FATHERS | MR. FULL-TIME DAD
WRITTEN BY: BEN HANSON • PHOTO BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
It was about 8:45
a.m. when Macklin
rolled over to ask
“Can I have
Still in our pajamas,
neither he nor I had gotten out of bed
yet. Mom was out of town for a couple of
days on a work trip, so of course we took
advantage and had ourselves a little sleepover in the big
We had fallen asleep watching cartoons and then
picked right back up where we left off once the sun
came up and roused us awake. After a couple episodes
of PJ Masks, Mack was now asking for just one more.
Importantly, it was a Tuesday.
As I cued up another harrowing adventure for Gecko,
Owelette and Catboy, a stinging sense of shame came
over me. The emotion hit before the recognition, but
soon enough I realized what was happening — I had
become a lazy parent, way too eager to hit “play” on the
ol’ Netflix babysitter while I sat glued to my iPhone lost
in an endless Twitter scroll… and rightly so did I feel
Remember, this was a Tuesday. If it had been a Saturday
morning, fine. Good. Great! Weekends are for relaxing.
But it was Tuesday. Mack had to get to school, and I had
to get to work… and it was already 8:45.
While I am fortunate to have an incredibly flexible
schedule, clearly I had let it all get away from me.
And the worst part was, not only was this a fairly
good representation of our typical weekday, it was
also becoming more and more representative of the
parenting mode into which I had let myself fall.
I had let easiness and convenience start to dictate my
parenting decisions. Too many cartoons, too many
chicken nuggets, too much time lounging in our undies.
Not nearly enough outside play, books or vegetables. I
had become lazy, and whatever made life easier for me
was what Macklin got.
When I was a stay-at-home dad, Mack and I were
as active as possible. We walked or road bike almost
everywhere we needed to be. Our diets were full of fresh
fruits and veggies (after he started eating solid foods,
that is). He was probably 2 before he even knew the
screen on the wall could turn on.
Now, the both of us can rattle off an embarrassingly
long list of our favorite cartoons. And we both like way
too much ranch on our nuggets.
The good news about shame, at least in this case, is that
it can be quite motivating. As soon as I saw the pattern
we were in, I decided we needed to get back to the good
habits that defined our routine. And here’s even better
2 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
news: unlike my usual columns, I actually have
some sound advice to offer you!
Kids are resilient, adaptable and possess the
long-term memory function of a goldfish. In
other words, change is usually easier for them
than it is for us adults. It may be rough for a
duration, but after swimming around in circles
a few times, they seem to altogether forget
what changed. So, parents, never fret about
introducing change — your kids will delight you
with how fast they can adjust.
After we moved into a new house this past
summer, Mack was all settled in after the first
night he slept in his new room. I, on the other
hand, for weeks kept finding excuses to drive
by the old house. The change was definitely
harder on me than it was for him.
When I made the choice to
remove the iPad from the
where Mack prefers to take his
meals, yes he threw a bit of a fit…
for about 48 hours. From then on, however,
it was as if the iPad never existed. He happily
ate his food — or pushed it around the plate
enough times to earn his participation pass
to be excused — without any cartoons or
technological stimulation of any kind.
As I began reintroducing the healthier habits
that had prior been our norm and watched Mack
adapt to each and every one with whimsical
ease, it became crystal clear the decline of
Civilization Hanson was entirely my fault. Mack
didn’t one day decide broccoli was gross and
the backyard was scary. No, I had simply gotten
Playing inside was easier than going out for
real exercise. Frozen dinners were easier than
cleaning and chopping fresh produce. Cartoons
at breakfast while I showered was easier than
me getting up before him and being ready when
he deserved my attention.
I’ve never gotten into the New Year’s resolution
tradition, but this year I actually have resolve! I
don’t want to be a lazy parent. I don’t want Mack
to be able to outrun me anytime soon. Nor do I
want to buy new, bigger pants. I like my pants.
More than anything, though, I don’t want Mack
to fall into a routine built on convenience. Not
just yet, anyway. I don’t want to ruin his early
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 3
VOLUME 7 • ISSUE 4
A LAZY NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION
ASK 30 WOMEN
6 WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST 12
WHEN YOU MOVED IN TOGETHER?
AN UNEXPECTED FORM OF ARTISTRY
HAVING A BEER WITH CHOW
ON-AIR RADIO HOST FOR Q105.1
SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE WINTER BLUES
LIFE AT SANDY'S
ONE DONUT BARES ALL
ON THE COVER
A FUTURE FORESHADOWED - SHERIFF JAHNER
DECADES IN THE MAKING
LOCAL HERO - DAMON BRADSHAW
ARMY VETERAN AND LIEUTENANT FOR THE
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS (VA)
HOSPITAL POLICE DEPARTMENT
Urban Toad Media LLP
OWNER / PHOTOGRAPHER
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urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 5
ASK 30 WOMEN
ASK 30 WOMEN
WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST
WHEN YOU MOVED IN TOGETHER?
You never know what to expect when moving in together. Leaving the cap off the toothpaste may
send her over the edge. While making the bed is a pleasant surprise. We asked 30 Women, “What
surprised you the most when you moved in together?” Read on for their answers.
1. How clean he keeps his toilet.
2. The amount of time spent
playing video games.
3. He knew how to fix things.
4. The amount of junk food
intake that was well hidden
before the move in... Who eats a
family size box of potato chips
and a 2 liter of soda in one
5. It surprised me that he
was so sweet and helpful with
washing the dishes after I
6. How bad he snores.
7. How much he loves hockey.
I never expected how much
yelling at the tv would take
8. He's super particular about
9. He absolutely had zero
cooking skills... as in Hamburger
Helper or boxed Mac & Cheese
was a challenge.
10. How much he wants to talk.
11. The thing that was most
surprising was his lack of
knowledge of cleaning.
14. Hair everywhere! In the
sink, stuck to the soap, in the
15. The giant flag he brought
that he wanted to hang above
16. He is an OCD clean
freak. He is constantly
cleaning even after I’m
17. I was surprised he
owned more shoes
18. He doesn’t
really need as
time as me.
19. He hates
to clean the
spends in the
21. How long
it takes him to
get ready in
and the list of
things he has
to do every
23. How unorganized he is, but
somehow he seems to know
where everything is.
24. I was
and all of
out of his
25. He never
matches up his
26. He poos naked.
27. It surprised me
that he's only grown
more cuddly as we've
been married, and I
love that he loves to
cuddle as much as I
do (which is saying a
28. I was very happy and
surprised when I opened
the cupboard door and
found my partner had
written a very big note for
himself, “Help more in the
29. His love for cats.
12. He leaves his socks
13. How messy he is! He always
kept his ice castle and other toys
beyond clean. The house.... not
6 so / THE much. GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
we moved in
could say was, “we’re gonna
keep things picked up” but he is
the most messy person ever!
30. Turns out he was a
paper hoarder. Dude had
boxes of bank statements
and pay stubs going all the way
back to high school.
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 7
An Unexpected Form of Artistry
WRITTEN BY: KATIE JENISON • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
When you hear the word taxidermy, what do you think of?
The thought alone may make some people squirm, often
viewing it as a way to glorify the slaying of a beautiful animal.
Others take an entirely different stance, believing taxidermy is
about honoring the animal. For professionals in the industry,
taxidermy is just as much about the latter as it is about the art.
And that’s just it; regardless of what camp you fall in, there’s no
denying taxidermy requires a unique set of skills.
Local taxidermist, Jody Slusher, has those skills and the artistic talent to boot. He and
his wife, Karla, own and operate J & K Taxidermy in Horace, North Dakota. Slusher,
a certified taxidermist through the National Taxidermist Association, handles all
the taxidermy work while Karla manages the day-to-day operations of the business.
Slusher took an interest in taxidermy from a very young age and worked in the industry
for a decade before setting up shop 1988. Since then, he and Karla have accumulated
clients that hunt all around the world. From a local deer to a New Zealand red stag—
and even a 15-foot python—Slusher has worked on mounts of all types and sizes.
With decades working as a professional taxidermist, it’s safe to say Slusher has
encountered his fair share of misconceptions about the industry. One of the biggest?
The term “stuffing.” The concept of stuffing an animal comes from the early 16th
8 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
The word ‘taxidermy’
comes from ‘taxi’ which
means to move and
‘dermy’ which is derived
from the word, epidermis,
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 9
century when a Dutch nobleman set
about preserving a bird. He first skinned
and stuffed the bird with preservative
spices, and then used a wire to hold the
skin in place.
While the term, “stuffing” is still used
today, modern taxidermy calls for a
different technique that can be explained
in its name. The word “taxidermy” comes
from “taxi” which means to move and
“dermy” which is derived from the word,
epidermis, meaning skin. The technique
used today involves a taxidermist fitting
a tanned hide over a sculpted mannequin
or polyurethane foam form and is used
in both a shoulder-mount and a full-body
Another misconception is that taxidermy is only meant to preserve exotic game
trophies from a once in a lifetime hunt or the big buck most hunters dream
of bagging at the season opener. Even small, seemingly inconsequential
mounts matter, especially when it comes to preserving a memory. Slusher
notes, “A child’s first fish is equally important as a seasoned hunter’s Marco
Polo sheep.” Many taxidermists echo this sentiment, believing it’s not always
just the mount itself that’s meaningful but the memories tied to it.
On that same note, taxidermy isn’t simply for creating trophies or maintaining
memories. It can also be used for educational purposes. In fact, museums
rely on taxidermy to depict and teach visitors about different species,
including those that are extinct or threatened. The National Museum of
Modern History even has a whole wing dedicated to displaying species found
throughout history. It’s Hall of Mammals features an array of creatures;
from the well-known rhinoceros to the more obscure short-beaked echidna,
taxidermy makes it possible to create life-size and realistic compositions of
animals found around the world.
10 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
Whether a personal trophy or for educational purposes, mounted animals
have to look as real as possible in order to make an impact. For that reason,
many taxidermists have spent years and even decades honing their craft.
That dedication and hard work results in the ability to produce hyper-
realistic mounts that look so lifelike,
you wonder if they’ll get up and walk
away. Those who have achieved such
a high level of skill are often rewarded
for their talents by taking part in
taxidermy competitions, which are
held worldwide and honor the best of
Slusher himself competed heavily
in the 90s and early 00s. He has
been named North Dakota’s “Best
All-Around Taxidermist” five times
and has been awarded the “Grand
Master Achievement Award” by the
International Guild of Taxidermy.
Other notable awards include the
National Taxidermy “Award of
Excellence” and 7 WASCO awards for
“Most Artistic Composition.” Once he
stopped competing, Slusher went on
to teach instructional seminars and
served as a judge at the state, national,
and international levels. Though he
liked being active in that side of the
industry, his booming business soon
began to demand his full attention.
With a bevy of achievements under his
belt, there’s no doubt Slusher is not
only good at what he does, but he truly
enjoys it. When asked what the good
life means to him, he simply states,
“Freedom—being able to do what I love
to do and make a living at it. Spending
time with family, friends, and working
alongside my wife, Karla. We have been
very blessed with supportive, quality,
and loyal clients and we are where we
are today because of them.” •
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 11
HAVING A BEER WITH | CHOW
WRITTEN BY: MEGHAN FEIR • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
HAVING A BEER WITH
Dan Virchow, also known as Chow, left the radio world three
years ago to pursue his other passions—photography and
videography—but now he’s combined his love for it all by
doing photography on the side and being a mid-day, on-air
host for Q105.1.
On one of the milder days this winter, we sat down, first in
some snow, then in Drekker’s Brewhalla for a glass of beer
and air as we discussed some pretty pressing topics.
Read on to learn more about his love for Anakin Skywalker
and where Chow would raise a family—if he ever had to do
that sort of thing.
Good Life: A little bird told me you’re a great concert
photographer. How did you get into that?
Dan Virchow: Through my radio connections. My
mom was a photographer, so I was always fascinated
and played with her cameras. The first show I ever
shot was an Anthrax show in Grand Forks. I had no
idea what I was doing, but afterward I was like, “Wow,
this is just a front-row ticket to any show you want to
go to.” Then I got obsessed with it. I just love doing
it, especially when you’re at a music festival and there
are 40,000 people behind you and no one closer to
the stage than you.
12 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
my mom and my
sister call me
Daniel. My close
friends call me
Dan. People I’m
call me Danny,
and the majority
of people call
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 13
HAVING A BEER WITH | CHOW
GL: If someone were to see you on the street,
would you prefer they call you Dan, Danny, Daniel
or Chow? Could you tell I had no idea what to call
you and how I changed your name in the emails
DV: I totally understand. Basically, only my mom and
my sister call me Daniel. My close friends call me Dan.
People I’m acquainted with call me Danny, and the
majority of people call me Chow. I introduce myself
as Dan. I never introduce myself as Chow, but after I
introduce myself, I have to say, “Hey, if people call me
Chow, just go with it.” It’s confusing, even for me.
GL: If you had to live in a small town in America,
which would you choose?
DV: If I could choose one small town it would be no
small town. I am very past that. I grew up on a farm,
which wasn’t even in a town, and it felt very isolated.
Even now when I go home, it’s really nice to see my
family and relax, but small-town life is just not for me.
If I had to pick…
GL: You have to pick.
DV: This is the hardest question I’ve ever been asked…
I would choose Brookings, S.D. I went to college there
and it’s just a nice town with really nice people. I kind of
like that. I mean, I could raise a family there if I wanted
14 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
GL: Maybe I’m giving you ideas now. You’re going to
want to move to Brookings now.
DV: I don’t know about that.
GL: What’s the best Valentine’s present for a girl or
DV: The best present you can give someone is your
presence. Take them out to eat, spend the night with
them and just have no other focus than them. That
sounded way too romantic compared to how I am in
real life, but that’s how I feel. Gifts aren’t a great way to
express yourself and how you feel. Sit down and have a
conversation with each other and talk about your lives,
goals and aspirations, which is something not a lot of
people talk about enough.
GL: Who’s your favorite movie character and why?
DV: I would say Anakin Skywalker. I feel like those Star
Wars prequel movies got a bad wrap because there
was some poor acting and the CGI was a little much.
But when it’s deconstructed and you get to the core, it
had this really good story of this kid who questioned
everything. I think that’s something everyone should do.
Don’t just do something because people tell you to do it.
Respect and work with them, but just because someone
tells you it’s the right way doesn’t mean it is. Yes,
obviously the second half of his story is very dark and
horrid and I would never say that’s the kind of person
I relate to, but that first half—that’s just how I’ve been
my whole life. I question everything. I’ve never enjoyed
being told what to do, so I’m going to go with Anakin
GL: Where did you grow up?
DV: Willow Lake, S.D. I feel like everyone just kind of
inherently hates where they grew up while you’re there
because you just wish you were somewhere else. When
I was growing up on the farm, I always thought of city
kids as smarter than me and that they got to do more
things. I just felt like I existed but I didn’t live. Then you
grow up and you go back to the farm and you realize
how beautiful and peaceful it is and how you can do
whatever you want there. You get a whole different
perspective. I still only do that for a few days at a time,
but you get a weird appreciation the older you get.
GL: What is something that looks stupid no matter
who is doing it?
DV: The Cupid Shuffle.
GL: I hate the Cupid Shuffle.
DV: Any time that song comes on, I leave the room, or
leave the venue, or leave the state and get out of there
"Find the positivity in
everything, and if you can
do that you’re living
the good life." – CHOW
because I don’t get it. It’s not fun. No one looks like
they’re having fun when they’re doing it, and nobody
GL: What does living “the good life” mean to you?
DV: I think it’s very simple. Live the most stress-free life
as possible. Never get yourself into situations where
there’s no positive outcome. Always have fun. I just feel
like I have this constant need to have fun. Live it up, be
kind to everybody and have a positive outlook on life.
For the longest time I was the biggest cynic. I just found
the negativity in everything. That does nothing for you
but constantly put you in a down mood. So embrace this
life of positivity, opportunity and fun. My two life mottos
are “Show no weakness” and “Keep moving.” Find the
positivity in everything, and if you can do that you’re
living the good life. •
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 15
Seasonal Affective Disorder
A Closer Look at The Winter Blues
WRITTEN BY: BEN HANSON
It’s rare when an acronym so perfectly captures the very
essence of the thing for which it stands. TBD, ASAP, BTW,
GIF… sure they’ve all taken on the appropriate meanings
and are recognized well enough to be used in lieu of the
full phrase, but on their own they mean nothing.
SAD, however, stands on its own. SAD is sad, and when
you suffer from SAD, you’re absolutely sad. SAD is such
the perfect acronym (borderline synonym!) I imagine it
makes the ADDs and OCDs of the world downright PO’d.
So what is SAD? As obvious as it may seem, there’s more
to this seasonal affliction than its rather on the nose
SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder
Often referred to as “the winter blues” or seasonal
depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form
of depression that affects individuals specifically during
the winter months. About half a million people —
mostly young adults — in the U.S.
though 10 to
t i m e s
than men to
overall seem to
be more at risk
than older adults.
Aside from age
location also seems to play a major factor in predicting
who is most susceptible to seasonal affective disorder.
“Here in the Upper Midwest, we’re definitely more at
risk for seasonal affective disorder,” explains Dr. Forrest
Sauer, founder of Twin Oaks Health Solutions in Fargo.
“Because it seems to be so closely connected with the
change in seasons and amount of sunlight present, people
like us living so far north are at a greater risk. But there’s
more to it than just the weather. Things like diet, exercise,
daily stress all play a part.”
According to Dr. Sauer, lifestyle factors are key in both
identifying the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder,
as well as proactively trying to reverse its effects. He says
the foods we eat and the beverages we consume are a
“Typical Midwest guys think they’re tough as nails and
can eat whatever they want without being affected,” Dr.
Sauer says, “but most of us aren’t getting enough real
foods. We eat way too much sugar, too many carbs and in
many cases too much alcohol.”
What Causes SAD?
There’s a tremendous amount of anecdotal evidence that
points a big, perhaps lethargic finger at one main cause
seasonal affective disorder: changes in the amount of daily
sunlight. It’s right in the name; it’s a seasonal condition
that comes on in the fall, progressively gets worse as the
days grow shorter in the winter and subsiding again in
the spring with the return of summer sunshine. Still, the
exact cause is still unknown.
One of the leading theories surmises that with the
reduced sun exposure comes a reduction in the body’s
natural ability to regulate its internal clock, which in turn
regulates things like mood, sleep and hormones. When
these things fall out of balance, the combination can
result in the symptoms associated with seasonal affective
Another theory maintains the same root cause (lack of
sunlight) but takes it in a different direction from there.
Some believe certain important neurotransmitters, such
as serotonin, that are responsible for communication
channels in the brain may be altered in people suffering
16 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
from SAD. In both theories, it is thought that additional
exposure to light may correct these imbalances or help
reset the body’s internal clock.
Finally, some research suggests that melatonin, a
chemical that plays an important role in the body’s
natural sleep-wake cycle, may also play a role in
seasonal affective disorder. The idea behind this
theory holds that a lack of sunlight over-stimulates
the body’s production of melatonin, which can result
in symptoms of fatigue and sluggishness — both
hallmark symptoms of SAD.
What are the Symptoms?
So what are the symptoms of seasonal affective
disorder? According to the Cleveland Clinic,
People who suffer from SAD have many of the
common signs of depression, including:
• Loss of interest in usual activities
• Withdrawal from social activities
• Inability to concentrate
• Extreme fatigue and lack of energy
• A “leaden” sensation in the limbs
• Increased need for sleep
• Craving for carbohydrates
• Weight gain
In my case, the weight gain is more a cause than
symptom of my SADness… but that’s a story for
another time. According to Dr. Sauer, it’s the small
hints that something may be off that we need to be
watching for, both in ourselves and others.
“A lot of the signs can be very subtle,” he says. “When
you’re really suffering with depression, it can feel
normal to you [to feel down], because you’ve felt that
way for a long time. So common symptoms include
feeling empty, like a ship without a rudder, that life
is stuck in neutral and you’re not going anywhere.
Everyone feels off some days, but if it’s happening
more often than not, it’s a sign.”
If you identify with any of these symptoms and have
noticed yourself feeling down when the summer sun
gives way to the dark winter months, consult with
your doctor or primary care provider for guidance and
treatment options. •
Special thanks to Dr. Forrest Sauer at Twin Oaks Health Solutions,
medical consultant for our Men’s Health section.
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 17
ON THE COVER | JESSE JAHNER
WRITTEN BY: ALEXANDRA FLOERSCH
PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
An inconspicuous photograph from 1977 sits upon
the top shelf in Jesse Jahner's office. Yellowed by the
years since it was taken, the image is of a 4-year-old
boy dressed in a cowboy hat, leather vest and holster.
Strung around his neck is a homemade sign penned in
marker, reading “Sheriff Jahner” – a better example of
foreshadowing you may never find. Or destiny, perhaps.
You see, the little boy in the photograph was proudly
representing Grandpa Frank in a local parade. Not
only would the boy’s grandfather go on to serve as
Emmons County sheriff for 12 years, decades later
that same little boy would earn the title of “Sheriff
Jahner” himself in Cass County, North Dakota.
Climbing the Ranks
"From a very young age, I knew,” says 46-year-old Cass
County Sheriff Jesse Jahner. "Law enforcement and
military experience runs in our family. My dad was
part-time law enforcement in Strasburg, N.D., and fulltime
in the military."
Graduating from Fargo North High School, Jahner
went on to North Dakota State University where he
earned his degree in criminal justice. "One of my
biggest accomplishments in life was working full time
and putting myself through college,” he explains. “It
took me five years to get through it, but I paid for it as
It isn’t just a law enforcement career that Jahner shares
with his father and grandfather. He attributes his work
ethic to them as well. "It was what my parents always
taught me: work hard, and you'll get what you want to
achieve. That's been ingrained in me my whole life."
Applying with the Sheriff’s Office almost immediately
after graduating, it took Jahner three tries before he
finally got hired. The old Cass County Jail had a fencedin
basketball court for outdoor recreation, and his first
role was to stand outside and supervise inmates day to
day. "I started from the very lowest position,” he said.
A year and three months later, Jahner moved to Page,
N.D., to patrol the western region of Cass County
before returning back home. In Fargo, he remained on
Cass County patrol until he was promoted to narcotics
detective and, eventually, training division sergeant.
"Then, I was asked to supervise the metro-area street
crimes unit as sergeant,” he says.
18 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
"It was what my parents always taught
me: work hard, and you'll get what you
want to achieve. That's been ingrained in
me my whole life." – Jesse Jahner
In the meantime, he also joined Red River Valley
SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) Team in 2002.
“Being on SWAT gave me a lot of opportunities,
including 2,900 hours of specialized training over
my career,” he says. “I was also an instructor and
provided more than 2,100 hours of training to law
enforcement as well."
In 2016, Sheriff Paul Laney promoted Jahner
to captain of the field services division, where
he supervised patrol, agency-wide training,
emergency preparedness, search and rescue,
special operations, the school resource program
and use of force deployments.
When he was elected as Cass County sheriff in
2019, Jahner left SWAT as assistant commander
after 17 years, having completed one of the longeststanding
terms with the agency.
Faith, Family and Fun
It’s no surprise that a resume like Jahner’s left him
little time to focus on his personal life throughout his
career. "I received the most overtime at this agency for
many, many years,” he says. "That played a lot into my
personal life, so I didn't get married until I was 40.”
Acting as airboat commander with the Cass County
Sheriff’s Office, Jahner met his future wife, Tonya,
while assisting Morton and Burleigh counties with
their flood in 2011. The two dated long-distance for
a couple years before Tonya moved to Fargo, and they
married in 2014.
Though Jahner didn’t have kids of his own, he longed
to make a difference in a child’s life even early in his
career. That’s why he decided to sponsor a young girl
from Ethiopia through Compassion International and
Hope Lutheran Church in 2008.
"Her name is Birtukan,” he says. “I didn't have kids, but
corresponded with and assisted her. The money I sent
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ON THE COVER | JESSE JAHNER
to her helped buy school supplies and feed her family.
She just finished school in 2018."
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY:
CASS COUNTY SHERIFF' S OFFICE
Birtukan isn’t the only benefactor of Jahner’s desire
to give back. An avid Harley rider, Jahner makes an
annual trip to Sturgis with his dad and participates in
local charity rides, including the Ride to Fight Suicide
and the 61 for 61 Ride, the annual fundraiser for Roger
"I went from
street crimes and
SWAT to meeting
with people and
talking. It's all the
positive side of law
– Jesse Jahner
Perhaps the ride that
tugged at his heart
most came from a
conversation at a
parade in the summer
of 2018, when a local
mother shared that her
4-year-old was sexually
assaulted by a family
“She was trying to figure out what the process
was through the criminal justice system. Through
that conversation – and conversations with a local
representative – a bill was sponsored through the
legislature,” Jahner says. “I was asked if I would write
a letter of support. I did, and it passed.”
In April 2019, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum
signed Natalee's Law, which changed parts of the
state's juvenile justice code to address cases like
Natalee's. In August, Jahner volunteered for “Let’s
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Ride with Natalee”, a motorcycle ride that
raised money for the Red River Children’s
Nearly 42 years after his parade photo was
taken, Jahner was sworn in on January 2,
2019. He can’t help but thank his predecessor,
former Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney.
"I'm totally grateful for all the opportunities
(Laney) gave me,” Jahner says. “A lot of what
I learned from him was discipline, hard work
and leadership by example – he was good at
When Jahner ran for sheriff, his campaign
focused on community relations and
preparedness. Since then, he has partnered
with local organizations to establish Project
Stand Up, a text-a-tip crime reporting
program; the SafeTY Jacket Program which
provides local responders with emergency
information about individuals with autism;
and to teach active threat response strategies
to businesses throughout the county. "I've
probably trained 1,000 employees since I
started. I really do like to teach," he says.
Aside from community outreach, Jahner’s
role varies greatly – from overseeing the jail
to all of field services.
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ON THE COVER | JESSE JAHNER
“Obviously, my role now is different. I went from street
crimes and SWAT to meeting with people and talking,”
he says. “It's all the positive side of law enforcement.
Last week, I was reading a book to a kindergarten
A Numbers Game
With about 212 employees, the Cass County Sheriff’s
Office is the largest law enforcement agency in North
Dakota. Roughly 102 of those jobs reside within the
"The most challenging part of my job right now is that
we're in a constant state of hiring. Every week I have
one or two folders on my desk to hire people in the jail,”
he says. “Most people don’t
go into law
enforcement to work in a
want to go out on patrol."
If there aren’t any patrol openings, new grads will
typically start in the jail. But as soon as a patrol
opportunity presents itself at another agency, some of
them will leave for those positions, Jahner explains.
"The jail is a tough place to work, but the
communication skills our people learn in there is
invaluable,” Jahner says. “You'll have two deputies in
a pod with 35-plus inmates. If you can't communicate,
you’re not going to be successful.”
Those are the skills deputies need most out on the
streets. "Our patrol is different than Fargo or West
Fargo; we don't have backup as quick as they do,”
Jahner says. “If you're going to arrest someone out
in Page, N.D., and things aren't going well, you have
to be able to use your communication skills to talk
to the person, otherwise things could go bad really
Building Relationships One Town at a Time
A unique aspect of Jahner’s position is that – unlike
police chief – Cass County sheriff is an elected
"When you get up every day, you want to do
the best you can for the citizens of Cass
County,” Jahner says. "I answer to the
people. At least once a week I try to go
out somewhere in the county to have
coffee with citizens and talk about what
we're doing, get feedback and hear what
they'd like to see."
Jahner tries to instill that same
philosophy within his department,
encouraging his deputies to hit at least
three communities during their shift
to build those relationships.
"In our small towns, people know
who's doing everything, and if we're
not getting out to those communities
and people aren't meeting our deputies
and trusting them, they're not going
to pass that information on to us," he
says. “In doing that, we're going to be
able to curb a lot of criminal activity or
figure out who's doing it."
In the next three years of his term, Jahner
plans to focus on the same principles he
has in 2019: emergency preparedness,
community trust and education. "I want
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people to see our patrol staff and think,
'Hey, that's our law enforcement. Whatever
we need, they will be there for us.' Just to
have that trust in us."
With a 22-year career in law enforcement,
it’s easy to become jaded. But when it comes
to defining the good life, Jahner doesn’t lose
sight of his purpose.
"To me, the good life means having the
opportunity to wear this uniform every day,
work alongside the men and women of the
Cass County Sheriff's Office and to serve
the citizens of Cass – the greatest citizens
in the state of North Dakota," he says. •
"When you get up every day, you
want to do the best you can for
the citizens of Cass County.”
– Jesse Jahner
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Few businesses are more
beloved in the Fargo-Moorhead
area than Sandy’s Donuts.
LIFE AT SANDY'S
ONE DONUT BARES ALL
WRITTEN BY: MEGHAN FEIR • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
Few businesses are more beloved in the Fargo-
Moorhead area than Sandy’s Donuts. Their beginning is
a beautiful illustration of how hardships can be turned
into something sweet and successful.
Sandy Ostlund, the founder of Sandy’s Donuts, was well
known in his neighborhood. He loved making donuts,
and he would generously deliver plates of them to his
When he lost his job at the age of 52, instead of
panicking, he put even more pressure on himself. With
the encouragement of his family and friends, he took out
a $20,000 loan to embark on a new adventure: starting
a donut shop.
Since its opening day in 1983, the community and their
appetites have happily supported Sandy’s Donuts, and
it’s only continued to grow in business and popularity.
Perhaps you’re one of the many people who love the
business and what they produce, but what you don’t
know might surprise you.
About a week ago, we received an unexpected letter
from one of Sandy’s very own donuts, Donald Ut. He
wanted customers to learn about the lives of donuts—
what it’s like for them to be born and become adults in
three hours flat, and how the donut-sized hole in their
hearts can only be filled by you (and Sandy’s iconic
angel icing, of course).
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Please take a little coffee break to read this letter from
To whom it may concern,
My name is Donald Ut. You can call me Don. I am, in
fact, a glazed donut. Before you make assumptions
and throw me into the category of one of those boring,
desert-dry (or dessert, in this case) donuts, let me just
stop you right there.
I hail from Sandy’s Donuts, and they raised
me right. I may not spark as many “oohs” and
“ahhs” as my younger brother, Long John, with
his adornments of maple and bacon, but I’m
the familiar one you know you’ll love—the old
standby, as it were.
I am a few minutes away from being consumed
with joy and fulfilling my purpose in life—
bringing happiness to taste buds and making
them dance. I’m waiting in this brown bag until
my new friend stops driving, relaxes his shoulders,
takes a sip of coffee and sinks his teeth into me with
anticipation. Did I make it weird? Sorry.
Before all that happens, I feel compelled to tell you our
story—life from the donut’s point of view, from when I
was just a glint in my baker’s eye to the day I met this old
guy with the pearly white dentures.
You see, life begins at the West Fargo shop for us, and
it’s quite the process. We’re no simpletons. We’re donuts,
and that means we take time, attention and a lot of TLC.
It all starts with the mixing of our
DNA—flour, sugar, milk,
love and other
trade secrets. For 20-30 minutes, we rise, unless you’re
a cake donut. We’re then dropped on a wooden table and
cut into loaves (no pain, no gain) where we’re allowed to
rise a second time.
After we grow up a little bit, we’re taken to a sheeter
that flattens us (being born is slightly traumatizing),
followed by the cutter that, well, cuts us again, this time
in octagon shapes to utilize every square inch of dough.
Next thing we know, we’re being placed on a screen
and carted off to the proofers. It’s like a Floridian July in
there. The humidity and 98-degree heat makes us rise a
third and final time. Then we’re wheeled off to the fryers
where each of us, one screen at a time, is dropped into
intensely hot oil. After floating for 30 seconds on each
side, we’re totally fried, resembling a bunch of bronzed
Following our oil bath, we’re each put on a rack to cool
down and dry off before being blanketed in a magical
waterfall of glaze. Our bakers then place us gently
on our trays for a little nap before your visit so we’re
refreshed and ready to impress.
Earlier today, I saw thousands of my sisters and brothers
embark on their own adventures. Some were placed
in boxes and delivered to our two other stores or area
gas stations. Many more were picked up and taken to
meetings all across town. Others yet were sitting with
me in the case until their new friends handpicked them
Twenty minutes have gone by since my
friend walked in and chose me. The
truck’s rumble has stopped. He’s taking
a sip of his coffee. It’s time to make
someone’s life a little bit sweeter.
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• Sandy’s Donuts makes almost
10,000 donuts every day.
• From Almond Joy to peanut butter
cup donuts, angel iced Bismarks to
Bavarian cream, long Johns to donut
balls, they produce over 100 classic
and unique varieties of donuts every
• They have three locations: West
Fargo, Osgood and Downtown Fargo.
• Mark Ostlund, Sandy’s son, began
working for his dad six months after
the business began. He’s been there
ever since and worked nearly every
position, from donut decorating to
managing, social media manager to
CEO. Mark has been fully running the
business since 2002 and took it over
in 2008 after Sandy passed away,
continuing their family’s legacy in the
• Mark still manages the Sandy’s
Donuts social media accounts himself.
• The idea for Sandy’s mascot, the
caveman pushing the donut, can
be credited to a staff member’s
husband and Mark. “He
thought I should put a
guy pushing a donut on
our plain, white van,”
Mark said. “I thought
the donut looked like a
wheel when I drew it out,
so bam—I had a mascot and
our one-liner: ‘We didn’t
invent the donut, but
we perfected it.’”
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LOCAL HERO | DAMON BRADSHAW
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WRITTEN BY: ALEXIS SWENSON
PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
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LOCAL HERO | DAMON BRADSHAW
Damon Bradshaw, Lieutenant for the Department of
Veteran Affairs (VA) Hospital Police Department moved
from Chicago, Illinois to West Fargo as a 14-year-old at
his mom’s prompting. She was originally from the F-M
area and wanted to get her young son out of the violence
“Our neighborhood was kind of so-so, there was an
increase in violence and crime, and Chicago is a place
where you can be in the wrong place at the wrong
time. That happened to a couple of my friends in the
neighborhood - they got shot. So, we packed up and
within a month I was enrolled in West Fargo High
School. It was such a culture shock. In Chicago, you
need to have a heightened sense of awareness and here
you didn’t. It was different to trust people and realize,
‘Oh, they’re legitimately nice. There’s no gimmick
here, no strings attached – they’re just nice,’” said Lt.
Upon graduating from Shanley High School, Lt.
Bradshaw attended Mayville State University on a
baseball scholarship for a season. Looking to play
in a larger town, Lt. Bradshaw took a small detour to
Fergus Falls Community College to play for a coach
he respected who had connections with the Cincinnati
Reds. Following one season there, Lt. Bradshaw
transferred to Colorado State to play baseball for two
years. It was in Colorado that Lt. Bradshaw joined the
“At the time, I felt like I needed to grow up a little bit. I’ve
always wanted the experience of being in the military.
My grandpa and a lot of other relatives served in the
military. I didn’t want to ever look back and regret not
doing it. I just told my mom one day, ‘Mom, I enlisted
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY:
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in the Army.’ And, I
just went,” said Lt.
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY:
Lt. Bradshaw took an
interest in the role of
a Combat Engineer
(12-B) where he was
trained in explosives
For the majority
of his four years
serving in the Army,
Lt. Bradshaw was
stationed at Fort
Drum, New York.
“In the military, I developed some very close friendships
and it is like a bond like no other. It’s different when you
know there’s people to your left and right who would die for
you and you’d die for them. During my time in the service, I
received hours and hours of training. I was handling TNT
dynamite and C4 – you don’t want to take that stuff lightly.
My job was dangerous, yet exciting,” said Lt. Bradshaw.
During an 8-month deployment to Egypt and Israel, his
unit’s mission was to sniff out explosives that had been
out in the desert since WWII as well as to seek out various
terrorist cells and limit terrorist activity. “That’s pretty
much all we did 5 days a week. Various people would
report things to our chain of command and we’d try to
locate these unexploded landmines that had been out in
the desert since WWII. There’s a lot of pride in being a
12-B. You know that you’re really depended on by other
units. They want those Combat Engineers to lead the way
and make an area safe for them to operate in,” said Lt.
“I was in Egypt when 9/11 happened. It was kind of a wild
time and sort of scary. Tensions were really high in the
Middle East at that time. Our camp that we were at was
pretty heavily fortified anyway, but after 9/11 you really
sensed a higher security,” said Lt. Bradshaw.
Life in Law Enforcement
After receiving a medical discharge from sustaining
an injury, Lt. Bradshaw was encouraged by a friend to
consider a career in law enforcement. Lt. Bradshaw was
soon enrolled in the North Dakota Police Academy and
said, “I’ve never looked back or regretted it. It’s been a fun
ride so far, and now I’m going on 15 years.”
Upon graduating from the Police Academy, Lt. Bradshaw
worked a total of roughly six years in the Mayville Police
Department serving as a Patrolman for four years and
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LOCAL HERO | DAMON BRADSHAW
Chief of Police for about two years. Wanting to get back
to the Fargo area, he was intrigued to learn that the VA
Hospital had their own police department. He applied,
attended a grueling 10-week federal academy in Little
Rock, Arkansas, and took a job at the VA Hospital in
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY:
Lt. Bradshaw started at the VA Hospital as a Patrolman
and was promoted to Corporal, Sergeant, and now,
Lieutenant. Currently he is charged with leading the
department of 17 and is responsible for the coordination
of scheduling and issuing most of the training. He
serves as Firearms Instructor, Tactical Firearms
Instructor, and Defensive Tactics Instructor, ensuring
that the department qualifies and certifies for firearms
defensive tactics every quarter.
“When you’re working at the VA, you deal with a different
clientele. Pretty much everyone is a veteran. Sometimes
you deal with more behavioral issues in the VA than
when you’re on the street. We really train on our verbal
de escalation skills – we call it verbal judo. I’m a Verbal
Judo Instructor so I’ve completed extra training to learn
how to de escalate things whether it takes 10 minutes or
an hour before having to use any type of physical force.
Sometimes it takes officers awhile to adjust, but once
they realize that their voice is the strongest weapon they
have, they can really get out of a lot of situations and de
escalate a lot of situations if they just take the time,” said
All officers at the VA are veterans themselves and wear
color-coded tags on their shirts that signify their veteran
status. This allows for officers to quickly point it out and
say, “We’re Veterans, also.”
The VA maintains “I Care” value statements which
include, “I Care about those who have served, my
fellow VA employees, choosing ‘the harder right instead
of the easier wrong’, and performing my duties to the
very best of my ability.” Lt. Bradshaw honors these and
enjoys representing the ICARE acronym of Integrity,
Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence.
Stemming from his firearms expertise, Lt. Bradshaw felt
obligated to ensure that people are well-trained in the
fundamentals of firearm safety and founded Bradshaw
Firearms & Safety. Lt. Bradshaw is certified to instruct
Class I and Class II Conceal & Carry Trainings and
currently meets people at their location in addition to
consulting for active shooter drills for local businesses.
“Since ND is an open carry state, I find it very terrifying
that there are people carrying firearms and guns
without any training. Complacency can be deadly, so
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my whole purpose is to teach the fundamentals so that
people can keep themselves safe and, more importantly,
not hurt anyone else if they choose to carry a firearm,” said
With a myriad of experiences from living in Chicago,
serving in the military, and working in law enforcement
for 15 years, Lt. Bradshaw recognizes the importance of
developing healthy outlets and coping strategies.
“At the VA, we talk about mental health a lot. For veterans
and police in general, you see a lot of bad things and
sometimes people are afraid to address it. I would like
people to know that it’s okay; you’re human. It doesn’t
make you weak or any less of an officer or veteran if you
have emotional periods of time. Just stay focused and find
a healthy outlet. For me and dealing with PTSD issues,
my outlet is family time and rooting for the Cubs. Family
really puts things in perspective if I’m having a bad day or
a bad experience. I’ll look at my newborn son and instantly
think, ‘Okay, this is what life is about,’” said Lt. Bradshaw.
With a 14-year-old daughter, 3-year-old daughter, and a
newborn baby boy, Lt. Bradshaw and Katie, his wife, try
to get as much family time as possible. After welcoming
their son into the world in September, life lately for Lt.
Bradshaw has looked a bit like Daddy Day Care, ushering
kids to dance lessons, voice lessons, school, and daycare.
The family of five spends a lot of time plotting their next
adventure with plans to purchase an RV motor home and
are active in the Christian community with their church,
St. Benedict’s and through exchanging letters with
their sponsored “foster daughter” in Bolivia through an
organization called Compassion, Int’l.
Embracing The Good Life
“Embracing all the experiences I’ve had – the good and
the bad and being able to overcome all of the difficult
experiences. Not everything is rainbows and unicorns, but
it’s important, it makes you who you are. That’s what this
life is about – you have those challenging experiences, you
learn and grow. I have a lot to be thankful for and I don’t
take that for granted. A beautiful family, a house - that’s the
good life for me. I look forward to what the next 40 years
have in store for me,” said Lt. Bradshaw. •
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