July 2021 Newsletter

Page 1

JULY 2021




From the CEO: Summer has Arrived What’s Upstream @ Red River


Construction Update



June 2021 Volume 6, Issue 2

Red River Communications July 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: An aerial view of Wahpeton taken from a drone in June 2021.

Produced by the team at Red River Communications

From the CEO: Summer Has Arrived These hot afternoons, early sunrises, and late sunsets can only mean one thing: summer has arrived. As we all get used to a new normal in a world recovering from pandemic, I hope you can enjoy weekends at the lake with family, gatherings with friends, and all the outdoor things we dream about all winter long. Speaking of outdoor activities, the unusually dry weather has been good news for our construction projects taking place this spring. These projects aim to expand broadband access to even more families and businesses. In Campbell, much of our primary construction has been completed. Our crews will be working to pull fiber cable into each home that signed up for service. This process should be completed in July, meaning that residents can expect to have access to the fiber network in the next month. While the project is ending, we look forward to being a part of Campbell for many years to come. I would also like to wish Campbell the best as they celebrate their 150th anniversary this summer. Further north near Hawley in the Winnipeg Junction area, our contractor will be starting construction in July. That team will also be working on other smaller projects near the Hawley area. Weather permitting, these projects should be wrapped up before August. That brings me to the largest project we “The project will total have planned for this nearly $23 million when year. In July, we will begin the first phase completed.” of a multi-year project to bring fiber to every interested home in Wahpeton and Breckenridge. This project will total nearly $23 million when completed. The plan this year is to bring fiber to the northwest corner of Wahpeton and much of

Breckenridge north of Minnesota Avenue. Please see page 10 of this issue for a project update and timeline.

Besides construction No doubt we saw a large and network upgrades, increase in usage on our “Thanks to foresight and summer is a busy season network during the past for community events. planning, [...]our network 18 months. Thanks to We are looking forward foresight and planning was able to respond to the to the return of parades, by the management picnics, and movie nights. increased usage without team and Board of Most of all, we look Directors, our network forward to seeing all of issue.” was able to respond you in-person again! See to the increased usage the back cover of this without issue. Besides making the network even issue for a list of all the events we have planned more capable, these upgrades will soon allow us for this summer. to offer even faster speeds on our fiber network. And finally, I want to take time to acknowledge Our team is also getting ready to roll out an our recent graduates. I extend a hearty upgrade to our FiberFAST Whole-Home Wi-Fi congratulations and best wishes as you embark service. The upgrade includes an optional app on the next chapter of your lives. You will no that will allow you take control of your network, doubt be forever shaped by the pandemic, and I see device usage history, and even enable firmly believe you will be stronger because of it. parental controls.


OSP Technician Tyler Johnson prepares a home in Campbell to be connected to our fiber network.


Red River Communications July 2021

We are also planning upgrades to our network. These upgrades are mostly invisible to our customers but are important to ensure we can keep delivering the quality of service you expect and need.

For those who might not know, our managed Wi-Fi service means we take care of all the guesswork of making your internet work. Whether you are streaming in the basement or listening to music in the kitchen, this service covers your whole home with Wi-Fi. Stop by redrivercomm.com/wifi to learn more about this offering.


WHAT’S UPSTREAM @ RED RIVER Ryan Rockwell hired as network assistant

Former Board Member Eckre Passes Away Ione Eckre passed away on May 24, 2021 at Eventide in Fargo at the age 80. Ione resided in rural Wyndmere. Ione represented our Wyndmere/Lidgerwood Exchange until she retired in early 2020 after serving over 15 years.

Ryan Rockwell

Ryan Rockwell, Fargo, joined Red River Communications as a Network Engineer in May. Ryan grew up on a farm between Hawley and Lake Park and looks forward to helping maintain the network that provides access to our customers. When asked about his favorite part of the job so far, Ryan said, “I like learning and there’s a lot to learn.”

Ione had the great distinction of being the first woman to serve on the Board of Directors for Red River Communications. The entire staff share their condolences with her son Karl and her longtime partner Art, as well as her family and friends.

Ione Eckre


Krystal Laudert Joins Member Support Team


Krystal Laudert has joined the company as a Member Support Specialist. Her primary duties include supporting our customers with service requests, billing questions and technical support.

Krystal grew up in Abercrombie and is a graduate of Richland 44. Before coming to Red River Communications, she worked for E.W. Wylie in Fargo. She resides in Kent with her husband Ben and her son Axel.


Krystal Laudert

Beginning July 8, our Wahpeton office will be open from 7:30am to 4:00pm Tuesday and Thursday. Office hours will be expanded at a later date. The office is located at 522 Dakota Avenue.


A bit over 6 years ago I stepped foot into what was known by most as the telephone company in Abercrombie. I was there for a job interview. We need to go back even a bit further to understand how I even ended up there in the first place. In 2013 my wife and I were looking to leave the “City” life behind and began our search for a rural property to call our own. We gave our real estate agent an impossible task of finding something within 30 minutes of Fargo and in our price range. It turns out there was only one property that matched our requirements, and it was in Galchutt. In theory, it checked all the boxes. It was within our budget, close to Fargo (where we both worked at the time), and had a barn for horses. Something caught my eye as we walked around the property. There was a pedestal with a sticker on it that said buried fiber cable. No way - this place had fiber. That sealed the deal. Fast forward to a few years later to early 2015. I was looking for a career change and hoped to find something that wouldn’t require me to commute to Fargo every day. And like that, I was hired as Member Support Manager and began six years of learning about an industry that was new to me. I’ve learned a lot and (hopefully) made a difference. I’ve met literally thousands of people and, as I say, got to spread the gospel of highspeed internet. Nothing stays the same forever, though. It is with heaviness that my journey at Red River Communications is ending. My final day will be July 2, but there will always be a part of me at RRC and a part of RRC in my heart. For those interested, I will be working for


Red River Communications July 2021

Dirk Monson, Member Support Manager, Departs from Red River Communications

Dirk Monson 3DFuel/Fargo 3D Printing in Fargo as their marketing manager. The company produces 3D printer filament in Fargo and at a factory in Ireland. My wife, Jessie, and I will still be calling Galchutt home where we have our alpaca ranch. Jessie will continue to operate our business in Colfax called Yarn Factory. It’s easy to overlook that what we do in the broadband industry on a day-to-day basis has generational impacts. It is not just about internet speeds or wall-to-wall wi-fi coverage or streaming TV or anything like that. It’s about far, far more than that. It’s about creating opportunities, saving towns, and removing barriers with broadband. The decision made in a board room decades ago meant that new life was breathed into an otherwise sleepy and forgotten railroad town. The impact of those decisions was not realized right away, but it set the stage for two “city kids” to move to the country and pursue a dream we didn’t know we had. My life would look dramatically different if there was no fiber internet in Galchutt. Really. My time at RRC is coming to close, but I know its impact is just beginning. I’ve been absolutely privileged to tell RRC’s story. Thank you all for allowing me to be part of the story.

Did you know that gophers do thousands of dollars in damage to our fiber optic network? You can help! We pay $4 per pair of pocket gopher front feet that were caught in our service area.

Call or stop by our office for more details.


Bring us your gopher feet

L-R: Tom Stone, Steve Wolf, Terry Marohl, Randy Ford from the Mooreton Sons of the American Legion. The group received funding for winter coats.

Common Cents 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, as well as offering emergency & medical assistance for local individuals. Common Cents is funded by our customers when they choose to round up their bill to the next dollar. These tax-deductible contributions average $0.40 per month, which is less than the price of a candy bar.

Nearly 63% of our customers contribute to Common Cents. We’ve set a goal to see 75% contribute by the end of 2021. Those interested can also make a one-time contribution or a recurring contribution above and beyond the round up amount. Customers who wish to contribute to Common Cents can call our office at 866-5538309 or email support@redrivercomm.com.





Mantador Memorial VFW $500 to replace flooring

Sandhill Park Board $500 for a horseshoe court

Red River Sportsmen’s Club $500 for trap building roofing

Southeast ND Community Theater $500 for storage container

Richland-Wilkin Food Pantry $1,000 for a scale and ramps

Valley Lake Boys’ Home $500 for work boots & gloves

One individual $500 for medical need

$195,446.50 Donated since 2008 to causes in our Communities

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Red River Communications July 2021



Sunset on Mooreton Pond

Funding that Supports Important Projects in


Red River Communications is a proud to offer the FRS Community Grant Program to support local efforts.

The Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) is a nonprofit organization that works in cooperation with NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association to sustain and enhance the quality of life in America by advancing an understanding of rural issues. This year marks the first time Red River Communications has parterned with FRS to offer this grant. We are accepting grant requests from $250 to $5,000, with 10% of the total award coming from

Red River Communications and the remainder from the Foundation for Rural Service. APPLICATION PROCESS The Community Grant application is quick and easy. Applications are submitted to Red River Communications who then submits the completed application to FRS. The deadline for applications to be submitted is August 10. Funding will be awarded later in the year.

Grant applications and additional information can be found on our website at redrivercomm.com/community or by scanning the QR code below. SCAN THE QR CODE FOR MORE INFORMATION

Business and economic development Community development Education Telecommunications applications



8 Red River Communications July 2021

2021 Co-op Scholarship Recipients

$11,000 IN SCHOLARSHIPS were awarded to area high school seniors

Congratulations to our 2021 scholarship winners! We are proud to have an opportunity to help local students further their educations through our scholarship program. Funding for the scholarship program comes from unclaimed capital credits that have been earned by our members. After a period of time, these unclaimed capital credits are transferred to the scholarship fund. The main requirement is that students’ families be current members of our cooperative. The student must be planning to attend a postSydney Ahles

secondary college, tech school or similar program, and have a minimum GPA of 2.5. Students receive the awarded scholarship funds after the successful completion of the first semester of post-secondary education. Two $1,000 scholarships were offered in the Hawley, Barnesville and Breckenridge school districts and one $1,000 scholarship in each of the Fairmount, Hankinson, Lidgerwood, Richland, Wahpeton and Wyndmere school districts.

Madelyn Anderson

Barnesville HS

Jaida Downs

Lidgerwood HS

Breckenridge HS




Kim & Ruth

Jay & Angela

Julie & Michael

Samuel Helgeson

McKenzie Johnson

Skye Johnson

Hawley HS

Richland 44 HS

Hawley HS



Brent & Emily

Todd & Sarah

Heidi & Andy

Treyton Link

Julia Quam

MacKenzie Schmidt

Wahpeton HS

Wyndmere HS



JD Link & Erica Wicheal


Hankinson HS PARENTS


Melissa & Tim


Madison Steffens

Jorden Thune


Randy & Melissa

Fairmount HS Bobbi Jo & Casey

Barnesville HS PARENTS

FACT: Dish, Hulu, and YouTube DON’T CARRY the Minnesota Twins


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


It is expected that construction crews will begin visible work in Wahpeton and Breckenridge in early July. Construction of underground fiber facilities will take much of the summer. The first customers will be connected to fiber this fall.


Our contractor will be starting construction in July. That team will also be working on other smaller projects near the Hawley area. Weather permitting, these projects should be wrapped up before August.


The majority of construction has been completed. Next, fiber will be pulled to each home and spliced to prepare for service. Service should be connected before the beginning of August.

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. REDRIVERCOMM.COM

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.

July 2021 Crossword puzzle


ACROSS 3. tool for voice communications 5. 1000mbps 7. another name for directory 9. digital letter 10. person who works on equipment 13. glass cable 14. our company headquarters 15. portable phone

Red River Communications July 2021

1. change channels from couch 2. a call to far away 4. connected wirelessly 6. global computer network 8. name of our fiber internet service 11. [f]ishing for your info 12. like a vcr


Complete the crossword puzzle and send a picture of it to support@redrivercomm.com. Three random participants will be selected to win a $25 bill credit! Entries are due by August 6, 2021. SCAN THE CODE ON THE RIGHT TO REVEAL THE CORRECT ANSWERS.

New listings

Father’s Day Facebook Contest

Abercrombie Oscarson, Renee 553-9926

Ronda Hoesel (Lidgerwood) was the randomly selected winner of our Facebook Father’s Day photo contest.

Fairmount Kuntz, Barbara 474-5409 Leinen, Gerald 474-5809 Lidgerwood Lidgerwood Grocery Store


facebook.com/redrivercommunications @redrivercommunications instagram.com/redrivercommunications

She is pictured with her father Arnold Pankow, who passed away in 2018. Thank you to everyone who shared memories and photos of their fathers!

Only $6.95/month* means your Wi-Fi woes are no more. We take care of everything! FREE INSTALLATION! Call us today at 866-553-8309 or email support@redrivercomm.com to get connected! *Most locations. See office for complete details. Requires FiberFAST Internet service.



PO Box 136 510 Broadway Abercrombie, ND 58001

summer Fun in our communities JULY





POOL DAY BRECKENRIDGE Free admission from 3-6pm. Free Red River Communications beach towels to the first 75 people.


POOL DAY LIDGERWOOD Free admission. Free Red River Communications beach towels to the first 75 people. 3:30pm to 6:00pm.


MOVIE NIGHT WYNDMERE (ROCK PARK) Join us for an outdoor showing of Moana with free refreshments! Time TBA.


POOL DAY COLFAX Free admission. Free Red River Communications beach towels to the first 75 people. Time TBA. CUSTOMER APPRECIATION PICNIC ABERCROMBIE (RRC SHOP ON BROADWAY) Free picnic style dinner served up with sides and door prizes. Free for all members and their families. 4:30pm to 7:30pm. MOVIE NIGHT WAHPETON (CHAHINKAPA PARK) Join us for an outdoor showing of The Croods with free refreshments! Time TBA.




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