Red River Communications - Spring 2019 Newsletter

Page 1


Your FiberFAST Internet Cooperative


Annual Meeting Recap


Construction Update


Our Communities: Hankinson, ND





Red River Communications SPRING 2019

Spring 2019 Edition Volume 4, Issue 1 The Red River Communications newsletter is published quarterly for our customers. It is distributed free-of-charge to our customers in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Dave Gauslow President District 1 - Abercrombie Ronald German Vice-President District 8 - Fairmount/Hankinson Gary Boutiette Secretary/Treasurer District 5 - Kent Wayne Schindler District 2 - Barnesville Rhonda Erbes District 3 - Colfax Harlan Deike District 4 - Great Bend Neil Klosterman District 6 - Mooreton Thomas Bjorndahl District 7 - Rollag Ione Eckre District 9 - Lidgerwood/Wyndmere

Red River Rural Telephone Assoc. 510 Broadway, PO Box 136 Abercrombie, ND 58001 REDRIVERCOMM.COM Produced by the staff of Red River Communications

From the General Manager Spring sure has a way of teasing us! One day we are enjoying a beautiful 65 degree day and a few days later looking down the barrel of a bomb cyclone that drops another foot of snow! Let’s hope we have seen the last of old man winter for awhile! At your association’s 67th annual meeting, I spoke about progress General Manager/CEO Jeff Olson we have made in bringing world class technology to each and every member of Red River Communications. Our work has focused on cleaning up old copper pedestals and maintaining the new fiber optic network. While we have removed a majority of copper pedestals, enough remain to keep a crew busy this summer with removal and restoral. If you notice a ped that you feel needs to be removed, please let us know. Do not attempt to remove it yourself as there still could be services routing through the ped. We also appreciate when you let us know of any damaged pedestals or equipment we have in the field. Please call our office at 701-553-8309 to make these reports. One would think that during the dead of winter there would be few problems with buried cable. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. This past winter we waged war on gophers who like to chew through our cables. We suffered over 35 outages this winter due to gophers! Our plant staff is determined to find a way to drive these destructive rodents away. We receive many calls from customers who receive questionable emails, some claiming to come from Red River Communications. Please know that we will not send out any emails that ask for your login information, account information, or passwords. If you get an email from us that looks questionable, please call us and we can verify its authenticity. In most cases, it will not be authentic and the best practice is to delete it. On behalf of the 28 dedicated people and 9 board members who work for your cooperative, thank you for allowing us to serve you. The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls. It accepts registrations from both cell phones and land lines. To enroll: OR 1-888-382-1222


Red River Communications SPRING 2019

Members attending the annual meeting in Abercrombie on March 21, 2019.

67th ANNUAL MEETING Review The 67th annual meeting of Red River Rural Telephone Association, dba Red River Communications, was held March 21 in Abercrombie. A catered meatball dinner was served by Hot Cakes Café earlier in the evening. Approximately 200 people were in attendance as President Dave Gauslow called the meeting to order.

Gauslow gave the President’s Report

General Manager/CEO Jeff Olson gave the Manager’s Report reported on 2018 projects and industry issues. He also acknowledged Kim Berseth, a long-time employee who was retiring in April. Special guests were introduced as well as several employees and a director for their years of service to the Cooperative. Numerous door prizes were given away with Tim Viland of Abercrombie winning an iPad donated by Ripley’s Inc. of Erhard, MN.


Official business included auditor Matt Laughlin’s review of the Cooperative’s financial position and attorney Cassie Tostenson conducted the election of three incumbent directors by voice vote: District 3 (Colfax Exchange) – Rhonda Erbes, District 6 (Mooreton Exchange) – Neil Klosterman, and District 8 (Fairmount & Hankinson exchanges) – Ronald German.

including the rebranding of NDATC to BAND (North Dakota Association of Telephone Cooperatives to Broadband Association of North Dakota) and the successful work of the Cooperative’s technicians who repaired fiber damage on the coldest days this past winter.


Red River Communications SPRING 2019

Construction Update DEB SYVERTSEN Plant Maintenance Manager Spring is here. The sun is warm, and the wind is chilly. We are preparing for another busy construction season. Ripley’s Inc. will be installing fiber for us and there are several routes scheduled for placement early in the season. We will be placing new routes connecting our offices in Lidgerwood, Wyndmere, Mooreton and Great Bend. We are also planning to place new routes from Abercrombie north to the Comstock area and to Fargo.


The gophers were tough on us this winter and did a lot of damage to our cables. We were repairing cables cut by gophers nearly every week from late November all the way into April. We had crews out working in 35 below temperatures to make repairs to a critical fiber optic line more than once this winter. Let’s take a moment to appreciate those Outside Plant Technicians who work in these demanding conditions to keep our services working. When the frost is too deep, we must lay the cable on top of the ground and crews will need to go back this spring to finish those repair jobs. We are looking at solutions to control the gophers and, in some areas, we are placing the repaired cables inside pipe to help protect the cable. If you see an area with a dense population of gophers, let us know and we will compare

it to our maps. We’d like to try to control the gophers if there are cables in the area. Any help from the public controlling the little buggers is appreciated as well. We had a contractor working late last fall to remove the old copper pedestals. A lot of work was completed, but we know there are still some pedestals to be removed. Please let us know if there is an old copper pedestal you would like removed. If you are planning a building project, be sure to give us a call so we can plan accordingly to bury cable to your new house or building. We have several new homes and new customers that contacted us over the winter and we are making plans to bury cable for those customers soon. We can also advise you on the type of cabling required in your building for the services available to you. Remember, if you are planning a project that requires digging, no matter how big or small, contact North Dakota One-Call or Gopher State One-Call to have the utility lines on your property marked. You never know what is below the surface and calling 811 is a free, quick, easy way to ensure your cables are not damaged. It’s also the law to call before you dig!



The damage was caused by a gopher which chewed through the cable’s sheath.

Red River Communications SPRING 2019

Our crew worked in -35F temperatures to repair a damaged fiber optic cable near Barney.


Red River Communications SPRING 2019

THE JUICY LUCY Summer is upon us and that means it’s time to fire up the barbecue grill! We’ve got a great recipe for a Minnesota favorite - the juicy lucy! The juicy lucy was made famous by several restaurants in the Minneapolis area. What makes the juicy lucy so great? The cheese is on the INSIDE instead of on top of the patty! Each bite is filled with melty, gooey cheese! This recipe works great on the grill or inside on a cast iron pan during those rainy days.

INGREDIENTS 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (80/20) 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt Black pepper (to taste) 4 slices American cheese 4 hamburger buns, split OPTIONAL

Prep 20 min.

Cook 10 min.

Serves 4

Subsitute ground turkey in place of beef for a healthier version.

STEP 1 Mix ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and pepper (to taste) in a large bowl; mix well. Form 8, thin burger patties. Each patty should be slightly larger than a slice of cheese. STEP 2 Cut each slice of American cheese into 4 equal pieces; stack the pieces. Sandwich one stack of cheese between 2 ground beef patties. Tightly pinch edges together to seal the cheese within the meat. Repeat with the remaining cheese and patties.


STEP 3 Preheat grill or pan over medium heat. Cook burgers until well browned, about 4 minutes. These burgers will puff up a bit due to steam from the cheese. Turn burgers and poke the top to allow steam to escape. Cook until browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside; about 4 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns.

Did you make this recipe? Send us your photos. We’d also love your favorite BBQ recipes - send them to


Red River Communications SPRING 2019

HANKINSON In 2019, we’ll highlight one of the communities we serve in each issue of our newsletter. We continue our series with Hankinson.

QUICK FACTS Founded: 1886 Population: 919 Elevation: 1,070 feet Named after local landowner Colonel R. H. Hankinson. Like many communities on the prairie, Hankinson owes its founding to the railroad and to the promise of land ownership. An individual by the name of Colonel R.H. Hankinson acquired nearly 2,500 acres of land along what is now known as Lake Elsie. While Colonel Hankinson’s dream was to have the town established on this piece of prairie paradise, the railroads deemed this route too expensive. Instead, the railroads proposed a less expensive townsite located just two miles from Lake Elsie near present-day Hankinson.

Today, Hankinson has many noteworthy festivals that

The two-day festival draws hundreds of polka enthusiasts who enjoy performers on two different stages. This year’s Polka Fest takes place on June 7-8. Hankinson has also seen something of a resurgence in the past decade. An active business community dedicates itself to making Hankinson a fantastic place to call home. Its main street boasts several banks, a grocery store, pharmacy, hardware store, and many other businesses. Major employers in the community include St. Francis Community of Care and Hankinson Renewable Energy. The community is also home to the Sisters of St. Francis

Convent, who operate a large conference and retreat facilty used by a number of groups. Hankinson is a city on the grow. It recently opened a new development, Prairie Pines, on the northern edge of town. The development boasts affordable lots within a small town setting that affords many big city amenities.



Over the years Hankinson grew into a regional hub as the city at the center of Richland County. Agriculture was, and still is, the backbone of the community.

draw people from all over the country. Perhaps its most popular and famous festival is “Polka Fest” held in June each year.


Red River Communications SPRING 2019

BACKUP POWER NOTICE This information is provided in compliance with FCC Order 15-98.

BACKUP POWER FOR VOICE TELEPHONE SERVICES DURING POWER OUTAGES Your voice telephone service is provided using state-of-the-art fiber optics which requires backup battery power to continue functioning during a power outage. To maintain the ability to connect to 911 emergency services and to avoid a disruption of home voice service during an outage, we provide a battery for the backup power for your home voice telephone service at the time of the initial installation at no additional cost. This same battery is also provided to business customers although it generally does not provide enough power to run multiple lines or a business telephone system. WHAT YOUR BATTERY CAN (AND CAN’T) DO FOR YOU


The backup battery for your telephone service provided by Red River Communications 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, customers with fiber-based 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 like the battery we provide. Our backup battery does not provide power to any services other than voice. Digital TV and Internet services will not function

on the backup battery. Home security systems, medical monitoring devices and other equipment typically will not run on a residential voice telephone backup battery. REPLACEMENT OPTIONS A backup battery has been provided by Red River Communications during the initial fiber installation. The backup battery is the property of Red River Communications and may need to be replaced every five to seven years or when the battery is no longer functioning. It is not possible for a customer to test the battery. We 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. If you have any questions, please call 553-8309 or email EXPECTED BACKUP POWER DURATION Backup batteries are expected to last up to 8 hours on standby power. The existing backup battery should give you at least 6 hours of talk time, however, other factors may affect the battery so this is not guaranteed. If you feel you need additional talk time, you may purchase a 24-hour extended life backup battery from our company. An extended life battery costs $235 plus an approximate installation cost of $180. Call our office at 701-553-8309 or email for details.


Has many Big Benefits for you Your Cooperative provides products/services you buy. Your patronage is recorded throughout the year. Each member with qualifying patronage receives a capital credits check.

At the end of the year your Cooperative allocates the margins to its members.

When the Co-Op’s financial condition permits, your Board of Directors decides to retire (or pay out) capital credits.

Throughout the year your Co-Op analyzes the need for investments to improve products and services.

Jim and Laura

Red River Communications SPRING 2019

Belonging to a Cooperative

Members Since 2013

JACK PLECITY Director of Finance Red River Communications is a not-for-profit Cooperative and as a member of the Cooperative, you’re also an owner. The Cooperative’s owners are also the people the Cooperative serves and helps to shape the operation to share in its financial success. With the Cooperative providing service to its owners, we strive to be customer friendly.

With lower pressure to produce profits, the Cooperative benefits our rural communities by being a technology leader through continued investment. When revenues exceed expenses at year end, these margins are allocated to our members in the form of Capital Credits. Each year’s capital credit allocation is based upon a member’s purchase and/or use of Red River Communications services. Member purchases are also called patronage. The member receives an annual statement showing the current year’s capital credit allocation along with all prior year allocations. The total allocations represents the member’s share of ownership in the Cooperative. Red River Communications’ Board of Directors annually reviews the financial condition of the Cooperative to determine a retirement (pay out) of capital credits.


While investor-owned companies (publicly traded stock companies) are highly-incentivized to return profits to investors and stockholders, Red River Communications is driven to provide high-quality products and services at or below cost. This is the cooperative way. Rather than earning profits from your monthly payments, Red River Communications invests some of that money toward improving its products and services. Red River Communications (like other cooperatives) stresses involvement in its local communities by supporting local schools,

businesses and community events.


Red River Communications SPRING 2019 Red River Communications WINTER 2019

Common Cents Benae Freeberg presents a check to Nick Foertsch and Jamie Mauch of the Mantador Fire Department.

For the Common Good

Common Cents is a non-profit entity operated separately from Red River Communications. It awards funds to local non-profit and community organizations, as well as offering emergency & medical assistance for local individuals. Funds are raised when Cooperative customers choose to round up their monthly bill to the next dollar. A taxdeductible donation of less than one dollar per month is made to Common Cents. The Common Cents board of directors met quarterly to review applications and donated $14,238 to community organizations and individuals in 2018, with a total of $164,946.50 being awarded since the program started in 2008.


Donated since 2008 to causes in our Communities

Common Cents chairperson Benae Freeberg provided the organization’s annual report at Red River Communications’ annual meeting. She also distributed checks to three organizations: DAKOTA ESTATES RETIREMENT CENTER $500 for an electric door opener MANTADOR FIRE DEPT $1,500 for turnout gear MARKETPLACE FOR KIDS $500 for a 3D printer BOARD OF DIRECTORS Benae Freeberg Colfax Chairperson Elizabeth Thiele Vice-Chairperson

Great Bend

Andrea Haugen Secretary


Joy Bang Carmen Marohl Cheryl Hackey Lois Krautbauer Terri Tschakert Amy Bredman

Rollag Mooreton Abercrombie Fairmount/Hankinson Kent Barnesville


We have a fun slate of events planned for this upcoming summer! These events are a way for us to thank our members and our communities for supporting the Cooperative. Our events are ALWAYS FREE to attend - so grab your family and friends! Keep an eye on our Facebook page and your mailbox for updates on everything happening at Red River Communications. JUNE







Free picnic-style dinner served up with sides and door prizes. Free for all members and their families. 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the WMSTR Mercantile Building



Free hot dogs and brats while they last. Free admission to the pool during regular hours. First 30 people get free Red River Communications sunglasses. Grilling starts at 5:30pm - Pool during regular hours - Lidgerwood Pool



Free admission to the pool during regular hours. First 30 people get free Red River Communications sunglasses. Free ice cream treats will be handed out while they last. Regular Pool Hours - Colfax Pool



Free hot dogs and brats while they last followed by an outdoor showing of the movie Ralph Breaks the Internet. Grilling starts at 6pm with the movie starting at dusk - Park Pavilion




Free showing of Sherlock Gnomes. Refreshments will be served. Bring a blanket or chair and enjoy!




Movie starting approximately at dusk - Ball Diamond

Free showing of The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. Refreshments will be served. Bring a blanket or chair and enjoy! Movie starting approximately at dusk - Wyndmere City Park



Red River Communications SPRING 2019

summer Fun in our communities

PO Box 136 510 Broadway Abercrombie, ND 58001












538-4317 538-4910




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Closed Saturday and Sunday



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