In Touch Winter 2020

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2019 Toy & Food Drive

Thank you to all who donated to our 2019 Toy & Food Drive! Your generosity made the difference for so many that otherwise would have gone without this holiday season. A huge thank you to the staff at Cornerstone Bank in Dickinson who partnered with us on this project by being a second drop off location, but more importantly helping to get the message out that there are people in our own communities that need assistance.

Congratulations to Chris Keithly and Bob Ingold, the winners of the Apple iPad and $50 Cornerstone Gift Card.

2019 Eagle Award presented to Brent Anderson CEO/General Manager, Paul Schuetzler, presented Brent Anderson the prestigious Eagle Award at the Employee Appreciation Social on December 9, 2019. “It’s a real struggle to pick just one employee who exemplifies all the qualifications to become an Eagle Award Winner when a company has over 100 exceptional employees,” Schuetzler said.

Brent has been employed with Consolidated since 2000 and is an Inventory Specialist. “Brent is always looking for new and creative ways to streamline processes to keep costs down and make sure we have enough inventory on hand,” says supervisor Karen Gawryluk. He also has great working relationships with co-workers to keep things running smooth, as well as vendors to get materials in a timely manner.

Without question, Brent’s exemplifies a positive attitude and the promotion of it, and that is what Consolidated looks for in an Eagle Award recipient. He doesn’t hesitate to do a job and will help his co-workers with whatever assistance they may need, whether dealing with inventory or projects that come up, such as organizing the warehouse to helping put together floats for parades. On behalf of the management team and board of directors, we thank Brent for a job well done!

Winter 2020
A Publication of Consolidated Telcom 701-483-4000 • • Rhonda Fitterer, Editor Photo by Kimberly Hamburger Brent Anderson The 2019 Consolidated Telcom Eagle Award Winner


to all the photo enthusiasts who submitted photos for our 2020 calendar. We appreciate your time, talents, and willingness to share with everyone in Southwestern North Dakota ! The quality of photos made it a challenge to narrow it down to 16 photos. The winners this year are:

Lynelle Mann

Important Notes

• The 2020 telephone directories will be available by mid-January. If you need extra, the list of businesses that have them are listed on page 29 in the 2020 directory. If you didn’t receive your directory, please call Badlands Directory at 483-7824.

Mov ie Night in t he P ark!

Julie Karey

Kimberly Hamburger

Nancy Secrest

Gary Dassinger

Nolan Overton

Debbie Cherney

Cary Lacher

Avery Belland

Austin Stockert

Ali Paulson

Stephanie Bren

Megan Torpen

Amanda Wright Ross Lacher

Your FREE 2020 Consolidated Calendar is available at our main office in Dickinson at 507 Main Ave South.

RDFC Grants


Consolidated is a member of the Rural Development Finance Corporation (RDFC). As a result, communities in our service area were eligible to apply for a grant of up to $2,000 for community-based projects. RDFC also provides low-interest loans for larger community projects and non-profit entities. RDFC awarded three grants in Consolidated Telcom’s service area in 2019. The first $500 grant went to the Richardton Park Board to help purchase trees that were planted to help beautify St. Mary’s Park. Another $500 grant went to Scranton Community Golf Course to purchase and install new greens and fringes. Most recently, the RDFC granted $1,000 to the Hettinger County Historical Society, located in Regent, ND. It was founded in 1962 with the help from active community members, such as Doyle Gorden and Bette Gardner of Regent, and Dr. Hankins of Mott. In 1968, the HCHS founded the Hettinger County Historical Society Museum as a result of the generous donation by local physician, Dr. S. W. Hill, of the former main street drugstore. Today, the museum consists of six buildings which are as follows: the main office, Austin Frontierland, Teepee Butte School, Zion Lutheran Church, Dr. Hill’s Drugstore, and Christy’s store. The grant funds will be used to purchase supplies for roof repairs and to hire a local contractor.


Photo by Megan Torpen
Consolidated’s 2020 Summer Series
Watch for details in the next newsletter and on the web
Check out classified ads and upcoming events in your community on the Consolidated website at
Rhonda Fitterer awarding Heather Joppa RDFC grant check for Richardton Park Board. Shawn awarding Lucas Doerr RDFC grant for the Scranton Community Golf Course Albert Myran
Calendar Contest

Crab Dip

1 cup Miracle Whip

1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese

1 cup diced celery

1/2 cup shredded cheese

1/2 cup finely diced onion

1/2 of 1.5 lb. package frozen imitation crab, thawed & chopped

Salt & pepper

Mix Miracle Whip and cream cheese until well blended. Add celery, shredded cheese, onion and chopped crab meat to sauce mixture. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill for 1 hour. Serve with crackers or vegetables.

Avocado Taco Dip

1 mashed avocado

8 oz. cream cheese 4 oz. sour cream

1/3 cup cucumber dressing

2 cups chopped lettuce

1/2 cup diced tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped green onions 1 cup cheddar cheese

Blend avocado, cream cheese, sour cream, and cucumber dressing, until smooth; spread in a flat dish. Top with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cheddar cheese; serve with taco chips.

Hot Artichoke & Spinach Dip

10 oz. package frozen spinach, thawed

2 - 14 oz. cans artichoke hearts, drained & roughly chopped 1 cup shredded Parmesan-Romano cheese

2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

16 oz. roasted garlic Alfredo sauce

8 oz. softened cream cheese

Pepper, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl; pour into a greased 9 x 9 inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. A crockpot may be used, heat on high until bubbly and serve when hot. Serve with chips.

Raspberry-Lemon Fruit Dip

1/2 cup raspberry cream cheese spread, softened

1/2 cup marshmallow cream

1 - 6 oz. container lemon yogurt

Assorted fresh fruit pieces or berries

Mix cream cheese and marshmallow cream in a medium bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Stir in yogurt. Serve with fruit.

Homemade recipes made easy on TV with your chef hosts Laverne & Rhonda ! Note to All Home Cooks! Send in your favorite recipes by either method listed below and become part of the Cooking Crave TV show! Laverne & Rhonda will share your favorite recipes with their viewers! 1. visit Website at: 2. Mail to: Consolidated/Rhonda Fitterer PO Box 1408 Dickinson, ND 58602 Manage your account like never before! • Intuitive design features a user-friendly experience! • Monitor your account quickly and easily! • View and pay your bill conveniently! • Contact Consolidated quickly and easily! • Download the MyAcount App today! MyAccount ® Download today! My life, made easy!

What Costs Make Up Your Monthly Cable Bill?

• Local TV Station’s Fees like NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX and CW.

Because Consolidated Telcom is a hometown business, we are invested in our community, our employees and our customers. With Network fees dramatically increasing and impacting your monthly bill, we wanted to give you a backstage pass to better understand the economics of the TV business. Your monthly bill has two big cost buckets:

Cost to Provide Service:

This includes installation costs, maintaining and upgrading our network infrastructure and normal business expenses, such as employee salaries, rent and power. The bulk of this portion is used to build a better Internet and entertainment experience which is about 1% of your cable TV bill.

Programming Costs:

All Satellite and Cable providers (TV providers) pay each Network owner (Programmer) a fee for every household that receives a particular Network – regardless of whether anyone in the household actually watches it, which makes up 99% of your cable TV bill.

·These Network fees have increased dramatically at 3½ times the rate of inflation over the last 15 years. 1

·Eight media companies control 90% of the Networks, and while we work hard to keep these costs under control, they continue to use their power to demand more money. 2

·Programmers are securing long-term contracts with significant guaranteed Network fee increases, regardless of how many people watch.

1 SNL Kagan

2 Ben Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly

Frequently Asked Questions:

How are TV Package prices determined?

Consolidated pays each network a monthly fee per subscriber for their channel(s). Networks raise their fees annually and many networks that were previously free or low cost are now charging high rates.

How often does Consolidated increase prices?

Consolidated is forced to raise rates on a regular basis as the networks raise the fees they charge Consolidated regularly.

Who owns TV Programming?

With so many players involved, TV today can seem confusing. It’s difficult to know who owns what.

In the simplest terms, Networks (NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX) own the programming, and cable companies provide the high quality delivery.

So why all the confusion?

It all started because the government wanted everyone to have access to local television news, and information. The deal was, broadcasters can have free use of the American Airwaves, and in return, broadcasters were obligated to provide the local community with programming for free. To make money, broadcasters were allowed to charge broadcasters for commercials. But, over time, Congress wanted to strengthen local programming. So they passed laws that allowed broadcast stations to charge cable and satellite companies to carry their signals. That’s when the big media conglomerates that own the stations and other networks became crafty.

Here’s how: They bundle their popular channels along with their less popular ones. That way they could get a bigger fee and distribution for their weaker networks. The result of this scheming? Many people complained that they had to pay for channels they don’t want and will never watch. But when cable and satellite baulk at paying these higher rates, reaching an agreement can be a problem. Local stations can be taken off the air.

Who’s to blame?

Is it cable? Is it satellite? No, it’s the big network conglomerates who take their local stations off the air.

Who are these big network conglomerates? They are media companies that own, or have a cross ownership stake in networks. Broadcasting radio stations, newspapers and magazines, record and movie studios, Internet sites, theme parks, and it goes on and on.

On January 1, 2020, Consolidated implemented the TV package price change listed below:

·Essential Package: No change.

·Elite Package: Increasing $2.01/mo.

·Premier Package: Increasing $2.76/mo.

·Premium channels (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz): No change.

·Local Network Retransmission: Increasing from $15.79 to $17.54/mo. (Covers the cost of providing CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX)

Consolidated feels that you have been paying way too much for these local channels, which are available for free over the airwaves. To voice your concerns contact North Dakota’s local Congressman Kelly Armstrong and the local affiliates to let them know these price increases are unfair.

Washington Office 1717 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 Phone: 202-225-2611

KQCD (NBC, FOX, MeTV) Barry Schumaier Phone: 701-255-8124

Bismarck Office 220 East Rosser Ave. 328 Federal Building Bismarck, ND 58501 Phone: 701-224-0355


Tammy Blumhagen

Phone: 701-223-9197

KBMY (ABC, Xtra, Justice)

Joshua Rohrer

Phone: 701-241-5338

so many choices, why choose your local TV provider?


It’s not complicated. We are your one-stop shop for communication services in your community. We offer a wide variety of services and extend discounted rates when you choose multiple services. We are your friends and your neighbors, and sometimes your family! As a member of your community, we care about the quality of the service we bring to you, and we appreciate you and your business.

Since 2009, the retransmission fees charged to Consolidated by local Networks: 2009 – $1.00/mo./subscriber 2016 – $7.37/mo./subscriber 2020 – $17.54/mo./subscriber

Fees for TV Service 4 4
•Service Calls
Cable Plant and Equipment
Network Fees CostofService
+ =
• Cable Network Fees like ESPN, TNT, USA, Discovery Channel, Fox Sports, and Comedy Central

Battery Backup Power

NOTICE to Customers

Backup Power for Residential Voice Telephone Services during Power Outages:

For many years, your home telephone would allow you to stay connected to emergency voice services during a power outage. However, we have upgraded our facilities and now your telephone service may be provided over fiber optic, cable modem or fixed wireless rather than the traditional copper based line. These technologies require backup battery power to allow your telephone service to continue functioning during a power outage. To avoid a disruption of home voice service during an outage - and to maintain the ability to connect to 911 emergency services –Consolidated Telcom provides you with a battery for the backup power for your residential voice telephone service at the time of the initial installation at no additional cost.

What Your Battery Can - and Can't - Do for You:

The backup battery provided by Consolidated Telcom allows you to continue to use your home voice services during a power outage. Without a backup battery or alternate backup source such as a generator, your residential telephone service will not be able to make any calls, including emergency calls to 911. The only way to maintain the ability to use your telephone is by using some form of backup power. Our backup battery does not provide power to any services other than voice. Home security systems, medical monitoring devices and other equipment will not run on a residential voice telephone backup battery.

Instructions for Proper Care and Use of Your Battery:

If you do not place your battery correctly, it may shorten its useful life. Environmental factors such as temperature can shorten your battery's useful life. We recommend that you place your battery above 41°F and below 104°F. They will not last forever and should be replaced every 3 to 5 years, or when the indicator light for the battery shows that it is low or out of charge. You should also periodically

unplug your battery backup from AC power to test your battery/cable modem to verify both the operation of the backup battery and its condition. Please remember to plug the AC back in after this test.

Provided Backup Power Duration:

The backup power duration differs based on the technology that provides your telephone service to your home. See below:

✓Fiber Optic / Cable Modem - Backup batteries are expected to last at least 8 hours on standby power.

✓Fixed Wireless - Backup batteries are expected to last at least one hour on standby power. We have backup solutions available for sale that would extend this to 8 hours. If you feel that is not enough time, you may extend your standby power by purchasing additional UPS/battery from our company or a third party. If you choose to use a third-party solution, please contact us at 483-INET (4638) or 888-873-4638 to discuss any limitations the third-party solution may have.

Replacement Options:

As previously noted, a backup battery has been provided by Consolidated Telcom during the initial installation. However, the battery provided by our company may need to be replaced every three or five years or when the battery is no longer functioning.

Consolidated Telcom provided replacement backup batteries – Consolidated Telcom will provide and install at no cost to you, a replacement backup battery, upon appointment, when it becomes known that the battery needs to be replaced. A 24 hour battery is available upon request. If you have any questions, please call 483-INET (4638), toll free 888-873-4638 or email

The Great Pumpkin Hunt

Congratuations to Lindsay Gentile and Amanda Honigsberg, both of Dickinson, for finding the Great Pumpkin. Consolidated and 24 area businesses put together a Grand Prize worth more than $2,000 to whomever found “The Great Pumpkin” that was hiding around the city of Dickinson in October. We had a lot of fun with this community event and look forward to 2020’s Hunt.

Pictured L to R: Amanda Honigsberg, Paisley and Lindsay Gentile.


The 2020 Consolidated Telcom Scholarship Program will now be awarding Ten $1,000 scholarships!

Consolidated has invested in our youth through a scholarship program for over 30 years. The purpose of our scholarship program is to assist students from the communities we serve to further their education. Since the scholarship program inception, the number of winners and the amount of the scholarship have changed. This year, we are increasing the number of scholarships awarded from six to ten. The eligibility requirements for the Scholarship Program are:

– Students who will graduate in the year the scholarship is awarded

– Parents receive Phone, TV, and/or Internet service from Consolidated.

– This year’s essay topic is, “What technology awareness needs to be given to children today?”

– Applications need to be postmarked by March 4, 2020 or delivered to our main office, 507 South Main, Dickinson.

Scholarship Program !

The Foundation for Rural Service (FRS), in cooperation with NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, seeks to sustain and enhance the quality of life in America by advancing an understanding of rural issues. Through its various programs and initiatives, FRS strongly supports the continuing education of rural youth.

The FRS Scholarship is for students who will graduate in the year the scholarship is awarded and whose parents receive Telephone, T V, and/or Internet service from Consolidated Telcom. The scholarship is awarded by the NTCA scholarship selection committee from a nationwide base of students. This year’s essay question is: “What field or major do you intend to enter and how might it impact your rural community?”

For on-line copies of the scholarship forms, go to consolidatednd/company/scholarships.

Welcome New Employees!

~ Internet Technician

~ Hometown Minot, ND ~ Biology & Chemistry major

Anjuli and her husband, Derek, have 2 children, Joslin and Thomas. Her hobbies include reading, camping, and listening to music. Anjuli commented, “I wanted to work at Consolidated because there is a history of this company being a family friendly place to work.”

Trace Wells

~ Video Technician

~ BS in Psychology

Trace is moving to a full-time position as Video Technician and will be a great asset to our Channel 18 department. For many years, Trace was a part-time videographer with Consolidated. He likes to fly drones, ride motorcycle, play video & tabletop games. “I love that I can get out and film community events around SW North Dakota. I also like the unique challenge of video editing when you put your own creative style to it,” said Wells.

Attention High School
7 7
Now get Router for 3 months free!! ✓ Router software upgrades are routinely made so it’s working great at all times! ✓ No up-front costs, and if your router fails, Consolidated will replace it at no cost!
Anjuli Uran
Consolidated’s Managed W i-Fi Router Ser vice starting at $4.99/mo. • 483-4000
P.O. Box 1408 Dickinson, ND 58602 A full weekly schedule is at We’ve gotcha covered this year with local High School & College Sports! 8