Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Tag: Community (page 1 of 14)

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.

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!

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.

Congratulations to our Q4 Customer Survey Winners!

Say congratulations to our quarterly survey winners, Dean and Carol Seamann of Spalding, NE, Alice Gibson of Arnold, NE, and Connie Comes of Rushville, NE!

Dean and Carol Seamann of Spalding, NE receives their $100 Visa gift card for completing the Great Plains Communications Q4 Customer Survey.

Dean and Carol Seamann of Spalding, NE receive their $100 Visa gift card for completing the Great Plains Communications Q4 Customer Survey.

The survey provides feedback on how customers feel about and benefit from 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 make changes and improvements that can strengthen our business as a whole as well as enhance our customers’ experience.

Alice Gibson of Arnold, NE receives her $100 Visa gift card for completing the Great Plains Communications Q4 Customer Survey.

Alice Gibson of Arnold, NE receives her $100 Visa gift card for completing the Great Plains Communications Q4 Customer Survey.

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 you for participating. As you can see in the pictures, our winners, Dean & Carol, Alice, and Connie received $100 gift cards.

Connie Comes of Rushville, NE receives her $100 Visa gift card for completing the Great Plains Communications Q4 Customer Survey.

Connie Comes of Rushville, NE receives her $100 Visa gift card for completing the Great Plains Communications Q4 Customer Survey.

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!

Business Appreciation – Red Willow County Courthouse

Great Plains Communications is proud to highlight another one of our business customers, Red Willow County Courthouse in McCook, NE.

The process began in 2014, when Red Willow County Courthouse completed the construction of its new Law Enforcement Center and jail in McCook and was looking into updating its more than 25-year-old phone system. Explains McNutt, “We initially had someone put in a different phone system, but it worked poorly and caused lots of frustration. We then made the decision to put our project out for bids, and included not only the phone system but our other communications services as well.”

He continues, “We received several bids including one from Great Plains Communications. I met multiple times with Philip Jensen and others from Great Plains Communications, as did our Commissioners, Head of Maintenance and all department heads. Great Plains Communications clearly did their research to determine our needs. I liked their approach and their willingness to make sure our needs would be met. We gave our business to Great Plains Communications — phone, Internet and TV — and have been customers for about a year.”

Great Plains Communications Installs Fiber and More

Philip Jensen is Sales Manager of Business Accounts at Great Plains Communications. He notes, “The first thing we needed to do was install fiber optic cable to the Red Willow County Courthouse. We also utilized as much existing cable and wiring in the Courthouse and Sheriff’s Department as we could, combining it with the new fiber optic cable. This allowed greater flexibility for their communications services, and helped prepare Red Willow County Courthouse and other county buildings for many years to come.”

For phone services, the Business Solutions department of Great Plains Communications installed a Panasonic NS700 Hybrid analog and digital IP PBX. All of the Red Willow County Courthouse phone lines were combined into one PRI (Primary Rate Interface) connection, which saved money. PRI also allowed for Caller ID service to every phone in the Courthouse and Sheriff’s Department, which they previously did not have on all phones.

Two Internet access connections are set up — one for the Red Willow County Courthouse and one for the Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff needed a separate connection and more bandwidth in order to efficiently upload and download footage from cameras and conduct training. Inside the Courthouse, Great Plains Communications combined all connections into one, therefore providing more bandwidth with only one connection to maintain.

Jensen recalls, “We installed the phone system on Presidents’ Day 2015, since the Courthouse was closed that day and installation could be done with minimal downtime. Our PBX person did training by phone for County employees before the phone conversion to get them up to speed. Technicians from Great Plains Communications also stuck around another week to make sure everything was working well.”

Better, Faster Connections

McNutt is pleased with the upgrades to their phone and Internet services. “Great Plains Communications connected our Law Enforcement Center and Jail to the Red Willow County Courthouse. For the sake of efficiency, we really wanted those two facilities tied together in our communications stream. We’re also benefitting from much faster Internet speeds and clearer sound quality with our phone calls,” McNutt says.

He adds, “It’s not just me. Everybody is so enthusiastic about the people from Great Plains Communications. They’ve bent over backwards to accommodate our needs. They get right on it if we have questions or issues, and if they don’t have the answers immediately, they’ll find out and get right back to me. I can’t say enough about how courteous and easy to work with they are. I also appreciate having one designated person at Great Plains Communications who takes care of our account, so there’s just one phone call to make. We’re out here in rural Nebraska, and we’re still getting advanced services and great customer support.”

Ready for the Future

What’s ahead for the Red Willow County Courthouse? McNutt replies, “We don’t have any major technology upgrades planned for 2017. However, we will be working on getting additional facilities tied into our network. And now that we have the infrastructure in place, we may look at using new applications such as video conferencing for the Courthouse.” Jensen sums it up this way: “Thanks to fiber, they’re pretty well ‘future proofed’ as far as communications.”

Don’t Miss Our Scholarship Deadline!

As the kids head into the second semester of school, the thought of graduation planning quickly becomes a reality. Continuing on after high school will bring new experiences, exciting information and also expenses. No matter if it is a big university or a two year program at a tech school, the price of college continues to rise. Great Plains Communications wants to help with the burden of those glaring numbers by offering scholarships.

The February 1, 2017 application deadline is rapidly approaching. Don’t miss out on this financial opportunity. You can find more information and a full listing of our scholarships on our web page or call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483. The deadline will be here before you know it, so be sure to get your application in soon.

If you have received a scholarship from Great Plains Communications and are currently in school, we would love to hear from you! Let us know how it made a difference in the comment section on our Facebook page.

Get Fit in 2017 with the Nebraska 150 Challenge

It’s 2017 and for many that means New Year’s Resolutions. If you are one that’s trying to get fit for the New Year, find support in our great state of Nebraska. This March, Nebraska is celebrating 150 years of statehood and as part of this milestone, the Nebraska Sports Council, in partnership with the Celebrating Statehood Board and Staff, have launched a year-long web-based wellness challenge called NE 150 Challenge.

The NE 150 Challenge is free for individuals and offers motivation for achieving and tracking physical activity minutes, such as walking, running, and biking. This challenge presents a great opportunity for our state to rally around wellness.

To start tracking your activities, you must first register for an account. To register and find more information on the NE 150 Challenge, go to https://www.ne150challenge.com/.

New Year’s Eve Recipes with Food Network

The year 2016 is coming to an end. As January 1, 2017 approaches, we reflect on where the past year has taken us and where we want to go in the year to come. Great Plains Communications has picked some of our favorite recipes from our cable channel, Food Network to help bring in the New Year.

 

Tortellini Skewers – Ree Drummond

This make-ahead dish is simple yet delicious. The tomato and mozzarella cheese pair nicely with the spinach tortellini and the pesto sauce pulls everything together for a light bite.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallops – Giada De Laurentiis

This dish combines the fruitiness of sun dried tomatoes with the saltiness of prosciutto to accompany the delicate flavor of sea scallops. As Giada says in the video clip below, they are elegant enough for a dinner party and easy enough for just yourself.

How to Open a Champagne Bottle – Ted Allen

Always nervous to open the bottle of Champagne? With these tips from Ted Allen, you will be sure to have it chilled to the correct temperature to lower the pressure and keep control of the cork.

 

Great Plains Communications would like to wish everyone a safe and wonderful New Year!

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