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Annual Meeting and Cooperative Celebration Wednesday, May 23

2017 Coop Celebration & Annual Meeting

Wes WalzPaul Bunyan Communications will hold the annual Cooperative Celebration on Wednesday, May 23 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the Cooperative's headquarters in Bemidji. It is free and open to all.

  • A walleye dinner prepared by the Bemidji Fire Department Fish Fry Crew & Lueken's Village Foods.
  • Chance to enter door prize drawings
  • Live Entertainment provided by The Wrecking Crew from Grand Rapids
  • Meet and get pictures with former Wild player and current Fox Sports North Wild Analyst Wes Walz

Fox Sports Robot CleatusGreat kids activities including:

  • Bring your camera to get pictures with all 3 of Nickelodeon's Rugrats (Chuckie, Tommy, and Angelica) and Fox Sports Robot Cleatus
  • United States Tennis Association's QuickStart Tennis
  • Activities and animals from the Headwaters Science Center
  • Face painting
  • Balloons

The entire event is free of charge and is open to the public.

The 62nd Annual Business will precede the celebration beginning at 3:30 p.m. The Annual Meeting is only open to current members of the cooperative.

Wrecking CrewTommy, Chuckie, Angelica

Quest - Let's ExplorePaul Bunyan Television Adds Quest Network for PBTV Subscribers in Beltrami, Hubbard, and Cass County

Paul Bunyan Communications has added Quest, new television network distributed by Tegna, owners of KARE-11 Mpls. Quest is only available to PBTV subscribers in Beltrami, Hubbard, and Cass Counties.

Quest is available to all west side PBTV digital customers on channel 22. This is a new exploration network capturing the wonder, imagination and excitement of the natural and man-made world and features shows about natural history, engineering and science, as well as military history and man's greatest achievements. Quest features daring factual entertainment and reality shows such as Modern Marvels, Storm Chasers, Swamp Loggers, Ice Road Truckers: Deadliest Roads, Auction Kings and more.

Glenda MartinDistrict 6 Caucus held Monday, April 2; District 4 Caucus held Tuesday, April 3

The purpose of the caucus meetings is to nominate a director candidate or candidates to represent the district on the Paul Bunyan Rural Telephone Cooperative Board of Directors.

The caucus for District 6 was held on Monday, April 2 at the Red Lake Nation College. The current director is Glenda Martin. She was nominated and seconded. No other nominations were made. Based on the caucus results, Glenda Martin will serve another term as District 6 Board of Director.

Mark MattesonThe caucus for District 4 was held on Tuesday, April 3 at the Timberlake Lodge in Grand Rapids. The current director seat from District 4 is vacant. Mark Matteson was nominated and seconded. A second candidate was also nominated and seconded but was later deemed to be ineligible to run. No other nominations were made. As a result of the District 4 Caucus, Mark Matteson will serve the term as District 4 Board of Director.

In addition to being an opportunity to nominate persons to represent the district, the caucus meetings were an opportunity for members to ask questions concerning the Cooperative. The meeting was attended by several managers/supervisors, including CEO/General Manager Gary Johnson.

2nd Place - $250 credit	Candi Gendreau, Park Rapids1st Place - $500 credit Marty Flinck, Grand RapidsPaul Bunyan Communications 3rd Annual Pick It March Mania Challenge Winners

Paul Bunyan Communications is excited to announce the winners of the 3rd Annual Pick-it March Mania Challenge. 567 participants entered the free online contest to pick the winners of the college basketball tournament games for a chance to win a credit on a Paul Bunyan Communications account.

3rd Place - $100 credit Leonard Nistler, KelliherWinners of the 3rd Annual Paul Bunyan Communications Pick It March Mania Challenge.

The top 10 finishers all won a credit on their Paul Bunyan Communications account.

1st Place - $500 credit Marty Flinck, Grand Rapids (tied for 1st, won tiebreaker)

2nd Place - $250 credit Candi Gendreau, Park Rapids (tied for 1st, lost tiebreaker)

3rd Place - $100 credit Leonard Nistler, Kelliher

4th Place - $50 credit Edward Ahrens, Grand Rapids

5th Place - $25 credit Mary Cloud, Cass Lake

6th Place - $25 credit Eric Handyside

7th Place - $25 credit Terry Condon, Bemidji

8th place - $25 credit 6 Way Tie

  • Don Vigen, Bemidji
  • Jeff Loewe, Bemidji
  • Angela Schmidt, Solway
  • Kevin Krenik, Nevis
  • Joel Hoover, Bemidji
  • Chad Newman, Bemidji

Will Kessler of Deer River Wins Paul Bunyan Communications Youth Tour Essay ContestWill Kessler of Deer River Wins Paul Bunyan Communications Youth Tour Essay Contest

Will Kessler of Deer River Wins Paul Bunyan Communications Youth Tour Essay Contest

Paul Bunyan Communications has selected Will Kessler of Deer River as the winner of the cooperative's 2018 Youth Tour Essay Contest. Will is currently a sophomore from Deer River who is home schooled and is the son of Stephanie and Leland Kessler. He will attend the 2018 Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. June 2-6, with all expenses paid by Paul Bunyan Communications.

The trip features a comprehensive overview of the telecommunications industry, including careers in telecom, the critical role telecommunications plays in rural America, and how legislative and regulatory decisions affect the industry. The tour allows youth to meet with members of Congress who represent rural constituents. They also participate in educational sessions about the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Students visit some of the nation's most historic sites, including Mount Vernon, the Smithsonian Museums, and a beautiful night tour of our Washington D.C.

"The FRS Youth Tour is such a unique opportunity to visit Washington D.C. and you gain a better perspective on how decisions there impact our cooperative and rural areas like ours. We're excited for Will to get the chance to be a part of such an amazing trip!" said Brian Bissonette, Paul Bunyan Communications Marketing Supervisor.

The Foundation for Rural Service is dedicated to informing and to improving the quality of life throughout rural America. Each year, it organizes the Youth Tour, designed to educate rural youth about the telecommunications industry and the federal political process. The FRS is a subsidiary of the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA), of which Paul Bunyan Communications is a member.

This is the 22nd consecutive year that Paul Bunyan Communications has participated in sending a local high school student to the Youth Tour.

Paul Bunyan Communications Apple service staff (left to right): Leo, Adam, April, Aurora and Jesse.Paul Bunyan Communications Named Apple Premium Service Provider

Paul Bunyan Communications has earned Apple Premium Service Provider status for 2018! Apple's Premium Service Provider Program recognizes service locations that deliver exceptional service based upon customer satisfaction for repair quality, repair time and professionalism.

This accolade is given to an elite tier of Apple Authorized Service Providers in recognition of their unparalleled commitment to technical excellence and customer service. According to Apple, "Premium Service Providers consistently deliver exceptional repair support and customer experience that meet Apple's exacting standard for high-quality repair and prompt service."

Paul Bunyan Communications Certified Apple Service Center is located at the cooperative's Bemidji headquarters at 1831 Anne Street. The Apple Service Center is open Monday-Friday from 8:30-5:30 p.m. and services Mac and PC computers along with Apple iPad, iPhone, iPod, Apple Watch, Beats and Apple TV warranty and non-warranty service.

"This is a testament to our outstanding staff and the superior level of customer service they provide our customers. The expertise and care they provide in working with each customer is what makes our Apple Service Center so successful." said Leo Anderson, Paul Bunyan Communications Digital Services Supervisor.

Great job April, Aurora, Jesse, Adam, and all of our staff that has worked hard to make this possible.

Paul Bunyan CommunicationsPaul Bunyan Communications Statement on Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently approved a plan to rescind "Net Neutrality" rules that prohibit Internet service providers (ISP) from favoring or disfavoring certain Internet traffic, content or websites.

Paul Bunyan Communications wants to reassure our members that they will not be impacted by this FCC action while using our service. The Cooperative has never treated Internet traffic differently based on application or type of traffic and has no plans to do so in the future.

"There are many concerned about today's FCC action. Time will tell whether ISP's elect to put profits ahead of what's best for customers, but as a member-owned cooperative, we certainly will not" said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.

Paul Bunyan CommunicationsPaul Bunyan Communications awarded State of Minnesota Border to Border Broadband Grant for portions of Itasca County, St. Louis County, and Hubbard County

Cooperative will bring Broadband network to 834 locations

Paul Bunyan CommunicationsPaul Bunyan Communications has been awarded a Border to Border Broadband Grant from the state of Minnesota to expand its fiber optic services to portions of St Louis, Hubbard and Itasca Counties.

As a result, the cooperative will begin expansion construction next spring that will pass a minimum of 830 locations. The areas include the Hwy 34 corridor between Nevis and Park Rapids in Hubbard County [Map: Park Rapids HWY 34 Cooridor], portions of the Side Lake Area that include locations in both Itasca County [Map: Side Lake Area] and St. Louis County, and an area Southeast of Bigfork and North of Scenic Highway [Map: Scenic Highway North]. The project is estimated to cost $1.78 million, with Paul Bunyan Communications contributing $980,990, and the State of Minnesota Border to Border grant contributing $802,620.

"We are excited to continue our efforts to bring broadband Internet speeds and services to those currently without it in our region. Our cooperative has a long history of expanding our network to unserved areas but it has become more difficult to go it alone without grant support. Thanks to the State of Minnesota Border to Border Grant Program we will be able to reach even more homes and businesses with speeds of up to a Gigabit per second further extending one of the largest rural Gigabit networks in the country!," said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.

Paul Bunyan Communications expects to finalize the expansion plans by early spring and will contact locations along the upcoming expansion routes shortly thereafter. Construction will start in the summer and will be completed by June 30, 2020. Those in the region interested in keeping up to date on the project can look for updates here on our website. Those in Itasca County can also join the Paul Bunyan Communications Itasca County Fiber Projects group on Facebook.

"This is a big deal to those in our project areas. I am excited about the opportunities that Paul Bunyan's technology will bring to these locations. Employees will be able to work from home, students will have access to vast educational resources at incredible speeds, and seniors will be able to stay in their homes longer with telemedicine." added Steve Howard, Paul Bunyan Communications Information Technology and Development Manager. "Access to high quality affordable Internet has been our focus at the cooperative since 1999. Our team has built a world class all-fiber optic network that has made it happen." said Howard.

"I must salute the hard work of our elected officials who have championed the Border to Border Broadband Grant Program. I want to thank all of them and also the Office of Broadband Development that oversees the program. This makes a world of difference in so many ways to a lot of people right here in northern Minnesota!" said Johnson.

All of the cooperative's services will become available once the network is operational including GigaZone service options like unprecedented Broadband Internet speeds of up to 1000 Mbps – a Gigabit, PBTV Fusion and low cost unlimited local and long distance GigaZone voice telephone service. There is no membership fee to join Paul Bunyan Communications, membership is included by subscribing to either local phone service or GigaZone Internet service.

Paul Bunyan Communications CEO, Gary Johnson (center) is presented with the Calix Best Innovation in Residential Subscriber Experience for 2017Paul Bunyan Communications Wins International Innovation Award

Second award the GigaZone Gaming Championship has received in 2017

Paul Bunyan Communications' GigaZone Gaming Championship, the first stadium-style eSporting event in northern Minnesota, has been awarded the Calix Best Innovation in Residential Subscriber Experience for 2017.

The Calix Innovation Awards are given annually to Calix customers – technology companies from around the world – who demonstrated outstanding creativity when leveraging Calix technology to deploy best-in-class services. The award recognizes innovation in the use of access, premises, and cloud technologies to transform businesses and networks.

"Congratulations to Paul Bunyan Communications on their Best of Innovation in Residential Subscriber Experience Award!" said Michael Weening, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Calix. "Typically, events of this type and caliber are only found in major metropolitan areas. The GigaZone Gaming Championship and other progressive initiatives underscore Paul Bunyan's commitment to their rural region and their willingness to be industry innovators and leaders, whether that's building one of the largest rural all-fiber optic gigabit broadband networks in the country or creating this exceptional gaming event. The award is well deserved."

"We are honored to receive this innovation award from Calix. It's very rewarding to see how the region is embracing this event that showcases our Calix-enabled broadband technology and creative and talented technical team. Attendance doubled at our second GigaZone Gaming Championship held in September!" said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.

This international award is the second prominent recognition the GigaZone Gaming Championship has received this year. In May, Paul Bunyan Communications received the 2017 TeleChoice Award for their complete marketing campaign of the GigaZone Gaming Championship by the NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association. The annual awards program honors excellence in public relations and marketing.

Paul Bunyan CommunicationsPaul Bunyan Communications Will Not Sell Customer Web Browsing History

Recently new federal legislation was passed that allows Internet Service Providers to sell their customers' web browsing history. Paul Bunyan Communications wants to reassure its members that no matter what the law allows they do not collect and sell member's web browsing history.

"Our members' privacy is of the utmost importance to our member-owned and governed cooperative. We have never sold member web browsing history and have no plans to do so in the future regardless of what the rules and regulations may allow," said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.

"As you might imagine we are getting calls from concerned customers and members of our cooperative as the news of this new legislation spreads. We feel it is extremely important to reassure our customers that our cooperative will not sell their web browsing history. It's your cooperative and your data, period. Any provider who sells their customers' web browsing history without their consent is putting profits ahead of the trust of its customers and we believe that flies in the face of common decency, customer privacy, and certainly our cooperative values and principles," added Johnson.