Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

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It’s Almost Tax Day – Online Tax Tools 2019

Tax Day is just about here, as Monday, April 15 quickly approaches. While filing taxes is never a super enjoyable task, it is something we all must do. Great Plains Communications wants to make the process a little easier for those who are still needing to file, with a few online tool options.

TurboTax

You can find the TurboTax Federal Free Edition software online to file your 1040 EZ and 1040A federal returns as well as your state returns. While the federal filing is free, state might cost extra, along with many upgrade options that provide additional help and an even smoother process. The software is very user friendly, as you can either upload your W-2 as a file or even snap a photo and TurboTax will auto-fill the right fields.

H&R Block Free File

Using H&R Block’s Free File program, you will be able to file both federal and state tax returns for free. If you have used another software in the past and are looking to switch to H&R Block, you are able to import tax returns from any competing software, upload tax documents and start filing.

TaxAct

Through a Q&A format, you can file your 1040EZ and 1040A federal returns, as well as your state returns for free through TaxAct. However, importing past year’s returns will cost an extra $5. They have both a desktop and online version of their software.

Choosing the right tax filing software depends on your specific needs. Luckily there are many options available and you can file from the comfort of your home with the convenience of online programs.

Spring Savings with Great Plains Communications

Spring is a time to refresh and renew. Great Plains Communications wants to help you do just that – out with the old and in with the new Internet speeds this spring! The Internet isn’t just for entertainment or research purposes anymore, it is a necessity in the home. From supporting security systems to being a requirement for a child to succeed in their education, make sure your family has the Internet speed they need.

Pick your spring savings!

Sign up for NEW Internet service or upgrade your current speed and receive up to a $100 bill credit!

Bundle with TV, Phone or both and receive an ADDITIONAL $25 bill credit!

+ FREE installation on all new services.

 

We want you to pick the speed and deal that best fits your family’s needs. If you aren’t sure what speed your family needs, check out our speed tool. For more information or to sign up for this great offer, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

2019 Spring Show Premieres

A hectic week can often be made better with a warm blanket and a great show to watch. And let us tell you, this spring show premiere lineup does not disappoint. We have listed upcoming show and season premieres starting as soon as tomorrow. From the last season of Game of Thrones starting in less than two weeks on HBO, to the new Bless This Mess portraying the life of a couple from New York City transplanting in Nebraska, you will want to have your DVR ready.

Friday, April 5

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – Netflix

Tuesday, April 9

The Bold Type – Freeform, 7PM

The Code – CBS, 8PM

Sunday, April 14

Game of Thrones – HBO, 8PM

Tuesday, April 16

Bless This Mess – ABC, 8:30PM

Friday, April 19

Life in Pieces – CBS, 7:30PM

Sunday, April 28

The Red Line – CBS, 7PM

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

 

2019 Nebraska Severe Weather Week

It’s Severe Weather Week in Nebraska. While we have definitely had our fair share of severe weather so far this year, Great Plains Communications wants to remind you of some important tips and procedures to help keep you and your loved ones safe during tornado season.

We provide local Weather on Channel 2 through GPC Weather, bringing you 24/7 access to up-to-date information. GPC Weather tracks things at the national and local level via advanced satellite imaging along with the five-day forecast.

One of the most important factors to severe weather safety is understanding and receiving up-to-date warnings. Are you in a Watch or Warning, and what does that mean for you?

 

Watch

A watch is just that, when the conditions are favorable for the development of severe weather and should continue to be tracked. At this time, it would be best to take precautions and make sure you have supplies prepared should bad weather arise.

Warning

When a warning is issued, severe weather is either occurring or impending. At this point, you should immediately take action to protect yourself, your family and your property.

To keep you updated, GPC-TV’s Weather on Channel 2 uses an easy to understand color guide alert in the case of severe weather. The feature will shift the general color of the channel to yellow if there is a watch issued in the area, and to red if there is a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning.

You must be a Great Plains Communications Cable subscriber to have access to GPC Weather on Channel 2. Check the GPC-TV website for a list of communities with GPC Weather availability. If you would like to sign-up or have additional questions, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483, and a representative would be happy to help you.

March Madness Schedule This Week

How is your bracket doing? With upsets such as Marquette (No. 5 seed) losing to Murray St. (No. 12 seed) and regional favorite, Kansas University out before the Sweet 16, the 2019 NCAA tournament has not been short on excitement. It should be an interesting fight to the finish to see who will win it all. We have included the schedule for the next couple days below all in Central Time.

 

Thursday 03/28

6:09 p.m. Florida State vs. Gonzaga (CBS)

6:29 p.m. Purdue vs. Tennessee (TBS)

8:39 p.m. Texas Tech vs. Michigan (CBS)

8:57 p.m. Oregon vs. Virginia (TBS)

 

Friday 03/29

6:09 p.m. LSU vs. MI State (CBS)

6:29 p.m. Auburn vs. UNC (TBS)

8:39 p.m. Virginia Tech vs. Duke (CBS)

8:57 p.m. Houston vs. Kentucky (TBS)

 

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

Flood Relief Information

If you are looking for ways to help victims of the March 2019 flood by giving either a monetary donation or physical donation of supplies, we have listed different options below:

American Red Cross

To make a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief:

  • Visit redcross.org and select ‘I want to Support Disaster Relief’
  • Call 1-800-RED CROSS
  • Text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation
  • Mail a check to American Red Cross, 2912 S. 80th Ave, Omaha NE 68124

Salvation Army

As the Salvation Army continues working alongside first responders and authorities throughout impacted areas of Nebraska, South Dakota and Iowa, you can donate to their disaster survivors fund here on their website.

Hy-Vee

Hy-Vee is working to raise funds for the American Red Cross of Nebraska and Southwest Iowa. Customers can donate any amount at the register or customer service counter and Hy-Vee will then match consumer donations up to $50,000.

Airbnb

Airbnb has activated its Open Home Program for local residents displaced, as well as relief workers deployed to flood impacted areas. The program was activated on March 14 and recruits hosts who are willing and able to provide free housing to affected individuals. This will be available until April 3. Find more information here on their website.

Raising Cane’s

Rising Cane’s restaurants located in Lincoln, Norfolk, Kearney, Grand Island and North Platte will donate 15% of all sales between 5 and 9 p.m. today, March 20, to The Salvation Army’s flood-relief efforts. The restaurants are also serving as donation drop-off sites during regular business hours through Sunday, March 24.

Items needed:

Cleaning supplies: mops, shovels, disinfectants, bleach, wipes, masks, gloves, paper towels, rags, trash bags

Personal hygiene items: soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, diapers, wipes, feminine hygiene items

Bottled water

*The Raising Cane’s restaurant in Fremont will also be accepting donations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Sunday, March 24, but will NOT be participating in the fundraiser today due to food suppliers unable to deliver.

Kearney Area Community Foundation

The Kearney Area Community Foundation has set up a Disaster Relief Fund to help those in the Kearney area. If you wish to donate to the local area, go to www.kearneyfoundation.org/donate and choose “Disaster Relief Fund” from the drop-down menu.

Nebraska Department of Agriculture

If you are willing to provide hay, feed, fencing materials, equipment, etc. please contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at 1-800-831-0550. They note that you should be prepared to share your name, contact information and what you are willing to donate, along with your location. NDA staff will gather this information and identify needs accordingly. A list of disaster relief resources for Nebraska farmers and ranchers can also be found at http://www.nda.nebraska.gov/resources/.

North Bend, NE – The Donation Depot at NBC

As the area works to clean after the water has receded, they are asking for please no clothing items, but emphasizing the need for:

Push brooms, squeegee mops, hand sanitizer, scoop shovels, rubber gloves, dehumidifiers

Niobrara Flood Relief Fund

The Bank of Hartington has set up a City of Niobrara Relief Fund that you can donate through Venmo, the QR code on their Facebook page or here at their website.

Arlington Public Schools

The community of Arlington has shared their gratitude for the support and donations give, they are now in need of boxes or new plastic totes.

Nebraska Strong Shirts

You can find an assortment of colored Nebraska Strong t-shirts for sale at https://cishirts.com/shop/stores/nebraska-strong where all profits will go to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Relief Fund, which was created to aid Nebraska farmers, ranchers and rural communities impacted by the flood.

 

If your business has been impacted by the recent flooding and you need guidance on what to do next, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry wants to help. Please reach out to the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Disaster Help Desk at 1-888-My-Biz-Help (888-692-4943) or visit https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/disaster-response-and-community-resilience/disaster-help-desk.

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Recipes That Aren’t Corned Beef and Cabbage

St. Patrick’s Day is this Sunday and if you are looking to mix up your recipes to something other than corned beef and cabbage, Great Plains Communications has you covered. We have looked to our cable channel, Food Network for some of our favorite holiday inspired dishes that won’t have your house smelling like cabbage for days on end.

Green Pancakes and Hash

Start the day off with this festive breakfast of savory spinach green pancakes and hash. The pancakes are as simple as dumping ingredients into your blender and frying them up. With the protein from the hash and eggs and the filling cakes, you will be ready for a day of festivities.

 

Rachael’s 30 Minute Shepherd’s Pie

Rachael takes a shortcut and swaps brisket or beef roast for ground beef in this quick shepherd’s pie recipe. Add your family’s favorite vegetable blend to the meat and top with her creamy potatoes and you will have a deceivingly cheap crowd-pleasing dish.

 

Ree’s 5-Star Beef Stew with Vegetables

This stew has a robust beef flavor from the chuck roast cooking down in the beer and broth. While it doesn’t add a tomato flavor, the tomato paste is an essential ingredient for adding a depth of savoriness people have come to expect from a hearty beef stew.

 

St. Patrick’s Day Mint Shakes

Finish the day with this festively green shake as it combines peppermint with the vanilla ice cream. If you are throwing a party, this is one recipe the kids are sure to love!

It’s the 30th Anniversary of the World Wide Web

If you have done a Google search today, you might have noticed that the Google Doodle looks a little different. The search engine is celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee’s proposal that was the creation of the World Wide Web. Today the terms, “Internet” and “web” are often used interchangeably, though they actually have different meanings. Before the World Wide Web, the Internet was only accessible by the military in a form known as ARPANET – a global network of computers that were able to communicate with one another developed in the 60s. It wasn’t until Berners-Lee’s proposal in the late 80s that created the web, or the public’s main access to the network.

“Information Management: A Proposal”

In March of 1989, Tim Berners-Lee was a young software engineer working at Switzerland’s European Organization for Nuclear Research, also known as CERN. He was working on ideas combining “broad connectivity and openness” when accessing information. So, he wrote his first proposal, “Information Management: A Proposal.” According to an article from CERN, the proposal was for “an internet-based hypertext system to link and access information across different computers.” By Christmas, Berners-Lee had implemented components we know today as HTML, HTTP and URLs.

Keeping Things Open

In April of 1993, CERN released a freely available version of the WWW software to the public, which was the beginning of the open platform we know today. They encouraged the public to not only use it, but improve upon it through open source software, open hardware, open access publishing and the CERN Open Data Portal. This is what allows you the opportunity to create a website right this minute, or two websites, or 50. According to Statista, in January 2019 there were around 4.4 billion active Internet users and according to Internet Live Stats, there are just under 1.7 billion websites on the web and the count continues to rise.

A Few Things You May Not Know About Daylight Saving Time

This Sunday, March 10, 2019 we will “spring forward” in recognition of daylight saving time. While we have been changing the time on our clocks for many years now, have you ever wondered why that is or why there are some areas that don’t do it? Great Plains Communications has a few fun facts on the matter.

The Legislative Bill 309 has been introduced.

In 2018, Senator Lydia Brasch introduced Legislative Bill 309 with the intent of eliminating daylight saving time in Nebraska. She stated, “The standard time of the state of Nebraska shall be the time established by the Uniform Time Act of 1966 in both the Central and Rocky Mountain time zones, except that the state of Nebraska shall not observe daylight saving time.”

The United States was not the first country to recognize daylight saving time.

Germany was the first country to enact daylight saving time on April 30, 1916 in steps to conserve electricity during World War 1. Shortly after, the United Kingdom did the same, introducing “summer time.” The United States didn’t adopt daylight saving until 1918 but didn’t apply to everyone. It wasn’t until Lyndon B. Johnson started the Uniform Time Act in 1966 that we observed time as it is today in America. The Uniform Time Act gave states the option to either adopt daylight saving time for six months and standard time for the other six months of the year or opt out altogether.

Not everybody in the United States changes their clocks.

Both Hawaii and Arizona do not observe daylight saving time, as well as Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Some Amish communities also choose to remain on standard time year-round.

2019 Mardi Gras Party Recipes

Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is next Tuesday, March 5. Great Plains Communications wants to help you celebrate the flavors of the holiday with some of our favorite recipes from our cable channel, Food Network.

Cajun Shrimp Étouffée

Shrimp Étouffée is a classic Cajun dish, containing the “holy trinity” of onion, bell pepper and celery, along with seafood base and gulf shrimp. You might be wondering what the difference is between étouffée and other classic dishes such as gumbo. Étouffée is a thicker consistency and made with one type of shellfish, while gumbo is more of a soup base and includes a mix of vegetables, meat and shellfish.

 

Slow-Cooker Smoked Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo

This recipe is layered with flavor but skips the hassle of constant attention. You still have to make a deep roux to provide thickening and a crucial flavor to gumbo, but that is the only prep needed with the slow-cooker doing the work.

 

Viv’s Beignets-and-Crawfish Mardi Gras Party

With these recipes, your party will feel like a true Mardi Gras event from the savory twist on a classic crawfish dish, sweet and fluffy beignets and the crowd-pleasing Hurricane cocktail. As Viv mentions, if you can’t find crawfish or aren’t a fan of the flavor, feel free to substitute shrimp in its place.

 

NOLA-Inspired Muffuletta Pinwheels

Another classic dish in New Orleans is the muffuletta. This sandwich is full of pickled veggies pressed down with different meats and cheeses. The key to the muffuletta flavor is the pressing of the sandwich, that generally takes an hour or longer. If you aren’t looking to spend that time or just want something simpler for your Mardi Gras party, try these muffuletta pinwheel bites.

 

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

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