Shark Week Starting June 26, 2016


It has come early this year, and you won’t want to miss a single minute of the excitement. Shark Week begins this Sunday, June 28 on Discovery Channel. Great Plains Communications has provided some shark trivia to bring to your watch parties, while also providing an activity sheet for the kids.

  1. What are the v-shaped scales that allow a shark to move swiftly through the water called?
    1. Denticles – A shark’s skin is covered by tough, v-shaped scales called “denticles.” Similar to tiny teeth, they create tiny vortices that reduce drag, making swimming more efficient.
  2. Of the roughly 50 shark attacks reported every year, what percentage is actually fatal?
    1. 10% – Dying from a shark attack is very rare simply because sharks don’t really want to eat humans. Most shark bites aren’t followed by a second bite.
  3. How many tons of meat does the average adult great white have to eat every year?
    1. 11 tons – To sustain their massive size, body heat and constant movement, great whites must eat an average of 11 tons of meat each year.

SW_Activity_Sheet_2016

Now that you have the knowledge, you are sure to impress your friends next week. And with Great Plains Communications cable service, you won’t miss a single show, from The Return of Monster Mako premiering Sunday, June 26 at 8 PM CT, to Sharksanity which premieres Saturday, July 2 at 8 PM CT. If you do not have cable service with us but would like to learn about what we offer in your area, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

2016 Summer Events!

Each summer, Great Plains Communications employees enjoy getting involved in the different communities around Nebraska through parades and events and we are excited for another season of fun. Chatty, the Great Plains Communications Squirrel will also be around this summer, available to take pictures, give high-fives and hand out goodies. Here is a list of our upcoming events:

  • Saturday, June 11th: Gateway to the West Days in Blair, NE
  • Saturday, June 25th: Pioneer Picnic Parade in Callaway, NE
  • Saturday, July 9th: Fur Trade Days in Chadron, NE
  • Thursday, July 21st: Thayer County Fair in Deshler, NE
  • Monday, July 25th: Custer County Bull Riding Classic in Broken Bow, NE
  • Saturday, August 6th: Street Car Days in Red Cloud, NE
  • Thursday, August 11th: Knox County Fair Bull-A-Rama in Bloomfield, NE
  • Friday and Saturday, August 19th & 20th: Chase County Fair in Imperial, NE
  • Saturday, August 27th: Friendly Festival in Rushville, NE

So, if you are in the area for any of these events keep an eye out for Chatty, the Great Plains Communications Squirrel and come give a high-five or a friendly hug. Don’t forget to share your photos with us on our Facebook page!

College World Series 2016

Opening day is finally within reach, as thousands of people prepare to enter TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, NE for the 69th NCAA College World Series. Opening Ceremonies will be this Friday night, from 8:45 – 10 PM CT. From there, the action will start Saturday with Game 1 at 2 PM CT between UC Santa Barbara vs. Oklahoma St. airing on ESPN2. For a full event schedule, click here for the NCAA website.

Don’t worry about missing any of the excitement with Great Plains Communications cable services. If you currently aren’t taking advantage of our cable services, you can call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 to find out what we offer in your area.

Pick your teams, fill out your brackets and let’s play ball!

Father’s Day Grilling Recipes

Do you know what you are doing for Dad this weekend? Maybe you made him something, or got him his yearly tie. How about spending the afternoon grilling in the beautiful weather and enjoying a meal around the table? Great Plains Communications has found some of our favorite grilling recipes from our cable channel, Food Network that you should keep in mind this Father’s Day weekend.

Beer-Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak

 

Grilled BBQ Potato Skins

 

Ree’s Bell-Pepper Grilled Corn

 

Grilled Watermelon Salad

 

No matter how you celebrate the day with your dad, Great Plains Communications hopes you have a safe and wonderful weekend.

Internet Safety Tips for Parents

School is out for the summer, which means kids are home and have an abundance of time on their hands. Just as you are concerned about your child’s safety while playing outside, the online world should be no different. The Internet is a great resource for children, however it is also a vast place with information that is not all suitable for a younger audience. Great Plains Communications has put together a few Internet safety tips for kids and their parents.
1. Have a Conversation
By having a conversation with your children about the Internet, you open the door to a discussion with questions and set guidelines. Rather than throwing restrictions at children, it is better to sit down with them and explain why you will be
monitoring their Facebook page once a week or why they have an allotted four hours online a day.
2. Set Age Limits
The required age to join Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat is 13-years-old. For LinkedIn it is 14-years-old. And for the Vine app, it is 17-years-old. However, it is very difficult for these companies to monitor true ages, as opposed to fudged dates-of-birth, so we encourage you to ensure your children are adhering to site regulations.
3. Limit Internet and Cell Phone Use
There is nothing wrong with a little fresh air, but that can be hard to enforce from your desk at work. Rather than waiting until you get home to jump on the search history of the family computer, consider if monitoring programs are right for your household. One in particular, created by Disney, is the “Circle with Disney”. By connecting to your home Wi-Fi, this device will monitor not only the content your child is looking at, but also help to manage how long they are using the Internet. It covers smart phones, tablets, and any other device that connects to your home Wi-Fi, allowing you to track how long each person is online. You can also set “bedtimes” which disables the Internet from the specific device until the scheduled activation time. Look for a link to additional information on the “Circle with Disney” in our “On the Web” section of the newsletter.

You can find more informative articles, as well as season recipes, social media tips and much more in our eNewsletter. If you aren’t currently receiving our eNewsletter and would like to, you can sign up below.




2016 Summer Show Premieres

Temperatures are rising, and sometimes you just need to get out of the heat. What better way to spend your time, than watching new television shows coming to your channel lineup? With a mix of action, suspense and a dash of humor, Great Plains Communications has picked a few of our favorite shows starting this season.

 

Feed the Beast – AMC

June 5, 2016 at 9 PM CT

 

BrainDead – CBS

June 13, 2016 at 9 PM CT

 

Dead of Summer – Freeform

June 28, 2016 at 8 PM CT

 

The Night Of – HBO

July 10, 2016 at 8 PM CT

 

If you aren’t currently a cable customer with Great Plains Communications and would like to learn about services offered in your area, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and a representative would be happy to assist you.

Congratulations to our Quarterly Survey Winners!

District Manager, Ian Taylor presents Betty Sergun of Arnold, NE with her $100 Visa gift card.

District Manager, Ian Taylor presents Betty Sergun of Arnold, NE with her $100 Visa gift card.

Say congratulations to our quarterly survey winners, Betty Sergun of Arnold, Ne, Al Weibel of Gordon, NE, and Alfred Koops of Bloomfield, NE!

The survey provides feedback on how customers feel about Great Plains Communications products and services, as well as how our products benefit the lives of our customers. This information is helpful to track how technology is advancing the communities we serve and giving us insight on how we can strengthen our business as a whole.

Broadband Technician, Tyler Banks presents Al Weibel of Gordon, NE with his $100 Visa gift card.

Broadband Technician, Tyler Banks presents Al Weibel of Gordon, NE with his $100 Visa gift card.

We are always eager to get better insights from our customers and we know having as many responses as possible helps with this goal. At the same time, we understand that our survey takes time, so we created our coinciding drawing to thank you for participating. As you can see in the pictures, our winners, Betty, Al and Alfred each received $100 gift cards.

Broadband Technician, Jerry Nipp presents Alfred Koops of Bloomfield, NE with his $100 Visa gift card.

Broadband Technician, Jerry Nipp presents Alfred Koops of Bloomfield, NE with his $100 Visa gift card.

We always want to hear unbiased feedback, so it doesn’t matter how someone rates us, it just matters that they complete the survey. Every customer will be reached within a calendar year, so be on the lookout for your chance to win a great prize!

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend and Great Plains Communications would like to take a moment to honor all the men and women that made the ultimate sacrifice while serving and protecting our country. Whether it’s visiting a memorial or having a picnic, we hope that you spend time with loved ones this weekend. To help out, Great Plains Communications has found some of our favorite picnic and barbecue recipes, provided by our cable channel the Food Network.

 

Antipasto Salad – Giada De Laurentiis

 

Pat’s Picnic Potato Salad – Patrick and Gina Neely

 

Fried Chicken Tenders – Rachael Ray

 

Strawberry Country Cake – Ina Garten

 

Don’t forget that there will be a national moment of remembrance at 3:00 PM local time. No matter how you spend the weekend or who you spend it with, Great Plains Communications would like to wish everyone a safe and wonderful Memorial Day Weekend.

 

Red Nose Day 2016

Great Plains Communications is excited and honored to help in the fight against child poverty by raising money in support of Comic Relief Inc. Matching all employee donations, we are doing our best to not only raise money but bring awareness to an issue that affects all states and communities everywhere. Child poverty is not only in large cities and doesn’t only stand for hunger, but things like books and education materials, medical supplies for mobile clinics and much more.

Red Nose Day is May 26, 2016, and will be recognized with a 2-hour special on NBC, starting at 8 PM CT. Hosted by Craig Ferguson, the special is sure to have a star-studded cast to feature comedy, music performances, and short films created to shed some light on children in need here in the United States and around the world. A few of the celebrities taking part are Ellen DeGeneres, Paul Rudd, Anna Kendrick, Zac Efron, Kristen Bell and Emma Watson.

To find additional information on Red Nose Day and the impact it has already made in many children’s lives in past years, check out the links below. If you would like to help us in the fight, we would appreciate any and all donations to our fun-raiser and you can do so at: https://www.crowdrise.com/great-plains-communications.

Additional Information:

http://rednoseday.org/what-we-do/

http://rednoseday.org/our-impact/

 

Interview with the State of Nebraska’s CIO, Ed Toner

Great Plains Communications is proud to have had to chance to talk with the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the State of Nebraska, Ed Toner and talk about how he is working to leverage technology in innovative ways to benefit the people of Nebraska. He is particularly passionate about bringing higher Internet speeds to the state’s small towns.

Q: Why is it so important to extend broadband to Nebraska’s rural communities?

A: I really feel for small towns. Nebraska is essentially a rural state, with just a couple of high-population cities. For small towns in rural Nebraska, high-speed Internet is critical to their growth and prosperity. Broadband positively impacts employment and economic growth. It also makes a huge difference in the quality of life and viability of a community.

While some type of broadband is now available to nearly all Nebraskans, this access alone isn’t sufficient. More than 20 percent of our state’s residents are only able to access download speeds of 25 Mbps or less. This is not fast enough for many applications such as video streaming. There remains a big gap between our small rural communities and big cities. About 90 percent of people in Lincoln and Omaha can get broadband above 25 Mbps.

Another important reason why rural communities need higher Internet speeds is the demand for telehealth programs. In more rural areas of Nebraska, residents can’t just drive to see a certain specialist since there isn’t one in their area. They need access to teleconferences with doctors, but often can’t take advantage of this technology due to insufficient Internet speeds.

Q: How does your background growing up in a rural Texas community impact your advocacy for broadband in Nebraska? 

A: I grew up in Belton, Texas. It was a small town when I lived there, but has since grown. When I was in high school, there weren’t any physics or calculus classes offered, which put me at a huge disadvantage when I started college. But today, with sufficient broadband, students in rural areas can benefit greatly from access to online courses that aren’t available to them locally. I wish I’d had the option of online education in my youth.

Partly due to my experience, I’m passionate about the fact that the Internet is the great equalizer. It brings many valuable opportunities to small rural communities. I know people who live in small towns and are telecommuters for large companies located elsewhere. This arrangement allows them to still live and work in a small town and contribute economically to that community.

Q: How does Nebraska stack up to other areas of the country in terms of the advancement of broadband?

A: Nebraska has done an outstanding job of reaching out to its small communities with affordable broadband. Nebraska also has the lowest commodity Internet rates in the country. Much credit for these accomplishments goes to Network Nebraska, which is a collaborative statewide networking effort under the auspices of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission. Through consolidation, Network Nebraska is able to provide a scalable, reliable and affordable infrastructure capable of carrying a spectrum of services and applications. Its members include 99.6 percent of K-12 public school districts and 100 percent of the University of Nebraska and other state, community and tribal colleges.

Q: How do you view the contributions made by Great Plains Communications toward expanding Nebraska’s broadband?

A: I’m really pleased that Great Plains Communications is targeting the areas I hold dear — rural communities. Great Plains Communications bids on areas that are underserved with broadband and provides them with reasonable rates. While Lincoln and Omaha have plenty of Internet competition, that’s not always the case elsewhere in the state. Great Plains Communications is willing to serve the areas that need broadband the most, reaching out more than other companies.

Q: What do you appreciate most about the Great Plains Communications services used by the State of Nebraska?

A: I appreciate their excellent quality of service. Great Plains Communications provides a variety of services to the State of Nebraska including phone, Internet and Managed Ethernet for different offices around the State as well as large, statewide networks that connect locations back to the State’s Data Centers in Scottsbluff, Grand Island and Omaha. When we do have issues, the partnership between my team and the Great Plains Communications team is good. We always get fast responses from Great Plains Communications and they’re easy to work with. They understand our concerns and address them promptly.