The Good Life – May-June 2020

TheGoodLife

On the cover, Fargo's Top Dog, K9 Falco and Officer Cochran. Local Hero, Highway Patrol Officer Gabe Irvis, Having a Beer with senior radio producer Kevin Flynn and more in Fargo Moorhead's only men's magazine.


In honor of Father's Day, we present ...

DAD JOKES!

Q: What do you call a bear with no teeth?

A: A gummy bear.

Q: What is Forrest Gump’s password?

A: 1Forrest1

Q: What’s red and smells like blue paint?

A: Red paint.

Q: Two flies are in the kitchen, which one is the

cowboy?

A: The one on the range.

Q: How does a penguin build his house?

A: Igloos it together.

Q: Why did the man fall down the well?

A: Because he couldn’t see that well.

ha!

ha!

ha!

Q: Why did the coach go to the bank?

A: To get his quarterback.

Q: What did the fisherman say to the magician?

A: Pick a cod, any cod.

Q: What’s brown and sticky?

A: A stick.

Q: How many tickles does it take to make an

octopus laugh?

A: 10 tickles.

Q: What do you call an illegally parked frog?

A: Toad.

Q: How do you get a country girl’s attention?

A: A tractor.

Two guys walked into a bar.

The third guy ducked.

Q: Why do bees have sticky hair?

A: Because they use a honeycomb.

Q: Want to hear a joke about construction?

A: I'm still working on it.

Q: Why did the picture go to jail?

A: Because it was framed.

Q: What do you call a hippie's wife?

A: Mississippi.

Q: Does anyone need an ark?

A: I Noah guy!

Q: What do you call a man with

a rubber toe?

A: Roberto.

2 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

Q: When does a joke become a

dad joke?

A: When it becomes apparent!


Two cannibals are eating a

clown. One says to the other:

“Does this taste funny to you?”

Q: Why did the scarecrow win

an award?

A: Because he was outstanding

in his field.

Q: What do you call a man who

can’t stand?

A: Neil.

Q: What do you call cheese that

isn't yours?

A: Nacho Cheese.

Q: Why do cows wear bells?

A: Because their horns don't

work.

Q: Why can't you hear a

pterodactyl go to the bathroom?

A: Because the pee is silent.

Q: What did the drummer call

his twin daughters?

A: Anna one, Anna two.

If you see a robbery at an Apple

Store does that make you an

iWitness?

Q: Why did the tomato blush?

A: Because it saw the salad

dressing.

Q: Why did the invisible man

turn down the job offer?

A: He couldn't see himself

doing it.

Q: How many apples grow on

a tree?

A: All of them.

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 3


CONTENTS

Volume 7 • Issue 6

MAY-JUNE 2020

18

FARGO'S TOP DOG

K-9 FALCO AND OFFICER

DAVID COCHRAN

2

6

DAD JOKES

7 SIGNS OF LOW T

20-30 PERCENT OF OLDER

MEN SUFFER FROM LOW

TESTOSTERONE

8

MACK TACTICAL CUSTOMS

ARTISTRY WITH A BANG

12

A RESILIENT PRAIRIE

14

RECYCLING IS ABOUT

MORE THAN SAVING THE

ENVIRONMENT

HOW RECYCLING BENEFITS

THE ECONOMY AND OUR

COMMUNITY

24

FATHERS

A FATHER'S DAY TO

REMEMBER

26

HAVING A BEER WITH

KEVIN FLYNN

WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING

30

LOCAL HERO

NORTH DAKOTA HIGHWAY

PATROL OFFICER GABE IRVIS

SERVES WITHOUT FLASH

4 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


The

GOODLIFE

MEN’S MAGAZINE

PUBLISHED BY

Urban Toad Media LLP

www.urbantoadmedia.com

OWNER / PHOTOGRAPHER

Darren Losee

darren@urbantoadmedia.com

OWNER / GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Dawn Siewert

dawn@urbantoadmedia.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Meghan Feir

Ben Hanson

Katie Jenison

Jeffrey Miller

Krissy Ness

Alexis Swenson

ADVERTISING INQUIRIES

Darren Losee

darren@urbantoadmedia.com

READ A PAST ISSUE

yumpu.com/user/thegoodlife

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK

facebook.com/urbantoadmedia

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

@urbantoadmedia

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM

@urbantoadmedia

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.

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 5


MEN'S HEALTH

7 SIGNS OF

LOW T

20-30 Percent of Older Men Suffer

from Low Testosterone

WRITTEN BY: BEN HANSON

As if getting old wasn’t embarrassing enough as it is,

Mother Nature decided to throw in some hilarious hormone

curveballs later in life to accompany the more outward signs

of old age like gray hair, wrinkles and ill advised jokes. The

good news is that a decrease in testosterone levels isn't

exactly life threatening. But, the symptoms associated with

Low T can still impact your life.

Before running through the warning signs, let’s first take a

quick look at what exactly testosterone is and what it does

in the human body. For that, we turn to our resident men’s

health contributing specialist, Dr. Forrest Sauer, founder of

Twin Oaks Health Solutions in Fargo.

“The two big hormones everyone is at least vaguely familiar

with are testosterone and estrogen,” explains Dr. Sauer.

“Both are found in differing amounts in both men’s and

women’s bodies, and they contribute to your body’s overall

function. The two need to maintain a certain balance

specifically in order to support sexual function and sexual

characteristics unique to each gender. In men, testosterone

plays a role in appearance, sexual development, sperm

production, sex drive, muscle development and bone

mass. It’s really when the balance between estrogen and

testosterone gets out of whack — when we start talking

about Low T — that you start to notice some external

symptoms.”

According to Dr. Sauer, testosterone levels naturally start to

decrease the older men get, and some studies indicate that

upwards of 30 percent of men over the age of 70 will likely

experience some symptoms associated with Low T, which

is diagnosed when levels fall below 300 nanograms per

deciliter (ng/dL). A normal range is typically 300 to 1,000

ng/dL, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

A blood test called a serum testosterone test is used to

determine your level of circulating testosterone. Let’s

review seven of the more common signs you may be

experiencing Low T and a call to your primary healthcare

provider may be in order.

Decreased Sex Drive

It’s natural for some men to see a decline in sex drive as they age, but a more pronounced loss of

arousal may be a sign. Testosterone plays a key role in libido in men, and someone with Low T will

likely experience a more drastic drop in their desire to have sex. Your partner may pick up on this

more than you, and they may be the first to notice something’s not quite right.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not that taboo subject it once was — thank you, little blue pill commercials

— and it’s another sign of Low T, as testosterone plays a role in helping men get and maintain

erections. ED is tricky, though, as it could also be a sign of more serious conditions like diabetes,

heart disease or mental health concerns like depression or anxiety. When testosterone levels are too

low, a man may have difficulty achieving an erection prior to sex or having spontaneous erections

(for example, during sleep). If this sounds familiar, it may be worth that call to your doctor to get a

professional’s opinion… to be on the safe side.

Hair Loss

If your family has a history of baldness, chances are good you’re in line for some hair loss. But

genetics isn’t the only factor. Low T may also be to blame, as testosterone also plays a role in natural

hair production. If you’re losing hair everywhere — not just on your head — low testosterone levels

may be the culprit.

Special thanks to Dr. Forrest Sauer at Twin Oaks Health Solutions, medical consultant for our Men’s Health section.

6 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


Extreme Fatigue

When you reach senior citizen status,

you’ve earned your afternoon nap.

After all, we tend to get worse sleep

the older we get. But, if you’re feeling

really, really, really tired all the time,

it’s a sign of an underlying issue

and Low T may be it. Pay attention

to your motivation. If you’ve been a

regular exerciser — even a routine

daily walk — but are having no

interest in lacing up and breaking a

sweat, that’s an even stronger signal

of Low T.

Decreased Muscle & Bone Mass

Because testosterone plays a role

in building muscle and maintaining

bone mass, men with Low T might

notice a decrease in both — the

muscle loss being the easier of the

two to catch. Testosterone helps

produce and strengthen bone, so

men with low T may end up suffering

from osteoporosis, a decrease in

bone density and are therefore more

susceptible to fractures.

Increased Body Fat

Back to the discussion Low T

more of a concern about the

balance between testosterone and

estrogen… men with Low T may find

themselves packing on some extra

fat — especially in their breasts.

It’s called gynecomastia, which is a

condition of enlarged breast tissue.

It’s a sign of Low T, but more so a

sign of a hormone imbalance.

Mood & Memory

Oh, I almost forgot. Memory loss is

another sign of Low T. In fact, so

is changes to your overall mood, as

mood and memory are closely linked.

Studies show that men with low T

are more likely to face depression,

irritability and a general lack of focus.

And because both testosterone levels

and cognitive functions decline with

age, researchers are beginning to

link the two together… perhaps more

of a correlation than causation, but

one more sign of potential Low T to

monitor. •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 7


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

Whoever said building a gun couldn't be artistic?

Definitely not Jeff Mack.

Mack is in the business to not only hand build

your gun(s) but to add a bit of uniqueness and

artistry. He has been a gunsmith and designing

exceptional guns for 10 years. More recently

Mack Tactical Customs became a full-time gig

three years ago. The demand for his work has

only grown from there.

"Gunsmithing is first and foremost what I do

– and then I expanded into the cerakote," said

Mack. Cerakote is a porcelain-based film, which

is very thin but very durable, that is applied to a

gun to provide color and texture.

"On handguns, I do polymer frames, I can do

frame manipulation and texturizing for grip, and

slide work," said Mack. "Slide work is where you

cut holes into the gun and kind of make them

look cool and not like every other gun you see out

there."

That is not the only thing Mack does at Mack

Tactical Customs, after all this is a one-man

operation. "I'm the gunsmith, I'm the builder,

the guy that does all the modifications, I'm the

receptionist, billing, and bookkeeper," laughed

Mack.

It's not always easy to work alone or out of your

own garage, but what does work is passion.

Mack has been fascinated with guns most of his

life and the artistry of cerakoting and slide work

came with the territory. To be able to take your

hobby and turn it into a business truly shows

what determination and drive Mack has.

8 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 9


"The variety is what I like best about my job," stated

Mack. "It's not mundane and it's different every day." I

would have to agree with this and how nice it must be

to get to work on a different project every day. That is

not to say Mack doesn't have a couple of specialties up

his sleeve.

"I get a lot of Glocks that come through my door," stated

Mack. "I've kind of gotten the reputation that I'm the

expert on Glocks." Glocks have always been Mack's

personal handgun choice. They are very customizable,

reliable, and easy to take apart. On top of that, he has

also perfected the Mack Tactical Customs trigger jobs

for Glocks.

Mack Tactical Customs is growing, "We

are expanding again and building our

own brand of AR rifles," said Mack.

Something you will find with Mack

Tactical Customs is that you will always

get quality professionally built guns with

an abundance of artistry.

"A gun is a gun, let's say an AR-15, all the

internal moving parts are essentially the

same," said Mack. "But, when you make them

look different from what you're just buying off the shelf

somewhere it stands out and people feel like, 'Hey, I got

something no one else has – this one's mine.'"

With that kind of dedication, it is assumed you would

pay a pretty penny. "These big AR companies – they

are just assembling guns on an assembly line going

from one person to another to another, and the quality

control – it's got to be tough, but I know what I'm putting

on these guns because I build them myself from start to

finish," stated Mack. "Mine – there's no junk in them,

which is why mine falls into the more midrange price as

far as quality and price."

10 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


On top of getting to be creative and utilize

very delicate skills comes the final step – test

firing the weapon. "The nice thing with fixing

customer guns and building new ones is that

you have to test-fire them," laughed Mack. "I

show up at the range and they are like 'Oh,

here comes Jeff.'"

These days Mack is working seven days a

week working on guns, whether it is building

and cerakoting from scratch or fixing a gun

from another company, but that doesn't mean

he is content where he is.

"I'm always expanding my business as well,"

stated Mack. "I have recently partnered up with

United States Conceal and Carry Association

(USCCA), and in June I will train to become

a certified conceal and carry instructor and

defensive shooter instructor; like I need to

have more stuff to do," laughed Mack.

"On top of that people will also be able to buy

memberships to the USCCA through me,"

said Mack. This membership is particularly

important if you plan to conceal and carry.

"You can get different online training through

USCCA," stated Mack.

These days more and more people are legally

carrying guns, and it is important to practice

gun safety and receive the proper education.

When asked what the good life means to him,

Mack said, "Living the good life to me means

enjoying our freedoms in this country. Living

a balanced life between work, family,

and fun. Surrounding myself with

great people, and of course getting

out there and shooting guns." •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 11


a resilient prairie

WRITTEN BY: JEFFREY MILLER • PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY: JEFFREY MILLER

Restoration of even small areas back to prairie can have an enormous impact on

everything from water infiltration, insect and wildlife habitat, and soil health.

Fargo is located smack dab in the

middle of the tallgrass prairie. This

sea of vegetation used to stretch northsouth

from Manitoba to Texas and

west-east from the eastern Dakotas

to Indiana. The tallgrass prairie area

has only been on the landscape for the

last 8,000 years. In that short amount

of time, the prairie has developed into

one of the most diverse ecosystems in

the world, second only to the Brazilian

rainforest.

Speaking of the Brazilian rainforest,

when I was in elementary school in

the early 1990s, we learned that the

rainforest was under attack. That was

true, and illegal deforestation of the

rainforest is terrible. However, the

textbooks never mentioned that the

12 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

tallgrass prairie, right outside of our

window, was suffering as well. Native

tallgrass prairie survives on less than

1% of its original range today.

There are a wide variety of reasons for

the reduction of tallgrass prairie, and

it would not be possible to restore it to

its original range. Restoration of even

small areas back to prairie can have an

enormous impact on everything from

water infiltration, insect and wildlife

habitat, and soil health.

Prairie advocates point to the fact that

most of the perennial grass on the

landscape today is not native to the

ecosystem. Found in China, Europe

and Siberia, Smooth brome is a grass

that was introduced to the United

States in the late 1800s. An extremely

aggressive species, Smooth brome

will outcompete the myriad of different

species in a prairie and replace them

with a monoculture. Even worse,

Smooth brome forms a dense sod

that will further reduce biodiversity. A

field full of Smooth brome holds little

value for livestock, wildlife or insects.

In contrast, the native tallgrass prairie

has a variety of species. 80% of the

biomass would be grass, consisting

of 40 to 60 different species. The

remaining 20% would consist of forbs

(also known as flowers), with up to

300 different species!

All hope is not lost for the tallgrass

prairie. It can be restored to its former

glory, and all it needs is landowners


committed to seeing the sea of grass

return. Even better, restoration can

occur in a small urban backyard garden

all the way up to a quarter section of

land. There isn't any piece of land too

big or too small!

The most important aspect of prairie

restoration is the use of local ecotype.

Big bluestem, for instance, is the most

iconic and common warm-season

tallgrass prairie species. It is found on

native prairies from Manitoba to Texas.

In that enormous range, however, there

are many locally adapted variants.

Seed harvested from big bluestem in

Texas would be ill-suited to the harsh,

cold climate of North Dakota. For the

best success, the seed source must be

from the local generalized area.

In order to help homeowners in urban

areas and on small acreages contribute

to the restoration of prairie, the Cass

County Soil Conservation District

has developed the Pocket Prairie

Initiative (PPI). We help select species

suitable for the project location's

soil and prairie height and offer costsharing

opportunities to help defray

the financial outlay. For even smaller

locations, such as apartments and

townhomes, we suggest the Planter

Prairie. The Planter Prairie is simply

a plastic planter containing native

prairie plants. The profusion of life

growing in the planter attracts a wide

variety of pollinating insects, proving

that even the smallest prairies are a

conduit for a healthy ecosystem.

The beauty of the tallgrass prairie

can take our breath away. With some

planning upfront, along with financial

assistance, the Red River Valley

can witness a rebirth of our prairie

heritage. •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 13


Recycling Is About More

Than the Saving the Environment

How Recycling Benefits the Economy and Our Community

WRITTEN BY: KATIE JENISON

There’s little doubt that recycling is good for the

environment. By actively recycling, we can reduce the need

for extracting, refining, and processing raw materials.

Processes such as mining, quarrying, and logging not only

deplete the earth’s resources but also creates substantial

water and air pollution. The energy saved by recycling

and reusing materials also reduces emissions and helps

tackle climate change.

While recycling plays a significant role in the health of

our environment, the benefits don’t stop there. Many may

be surprised to learn that recycling also has a profound

impact on the economy. Mary Aldrich, Sales Manager at

MinnKota Recycling in Fargo, explains that “The recycling

industry generates approximately 32 billion dollars a year

and employs over one million people in the United States.”

Though the industry is relatively profitable, the markets are

considered to be very volatile. Recycling is a “commodity-

driven industry that can be very complicated, and it has

everything to do with supply and demand,” Aldrich says.

“If we have a clean product, it eliminates all these other

costs or factors that can drive the price of services up.

So that’s why we really want people to think about what

they’re putting in their recycling bin.”

The recycling industry employs

over 1,000,000 people in

the United States.

14 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


The secret to clean recycling? Doing it responsibly. Aldrich

stresses the importance of not assuming something can be

recycled. There are a lot of products and packaging that

have a recycling label on the bottom, but that doesn’t always

mean the item can be recycled. The symbol is actually a

legend depicting the grade of the material, as well as the

safety and use of the item. When it comes to recycling best

practices, Aldrich suggests, “When in doubt, throw it out.”

Recycling contaminated with non-recyclable materials

can be problematic for many reasons. Items like

extension cords, holiday lights, and hoses can get

tangled, causing delays and damaging machines used

in the recycling process. In turn, the unnecessary wear

and tear to the equipment and setbacks can increase

the price of recycling services. Luckily, Fargo-Moorhead

residents are a step ahead of the rest of the nation when it

comes to responsible recycling. According to Aldrich, our

community is composed of conscientious recyclers. She

estimates that MinnKota Recycling has a contamination

rate of less than 10%, while the rest of the nation ranges

between 25-40%.

YES!

RECYCLE THESE ITEMS

PAPER

Newspapers, magazines,

office paper, junk mail,

cardboard, food and

beverage boxes.

PLASTIC

Plastic bottles and jugs

and tubs (1, 2 and 5). Leave

plastic caps on.

GLASS

Glass bottles, jars (clear and

colored).

METAL

Steel or tin food and

aluminum beverage cans.

RINSE

Rinse out containers before

putting in bin.

PAPER

PLASTIC GLASS METAL

NO

NEVER RECYCLE

THESE ITEMS

NON RECYCLABLE

Shredded paper, tanglers

(hoses, extension cords,

holiday lights, etc), plastic

bags, diapers and pet

waste, hazardous materials

(sharps, motor oil, propane

tanks, etc.) styrofoam or

e-waste.

WHEN IN DOUBT...

THROW IT OUT!

Do not place food waste,

plastic bags, plastic film,

cellophane, bubble wrap

or aluminum foil in bins.

Do not recycle mirrors,

lightbulbs, drinking glasses,

ceramics or cookware.

NON RECYCLABLE E-WASTE HAZARDOUS EXPIRED DRUGS

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 15


Overwhelmed?

Alrich recommends starting small.

Aluminum beverage cans

are a great starting point, as they

make up a large chunk of recyclable

materials in our landfills.

Start Recycling Today

Despite the many environmental and economic benefits

of recycling, some people don’t take advantage of their

city’s recycling programs. For some, it’s because they

don’t quite see the merits of recycling. Others may feel

overwhelmed trying to adhere to the guidelines. If you

fall into the latter category, Aldrich recommends starting

small. Aluminum beverage cans are a great starting point,

as they make up a large chunk of recyclable materials in

our landfills. So much so, that we are essentially throwing

millions of dollars away each year.

MinnKota Recycling also has an answer for those who don’t

recycle out of laziness or the belief that their recyclables

won’t make an impact. The company offers a donation

program at redemption centers in Detroit Lakes and

Fargo. For every pound of recyclable material you bring

in, you’ll earn a penny. Those earnings can then be kept

or donated to local charities and nonprofit organizations.

A penny per pound may seem small in the grand scheme

of things, but when you’re recycling heavy paper materials

like old magazines and newspapers, it adds up quickly.

MinnKota Recycling distributed over $10,000 to various

community organizations last year alone. “For those

organizations, every penny counts. We support over 180

programs, including food shelves, animal shelters, and

schools. The few extra bucks your donation supplies can

help a kid buy a carton of milk. There’s a lot of kids that

can’t afford those things, and recycling your aluminum

cans and junk mail can help them out,” Aldrich notes.

16 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


MinnKota Recycling Brings The

Process Full Circle

Running an efficient and

environmentally conscious business

is crucial to MinnKota Recycling and

Beverage Wholesalers, the company

that started MinnKota in 1975. Both

have grown into the businesses

they are today largely in part due to

product stewardship. Olympia Beer

required Beverage Wholesalers

to offer a redemption program for

its aluminum cans, which would

reduce the product’s effect on the

environment during its lifecycle.

MinnKota added multiple materials

recycling in 1989 and a document

destruction division in 1998.

Today, the company operates three

recycling facilities and maintains a

strategic partnership with Reliance

Transportation and local companies

owned by Randy Christianson of

Fargo, ND.

The addition of a trucking company

is a large part of what makes

MinnKota Recycling so successful.

Aldrich says, “The recycling industry

is all about logistics, and we have

a really well-organized process

that lets us transfer material in

the most economical way. We ship

our recyclable material out east

to be processed, and our trucks

will drop it off at the paper mills in

Wisconsin. They’ll then pick up beer

for the wholesale beverage division

and bring it back to our facility.

It’s essentially a looped system of

transport.”

Minnkota Recycling’s geographic

location helps keep recyclable

materials in domestic markets, as

well. The company exports very

little material to foreign markets

and the recyclables it collects are

remanufactured into other products

in the United States. Keeping

recycled materials in domestic

markets reduces the cost of products

we use daily, including items like

toilet paper and napkins. For that

to happen, citizens have to do their

part. Each of us can contribute to

the success of the economy—and our

community—by making it a point to

recycle responsibly. •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 17


ON THE COVER | K-9 FALCO AND OFFICER DAVID COCHRAN

18 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


WRITTEN BY: MEGHAN FEIR

PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

Every day for the past 8 years, Officer David Cochran and

his Belgian Malinois, Falco, have worked side by side,

"Taking a bite out of crime," as Scruff McGruff would

say. Cochran has been with the Fargo Police Department

for 16 years. Since 2010, he's been a K-9 officer, and in

his words, "It's been awesome. I've done lots of things

throughout the department. All those things are fine, but

you can't hold a candle to handling a dog."

Cochran and Falco have been through a lot together, from

sniffing out drugs to tracking missing people. What

they didn't anticipate getting involved in together was

something a lot less criminal in nature.

In March 2019, an agent from A&E's "America's Top

Dog" approached Sergeant Collin Gnoinsky asking if

Cochran and Falco would apply to compete on the show.

"He thought it was kind of a joke, and I thought it was too.

But then he was like, 'No, this is legit. They want you to

audition.' So I hemmed and hawed, and then I thought,

what the heck, and we had two auditions over Skype,"

Cochran said.

Each interview lasted nearly two hours as they observed

how Falco and he interacted with each other. Soon the

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 19


ON THE COVER | K-9 FALCO AND OFFICER DAVID COCHRAN

PHOTO BY: NICO THERIN / A&E 2020

pair was selected and eventually flown out to Los Angeles

for the filming of the show.

"They took care of everything and took great care of us,"

Cochran said. "Falco got a ticket on the plane, just like I

did. He even got the window seat."

"THEY TOOK CARE OF EVERYTHING AND

TOOK GREAT CARE OF US," COCHRAN SAID.

"FALCO GOT A TICKET ON THE PLANE, JUST

LIKE I DID. HE EVEN GOT THE WINDOW SEAT."

"They said, 'We love working with you cops. Usually, we

work with actors and they're very entitled. All you guys do

is talk and hang out with us and we love it.' Falco even had

his own trailer with his name on a star. They absolutely

loved Falco. They thought he was the best."

After filming their first episode, Cochran knew they had

won that round, landing them in the top seven out of 50

dogs entered. Falco and he stayed in Los Angeles for a

week to shoot the grand finale, competing for the winning

prize of $25,000. Although they were eliminated in the first

round, the two won $5,000 to donate to an animal charity,

PHOTO BY: NICO THERIN / A&E 2020

While traveling with a restless dog and competing on a

national television show can cause some anxiety, Cochran

enjoyed the entire experience.

"It was a blast," Cochran said. "The most stressful part

was taking a high-drive Mal and flying across the country,

but once we got there, meeting the other teammates and

the cast and production people were awesome."

The entire crew, Cochran and Falco hit it off right away and

still stay in contact with each other.

20 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


along with $10,000 for the Fargo Police Department's K-9

fund. Falco was the oldest dog in the finals, a testament to

his tenacity.

The pair headed for home, but that wasn't the end of

their star-level escapades. They were featured as the first

episode of the season and were flown out to New York for

the show's premiere, providing live commentary with the

hosts of Live PD.

"That was awesome. What an experience," Cochran said.

"It was just Falco and I there for the premiere."

A MAN'S BEST FRIEND AND COWORKER

Falco isn't the first in his canine family to protect and serve

the area. A few years ago, there was Earl, Falco's uncle, who

so impressed the Fargo Police Department they wanted

their next K-9 from the same dogged bloodline. Falco has

another uncle who works for Cass County named Ed.

Across Minnesota and Winnipeg, Falco has siblings

working for other police departments.

"It's a fabulous bloodline," Cochran said. "If he could he'd

push me aside and drive the squad car. It's no-nonsense."

This ambitious, hardworking, dog version of the Energizer

Bunny isn't only in work mode during business hours.

When Cochran and he go home, Falco's hardwired to stay

on the job.

"Belgian Malinois are full of energy and can be over the

top with drive. I knew I was walking into a handful of a

dog," Cochran said. "He's the dog that brings work home.

It's constant with Falco. He never stops. If you harness that

drive, they'll work their heart out."

"BELGIAN MALINOIS ARE FULL OF

ENERGY AND CAN BE OVER THE TOP

WITH DRIVE. I KNEW I WAS WALKING

INTO A HANDFUL OF A DOG."

– OFFICER COCHRAN

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 21


ON THE COVER | K-9 FALCO AND OFFICER DAVID COCHRAN

Beyond the excitement of competing and being featured on

a national TV show is the bond the dog and his officer get

to experience with each other every day.

"I spend more time with Falco than with my own family,"

Cochran said. "There's a saying that when people need

help, they call the police. When the police need help

they call SWAT. Then they call K-9. It's always nice to be

wanted, and you form this bond with your dog and help

your teammates. There's no better feeling. I can't even put

it into words."

Out of nearly 200 sworn-in officers, the Fargo Police

Department just added a fifth K-9 to the unit.

"A dog works 8-11 years, so those spots don't come available

often. Not many people get to do it. I'm very blessed to have

this opportunity with Falco." •

Falco Facts

• Falco will be 9 years old in August. Cochran is hoping Falco will be able to work 2-3 more years before retiring.

• He loves food to no end. "You really have to keep your eye on him. It doesn't matter what it is," Cochran said.

"It was very embarrassing at the time, but he was brand new and we got sent to an alarm at a sub restaurant

in town. I was like, 'All right. Time to show off our training.' We had him on a long leash and he goes around the

corner and the line drops. I'm waiting and waiting. I'm like, 'Falco, come!' and he won't. So we work our way up

to him and he's just chowing down on loaves of bread. He even ate a petrified donut in someone's car once.

• According to Cochran, he absolutely loves beds. "He'll roll on them and grab the blankets with his teeth and

roll up in them. We got called to an alarm one night at a furniture store and made it to the bedroom section.

There was a line of beds and he jumped on every single one on the way down."

22 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


Get to know the Belgian Malinois

• The breed was developed in the Belgian city of

Malines.

• The Belgian Malinois was originally intended

for herding and is one of four breeds of Belgian

sheepdogs.

• With their high energy levels, they can become

extremely destructive if they aren't exercised

enough.

• They often get confused with German

shepherds, but German shepherds are usually

a bit slower and more methodical than Belgian

Malinois. In comparing the two breeds, Cochran

said he compares them to cars. "German

shepherds are Cadillacs and Malinois are Ferraris.

One is a little more fun to drive."

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 23


FATHERS | MR. FULL-TIME DAD

A Father's Day

to Remember

WRITTEN BY: BEN HANSON

I hope I'm not the only one who doesn't recall

Father's Day having much of an impact on my

childhood. It's hard as a kid to get excited about

someone else's special day, watch them open

presents that aren't toys to play with and sit

through three meals of not-your-favorite foods.

Honestly, I still don't get all that excited for a

made-up holiday. There, I said it.

From my usual glass-is-half-empty

perspective, Father's Day is more or

less a trap for us fathers. We're told

it's our day to spend however we

wish, all while being showered with

presents and praise seemingly for

the previous year's job well done.

Trap, I say! What I really want,

if I'm being honest, is to lay in

bed for a while, go golfing,

take a couch nap, grill a

steak for dinner and watch

something R-rated in the

recliner… none of which

involves my offspring. If

the premise of the day

is me being a good

father, how can I ask

for what is essentially a day off from parenting and

not suffer from an above-average amount of guilt?

But this year is different. Much different.

As I sit writing this column in my home office —

now just "the office" — it's late March. We're still on

the uphill climb of the much talked about COVID-19

pandemic curve. The whole family has now been

self-isolating at home for three weeks, the first of

which was marked by a visit to the ER… the last by

a basement flooded with groundwater. It's been a

month, and I'm not sure the end is yet in sight.

Not to sound trite, but everything is different now

thanks to this tiny, powerful virus. Things may circle

back to normalcy, but even so, the memories of this

period will last our lifetimes and that normalcy may

still feel different.

In early March, before the full weight of the

situation had come crashing down, I posted this

on Twitter: "On the upside, the older you get the

fewer milestones your memory has the opportunity

to capture. This moment in time is rich in emotion.

Moments slow, suddenly important. This is a

milestone. This... is going to be a most unique

memory."

24 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


Not everyone agreed with me at the time,

but I think we're all convinced at this point,

our psyches permanently altered. What I can

confidently say is this Father's Day will be one

to remember, unlike the bulk of the previous 37.

And what I truly hope is that it is memorable for

unremarkable reasons.

I want to take a walk through the neighborhood

without awkwardly avoiding passersby on

the bike path. I want to let Mack play on the

playground without worry. I want to go to

Costco... with the whole family… unmasked. I

know, not the wish list I started this story with,

but a wish list — altered — for the times we're

living in. Of course, baby number two could

arrive early and completely steal the show. Oh,

what a wonderful diversion that would be… and

a perfect excuse for a guilt-free nap! •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 25


HAVING A BEER WITH | KEVIN FLYNN

PHOTO BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

Having a Beer with

Kevin Flynn (while social distancing)

WRITTEN BY: MEGHAN FEIR • PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY: MEGHAN FEIR AND KEVIN FLYNN

Some people seem to be magnets for out-of-the-ordinary

experiences and run-ins with the rich and famous. During

his 40 years of working in the radio industry, Kevin Flynn, the

senior producer of The Flag 1100 AM, has brushed shoulders

with the likes of Sally Field, James Garner and many others.

As we chatted via Zoom to ensure the Coronavirus was held

at bay, he regaled me with a couple of his life stories, from

impromptu dinners with Bruce Willis and Demi Moore to

spending the day with John Travolta.

Hearing of these surreal experiences reminded me of

bygone days when we actually wanted to stumble into other

people; when we didn’t have to be paranoid about strangers

being closer than six feet away, of shaking their hands and

noticing audible signs of allergy season.

Although we couldn’t sit in Drekker’s fine establishment,

Flynn enjoyed a Drekker brew from the comfort of his home

as we chatted about lake life, Corona isolation, and if he’s

watched “Tiger King” yet.

26 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com

Good Life: With all the COVID-19 stuff happening,

how has that changed your job in radio?

Kevin Flynn: We’re deemed essential, since we’re a

news organization. Working at The Flag is a little more

weighted than my years working in music radio. People

are tuning in to find out what’s going on and relying on

us to be there. It’s a different world being in news talk

radio, but I love it.

GL: Have you stocked up on anything?

KF: I live on a lake in the Detroit Lakes area. This will be

our 24th summer here. We live in the country pretty far

out, so I always stock up on stuff. I live on a food and

water source. Let the zombies loose. I’m good. I have

plenty of ammo out here, too. What got to me was the

toilet paper business. Do you poop yourself to death

with this thing or what?


What got to me

was the toilet paper

business. Do you

poop yourself to

death with this

thing or what?"

- Kevin Flynn

GL: Yeah, that definitely seems to be the thing people

don’t want to run out of during isolation. I guess they

don’t want to wipe with moldy leaves.

KF: People were grabbing paper towels, too, and I

thought, “Ooh, that’s going to be a rough wipe.”

GL: Plus, are they septic safe? I doubt it.

GL: Have you guys watched “Tiger King” yet?

KF: Funny you asked that. I just came home and started

watching. I have to see what it’s all about. I’m 10 minutes

in and—I don’t know. What’s funny is I spent a couple

years living in San Antonio and I actually met a guy who

owned a big cat farm outside of the city. He had seven

lions, three tigers and a couple of other things. They were

all his personal pets. They would roll around with him and

one of them slept with him in the bed. He’s going to wind

up with a leg off one of these days, but okay, dude.

GL: If you were in the WWE, what would your

wrestling name be?

KF: I’m Irish, so probably the Irish Kid, Irish Tornado or

something like that. I’m Irish and Norwegian, which

usually means I’m too stupid to know when I’m too drunk.

GL: Maybe the Irish Viking.

KF: There you go. If I have a UFC name, it would be Kevin

the Irish Hound Flynn or something like that. The Irish

beast. Kevin the Irish beast. Then I’d have some Dropkick

Murphys as my walk-out music.

GL: How did you end up having dinner with Bruce

Willis and Demi Moore?

KF: I spent two years in Los Angeles and worked for a

station called Pirate Radio. I basically covered all the

red-carpet stuff, so I got to meet a lot of stars. Bruce

Willis was coming down the line for the “Diehard 2”

premiere and we were at the very end of the line. The

guy I worked for at the time knew him from years back,

so I said, “Scott Shannon says hi,” and he stopped for a

second and was like, “Pirate Radio, oh yeah!” Then he

was like, “Are you hungry?” and I was like, “Yeah, sure.”

Demi Moore was with him and she’d just gotten done

doing the movie “Ghost.” I got to tag along with them

back to the VIP area where all the food was and ended

up hanging out for 45 minutes and interviewed him and

Demi. It was pretty cool.

GL: What’s a little-known hobby of yours?

KF: I’ve been working on a few screenplays and working

on a pilot. It’s kind of an old west, Black Hills tale set in

the mid-1800s. Maybe someday it’ll come together.

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 27


HAVING A BEER WITH | KEVIN FLYNN

GL: When did you begin to have an interest in acting?

KF: A little in high school. As soon as I was out of high

school I got into radio and didn’t really focus on it. About

five years after I graduated my dad died, so I decided

I was going to go out to Los Angeles, but I basically

got stopped in Phoenix. I ended up staying in Phoenix

for five years and did five films, including an HBO film

with Sam Elliot and a movie called “Star Man” with Jeff

Bridges. I’m just an extra in most of these films, but I got

on to a film called “Murphy’s Romance,” which was with

Sally Field and James Garner. I got to know and babysit

Sally Field’s kids and golfed with James Garner. It was an

amazing experience.

GL: If you had to say you have a hero now, who do

you think it would be?

KF: I’m just a fan of people who do good and are

positive. When my dad died when I was 22, I fell into

a funk for a while. I worked for a guy in Phoenix who

ended up being the vice president of FOX Sports Radio.

He was kind of my mentor. His thing was “Always dare

to be great.” I was working for Andy, still doing radio

and not being as good of a guy as I should have been

and he said, “Here. You need this.” It was a book and

cassettes by Tony Robins. The more I listened and read,

I realized that my mood and day is up to me. If I let the

28 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


world dictate my mood, I’ll never be happy. Wake up in

the morning and don’t question if it’s going to be a good

day. It’s always awesome. You’re still above ground, so

why live your life halfway? My heroes now are like Steve

Hallstrom. His passion, compassion, cheerleading and

overall demeanor is a pleasure to work with every day

because he doesn’t let anything get in his way for being

great. Same with Alex and the whole team that I work

with, which is a breath of fresh air.

GL: What does living the good life mean to you?

KF: The lake. I commute an hour in and an hour home,

but on my way in I get updated on the world, and every

day I’m going home to the lake, so it’s not really a bad

deal. I was in LA for a little over two years and then I

went down to San Diego for about a year, which only

solidified my hatred for southern California. I couldn’t

wait to get out of there. Neither one of my parents made

it to 60, so when I turned 30 I thought I was halfway. I

was like, “I’m going to go and see if I can get a place on

the lake because I always loved the lake life.” If you have

a lake place you know what I’m talking about, so for me,

it’s the lake. •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 29


LOCAL HERO | GABE IRVIS

Humility

Behind the Wheel

North Dakota Highway Patrol Officer Gabe Irvis

Serves Without Flash

WRITTEN BY: ALEXIS SWENSON

PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA

North Dakota Highway Patrol Officer Gabe Irvis has

always wanted to be a cop. In fact, he remembers

telling his mom so at age seventeen. She dissuaded

him from the career choice and after graduating

high school, Irvis studied Business Administration.

He lasted about one year before coming to terms

with the fact that school was not for him. On a

whim, Irvis enlisted in the Army National Guard on

September 12, 2006 at 20 years old. Just 13 days

later he shipped for boot camp.

“It looked like something I wanted to do. I liked

wartime movies and stuff like that. I loved the

atmosphere of boot camp; it looked like fun to me.

And, I wanted to ship as soon as possible,” said

Irvis.

After serving two years in the Army National Guard

as a 21 Whiskey (Carpentry Masonry Specialist),

Irvis transferred to the North Dakota Air National

Guard where he served for 6 years as part of the

Security Forces Squadron, the Air Force’s version

of Military Police.

“When I transferred to the ND Air Guard, it kind of

reignited that desire to be in law enforcement and

I made a conscious decision to try to get into that

field,” said Irvis.

In 2012, Irvis began working for the ND Highway

Patrol while serving as a Guardsman on a part-time

basis. As both jobs are huge commitments, Irvis

decided to focus his efforts on one position and in

2014, he made the difficult decision to leave the ND

National Guard.

30 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


“It’s an honor to be there for people when they

need you. That’s what I like about public service;

just being there for people.” – Gabe Irvis

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 31


LOCAL HERO | GABE IRVIS

“I’m proud to be part of

removing criminals from the

roadways.” – Gabe Irvis

“I was excited to get out, but I remember my last Guard

drill where I turned in all my stuff that had been a part of

me for the past 8 years. It was a big transition leaving and

not having that be a part of my life,” said Irvis.

Life as a Trooper

In his current role as a State Trooper, Irvis said the job

is pretty much what people think it is. He makes a lot of

traffic stops, does crash investigations, helps people who

need help, and mostly maintains a visible presence on

the roadway. He also works some criminal cases and DUI

investigations as well as takes people to jail.

“It’s something different every day. I like getting to help

people and knowing that you’re changing lives. It’s an

honor to be there for people when they need you. That’s

what I like about public service; just being there for

people. I’m proud to be part of removing criminals from

the roadways,” said Irvis.

Irvis cites debriefing as one of the greatest resources

to cope with the harder parts of the job including

memorable arrests and crash scenes. “We’re all

professionals and all recognize that everybody

handles it differently. We’ll do a critical

incident debrief where we get together

and talk it out. I think it’s helpful,” said

Irvis.

Irvis also strives to take advantage

of the many opportunities to learn

how to better carry out his role.

In his work as a Standardized

Field Sobriety Instructor, Irvis is

privileged to create generational

impact by teaching other law

enforcement professionals how

to accurately administer various

sobriety tests to help evaluate psychophysical

signs of impairment.

“It’s pretty cool to think that some of the

people that I’m teaching could someday be

teaching another class or that they’re utilizing

skills to make the roadway safer. They’re going

to be taking drunks off the road and hopefully

having success in terms of conviction rates with this

because of the tests,” said Irvis.

Moreover, Irvis worked for two years as a Certified

Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) which helped further

his skills in dealing with people, drugs and arrests.

The DRE course teaches individuals how to identify

controlled substances inside of people’s bodies through

the evaluation of clinical signs of impairment.

32 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


Ivis likes to joke that, “The only thing flashy about me is

the lights on top of my vehicle,” and he’s humbled to be

the recipient of any award and recognition. Recent awards

include the Luther Ford Salute to Law Enforcement

sponsored by AM 1100 The Flag WZFG and being

recognized internally by the agency for his efforts in terms

of criminal arrests, drug arrests, and DUI enforcement.

For those interested in a career in law enforcement, Irvis

suggests doing what he did—reaching out to the agency

to set up a ride-along to get a better idea of the role of a

State Trooper.

members. The first funeral I was a part of was Officer

Moszer’s funeral. That was unbelievable to be a part of. It

was an honor, it was humbling, and it was probably one of

the most powerful experiences that I’ll remember in my

law enforcement career,” said Irvis.

Another memorable experience for Irvis is attending a

funeral for Anthony Borostowski, a fallen State Trooper

in WI. After saluting Borostowski, Irvis, along with other

Troopers from various states, turned to pay his respects

to the family.

Saluting with Honor

While a member of the ND Highway Patrol Honor Guard

team, Irvis traveled to funerals for State Troopers in

Colorado, Wisconsin, and northern ND to honor fallen

patrol officers by paying respects to the individual and

their family as well as playing “Taps” on the bugle at one

funeral.

“I think it is very important for law enforcement agencies

to pay their respects and to have a team that is able to, on

a moment’s notice, go to another state or another part of

the state for a funeral and pay their respects for the fallen

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 33


LOCAL HERO | GABE IRVIS

“Borostowski’s dad gave me a hug and said,

‘My son was the epitome of squared away

and when I saw you, I said, ‘My goodness—

this guy is squared away, just like my son

was’. That meant a lot to me. For this man

on one of his darkest days to compare me to

his son...It’s an honor to put on the uniform,”

said Irvis.

Due to scheduling conflicts, Irvis has

recently made the difficult decision to resign

from the team. “That was hard for me to

give up because I believe in the team and I

believe in its purpose,” said Irvis.

"Borostowski’s dad gave me a

hug and said, ‘My son was the

epitome of squared away and

when I saw you, I said,

‘My goodness—this guy is

squared away, just like my son

was’. That meant a lot to me.

For this man on one of his

darkest days to compare me to

his son...It’s an honor to put on

the uniform.” – Gabe Irvis

PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY: GABE IRVIS

When initially asked by his supervisor if he would like to “take a

picture with the President”, Irvis envisioned a hurried, blurry selfie

with President Trump far in the background. He was more than a little

surprised on the day of to find himself driving with Secret Service in the

Presidential Motorcade and then sprinting into the building.

A Presidential Handshake

Another unique experience Irvis is grateful

to have had is when he was selected to meet

President Trump. When traveling, President

Trump often does meet and greets with

various officers if time allows. Such was the

case when President Trump recently visited

Fargo, ND.

“We went into the back room and it was completely surreal. I could see

him and thought, ‘Holy smokes. No way.’ It was an honor to shake his

hand. Regardless of political affiliation, that’s something I will always be

proud of and always take the opportunity to do—to shake the President’s

hand,” said Irvis.

Off the Clock

When he’s not on the road Irvis spends a lot of his time at, Metroflex,

his favorite gym. He initially became a Metroflex member to train for a

bodybuilding show and has quickly grown to love the gym.

34 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com


"I’m living the good life. I chose a career

that I’m passionate about. ” – Gabe Irvis

“Fitness has become an important part of my life. My job

demands me to be physically fit and the people I serve

demand me to be physically fit. My bodybuilding show

days are over, but Metroflex will always be my home. The

gym has so much energy, I love the workout equipment,

the owners are fantastic, and it’s very military and law

enforcement friendly,” said Irvis.

Beyond gym time, Irvis enjoys his sacred days off with

his fiancé and two boys aged 11 and 10. “They are two

incredibly different boys. One is quieter and reserved

while the other is more outgoing. We do “men’s night”

where we eat popcorn, watch Marvel movies, play video

games, have Nerf gun wars—regular guy stuff. They’re

easy; they’re like mini-mes,” said Irvis.

The Good Life

For Irvis, the “good life” isn’t an unattainable far-reaching

goal. He believes that we’re all responsible for our own

happiness and can choose to create a good life which is

exactly what he has done.

“I’m living the good life. I chose a career that I’m

passionate about. I believe in what law enforcement does

and believe in the critical part they play in the criminal

justice system. I’m grateful to do it here in an area that is

highly supportive of law enforcement at the community

and state level. I have my health, my happiness, a beautiful

fiance, and two handsome boys who have their health

too. Outside of the weather, I love this area. It’s full of

wonderful people,” said Irvis. •

urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 35


More magazines by this user
Similar magazines