Red River Communications - Fall 2019 Newsletter

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FALL 2019

Your FiberFASTTM Internet Cooperative


Fiber to Your Pocket


Co-op Month: Cooperative Benefits


The Cloud: A Word of Caution


Digital TV Upgrades



Red River Communications FALL 2019

Fall 2019 Edition Volume 4, Issue 3 The Red River Communications newsletter is published quarterly for our members. It is distributed free-of-charge to our members 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

From the General Manager Each October is National Cooperative Month. It’s a chance for cooperatives across the country to be recognized for the important work they do to keep our communities vibrant. Red River Communications is one of the many cooperatives in our local area. There’s a good chance you Jeff Olson belong to multiple cooperatives: credit General Manager/CEO unions, grain elevators, or even fuel providers. The list goes on and on, but each plays an important role for their members. Members are the single biggest difference between a cooperative and a for-profit corporation. A cooperative exists to improve the quality of life of its members by providing a service or good. At Red River Communications, our members have access to services that rival anything that could be found in many major metropolitan areas. Members also have a real say in the direction of the Cooperative. The board and management of your Cooperative answer to you and not outside shareholders! A cooperative is democracy in action, where your board of directors are your peers elected by you. Ultimately, the work we do is directed not by the potential for profit, but by how big of an impact it can make for our members. Your Cooperative is financially healthy. Because of this, your Board of Directors has issued a capital credit retirement for the years of 1993, 1994, and 10% of 2018.

Red River Rural Telephone Assoc. 510 Broadway, PO Box 136 Abercrombie, ND 58001 REDRIVERCOMM.COM Produced by the staff of Red River Communications Cover Photo: 2019 Hankinson 4th of July Parade. RRC van shown near Doc’s Pub and Eatery.

That retirement is returned to you as a capital credits check like the one you might have just received this month. Jack’s article on page 8 outlines in more detail how capital credits work. Capital credit retirements happen even if you no longer have service with Red River Communications. It’s important to keep your address updated to promptly receive future retirements. From all of us at Red River Communications, thank you for being a member.


Red River Communications FALL 2019

Common Cents For the Common Good

The Common Cents Board met in September and made donations to the following organizations:

Applications Due

Quilts of Valor $500.00 for quilting materials


Bagg Bonanza Farm $1500.00 to remodel the large grainery


Common Cents is funded by our members and customers who choose to round up their bill to the next dollar.

$171,946.50 Donated since 2008

For more info, visit

LOCAL WEATHER at Your Fingertips Did you know we operate a network of weather stations throughout the area? That means our weather channel on Red River Digital TV channel 21 offers the most up-to-date and local weather anywhere. You can access the same current local weather information from your phone or tablet by using our new weather page. Our weather stations report current temperature, wind, rainfall, and more. We have 11 different weather stations in our area in both ND and MN.

ADD IT TO YOUR HOME SCREEN Want easy one-tap access to the weather? Add it to your home screen on your mobile device. We’ve put together a tutorial for this at


Get YOUR local weather by visiting


Red River Communications FALL 2019

A lot happens behind the scenes each time you place a phone call, send a text, or browse the internet from your cell phone. It’d be easy to assume that it’s all done wirelessly. While the connection from your phone to the cell tower is wireless, the reality is that fiber makes it all possible. That’s right - nearly all cell phone traffic ends up on a fiber optic cable. The towers wirelessly communicate to your phone and relay your request to other towers using a fiber connection. Why fiber? It all comes down to speed and reliability. Fiber optic cable is usually buried underground, protecting it from the effects of weather and other common

damage. This means more reliable service to the cell phone tower and ultimately your phone. Not to mention that fiber optics can move a lot of traffic. A single strand of fiber has the capacity to stream several thousand Netflix movies at the same time. This ensures calls go through, texts are received, and your data works when you use it. It’s not quite as good as having your own fiber connection, but


It’s also worth noting that every request from your cell phone travels quite a distance to be fulfilled. For example, a call placed from a cell phone can travel to a tower up to 20 miles away then through fiber optic cable back to our office before being placed on another fiber optic cable to Minneapolis. It has to repeat this journey for

the call (or text) to make it back to you and the person you are calling.

Red River Communications FALL 2019 Red River Communications FALL 2019

that’s a limitation of wireless technology.

It might seem like a long trip, but it all happens faster than a blink of an eye. It’s all thanks to fiber optics. The illustration below shows the steps that a call (or text) follows to go from one phone to another phone.



Red River Communications FALL 2019

SUPER EASY INSTANT POT CHILI The crispness in the air lets us know it’s fall. What better to take away the chill than a big bowl of homemade chili. This delicious chili recipe uses an Instant Pot and is ready in only 35 minutes. Prep Time

Cook Time


10 minutes

25 minutes



Set your Instant Pot to the Saute setting, then select More. Allow to heat up before next step.


Add the olive oil to the pot. Once the oil shimmers, add the meat and break up while stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned.

INGREDIENTS 2 tsp olive oil 2 lbs ground beef 1 large onion finely diced 1.5 tsp minced garlic 8 oz. can diced tomatoes (undrained) 3 - 8 oz. cans tomato sauce 3/4 cup beef broth 2 tbsp chili powder 2 tsp ground cumin 2 tsp smoked paprika 2 tsp cocoa powder 1 tsp granulated sugar 1.5 tsp kosher salt 3/4 tsp ground pepper 15 oz can kidney beans (drained/rinsed) 15 oz can pinto beans (drained/rinsed) Add your favorite toppings such as shredded cheese, tomatoes, green onions and sour cream.


Add the onion and cook for until softened (about 3-4 minutes).


Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, pepper and beans to the Instant Pot.


Turn the Instant Pot to the Chili/Beans setting and place the lid on the pot. Cook for 20 minutes.


Release the pressure either manually or allow it to release naturally (may take up to 30 minutes). Serve in a bowl and garnish with your favorite toppings. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Did you make this recipe? Send us your photos. Email photos to


Red River Communications FALL 2019

GALCHUTT In each newsletter issue of 2019, we highlight a community that we serve. We continue our series with Galchutt.

QUICK FACTS Founded: Elevation:

1882 951 feet

Named for homesteader Hans Galchutt who first settled the area in 1878 prior to the arrival of the Great Northern Railway. Like most communities on the Great Plains, Galchutt owes much of its history to the railroad and agriculture. The Great Northern Railway came through in 1880 while the area was still mostly undeveloped. It was the arrival of the railroad that spurred Hans Galchutt to build a home, store, and grain warehouse. His speculation paid off and the town quickly sprung to life. A hotel, post office, numerous shops, and other services could be found in Galchutt.

At one time, Galchutt boasted two daily passenger trains, numerous freight trains, and a mail train. It was said that during World War I many troop trains came through Galchutt. Residents would often line the tracks to show their support for our armed forces. While Galchutt is home to fewer businesses today than it was in its heyday, the present-day Red River Valley and Western Railroad still comes through Galchutt often carrying agricultural commodities. It also serves

Legion Baseball game in June 2016

the grain elevator which remains the focal point of the community. Galchutt is perhaps best known for its long history of baseball. Baseball has been a part of Galchutt since at least the 1930s. Many American Legion baseball teams played in Galchutt over the years, often drawing huge crowds. The baseball field is still used by various little league and T-ball groups in the area. Galchutt, while today an unincorporated community within Richland County, has a very storied history.

Meat market in Galchutt during the early 1900s. Courtesy ND State Library.

You can access the book at


The collaboration known as Digital Horizons maintains a digital copy of Galchutt’s centenntial book. It covers the history of the town, the people, and important stories from the first 100 years of Galchutt.


Red River River Communications Communications FALL FALL 2019 2019 Red

Belonging to a Cooperative Has manY Benefits for you Red River Communications is a not-for-profit cooperative. Did you know that as a member of the Cooperative you’re also an owner? Our members help shape the Cooperative and share in its financial success. Red River Communications is driven to provide high-quality products and services to its members. Red River Communications (like other cooperatives) stresses involvement in its communities by supporting local schools, businesses, and community events. This is the cooperative way. Investor-owned companies (like publicly traded stock companies) are highly-incentivized to return profits to investors and stockholders. While cooperatives need profits to continue operations, the focus is on using these profits to enhance the services offered to our members.

Jack Plecity Director of Finance

Our primary goal is to provide services to our members. Sometimes revenues exceed expenses at year end, resulting in a positive operating margin. This margin is 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 (also known as patronage) of Red River Communications services. Our members receive an annual statement showing the current capital credit allocation along with all previous allocations. Allocation is the amount of capital credits that a member has earned based on the total amount of services purchased in relation to the total amount purchased by all cooperative members. When our Cooperative’s financial condition permits, the Board of Directors may elect to retire (pay out) a portion of these capital credits. Our members receive this retirement in the form of a capital credits retirement check. Remember that the more services you purchase from your Cooperative, the bigger the capital credits check can be.

How Capital Credits Work When the Co-op’s financial condition permits, your Board of Directors decides to retire capital credits.

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

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

Your Cooperative provides products/services you buy. Your patronage is recorded throughout the year.

Each member with qualifying patronage receives a check.


It’s fantastically convenient to always be connected and never be without immediate access to your data: your photos, documents, contacts, text messages, calendar. Your entire digital life is on demand with the tap of a finger. Now, imagine that you’ve been locked out from accessing any of your data. It seems far fetched but it can absolutely happen regardless how careful you are.

Most cloud platforms offer a way to download your data. Periodically downloading your data from these services and storing it on your computer is a great way to safeguard against what might seem like an unlikely event. When we put our data in the cloud, we are essentially trusting our entire digital (and often real) life to an entity that we can’t really see or interact with beyond an app. We are at the mercy of the keepers of the digital realm. And, as a friend of mine recently

Red River Communications FALL 2019

THE CLOUD: A WORD OF CAUTION learned, the digital realm isn’t perfect. An avid Google user, he ran not only his personal life but his entire business from the cloud. Imagine his surprise when he found his Google account locked without warning and seemingly at random. He suddenly did not have access to his email or any of the dozen other Google-based platforms he counted on for his personal and professional lives. A message on the login screen indicated his account had been suspended for a supposed violation of Google’s terms of service, but without any indication what that violation might be. It offered scant details on what could be done to challenge this automated suspension. He quickly learned that Google doesn’t have a support number to call when these things go wrong. Instead, he was directed to post his issue to an online forum where a Google specialist may eventually assist him. Over 12 years of data that he needed was locked away beyond his reach in the mean time. I don’t share this story to frighten you away from using cloud platforms from Google, Apple, Facebook or Microsoft.

Dirk Monson Member Support Manager I rely very heavily on these very platforms to make life easier. It is a necessity for me to have easy access to email whether I’m using my phone or my laptop. Gmail from Google makes that possible. Likewise, being able to create documents and share them with others has made me more productive. The reliance on technology beyond our control is a precarious, but often unavoidable position we find ourselves grappling with in modern society. Despite some of the potential drawbacks, I don’t forsee my use of cloud platforms changing. Instead, I share this story as a cautionary tale and as a vehicle to provide you information on how to avoid these pitfalls.


We’ve put together a list of the most common cloud platforms (like Facebook or Google) with quick guides on how you can save your data from the cloud. You can access this guide at


Red River Communications FALL 2019


There are some very exciting changes coming to your Red River Digital TV service in the next year! We are partnering with Innovative Systems of Mitchell, SD to upgrade our TV service with great new features. The decision to upgrade comes after over a year of research to find the best option for our members. We are already testing these new features at our office and couldn’t wait to share with you some of the improvements. We know our members will appreciate the ease-of-use, quality, and responsiveness of the new platform. We expect to start transitioning existing Digital TV customers to this new system in January 2020.

START FROM THE BEGINNING Have you ever started watching something five minutes after it started but wished you could start from the beginning? With Restart TV you can do just that. The Restart TV functionality allows you (on most channels) to jump back to the beginning of a program even if it has already started.

CLOUD DVR Cloud DVR stores your recorded programs on a server in our office, which means your recordings are safe and sound. Run out of storage space because you can’t stand the thought of deleting Game of Thrones? We can instantly upgrade your Cloud DVR with just a quick call or email to our office. You can also schedule recordings when you aren’t home, too, using a free mobile app available for most smart phones.

ENHANCED GUIDE Perhaps the most visible change to our Digital TV service is the enhanced channel guide. It will remain in the same easy-to-follow grid format, but with many improvements to make it even easier to use.


Each channel will show its logo next to the channel numbers. This user-friendly addition makes it quick to find your favorite channels. Another visual enhancement is the inclusion of “poster art” on each item within the guide. That means you’ll see a quick photo or graphic describing the program you have selected. Plus, the program details in the guide will also list future showtimes for each program. This is a useful feature for those who subscribe to our DVR service and wish to record a specific episode in the future. The guide also lets you find programs through a new search feature. Simply enter the actor’s name or the show to have matching titles listed instantly.


Red River Communications FALL 2019


WILL MY FAVORITE CHANNEL NUMBERS CHANGE? While some channel numbers could change, we anticipate most channel numbers will remain the same.


DO I NEED NEW EQUIPMENT FOR THESE UPGRADES? WHAT DO I NEED TO DO? We will install new set top boxes and remote controls at no cost. We will begin this after January 1, 2020. Our team will reach out to when the time comes with more information. For now keep enjoying your TV service.

PO Box 136 510 Broadway Abercrombie, ND 58001

Fall 2019





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