The Good Life Men's Magazine - November/December 2018

TheGoodLife

Featuring Sheriff Paul Laney. Local Hero - CHARISM, Having a Beer with Joel Heitkamp, Mr. Full-Time Dad and more in Fargo Moorhead's only men's magazine.

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2018

LOCAL HERO:

CHARISM

A COMMUNITY ANCHOR

FOR KIDS & FAMILIES

FATHERS

THANKFUL FOR

EVERY PHASE

HAVING A BEER WITH

JOEL HEITKAMP

ASK 30 WOMEN

WHAT IS THE MOST

DISAPPOINTING GIFT

YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

PAUL LANEY

SERVICE BEFORE SELF

SHERIFF LANEY PREPARES FOR LIFE AFTER RETIREMENT

FREE TO A GOOD HOME


FATHERS | MR. FULL-TIME DAD

WRITTEN BY: BEN HANSON

N

obody told me parenthood is a path toward

enlightenment. They told me it’s expensive,

tiring and thankless. There’s a bit of truth to

both takes, but lately I’ve found myself inordinately

delighted by the unpredictable antics of my three-yearold

son, Macklin. Tomfoolery that would otherwise

inspire madness has become the highlight of my days.

I’m completely content with evenings spent lying

facedown on a living room floor that hasn’t seen a

vacuum in weeks, getting jumped on by a 40-pound

toddler. It may not be your definition of enlightenment,

but it’s as close as I’ve so far come to my own.

As we approach the holiday season, starting with

Thanksgiving, I can’t help but reflect on ‘The Good

Life’ I’m living. Each day of parenthood brings new

revelations, but while playing the part of a doughy-soft

crash pad for Macklin — future WWE star — a deep

realization burst into my awareness. Or maybe it was a

budding frontal lobe migraine caused by the repeated

blows. Either way, the thought holds true: every phase

of Mack’s young life somehow becomes my favorite.

Again, it may just be a sign of cumulative brain damage

and memory loss, but every shift in personality, every

major or minor milestone achieved, every new

word, step or stumble beguiles me. Is it possible

to fall in love with potty training? To find beauty in

bloodied knees? To embrace fits of tantramonious

rage? Why yes, it is. It is the zen of parenting — loving

your offspring so much, that (most) every moment

blossoms into a cherished memory. A few examples...

THE FIRST GIGGLE

Looking down at a newborn in your arms is tough to

beat. It’s a moment of purity, like looking out the front

window to see winter’s first blanket of unblemished

white snow greet the morning sun (unless you hate

winter, of course). But that first giggle… ah, it’s life

changing. A smile may be the first indication that your

child recognizes you, but a giggle is the first time he

really gets you. I’ve shared in thousands of giggles by

this point, but each one is my favorite.

CURIOUS ABOUT EVERYTHING

Toddlers are as enlightened as any being out there.

Why? Because they live completely in the moment.

Everything is new and mysterious, and everything is

capable of inspiring awe at a moment’s notice. If

you go along for the

journey with

them, you get the chance to

catch a whiff or two

of second- h a n d

awe. Every

walk

2 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


to the park is an adventure, an

opportunity for him to discover

something new… and, through his

questioning everything around

him, for me to rediscover that

which once surely delighted

me, too. Perhaps it’s an ego trip, but

I love delivering answers to his many

questions.

EVEN POTTY TRAINING

Yes, I even find ways to love this ongoing

experience of potty training. It’s perhaps the

longest phase yet, but oh so worthy of cherishing.

Watching Macklin learn to take himself to the

bathroom, even interrupting bathtime to do so,

I’m witnessing him take a monumental step

towards independence. Sure he misses a lot, but

the pride on his face after a job sort of well done

makes the lingering smell of stale urine almost

bearable. Honestly, we’d all be a lot happier if we

could manage to be as pleased with ourselves as

Macklin is after pulling up a dry pair of undies.

With each new phase, the challenges grow and

intensify just as Mack does, but so do the rewards.

As does my optimism. When Mack was an infant,

I didn’t want anything to ever change. He was

perfect. But then, he rolled over, looked up and

smiled. Suddenly, I was in love with a whole new

version of him and everything was newly perfect.

It happens again and again and I’m thankful to be

able to trust each new challenge will also present

new gifts. It may not be true enlightenment, but

I’m thankful for a son that makes me content in

the moment, yet eager for the future. What a good

life indeed. •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 3


CONTENTS VOLUME

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2018

6 • ISSUE 3

02 FATHERS / MR. FULL-TIME DAD

THANKFUL FOR EVERY PHASE

06 AWARD WINNING CUSTOM PAINTER

MIKE WANNER

12 HAVING A BEER WITH

JOEL HEITKAMP

16

ASK 30 WOMEN

WHAT IS THE MOST DISAPPOINTING

GIFT YOU'VE EVER RECEIVED?

EIGHTEEN

ON THE COVER

PAUL LANEY

SERVICE BEFORE SELF

SHERIFF LANEY PREPARES

FOR LIFE AFTER

RETIREMENT

27

MANPOWER

30

LOCAL HERO

CHARISM

A COMMUNITY ANCHOR FOR

KIDS AND FAMILIES

4 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


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urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 5


WRITTEN BY: KATIE JENISON • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

Classic cars and hot rods

aren’t new to the Fargo-

Moorhead area thanks to

clubs such as the Toppers

Car Club, which established the first

annual Toppers Car Show back in

1953. The community has come

a long way since then and custom

cars, hot rods, and bikes are getting

more love than ever before. Whether

taking in the sights beautifully

restored classic cars and hot rods

line up from Sheyenne Street to

Main Avenue or admiring them up

6 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

close at Downtown Fargo’s Coffee

& Cars, there’s no doubt classic car

owners and motorcyclists are feeling

the love.

After putting all the work into

restoring a car or bike, there’s only

one thing left to do; breathe new life

into it with an eye-catching custom

paint job. Collectors and enthusiasts

are sure to want the best of the best

and that means finding someone

that not only has the experience, but

also the passion for creating one of

a kind works of art. Mike Wanner

of Fargo-Moorhead Custom and

Collision fits that profile to a T and

it's clear auto enthusiasts agree! In

fact, there is a solid chance at least

one of the classic cars, motorcycles,

or hot rods you’ve admired was one

of his custom creations.

Wanner has been recognized for his

talents across both North Dakota

and Minnesota. His award-winning

work has been featured in several

well-known magazines including


American Iron Magazine. Taking

center stage is the recognition for

his work on motorcycles. He’s won

awards for the best paint job at shows

in Bismarck, Fargo, Jamestown, and

Fergus Falls. His designs have even

beat out hundreds of other entries at

the biggest bike show in the Midwest,

The Donnie Smith Bike & Car Show,

held in Saint Paul every year. His

paintwork has helped to edge out top

competitors to win 6 first place best

in class awards!

Growing up, Wanner never dreamed

his work would win awards, but

his upbringing and love for what he

does played a large part in where he

is today. As the son of a hot rodder

and an auto body expert, Wanner

was destined to take a path involving

cars and motorcycles. From the ripe

age of 8 years old, Wanner could be

found in the driver’s seat of old cars

his dad was working on in the shop.

He has fond memories of pretending

to drive old Mustangs and the elusive

Plymouth Super Bird.

Eventually, Wanner’s dad put him

to work and it wasn’t long before he

was taking on projects of his own.

The first was prepping and painting a

As the son of a hot rodder and

an auto body expert,

Wanner was destined to take a

path involving cars and motorcycles.

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 7


1976 H-D hardtail chopper at 16. His

reward for his hard work was a solo

ride on the very bike he painted. From

that moment on, Wanner was hooked.

Every project since the first has

brought excitement, but no two client

experiences are the same. Some clients

get in touch and have a vague idea of

what sort of paint job they want, while

others know right down to the nittygritty

detail. While he welcomes the

challenge of both, there’s something

special about the creative process

and the freedom to create something

totally new and just outside the lines of

what’s become commonplace.

One thing is certain, Wanner has a

passion for getting it right the first

time and it definitely shows. From the

start of each project, clients can expect

an open line of communication when

it comes to timelines and budgets.

Clients are encouraged to provide

their feedback throughout the design

process thanks to the pictures he

sends to ensure everyone is on the

same page.

8 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


The encouragement he received from such a young age

and the inspiration he draws from other talented painters

have had a massive impact on Wanner and what he does

today. While he can’t imagine doing anything else with his

life at this point, there was a time when he considered

a career path in coaching and teaching. The desire to

connect with young people carries over even today with

his advice to those looking to pursue their dreams; don’t be

afraid to go for it. Whether it’s picking up a basic airbrush

kit and following tutorials on YouTube or taking classes

from experts, don’t let fear and uncertainty hold you back.

It’s safe to say Wanner found his calling in life, from painting

ghoulish flames on the gas tank of a motorcycle to adding

a little glitz to a newly restored classic. No matter the job,

every opportunity to learn something new and spend his

time doing what he loves is met with enthusiasm. That’s

the mark of the good life, after all. •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 9


10 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


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urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 11


HAVING A BEER WITH | JOEL HEITKAMP

12 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


WRITTEN BY: MEGHAN FEIR • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

Joel Heitkamp is no stranger to opposition and is not easily intimidated by harsh

words and middle fingers. From his time working as a utilities manager to being

a referee, a North Dakota senator to a radio talk show host, Heitkamp has had

to grow a thick skin to ward off the slings of opposing viewpoints and the oft

accompanied anger. For Heitkamp, it just seems to be water off a golden

retriever’s back.

In his current role as the operations manager for Midwest Communications,

Heitkamp manages the on-air side of six radio stations, including KFGO,

Y94 and 740 The Fan and has collectively been in the radio industry 14

years.

On a richly warm autumn day at Brewhalla (Drekker Brewing Company’s

newest location), I had the opportunity to pose questions no other

journalist or radio caller would bother asking the ex-senator and radio

professional. The only question that stumped him was one pertaining

to kombucha, leading to a discussion about headcheese.

“Have you ever eaten

cow tongue? You

come out to my fish

house and it’ll be an

experience. You won’t

stay long unless you

wear a gas mask, but

you can come on in.”

– Joel Heitkamp

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 13


HAVING A BEER WITH | JOEL HEITKAMP

Good Life: Who was your childhood

celebrity crush?

Joel Heitkamp: Celebrity crush…?

You’re tough.

GL: I know.

JH: Well, it’s not going to shock you,

but Marsha Brady. I was that age. It

was Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.

GL: If you had ties to any culture that

you’re not a part of already, which

would you choose?

JH: Irish. My daughters are Irish, and

you can see it in them. It seems to me

that the Irish have the most fun. Of

course, there’s a dark history there,

and I get that. I just wish I was Irish

every St. Paddy’s Day. We’re going to

Ireland in March of next year on St.

Paddy’s Day.

GL: It’s not that big of a deal over

there, right? Just to Americans?

JH: It’s not. We’re going to try to

change that.

GL: Will you be voting for your sister

in the upcoming election?

JH: Still debating. She hasn’t earned

my vote yet, but we’ll see. I’m

undecided.

14 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

GL: Are your wife and you extremely

similar, more like opposites, or what?

JH: You know, at the beginning I

thought we were more opposites, but

the longer we’re together, the more

I think we’re similar. We both like

sports and are very career-minded.

We both get a chance to work with a

lot of professionals. We both manage.

We like to travel. I’d say we’re really

similar, actually. And she’s a huge

Vikings fan because that would be a

deal breaker. She doesn’t like the fact

that I’m a Yankee’s fan, but she had to

get over that.

GL: So she’s more of a Twins’ fan?

JH: Oh, a huge Twins’ fan. But we

share a passionate hatred for the

Green Bay Packers. That’s a tie that

binds us eternally.

GL: What do you think about

kombucha, and have you ever held a

SCOBY in your hand?

JH: Uh. No. Are you going to tell me

what that is? A stogie? I’ve smoked

many a cigar. Is that what we’re

talking about?

GL: SCOBY stands for symbiotic

culture of bacteria and yeast. The

SCOBY looks like this gross, round

piece of old deli ham, but you use it to

make kombucha, which is essentially

fermented tea.

JH: Have you ever tried headcheese?

GL: No, but I featured it in an article.

JH: Have you ever tried blood

sausage?

GL: That was also featured in the

same article, but I’ve never tried it.

JH: I’ve eaten those. I eat liver

sausage. Have you ever eaten cow

tongue? You come out to my fish

house and it’ll be an experience. You

won’t stay long unless you wear a gas

mask, but you can come on in.

GL: When did your love of headcheese

come about?

JH: We didn’t have a lot of money

growing up, so mom and dad

didn’t throw away anything. We

learned to eat liver. We learned to

eat cow tongue. Dad wasn’t that

big on headcheese. It’s just a joke I

make on air, but there was always

Braunschweiger in the fridge—what

you would call liver pâté. I act like I

eat it every day, but I haven’t eaten it

in 15 years.


GL: If you were a dog, what breed

would you be?

JH: I’d be a golden retriever.

GL: Same.

JH: Yeah, you have to be a redhead.

Gotta be a decent size where you

can put up a fight. You don’t have

to win it, but you’ve gotta be able to

punch. Goldens are loyal. Goldens

are fun to be around, and they like

kids, plus they hunt the way I do.

They hunt hard until about noon,

and then they look for a beer.

GL: I just imagined a golden

retriever extending its paw to open

the fridge and pull out a Budweiser.

GL: Which era in history would you

choose to live during for an entire

year?

JH: World War II because it was

truly the best generation. We make

them out to be better than they

were, don’t get me wrong. Those

boys didn’t behave that much better

than any of us, but their cause was

so good. It collectively bound them

together. My dad fought for WWII.

When he came home, if you hadn’t

been in the military you weren’t

the norm. I was always jealous of

that, that everybody served and

everybody had that to hang their hat

on. I would have loved to say I was

a part of that.

GL: What does living “the good life”

mean to you?

JH: Freedom. Everybody’s freedom

is different. You do what you want

to do when you want to do it. That’s

the good life. It doesn’t mean having

money. That’s not what it’s about at

all. Tonight it might mean hopping

on your bicycle, or, for me, hopping

on my Harley and going for a ride.

It’s about the freedom and the

mindset to do whatever you want

to do. If I want to hang around

my grandkids and go to a Vikings

game I can because I’m free. That’s

freedom to me. •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 15


MOST DISAPPOINTING GIFT

WHAT IS THE MOST DISAPPOINTING GIFT YOU'VE EVER RECEIVED?

We’ve all seen it, the fake smile, the awkward grin of what appears to be enthusiasm, the unconvincing ‘Thank You’. You

spent hours (or maybe minutes) looking for the perfect gift – only to find it hidden in the back of the closet. Don’t be that

guy! Avoid buying the gift that calls the junk drawer home.

The pressure is on! “What does she want? I wasn’t listening to her.

Would she like this? Maybe just a gift card or jumper cables?”

Relax gentlemen. We are here to help. The Good Life Men’s

Magazine asked 30 random women, “What is the most

disappointing gift you have received?”

Save this valuable information and avoid these gifts. We

did our part, now the rest is up to you. Good luck out there

and happy shopping. •

UHH...

THANKS?

16 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


1. My mom got a vacuum. I have

that vacuum now.

2. Thrift store socks and slippers.

3. A box of cleaning supplies.

4. Gift cards. No thought or

emotion put into it.

5. An exercise DVD and a digital

scale that measures BMI.

6. I got a Garmin GPS from a

boyfriend. He told me it was so I

didn’t yell at him when he got lost in

traffic.

7. Socks with Christmas trees - in

kids size.

8. A pair of welding gloves, so I

wouldn’t burn my dainty, delicate

hands loading wood in the fireplace.

9. Candles. One is nice, but not five.

10. My husband gave me a Hershey

Kiss on a stick that resembled a

rose.

11. AN NFL BOBBLEHEAD.

12. My ex boyfriend took me to the

store, had me pick out a Christmas

present and purchase it. He then

went and purchased himself a

“present” of equal value and called

it even.

13. A CHAINSAW.

14. A donation to an art benefit on

my behalf.

15. 3 seasons of The Office on DVD.

I could tell they were pre-owned,

but I was still very happy with the

gift. My happiness was short-lived

when he told me that he borrowed

them from a friend, and would

appreciate my watching them as

soon as possible so that they could

be returned.

16. A framed photo of the guy I was

dating. To be clear – like a massive

senior photo. Uhh…thanks.

17. A re-gifted salad spinner. They

thought I would appreciate it

because I was eating healthy.

18. A pink camouflage jacket. If

a woman wants to wear camo, it

doesn’t have to be pink. And if a

woman says she likes pink camo,

she’s lying and doesn’t want to hurt

your feelings.

19. SMOKE DETECTORS.

20. My mother-in-law bought me a

bed in a bag at a Family Dollar and

the dye in the sheets stained my

mattress.

21. The hubs once gifted me a

black FUR dress. Yes, fur – like a

Muppet. And it didn’t fit. Thank

goodness. And the store from

which he purchased it had a no

return policy.

22. An Olive Garden gift card from

my husband. Does anybody like

Olive Garden?

23. I got a 20 lb. giant blue

vase/bowl from my brother. My

sisters and I have been regifting

it for years.

24. My ex-husband booked us

a trip to Daytona Beach to see

friends. Only they were his friends

and it was at the Daytona 500 and

I hate Nascar.

25. A star map from our first date.

26. My mother-in-law decided we

are not giving each other presents

this year. We are buying a fruit

tree for poor people in some other

country.

27. NOT GETTING A GIFT.

28. Socks. Not decorative ones.

Just plain old white six-pack of

socks.

29. A LIFE JACKET.

30. An adult size onesie.


ON THE COVER | SHERIFF PAUL LANEY

SERVICE BEFORE SELF

SHERIFF LANEY PREPARES FOR LIFE AFTER RETIREMENT

WRITTEN BY: ALEXANDRA FLOERSCH • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

You see it too often in the world

of sports – star players waiting to

throw in the towel until they’re past

their prime. But Cass County Sheriff

Paul Laney refuses to become the

quarterback that plays a couple

seasons too long at the expense of

his team.

When he announced he wouldn’t

be running for a fourth term back

in December 2017, the 52-year-old

North Dakota native was inevitably

bombarded with the same question

again and again, “Why are you

leaving now?”

“As leaders – and especially as

elected leaders – as important as it is

to know when you're ready to do this

(job), it's as important to know when

it's time to go," he said. "I'll miss

knowing that every single day I woke

up and put on this uniform, I made a

difference. But I feel I can leave with

a sense of mission accomplished,

and then my wife and I can go on to

the next adventure.”

Come January 1, 2019, the 1984

West Fargo High School grad (and

proud Packer) will hang up his gun

belt and pursue his next adventure.

BOOTS ON THE GROUND

Enlisting in the Marine Corps in

1984, Laney immediately served

four years active duty with MSSG-

13 of the 13th Marine Expeditionary

Unit after high school.

"That was probably the best four

years of my life in the sense that I

was a young man getting paid to see

the world,” he said. “I was learning

leadership at some of the highest

levels from some of the most amazing

leaders I could’ve ever asked to learn

from. It laid a foundation for me

second to none.”

18 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


“I'll miss knowing

that every single day

I woke up and

put on this uniform,

I made a difference.”

– Paul Laney

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 19


ON THE COVER | SHERIFF PAUL LANEY

"I love people

and I thought,

there's no

better job for

me than to

work directly

for the people.”

– Paul Laney

The “lead, follow, get-out-of-the-way”

Marine philosophy was one he’d take with

him.

"My mom said, 'I sent away a boy and a

young man came home.’ I felt that way,

too,” he said. “I came home confident,

believing I could attain whatever I

wanted to if I worked hard enough.”

Leaving the military wasn’t an easy

choice to make. Laney thrived

on the discipline, fitness and

camaraderie that all came with

being a Marine. In fact, he

contemplated making a career

of it, but in his heart, his other

childhood dream was calling.

"I tested with the (Los

Angeles Police Department). I went

through my interviews and was on

their hiring list when I decided, ‘No,

I want to do this same thing... but I

want to do it for my community," he

said.

CLIMBING THE RANKS

Returning to the Red River Valley

in 1989, Laney was hired by the

Fargo Police Department and

quickly climbed the ranks from

patrol officer to field training officer

(FTO), gang/narcotics unit and

tactical team member. Promoted

to sergeant in 1997, he supervised

the patrol shift, FTO program and

eventually became a leader of the

Red River Valley SWAT Team. In

2002, he was named lieutenant and

served as both district and SWAT

commander.

"I had reached a point in 2006

where I had just finished my

master’s degree (in management),”

he recalled. “I was at the stage in

my career where I loved where I

was at and what I did but I wanted

to spread my wings in my own

agency.”

When the Cass County sheriff

position opened up, something

clicked.

"I love people and I thought, there's

no better job for me than to work

directly for the people," he said.

"The fact that I had the ability to

supervise, lead and command every

aspect of law enforcement prepared

me to take the helm of the largest

sheriff's office in the state of North

Dakota.”

Elected to a four-year term, Laney

was sworn in as Cass County sheriff

on January 2, 2007, and easily won

re-election for a second and third

term in the years following.

A LEGACY TO LIVE BY

Looking back on 12 years as sheriff,

a flood of memories rushed through

Laney’s mind.

20 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


His first glimmer of the spotlight

came in October 2007, surrounding

the Ozzy Osbourne concert. Guests

were formally invited to what they

thought was a pre-concert party,

only to find Laney and his team

were behind a sting operation with a

guest list containing only those with

active warrants out for their arrest.

Announcing 50 arrests at a press

conference the next day, the sheriff’s

office quickly caught flack from

Osbourne and his publicist. Rolling

Stone, MTV, The Telegraph UK

and other media covered the story,

encouraging both fan and hate mail

for the creative stunt.

"I think it was the first opportunity

the public really got to see me as a

leader and say, ‘This guy is different.

He's going to think outside the box.

That's who our sheriff is.’”

But that was just the beginning.

In 2008, Laney handled the first

train derailment near Page, N.D.,

and 2009 to 2011, Mother Nature

struck with vengeance, flooding the

Red River Valley.

"That’s when I believe people really

got to see my ability to command

and how service to the community

came before anything," he said.

In 2011, Laney was named the

E911 Institute’s “Government

Leader of the Year.” Following that,

awards continued to trickle in with

the National Sheriff’s Association

Ferris E. Lucas “National Sheriff

of the Year” in 2012 and the Lone

Eagle Award for “Outstanding and

Dedicated Law Enforcement in the

State of North Dakota” in 2015.

Looking back, however, his grim

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ON THE COVER | SHERIFF PAUL LANEY

"It was spooky out there because

every day we wondered, is this the

day we're going to take a bullet?”

– Paul Laney

memories of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests in

2016 and 2017 seemed to overshadow all of the accolades.

Leading law enforcement efforts 15 hours a day, seven days

a week, Laney and his team received death threats for their

involvement.

"That was a really scary time for our family. (Protesters) doxxed

out a picture of my home address with a picture of a bullet. It

went viral and on the dark web," he said. "It was spooky out

there because every day we wondered, is this the day we're

going to take a bullet?”

But even death threats wouldn’t stop Laney from doing a job he

was so passionate about.

"In 30 years, I've seen the best of society and the worst of

society. But I've always known that if I went about my duties

with honor, integrity and pride, I could make a difference for

22 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


good and that's what I strive to do

every day," he said.

As a bit of poetic justice, the

motivation behind Laney taking the

job in the first place is the same one

he’ll miss the most when he leaves:

the people.

"I'll miss the banter and camaraderie

– that total fulfillment knowing these

people have your back and they know

you've got theirs,” he said. “I'm not

leaving because I don't like it, and I'm

not leaving because I'm burned out.

I'm leaving because I feel it's time

– that I've done what I promised I

would do for a community I love.”

As Laney prepares to hand off the

reigns to the next Cass County sheriff,

he says the key is trusting in the men

and women of the organization and

what they bring to the table. His

motto will remain with him until

his last day as sheriff: “service and

sacrifice before self.”

When elected, “you asked the public

to give you this trust, and now you

need to give them back everything

you got, even at your own expense,”

he said. “As law enforcement officers,

we belong to the community. Some

days we have to be their guardians.

Some days we have to be their

warriors. Prepare yourself to be all

of the above.”

PEACE AHEAD

As his career in law enforcement

comes to an end, Laney is adamant

about giving his family the attention

they deserve, including his daughters

Danielle, 21, and Kaitlyn (Katie), 19.

"They're the ones that suffer through

this career,” he said. “They're the

ones that had to watch me run

out the door for the next critical

incident. During the pipeline protest,

I missed Katie's entire senior year of

volleyball.”

Though it was a lot to ask of his

daughters, they never complained.

They knew the sacrifices that came

with being a cop's kid. Laney’s wife,

Patty, has also been extremely

supportive of his every move.

"She’s probably one of the biggest

reasons I've had success in the

sheriff's world,” he said. “She's been

my rock, and I can't imagine having

gone on this sheriff's adventure

without her.”

At the end of the year, Laney and his

wife will head to northern Minnesota

and their new home.

“We knew years ago when we were

done with the crazy, law enforcement

life, we would settle down to a more

peaceful life. A little less life and

death and a lot more life," he said.

“I found my peace. I'm a different

person up there.”

Offered a vice president role

at TurnKey Corrections, a law

enforcement technology company,

Laney will start his new gig sometime

in January. Laney’s familiarity with

the language and network will come

in handy, but this time, he’ll witness

law enforcement from a different

perspective.

LANEY'S GOOD LIFE

When time slows, Laney looks

forward to fishing for walleye and

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY: PAUL LANEY

trout, snowmobiling and hiking – his

goal being to conquer the 310-mile

Superior Hiking Trail from Canada to

Duluth by the time he turns 55.

“I just love to get out in the outdoors

and take in God's beauty,” he said.

“(Patty and I) enjoy spending a lot of

time together, but when you carry two

phones and you're basically in criticalincident

ready mode at all times, you

never really decompress.”

In fact, one of his former captains,

Judy Tollefson, used to refer to him as

“hair on fire guy.”

"She said, 'Everywhere you go, you

never slow down. You're always

engaged in something,'" Laney said.

"Hopefully, I'll learn some ways to

be a little less high speed, a little less

'hair on fire guy,' and a little more

calm, cool, dad dude.”

When asked to define the good life,

Laney didn’t hesitate.

"The good life to me has been for 30

years I've woken up to a family who

loved me. I got to go to a place that

wasn't a job, it was my passion. And

every day I got to make a difference

in the community I loved. That is the

good life," he said. "As I move on to

the next adventure, I hope I can find

that same fulfillment." •

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MANPOWER

WRITTEN BY: JON HAUSER

PHOTO BY: MELISSA DALE PHOTOGRAPHY

I am an engineer; wired to observe the realities of this

world. For 50 years I’ve witnessed this reality: men

tend to trail behind women when it comes to spiritual

intensity. I’ve seen many families where mom is active

in her faith and local church but dad isn’t; very rare

that dad is active and mom is not. Having worked with

teenagers for years, it’s common for teens to step away

from faith when dad isn’t actively engaged.

As a pastor, I have a burning desire to help men grow

spiritually. When a man grows spiritually there’s a

significant positive ripple effect in the lives of his family,

business, and neighborhood that lasts for generations.

In the Bible, God is searching: I looked for someone

among them who would build up the wall and stand

before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would

not have to destroy it, but I found no one (Ezekiel

22:30).

God was looking for someone who would stay true

to Him amidst all the temptations this world offers;

someone who would fight for their spouse, children,

church, and pastor; someone quick to forgive, seek

forgiveness, and focus on unity; someone who was all

out devoted and all in surrendered to God. And God

found? No one. My prayer is that when God searches

the Red River Valley, He finds 1,000s of men who fit

this description!

In Judges Chapters 13-16, Samson was a powerful

man continually plagued with a dangerously weak

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LUST

ENTITLEMENT

PRIDE

Just like Samson, you are wired for greatness

but we must learn from his mistakes. As men,

we sometimes make great commitments to

inferior causes and it costs us dearly.

will. Samson was a miracle baby; created to help the

Israelites find freedom from the Philistines. Samson

made three vows to demonstrate his commitment to

God and God alone. He was to never drink alcohol,

touch anything dead, or cut his hair.

Just like Samson, you are wired for greatness but we

must learn from his mistakes. As men, we sometimes

make great commitments to inferior causes and it

costs us dearly. We may spend more time researching

what rifle or TV to buy than we spend reading the

Bible, building spiritual strength. There are men who

are aggressive in their work or hobbies but passive in

leading their family spiritually; men who are passionate

about their favorite sports team but have no zest for

God.

There are three attitudes, displayed by Samson, that

make strong men weak.

Lust is when a man sees something he desires, his

emotions kick in and he must have it. And when a

man obsesses about his desire, he forgets all logic

and his values. He may lust after a woman, a career

advancement, a boat, or a challenge to conquer.

Samson went into Philistine territory and saw a

gorgeous woman ( Judges 14:1-3). He had to have her

even though he was not to intermarry with someone

who did not worship God. “I want it” makes strong men

weak.

Samson tears a young lion apart with his bare hands.

Later he passes the dead carcass and it contains a

swarm of bees and honey. He violates his vow by eating

the honey ( Judges 14:5-9). Entitlement says “I deserve

it.” I killed the lion, I haven’t had honey for months, it

looks so good…I deserve some. I’ve been working hard,

putting in long hours…I deserve to buy that boat. She

has been moody and distant lately…I deserve to explore

a romantic relationship outside of my marriage. “I

deserve it” makes strong men weak.

Samson, despite his vow, throws a bachelor keg party

( Judges 14:10). Pride says “I can handle it. Other men

have struggled with this but not me.” This jacked guy,

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uilt like a brick wall, says “I’m

strong, I can handle it” and his party

becomes a huge mistake!

This is what happens to strong,

well-intentioned men, over and

over again. God gives us great gifts,

amazing opportunities, unlimited

potential and we think: “Just one

drink, one smoke, one pill; I deserve

it, I can handle it. I want it.” And

before long that substance owns us.

“I deserve that motorcycle. It won’t

distract me.” And before long we are

drowning in debt, absent from our

family and that toy owns us. “I’m

just going to flirt. I can handle it. It’s

not a big deal if she stays overnight.

I deserve some sexual pleasure.”

At the end of Samson’s life, his

eyes are gouged out, his hair cut,

bound with chains on public display

in front of 3,000 enemies. He is

the entertainment as they laugh at

him. Lust, entitlement, and pride

can take you somewhere you don’t

EVER want to go; far deeper into

sin and destruction than you could

imagine.

WITH GOD’S POWER,

NO MATTER WHERE

YOU ARE, YOU CAN

BE CHANGED.

With God’s power, no matter where

you are, YOU can be changed. A

real man says “God, I want you.

Thank you for offering me a new

start. I don’t deserve anything. All I

have is a gift from you. You died for

my salvation. I’m weak. I need your

strength and guidance.” What do

you need to ask God for today? Our

enemy, satan, loves to make strong

men weak; satan sucks. God loves

to make weak men strong; God

rocks! •

Jon Hauser

Jon is the founding and senior

pastor at www.prairieheights.com

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LOCAL HERO | CHARISM

LOCAL HERO: CHARISM

A Community Anchor for Kids and Families

WRITTEN BY: BRITTNEY GOODMAN

PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

CHARISM, pronounced “Care-ism,” is a nonprofit

organization currently centered in the Jefferson

Neighborhood of Fargo, grounded in a caring mission for

at-risk children and their families. CHARISM’s acronym

translates to “Community Homes and Resources in

Service to Many,” and current Executive Director, John

Fisher, described the idea behind the organization as

coming from the definition of “CHARISM”: “gift of

grace and strength.” To Fisher, serving with grace and

strength is what drives CHARISM.

CHARISM’s acronym translates to

“Community Homes and Resources

in Service to Many.”

CHARISM is a neighborhood support center for

underserved youth and their families, providing

programs and services to improve their quality of life.

Their programs foster neighborhood connections

as well as providing a safe and welcoming place for

students.

Fisher, serving in the executive director’s role for the

past three years, described CHARISM’s mission as

“empowering people:” “Some kids do not feel like they

30 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


are good enough. We want to show them the world –

that there are possibilities. We want them to know that

their story is not written and to not live as if it is. They

have the opportunity and the drive. Go for it. They can

change the story.”

CHARISM’s mission and programs provide “a

safe anchor point for people,” explained Fisher. He

continued: “And when you are connected to an anchor

you do not stay in just that one spot. You move… you

might drift one way or the other for good or bad. But

you are always tethered to something you can go back

to. We will always be there and accepting them with

strength and grace.”

Established in 1994 in Fargo by five local churches

collaborating with Community Homes, CHARISM is

not a religious organization. Fisher explained that the

churches and Community Homes all saw the need to

do more than provide housing. One of their first steps

was establishing a director for leadership and Julie

Gunkelman was the original director, serving for 21

years until her retirement in 2015. Fisher applauded

Gunkelman for serving “vigorously and with great skill”

during her tenure at CHARISM.

Three of CHARISM’s main programs are the Check

and Connect Youth Program, STEAM programming,

and GAP.

Check and Connect is, according to Fisher, a “brainchild

of University of Minnesota Extension” and CHARISM

currently has it implemented in Ed Clapp, Jefferson,

Fargo South, and Carl Ben schools. It has two parts:

(1) check on the students – their attendance, grades

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LOCAL HERO | CHARISM

“Some kids do not feel like they are good

enough. We want to show them the world – that

there are possibilities. We want them to know

that their story is not written and to not live as if

it is. They have the opportunity and the drive. Go

for it. They can change the story.” – John Fischer

and behavior and (2) monitor the students. CHARISM adds students

to their caseload with parents’ permission. CHARISM staff looks at

removing barriers to the student’s success, asking questions such

as “What is keeping the student from getting to school on time?”

Fisher explained: “Many things can create a barrier and contribute

to a student struggling.” James Nagbe, a Check and Connect Mentor

and Development Director, according to Fisher, has been “pivotal”

in getting Check and Connect off the ground and keeping it moving

forward and has many students in his caseload. He involves the

students, parents and teachers in the solution.

CHARISM also administers an After School STEAM (Science

Technology Engineering Arts and Math) Club serving Lewis and

Clark, Ed Clapp, Jefferson Elementary Schools and Carl Ben Middle

School.

32 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


CHARISM’s Grocery Assistance Program (GAP) provides

food for up to 150 families a week. On Tuesday and Thursday

afternoons and Friday mornings, CHARISM passes along

food from the Great Plains Food Bank to “people who need

it the most.” Fisher continued: “The food pantries can only

give people food on a regimented basis. That leaves gaps. We

want to fill that gap. We have some people that come to us

where we are their main food source.”

In addition to the three signature programs, CHARISM also

hosts other outreach events and runs a community garden.

CHARISM serves clients from many ethnicities including

Indian, Bhutanese, Nepalese, Vietnamese, and many West

African countries. Fisher posed, “If you want to see the

world, come to our Food Pantry or to one of our programs.”

Fisher has goals including “a pipe dream” that CHARISM

would be “doing our programming in every community

school in Cass and Clay Counties that need our help.” He

wants to grow the Check and Connect program at every

school: “We have this misconception that schools are going

to take care of everything. And they can’t. And they need help.

They need the CHARISMs of the world to walk with them

and help them.”

Fisher wants CHARISM to be a household name in our

community – a “known entity.”

Fisher said, “CHARISM is a real team. The real heroes are

on my team working with people every day. And our clientele

is for the most part very appreciative and hard-working,

looking out for their families.”

The real heroes are on my team

working with people every day. ”

– John Fischer

Directing CHARISM is personal for Fisher, coming from a

family who struggled financially: “I remembered when they

came into our house and repossessed all of our furniture. I

have been there and so many of us have, not knowing where

the next meal is coming from. My mom could not afford

childcare so I remember playing in the employee break room

at the sewing shop where my mom was employed.” Fisher

continued: “It is tremendously personal to me, this work we

do.” Fisher remembers a turning point as a child when he

was “kicked out” of his church’s youth group for heckling.

The youth minister talked to him and said, “You are better

than this.” Fisher described it as a “turning point” in his life.

The people we work with, many are trying to find a job and

provide for their family. We help them with interview skills,

applying for the jobs while keeping their children safe in

a good environment,” Fisher asserted. CHARISM’s afterschool

program provides quality care and a safe space from

2 pm – 6 pm. They even take some children home afterward

to give the parents the extra amount of time to work or find

work.

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LOCAL HERO | CHARISM

CHARISM’s Over the Edge

Fundraiser

Fisher explained, “We have people in our

community who do not have an anchor – no

family here. Most of the rest of us have extended

family to go to in times of need. They don’t have

that. They did nothing wrong; they are working

their tails off and they need a little bit of help.”

But help costs money. CHARISM has a

sliding scale for payment for their after-school

program: “It costs us $17 a day to do it and most

participants pay from $1-2 a day.”

Giving Hearts is also a big fundraiser for CHARISM. This

year, they are also thankful that FM Raise Your Spirits

selected CHARISM as its recipient for the proceeds from the

FM Raise Your Spirits event.

Fisher mentioned three specific organizations as “wonderful

partners”: United Way of Cass and Clay County, Southeast

That is where fundraising and donations come

in. Because CHARISM’s fee for service is so low,

CHARISM relies on private donations, grants

and fundraising events.

One recent event for CHARISM was the Over

the Edge fundraiser, which they have facilitated

in 2017 and 2018. People raised funds by

rappelling over the Black Building in downtown

Fargo. Fisher said, “It is just a blast. Participants

had a great time.”

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Education Cooperative and the FM Area Foundation.

Light the Way is another fundraiser – a gala-style

event where they recognize community heroes,

volunteers and the people they serve.

Fisher described CHARISM’s Executive Board as

“tremendously supportive,” including the officers

– Board Chair, Terry Stroh; Kevin Zimmer; Eddie

Scheely; and Dr. Forrest Sauer: “They put in a ton

of time for us and are great advocates.”

CHARISM currently has seven full-time staff, two

full-time volunteers, and 15-25 part-time people.

Residing in Moorhead, Fisher has been married to

and is “totally in love with” his wife Abby of twelve

years. They have “three great children,” Julia, Esther

and John. Originally from Kentucky and Tennessee,

Fisher is also a pastor and started the downtown

Fargo church, Sojourn.

When asked, “What does the good life mean

to you?” Fisher responded: “The good life

is my background, my faith and what I do

with CHARISM. It is people that are either

fulfilling or living the life that they feel

best serves themselves and those around

them, that they are intrinsically feeling

value, success and love but they are also

dispensing that love to others – showing

others that they are valued and loved.” He

continued: “I think about the most joy-filled

people I know, and they do not have a lot of

money, but they give a lot – they invest a lot

in others.” •

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