Fourth of July is just a week away but fireworks sales are already booming. While there is much fun to be had, the holiday comes with some risk of harm and Great Plains Communications has a few tips to keep in mind so that everyone can enjoy a happy and safe time.
Keep Child Fireworks Use Supervised at All Times
Fireworks come in all shapes, sizes, and power levels. They also come with different degrees of injury potential. This is why adult fireworks are not safe when handled by children. One way to help supervise the situation is to keep child appropriate fireworks in a separate place from any that could cause kids harm, and always have a supervising adult present when any kind of fireworks are nearby.
Use Alcohol Responsibly
Alcohol is often a factor in many Fourth of July festivities, and can be a dangerous combination with fireworks. Use cautiously and be sure to have a designated driver to bring partygoers home after the event ends.
Be Cautious of Food and Beverages Being Left Outdoors
Leaving food and some beverages in summer outdoor temperatures can cause food-borne illness. According to the U.S. FDA, you should never leave food out for more than one hour when temperatures reach above 90 F and no more than two hours for lower summer temperatures. Not only dairy and eggs can cause food poisoning, a lot of other food has the potential to become contaminated.
Pets often become scared from fireworks, which could result in them running away, having an accident indoors, or destroying property. Be sure to protect your pets by not taking them to firework displays, not leaving them in a car alone, and keeping them in a safe place indoors.
Parade in Blair, NE – 1959
In recognition of Gateway to the West Days in Blair, NE this weekend, Great Plains Communications (GPC) is doing a throwback to look back at the years we have spent in the Blair community.
GPC’s founder, E.C. Hunt purchased the Bell Telephone and Farmers Telephone in Blair and that was the final move to bring what we know as Great Plains Communications to the area. A modern telephone building was designed by Omaha architect Frederick S. Scott, and built in downtown Blair at 1638 Lincoln St.
While GPC has continued to expand, now providing high-speed Internet, cable TV, and phone service in over 90 communities across Nebraska through a 9,500-mile regional fiber network extending into Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. However, as large as the company has grown, it was formed in Blair and has remained in Blair.
Find information on all the Gateway to the West Days activities here.
Each year, Great Plains Communications is honored to recognize a Community Service Award winner. This is a person that goes above and beyond as a volunteer in their community. As a company, we are proud to give back to the towns we serve, but even more so to our employees that give their time to better the communities around them. We open it up to all employees to nominate someone they feel deserves the recognition. This year, we would like to congratulate Dave Aten, the Facilities Maintenance Technician at the Blair, NE office!
Dave has served on the Blair Volunteer Fire Department for 22 years. He has held all fire ground leadership positions, including Captain, Assistant Chief, and Fire Chief. In 2017, Dave served as Assistant Chief where he was responsible for safe and effective fire ground operations and training for 46 firefighters. Dave also responded to 250 fire and EMS calls in Washington County, many of which he was the Officer in Charge. His service to the community typically exceeds 10 hours a week, resulting in more than 500 hours in 2017.
Please help us in congratulating and thanking Dave for his time and dedication!
Melissa (Left Side) with her twin sister Megan
On November 4, 2017 Melissa Fuchser celebrated five years with Great Plains Communications. Originally from Gordon, NE, Melissa is the Supervisor of the Chadron, NE Customer Response Center.
The Chadron office was part of the Charter acquisition that was completed in 2005. Great Plains Communications (GPC) acquired not only Chadron, but also Rushville, Gordon, Oconto, Broken Bow, and several smaller towns. Along with the long-term lease of the office space in Chadron, it was staffed with two customer service representatives who became GPC employees. From that time, the local staff has grown to three reps and a supervisor, Melissa Fuchser.
Only ever really working in customer service, Melissa explained that she “really enjoys actually helping customers, whether it’s solving an issue over the phone or just providing more knowledge – I get a sense of accomplishment which is really self-satisfying.” When asked what about working for Great Plains Communications is different from past customer services jobs she answered, “We are Nebraska based! Being from one of the towns we service, there are people/customers I grew up with and have known my whole life.”
When Melissa isn’t working, she enjoys all the outdoor activities Western Nebraska has to offer; from visiting Chadron State Park and Toadstool Geologic Park with her boyfriend Brandon, to fishing and hunting for arrowheads and morel mushrooms. She also enjoys time with her two “fur babies,” Bo and Alex, her fluffy cats.
I love the friendships that I have developed at GPC, everyone is so nice and I love putting a face to the name,” Melissa said. “I also really enjoy the fact that I have been able to grow in my position here and expand my knowledge of the Telecommunications industry and customer service.”
Back for the second year, Great Plains Communications is raising money for Operation Homefront. Starting on Veterans Day (November 11, 2017), we will share the graphic below on our Facebook page and will donate $1 for every like with a maximum of $1,000.
With the mission, “Build strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive in the communities that they’ve worked so hard to protect,” Operation Homefront is a nonprofit organization serving America’s military families. They strive to provide RELIEF through Critical Financial Assistance and transitional housing programs, which covers things from utility payments to food assistance or auto insurance. They look to provide RESILIENCY through permanent housing and caregiver support services, including two deeded houses to local Nebraska families this year. And they offer RECURRING FAMILY SUPPORT programs and services, including backpack programs and their current partnership with Dollar Tree. Operation Homefront is in the process of providing holiday toys to military/veteran families across Nebraska through their partnership with Dollar Tree. The collection continues through December 7th at each of their store locations.
We are excited and honored to highlight an organization such as Operation Homefront for a second year. If you would like to learn more about them or current needs (e.g. provide a holiday meal for a military or wounded veteran family) go to http://www.operationhomefront.org/.
Carved pumpkins line the sidewalk, patiently waiting to greet your little Darth Vaders, unicorns and pirates alike, lighting the way through the festive night. The doorbell rings and an assortment of candy fills each bucket and bag. We are less than a week away, and there is more to plan than what shoes will look best and if there are enough treats to go around. Great Plains Communications wants to make sure everyone has a safe Halloween with some tips from Safe Kids Worldwide.
Have a Safe Walking Plan: Children’s excitement level is often escalated on Halloween as they see the sweet potential in each house, no matter if it is across the street or down the block. Help them to remember to look left, right, and left once more before holding the hand of an adult and crossing the street. Also, don’t forget to put down any electronic devices as you cross, and choose spots further away from the street to stop and take pictures.
Find Creative Ways to Add Safety Precautions to Costumes: Have your kids use fun metallic stickers or reflective tape on their candy bags, it could be a fun way to personalize their goodies and help them be seen by passing drivers. Glow sticks could be another fun way to brighten up the nighttime walk!
Be a Cautious Driver: Just because you are not in costume, does not mean you are not a large factor in Halloween safety. As a driver, make sure to eliminate any distractions inside the car and be especially alert in residential areas. Allow extra time to look for kids between parked cars and at intersections. Typical trick-or-treating hours are between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., so buckle up and stay alert for all the little witches and skeletons walking the streets.
For more tips, check out the Safe Kids Worldwide website and remember that Great Plains Communications hopes you have a fun and safe Halloween! Let us know what creative safety tricks your family uses each year in the comments section on our Facebook page.
As you have probably noticed, 80 degree days are being forced out by low 70s and even cooler evenings. Fall is approaching, with winter not too far behind. Have you installed that fence you’ve been meaning to get to all summer? Is that old tree in the backyard not going to make through another heavy snow filled winter? Great Plains Communications would like to take a moment to remind our customers of the Digger’s Hotline.
Keep in mind that the projects we are referring to are more than just planting some tomatoes or putting in some new bushes around the fence. If you are planning to dig more than 6 inches into the ground, you should start off by calling 811.
The Digger’s Hotline keeps track of the many electrical wires, Internet Cable, sewer lines and other wires that run underneath your city. These pipes and wires can run underneath streets, businesses, parks and your home. While we here at Great Plains Communications traditionally bury our Internet, Cable and Phone wires at least 6 ft. underground, some wires may be placed as little as 6 in. underground.
In addition to the 811 phone number, the Digger’s Hotline also has a website you can visit, at http://www.ne1call.com/. There you can find information on digging projects, upcoming events, new laws and even registration for a Damage Prevention Class.
Remember that it is your duty to call before starting a project, and if you do damage any pipes or wires, you may be liable. Protect yourself and your neighbors and call 811 first!
Help us in congratulating our newest quarterly survey winners, Lorna Eliason of Chadron, NE, Dottie Babcock of Creighton, NE, and Melvin Ludlam of Red Cloud, NE!
Lorna Eliason of Chadron, NE receives her $100 Visa gift card from Great Plains Communications Broadband Technician, Jason Collins.
The survey provides feedback on how customers feel about Great Plains Communications products and services. This information is helpful to track how technology is advancing the communities we serve and provides information to help strengthen our business as a whole.
Dottie Babcock of Creighton, NE receives her $100 Visa gift card from Great Plains Communications Broadband Technician, Andy Jueden.
We are always eager to get better insights from our customers and we know having as many responses as possible helps with this goal. We also understand that our survey takes time, so we created a coinciding drawing to thank our participating customers. As you can see in the pictures, our winners, Lorna, Dottie, and Melvin received $100 gift cards.
Melvin Ludlam of Red Cloud, NE receives his $100 Visa gift card from Great Plains Communications Broadband Technician, Travis Madron.
We always want to hear unbiased feedback, so it doesn’t matter how someone rates us, it just matters that they complete the survey. So be on the lookout for your chance to win a great prize!
Great Plains Communications was excited to be a part of the Custer County Bull Riding Classic this past Monday in Broken Bow, NE! We loved getting to hand out our new summer t-shirts showing the Forward Thinking design of our recently redesigned website, as well as koozies to keep the drinks cold. You can also watch for us at the following upcoming events:
Saturday, August 5: Street Car Days in Red Cloud, NE
Sunday, August 6: Dodge County Fair in Dodge, NE
Thursday, August 10: Knox County Fair Bull-A-Rama in Bloomfield, NE
Saturday, August 12: Old Settlers Day in Indianola, NE
Friday and Saturday, August 18 & 19: Chase County Fair in Imperial, NE
Saturday, August 26: Friendly Festival in Hay Springs, NE
Saturday, September 23: McCook Heritage Days in McCook, NE