Red River Communication - Fall 2021 newsletter

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Build Back for Impact: CO-OP Month What’s Upstream @ Red River


Fall Construction Updates



Fall 2021 Volume 6, Issue 3

Red River Communications Fall 2021

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 Harlan Deike Vice-President District 4 - Great Bend Gary Boutiette Secretary/Treasurer District 5 - Kent Wayne Schindler District 2 - Barnesville Rhonda Erbes District 3 - Colfax Neil Klosterman District 6 - Mooreton Jerry Janssen District 7 - Rollag Ronald German District 8 - Fairmount/Hankinson Jan Schmit District 9 - Lidgerwood/Wyndmere

Red River Communications 510 Broadway PO Box 136 Abercrombie, ND 58001 Questions? Service issues? Call 866-553-8309 REDRIVERCOMM.COM

Cover Photo: Signs are popping up all over Wahpeton, ND, announcing new FiberFAST TM connections. Produced by the team at Red River Communications

From the CEO: Tom Steinolfson Build Back for Impact Fall has finally arrived here in the Red River Valley, and we’re enjoying the gorgeous weather! After a long, hot summer, we deserve a little break — after all, winter is just around the corner! When you think of October, pumpkins, Halloween, and fall foliage naturally come to mind, but October is notable for another reason – it’s National Co-op Month! This is the time of year when cooperatives across the country, including Red River Communications, celebrate who we are and, more importantly, the members we serve. Similar to how Red River was built 70 years ago by members who came together to bring telecommunication services to our community, cooperatives are champions for the common good. Your communications co-op exists to provide reliable and affordable internet, phone, digital tv, wireless internet, and cellular services to you, the co-op members. But, equally important is our mission to enrich the lives of the members we serve.

“We know our members have a valuable perspective. That’s why we are continually seeking your input.”

As a co-op, we are well-suited to meet the community’s needs because we are locally governed. Red River Communication’s leadership team and employees live right here in the community. Our board of directors, who helps set long-term priorities for the co-op, live locally in co-op exchanges. These board members have been elected to the position by neighbors like you. We know our members (that’s you!) have a valuable perspective. That’s why we are continually seeking your input. We want to hear


Red River Communications Fall 2021

from you through community events, social media channels, and our annual meeting. Our close connection to the community ensures we get a firsthand perspective on local priorities, enabling us to make more informed decisions on long-term investments. Another feature that sets our co-op apart from traditional communications companies is one of our core principles, “Concern for Community.”

“Our close connection to the community ensures we get a firsthand perspective on local priorities.” We partner with local organizations like schools, food banks, emergency services, local area chamber of commerce, youth empowerment organizations, and other worthy programs. For example, we award $11,000 in scholarships each year to students whose families are current cooperative members. Also, Common Cents, a non-profit entity operated separately from Red River Communications, awards funds to local non-profit and community organizations and offers emergency & medical assistance for local individuals. Ultimately, the larger community benefits from these programs because of you and your neighbors. You empower the co-op through your membership and your participation in and support of these programs.

Future construction workers at the Red River Customer Apprecation event in August.

Tom Steinolfson, Kari Kleingartner & Austin Hermunslie tossed treats at the Richland #44 homecoming parade.

We will continue to learn from our members about their priorities so that we can better serve you – because your telecommunications co-op was built by the community, for the community.

Treyton Link who was the recipient of a $1,000 cooperative scholarship.


We hope you will think of Red River Communications as more than your local communications provider, but instead, as a local business that supports this community and powers economic development and prosperity for the people.


Red River Communications Fall 2021

WHAT’S UPSTREAM @ RED RIVER Skjoiten hired as Provisioning Technician

Branden Skjoiten has joined Red River Communications as our Provisioning Technician in June.

As a Hankinson native, Branden is excited to be working for a business that supports his hometown and other neighboring towns.

Branden Skjoiten

Branden graduated from NDSCS-Fargo with a degree in Information Systems Administration with a Cyber Security Certificate. Before starting at Red River, Branden worked for Voxtelesys, a communication company in Fargo, ND. When asked about his favorite part of the job so far, Branden said, “There is always something to do and learn. It is also a great work atmosphere.”

Syvertsen Promoted to Customer Experience Manager This past August, Deb Syvertsen has taken on an expanded role at Red River as our Customer Experience Manager.

Deb Syvertsen

In her new role, Deb is overseeing both the Outside Maintenance department as well as the Customer Experience department. Syvertsen joined Red River in 1997, and has extensive plant maintenance and mapping experience.

Kleingartner Joins RRC as Marketing Specialist Kari Kleingartner has joined the company as a Marketing Specialist.

promotions, marketing materials.


Kari is a life-long resident of the rural Walcott -Colfax area. She makes her home in Colfax, ND, with her husband Aaron and two children, Matthew and Sophie.

Along with the excitement of working for a leading-edge company, Red River’s strong drive to give back to the communities it serves drew Kleingartner to the company.

Kari comes to Red River with 18 years of marketing experience and is excited to dive into the world of telecommunications and technology, creating and executing marketing campaigns,

“It has been clear to me for years that Red River is so much more than a telecom company; they are stewards of the region. You are hard-pressed to find an event or community project that they are not involved. So I am very excited to be a part of an organization that genuinely sees the bigger picture.

Kari Kleingartner

Common Cents is a non-profit entity operated separately from Red River Communications. The program is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors who meet quarterly to review applications. It awards funds to local non-profit and community organizations and offers emergency & medical assistance for local individuals. Common Cents is funded by our customers when they choose to round up their bills to the next dollar. These tax-deductible contributions average $0.40 per month, which is less than the price of a candy bar. Those interested can also make a one-time or recurring contribution above and beyond the roundup amount. Customers who wish to contribute to Common Cents can call our office at 866-553-8309 or email


Colfax Fire Department $2,000 for specialty flashlights Hankinson Sons of the Legion $2,000 for amphitheater


Red River Communications Fall 2021

Common Cents

2021 Community Grant Program

Mantador Memorial VFW $500 to replace flooring Red River Sportsmen’s Club $500 for trap building roofing Richland-Wilkin Food Pantry $1,000 for a scale and ramps Sandhill Park Board $500 for a horseshoe court Southeast ND Community Theater $500 for storage container Valley Lake Boys’ Home $500 for work boots & gloves One individual $500 for medical need

$199,446.50 Donated since 2008 to causes in our Communities Sandhills Park Board - Becca Anderson accepts $500 for new horseshoe pits.

For More Information:

Richland-Wilkin Food Pantry receives $1,000 for a scale & ramps.

Mantador VFW - L-R Kevin Lingen and Lyle Prochnow receive $500 toward flooring


Colfax Fire Dept. - Nathan Moen accepts $2,000 for specialty flashlights



Red River Communications Fall 2021


Today, more than 1 billion people are members of cooperatives or co-ops. You will find co-ops involved in various businesses, from food to hardware stores and electrical companies to telecommunications. And though the businesses differ, their mutual goal is a commitment to community and improving the lives of their members. While updated from their original form, many credit unions use the Seven Cooperative Principles as part of their mission to serve their members; and they communicate these principles to members as a strategic differentiator. Like all co-ops, Red River Communications operates under these seven cooperative principles: 1. Voluntary and open membership. Co-ops are open to all who can use their services and are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership. 2. Democratic member control. Members control co-ops and set the policies, and make decisions. Elected representatives are accountable to the members, who have equal voting rights: one member, one vote.


3. Member economic participation. Members contribute equitably to and democratically control the capital of their cooperative. They allocate surpluses to develop the co-op and benefit in proportion to their transactions with the co-op.



Red River Communications Fall 2021

WATCH RED RIVER’S FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM PAGES FOR CO-OP MONTH EVENTS! 4. Autonomy and independence. Cooperatives are self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members.

6. Cooperation among cooperatives. Cooperatives serve their members by working together locally, nationally, regionally, and internationally. 7. Concern for community. While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities.


“Our members help shape 5. Education, training, and the Cooperative and share in information. Co-ops provide its financial success.” education and training for As we build back an members, elected economy that works representatives, managers, and employees for everyone, our most significant impact to contribute to the development of their comes from embracing the values and co-ops. In addition, they inform the public, principles that make us truly unique. particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation.

8 Red River Communications Fall 2021 Red River Communications Fall 2021

Community Grants

Rhonda Erbes, Red River Board of Directors, Colfax Exchange, presents a CoBank $1,000 grant to Nathan Moen, a volunteer of the Walcott-Colfax Fire District.

CoBank offers its Sharing Success matching grant program through its customers to benefit their communities. Since Sharing Success was established in 2012, CoBank and its customers have contributed tens of millions of dollars to groups such as volunteer fire departments, local schools, and hunger relief programs. CoBank matches donations its customers make to their local communities or non-profits. 2021 was the first year Red River Communications participated in this program.

Eloise Strege and her grandson at LidgerwoodHankinson Rural Health Clinics

Grants were made to: • $1,000 - Walcott-Colfax Fire District for high-visibility vests • $1,000 - Lidgerwood-Hankinson Rural Health Clinics to renovate building entrance • $2,000 - Hawley Emergency Rescue Team for an automated CPR device

Red River Communications is a member of the Rural Development Finance Corporation (RDFC). As a result, communities in our service area were eligible to apply for up to $2,000 for community-based projects. RDFC is making these funds available so that more people become aware of their more extensive loan program that funds community-based projects and non-profit entities with low-interest loans. Grants were made to: Sons of American Legion Post 88 ($500) to complete the construction of the Lake Elsie Legion Memorial Amphitheater, Mantador VFW Post 9317 ($500) to replace flooring in its building, Fairmount Community Center ($500) to replace its signage and the Richland-Wilkin Food Pantry ($500) to purchase a new generator for its mobile food trailer.


Sons of American Legion Post 88 - $500 Grant

Mantador VFW Post #9317 $500 Grant

Fairmount Community Center - $500 Grant

Fairmount Community Center - $500 Grant

FALL MEANS GAMEDAY. Does your streaming service carry your favorite LOCAL sports teams?


Whether it’s high school football on BEK Sports, MN Twins Baseball on Bally Sports North, UND Hockey on Midco Sports, NDSU coverage on WDAY Xtra, and local games on 3 Borders Sports - Channel 3, we’ve got you covered. Call 866-553-8309 or visit to get started. All names, likenesses, and logos are copyright their respective owners.


Red River Communications Fall 2021


Our crews have 80% of the duct installed. Once the duct is installed the cable will get pulled in. Splicers are scheduled to come in right behind the cable pulling.



Crews will start working in Breckenridge in the first couple of October.

FTTH project is complete and all who pre-signed for service have been installed.

We would anticipate connecting customers in Breckenridge Q1 of 2022.

The new tower in Campbell was erected today. We will be working on turning up the new equipment on the tower over the next month.

Our CPE electronics are in the warehouse and the Wahpeton central office has Fiber-ToThe- Home (FTTH) equipment installed and ready to go.


We anticipate connecting customers to the new FTTH network around the middle of November or early December.

Duct and cable is installed. Our techs will be splicing and setting new equipment over the next couple of weeks. Plan to connect new homes to the FTTH service around the middle of Oct.


Starting Oct 1, ESPN Classic will be replaced with the ACC Network (ACCN) on Channel 31. Established in 2019, the ACC Network Construction Tip works directly with ESPN to generate content surrounding ACC sports. Aside from coverage of the college football season, programs lined up for the 2021 fall season include Packer and Durham, All ACC, In Play, The Huddle, 3-Day Weekend, All Access: The ACC Life, ACC Traditions and Come For It All.


Red River Communications Fall 2021

DIGGING INTO FALL? If you are tackling outdoor DIY projects this fall, make sure you call 811 prior to digging so you don’t hit an underground utility line.

Call 811 or visit before digging.

New listings

Bull Bash Facebook Contest Winners

Fairmount Meyer, Ronald 474-5433 Lidgerwood County Line Foods


Wyndmere Patterson, Andrew Thompson, Steve

439-2350 439-0559 @redrivercommunications

Tammy Miller and Jennifer Heitkamp were the randomly selected winners of our Bull Bash ticket contest. Thank you to everyone who shared their favorite thing about fall!

Our Wahpeton office is now open from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM Tuesday and Thursday. We will be extending office hours in the near future. The office is located at 522 Dakota Avenue.


WAHPETON Is Open for Business

PO Box 136 510 Broadway Abercrombie, ND 58001

Calling ALL Minnesota Residents!

HELP FUND RURAL BROADBAND High-speed internet breaks down the barriers of distance and time, allowing residents of rural areas to participate in economic and civic life far beyond their geographic region. We need your help to guarantee rural communities continue to receive the federal funding necessary to maintain and improve infrastructure and broadband technical support. It’s easy to help! Just sign our “Letter of Support” to let your MN Senators know that rural broadband is vital to our communities.






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Closed Saturday and Sunday


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