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Forum Communications Co., Published June 15 2012

Landline phone service restored in Jamestown area

JAMESTOWN, N.D. — A severed data line east of Jamestown caused communication problems for the Jamestown area Thursday.

A Century Link fiber line was cut at 11:27 a.m. about 10 miles west of Valley City near where N.D. Highway 1 meets Interstate 94 from the north, causing landline telephone problems in the region, said Robin Anderson, marketing manager with Dakota Central Telecommunications.

Carrie Amann, spokesperson for Century Link, said the cable was repaired by 6:30 p.m. She said the cable was cut by a construction crew working in the area. She said Century Link customers in Jamestown and Valley City were affected.

Amann said cable problems like this happen more often in summer because of increased instances of digging by construction crews and property owners. She said it’s important for anyone planning on doing some digging to call 811 beforehand to arrange for underground cables to be marked.

Because of the severed line, many Jamestown-area residents could not make calls from landline phones, while calls between cellphones were still able to connect.

Todd Volk, assistant Stutsman County emergency manager and 911 coordinator, said 911 calls from cellphones were immediately rerouted to State Radio in Bismarck and landline 911 calls were answered in Jamestown by using other seven-digit emergency lines that were dispersed to the public.

Stutsman County learned of the fixed fiber optic cable line at 6:44 p.m. Thursday.

Volk said he was not aware of exactly how widespread the outages were beyond Stutsman County.

The severed line also affected some area businesses, including Regis Salon in the Buffalo Mall.

“We’re not able to use our credit card machines and we’ve been very slow today because people haven’t been able to call and make appointments,” said Raime Anderson, hair stylist. “Not too many people carry cash or check now either.”

Customers at Kmart were still shopping Thursday, but the wait for those using plastic was longer than normal.

Every transaction using a credit card required a cellphone call to the credit card company, said Joni Dalke, store manager.

“I just appreciate the fact that the customers have been extremely patient with it,” Dalke said.

Customers also showed patience at White’s Home Décor, according to Emily Wolff, store manager.

“People were pretty understanding and they paid with cash or check,” Wolff said.

Credit cards still worked at both Jamestown grocery stores.

“We’re business as usual,” said Dave Borseth, Hugo’s manager.

While credit cards worked at Coborn’s, gift cards and EBT cards did not. Business still remained steady.

“We haven’t been able to make or take phone calls, which has affected our customer service,” said Josh Vraa, Coborn’s store manager.