The Good Life Men's Magazine – January-February 2020


On the cover, Sheriff Jahner. Local Hero, Army Veteran and Lieutenant for Veterans Affairs Hospital Police Dept - Damon Bradshaw, Having a Beer with on-air radio host Chow and more in Fargo Moorhead's only men's magazine.



It was about 8:45

a.m. when Macklin

rolled over to ask

“Can I have

another one?”

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


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

breakfast/lunch/dinner counter

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

20s. • / THE GOOD LIFE / 3































Urban Toad Media LLP


Darren Losee


Dawn Siewert


Meghan Feir

Alexandra Floersch

Katie Jenison

Ben Hanson

Alexis Swenson


Darren Losee







The Good Life Men’s Magazine is distributed six times

a year by Urban Toad Media LLP. Material may not be

reproduced without permission. The Good Life Men’s

Magazine accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction

arising from content in this publication. The opinions

expressed, or advice given, are the views of individual

writers or advertisers and do not necessarily represent

the views or policies of The Good Life Men’s Magazine. / THE GOOD LIFE / 5





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

his laundry.

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

bathtub. Why?!

15. The giant flag he brought

that he wanted to hang above

the couch.

16. He is an OCD clean

freak. He is constantly

cleaning even after I’m

done cleaning.

17. I was surprised he

owned more shoes

than me!

18. He doesn’t

really need as

much alone

time as me.

19. He hates

to clean the

stove top.

20. How

long he

spends in the


21. How long

it takes him to

get ready in

the morning

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





he had

and all of

the noises

that come

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 /

22. When

we moved in

together, all

the hubs

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. / THE GOOD LIFE / 7


An Unexpected Form of Artistry


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


The word ‘taxidermy’

comes from ‘taxi’ which

means to move and

‘dermy’ which is derived

from the word, epidermis,

meaning skin. / 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.


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

the best.

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.” • / THE GOOD LIFE / 11





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.


"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." / THE GOOD LIFE / 13


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

every time?

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

to—god forbid.


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

a guy?

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

Skywalker—my man.

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

looks cool.

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. • / THE GOOD LIFE / 15


Seasonal Affective Disorder

A Closer Look at The Winter Blues


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

three-letter shorthand.

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.

suffer from

seasonal affective


though 10 to

20 percent

of those


may, in

fact, be

a milder

form of

the winter



are three

t i m e s

more likely

than men to


SAD, and

younger adults

overall seem to

be more at risk

than older adults.

Aside from age

and gender,

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

major factor.

“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


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:

• Sadness

• Anxiety

• Irritability

• 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. / THE GOOD LIFE / 17




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

I went."

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.


"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 / THE GOOD LIFE / 19


to her helped buy school supplies and feed her family.

She just finished school in 2018."



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


Ride with Natalee”, a motorcycle ride that

raised money for the Red River Children’s

Advocacy Center.

‘Sheriff Jahner’

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. / THE GOOD LIFE / 21


“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

jail; they

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


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 / THE GOOD LIFE / 23


Few businesses are more

beloved in the Fargo-Moorhead

area than Sandy’s Donuts.




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). / THE GOOD LIFE / 25

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

beach beauties.

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

with love.

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.


Don Ut


Sweet Facts

• 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.’” / THE GOOD LIFE / 27







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

of Chicago.

“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




in the Army.’ And, I

just went,” said Lt.




Lt. Bradshaw took an

interest in the role of

a Combat Engineer

(12-B) where he was

trained in explosives

and demolitions.

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 / THE GOOD LIFE / 33


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




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

Lt. Bradshaw.

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.

The Fundamentals

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


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

Lt. Bradshaw.

Healthy Outlet

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. • / THE GOOD LIFE / 35

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