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in the Community - 2014

Our cooperative has a long history of giving back to the communities we serve through contributions of both time and money.  From donating over $30,000 annually to educational scholarship for local students to sponsoring major events such as the Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival, we remain committed to improving the lives of those we serve and the communities we call home.  Check the news & events section to see our most recent activity.

Below are some of our donations, scholarships, recognition and supported community events from 2013. You can also view our activities from past years in the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 in the Community sections.

Donations - 2014

From left to right: Donna Hartung, GRALF; Doug Heiken, Chair Builder; Amy Dettmer, Library Assistant Director; John Weber, Paul Bunyan Communications; Janeen Gueltzow, GRALF; Dale Adams, Grand Rapids Mayor; Randy McCarty, GRALF
Grand Rapids Area Library Foundation (GRALF)
The City of Grand Rapids requested that the Grand Rapids Area Library Foundation rebuild Paul Bunyan's chair. The chair, originally built to highlight the Foundation's first Chair Affair Fundraiser in 2008, was so well loved it had fallen into disrepair. Doug Heiken built the first chair and agreed to take on the task of building a new one. With funds provided by Paul Bunyan Communications, Doug was able to build the chair using materials that should ensure another 50 years of love by the community and our visitors. A plaque, donated by the Foundation, was installed at the formal dedication of the new chair on January 23, 2014.


Director Chris Fettig (left) accepts a donation check from Paul Bunyan Communications CFO, Dave Shultz. Pictured behind from left to right are Kenzie Schultz, Brad Olson, Emily Quamme, and Seth Freundschuh.
Bemidji Vocalmotive
The Bemidji Vocalmotive Show Choir is celebrating its 19th year! Director Chris Fettig (left) accepts a donation check from Paul Bunyan Communications CFO, Dave Shultz. Pictured behind from left to right are Kenzie Schultz, Brad Olson, Emily Quamme, and Seth Freundschuh.

Scholarships & Youth - 2014/2015

Pictured is Brian Bissonette, PBC Marketing Supervisor with Paige Niskanen.
Northwest Technical College Scholarship Winner
The 2014 PBC Scholarship Winner from Northwest Technical College is Paige Niskanen. Paige was born and raised in Bemidji MN and is seeking a Nursing degree. She plans to go on to BSU to complete a Bachelor's degree in Nursing and would someday like to work in pediatrics or wound care. Pictured is Brian Bissonette, PBC Marketing Supervisor with Paige Niskanen.


    2014 Youth Tour Winner, Lauren Weaver2014 Youth Tour Winner
    Lauren Weaver of Bemidji High School is the 2014 Paul Bunyan Communications Youth Tour Essay Contest winner. She will attend the 2014 Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. from May 29 - June 4.

    Kathryn Gray: MTA Foundation Scholarship WinnerMTA Foundation Scholarship
    Kathryn Gray of Bemidji was selected to receive the Bud Morrow Scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year from the Minnesota Telecom Alliance Foundation.

    Nicholas Engen: FRS Scholarship WinnerFRS Scholarship
    Nicholas Engen of Grand Rapids is the recipient of a $2,500 college scholarship from Paul Bunyan Communications and the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) the philanthropic arm of NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association.


Recognition - 2014

Paul Freude, Retired CEO/GM of Paul Bunyan Communications Wins National Lifetime Achievement AwardPaul Freude, Retired CEO/GM of Paul Bunyan Communications Wins National Lifetime Achievement Award

Paul Freude, former CEO/GM of Paul Bunyan Communications, has won the Manager Lifetime Achievement Award from the NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association.

Paul worked for Paul Bunyan Communications for 27 years, including 20 as the CEO/General manager from 1993-2012. Under his leadership, cooperative members gained access to many new technologies, including wireless phone, Broadband high-speed Internet, an all-fiber to the home network, home security, and multiple television service offerings, many of which were available here in northern Minnesota long before most of the country.

In the fast moving industry of telecommunications, Paul steered the cooperative into many new successful business ventures during his tenure as CEO/General Manager. The overall annual revenues have gone from $4.86 million in 1992 to $51.19 million in 2011 while total assets have risen from $19.6 million to $136 million. This has also created over 100 additional full time positions at Paul Bunyan Communications, and over 200 jobs at subsidiary companies including Pinnacle and Cooperative Development

The cooperative has continued to expand to new areas, providing access to Broadband services for the first time to many.

"I first met Paul when I was elected to the Board of Directors back in 1996. He was knowledgeable, well prepared, and ready to lead. It was with Paul's guidance that we moved forward on investing on upgrading our network and expanding out to reach more consumers. The results have been amazing. It's incredible to think of the impact he have had on the lives of tens of thousands of people through his work. On top of all that, he is just a great person. He is my friend and a mentor. I am so proud, he is truly deserving of the Manager Lifetime Achievement Award," said Kathy Peterson, Paul Bunyan Communications Board President.

Paul has been my boss, mentor, and friend for my entire 25-year career with Paul Bunyan Communications. I have a tremendous amount of respect and gratitude for Paul and the leadership he provided me, our Cooperative, and our industry as a whole. Our Cooperative is very well positioned to be a leading provider of advanced communication services for decades to come thanks to his work. I'm very happy our national industry has honored the impact he has had," added Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General manager.

NTCA's national awards are voted on by the association's Awards Committee, comprised of NTCA members. NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield presented the awards during the Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO Awards Banquet and Entertainment on February 5.

Events - 2014

2014 Coop Celebration & Annual MeetingAnnual Meeting & Cooperative Celebration

Despite the cold weather, an estimated 5,000 people attended the 2014 Cooperative Celebration……making the event another great success!

The 58th Annual Business Meeting of Paul Bunyan Rural Telephone Cooperative was held prior to the Open House at 3:30 p.m. The meeting included reports for the 2013 fiscal year and re-election of board director Jim Tarbell, District 4 (1,255 votes) to challenger Michael Gau's (491 votes) and the election of Randy Frisk, District 5 (1,641votes). The proposed bylaw amendment was also approved with 1665 in favor, 133 against.

2014 Coop Celebration & Annual MeetingThe Cooperative Celebration was open to the public and featured a free walleye dinner prepared by the Bemidji Fire Department Fish Fry Crew and Lueken's Village Foods, door prizes, kids' activities like face painting, balloons, temporary tattoos, storytelling, animals and entertainment from the Headwaters Science Center, United States Tennis Association's Quickstart Tennis, Concordia Language Villages, and special guests Cailou from PBS and Dora the Explorer from Nickelodeon. The band Acoustic Smoke provided the musical entertainment.

2014 Coop Celebration & Annual MeetingSpecial thanks to the over 130 employees of Paul Bunyan Communications who made the event possible and run as smooth as possible! We would also like to thank the Bemidji Fire Department, Lueken's Village Foods, The Party Store, Lakeland Public Television, Minnesota State Patrol, Bemidji Police Department, Beltrami County Sheriff's Department, Paul Bunyan Transit, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Headwater's Science Center, Bob's Econo Pump, Bemidji Citizen's Patrol, Bemidji Area Tennis Association, Boy Scouts, Concordia Language Villages, and Raphael's Bakery for all their help.

We look forward to the 2015 Cooperative Celebration!

2014 Coop Celebration & Annual Meeting2014 Coop Celebration & Annual Meeting

2014 Coop Celebration & Annual Meeting2014 Coop Celebration & Annual Meeting

Twins CaravanTwins Caravan Stops in Bemidji January 21

Nearly 300 people came out for the Minnesota Twins 54th Annual Winter Caravan sponsored in part by Paul Bunyan Television on Tuesday, January 21 in Bemidji.

Guests included Trevor Plouffe, Anthony Swarzak, Terry Steinbach & Bert Blyleven

Twins CaravanGuests were served a ballpark dinner and were treated to a fun program hosted by Bert Blyleven. After the program a picture/autograph session was held.

This event is sponsored in part by PBTV, KB101, KZY 95.5, Z99, KBUN AM1450, and True Oldies 104.5.

The longest running and most extensive offseason team caravan in professional sports, the Twins Winter Caravan is also presented in part by Fox Sports Net North and the Twins Radio Network. The Twins Winter Caravan features five teams of current and former players visiting schools, hospitals and Upper Midwest corporations and service clubs during the day with a traditional "hot stove league" program each evening.

Twins Caravan