK 30 WOMEN<br />

WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF THE PERFECT VALENTINE'S DAY?<br />

HAVING A BEER WITH / JOHN LAMB<br />

LOCAL MAN SURVIVES INTERVIEW IN BREWERY<br />

CAR CARE<br />

SHAKES, WOBBLES AND PULLS<br />

ON THE COVER / TODD RUZICKA<br />

IMMUNE TO THE EXPECTED<br />

CONTENTS<br />

JAN-FEB <strong>2018</strong> / VOLUME 5, ISSUE 4<br />

4 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


24<br />

26<br />

FATHERS / MR. FULL-TIME DAD<br />

WINTER IN TODDLERVILLE<br />

THE LONG, SLOW JOURNEY OUT THE DOOR<br />

GIVING HEARTS DAY<br />

MORE THAN JUST RECEIVING<br />

PUBLISHED BY<br />

Urban Toad Media LLP<br />

www.urbantoadmedia.com<br />

LOCAL HERO / JAIL CHAPLAINS<br />

30 BRINGING JESUS TO JAIL...<br />

AND CHANGING LIVES IN THE PROCESS<br />

OWNER / GRAPHIC DESIGNER<br />

Dawn Siewert<br />

dawn@urbantoadmedia.com<br />

OWNER / PHOTOGRAPHER<br />

Darren Losee<br />

darren@urbantoadmedia.com<br />

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS<br />

Meghan Feir<br />

Brittney <strong>Good</strong>man<br />

Ben Hanson<br />

Matt Lachowitzer<br />

Krissy Ness<br />

Danielle Teigen<br />

ADVERTISING INQUIRIES<br />

Darren Losee / 701-261-9139<br />

darren@urbantoadmedia.com<br />

READ A PAST ISSUE<br />

issuu.com/thegoodlifemensmag<br />

LIKE<br />

facebook.com/<br />

urbantoadmedia<br />

TWEET<br />

@urbantoadmedia<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Good</strong> <strong>Life</strong> Men’s Magazine is distributed six times<br />

a year by Urban Toad Media LLP. Material may not be<br />

reproduced without permission. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Good</strong> <strong>Life</strong> Men’s<br />

Magazine accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction<br />

arising from content in this publication. <strong>The</strong> opinions<br />

expressed, or advice given, are the views of individual<br />

writers or advertisers and do not necessarily represent<br />

the views urbantoadmedia.com or policies of <strong>The</strong> <strong>Good</strong> / <strong>Life</strong> THE Men’s GOOD Magazine. LIFE / 5


NOT IN MY FAMILY // PART FOUR<br />

“<strong>The</strong> biggest key<br />

is to treat someone<br />

with addiction with<br />

respect and dignity<br />

and to not judge.<br />

And to provide them<br />

with hope so that<br />

they can believe in<br />

themselves.”<br />

— Connie Longie<br />

6 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


NOT IN MY FAMILY - PART 4<br />

Hope and Dignity<br />

WRITTEN BY: BRITTNEY GOODMAN<br />

Opioid Addiction<br />

Treatment and Recovery<br />

in Our Community<br />

Seventy-eight people die every day in the United<br />

States from an opioid overdose, numbers that have<br />

nearly quadrupled since 1999. Although effective<br />

treatment exists in our community, only one in five<br />

people who currently need treatment for opioid use<br />

receives it.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> social stigma attached to addiction and<br />

recovery inflicts innumerable harms to individuals,<br />

families, organizations and communities,” stressed<br />

William White, addiction scholar. <strong>The</strong> Surgeon<br />

General’s 2016 report called for “a cultural shift”<br />

regarding addiction: “For far too long, too many<br />

in our country have viewed addiction as a moral<br />

failing. This unfortunate stigma has created an<br />

added burden of shame that has made people with<br />

substance use disorders less likely to come forward<br />

and seek help.”<br />

Connie Longie is a certified addiction counselor<br />

with Prairie St. John’s. Licensed in Minnesota and<br />

North Dakota, Longie has been in the field since<br />

2000. <strong>The</strong> numbers of people seeking help with an<br />

opioid addiction, particularly heroin, are increasing.<br />

Some people, Longie said, also have “an addiction<br />

to using the needle itself,” which means even a<br />

blood draw or using a needle because of diabetes<br />

can be a trigger.<br />

For many, the hardest part of overcoming addiction<br />

is the withdrawal. Counseling, coupled with<br />

connecting people with helping services can be<br />

essential to recovery. According to Longie, “most<br />

addicts have other issues in their life that need to<br />

be addressed. Some people have traumas that<br />

are unresolved. Many have relationship, social,<br />

economic and a multitude of other issues to be<br />

addressed. Some are homeless.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> government agency, Substance Abuse and<br />

Mental Health Services Administration has<br />

published “Eight Dimensions of Wellness.”<br />

Longie recommended all eight be addressed for<br />

“a successful, sustained recovery”: emotional,<br />

environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational,<br />

physical, social and spiritual.<br />

Longie said: “I have seen people recover and I’ve<br />

seen people have to come back for repeat services.<br />

Even after near death experiences, people may go<br />

back to using. <strong>The</strong> key to success is to have wraparound<br />

care services that address their needs.”<br />

“<strong>The</strong> biggest key is to treat someone with addiction<br />

with respect and dignity and to not judge. And to<br />

provide them with hope so that they can believe in<br />

themselves. <strong>The</strong>y are deserving of respect rather<br />

than stigma and punishment. <strong>The</strong>y need safety and<br />

structure and being connected to supports in the<br />

community,” Longie asserted.<br />

Longie explained: “I love what I do and I do what<br />

I do because I have a passion for people who have<br />

lost their way. I have been in recovery for numerous<br />

years. I’ve seen people succeed. It is wonderful to<br />

see the amazing changes in those people and the<br />

confidence they have in themselves and gratifying<br />

to be able to guide and connect them to services so<br />

that they have a continuum of care.”<br />

Many people addicted to opioids also need help<br />

with safe housing. Longie said: “We need more<br />

transitional living services. <strong>The</strong>y need to have that<br />

safety and structure. Many have burned bridges<br />

through their addictions and need a second chance.”<br />

She asserted: “<strong>The</strong> key for working in the addiction<br />

counseling field is not to judge. When you see people<br />

have to come back in, to repeat services, you have to<br />

show them that you care, do not judge, encourage<br />

them to change and believe in them. I have people<br />

who have been through counseling with me come up<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 7


NOT IN MY FAMILY // PART FOUR<br />

to me and thank me. But I always<br />

say ‘you did the work.’ I give them<br />

back the empowerment. Keeping<br />

humble in the field is important.”<br />

Longie called for new<br />

perspectives: “Don’t look down<br />

on them. Look at it as an illness.<br />

You don’t label a diabetic because<br />

their levels are up due to that extra<br />

pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. It<br />

happens across all walks of life:<br />

doctors, lawyers, clergy, teachers,<br />

mothers, fathers, grandparents.”<br />

Longie affirmed: “If we treat the<br />

addict with dignity and respect,<br />

along with working on the areas<br />

of wellness that need to be<br />

addressed, we will have a higher<br />

recovery success rate.”<br />

Eric Bailly oversees the substance<br />

use disorder strategy for Anthem,<br />

Inc. with an emphasis on opioid<br />

addiction strategy. He is a licensed<br />

alcohol and drug counselor in<br />

Minnesota. Bailly has worked in a<br />

number of clinical and treatment<br />

settings for the past 20 years.<br />

Nationally, Bailly has seen<br />

creative and improved strategies<br />

for helping people with opioid<br />

addiction and other substance<br />

use disorders. For instance, in<br />

Connecticut and New Hampshire<br />

Anthem works with AWARE<br />

Recovery which delivers treatment<br />

in the home with psychiatric,<br />

case management, peer recovery<br />

support and counseling: “It’s a<br />

great model that embraces people<br />

in their home, recognizing the<br />

impact of social determinants<br />

of health. It is much more<br />

effective to work with people<br />

at home in their own context.”<br />

Another improvement is in rural<br />

and chronically underserved<br />

areas. Clinicians are able to<br />

leverage video case consultation<br />

to connect with experts. Bailly<br />

sees a future with increased<br />

telemedicine for addiction and<br />

mental health services: “In these<br />

circumstances, a provider can get<br />

much of the support they need<br />

through videoconferencing to<br />

subject experts.”<br />

Bailly cautioned against<br />

treatment centers that can “take<br />

advantage of vulnerable people”<br />

by offering big promises and<br />

beachside resorts but no evidence<br />

of sound treatment strategies or<br />

results and calls for holding them<br />

“accountable for demonstrating<br />

outcomes and efficacy.”<br />

Bailly explained his drive to<br />

8 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


working with substance use<br />

disorders: “I’m a person in<br />

long-term recovery since 1990.<br />

Some people will say I hit the<br />

wall or the bottom at a very<br />

young age, 18, when I made a<br />

commitment to turning things<br />

around. I made a decision<br />

pretty early on that I wanted<br />

a career to focus on helping<br />

those with addictions. <strong>The</strong><br />

underlying thread for me, as<br />

a recovering person, is that I<br />

care. I really do.”<br />

Both Bailly and Longie see<br />

naloxone training as important.<br />

Bailly said: “Although the<br />

jarring mental image some<br />

people have of addicts is on<br />

the street, there are a number<br />

of senior citizens using a lot<br />

of opioids. For instance, for<br />

a professional working in a<br />

senior care center, knowing the<br />

signs of overdose is important<br />

and knowing how to administer<br />

naloxone is also invaluable.”<br />

Bailly suggested that, under<br />

certain circumstances, doctors<br />

who prescribe high levels<br />

of opioids for pain to senior<br />

citizens or others should<br />

prescribe a co-prescription of<br />

naloxone.<br />

Bailly recommended the<br />

National Urban League’s<br />

website whatsupwithopioids.<br />

org, supporting community<br />

conversation about the risks<br />

associated with opioids.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is hope. Fargo-Moorhead<br />

is making a concerted effort to<br />

end opioid addiction. <strong>The</strong> Mayor’s<br />

Blue Ribbon Commission<br />

on Addiction recently presented<br />

emerging recommendations<br />

for prevention, early intervention,<br />

treatment and recovery.<br />

<strong>The</strong> commission has begun<br />

expert panels and community<br />

talks and also plans to create<br />

transitional housing for people<br />

in treatment programs. •<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 9


Ask 30 WOMEN<br />

WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF THE PERFECT<br />

VALENTINE'S DAY?<br />

Valentine's Day is fast approaching. Causing<br />

millions of men to go into a gift buying, dinner<br />

planning panic!<br />

You spend time in an awkward card buying stance<br />

next to men with the same card purchasing<br />

anxiety. You find the perfect card, look at the back,<br />

check the price and off you go! <strong>The</strong> perfect card<br />

in 3.3 seconds. Well done sir!<br />

But wait... Is this enough? Will she appreciate the<br />

effort? Fear not gentlemen, <strong>The</strong> <strong>Good</strong> <strong>Life</strong> Men’s<br />

Magazine is here to help!<br />

We asked 30 women from various walks of life,<br />

"What is your idea of the perfect Valentine's Day?"<br />

flowers<br />

hitting the gun range<br />

clean house<br />

simple dinner<br />

bottle of wine<br />

watching movies<br />

holding hands<br />

steak<br />

a new puppy<br />

LADIES <strong>–</strong><br />

If you would like to participate in<br />

our next Ask 30 Women,<br />

follow us on our Facebook<br />

page at: http://www.facebook.<br />

com/urbantoadmedia<br />

10 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com<br />

1. Roses, a heart-shaped pizza and<br />

a movie. <strong>–</strong> Jane D.<br />

2. A home cooked meal at<br />

home with a little present that is<br />

homemade and meaningful.<br />

<strong>–</strong> Krista D.<br />

3. Romance is for suckers.<br />

“Galentines” day all the way.<br />

<strong>–</strong> Carlie B.<br />

4. Jimmy John's delivered for<br />

lunch, stay home, cook together<br />

and watch a movie. <strong>–</strong> Shelby S.<br />

5. Flowers at work, coming home<br />

to a dinner made and doing the<br />

dishes while I relax. <strong>–</strong> Shanna P.<br />

6. Going out for dinner and<br />

spending time with my husband.<br />

<strong>–</strong> Sonja<br />

7. A quiet dinner. <strong>–</strong> Crystal C.<br />

8. Any type of small thoughtful<br />

surprise. A single flower or a<br />

thought out card. <strong>–</strong> Pam S.<br />

9. Holding hands and having a<br />

glass of wine. <strong>–</strong> Kathy L.<br />

10. Being with the person that<br />

means the most to you. <strong>–</strong> Cindy C.<br />

11. Stay in and watch a movie, and<br />

order in take out. <strong>–</strong> Alexis N.<br />

12. A simple dinner somewhere<br />

quiet, a walk after and a late movie.<br />

<strong>–</strong> Jenifer W.<br />

13. Sitting by the fire, my husband<br />

cooking my favorite meal, and<br />

enjoying a bottle of wine snuggled<br />

up together. <strong>–</strong> Brie B.<br />

14. House cleaned would be great!<br />

<strong>–</strong> Deniece M.<br />

15. A nice quiet dinner at home<br />

that I don’t have to cook and a new<br />

puppy! <strong>–</strong> Alex T.


16. Staying in and having someone<br />

cook for me. And chocolate!<br />

<strong>–</strong> Heather T.<br />

17. A perfect Valentine’s Day is<br />

with a little surprise for me. Does<br />

not have to anything big, and a<br />

little attention. A date in a nice<br />

restaurant or he cooks something<br />

delicious and we sit at a fancy<br />

table setting. <strong>–</strong> Lena W.<br />

18. I will never scoff about getting<br />

flowers or a plant delivered to my<br />

work. I love flowers and plants<br />

and will proudly display them. <strong>–</strong><br />

Amanda G.<br />

19. Having a nice dinner at home<br />

followed by an evening of watching<br />

some of our favorite old movies<br />

together. <strong>–</strong> Michelle H.<br />

20. A concert . <strong>–</strong> Alex S.<br />

21. Spending the evening with my<br />

husband, getting some flowers,<br />

having a nice supper with some<br />

wine and watching a movie at<br />

home. <strong>–</strong> Connie N.<br />

22. Me and the old man, a concert<br />

in a small venue, drinks, and a<br />

really good steak. <strong>–</strong> Gretchen P.<br />

23. My perfect Valentine's day is<br />

spent at home with my husband<br />

and the dogs. I'd cook a nice<br />

supper <strong>–</strong> steak or something <strong>–</strong> and<br />

then we'd watch movies and drink<br />

beer. <strong>–</strong> Darcy W.<br />

24. A nice quiet day with my<br />

husband and zero responsibilities.<br />

Roses are overpriced and cliché so<br />

I prefer a more creative bouquet.<br />

Alongside a bottle of wine.<br />

<strong>–</strong> Gina B.<br />

25. Flowers, perfume and<br />

chocolate. <strong>–</strong> Michelle B.<br />

26. An alone day with my honey<br />

doing something we both enjoy.<br />

<strong>–</strong> Beth R.<br />

27. Spend time relaxing, watching<br />

a movie, or hanging out. <strong>–</strong> Jojo<br />

28. Walking the dog, taking a<br />

trip, hitting the gun range, baking<br />

cookies - anything that gives<br />

us time to enjoy each other’s<br />

company. <strong>The</strong> best gift is<br />

something simple and small. A pint<br />

of my favorite ice cream.<br />

<strong>–</strong> Teresa T.<br />

29. A sweet card and romantic<br />

dinner with my love. <strong>–</strong> Patty N.<br />

30. A nice dinner and a yummy<br />

dessert. <strong>The</strong>n head home and be<br />

with our fur babies the rest of the<br />

night. <strong>–</strong> Molly K.<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 11


HAVING A BEER WITH // JOHN LAMB<br />

12 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com<br />

Every week, John Lamb, a content provider<br />

for Forum Communications, supplies the<br />

F-M area with the latest news on arts,<br />

entertainment, culture and events in town—<br />

the things that make Fargo more chic, relevant<br />

and “hipper” than it was 20 years ago. He’s a<br />

seasoned Fargoan, and besides his time living<br />

in the incomparable city of Duluth, Minn., he’s<br />

always lodged within a mile of the house in<br />

which he grew up.<br />

Although Lamb has inadvertently avoided<br />

eating hotdish his entire life, he wasn’t able<br />

to elude this interview with yours truly at<br />

Drekker Brewing Company. Read on to learn<br />

the usual unusuals about the local writer.


LAMPCHOP • L-CHOP • EL-CHOPO • LAMMERS<br />

<strong>Good</strong> <strong>Life</strong>: Do people perpetually<br />

annoy you with wordplays of your last<br />

name?<br />

John Lamb: Sometimes. Sports guys<br />

do. <strong>The</strong> mom of my best friend growing<br />

up would call me Lambchop. And then<br />

Lambchop became L-Chop, and then<br />

L-Chop became El-Chopo—I didn’t<br />

deserve that one. Some of my friends<br />

call me Lammers, but they never put<br />

the B in there. Most people go full<br />

name: John Lamb. Not even a pause.<br />

John Lamb.<br />

GL: Do you beat people up in dark<br />

alleys for calling you those nicknames,<br />

or do you like them?<br />

JL: Oh, I couldn’t beat anybody up. I<br />

live up to my name with that. I would<br />

gnaw at people and just eat all their<br />

food and shed, but I would not beat<br />

anybody up. And none of the names<br />

have provoked any kind of fist-to-cuff<br />

or anything like that. I’d probably drink<br />

their beer when they’re not looking.<br />

Sneaky consumption.<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 13


HAVING A BEER WITH // JOHN LAMB<br />

HOTDISH<br />

Would you consider<br />

lasagna a hotdish?<br />

<strong>–</strong> John Lamb<br />

GL: What’s your favorite hotdish?<br />

JL: Would you consider lasagna a<br />

hotdish?<br />

GL: Umm, no. It needs to be more like<br />

Campbell’s soup mixed with something<br />

or other.<br />

JL: Ya know, I grew up in a house<br />

where my mom never did that, and my<br />

dad mostly just liked a hunk of meat or<br />

eggs. We never really did hotdish.<br />

GL: So never any tator tot hotdish?<br />

JL: I don’t know if I’ve ever actually had<br />

that. My girlfriend says we’re going to<br />

make it sometime, and I’m like, yeah,<br />

bring it on. Let’s do it. What are some<br />

other notable hotdishes?<br />

GL: I can’t think of any names for any<br />

other ones because you pretty much<br />

just throw stuff together.<br />

JL: Like noodle koodle.<br />

GL: Yeah, like noodle koodle, dippity<br />

doodle. Just whatever oodle.<br />

JL: I’m probably going to have my<br />

Midwest card revoked, aren’t I? I’m<br />

going to have to go through a remedial<br />

course, and I‘ll probably have to go ice<br />

fishing again.<br />

GL: You’ll be ejected from the Midwest.<br />

JL: I’ll have my badge or belt buckle<br />

taken away. <strong>The</strong>y’ll have to sand the<br />

North Dakota tattoo off my arm. I<br />

should’ve just eaten the hotdish.<br />

GL: It could’ve been so simple, John.<br />

JL: That’s what we should say: Just eat<br />

the hotdish. Take the hotdish.<br />

GL: Leave the gun, take the hotdish.<br />

JL: Yes, exactly. <strong>Good</strong> catch.<br />

THE GOOD LIFE<br />

<strong>The</strong> good life for me would be<br />

going to another city, having a<br />

good day, and being able to come<br />

back to a job I like, having a place<br />

where I like to live, and kind of<br />

just where everything makes me<br />

happy. <strong>–</strong> John Lamb<br />

14 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com<br />

GL: How do you make your office space/cubicle/quad cozy?<br />

JL: I don’t clean. <strong>The</strong>re are piles and piles of papers and newspapers,<br />

lots of empty bottles, and, sometimes, empty coffee cups. On the<br />

little divider, I post cards that friends have sent or interesting<br />

postcards for events.<br />

GL: Which movie has spoken to you in such a way where it’s like,<br />

“This is my life” or “I can totally relate to that character”?<br />

JL: It certainly wouldn’t be a super-hero movie. It would be a movie<br />

about somebody who would interact with people regularly, but<br />

who would probably do fine just keeping to himself. He could go to<br />

lunch by himself and read a newspaper and even go out and have<br />

a drink by himself as he watches a band play at the VFW. This is


why no one is going to turn my life into<br />

a movie.<br />

GL: It would be more of a documentary.<br />

JL: Maybe it would be a music video.<br />

GL: Which song would it feature?<br />

JL: Maybe some Hold Steady songs,<br />

the ones that aren’t so druggy.<br />

GL: If you had to give us a headline of<br />

your week so far, what would it be?<br />

JL: Do I have to use the phrase “local<br />

man” in there? “Local man gets<br />

through ‘nother week.” Oh, it would be<br />

“Local man consoles dog after eating<br />

brick of Brie.”<br />

GL: Brick o’ Brie. That should be a<br />

band name.<br />

JL: That would be good ‘cause it could<br />

go either way; it could be about cheese<br />

or a person. It sounds like bric-à-brac.<br />

I don’t know what that is, but it’s fun<br />

to say.<br />

GL: Exactly. Now I just want to start a<br />

band called Brick o’ Brie.<br />

JL: Brick o’ Brie. Do it. I’ll give you a<br />

good write-up. If only more people<br />

realized they just needed to buy me<br />

drinks to get good coverage.<br />

GL: What’s one of your favorite types<br />

of writing?<br />

JL: This may sound really odd,<br />

but obituaries can be really kind<br />

of fulfilling. You’re kind of giving a<br />

little portrait of someone’s life. If<br />

it’s someone who was noteworthy,<br />

a newsmaker, you can look through<br />

their files and find out what they did<br />

that was remarkable and unique and<br />

write about why they’ll be missed.<br />

GL: What does living the good life<br />

mean to you?<br />

JL: <strong>The</strong> good life for me would be going<br />

to another city, having a good day, and<br />

being able to come back to a job I like,<br />

having a place where I like to live, and<br />

kind of just where everything makes<br />

me happy. If I’m not there, I’m pretty<br />

close. I think I got the big ones. I just<br />

need to figure out retirement funds. •<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 15


WRITTEN BY: MATT LACHOWITZER<br />

You’re on your way to work, driving your<br />

normal route and you start to feel a slight shift<br />

to the right. It’s a windy day so you pass it off<br />

as the wind, but as the week goes by you start<br />

noticing the shift becoming more noticeable.<br />

You now realize it must be more than just the<br />

wind, and may be something wrong with your<br />

vehicle. If you start to experience abnormal<br />

feelings while driving, like maybe you are<br />

feeling an unfamiliar vibration, an extra<br />

bumpy ride, or abnormal resistance, be sure<br />

to keep your hands on the wheel, feet on the<br />

pedals, and your eyes the road to try and detect<br />

the issue. Your own body is a great tool for<br />

feeling out vehicle problems, so it is essential<br />

to utilize this sense. Below you will find some<br />

descriptions of some of those uneasy feelings<br />

that your car might be making, telling you<br />

something is not quite right.<br />

Vibrating or Shaking<br />

If you are feeling some sort of vibrating or shaking sensation,<br />

it can be coming from several different places so make sure to<br />

inspect all possible conclusions before making assumptions.<br />

Check your wheels and tires, the shaking could mean that the tires<br />

are misaligned or unbalanced. <strong>The</strong>se feelings can also indicate<br />

suspension failure or warped brake rotors. Vehicle vibration is<br />

one of the most common and bothersome problems and it can<br />

sneak up on you gradually or just suddenly happen.<br />

Pulling or Leaning<br />

It can be quite a scare if you are driving and your vehicles begins<br />

to pull itself in an undesired direction on its own. Most often<br />

this feeling can suggest that there is an issue with the steering,<br />

tires, failed shocks, wheel bearing, linkage, or suspension. While<br />

there are several things that can cause this sensation, the most<br />

common one is low tire pressure, so make sure you check your<br />

tire pressure and fill up your tires if they are low and see if your<br />

pull lessens or gets worse. If the pulling persists, bring it in to a<br />

trusted automotive service center to test the issue.<br />

16 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


Loose Steering /<br />

Difficult Turning<br />

If you are experiencing either<br />

increased resistance with the<br />

steering wheel or if it feels<br />

disconnected or loose, it can<br />

become much harder to control<br />

your vehicle safely. If this sounds<br />

like a familiar feeling, then<br />

you could be facing a steering<br />

or suspension issue. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

components work to connect your<br />

front wheels to the steering wheel<br />

and chassis of your vehicle, which<br />

allows you to control your vehicle<br />

safely. If you are having difficulties<br />

turning because of resistance it<br />

could be an issue with the power<br />

steering system like low on power<br />

steering fluid, the pump, or the<br />

belt.<br />

Spongy or<br />

Low Brake Pedal<br />

It is no argument that brakes are the<br />

most important safety function in<br />

your vehicle. Routine brake checks<br />

are vital for vehicle safety. Any<br />

indication of abnormalities with<br />

your brakes should be assessed<br />

immediately. Spongy brakes can<br />

be caused by air in the brake lines,<br />

lack of brake fluid, or even old<br />

brake fluid. Old brake fluid can be<br />

topped off but if it’s too old the fluid<br />

will absorb moisture, which will<br />

make it difficult for your vehicle to<br />

maintain its pressure which allows<br />

you to brake consistently.<br />

It is crucial that you are relying<br />

on all your senses to help indicate<br />

any possible issues. Make sure<br />

you are paying attention to those<br />

vibrations, extra bumpy rides,<br />

or resistance. Your safety while<br />

driving is important, and these<br />

feelings could be telling you<br />

something more than just hitting a<br />

pesky bump. Whether your vehicle<br />

is shaking, vibrating, or pulling to<br />

one side too much, it is important<br />

to stop by your trusted automotive<br />

service center to ensure that your<br />

vehicle is safe to drive. •<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 17


COVER // TODD RUZICKA<br />

18 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


WRITTEN BY: MEGHAN FEIR<br />

PHOTOGRAPHY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA<br />

Todd Ruzicka never considered<br />

himself much of a risk taker, yet the<br />

thought of spending his life confined<br />

to a cubicle seemed riskier than<br />

the many times he’s sacrificed the<br />

illusion of security and stability.<br />

What Ruzicka wanted was a story<br />

to tell. After going on music tours<br />

with bands and moving to the United<br />

Kingdom, the Mayville, N.D., native<br />

has continually returned to the roots<br />

he laid down in Fargo-Moorhead<br />

when his family moved for his father’s<br />

previous position at MSUM.<br />

Since his last homecoming, he’s<br />

delved deeper into his solo project,<br />

Immune System, an industrial<br />

electronic band, and his music<br />

licensing company, Immunity<br />

Productions, as he connects<br />

more deeply with the community<br />

surrounding him.<br />

Music in the Veins<br />

As a child enveloped in inspiration<br />

from musicians like Buddy Rich,<br />

the rhythms of the drums came<br />

naturally to Ruzicka. From listening<br />

to records to attending his father’s<br />

choral concerts, Ruzicka regularly<br />

pretended to conduct and play the<br />

drums on pillows.<br />

Throughout high school and college,<br />

Ruzicka played in local bands inside<br />

and outside of school. Although<br />

music was always his first love,<br />

he majored in English and mass<br />

communications at MSUM. But that<br />

didn’t deter the feral call of music<br />

from beckoning him.<br />

“After I got my English degree, I<br />

did the normal thing and joined a<br />

country cover band and hit the road.<br />

I hate country. But it was enjoyable<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 19


COVER // TODD RUZICKA<br />

20 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


ecause I loved the people I was<br />

with,” Ruzicka said.<br />

Following a three-year tour in the<br />

Midwest, Ruzicka joined other<br />

bands, moved to Chicago and moved<br />

back home. Eventually, he decided to<br />

reach out to a successful industrialelectronic<br />

band from Madison, Wisc.,<br />

to let them know he was available to<br />

drum. <strong>The</strong> following day, he’d already<br />

received a message. “Hey, man. Are<br />

you serious?”<br />

Two days later, Ruzicka arrived in<br />

Madison. “I got there, we practiced<br />

once, and then the next time we<br />

played was in Denver for the first<br />

night of our national tour,” Ruzicka<br />

said. “That was a little nervewracking,<br />

but it was so much fun.”<br />

Making Music Work<br />

Although many musicians are<br />

hesitant to turn hobbies into<br />

professions for fear of it becoming<br />

more a drudgery than a passion,<br />

making music his work has always<br />

been Ruzicka’s goal.<br />

“When I was living in the UK, there<br />

was a good chunk of time where I<br />

didn’t have an outlet at all. That was<br />

my most imbalanced time in life,<br />

creatively speaking. I was unhappy<br />

and physically unhealthy. I didn’t<br />

realize how important it was to me.”<br />

After suffering from that long lull,<br />

Ruzicka had to power his creative<br />

outlet once more, and in 2005,<br />

Immune System was born. It featured<br />

industrial-electronic mixes and<br />

exuded darker sounds and emotions<br />

than his past endeavors.<br />

“I didn’t have much of an idea of what<br />

I was doing when I started,” Ruzicka<br />

said. “I just had some software and<br />

went for it.”<br />

Since he began mixing music, his<br />

sound has evolved. His desire to<br />

continually learn has added maturity<br />

and depth to his projects.<br />

Idols. I’m just experimenting with<br />

orchestral instrumentation. Writing<br />

a bassoon part—that’s new. I’m<br />

sort of branching out and my dad<br />

didn’t hate it, so it means it’s all<br />

right,” Ruzicka said with a laugh.<br />

After living in the UK for six years,<br />

Ruzicka returned to Fargo in<br />

2011 and started a music<br />

licensing company called<br />

Immunity Productions,<br />

the more commercial<br />

offshoot of his solo<br />

project. He began the<br />

company out of interest<br />

and necessity as the<br />

music industry continued<br />

to grow more untamed and<br />

unpredictable.<br />

“Right now, music is my job,<br />

but it doesn’t mean I can<br />

always rely on it. I don’t think<br />

anyone can really count on it<br />

anymore in the music industry,<br />

even the bigger bands,” Ruzicka<br />

said. “A lot of people now call<br />

the music industry the Wild<br />

West. You do what you have<br />

to do. <strong>The</strong>re are no record<br />

sales. A lot of bands now see<br />

themselves as traveling T-shirt<br />

salesmen, and they survive on<br />

merch. <strong>The</strong> reason I found my<br />

way into licensing is because it’s<br />

one of the remaining ways musicians<br />

can still make money from their art.<br />

I started studying it and just kind of<br />

jumped in to see if anybody could use<br />

my stuff.”<br />

While his work remains<br />

unpredictable, Ruzicka has<br />

had several pieces featured in<br />

video games, business videos,<br />

documentaries and indie films.<br />

“Often in films, a little bit of a<br />

song plays. That’s licensed<br />

music. <strong>The</strong> first company that<br />

used my music was for a film<br />

called ‘Kessler’s Lab.’ <strong>The</strong>y<br />

used a huge chunk of one<br />

of my songs,” Ruzicka<br />

said.<br />

“I recently started a neo-classical<br />

ambient project called Altars and<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 21


COVER // TODD RUZICKA<br />

That’s what he now calls beginner’s<br />

luck. Due to the difficulty of being<br />

discovered in the ocean of fellow<br />

musicians, networking is a vital<br />

aspect of survival in the industry, and<br />

persistence a necessary virtue. But<br />

the unknowns add to the intrigue of<br />

his calling.<br />

“Ninety-nine times out of 100,<br />

you’ll either get<br />

ignored or rejected.<br />

You’re usually ignored<br />

completely. But every<br />

now and then you strike<br />

gold,” Ruzicka said. “You<br />

can’t take it personally, but at<br />

first you do.”<br />

Following the first indie film, the<br />

documentary and a video game for a<br />

company out of Singapore, Ruzicka<br />

licensed his music for a short film<br />

called “Free Ride” that circuited film<br />

festivals around the globe.<br />

“I got a call one night.<br />

<strong>The</strong> guy said, ‘Hey is this<br />

Todd from Immune System? This<br />

is Kevin. I make films. I’ve always<br />

wanted to use your music and now<br />

I can. Would you consider licensing<br />

something?’ I was like, ‘Let me think.<br />

Yeah.’ Sometimes you’re really firing<br />

on all cylinders, and other times it<br />

seems as though nobody wants your<br />

stuff at all. It’s up and down.”<br />

Paying It Forward<br />

While producing and licensing<br />

music is a daily part of Ruzicka’s<br />

routine, teaching drum lessons and<br />

interacting with his students adds<br />

another layer of joy and fulfillment.<br />

“I always thought I would like<br />

teaching drums, but it turns out that<br />

I really love it,” Ruzicka said. “I’m<br />

insanely proud of all my students.<br />

When you connect with them and see<br />

that spark and that they get it, I get<br />

goose bumps.”<br />

Ruzicka hopes to pass along the<br />

same passion and knowledge that<br />

his great inspirations and colleagues<br />

have given and stirred in him.<br />

22 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


"My father had a huge influence on me, in terms<br />

of discipline and musical professionalism. My<br />

first drum instructor, Mike Blake, was also super<br />

influential. He taught me the concept of having big<br />

ears and always listening to the other musicians<br />

I might be playing with,” Ruzicka said. “I’ve had<br />

a lot of people higher up in the industry who have<br />

been very generous to me and very willing to help<br />

when I’ve had questions, though they didn’t have<br />

to. It’s kind of along the lines of teaching drums;<br />

I want to share what I know. I'm still learning<br />

and it's a huge learning curve, but I'd like to help<br />

anyone who might be interested in this area of the<br />

music business.”<br />

Taking the Right Path<br />

While Ruzicka never knows what will be on the<br />

next page, the mystery and challenge drives his<br />

curiosity and keeps him persistent as he follows<br />

his unique pathway in life.<br />

“I’m naturally kind of anxious, and I don’t see<br />

myself as a risk taker. But in looking back, that’s<br />

completely wrong because I’ve done a lot of<br />

weird things,” Ruzicka said. “Certainly, there’s<br />

an element of security that I don’t have that was<br />

instilled in me that I should have, but that’s not<br />

the route I chose. I’ve tried the everyday, 9-to-5,<br />

cubicle jobs, and they make me miserable. I can’t<br />

do it. This is really the only way I can be.” •<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 23


FATHERS // MR. FULL-TIME DAD<br />

WRITTEN BY: BEN HANSON • PHOTOGRAPHY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA<br />

At one point in my life, I held firm to the philosophy that if<br />

you can’t get ready to go — shower, shave, get dressed, etc.<br />

— within 15 minutes, you should consider yourself a mild<br />

failure. No matter how tired, stressed, lazy or hungover I<br />

might have been, I could always muster the wherewithal<br />

to get cleaned up and out the door on time. But that was<br />

before fatherhood really set in.<br />

For the first year or so of his life, Macklin was an immobile<br />

pile of dough that was relatively easy to manipulate. He<br />

maybe added five minutes to my 15-minute rule. His life<br />

was onesies, formula and spare diapers. It was predictable<br />

and entirely manageable. At the age of two, the process<br />

of getting us out the door is still manageable, but rarely<br />

predictable.<br />

Winter, however, has changed the game even more. Cold<br />

conditions coupled with Mack’s expanding awareness of the<br />

world around him means we could be stuck in our entryway<br />

half the morning trying to wrestle on 72 layers of winter<br />

gear. <strong>The</strong> challenges are many…<br />

Winter Boots<br />

Getting velcro booties onto a limp newborn used to be my<br />

daily challenge, and it was cute. Winter boots are only cute<br />

once they’re walking out the door. At one point, Mack had<br />

four different pairs of winter boots, all of which were about<br />

as easy to get on as one of those full-body suits Olympic<br />

swimmers used to wear.<br />

We’ve since found a pair that were designed by what I’m<br />

going to call a modern day Isaac Newton, built with parents’<br />

sanity in mind. Thanksgiving may be long over, but I will<br />

never stop giving thanks for these easy-on boots that Mack<br />

can now put on by himself. That one pair has given me back<br />

about eight minutes of my morning.<br />

Two Sizes Too Big<br />

Emily and I are a pragmatic couple. When you combine my<br />

frugality with her forward thinking, you end up with things<br />

like three pairs of snowpants that are all two sizes too big.<br />

Bought on sale with the future in mind, theoretically Mack<br />

should be set for at least one more year, with our wallets<br />

none the wiser.<br />

<strong>The</strong> problem comes in the daily execution of pulling on that<br />

extra foot of leg room. It’s a multi-step process that involves<br />

a few rounds of sitting then standing, then sitting again, and<br />

a whole lot of wiggling (and, on a good morning, a helpful<br />

amount of giggling). <strong>The</strong> oversized snow pants are too<br />

long to stand and put on, and, ironically, too long to put on<br />

sitting. It’s a weird in-between-world of I don’t know what.<br />

Parenthood.<br />

Myriad Mittens<br />

If a child’s wealth were measured in mittens, Mack would<br />

be king of winter wonderland. He’s got spare pairs at<br />

home, at school, in his diaper bag, in my jacket pocket and<br />

probably under the ottoman. Thankfully, I have convinced<br />

myself this is inevitable, as the first piece of winter gear<br />

to become soggy and utterly useless is whatever pair of<br />

mittens Mack puts on first. Spares are a necessity. In fact,<br />

“things you need duplicates of” should be the first chapter<br />

of any parenting book.<br />

24 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com<br />

Abundant Excitement<br />

You can’t fault a kid for wanting to get outside and play,


ut trust me, I’ve certainly tried. Getting dressed to go<br />

outside in the winter may be the greatest test of a kid’s<br />

patience there is. Mack usually passes with flying colors,<br />

but there are days when his feet are already stomping<br />

the frozen snow before we even get down the stairs.<br />

<strong>The</strong> fact that I often would prefer to stay comfortably<br />

warm in my recliner instead of putting on my own snow<br />

pants also complicates things. “Begrudgingly” is a word<br />

Mack will learn years before his peers.<br />

Overstuffed Car Seat<br />

<strong>The</strong> last hurdle to going about our day is getting<br />

Mack, fully winter clothed, into his carseat. Everything<br />

gets bigger in the winter, except the car seat. It’s like<br />

squeezing toothpaste back into the tube. Arms get<br />

stuck, buckles go missing and minds get lost.<br />

I remember the day when I learned kids aren’t supposed<br />

to wear big winter jackets when strapped into their<br />

car seat, but that’s just not realistic here in the Upper<br />

Midwest. No rational parent would ever consider<br />

bringing their child out to the car without a jacket on<br />

in the middle of winter. Graco’s safety precautions<br />

be damned. I’d rather Mack be immobilized and<br />

uncomfortable than frozen and purple.<br />

I suppose the lesson I’m learning is one of patience.<br />

Like everything else in this life with a toddler, I’m forced<br />

to slow down and pay more attention than I otherwise<br />

would. Mack’s laser-like focus on fun helps me reconnect<br />

with all those things that also brought me joy at his age.<br />

For that, I am grateful… albeit not as punctual. •<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 25


WRITTEN BY: KRISSY NESS<br />

Teaming up with Dakota Medical Foundation and<br />

the Impact Foundation, Giving Hearts Day has been<br />

making an impression in our region for more than<br />

10 years. Over 41 million dollars have been raised<br />

through GHD with 571 profiled charities and 100+<br />

volunteer opportunities.<br />

“It is not just a giving day, we are trying to grow<br />

them to be exceptional charities for the long haul,”<br />

said Pat Traynor, Executive Director, Dakota Medical<br />

Foundation & Impact Foundation.<br />

This is not about how much you can or are willing to<br />

donate it is about helping your neighbor. GHD takes<br />

place every <strong>February</strong> right around Valentines Day,<br />

this year it falls on the 8th and takes place online.<br />

This was strategic because Valentines Day about<br />

showing others that you love and care for them.<br />

“We find people are generally good, and they want<br />

to help, but if you don’t ask it wont happen,” stated<br />

Traynor. “People want to give and we kind of create a<br />

platform for that to happen.”<br />

26 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


Working alongside Traynor is Scott Holdman, the<br />

director of the Impact Institution.<br />

“It is not just a giving day,<br />

we are trying to grow them to<br />

be exceptional charities<br />

for the long haul.”<br />

<strong>–</strong> Pat Traynor,<br />

Executive Director<br />

Dakota Medical Foundation and<br />

Impact Foundation<br />

“Scott and I have been working together for 10<br />

years and he is pivotal in all of this,” said Traynor.<br />

Holdman is an innovator in nonprofit fundraising<br />

who, through training and coaching, helps charities<br />

as they solve complex community challenges. “ I am<br />

so grateful and exceedingly proud of Scott and the<br />

work he has done here,” boasts Traynor.<br />

“Last year we had almost 22,000 individuals give, we<br />

had over 300 charities and they raised almost 10.7<br />

million dollars,” Said Traynor. “This doesn’t happen<br />

unless you live in a very generous region, so our<br />

fundamental philosophy is you need to create those<br />

mediums for people to ask; people need to know<br />

about these causes.”<br />

Both Minnesota and North Dakota and ranked in the<br />

top 15 stated for volunteer rates based on the pooled<br />

data from the last four years and over 70 percent of<br />

the top 15 are from the Midwest region, which show<br />

that we are living in the most generous region in the<br />

United States.<br />

PHOTO urbantoadmedia.com BY: KAYLEIGH / OMANG THE GOOD - DMF LIFE / 27


PHOTO BY: KAYLEIGH OMANG - DMF<br />

“Charities are doing a spectacular job,<br />

credit goes to them for getting the<br />

word out and following their<br />

own path for fundraising or this<br />

wouldn’t happen.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are many ways in which the DMF and GHD<br />

work to gain as much notoriety as they can. First, they<br />

begin with the 5 T’s: Transformation <strong>–</strong> Trends, Tactics,<br />

Tools, and Team. By transforming the minds of the<br />

organizations and teams, following trends, and using<br />

appropriate tactics and tools they are able to reach<br />

many more people.<br />

Next, they utilize social media. #GIVINGHEARTSDAY<br />

and #COUNTME are connected to this event and<br />

raise a lot of awareness. “Our job is to bring social<br />

media around; that is exciting because the<br />

fundamental thing is that people will give if they<br />

are asked,” reaffirms Traynor. “Charities are doing<br />

a spectacular job, credit goes to them for getting<br />

the word out and following their own path for<br />

fundraising or this wouldn’t happen.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>n, they follow up with the location of the event<br />

— online. Holding the event online makes hosting<br />

the even so much more convenient for people to<br />

donate.<br />

28 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


Finally, the finish with the three R’s: Recruiting,<br />

Retaining, and Reaching. By finding earnest charities<br />

they are able to keep them in their inventory for GHD<br />

and the right volunteers are able to reach people<br />

willing and wanting to give back.<br />

Giving back doesn’t have to happen once a year, and<br />

we know that here in Fargo-Moorhead. You can find<br />

something charitable happening every day whether it<br />

is a food drive, riding motorcycles to raise awareness,<br />

or receiving free food, beer, or merchandise just for<br />

participating in events around the community. But it<br />

is events like GHD that really reminds you that when<br />

you have all of the right ingredients at just the right<br />

time you can make a big splash in the community<br />

and raise more than just money, but the spirits of<br />

those giving and receiving.<br />

Medical Foundation or the Impact Institution. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

will gladly speak with you about options in regards to<br />

your favorite charity.<br />

Most people want to give to what they are passionate<br />

about, and other want to find something to be<br />

passionate about. With Giving Hearts Day you can<br />

search through variety of causes and charities that<br />

are just waiting to hear from you. What is unique<br />

about it is that there is something for everyone. After<br />

all there is a reason it is called Giving Hearts Day, it<br />

attracts giving hearts. •<br />

If you have a particular charities you want to see a<br />

part of this event don’t hesitate to contact the Dakota<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 29


LOCAL HERO // JAIL CHAPLAINS<br />

PHOTO BY: BEN WHITE<br />

30 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


WRITTEN BY: DANIELLE TEIGEN<br />

PHOTOGRAPHY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA<br />

JAIL Chaplains<br />

Bringing Jesus<br />

to Jail...<br />

and Changing Lives<br />

in the Process<br />

On a Thursday afternoon in November, the<br />

Cass County Sheriff’s Office team gathered at<br />

the jail for a lunch hosted by Jail Chaplains, a<br />

local nonprofit focused on providing inmates<br />

with spiritual support and sharing the gospel<br />

of Jesus Christ.<br />

Jesus and jail?<br />

You read that right. Jail Chaplains is a small<br />

organization with a big mission, and God is<br />

literally changing lives through their work.<br />

At the lunch, officers and administrators<br />

chatted easily with one another as well as<br />

with Mike Sonju, full-time chaplain with the<br />

organization. He’s been with Jail Chaplains<br />

since 2007, and he’s seen countless inmates<br />

get involved in the organization’s programs<br />

in the Cass County Jail and walk out at<br />

the end of their sentence with a renewed<br />

purpose and a heart for Christ. Sonju works<br />

with a team of 30 volunteers who help lead<br />

the 20 hours of faith based programs offered<br />

weekly.<br />

“Jail is the end result of a problematic life<br />

that didn’t occur overnight, and it won’t go<br />

away overnight,” Sonju said. “<strong>The</strong> message is<br />

greater than the messenger. We want people<br />

to walk with God, and we help them get to<br />

that relationship, in any way we can.”<br />

One person who has been helped is Wil Dort.<br />

A Haitian native who came to Fargo in 1997<br />

with his mother and two sisters, Dort’s early<br />

childhood was influenced by a voodoo priest<br />

father who required his children to attend<br />

church every Sunday (even though his father<br />

didn’t attend). Dort obeyed, but didn’t really<br />

believe in the message. His aunt was the only<br />

Christian he knew in Haiti and family often<br />

ridiculed her for her beliefs.<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 31


LOCAL HERO // JAIL CHAPLAINS<br />

“Anything good from these programs<br />

doesn’t come from us; it comes from<br />

God and the hope of His message.”<br />

Chaplain Mike Sonju, Jail Chaplains<br />

<strong>The</strong>n, in 2006, he was arrested<br />

and jailed on drug charges and<br />

sentenced to nine months in the<br />

Cass County Jail. A light bulb went<br />

on.<br />

“I didn’t want that to be my life,”<br />

Dort said. So he immersed himself<br />

in the Jail Chaplains Bible study<br />

and met Sonju, setting in motion<br />

a friendship that would lead to<br />

Sonju officiating at his wedding<br />

and speaking on his behalf to a<br />

pardon board.<br />

“We were brought together on this<br />

journey, and Mike has been very<br />

involved with my walk with Christ,”<br />

Dort said. He recalled reading the<br />

Bible in jail - it was the first book<br />

he’d ever finished.<br />

“I was praying for change and a<br />

better heart,” he said. “I wanted a<br />

sense of purpose.”<br />

During those first Bible study<br />

sessions together, Sonju saw that<br />

the young man was serious about<br />

making a new start.<br />

“Some people rise to the top and<br />

show a sincere desire for a new<br />

life and getting on with the life God<br />

has for them,” Sonju said. “I could<br />

see it in Will that he walked the<br />

walk and talked the talk. He had a<br />

lot going against him, but a life for<br />

Christ was what he wanted.”<br />

Looking back on that time, Dort<br />

can see various ways God was<br />

working in his life - like when<br />

he was cutting a client’s hair on<br />

work release (from jail) at the<br />

local barber college and lamented<br />

that his financial aid was being<br />

revoked; the client asked him to<br />

join him in a barbershop he was<br />

opening even though Dort didn’t<br />

yet have a diploma.<br />

Or when he felt God telling him<br />

to visit Haiti in 2012, so he did,<br />

having been reassured by social<br />

services that he’d be fine to travel<br />

on his green card despite having<br />

two class A felonies on his record.<br />

When he returned to the United<br />

States, he was detained and<br />

should have been incarcerated.<br />

But he wasn’t.<br />

Dort said God was at work there,<br />

and when he applied for a pardon<br />

32 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


“God made a way for<br />

me, and I need to<br />

take it serious while<br />

I’m here...I believe<br />

the reason we are<br />

here is to share the<br />

Gospel and its truth<br />

and light.”<br />

Will Dort,<br />

Jail Chaplains<br />

returned citizen<br />

from the governor. Sonju and Capt.<br />

Andrew Frobig, Cass County jail<br />

administrator, spoke on his behalf,<br />

as well as former Gov. Ed Schafer.<br />

Despite the impressive lineup, the<br />

outlook for recommendation for<br />

a pardon seemed bleak, and only<br />

Dort’s faith in God buoyed him.<br />

And his faith came through for<br />

him. On the way back to Fargo<br />

from the Bismarck hearing, Dort<br />

received a phone call that he would<br />

be recommended for pardon.<br />

“Things like that just don’t<br />

happen,” Dort said. “God made a<br />

way for me, and I need to take it<br />

serious while I’m here...I believe<br />

the reason we are here is to share<br />

the Gospel and its truth and light.”<br />

As the jail administrator, Frobig<br />

sees firsthand how inmates benefit<br />

from being in the Jail Chaplains<br />

programs.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>y’re skeptical at first, but<br />

they’ll check it out,” Frobig says. “A<br />

lot of them haven’t had any support<br />

before so they don’t know what to<br />

expect. <strong>The</strong>y have to be willing to<br />

be open and talk about their faith<br />

and personal issues with others;<br />

it’s counter intuitive.”<br />

While Jail Chaplains hosts an array<br />

of programs that seem typical for<br />

a religious organization - Bible<br />

studies, ALPHA, church services,<br />

anger management, Stepping Up<br />

- it’s one of the atypical programs<br />

that seems to also have a profound<br />

effect on participants.<br />

Frobig said the knitting program<br />

offers inmates an opportunity<br />

learn a new skill and practice<br />

socializing, which can offer a<br />

constructive outlet for many of the<br />

individuals.<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 33


LOCAL HERO // JAIL CHAPLAINS<br />

For Jail Chaplains to achieve its<br />

mission, Executive Director Gerri<br />

Leach serves as a driving force.<br />

She’s been with the organization since<br />

May 2012, and she considers the role<br />

a “God appointment.”<br />

She had worked for a seed company<br />

for 27 years and then for <strong>The</strong> Salvation<br />

Army during the historic floods of<br />

2009, 2010 and 2011.<br />

“God changed my heart (at <strong>The</strong><br />

Salvation Army), and I didn’t realize<br />

how much he was preparing me,” she<br />

said.<br />

In her role at <strong>The</strong> Salvation Army,<br />

Leach had created relationships<br />

with churches, businesses, and law<br />

enforcement officers - all of which<br />

have been crucial in her role with Jail<br />

Chaplains.<br />

<strong>The</strong> core team of volunteers, staff<br />

and board members attend 16<br />

different congregations in the area.<br />

<strong>The</strong> volunteer time invested equals<br />

more than 1,600 hours or 41 40-hour<br />

workweeks.<br />

Last year, attendance at Jail<br />

Chaplains programs was more than<br />

11,000, which is an average weekly<br />

attendance of 300 inmates.<br />

For Leach, the good life is seeing the<br />

lives of men and women change.<br />

“I see the barriers some returning<br />

citizens (former inmates) have to<br />

overcome, and the joy and tenacity<br />

they approach it with is incredible,”<br />

she said.<br />

“It’s surprising, but we often<br />

have more men than women<br />

(in the program),” Frobig said.<br />

In an environment often fueled<br />

by testosterone and sadness,<br />

Frobig said it’s great to see<br />

many men laughing and enjoying<br />

themselves while they knit. Plus,<br />

it’s a special moment for them<br />

to be able to create something<br />

themselves they can offer as a<br />

gift to a loved one.<br />

Frobig said the officers and<br />

administrators watch for inmates<br />

who may benefit from talking<br />

with a chaplain, but they never<br />

impose any beliefs on anyone;<br />

additionally, they can connect<br />

inmates with a person from a<br />

different faith, if they request.<br />

<strong>The</strong> connections Jail Chaplains<br />

offers are extensive.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> community connections<br />

are really starting to turn lives<br />

around,” Frobig said. “<strong>The</strong>y<br />

never give up on anyone.”<br />

To show his gratitude to the<br />

organization that led him to a<br />

new life in Christ, Dort gives<br />

back to Jail Chaplains any way<br />

he can, whether that’s through<br />

volunteering for events, offering<br />

financial donations, sharing his<br />

story to encourage others, or<br />

connecting with other inmates<br />

and returned citizens through<br />

Bible studies.<br />

Sonju is quick to point out<br />

that people like Sheriff Paul<br />

Laney, Frobig and the other law<br />

enforcement and corrections<br />

officers are a “tremendous asset<br />

to this community.”<br />

34 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


“I don’t know how they do<br />

it,” he said. “Without them,<br />

we wouldn’t have these<br />

programs...For people who<br />

are incarcerated, these<br />

(programs) are like bringing<br />

light into the darkness.”<br />

When it comes to the good<br />

life, Dort’s answer is simple:<br />

It’s a Christ-centered life.<br />

“A good life is finding<br />

contentment with the life<br />

God gave you, with the<br />

happiness God put in you<br />

because no one can take<br />

that from you,” he said.<br />

Sonju agrees. “A new life in<br />

Christ is a good life,” he said.<br />

“Jesus didn’t die on a cross<br />

to make bad people good<br />

but to make dead people<br />

live...the good life is abiding<br />

in Jesus Christ. Anything<br />

good from these programs<br />

doesn’t come from us; it<br />

comes from God and the<br />

hope of His message.” •<br />

“A good life is<br />

finding contentment<br />

with the life God<br />

gave you, with the<br />

happiness God put<br />

in you because no<br />

one can take that<br />

from you.”<br />

Will Dort<br />

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 35

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!