Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Author: GreatPlainsComm (page 1 of 63)

Congrats Scholarship Recipients!

It is graduation weekend for many areas, which is one of our favorite times of year here at Great Plains Communications. We are honored to be able to award $15,000 in scholarships to students in our communities.

Help us in congratulating our deserving award winners!

Alissa Meyer of Wisner, NE

Baily Wood of Grant, NE

Britley Schlueter of Wood Lake, NE

Cade Ewoldt of Blair, NE

Callie McCandless of Blair, NE

Drew Letcher of Hay Springs, NE

Haylee Klawitter of Verdigre, NE

James McArtor of Grant, NE

Jarrett Branz of Blair, NE

Krista Ott of Wisner, NE

Makayla Brockhaus of Creighton, NE

Mariah Dendeinger of Crofton, NE

Nathan Hatterman of Wisner, NE

Nathan Tobiasson of Hay Springs, NE

Shaylee Heathers of Champion, NE

 

Our scholarship program isn’t just about helping students go to college, it’s also about encouraging students to return to rural towns after they leave college.  These students often become leaders in their communities, bring new solutions to rural issues, and encourage growth in rural towns. Find out more information on our grants and scholarships program at https://www.gpcom.com/about/scholarships.

What is the WannaCry Ransomware Attack?

You may have seen the terms WannaCry, WanaCry, WCry, or Wanna Decrypt weaved throughout the news the past few days. This is referring to the most recent global ransomware attack. Initiating in Europe on Friday, per White House Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert in Monday’s midday White House briefing, it has spread to over 300,000 computers in over 150 countries. So what does this all mean and what can you do to protect yourself from ransomware?

What Does It Mean?

Ransomware: malware planted illegally in a computer or mobile device that disables its operation or access to its data until the owner or operator pays to regain control or access.

Malware: software intended to damage a computer, mobile device, computer system, or computer network, or to take partial control over its operation

Ransomware isn’t a new idea, but if you haven’t heard of it before this outbreak, the simple explanation is that if a computer gets infected, certain common files (such as JPG and PNG pictures, DOCX Word documents and PDF files) get encrypted with a secret key that only the attacker holds. In order to get those files back in one piece, the attacker requires a payment (in WannaCry’s case $300-$1200) to get the key in order to decrypt the files.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Devices?

A patch for this attack was released by Microsoft, which fixed the vulnerabilities on all modern-supported OSes (Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 and XP is even included).

Other prevention advice offered by No More Ransom!:

  • Back up your computer and store the safety version in the cloud or on a drive that is not connected to your computer.
  • Use robust antivirus software.
  • Keep all the software on your computer up-to-date. Enable automatic updates.
  • Never open attachments in emails from someone you don’t know. And remember that any account can be compromised.
  • Enable the “Show file extensions” option in the Windows settings on your computer. This will make it much easier to spot potentially malicious files. Stay away from file extensions like “.exe,” “.vbs” and “.scr.”

If you find a problem, disconnect your machine immediately from the Internet or other network connections (such as home Wi-Fi).

 

For more detailed information on the WannaCry ransomware attack, check out the following publications:

http://www.ntca.org/images/stories/Documents/Communications/flash_wannacry_final.pdf

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/05/15/528451534/wannacry-ransomware-what-we-know-monday

Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes with Food Network

Looking to make mom breakfast in bed? Or maybe your plan is a big brunch after church. No matter which it is, Great Plains Communications has found some of our favorite breakfast and brunch recipes from our cable channel, Food Network to keep in mind this Mother’s Day.

Smoky-Sweet Bacon, Egg and Maple Grilled Cheese

This is sure to be a show stopper with the salt of the bacon mixed with the sweetness of maple and the luxurious texture of a runny egg yolk.

 

Simple Bacon-and-Egg-Tart

Like the idea of sticking to bacon and eggs but want to make it a little fancy for mom? Try out this simple but delicious tart and let your oven do all the work.

 

Egg White Frittata

For a lighter breakfast, try this smoked salmon and arugula egg white frittata. It is great for a group, as you can just slice it up and serve.

 

Decadent Hot Chocolate Pancakes

If your mom is a chocolate lover, this pancake recipe is exactly what you need. Just a few ingredients including hot chocolate mix, flour and butter and you will have the perfect dish to please a sweet tooth.

 

Happy Mother’s Day from Great Plains Communications!

DIY Mother’s Day Gift Ideas with HGTV

She checked for monsters under your bed, still holds the gold medal for best chicken pot pie, can’t carry a tune but was the last voice you wanted to hear as you drifted off to sleep. Mother’s Day is quickly approaching and the question is, what do you get the woman who was the supporting hand in who you are today? Great Plains Communications wants to take you back to the days when it wasn’t necessarily money you turned to, but handmade gifts you knew she would enjoy. We looked to our cable channel, HGTV for some DIY Mother’s Day gift ideas to keep in mind this holiday.

 

DIY Copper Jewelry Organizer

As simple as some copper pipe and craft glue, you will have a classic piece your mom will be proud to display her jewelry on.

 

DIY Modern Hanging Vase

With Mother’s Day not until this Sunday, there is plenty of time to make this modern hanging vase, with room to customize in the cement base.

 

DIY Gel Candles 2 Ways

These gel candles won’t just smell good; they will look great throughout your mom’s house. And while these are two examples, this is another craft that you can customize to your mom’s style.

Congrats to our 2017 Grant Recipients!

Each year, Great Plains Communications is proud and honored for the chance to support our communities through our “Commitment to our Schools” program. This year we were able to present four grants totaling just under $20,000. We would like to take this time to again to congratulate all our 2017 grant recipients:

Neligh-Oakdale Schools – $3,800 Grant

The funds will be used towards continuing the integration of technology into the schools, by allowing them to purchase additional iPads for the 3rd grade glasses to bring it to 1:1 ratio of student per iPad. This will allow decrease wasted time while students were waiting to use these resources for testing, projects and hands-on discovery learning.

 

Tekamah-Herman Elementary – $5,000 Grant

The school plans to use the money to purchase iPads to be used in the classrooms during math and reading stations. This will allow the students to practice their math facts and take reading quizzes.

 

Gordon Elementary School – $5,000 Grant

The school plans to use the funds toward an Introduction to Programming-Robotics in the Classroom project for the 4th and 5th grade. “Introduction to Programming provides a structured sequence of programming activities in real-world project-based contexts,” Principal, Mr. Casey Slama explained in the application. “The projects are designed to get students thinking about the patterns and structure of not just robotics, but also programming and problem-solving more generally.”

 

Wausa Public School – $5,000 Grant

Focusing not only on the school, but community learning as well, the school plans to use the grant towards Graphic Arts and Advertising Programs. In steps to help students possess real life knowledge of the business and advertising world, they are looking to purchase a high-quality color printer with a 40 in laminator. This would allow the students to work on advertising projects for local businesses, teaching them about deadlines and responsibility.

 

Help us in congratulating our 2017 grant recipients!

Planning Your Cinco de Mayo Celebration?

While Cinco de Mayo may not be the celebration of Mexico’s independence, it is a celebration of victory in a very interesting battle. Great Plains Communications has looked to our cable channel, History Channel for more information on the 1862 battle in Puebla, against invading French forces.

As you celebrate this May fifth, pause before reaching for the tacos, and look for this traditional meal of Puebla, mole poblano. Mole, meaning “sauce” or “concoction” comes from the Nahuatl Indian word molli. This dish is a combination of dried chilies, warm spices such as anise and cloves, blended with a thickener. Watch how it is made, below.

If you are not currently a Great Plains Communications customer, and would like to learn more about what we offer in your area, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Setting Up Parental Controls

Summer vacation is just around the corner. It may not feel like it with the weather we’ve had this week, but most schools have just about a month left. This means the kids will be looking to fill their time. Keep your family protected with parental controls. While Great Plains Communications knows that no system can take the place of monitoring what media your kids consume, parental controls can make it a lot easier. This is an easy way to make sure that kids aren’t exposed to mature programming, or even the titles. When a program or channel is blocked, the user must enter a 4-digit pin to access the channel. That way, you can still enjoy all programming, but in a secure way.

These controls are set up right through your remote and are very easy to configure. Blocks can be set by channel, rating, or even specific show titles. The control is in your hands.

Here are the steps to setting up parental controls:

  • Press the Menu key on your remote
  • Select the Home Icon
  • Select Setup
  • Then select Locks Setup
    • Once you are in the Locks Setup screen, you will be asked to choose a 4-digit pin.
    • Once your pin has been selected, you will be given the following options:
      • TV Rating – Blocking by TV Rating. *Note that you must block every rating you wish to control. This means if you block an R rating, you will also need to block “adult” programming.
      • Movie Rating – This only affects movie channels such as STARZ, Cinemax, and HBO.
      • Channel Locks – This will allow you to block specific channels.
      • Master Lock – Allows you to remove locks, bypass a lock, or change your pin.
      • Adult Titles – This removes titles from adult video programs. The guide will only display the words “adult movie.”

Just a few steps ensure your family’s safe viewing habits. We do want to point out that your pin is exclusive to you and we do not keep a record of your entry. If you do forget your pin, we can reset your settings, but you would have to reprogram your preferences. We suggest keeping your number in a safe spot so that you don’t forget it.

 

If you have any additional questions about the parental controls, you can call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Congratulations to Carolyn Troxel, Our Outstanding Teacher of the Year!

Help us in congratulating Broken Bow Middle School teacher, Carolyn Troxel as our Outstanding Teacher of the Year! It had been a day full of standardized testing for the school, ending with a presentation in the auditorium. Little did Troxel know, that not only were her 7th and 8th grade students ready to surprise her, but her family was waiting in the library just a short distance down the hall.

Casey Garrigan, Marketing & Sales Relations Manager and Principal Rusty Kluender asked Troxel to the stage. Once the initial applause had subsided, Garrigan read part of Troxel’s application. When asked what rewards she finds in teaching, she wrote, “I am rewarded when my students have success no matter how big or small. Everyday I get to experience new worlds and learning through the eyes of my students. I get to capture that moment of inspiration when it emerges from these young learners and use it to constantly encourage others to do their best. I strive to make sure that every student is able to experience the joy that comes from doing a job well.”

Troxel, a middle school language arts teacher was awarded a plaque along with a check for $5,000. Great Plains Communications wants to thank her for her time and dedication and again congratulate her on being our Outstanding Teacher of the Year.

Introducing the New GPC Weather Channel!

Great Plains Communications is excited to announce the upgrade of our local channels across the state, to GPC Weather.  This upgrade brings brand continuity and state-of-the-art automated weather forecasting to all of our previous channel 2, GPC-TV, and Weather on 2 communities.

 

With the new format of the channel, GPC Weather condenses numerous legacy channels into four distinct channels that are broken into the following regions:

    • NorthWest
      • Chadron – Gordon – Rushville – Hay Springs
    • SouthWest
      • Grant – Venango – Palisade – Hayes Center – Imperial
      • Sutherland
      • McCook
    • Central
      • Broken Bow – Stapleton – Callaway – Oconto – Arnold
    • NorthEast
      • Bloomfield – Center – Creighton – Crofton – Niobrara – Plainview – Ponca – Verdigre – Wausa – Winnetoon – Wynot
      • Elgin – Neligh – Oakdale – Petersburg – Ewing
      • North Bend – Dodge – Scribner – Snyder

 

This week, we will also be promoting GPC Weather across our social media outlets with #GPCWeatherWeek. The week’s daily post will include topics such as new channel features, severe weather safety, and a weather radio GIVEAWAY.

 

To view an early access demo, click here to go to our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/kLHV4urWNH4.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week – Thank You To Our Dispatchers!

Every second week in April is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Many don’t know what that means or have never heard of this week-long event. April 9-15, 2017 has been dedicated to the people who are not often seen but heard through the sounds of an emergency. Great Plains Communications would like to thank all dispatchers throughout our communities for your service. We understand that being a dispatcher is much more than answering and transferring phone calls.

They keep our policemen informed, track firemen through dangerous scenes, provide a calm voice through panic of a traumatic event, and much more. Thank you for helping create a safer world for our families and friends.

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