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Garden Valley News

ATTENTION JUNIORS! Win A Trip to Washington, D.C.

If you are age 16 or 17 (graduating in 2018 and receive telephone service from Garden Valley Telephone Company, you may be one of two students from Garden Valley eligible to win an expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the Foundation for Rural Service’s Youth Tour scheduled for June 3-7, 2017. (NOTE: Students must be under the age of 18 years at the time of the Youth Tour.)

Every year, the Foundation for Rural Service and rural telephone companies, like Garden Valley, partner together to create the Youth Tour. Not only will you visit historical monuments and see the sights of Washington, D.C., but you will also learn about the constantly changing world of telecommunications.

If interested, please submit a letter of application explaining why you are interested in attending and why you should be chosen to represent Garden Valley at the Youth Tour. Also, please provide your date of birth, parents’ names, address and telephone number.

Letters of application should be addressed to: Personnel & Administrative Manager, Garden Valley Telephone Company, P.O. Box 259, Erskine, MN 56535 or emailed to If you have any questions, call Garden Valley at 218-687-2400 or 800-448-8260. The deadline for applying is February 24, 2017.

The two high school juniors chosen to represent the cooperative will be expected to visit Garden Valley Telephone Company in Erskine prior to their trip and also provide a photo and report following their trip that will be used for Garden Valley’s Voice of the Valley newsletter.

Notes: The Youth Tour…
¦ Offers rural students an inside look at the telecommunications industry.
¦ Educates students about the legislative and governmental process.
¦ Gives students the opportunity to experience the nation’s capital and visit famous historical sites, including the Lincoln Memorial, the U.S. Capitol, Mount Vernon and Arlington National Cemetery.
¦ Allows students to meet other youth from rural communities across the country and to form friendships that last a lifetime.

For every five students, there will be a chaperone present at all times. The group travels together to each scheduled event and there are conduct guidelines to be followed. There are also waiver and release forms that have to be signed by the student and parent or guardian when the recipients of the trip are chosen.

February 2017


Awarded a Broadband Grant in Rural Thief River Falls

Lt. Governor Tina Smith, Department of Employment and Economic Development, announced on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 that $34 million will be awarded for 42 broadband projects across greater Minnesota. Garden Valley Telephone Company was awarded funding assistance to build broadband to rural Thief River Falls.

Over 100 residents and businesses in Pennington and Marshall Counties showed their support of Garden Valley’s border-to-border grant application by submitting a petition nearly a year in advance. Garden Valley will be able to offer rural Thief River Falls the opportunity to have Internet access, allowing employees to work from home and their children improved access to homework and educational resources.

With Garden Valley’s Gig certification in 2015, and being presented the Smart Rural Community Award in September of 2016, they now have the capacity to provide rural communities with broadband-enabled solutions, with speeds up to 1 gigabit, to customers over the fiber network.

The grant provides the assistance needed to plow state-of-the-art fiber optic cable to the home in order to provide rural Thief River Falls access to local phone service, Internet speeds up to 1 GB and digital Video services, which includes over 200 channels.

The border-to-border broadband project for rural Thief River Falls will serve 330 unserved households, 23 unserved businesses and 2 community anchor institutions. The total cost will be $4.2 million, with a $2.2 million local match by Garden Valley and the state grant totaling $2 million. A map of the project area can be found above. Residents living in the area can expect to receive communications from Garden Valley in the near future.

“Garden Valley is thrilled to be included as one of the projects receiving a grant. The opportunity to offer speeds up to 1 gigabit to the rural area of Thief River Falls is a project the staff at Garden Valley is looking forward to” said Tim Brinkman, CEO/General Manager at Garden Valley Telephone Company.

January 2017



Garden Valley Telephone Company & Minkota Technologies, Inc.

Minkota Technologies to sell the business assets to Garden Valley Innovations, LLC. a subsidiary of Garden Valley Telephone Company.

On December 29, 2016, Garden Valley announced that Dan and Mike Vesledahl had signed an agreement to sell the business assets of Minkota Technologies to Garden Valley Innovations, LLC., a wholly owned subsidiary of Garden Valley Telephone Company, located in Erskine, MN. The Minkota Technologies name will not change; they will simply be powered by Garden Valley.

For the past 17 years, Dan and Mike have been committed to specializing in small business computer, network installation and customer service care. Under GVI, Minkota Technologies will now have the opportunity to grow their business in ways which would have been difficult on their own. Garden Valley will provide administrative support and the resources needed to grow the staff, services offered, service area and clientele. “This sale will allow us the ability to do what we do best and provide the resources to look at additional service offerings” said Dan Vesledahl, Vice President of Operations at Minkota Technologies.

Minkota Technologies will remain at their current location in Winger and the day-to-day business will continue to be handled by the knowledgeable staff of Dan, Mike and Ole.

“Our two companies already complement each other in numerous ways, and this partnership will make us both stronger” said Tim Brinkman, CEO/General Manager at Garden Valley Telephone Company.

Pictured above (left to right):
Byron Ness GV Board of Director
Jerry Freitag, GV Board of Director
Tim Brinkman, CEO/General Manager
Dan Vesledahl, Vice President of Operations
Mike Vesledahl, Senior Network Technician


December 2016

Customer Appreciation Day 2016

Nearly 1,200 members attended Garden Valley’s appreciation day on Saturday, December 3, including more than 200 children. Everyone received a nice attendance gift and had the opportunity to register for additional prizes. Attendees enjoyed shopping for specially priced merchandise in our Radio Shack store and visiting with our employees about our numerous products and services.

Thank you to our members for attending your appreciation day event and for your support throughout the year!  

December 2016

Smart Rural Community Award Winner

Rural Broadband Providers Earn 2016 Smart Rural Community Showcase Awards

Indianapolis, Ind. (September 26, 2016)—NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association last week recognized Garden Valley as one of 12 communities in rural areas of the United States that have earned Smart Rural Community Showcase awards as part of the association’s initiative to highlight efforts that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business.

The goal of the NTCA Smart Rural Community initiative is to foster the development of smart communities throughout rural America and Canada by encouraging innovative implementation of broadband solutions and access to next-generation applications for distance learning, telehealth services, public safety and security. Smart Rural Community provides educational programming, matching grant resources and an award program to recognize top-performing communities. Last week, NTCA recognized Garden Valley as a service provider that represents Smart Rural Community principles.

Garden Valley was recognized for their advanced technology offered to businesses, schools, hospitals and the residents they serve. Garden Valleys’ efforts were judged by a panel of experts from the fields of telecommunications, agriculture, technology services and civic engagement and public safety. “Garden Valley is honored to receive this award and understands the impact broadband has on the youth and communities they serve in the rural areas,” said Tim Brinkman, CEO/General Manager.

NTCA Smart Rural Community award recipients were recognized at a gathering of more than 1,100 rural telecom leaders in Indianapolis. In addition to receiving national and local recognition for their extraordinary efforts, the selected award recipients will join recipients of prior year awards to formulate best practices and assist other rural communities in the implementation of innovative broadband-enabled solutions to drive economic and community strength in rural areas throughout the nation.

For more information about the initiative, visit

 September 2016

Dear Garden Valley,

Thank you so much for the amazing opportunity you gave me to go to Washington D.C. It was so much fun and I seen so many amazing things! I met so many people and they were all very nice and fun. My group leaders were so nice and made the trip that much more fun! It was so cool to learn about all the people there and how much different they are and how they live but at the same time they are just like you and do the same things you do. My favorite thing to see was all of the war memorials. They were all very nice and people put so much work into them and it shows. I also liked seeing the Arlington Cemetery. Seeing it makes you appreciate all of our veterans and people that fought for where we are today. It is absolutely beautiful and all the work put into it is unbelievable. Capitol Hill was gorgeous and the Library of Congress was so beautiful. The opportunity you gave me was so amazing and I am so unbelievably thankful for it. I had so much fun and met some amazing people and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity! Thank you again, I appreciate it so much!

Ashlyn Henrickson

August 2016

Garden Valley Announces Winners in National College Scholarship Program for Rural Youth

Garden Valley Telephone Company is pleased to announce that Lydia Lindenfelser, Clearbrook-Gonvick School, and Megan Espeseth, Win-E-Mac School, are the recipients of a college scholarship from Garden Valley and the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS), the philanthropic arm of NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association.

The FRS scholarship program awarded scholarships, ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 to rural youth across the United States. Out of over 1,400 applications received this year, sixty-seven scholarships were awarded. The goal of the scholarship program is to help further higher education opportunities among rural high school students. Garden Valley strongly supports the youth of our community and is thrilled to sponsor this worthy program.

Scholarship recipients were selected by an independent team of reviewers from the education field. To be eligible, recipients must be sponsored by a NTCA member system, and must indicate a desire to return to their rural communities once their collegiate studies have been completed.

“We are thrilled to offer this program, with the goal of leveling the playing field for rural students who often face financial obstacles in their pursuit of higher education,” said CEO/General Manager Tim Brinkman. “The FRS scholarship program assists Garden Valley in supporting our youth. It is a source of tremendous pride for us and for the communities we serve.”

The scholarship program is open to all graduating high school seniors that receive local telecommunications from Garden Valley. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited two-year or fouryear college or university, or vocational technical school, and have at least a C grade point average.

August 2016


Garden Valley is excited to announce a partnership with the Bagley School to broadcast school and community events on a GVTV local content channel dedicated solely to the Bagley School. The local content channel can be found on the GVTV television system on Channel 33, which is now available to GVTV subscribers.

As part of this partnership, Garden Valley provided the equipment and training needed by students to broadcast their events. In addition, with the determination of the Athletic Director Doreen Zierer, the Bagley School was able to obtain a video board located at the track and field complex, which Garden Valley helped sponsor. With the direction of Technology Teacher Mary White and Keith Larson, Team Industries, the Bagley High School Broadcast Marketing Club was created to assist with broadcasting the events on Channel 33. The School has already broadcast multiple school events and has big plans to broadcast many more events in the coming year. This is a wonderful training opportunity for students to learn the art of broadcasting, and is a unique opportunity for all GVTV subscribers to view local events. Garden Valley is currently in the process of working with other area schools to provide a similar service. Stay tuned as additional local school and content channels become available.

Available events will be posted on Garden Valley’s Facebook page and website at

June 2016

More than 300 Attend Garden Valley's 111th Annual Meeting  

More than 300 persons, including 223 registered members, were in attendance at the 111th annual membership meeting of Garden Valley Telephone Company held at the Win-E-Mac School auditorium near Erskine on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.

As members registered and received their attendance gift, entertainment was provided by “The WoodPicks,” a northern Minnesota band specializing in Gospel, Bluegrass, Country and Americana music.  Members and guests were also treated to coffee and donuts prior to calling the business meeting to order.  The business meeting included reports from President Vernon Hamnes, Treasurer Joe Sandberg and General Manager Tim Brinkman. Jenna Tadych, one of the two students sponsored by Garden Valley to attend the FRS Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. in 2015, reported on her memorable trip. Retiring District 7 Director, Warren Larson, was recognized for his 24 years of service on the Board of Directors.  Garden Valley employees were also on hand to answer questions about the cooperative’s products and services.  Prizes were awarded and lunch was served following adjournment of the meeting.  The winner of the adult grand prize, a 40” HDTV, was Dolorose Bushy, of Mentor, and winning the children’s drawing for a 24” bicycle was Adeline Frisk, of McIntosh.

Directors Elected to Board
Directors Byron Ness (District 1—Beltrami, Fertile and Maple Bay exchanges) and Jim Ferden (District 4—McIntosh and Winger exchanges) were re-elected to serve on the cooperative's Board of Directors for the next three years.  Allen Paulson, of Shevlin, was elected to a 3-year term as Director for District 7, serving the Bagley, Minerva and Shevlin exchanges

Board NamesCorporate Officers
Following the June 7th annual meeting, Garden Valley's Board of Directors elected the following Directors to serve as officers of the cooperative:

  PRESIDENT                                                           SECRETARY
  Jerry Freitag                                                            Arlene Novak

VICE PRESIDENT                                                 TREASURER
    Byron Ness                                                          Jim Ferden

June 2016

Garden Valley Telephone Company Named Certified Gig-Capable Provider by NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association

Garden Valley has been recognized by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America, as a Certified Gig-Capable Provider for delivering gigabit broadband speeds and enabling technological innovation within Garden Valley’s service area.

As a Certified Gig-Capable Provider, Garden Valley joins a national campaign to build awareness and industry recognition of community-based telecom providers that have built communications networks capable of delivering Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, which is 100 times faster than those currently available in many U.S. households. Garden Valley also received tools to promote itself as a Gig-Capable Provider innovation within Garden Valley’s service area and will be recognized in NTCA media, on the NTCA website, and during association conferences and events.

“I applaud Garden Valley for its commitment to delivering the Internet’s fastest speeds—an accomplishment worthy of much praise considering the unique and challenging circumstances small, community-based telecommunications providers operate under every day in serving some of our country’s most rural and remote communities,” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. “By building a gigabit-capable network, Garden Valley has not only overcome these challenges, but also shattered conventional benchmarks for broadband speed to enable cutting-edge technologies that drive innovation and promote economic development in their communities, region and nationwide.”

To achieve certification, telecommunications companies must show that gigabit technology is currently commercially available within 95% of one or more exchanges within its serving territory and that such service can be provided without new trenching or stringing new aerial facilities. This statement must be confirmed by a letter from an engineering firm or other independent source involved in the company’s network planning, deployment or operation.

More information about the NTCA Gig-Capable Provider certification program is available at

May 2016

Garden Valley Partners with Fertile-Beltrami School

Garden Valley is excited to announce a partnership with the Fertile-Beltrami School, which is the second school Garden Valley has partnered with in its service area, to broadcast school and community events on a GVTV local content channel dedicated solely to the Fertile-Beltrami School. Channel 32 is now up and running. Garden Valley provided all the equipment Fertile-Beltrami needs to broadcast their events, and is in the process of working with additional area schools to provide the same service.

Fertile-Beltrami is using students to broadcast their events on Channel 32. This is a wonderful training opportunity for students; and is a unique opportunity for all GVTV subscribers to view events broadcast on all local content channels as they become available.

Available events will be posted on Garden Valley’s Facebook page and website.

February 2016



New District Representative | Jordan Cote

Garden Valley’s New District Representative Begins Serving Erskine, McIntosh & Mentor Exchanges
Jordan Cote, began his new duties on February 15 as Garden Valley Telephone Company’s District Representative, serving the Erskine, McIntosh and Mentor exchanges. Jordan replaces Al Salverson, who recently retired.

Jordan began work at Garden Valley as an Installer-Repairman in June 2008. Prior to joining Garden Valley, he worked for West Central Telephone in Sebeka and Polar Communications in Park River, ND. Jordan graduated with a degree in Telecommunications Engineering Technology from the Minnesota State Community and Technical College at Wadena.

As Garden Valley’s District Representative, Jordan looks forward to working with members in his area and providing the quality services everyone has come to expect from the cooperative.

February 2016

Garden Valley Partners with Win-E-Mac School

Garden Valley is excited to announce a partnership with the Win-E-Mac School to broadcast school and community events on a GVTV local content channel dedicated solely to the Win-E-Mac School. The local content channel can be found on the GVTV television system on Channel 30, which is now available to GVTV subscribers. 

As part of this program, Garden Valley provided all the equipment Win-E-Mac needs to broadcast their events, while Win-E-Mac will utilize students to broadcast their events on Channel 30. This is a wonderful training opportunity for students; and is a unique opportunity for all GVTV subscribers to view local events. Garden Valley is currently in the process of working with other area schools to provide a similar service. Eventually, broadcasts from each of the participating schools will be available to all GVTV customers. Stay tuned as additional local content channels become available. 

At this time, the School plans to broadcast all girls’ and boys’ varsity basketball games. Available events will be posted on Garden Valley’s Facebook page and website.

December 2015