2021 Winter Newsletter

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Fiber is coming to the Twin Towns

Your FiberFASTTM Internet Cooperative

From the General Manager


Quilts of Valor




Red River Communications Winter 2021

Winter 2021 Edition Volume 5, 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 Jan Schmit District 9 - Lidgerwood/Wyndmere Red River Rural Telephone Assoc. 510 Broadway, PO Box 136 Abercrombie, ND 58001 Cover Photo: RRC crews plow new fiber cable alongside a road.


redrivercomm.com facebook.com/redrivercomm Produced by the staff of Red River Communications

From the General Manager Tom Steinolfson GENERAL MANAGER/CEO My name is Tom Steinolfson and I’m the new General Manager/CEO of Red River Communications. My first day at Red River Communications was August 31st, and I have over three decades of experience in the telecommunications industry. I grew up on a farm in Pembina County, ND near the small town of Mountain and attended school in Edinburg. After high school, I attended Northwest Technical College in Wadena, MN and subsequently accepted a position at BEK Communications in Steele, ND. I spent 29 years there holding a variety of positions including construction, network technician, central office, network manager, & finally chief operations officer. My career then took me to Iowa, where I served as the general manager of IAMO Communications, located in Coin, Iowa. IAMO is named after the two states it serves, Iowa (IA) and Missouri (MO). My wife Lisa and I lived in Shenandoah, IA while I worked for IAMO Communications. I’ve been married to Lisa for 31 years. Lisa works remotely as a Compliance Officer for Kirkwood Bank and Trust in Bismarck. We have two sons, both of whom attended and graduated from Kidder County High School. Our oldest, Ben (24), graduated from the University of Jamestown with a degree in Exercise Science before attending the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse to work on his masters in Exercise Science Physiology. Ben is currently finishing up his internship and aspires to work in Cardiac Rehab. Dillon (21) graduated from Bismarck State College’s Electric Line worker program. He works as an electrical lineman for KEM Electric located in Steele. Lisa and I now call Colfax home. Outside of work, I like hunting, golf, and enjoying the outdoors. Lisa enjoys riding bicycle, spending time with her animals, and making memories with her family. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Red River Communications Board of Directors for allowing me this opportunity to lead your Cooperative. It is because of the history of strong Board of Directors, as well as great past managers and staff, that made Red River Communications is as successful as it is today. Mentioning past managers, I would be remiss if I did not say a huge “thank you” to Jeff Olson. Jeff was instrumental in the first several months of my tenure to help me understand the intricacies of the company. I, along with the entire company, wish Jeff and his wife Kathy the best of times as they start a new chapter in life. I wish you all a very Happy New Year. May the new year bring us all great health and exciting new opportunities!

3 5 Red Communications River Communications Winter Red River Winter 2021 2021

A collage of quilts from Stitching Hearts - Quilts of Valor

Common Cents The Common Cents board of directors meet quarterly to review applications and made three donations during their September meeting, with a total of $187,446.00 being awarded since the program started in 2008.

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 Common Cents is a non-profit dollar. A tax-deductible entity operated separately from donation of less than one dollar per month is made to Red River Communications. Common Cents. It awards funds to local non-profit and community

RECENT AWARDS Stitching Hearts Quilts of Valor $1,000 for quilt materials One Individual $500 for medical expenses Fairmount Park Board $1,000 for ball diamond bleachers

$187,446.00 Donated since 2008 to causes in our Communities To celebrate National Co-Op Month in October, we delivered cookies and donuts to local businesses in the area! REDRIVERCOMM.COM

Thank you for being a member!


Red River Communications Winter 2021


COVID-19 UPDATE We remain fully staffed from 7:30am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday. Masks are required if you choose to visit our lobby. Customers will be asked health screening questions by our member support specialists and our technicians prior to any service appointments. Additionally, our staff will be wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves, shoe covers, and masks when performing service related work. We encourage you to follow us on Facebook and check our website for the latest COVID-related updates. We appreciate your understanding as we work together to keep everyone safe!

new Directory Coming soon The 2021 telephone directory will be mailed in early January to those members who have phone service. If you need an additional copy of the directory, please stop by our office in Abercrombie during normal business hours. If you do not wish to receive a directory in the future, please contact our office. You can also access directory listings from our website by visiting redrivercomm.com and clicking the LocalSolution.com button at the bottom.

Capital Credit checks sent Capital Credits checks were sent to eligible members in the middle of October. The Board of Directors retired allocated member patronage from 1994 and 1995, as well as 10% of allocated patronage from 2019. Checks are sent for any retired amounts over $10. Please keep your mailing address up-to-date with us even if you no longer have service so that future statements and retirements can be sent to you.

Big Ten Network is Back Big Ten Network is back on Red River Digital TV. It is available on channel 39 in our Choice and Premier packages.

Follow us On Social Media facebook.com/redrivercommunications @redrivercommunications instagram.com/redrivercommunications

Digital TV UPgrades If you subscribe to our Digital TV service and have not scheduled your upgrade, please contact us to get on our schedule. Your service must be upgraded by January 31 to continue receiving programming. REDRIVERCOMM.COM

The upgrade is FREE and will ensure that your Digital TV service continues to work. Our technicians will install new set top boxes connected to your TVs and provide you with new remote controls. Phone: 701-553-8309 Email: membersupport@redrivercomm.com Online: redrivercomm.com/tv-upgrade


Please join us in welcoming Heidi Foley to the Red River Communications’ team! Heidi Foley started with Red River Communications on November 2nd as a Plant Accountant. She will be responsible for ensuring accurate records as it pertains to our cable, equipment, and other physical equipment. Heidi is a lifelong resident of our service area and graduated from Richland #44. Her and her family reside in rural Colfax.

Red River Communications Winter 2021

Heidi Foley Joins RRC in Accounting Department

Heidi previously worked as Controller at Northland Truss Systems in Abercrombie/Fargo.

Digital TV Winners Digital TV subscribers were entered to win a new 55� 4K TV for scheduling their Digital TV upgrade. Winners are chosen by exchange. Winners drawn so far are Sharon Revier (Rollag), Stephen Anderson (Barnesville), Larry Tschakert (Kent), Stuart Flaa (Abercrombie), and Susan Bowman (Colfax). Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more drawings!

Sharon Revier - Rollag

Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway Winners As a token of appreciation for being a member, turkeys were given away at random in each of our exchanges just before Thanksgiving. The winners were: Lawrence Harles (Lidgerwood) Amanda Ward (Mooreton) Mike Stotts (Rollag) Justin Johnson (Wyndmere) Korey Rust (Ag Wireless - Campbell)

New Directory Listings Lox Hair Studio 701-242-9524 Hankinson Larry Graves 701-439-2062 Wyndmere Heidi Hegseth 701-439-2061 Wyndmere


Steven Fixen (Abercrombie) Michael Johnson (Barnesville) Larry Score (Colfax) Markus Geffre (Fairmount) Carrol Kratcha (Great Bend) Brad Sturgress (Hankinson) Tony Nordick (Kent)

Technician Jon Braton (left) presents a TV to Stephen Anderson (Barnesville)


Red River Communications Winter 2021

Two local volunteer groups are working to thank veterans and armed services members who have been “touched by war.” The Stitching Hearts QOV and the Red River Quilters are members of the national Quilts of Valor (QOV) Foundation, a non-profit organization with the purpose of creating and awarding handmade quilts as a means of healing for former or current military members. In March 2018, Lou Ann Lee, a resident of rural Abercrombie, along with Lori Loff of Galchutt, organized the Red River Quilters group which was one of only two QOV groups in North Dakota at that time. The group grew quickly to over 37 volunteers who met monthly to create and award numerous quilts. Lee is also the Eastern ND District Coordinator for the Quilts of Valor Foundation. After gathering such a large number of volunteers, a second smaller group called Stitching Hearts QOV was formed in April 2020 with Lee and Deb Syvertsen, also a rural Abercrombie resident, as co-leaders. Their new group focuses on covering eastern North Dakota and the bordering areas of Minnesota. Even amid the pandemic, the 13 members of the Stitching Hearts QOV group have awarded 11 of the 25 quilts they’ve constructed thus far. Their most recent quilt awards were to

Brad Flaa and Daniel Mark, both from the Abercrombie area. Quilts of Valor creations must meet certain size and design standards and each quilt has a label stating the name of the persons who pieced the quilt, who quilted and who bound the quilt. The recipient’s name and date of award are also added on the day it is awarded. A quilt is considered a Quilt of Valor only if the person or group making the award is authorized to use the trademark words “Quilt of Valor” by the national QOV Foundation. While the local QOV groups operate under the non-profit status of the national organization, each individual group is responsible for funding and purchasing its quilting supplies. Each quilt is made of quality cotton material and costs approximately $250-$300 to make. Both local quilting groups have received donations from Red River’s non-profit program Common Cents. The quilts are awarded – not just passed out, not gifted – as the eligibility to receive a QOV quilt is priceless. More volunteers and donations are always welcome. The two local Quilts of Valor groups can be found online at https:// stitchingheartsqov.weebly.com or https:// www.facebook.com/RedRiverQuilters or by contacting Lee at louann.lee@qovf.org.


These QOV are awarded to living United States service members and veterans with honorable discharges. The QOV founder was Catherine Roberts whose son was serving in Iraq when she had a dream of a serviceman first appearing to be in utter despair, and later resting at peace - under a quilt. She desired to see that returning troops were welcomed home with gratitude. Quilts of Valor are tokens of appreciation that say, “Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and valor.” To nominate someone to receive a Quilt of Valor, visit the national QOV website https://www.qovf.org/nominations-awards.


Red River Communications Winter 2021


8 Red River Communications Winter 2021

FIBER IS COMING TO WAHPETON-BRECKENRIDGE PROJECT TO CONNECT THE TWIN TOWNS TO FIBER BEGINS SPRING 2021 Red River Communications and 702 Communications jointly announce that effective February 1, 2021, Red River Communications will acquire the customers and assets of 702 Communications in Wahpeton, ND and Breckenridge, MN. 702 Communications will continue to own and operate its network in the Fargo-Moorhead markets. “We’ve been proud to provide service in Wahpeton-Breckenridge for the last 20 years and we’ll always value the loyal customers we’ve had here,” says Brian Crommett, CEO of 702 Communications.


Existing 702 Communications customers in Wahpeton and Breckenridge will not see any disruption in their current service; however, service enhancements are coming soon. Red River Communications will be undertaking a project that will connect fiber to each business and home in WahpetonBreckenridge. “702 and Red River Communications have both made significant investment in connecting the communities,” continues

Crommett, “it’s time for 702 to step back and let Red River Communications finish the job.” “Red River Communications is excited to expand our fiber internet service to Wahpeton and Breckenridge. Notably, this will be one of the largest fiber-to-thepremise projects ever undertaken in our area. Fiber will enable us to provide the highest quality communications services within the Twin Towns,” says Tom Steinolfson, CEO of Red River Communications. The project to connect Breckenridge and Wahpeton with fiber is expected to begin in Spring 2021. Fiber means the Twin Towns will have internet access that rivals many large cities, enabling residents unparalleled ability to work, learn, and play online at speeds exceeding many gigabits per second. “Fiber is a real competitive advantage for business, be it manufacturing, agriculture, or the service industry. Having fiber throughout Breckenridge and Wahpeton means residents will have access to an internet experience among the best you can get anywhere,” remarks Steinolfson.


Red River Communications Winter 2021

Wahpeton-Breckenridge Stats 100 MILES of fiber 4700 LOCATIONS reached Population served - 11,000 Construction begins SPRING 2021


FOR MORE INFORMATION THIS PROJECT redrivercomm.com/fiber2021


Now you can get FiberFAST internet without a phone line.




Think of it like an all-youcan-eat buffet. Stream until you run out of things to watch, not data.

With speeds up to a gigabit, we have you covered for gaming, streaming or shopping.

That’s right - there’s no phone line needed to get the area’s fastest fiber internet service.


Visit GetFiberFAST.com or call 701-553-8309 for more information


The pandemic means more people than ever will do much of their shopping online. While the deals can be too good to pass up, it’s important to protect yourself while crossing off your shopping list. Here are some tips to help keep you (and your wallet) safe when shopping online. THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK

Red River Communications Winter 2021

Stay Safe When Shopping Online

Beware of advertisements offering deals that seem too good to be true. Instead of clicking the ad, go directly to the company’s website and find the deal there. Often scammers will use an enticing offer to lure you into buying a product that might never come. It’s best to keep your shopping to reputable outlets that you recognize. CHOOSE YOUR PAYMENT WISELY Using a debit card can often be a risky proposition if something goes wrong. Debit cards may not offer the same level of fraud protection that a credit card offers. You can also further protect yourself by using a 3rd party payment option like Apple Pay, Google Pay, or even PayPal. USE SECURE WI-FI Before you begin your shopping spree, make sure the Wi-Fi network you are connected to is secure. A secure Wi-Fi network requires you to enter a password in order to join the network. Open Wi-Fi networks, such as what you find at a coffee shop or public place, may not be secure. An unsecured Wi-Fi network means somebody could more easily obtain your information. LOOK FOR THE LOCK Make sure you only do business with websites that display the security lock next to their URL in the address bar of your browser. Another thing to look for: make sure the website address starts with HTTPS as the S indicates a secure connection. Both indicate that your transaction with the website will be encrypted. USE COMPLEX PASSWORDS Some online stores will require you to make an account in order to complete the checkout process. Make sure to choose a secure and complex password that is not easily guessed when creating an account. A good password should contain at least 12-15 letters, numbers, and special characters.


PO Box 136 510 Broadway Abercrombie, ND 58001




Monday-Friday 7:30am-4:30pm

Need assistance? We’re here 24/7 to help you!

No added fees! Online or by phone.

Closed Saturday and Sunday


855-386-9905 redrivercomm.com

Your FiberFASTTM Internet Cooperative


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