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:

Additional Information:


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.

Outstanding Teacher Award Winner!

Great Plains Communications is proud to announce the winner of our 2016 Outstanding Teacher Award as Dawn Friedrich, of Wausa Public Schools! As a surprise to her, the presentation was on April 27 at the school, as Great Plains Communications District Manager, Doug Ptacnik and Broadband Technician, Michael Nipp presented her with a trophy and check for $5,000.

Friedrich has been a teacher for 29 years, with 19 of those being at Wausa Public Schools. She is involved in her community, professional education associations and has won numerous awards in her area of teaching. “Dawn is a leader in the classroom as well as within the faculty and community,“ said Superintendent, Robert Marks. “She runs one of the most successful FBLA programs in the State of Nebraska, winning awards at the student level as well as the chapter level year after year. It is hard to sum up in one page Mrs. Friedrich’s involvement in Business Education, her professional activities and her involvement in the community.”

This award is part of the Great Plains Communications “Commitment to our Schools” program which provides nearly $35,000 annually to schools and students in the form of grants and scholarships. We are excited to get to help schools across Nebraska and are honored to recognize the exceptional teachers we have. Help us in congratulating Dawn Friedrich for receiving the Outstanding Teacher Award!

Congrats to Our 2016 Mother’s Day Photo Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Robin Dimmitt of Stapleton, NE on winning Great Plains Communications 2016 Mother’s Day Photo Contest and receiving a Luxury Spa Basket! With the contest focused around how mothers impact the world through their children, Robin entered the following picture of her son with the caption:

“My son with his brand new puppy he got for Christmas. He had asked for one for 5 years, and I had kept telling him he wasn’t responsible enough yet. This year we finally decided he was old enough. We gave him his puppy the week before Christmas and he was totally in shock!”

We would like to thank everyone who entered the contest, as we feel all mothers make a difference and deserve recognition. Please help us in congratulating Robin!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May), is a celebration of when the Mexican army was victorious over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, during the Franco-Mexican War. What has become a significant holiday in the United States, has never been much more than a minor holiday in Mexico. While some areas of Mexico don’t recognize it at all. Rather than focusing on the original meaning around a military victory, the United States has turned celebrating the day by recognizing Mexican culture and heritage through parades, music and street festivals.

Great Plains Communications would like to wish everyone a happy Cinco de Mayo. To help with your celebrations, we have teamed up with our cable channel, The Food Network (Marcela Valladolid) to bring you a few recipes to keep in mind no matter if you have all afternoon to plan the meal or under an hour.


Fast-Fix Chicken Empanadas


Sweet & Spicy Short Rib Tacos


Cinco de Mayo Chocoflan

Mother’s Day Breakfast Recipes

While the mothers in our lives deserve recognition and appreciation every single day, Mother’s Day is when it is truly all about them. All planning, cleaning, cooking and worrying about everyone else can come to a stop and she gets a little pampering. If a delicious breakfast is in the plans for mom, Great Plains Communications has picked out our favorites provided by our cable channel, the Food Network. No matter if she likes it sweet or savory, we have it covered.


Country Ham Breakfast Quiche – Damaris Phillips


Sweet Cinnamon Breakfast Pizza


Ree’s Breakfast Burrito Kit


While planning your menu for a delicious Mother’s Day, don’t forget about Great Plains Communications’ 2016 Mother’s Day Photo Contest going on. Find additional information below:

Keep Watch for Our 2016 Mother’s Day Photo Contest!

Great Plains Communications wants to recognize all the moms out there, by highlighting the impact they make on the world through their children. Maybe she was a teacher of baking or a tour guide on the family trip to the beach. Mothers make the world fun, fascinating, delicious, exciting and smart. Through every lesson, game and kiss goodnight, mothers make the world beautiful. We want to give back to the mothers this Mother’s Day, providing a little pampering that they deserve.

If you are a mother, all you have to do is upload a picture of a time when you made an impact on your child’s life. It could have been a family vacation, helping them learn something new, or even just goofing around the house. With your submission and a short caption, you will be entered to win a beautiful Luxury Spa Baskets.

Luxury Spa Basket includes vanilla scented body lotion, bath gel, body scrub, body butter, bath salts, hand soap, a cotton towel, body scrubbers, a pair of slippers, sweet butter cookies and caramels. All worth approximately $90.

Be sure to watch our Facebook page on Monday, May 2, when the contest officially begins to view full instructions on entering and uploading your photos.

Happy Administrative Professional’s Day 2016

Left: Missy Wiemer, Lisa Andersen, Jacque Wilkins Not Pictured: Nina Stewart, Jonna Branz

Tomorrow, April 27, 2016 is Administrative Professional’s Day and Great Plains Communications would like to give a well-deserved “Thank you” to all of our Administrative Professionals. They are the glue that holds our company together, invaluable members of our team and we appreciate all that they do for us each and every day. Behind every successful team, there is an efficient Administrative Professional. We would like to say thank you to Missy Wiemer, Lisa Andersen, Jacque Wilkins, Nina Stewart and Jonna Branz.

Earth Day – April 22, 2016

Technology is continuing to become more prevalent in our day-to-day lives, from making coffee in the morning, to when we turn off our lights at night. However, people are also starting to “Go Green”, by looking for ways to be more eco-friendly. Great Plains Communications has a few tips on how you can be more energy efficient in your home this Earth Day, April 22, 2016.


  1.  Be sure to turn off all lights, appliances and electronics when not in use.

This could mean unplugging your phone charger when not charging a device, turning off your porch light when not in use and unplugging your toaster when you’ve finished making breakfast. Each of these might be a small act, but eliminating multiple devices has the power of being very effective in the quest for energy conservation.

  1.  Switch your light bulbs to energy-efficient compact fluorescents and LED bulbs.

By making the switch, you could reduce your home’s energy use by around a third, to as much as 80%.

  1.  Wash clothes in cold water.

According to Consumer Reports, your clothes will come out just as clean using cold water as they would using hot. Even your whites will end up cleaner than ever with cold water. Not only will you end up with a pile of freshly washed clothes, but you could end up saving an extreme amount of energy. In fact, 90% of energy you consume when running your washing machine is produced just from heating up the water for hot or warm loads.


These are just a few ways to make your home more energy efficient, saving you money on monthly bills and helping to reduce your carbon footprint. There are many ways to go green this Earth Day, and Great Plains Communications wants to know how you plan to do so. Let us know what eco-friendly activities you have planned for tomorrow in the comments below.