The Good Life Men's Magazine - July/August 2019

TheGoodLife

On the cover, Local Hero - Brady Oberg Legacy Foundation, Having a Beer with Program Director and Radio Show Host - Mike Kapel, Cass County Sheriff's Reserve Unit, Scuba Diving and more in Fargo Moorhead's only men's magazine.

JULY-AUGUST 2019

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CONTENTS

JULY-AUGUST 2019

VOLUME 7 • ISSUE 1

FRESH FROM THE FAMILY FARM

DRISCOLL FARMS KEEPS IT LOCAL

VOLUNTEERS WITH A BADGE

SHERIFF RESERVES SWEAR IN

TO ENHANCE SECURITY

IN CASS COUNTY

HAVING A BEER WITH

MIKE KAPEL

PROGRAM DIRECTOR AND

MORNING SHOW HOST

ON THE COVER - LOCAL HERO

BRADY OBERG LEGACY FOUNDATION

'10 SECONDS OF INSANITY'

RUCK MARCH RAISES AWARENESS

FOR PTSD AND VETERAN SUICIDE

FATHERS

AN ODE TO BROWN BEAR

LOCAL BAND

THE KNOTTIES

MORE THAN JUST THE FEELS

SCUBA DIVING

IN THE UPPER MIDWEST

NORTH DAKOTA AND MINNESOTA

HOME TO AVID SCUBA DIVERS

6

10

14

18

26

28

32

FROM THE EDITORS

In this issue of The Good Life, we combined our

Local Hero and cover story. We wanted to highlight

the impact of the Brady Oberg Legacy Foundation

and their continued mission to assist our heroes.

If you or someone you know are struggling with

combat-related PTSD and need assistance, please

reach out: bradyoberglegacyfoundation.org

Together we can make a difference.

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WRITTEN BY: BRITTNEY GOODMAN • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

Driscoll Farms Keeps It Local

Driscoll Farms, located near Glyndon,

MN, has been providing fresh

produce and flowers to the Red River

Valley since the 1980s. The current

owners, Jake and Krista Driscoll are

keeping the family tradition alive.

Driscoll Farms operates floral

greenhouses at seven locations in the

Fargo-Moorhead area including the

farm on Highway 9, in rural Glyndon

and also sells produce at The Market

at West Acres from late June through

October.

The farm has been in their family

since 1963 when Jake Driscoll’s

grandfather purchased it. It started

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out as more of a traditional farm,

then in the 1980s the family started

growing and selling produce: “It

was a whole-family deal. My siblings

and I would go door to door selling

produce.” They then started selling

wholesale produce to grocery stores,

then to the Dike East Farmers

Market in Fargo in 1985 and have

been at The Market at West Acres for

five years.

“Everything we offer is locally

grown – you know exactly

where your food is coming

from.” – Jake Driscoll

In 1987, Driscoll Farms dove into the

flower business, selling locally grown

flowers – bedding plants and hanging

baskets. Driscoll emphasized, “Unlike

other places you can buy flowers, all

of ours are grown locally right on our

farm.”

Driscoll, now 31 years old, grew

up on that same farm and has been

working full time there since he

graduated from Minnesota State

University Moorhead (MSUM) in

2012. He married Krista five years

ago. They recently had their first child

together, Daxton (Dax). “Krista helps

out during the flower season and on

weekends,” Jake said, adding, “But


she is not able to work as much at the greenhouses

since we have our 10-month-old son.”

Driscoll asserted, “Everything we offer is locally

grown – you know exactly where your food is

coming from.” Driscoll Farms’ most popular

produce is sweet corn, potatoes, tomatoes,

cucumbers (especially pickling sized), peppers,

squash and melons. They also sell their family

recipe Minnesota Lakes Barbecue Sauce.

Driscoll takes pride in their flowers: “We’re one of

a few in the area that grows everything we sell. At

other places, you are getting things shipped in from

across the country. We pride ourselves on a quality

product and we have good help who take great care

to keep our greenhouse flowers looking good.”

Freshness matters, Driscoll explained: “At a

farmers market, you are likely to buy produce that

was picked that same day or the day before. If you

aren’t buying local, think about all the freshness

lost due to the transportation time. If you come to

our farmers market you get something that could

last you a week, week and a half, easily. With our

produce we use very little herbicides. For our weed

control, you either use your hands or a hoe to

control the weeds.”

Driscoll works full time at the farm: “Me, my dad

Mike, my uncle Jim and my friend Adam are fulltime,

year-round. My mom, Tari, is involved heavily

during the flower season, as is my aunt Connie

and my youngest sister Elizabeth.” Driscoll added,

“When you go to one of our greenhouses, even if

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 7


it is not a family member working

there, you are still getting experience,

as most of our employees have been

with us 20-30 years. It gives us an

edge over other places. Plus, it’s all

locally grown.”

Driscoll enjoys his work: “I like being

outside.” While in college, he juggled

between majors, finally deciding

that the family farm was his calling:

“It is really neat to see a seed in the

ground or a flower in a pot grow over

the months – it is neat to be a part

of that process.” Driscoll also loves

interacting with customers, especially

at farmers markets: “There are so

many loyal people coming back year

after year and you really get to know

them.” Working with family is also a

bonus: “It is nice – crazy sometimes

– but it is nice to work with family. It

is a lot of work with ups and downs,

but it can be very rewarding.” He also

loves that “I can walk out my front

door and pick what I need that night

for supper.”

"I can walk out my front door

and pick what I need that

night for supper. "

– Jake Driscoll

Driscoll explained the growing

process: “In the beginning of

February, we start our plants in

greenhouses. Flower season goes

until the end of June. Then we get

into the produce which takes us until

the end of October. During November

we do maintenance and cleanup.”

December and part of January is the

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“downtime” where Driscoll said, “We can relax and

regroup.” That time is important: “Last winter I got to

stay home with my son, Dax, and took care of him for

a few months instead of sending him to daycare. That

was great.”

During his spare time, Driscoll with his wife and son

enjoy visiting his parents’ lake place about 30 minutes

from the farm. He and his family are also very into

playing basketball: “Basketball is a big part of my life.”

Driscoll was raised on the family farm: “Growing up on

a farm was awesome. We have a 10-acre farmstead and

outside of the farmstead, there are 300 plus acres. As

a kid, it was crazy, the amount of space we had to

run around all day long – I am excited for my son to

be able to have the freedom to be able to do what he

wants.” It is also some hard work: “When I was a kid

we started working early, as far back as I can remember

– picking weeds and other farm chores. I have plenty of

fun memories of doing that work with my family and

friends, as well as some memories of just not wanting

to do it – but having to do it. Back in high school, the

summers were fun, but you had to get your work done

first before you could go out.”

When asked what “The Good Life” means to him,

Driscoll answered: “It is doing something that I enjoy

doing and having good people around you – friends and

family. That’s a big thing to me and is very important in

my life.” •

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VOLUNTEERS

WITH A BADGE

Sheriff Reserves Swear In

to Enhance Security in

Cass County

WRITTEN BY: BEN HANSON • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

“At one point about 40 percent of our patrol

deputies came directly out of the reserve unit.”

– Sgt. Jade Van Den Einde

The uniform is the same. The passion is the same. The

call to serve is the same. Much of the training is even

the same. If you were to find yourself at Ribfest, the Red

River Valley Fair or a local street dance, chances are

almost certain you would never know that many of the

deputies protecting your evening of fun were volunteers.

Salary, or the lack thereof, is not the only difference

between the full-time deputies within the Cass County

Sheriff’s Office and its highly trained, well-qualified

reserve unit; but it certainly is the biggest. In fact,

the Sheriff’s Reserve Unit (SRU) — which first began

training volunteers back in 1979 in an effort to help

better manage the safety and security at the Red River

Valley Fair — has become a prime recruiting tool for the

department.

“At one point about 40 percent of our patrol deputies

came directly out of the Reserve Unit,” explained

Sgt. Jade Van Den Einde, the Sheriff's Reserve Unit

Commander. “It can be a huge feeder program for us, as

it’s basically a very long interview process where we can

evaluate them. In Cass County, we typically only draw for

patrol from the jail, where candidates are often already

licensed, and from the reserves, where some may be

licensed eligible. They can prove themselves through

their training and in the field, and we can evaluate them

at the same time.”

Training for

the Reserves

At any given time,

the Reserve Unit is

comprised of up to

25 sworn deputies

that work under

the authority of the

Cass County Sheriff.

The unit’s primary

responsibilities are working

large events, ensuring public

safety through activities like

traffic control, responding to minor

incidents and writing tickets. For example,

consider the guy in line at the beer garden who clearly

should not be served another drink… if he happens to

get out of line, an SRU deputy will respond to handle

the situation.

But before any recruit gets tossed into the middle of

an unruly crowd at a barn dance — or asked to lead a

small town parade for a little positive PR — he or she

undergoes a rather rigorous training period to qualify

for the job. Ninety hours worth, to be exact, during

an approximately six-month period. After successful

completion of this initial training period, recruits are

sworn in by the Sheriff himself.

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The training we provide is pretty extensive,”

Van Den Einde said. “We train the first

Tuesday in December all the way up until the

end of June… every Tuesday night. That’s the

most basic training level, after which I’ll allow

them to work a special event paired

up with a veteran deputy.”

For those wanting

to expand their

role and their

volunteering

options,

further

training

is also

available.

Experienced SRU deputies have the option to become

what’s known as Field Readiness Trained (FRT), after

completing a full Field Training program. This allows

an SRU deputy to earn the skills needed to patrol Cass

County in marked patrol vehicles.

To reach this point, an SRU will have completed,

at a minimum, 425 hours of training and at least ten

ride-alongs. The training, which includes use of force

training, OC (pepper spray) training, taser training,

defensive driving training, standard field sobriety testing

training, CPR/AED training and firearms qualifying, is

the same training program used to train full time, paid

patrol deputies. So, while all sworn SRU deputies are

authorized to enforce North Dakota Century Code

and make arrests, only SRU FRTs with this advanced

training are authorized to conduct traffic stops and

issue citations.

They can work their way up to being able to patrol on

their own like a regular officer,” Van Den Einde said,

“but we still limit what calls they go to and try not to

“We essentially saved

the taxpayers of Cass County about a

hundred grand last year.”

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make them the lead deputy on the scene. Instead, we

want them there to assist. We keep four cars dedicated

to SRU FRTs, so we could have up to four volunteer

deputies out at a time, all being supervised through the

radio, phone and GPS technology.”

Impact on Community

“If you were to put a price tag on the number of hours

our volunteer SRU deputies put in, we’d be talking in

the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Van Den Einde

said. “In 2018 our Reserve Unit donated $99,000 worth

of time based on a deputy’s wages. So we essentially

saved the taxpayers of Cass County about a hundred

grand last year. Other years we’ve had more events

going on, so we’ve hit well above that number. In 2017,

it was $160,000.”

The impact to the community obviously goes well beyond

saving money. It’s more about proving a greater security

presence to ensure public safety at larger events. In fact,

according to Van Den Einde, the enhanced public safety

effect is huge. He says it’s been proven that people

who see someone wearing a uniform are less likely to

commit a crime, so the visual presence alone makes a

difference.

“It gives people who are curious

about law enforcement an

opportunity to explore the career.”

12 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


And when a serious situation arises, the

Reserve Unit is also there to provide muchneeded

backup. “Any critical incident that pops

up where we need all hands on deck,” Van Den

Einde said, “we have up to 25 more people that

can drop what they’re doing and come help

and have the training to jump in and make a

difference.

The other benefit to the Sheriff’s Office from

a recruiting standing is that it gives people

who are curious about law enforcement an

opportunity to explore the career. Guys have

switched careers after being in the Reserve

Unit. I became a reserve deputy myself to

get my foot in the door. It lets people have an

opportunity to volunteer and give back to their

community, and they’re literally putting their

lives on the line for free. I don’t know how much

better a volunteer you can get.” •

WANT TO LEARN MORE? The Reserve Unit

ramps up recruiting shortly after the Red River

Valley Fair concludes, and anyone interested

can contact Sgt. Van Den Einde directly at the

Cass County Sheriff’s Office: 701-241-5816 or

email: VanDenEindeJ@casscountynd.gov

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HAVING A BEER WITH | MIKE KAPEL

HAVING A BEER WITH

MIKE KAPEL

PROGRAM DIRECTOR AND MORNING SHOW HOST

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

Good Life: If you were a dog, what would

your name and breed be?

It’s not every day you meet someone who actually became

what their childhood self wanted to become. Mike Kapel is

one of those people, and we chatted outside of Drekker’s

Brewhalla on a sunny Tuesday.

As my too-large sunglasses kept falling off my face, Kapel

told me of how his mother was a regular listener of WDAY

Radio. It sparked his interest immediately, and a dream

was born. Kapel knew he needed to end up there.

Since those bygone days, he’s spent 20 years working in

radio for the likes of FM 105.1 and Y94. Five years ago, he

started working for WDAY Radio as the program director

and a morning show host, and his inner child started

applauding and doing somersaults.

However, my job isn’t to tell his life story but to uncover

the weird, the unexpected, and the unknown (kind of), so

read on.

Mike Kapel: Ooh. Oddly enough, my name for my FM

radio career was Big Dog. I would be a big breed.

GL: Like a Great Dane or a German Shepard?

MK: German Shepards and Rottweilers are my favorite

dogs, but I don’t know if I embody them. I’d probably be a

bulldog. That sounds reasonable.

GL: So a bulldog named Big Dog?

MK: Or just “Big” in that case because I’m already a dog.

“Here, Big! C’mon, Big!”

GL: Unless it’s like how some human males are named

Guy, which I’ve never understood.

MK: I worked with a guy named Guy. I always think of Guy

Smiley from Sesame Street. Do you remember that?

GL: I don’t.

MK: He was the cheesy game show host. You need to

get up on your Sesame Street. You’re getting married,

Meghan. You need to know these things. It’s on HBO

now, so it probably has a little more grit and edge to it.

Probably swearing.

GL: Some nudity.

MK: Probably some mild puppet nudity. Probably some

murder.

GL: They want to stretch the limits as much as they can.

MK: Absolutely.

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HAVING A BEER WITH | MIKE KAPEL

GL: Do you play any instruments?

MK: No, I don’t. I have zero artistic or musical ability.

When I was a kid I played the cello and the bassoon. I was

in orchestra for a short time. I decided to hang it up in

junior high. I wanted to go out at the top of my game.

You don’t want to go out in high school as like a fourth or

fifth chair. I was chair one of one, and I knew there were

two other bassoonists in high school, so I figured if I got

out then I’d always be the first chair bassoonist of Agassiz

Middle School.

GL: Do you think it’s weirder that humans

drink cows’ milk or that humans eat bugs?

MK: I think it’s weirder that humans eat bugs. That’s

really gross.

GL: It’s definitely more foreign to us.

MK: I guess it’s because I’m so far down the consumer

line with milk that, for me, it’s just a clean, easy product.

At some point, somebody had to see the milk coming out

because the cow had some babies and was like, “I’ll give

that a shot!” Because there wasn’t any pasteurization,

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“I was chair one of one, and I knew there

were two other bassoonists in high school,

so I figured if I got out then I’d always be

the first chair bassoonist of Agassiz Middle

School.” – Mike Kapel

they probably died from it. Honestly, at that time, eating

a bug made more sense. As I’m talking here, I maybe

changed my own mind. Maybe bugs were the better way

to go.

GL: Do you have any favorite quotes?

MK: I don’t.

GL: That’s fine.

GL: What’s your favorite climate?

MK: When it’s 40 at night and 70s during the day, that’s

perfect for me.


GL: What’s one thing you

hope people remember

you by?

MK: I hope that we got somebody

listening to the radio to laugh or

think, and I hope we entertain

them and help pass the time

during their day. I remember being

on the other side of that. Some

people go to work every day, and

they might not hate it, but they

don’t love it. It’s just the daily

grind. If I can help somebody just

forget for 5 or 10 minutes that they

hate traffic or aren’t excited about

work, that’s what I like to do.

GL: What does living

“the good life” mean to

you?

MK: Living the good life is just

a good work-life balance, time

with family, not letting work

take over your life, which is so

easy for us to do these days, and

finding the balance for all those

things. Electronics, jobs, screens

everywhere — somehow with all

this technology everywhere, we’re

way busier than we used to be.

Technology is good, but it’s hard

trying to find that balance. That, to

me, is what the good life is; trying

to do all those things and find a

balance. If you figure out how to

do that, let me know.. •

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ON THE COVER | BRADY OBERG LEGACY FOUNDATION

18 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


LOCAL HERO

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

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 19


ON THE COVER | BRADY OBERG LEGACY FOUNDATION

Flashback to October 23, 1983.

While most Americans lay tucked in bed that peaceful

Sunday morning, John Dalziel’s life changed forever.

The atmosphere of the Marine compound just outside

Beirut's airport was like any other morning as John

grabbed a cup of coffee shortly after 6 a.m. and headed

back to the barracks to wake a friend.

"I was about 100 yards away when the explosion

happened,” says the now 56-year-old retired Marine. “It

knocks you down, and you try to pick yourself back up

and figure out what happened.”

At 6:22 am, a truck toting 21,000 pounds of explosives

charged through the barbed-wire fence, slammed into

the barracks and detonated. 241 Marines, sailors,

and soldiers lost their lives at the hands of Lebanese

terrorist group Hezbollah.

“We spent a significant period of time digging out

our friends plus continuing to do our mission," John

recalls. "My biggest issue was … survivor guilt. Why

did I walk out of the building and my friends – my

brothers in arms – didn't?"

It’s these horrifying stories – similar, yet unique

– that haunt many veterans as they return to

“normalcy” back home.

Both a Marine and retired FBI agent, John was

deployed to Beirut, Iraq and Afghanistan seven

times total. But that's not just seven deployments;

it's also seven times John had to adjust back home.

"Nobody ever comes back the same,” John explains

with candor. “It's easy for the vet to leave the war,

but it's almost impossible for the war to leave the

vet."

L-R: TRACY OBERG DUNHAM, JOHN DALZIEL, KATIE OBERG

20 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


LOCAL HERO

"Nobody ever comes back the same.

“It's easy for the vet to leave the war,

but it's almost impossible for the war

to leave the vet." – John Dalziel

Back Home But Still Fighting

Depending on the era in which they served, 11

to 30 percent of U.S. veterans suffer from posttraumatic

stress disorder (PTSD). Whether indirect

fire, anticipation of mortars ahead, the unknown in

patrolling outside the wire or just the initial anxiety

of deploying, a number of experiences can cause

PTSD.

"It's the veritable plethora and the entire breath of

knowing you're going into a war zone,” John says.

"What might seem inconsequential to one guy can be

highly traumatic for another. Everyone has different

coping levels."

Life is lived on high alert on deployment. Changing

that mindset – and letting their guard down – is

often the first challenge soldiers face once home.

That’s the same issue the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain

Division, 4th Brigade Combat Team faced after their

year-long deployment to Afghanistan in 2010. With

100 percent mission completion, all 139 troops

returned home victorious.

But even though blood wasn’t shed overseas, 14

soldiers have since taken their own lives. Brady Oberg

was one of them.

‘10 Seconds of Insanity’

A true patriot, Brady’s family wasn’t surprised when

he finally enlisted with the U.S. Army as an active

infantryman in 2009 before deploying to Afghanistan

under Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

“Sometime over there, his job flipped and he ended up

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 21


ON THE COVER | BRADY OBERG LEGACY FOUNDATION

being a sniper,” says his sister, Tracy Oberg Dunham,

38. “As a sniper, you only have one job."

When Brady returned home from war, a peculiar set

of keys followed him home. After prodding about their

significance without avail, Brady’s wife, Katie, finally

let it go. Not until Brady passed did the Obergs learn

the back story from his sergeant.

The keys were from one of Brady’s first kills.

Taken from the vehicle just thereafter, the set of keys

symbolized the moral conflict that battled within this

soldier from that moment onward.

"Brady had a moral conflict of what he had to do and

what he believed in. He very much believed in his

missions and the military way of life,” Tracy says, “but

you can't be a sniper and have emotion – there's no

last-minute thoughts. When he came home, it went

from separating that to all of a sudden I should have

all these emotions?"

Even though Brady was less forthright about his

hearing loss thanks to explosions, he vocalized the

physical pain he felt from the weight carried overseas.

But one thing Brady didn’t talk about was the mental

repercussions of war.

"He would have visions during the day while he was

awake,” Tracy says. “The crinkling of a water bottle or

reflections in a window was a trigger.”

Whether it was the unavoidable triggers or vivid visions

of warfare, Brady’s family will never know what demon

convinced him to commit suicide on August 6, 2015,

as the result of PTSD.

"I lost my brother to 10 seconds of insanity," Tracy says,

with the insight only a sister could offer. During 10

seconds of terror, Brady made a decision he couldn’t

take back.

The Brady Oberg Legacy Foundation

When Brady died, Tracy searched fervently for

answers. In the days between her brother’s death

and his funeral, the same memory kept replaying

in Tracy’s head – the two of them sitting around a

bonfire, contemplating life after Brady’s high school

graduation.

22 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


LOCAL HERO

“He said to me, 'I just want to do

something bigger and better than

myself,'" Tracy recalls vividly.

What started as $20,000 from funeral

gifts slowly grew into the “bigger and

better” that would serve as Brady’s

lasting legacy.

Now Chairman of the Board, Tracy –

along with family and a few friends –

founded the the Brady Oberg Legacy

Foundation in November 2015 to

create community, raise awareness

for veteran PTSD and fund the Brady

Oberg Legacy Scholarship at the

University of North Dakota (UND) to

benefit veterans wanting to become

psychologists – and, in turn, help other

veterans.

Their first mission was to recreate

that camaraderie amongst local

soldiers. From fitness programs to

fishing retreats and exotic ram hunts,

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 23


ON THE COVER | BRADY OBERG LEGACY FOUNDATION

"everything we do is centered around, 'Would Brady like

this?'" Tracy explains.

Trained to put their country before themselves, many

veterans don’t sign up for these free events. Tracy’s response

to that is simple: “If you don't sign up for you, sign up for

your family. Sign up for the other vets that are doing it, too,

to be support for each other."

The second arm of the foundation’s mission is PTSD

awareness – both reassuring veterans they’re not alone and

educating the public on how they can help.

With a ruck march in May, an annual golf tournament in

June, the Ride for Combat PTSD in August and the Fargo

Defender Dash later in the fall, the foundation organizes

and participates in several yearly events to help shed light

on the matter.

Marching Forward for Fallen Soldiers

Alongside nine board members, John is a valuable

ambassador, having lived through many experiences Tracy

and other civilians haven’t. Last year, he organized a ruck

march from the U.S.-Canada border to North Dakota-South

Dakota border to raise awareness for PTSD – all in Brady’s

name.

Starting at midnight, the four men took turns ruck marching

10 miles at a time, often without another living creature in

sight. "The aches and pains – your feet, hips and shoulders

from carrying 20 pounds to symbolize the 20 veterans that

take their own life every day… you get a chance to realize

why you're doing it."

Rucking 240 miles in 62 hours, the four men finished in

Brady’s honor, raising just over $10,000 for the foundation.

This year, John decided to go bigger, planning a route that

spanned from western to eastern North Dakota – a total of

397 miles split up into 5-mile legs.

Recruiting 16 people to march for awareness, the crew

started once again at Brady’s grave to pay their respects

before heading west to Beach, N.D. on May 21 and finishing

on Veterans Memorial Bridge in Fargo-Moorhead during

Memorial Day weekend.

"We're honoring those who can't spend time with their loved

ones anymore, who can't talk to their dad, their brother,

their sister,” John says. “Our key point is it's not a sign of

weakness to ask for help. Put down the gun. Pick up the

phone."

‘Help One More’

Last year when the foundation took off, Tracy reexamined

what Brady would think about the foundation’s efforts.

“Would he say, 'Keep it up! This is awesome,' or 'What are

24 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


LOCAL HERO

you doing? Spend this time with your kids instead,’"

Tracy asked herself. "Then I realized at the ruck march

all of these people took four days out of their personal

life, away from their families and work to help a mission

we started – and they didn't even know him. It made me

think this is really bigger than what we ever thought it

would be.”

Currently a fund at Dakota Medical Foundation, The

Brady Oberg Legacy Foundation has its sights set on

becoming a full-fledged non-profit in order to help as

many veterans as possible.

"We had a veteran tell us, ‘You always say you want

to help one. Well, I'm that one … so help one more,”

Tracy recalls. "If we can prevent another family from

enduring the pain we have in losing Brady, that’s worth

it every day."

Defining the Good Life

Earning an Army Commendation Medal for saving four

of his brothers overseas, Brady’s legacy is so much

more than the foundation that bears his name.

"I want Miah and Skylar to realize, this is Brady's

legacy – this is what it means and this is why we help

veterans," Tracy says of her children. “The good life is

a happy, healthy family and friends to surround you. It's

finding something you believe in with all your heart and

helping a better cause."

For John, “the good life” means “living in a country

that allows us to do the things we can do, protected

by volunteers who go to the sound of gunfire,” John

explains. "We do it so the next generation doesn't have

to – that's what we do as parents, and that's what we do

as warriors."

Tracy often reflects on what Brady would say if he were

here to see his legacy live on.

"He wouldn't be the type to say, 'This is good. Now you

can just relax.’ He would be like, 'What's next? Let’s go

bigger,'" Tracy says. “We're going to help one more, then

we're going to help one more and one more – all in his

legacy." •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 25


FATHERS | MR. FULL-TIME DAD

An Ode to

Brown Bear

WRITTEN BY: BEN HANSON

Every kid has their favorite toy. Be it a blankie,

a binkie, a stuffed animal or, in my case, your

right thumb, these favorite items get imprinted

early in life and often grow into an extra

appendage that dangles squarely out the

front of said kid’s mouth. That’s where you’d

find my thumb most hours of the day, and

where you’ll find

Macklin’s go-to

stink bomb of a

favorite,

as well.

Before Mack

was born, his

mama and I

(ok, mostly

mama)

researched,

hunted and

shopped for

different options

we thought he might

like. In hindsight,

it was a total guessing

game, and we were probably a bit

arrogant in thinking we could predict

what this tiny stranger would eventually

latch onto. But we were first time

parents, so of course we thought we

knew everything!

Would it be the small, stuffed moose or the

plush teddy bear that he would choose

to snuggle all night? Perhaps the soft,

heirloom blanket we got at a shower?

Or that other blanket? Or this other

one? Or maybe that one? We got a lot

of blankets. Apparently, people were

worried that even after welcoming a

baby into our home I’d still be too cheap

to turn up the heat. They weren’t

entirely wrong.

But it didn’t take

long before Mack

asserted his

proclivity for the

finer things in

life by claiming

a Pottery Barn

Bear Thumbie

gifted by his God

Mother as his

transition

26 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


object — something kids bring everywhere that provides

comfort and stability, much like grown-ups clutching

our smartphones wherever we go. Brown Bear is there

any time of day for Macklin, even when mom and dad

aren’t. Even when we are, that smelly, well-worn square

of brown fleece with a head no longer even resembling

that of a bear isn’t far out of reach.

Macklin can fall asleep in any new place as long as he’s

got Brown Bear (aka Brownie, Brown B, Brommer,

Browns or Mr. Browns) there to chew on. Brownie has

logged some serious road trip miles with us, including a

few frequent flyer miles. Despite multiple flights, Mack

has only cried on an airplane once, and it lasted for less

than 30 seconds over some dropped goldfish crackers,

because Brown Bear was there to soak up his tears…

and drool.

After taking an extended gap-year with me to find

ourselves (turns out we were just over at the nearby

park), he transitioned with minimal fuss to daycare

because Brown Bear accompanied him to his new

class. New babysitter? No big deal. He’s got Brown

Bear. Vaccinations? Flu shots? Dentist visits? The end of

Game of Thrones? Mr. Browns is always there to soothe.

In fact, Brommer is so good at soothing, he’s been forced

to multiply. Early on, we made the choice to wean Mack

off his pacifier. It worked great. He got over the nuk in

less than a week. Why? Because the soft head of Mr.

Browns was right there, ready to take up the cause. So

we now own multiple Brown Bears purely for the sake of

frequent washings. I asked him about it recently, trying

to understand how we could possibly help break this

habit. Mack’s response: “Brown Bear likes it. It tickles

him and he laughs.” Well then, as long as it’s good for

Brown Bear… and certainly good for Mack’s future

orthodontist.

I don’t feel any competition for Mack’s affection towards

Brown Bear. With each bump, scrape or perceived

injustice, Macklin will still cry for mom or dad (whichever

of us is not currently available, of course). He will be

quickly scooped into a hug and this is where he will ask

for Brown Bear, our closer. Mom and dad provide the

initial comfort and safety, and Brown Bear is the icing

on the cake to finish the job. And sometimes a cartoon

band-aid, preferably PJ Masks if you have them.

Macklin turns four this summer, which feels impossible,

as I still vividly remember bringing his pudgy infant self

home from the hospital not too long ago. At this rate, I’m

already mentally planning to sneak a Brown Bear into

his luggage when he leaves for college, tech school or

whatever path lies ahead in the future. Maybe another

gap year… this time without dear ol’ dad. Regardless, I’m

glad we have extras because I’m going to need one, too,

when the time comes. •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 27


LOCAL BAND

28 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


THE

KNOTTIES

MORE THAN

JUST THE

FEELS

The Fargo music scene rolls out

another phenomenal music group;

this time we are taking a look at

The Knotties. These guys tap into a

unique yet timeless sound, mixing

modern techniques that thrive off

70s psychedelic rock/blues. This is

the kind of music that makes you

want to move and let loose – which is

encouraged by the band.

WRITTEN BY: KRISSY NESS • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

The Knotties joined together almost

three years ago and have been

rocking our faces off ever since; with

Channing Minnema on guitar and

vocals, Michael Mooridian on bass

and vocals, and Jonathan Hunter on

drums and vocals.

Between these guys, you can

find explosive personalities and

phenomenal talent. The drive they

have to push one another absolutely

shows in their music and they accept

nothing less. There is no question as

to why they are so popular.

I had the opportunity to sit down with

Hunter and Mooridian and boy was it

a ride. In between talking about the

band and all the hard work they put

into becoming kickass I found out

a few fun facts about this quirky yet

ambitious band.

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 29


LOCAL BAND

First and foremost, everyone in The Knotties believes

in each other to perform at the best of their abilities

and they cheer each other on every step of the way. “No

matter who writes the song or who comes up with the

music we all go along with it - with no confrontation,”

said Mooridian. They are really good at editing one

another without stifling each other’s creativity and there

is something to be said about that kind of cohesiveness

in a band.

Second, they are an absolute blast to be around and the

passion they have for music is beyond measurable. If you

are looking for a good time then you need hit up one of

their shows, hands down one of the best acts in town.

They perform together in a way that is hard to find these

days - solid and precise.

Third, did you know that not one but two members live

in not so common housing? One lives in an old bank

(Minnema) and the other a church (Hunter) – No, neither

establishment is still running and yes, they are there

legally. In fact, their last album was recorded in the

church Hunter resides in. If that isn’t what rock and roll

is all about – I don’t know what is.

Finally, The Knotties were awarded a grant earlier

this year through The Arts Partnership in cooperation

with Jade Presents in which they used to master their

30 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


full-length album. “This is quite an honor,” says

Mooridian, “we are so grateful to have been awarded

this opportunity.”

“Most people don’t go beyond Spotify, iTunes, or

Apple music, so that is where you can find most of

our music,” remarked Mooridian. Although you can

find their CDs locally at Orange Records, Mothers

Music, or The Electric Fetus in their Duluth location.

They are also working towards getting their music

pressed onto vinyl, which will match well with their

70s psych sounds and give listeners another platform

to listen to their music.

There is something unique about matching your

personality with kind of music you perform – typically

The Knotties don’t play cover music but they strive to

perform their own original music and these guys are

about as original as they come. Each member brings

something to the table that can’t be matched or

duplicated and it makes for stimulating conversation

and even more interesting music. You can catch them

playing in venues all over town like the Aquarium –

which is located above Dempsey’s, The HoDo, and

Sidestreet which are all located in downtown Fargo,

ND. They have also toured around the country and

plan to again when their self-titled vinyl is released.

If you are looking for a new sound or fun shows

to check out – this is your band – you won’t be

disappointed.

You can follow The Knotties on Instagram or

Facebook to find out all their upcoming shows or to

check out what the band is up to and of course on

their Spotify page where you can also find music the

band is listening to.

The good life, according to The Knotties, is to play

together as a band for as many people as possible not

for the fame or fortune but for the feeling. To get out

there and rock as hard as they can and turn around

and do it again tomorrow. •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 31


SCUBA DIVING

IN THE UPPER MIDWEST

NORTH DAKOTA AND

MINNESOTA HOME TO AVID

SCUBA DIVERS

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

When you hear the term “scuba diving,” what do you

think of? Chances are you’re picturing tropical fish,

coral reefs, and ocean waves. Whatever you think of,

it’s probably the exact opposite of the upper Midwest.

So, what if I told you North Dakota and Minnesota are

home to avid scuba diving fans? In fact, experts say

these two unlikely states have some of the best scuba

diving around.

Part of what makes scuba diving in North Dakota and

Minnesota so special is the wide range of locations to

choose from. Minnesota alone has over 12,000 lakes

for divers to explore as well as the Iron Range’s many

mine pits. Though there are plenty of rivers in the area,

they tend to be less popular with divers because of low

depths and poor visibility. Those that do dive in rivers

are often looking for old antiques left behind by barge

traffic.

Dive spots are generally chosen according to water

conditions and what’s below the surface. Water

conditions can vary from lake to lake depending on the

time of year. In the summer, some lakes offer visibility

up to 30 feet. However, as water temperatures rise

smaller lakes tend to lose their visibility. In those cases,

divers may be able to see only one or two feet around

them at a time.

Another element unique to scuba diving in the Midwest

is the thermocline. A thermocline occurs in large bodies

of water and is a thin layer where divers experience

abrupt temperature changes. The first thermocline can

be found between 24 and 30 feet down. At that point,

the water temperature may drop by as much as 10

degrees in just a foot of water. Thermoclines aren’t the

only chilly temperature some scuba divers experience,

though.

32 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


Despite winter’s freezing temperatures, die-hard

divers can’t be deterred. Rather than sticking to the

unofficial scuba season between Memorial Day and

Labor Day, they dive well into the winter. All they need

is the right equipment. As temperatures drop, divers

will don thicker wetsuits to keep them warm

while exploring the icy depths of area lakes.

Some may even swap their wetsuit out for

a drysuit, which is completely waterproof.

Doing so offers divers better protection

against frigid water temperatures.

Popular Locations to Scuba Dive

Regardless of the time of year, both North Dakota and

Minnesota offer plenty of great locations for diving.

From the area’s many lakes to old iron ore pits, there’s

a whole other world under the water. Whether enjoying

up-close views of aquatic wildlife or exploring sunken

boats, there’s no shortage of things to discover.

“From the area’s many

lakes to old iron ore pits,

there’s a whole other world

under the water. Whether

enjoying up-close views of

aquatic wildlife or exploring

sunken boats, there’s

no shortage of things to

discover.”

Lake Sakakawea State Park

Minnesota may be the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but North

Dakota’s Lake Sakakawea is perfect for scuba diving.

At a max depth of 200 feet, divers are treated

views of paddlefish, rainbow trout, turtles, and

frogs in the bay’s aquatic grass. Other exciting

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 33


finds include petrified rock formations and fossils typically found in

deeper parts of the lake.

Long Lake

Near Itasca State Park, Long Lake features unusually clear

water. Once used as a holding area for area logging companies,

divers can expect to see submerged logs near the southeast

end of the lake. Divers will also enjoy exploring the lake’s

scuttled boats and countless other treasures.

Portsmouth Pit

While Lake Superior is technically the deepest lake in

Minnesota at 700 feet, Portsmouth Pit is the deepest lying solely

inside Minnesota. Located in Crosby, Minnesota, Portsmouth Pit

spans 121 acres and has a depth of about 450 feet. The depth is just

one reason it’s a spot many divers frequent Portsmouth Pit. Under the

water is an eerily beautiful underwater forest of trees and a diverse

variety of fish.

Louise Mine Pit

The Louise Mine Pit is another prominent diving location

in Crosby, Minnesota. The eclectic props hidden in the

“Minnesota alone has

over 12,000 lakes for

divers to explore as well

as the Iron Range’s

many mine pits.”

34 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


water have divers flocking to the state-owned mine.

A favorite is the emaciated figure of Friday the 13th

character, Jason Voorhees, trapped below the surface.

Other notable displays include a mermaid, a submerged

lawnmower, and a skeleton man fixing an electrical box.

Becoming a Certified Scuba Diver

Interested in discovering the many great diving

opportunities in North Dakota and Minnesota for

yourself? You just need to become a certified scuba

diver! To do so, you’ll need to complete the Open Water

Diver course as taught by a Professional Association of

Diving Instructors (PADI) certified instructor.

The first phase of training is done in the classroom

with students reading from the PADI Open Water Diver

Manual and completing an exam. Divers will then take

part in confined dives in a swimming pool to practice

basic scuba skills with their instructor. Finally, divers

will participate in four supervised open water dives.

Completion of the course will certify divers down to

60 feet, but you can continue to advance with further

training. Once you’re certified, all that’s left is to start

exploring! •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 35


DONATION

VALUE

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DONATION VALUE

for MILLER HIGH LIFE

and MILLER HIGH

LIFE LIGHT.

RECYCLE

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Return in recyclable original carriers,

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DONATIONS

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and VFW COLOR GUARD FUND

or any of the other registered organizations at:

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