February 2021 Newsletter

Page 1





RDFC Grant Secured for Grocery Store

Your FiberFASTTM Internet Provider

Common Cents 2020 Recap


Required Notices and Information


Scholarship Opportunities



Red River Communications February 2021

February 2021 Volume 5, Issue 4 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: The Wyndmere water tower on a winter day.


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

From the General Manager Tom Steinolfson CEO Greeting Red River Communications customers: I hope that the new year is starting out strong for everyone as we continue to work through the pandemic. Red River Communications has strong ambitions for the year 2021 and beyond! As I begin my tenure as CEO, I look at the opportunities that Red River Communications has been afforded. These opportunities offer growth and vitality for your Cooperative. Honestly, it is these fantastic opportunities that first attracted me to Red River Communications. Red River Communications is recognized as leading fiber broadband provider in the Southern Valley. Even so, there are communities in our region that do not have access to broadband. I believe Red River Communications can connect these communities as well as grow our business. Growth comes in many different forms: additional services, new service areas, and new customers. This growth comes at a historically significant time for Red River Communications as we celebrate our 70th year as a cooperative. As most of you have heard by now Red River Communications has acquired customers from 702 Communications in Wahpeton and Breckenridge. In time we will be offering fiber internet to these communities. Fiber means the Wahpeton and Breckenridge will have internet access that will enable residents unparalleled ability to work, learn, and play online at speeds exceeding many gigabits per second. This will be the same great service our Cooperative members have enjoyed for years. Speaking of communities, in my 6 months here I have already seen the deep community pride in this region. Red River Communications will continue to be engaged in our communities at parades, sporting events, and as a dedicated partner. We all look forward to the time when we can once again gather, share stories, and enjoy this beautiful area we call home. With 70 years in our rear-view mirror, what do the next 10 years hold for your Cooperative? My vision for Red River Communications is for responsible steady growth with fiber-based broadband leading the way. Your Cooperative has certainly changed a lot over the years, but our commitment to the communities we serve will continue to remain strong.

3 5 Red Communications River Communications February Red River February 2021 2021

L-R: Cathy Bell, Carol Heitkamp, and Lafay Fiechtner from Wyndmere Senior Citizens receive a check

Common Cents The Common Cents board of directors meet quarterly to review applications and made three donations during their December meeting, with a total of $191,946 being awarded since the program started in 2008. 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.

RECENT AWARDS Wyndmere Senior Citizens $1,500 for heating/AC unit Lidgerwood Daycare $500 for fencing and playground Mooreton Sons of the Legion $2,500 for winter coats

Funds are raised when Cooperative customers choose to round up their monthly bill to the next dollar. A tax-deductible donation of less than one dollar per month is made to Common Cents.

FOR INFO, VISIT redrivercomm.com/ common-cents

DONATIONS MADE BY COMMON CENTS IN 2020 BIO Girls – Wyndmere $1,000 for program funds

Stitching Hearts Quilts of Valor $1,000 for quilting materials

Marketplace for Kids $500 for virtual reality units

Lidgerwood Childcare $500 for fencing and playground equipment

Troop 604 Barnesville Boy Scouts $1,000 to replace a trailer

Mooreton Sons of the Legion $2,500 for winter coats

Colfax Fire Department $2,500 for turnout gear

Wyndmere Senior Citizens $1,500 for heating/AC unit

Richland-Wilkin Emergency Food Pantry $2,500 for a freezer

Two individuals $500 each for medical expenses

$191,946.00 Donated since 2008 to causes in our Communities


Fairmount Park Board $1,000 for ball diamond bleachers


Annual Meeting Due to the pandemic, the 69th Annual Meeting will be held virtually on March 18 at 7pm. Participation in the meeting will be available through GoToMeeting. Additionally, the meeting can be viewed on Red River Digital TV channel 3 and YouTube. Pre-registration will be required and a $10 bill credit will be offered for those who attend. A grand prize of a $250 VISA gift card will be drawn at random from those who attend. For more information, please visit redrivercomm.com/annual-meeting and watch for the official announcement in the mail.

Directory Recycling

Recycle your old phone book! You can drop off your old directories at the following locations: BARNESVILLE 205 Front St N Tuesday 12p - 8p Thursday 12p - 8p Saturday 8a -12p

HAWLEY 716 Front St Monday - Sunday 8a - 8p

ABERCROMBIE 510 Broadway Monday - Friday 7:30a - 4:30p


do not call registry A national “DO NOT CALL” registry has been established to address unwelcome telemarketing calls. Commercial telemarketers are not allowed to call you if your number is listed on this registry. EXCEPTIONS: Certain non-profit and political organizations and businesses that have an existing relationship with you. To register for the “DO NOT CALL” list by phone, call 1-888-382-1222. You must call from the phone number you wish to register. Registration is free, your number is on the registry after 31 days, and your number remains on the list until you delete it or it is disconnected or reassigned. For more information or to register online, visit www.donotcall.gov

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

Consumer Rights

Your Red River Communications service representative has a basic responsibility to answer your questions and resolve your problems related to your telephone service. If you’re not satisfied, feel free to ask for a supervisor or the manager. If you are still not satisfied, you have the right to file a formal or informal complaint with the appropriate public commission.

New listings Quiggle, Andrea 218-493-4607 1302 2nd Ave SE Barnesville, MN


FCC Consumer Affairs 45 L Street NE Washington, DC 20554 888-225-5322 fcc.gov

MN Public Utilities Commission 121 7th Place E. Ste. 350 St. Paul, MN 55101-2147 651-296-0406 or 800-657-3782 consumer.puc@state.mn.us

Rosado, Calley 218-493-4303 21601 162 Ave S Barnesville, MN

ND Public Service Commission 600 E. Blvd, Dept. 408 Bismarck, ND 58505-0480 701-328-2400 or 877-245-6685 psc@nd.gov

SD Public Utilities Commission Capitol Building, 1st Floor 500 East Capitol Ave Pierre, SD 57501-5070 605-773-3201 puc.sd.gov

Krump, Donolyn 701-538-7515 440 Wiley Ave S Lidgerwood, ND


Minnesota Relay and Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) in North Dakota provide free and full telephone accessibility to anyone who is hard of hearing, deaf or speech disabled. TO MAKE A RELAY CALL: In MN, dial 7-1-1 or 1-800-627-3529

In ND, dial 7-1-1 or 1-800-366-6889 (voice) 1-800-366-6888 (TTY) SPECIALIZED TELEPHONE EQUIPMENT IS AVAILABLE: In MN: 1-800-657-3663 (voice) 1-888-206-6555 (TTY) mn.gov/dhs/ted-program ted.program@state.mn.us

in ND: 1-800-895-4728 www.ndipat.org

Red River Communications February 2021

TTY and Relay Information for North DAkota & Minnesota

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON RELAY SERVICE: In MN: 1-800-657-3775 (voice) 1-800-657-3775 (ASL via VP) mnrelay.org mn.relay@state.mn.us

In ND:

1-800-657-6889 (voice) 1-800-657-6888 (TTY) relaynorthdakota.com dhay@nd.gov

Account PRivacy Information (CPNI) Red River Communications has always considered customer account information private. FCC rules now dictate how that information is protected. AUTHORIZED CONTACTS Be sure anyone you authorize to access your account, including your spouse, is listed as an authorized contact. PASSWORD If you aren’t calling from the account telephone number, a password will be requested before information is shared. SECURITY QUESTIONS These questions will be asked if the correct password is not supplied.

IDENTIFICATION A photo ID may be required when accessing the account in person. Contact us if you have any questions about the privacy of your account.


Non-Discrimination Statement Red River Rural Telephone Association (dba Red River Communications) is a recipient of RUS financial assistance. In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, Red River Communications is prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted for funded by USDA (not all prohibited bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident.

To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at http://www.ascr.usda. gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov. Red River Communications is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.


Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.


Red River Communications February 2021

Red River Communications offering over

$12,000 in scholarships NORTH DAKOTA AND MINNESOTA CO-OP SCHOLARSHIPS $1,000 scholarships are now available to students whose parent or guardian is a member of the Red River Communications cooperative. An applicant’s parent or guardian must be a cooperative member with landline telephone or fiber broadband service from Red River Communications. The student must be planning to attend a post-secondary college, tech school or similar program, have a minimum GPA of 2.5, and return the completed application to their school’s scholarship organization. Check with your local scholarship organization or school for the application deadline. Scholarships will be awarded in the spring and students will receive scholarship funds after successful completion of the first semester of post-secondary education. In Minnesota, two $1,000 scholarships per school will be awarded to graduating seniors through the Hawley Scholarship Foundation, Barnesville Education Scholarships for Tomorrow, and Scholarship Breckenridge. In North Dakota, a $1,000 scholarship per school will be awarded to graduating seniors through Hankinson-Mantador Dollars for Scholars, Richland 44 Dollars for Scholars, and Wahpeton Dollars for Scholars. Check the chapter’s application deadline. Students at Fairmount, Lidgerwood and Wyndmere high schools can get an application on our website or by contacting your high school counselor. Return completed applications to your school. A $1,000 scholarship per school will be awarded.

FOUNDATION FOR RURAL SERVICE (FRS) SCHOLARSHIPS The Foundation for Rural Service is offering six $2,500 scholarships nationwide plus a number of other scholarships through one application process. Applicant’s parent or guardian must have telephone or Internet service with Red River Communications to be eligible. The application process is entirely digital so be sure you are eligible and have all materials necessary to upload to complete your application. Applicants need to select Red River Rural Telephone Association as their “employer” when setting up their account. Applications are available at https://www.frs.org/programs/youth-programs/scholarships/ faqs and applications are due March 5, 2021.


Visit redrivercomm.com/scholarships for applications and more information.



8 Red River Communications February 2021

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 If you have phone service, 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. 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 contact our office. 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. OTHER BATTERY OPTIONS For those who require a battery backup guarantee, two options are available for a small monthly fee. This battery backup is available only for phone service.


$2.00/MONTH $6.00/MONTH


Lifeline is a federal assistance program funded by the Universal Service Fund which provides a discount towards telephone or broadband service for qualified low-income customers. The Lifeline program currently offers a credit of $5.25/month for telephone service and $9.25/month for broadband service per eligible household. These monthly credits will change Dec. 1, 2021 to $9.25 for broadband service and no telephone discount. Only one Lifeline discount per household is allowed nationwide. Federal eligibility is verified annually.

Red River Communications February 2021


To qualify for Lifeline you must have a household income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or participate in one of the following assistance programs: Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) / Section 8 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Veteran Pension & Survivor Pension Benefit Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Medicaid

TO APPLY FOR DISCOUNTS IN MN, ND & SD The FCC National Lifeline Verifier determines an applicant’s Lifeline eligibility. To apply for Lifeline, visit www.CheckLifeline.org, select your state in the drop down menu, enter your personal information, and after the FCC National Eligibility Verifier approves your application, contact our business office to activate your Lifeline benefits. MN residents who qualify for the federal Lifeline for telephone service also automatically qualify for a $7.00/month state Telephone Assistance Program (TAP) discount on landline telephone service. TAP discount will increase to $10.00/month effective April 1, 2021. The telephone service must be in the applicant’s name in order to qualify based either on household income or the above listed assistance programs. Contact our business office for assistance with MN TAP.



FCC 445 12th ST SW Washington, DC 20554

For more information, visit the MN Public Utility Commission’s website at

1-888-225-5322 voice 1-888-835-5322 TTY www.lifelinesupport.org

https://mn.gov/puc/telecommunications/ telephone-discounts



10 Red River Communications February 2021

RED RIVER COMMUNICATIONS SECURES GRANTS FOR GROCERY STORE, DAYCARE Red River Communications recently became a member of the Rural Development Finance Corporation (RDFC). The Rural Development Finance Corporation is a North Dakota nonprofit finance and development corporation whose member-owners are all the North Dakota Rural Electric Cooperatives, nine of the North Dakota Rural Telecommunication Cooperatives and the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives. “The RDFC allows us to amplify investment opportunities in our communities,” remarked CEO Tom Steinolfson. “We are excited to have this funding option for projects that our communities need.” Through the RDFC, Red River Communications identified several projects in our communities that would benefit from grant funding. The first project identified was the new grocery store currently under construction in Lidgerwood.

L-R: Weldon Hoesel (LPDC Board Member), Darby Harles (LPDC Board Member), Dale Krause (Mayor of Lidgerwood), and Donna Thiel (Red River Communications) REDRIVERCOMM.COM

The Lidgerwood Progressive Development Corporation (LPDC) is building a grocery store literally from the ground up after the previous store was lost to devastating fire in 2018. Through a massive fundraising effect by the LPDC, Lidgerwood Grocery is on its way to becoming a reality. Red River Communications recently donated $2,000 from a Rural Development Finance Corporation grant toward new refrigeration equipment for the store.


L-R: Darby Harles (LPDC Board Member), Michelle Mogren (Director Lidgerwood Childcare), Carissa Lane (Lidgerwood Childcare), and Desiree Possehl (Lidgerwood Childcare)

CHILDCARE NEEDS At Lidgerwood community meeting held several years ago, daycare was identified as a major community need. In September 2019, the non-profit Lidgerwood Childcare opened its doors and now welcomes around 14 children to its center. It has seven employees and is licensed for up to 30 children. Fourteen families currently use Lidgerwood Childcare. It has great community support including a recent Common Cents award of $500 toward fencing and playground equipment. Red River Communications through the Broadband Association of North Dakota also secured a Rural Development Finance Corporation grant of $665 toward Lidgerwood Childcare’s outdoor project. MOVING FORWARD RRC will award up to $2,000 annually in RDFC community-based grants with grant amounts ranging from $500-$2,000. Entities are required to raise matching funds with $4 raised for every $1 in grant requested. RDFC grants are directed to:

“We are excited to have this funding option for projects that our communities need.” Tom Steinolfson Red River Communications CEO

- non-profits and community-based projects - community or economic development projects Contact Donna Thiel at 701-553-8243 or donnathiel@redrivercomm.com for more information and request an application. Deadline to apply is April 1.


- community-owned entities

PO Box 136 510 Broadway Abercrombie, ND 58001

ARE YOU PLANNING A DIY PROJECT? Planting a tree or putting up a fence? Remember to contact North Dakota One Call or Gopher State One Call! There are several utility lines buried such as fiber optic, electric, gas or water... The first step to any project is safety! Damaging an underground facility can be costly and can cause injury or even death. Dial 811 to contact North Dakota One Call or Gopher State One Call and the utility line owners will be notified to locate their lines. It’s free, it’s simple, and it’s the law.

Visit call811.com for more information

Construction Tip Mark your proposed construction area with white flags or paint. Locates are valid for 14 days in Minnesota and 21 days in North Dakota.




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 Provider


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