‘I can hear you!’

March 2nd, 2018

NEWSPAPER STORY:  Our client, Beltone Carolina/Virginia was featured in a story about giving the gift of hearing to their patient Virginia Walters.



By: By Gavin Stone – Staff Writer

ROCKINGHAM — Immediately after the birth of her daughter in 1996, Virginia Walters noticed a problem: She couldn’t hear her baby crying.

She remembers it getting “really loud” in the hospital room just prior, and demanded her husband find out if the baby was breathing at all. But the baby was fine — it was Walters’ hearing that was the problem.

“There’s nothing more important than hearing your child cry — nothing,” Walters, 55, said. “If I could bring that moment back, I would raise her all over again.”

It was 13½ hours before she would hear her daughter cry for the first time, a delay that she won’t let happen again when her grandchild is born this October. This time, she’ll have her new hearing aids courtesy of the Beltone Hearing Care Foundation which donated the devices after she and Eric Hanse, a hearing instrument specialist with Beltone in Rockingham, wrote a letter detailing her struggles.

“I will not miss that cry,” she said after adjusting to the new aids Thursday afternoon.

Ever since her daughter’s birth it’s sounded like she’s underwater. Her own voice, those of her loved ones, the music at church, the chirps of her canary, Petey, have been muffled for 22 years.

Two months ago, after she realized that she could no longer take care of her family without being able to hear them, Walters — a Bennettsville, South Carolina, resident and West Virginia-native — walked into Hanse’s office for a consultation. Hanse said she had “significant” hearing loss, and that she was having to do extra work in conversation to compensate. She could never afford to buy quality hearing aids which cost thousands.

“You put the needs of your children before your own,” Walters said.

Hanse decided to try to find an alternative. The Beltone Hearing Care Foundation is a 501c3 charitable organization that donates hearing aids to those in need but are without the means to pay for them. This was the first donation the foundation has made in Rockingham.

“She has truly shown me what it means to have a loss (of hearing) and the total impact it can have on your life,” Hanse wrote in a letter to the foundation. “A person can read all about the impact of a disability but to truly grasp the impact, you have to look into their eyes. That is what I did with Mrs. Walters.”

Her impairment forced her to rely on lip-reading in conversation and putting her foot up against the speakers at church to know when the key of the music changed. She considers herself a people person who loves hearing what others have to say.

“Your hearing is special. If you can’t hear those three words (I love you), you have to lip read and you better hope you get it right — otherwise, there goes that special relationship,” Walters said.

At her job as a registrar at the hospital, she said patients are “forced to scream” their personal information to her which she worries will violate federal privacy laws if someone were to hear. At worst, she fears getting the information wrong and endangering the patient.

When she arrived at Hanse’s office shortly after noon on Thursday, she stopped in the doorway as if she’d reached the end of a long journey and said, “I’m scared to death.”

Hanse and Walters embraced in the lobby. “I told you I was going to help,” he said, while she nodded, emotional. “You have waited long enough.”

She said she had been up since 2 a.m. the night before, unable to sleep. Once in his office, Hanse opened a box revealing the two small pods with wires hanging off of them that would change her life. Once the hearing aids were in place and turned on, with Walters anxiously waiting for the first noise, she caught back-chatter from the hallway and jumped, “I can hear you!”

Walters’ emotions were too much for her and she began to cry tears of joy. Hanse spoke to her softly, “This is real.”

“You’re telling me,” she replied. “And you’re not even shouting.”

Hanse walked out in the hallway about 20 feet away and spoke at the same volume he was when they were two feet away — she heard him without any hesitation. The right-side hearing aid died at one point, but Hanse gave Walters a spare. The batteries cost about $1 each, and last four to eight days, depending on usage.

Thinking of the possibilities, Walters said she wanted to return to Niagra Falls with her family to hear the thunder of the water, and also remembered that she would need to turn her car’s radio down a few notches.

The hearing aids are able to connect to Walters’ iPhone which will allow her to control the volume of her hearing aids, as well as play music and FaceTime directly through them.

“What we’ve managed to do is connect her back to her life and the conversations she’s wanted to be in,” Hanse said.

He took a moment to reflect on his career as Walters prepared to leave. He said he never knew what he wanted to do in life, but knew he wanted to make people happy.

“Your smile is my salaray today,” Hanse said.

Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or gstone@yourdailyjournal.com.

Donation restores mother’s hearing

By Gavin Stone

Staff Writer

Eric Hanse, a hearing instrument specialist with Beltone in Rockingham, puts in Virginia Walters’ new hearing aids that were donated to her by the Beltone Hearing Care Foundation.
Virginia Walters reacts to the first sounds she heard with her new hearing aids in on Thursday at the Beltone office in Rockingham.

Hearing Specialist and Beltone Bestow Gift of Auditory Clarity to Deserving Patient

March 2nd, 2018

NEWSPAPER STORY:  Our client, Beltone Carolina/Virginia was featured in a story about giving the gift of hearing to their patient Virginia Walters.



Hearing Aid Recipient Virginia Walters stands between Crystal Davis and Hearing Specialist Eric Hense

Photo by C.K. Craven

Hearing Aid Recipient Virginia Walters stands between Crystal Davis and Hearing Specialist Eric Hanse

Written by

ROCKINGHAM – Through a special limited program, Beltone and Hearing Specialist Eric Hanse have partnered to deliver the joy of hearing to a deserving local resident.  The fitting was scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 1st, at the Beltone Hearing Center in Rockingham at 1210-B Rockingham Road.


Hearing Care Practitioner Helps His Patient Receive The Gift Of Hearing.

Eric Hanse, a board certified hearing instrument specialist with Beltone in Rockingham, N.C., loves what he does for a living. This is because he gets to make a difference in his patients’ lives every day which is incredibly rewarding.

There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for his patients and that includes going above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to helping someone in need. That someone in need is Virginia Walters, 55 of Bennettsville, who is Hanse’s patient and is in desperate need of new hearing aids but unfortunately cannot afford them.

Hanse told Walters about the Beltone Hearing Care Foundation and said he would happily apply on her behalf to see if they could assist.

The Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, donates hearing aids to those who are in need and are unable to access them. Both individuals and organizations are eligible to receive assistance from the Foundation through direct nominations to Beltone or at one of its 1,500 locations across North America.

“This Foundation gives us a new path to achieve this mission by helping deserving individuals and organizations in their communities enrich their quality of life through better hearing,” states Michael Andreozzi, CEO of Beltone Carolina/Virginia.

Accompanying the application he submitted, Hanse wrote a very emotional letter to the Foundation to see if he could get Walters approved for a new set of hearing aids.

In his letter Hanse stated, “I met a woman in Rockingham that is in desperate need of help. Her name is Virginia Walters. As I was talking to her and she was explaining her struggles and desperation for help, I knew her story was one of true need. She has truly shown me what it means to have a loss and the total impact it can have on your life. A person can read all about the impact of a disability but to truly grasp the impact, you have to look into their eyes. That is what I did with Mrs. Walters.”

“She is suffering and losing hope. For the majority of Virginia’s adult life, she has had a hearing impairment. As a mother, she would move mountains for her children and husband before her own.  As an employee, she is now risking her job due to her hearing impairment. She works at the hospital in Richmond County as a Registrar. The patients have to talk extremely loud in order for her to be able to hear their personal information. She has extreme pain and sorrow in her eyes as she wants to be the best mother, wife, grandmother, and employee she can be and due to her hearing impairment at this point, she is unable to be her best. She has used all of her resources and financial means on her family and now is unable to purchase hearing aids. The only way we can do right by her is to help her in the way that she helps others. The woman is very deserving of our care and love and also deserving of the hope of improved hearing and quality of life.”

Walters herself added, “Unless you’ve walked in my shoes and felt the embarrassment or aggravation of trying to hear and effectively communicate with people, friends, or family.”

“Unless you have had life’s most precious moments ripped from you only by not being able to hear good, such as a grandchild coming up to you and having something very exciting to say or hear the first cry of your newborn child.”

“Unless you’ve had a life altering event take place in your life; such as a such as a new career placed within your grasp only to have it placed in jeopardy because of a mistake created by not being able to effectively hear the patient or the instructions of a doctor for a family member after coming home from the hospital from a heart attack—you can’t possibly know how I feel about my hearing.”

“I have come to realize, even though I may have dedicated my life to making sure my children and my husband had everything they needed, I now realize, this cannot be accomplished if I can’t hear them correctly.”

“We are thrilled to be able to help Virginia Waltersobviously a person who is truly deserving and who needed our assistance in a huge way,” states Andreozzi.

“We are also happy to have played an important role in changing her life for the better.  That’s what Beltone is all about.”

Throughout its 78-year history, Beltone has helped enrich the quality of life for countless hearing-impaired individuals in the United States and around the world. By combining new technologies and superior care, the Beltone Hearing Care Foundation will give more people the opportunity to hear. For more information, please visit www.beltone.com.

For further information or to set up an interview, please contact:

Nelson Hudes, Hudes Communications International  1 (646) 727-7197



With Hanse’s help, and with Walters’ emotional plea herself, she was approved by the Foundation and was subsequently fitted with her new hearing aids on Thursday, March 1st, at 12:30 p.m. at the Beltone Hearing Center, 1210-B Rockingham Road, Rockingham, NC.

Jackpot Blitz Will Revolutionize The Gaming Industry!

December 21st, 2017

MAGAZINE STORY:  Our Client, Jake Kalpakian, CEO of Jackpot Digital was featured in a story in Business In Vancouver Magazine. 




Vancouver Company deals poker dealers out of game.

Jackpot Blitz digital table could lower casino operating costs, company claims

Jackpot Digital’s electronic poker table dispenses with physical cards, chips and dealers | Submitted
Technology developed by Vancouver-based Jackpot Digital Inc. (TSX-V:JP) aims to revolutionize the way people gamble.Working from an idea first created by U.S. gambling company Pokertek, the Canadian firm, which has been developing software for the casino industry for years, has developed its own digital poker table.

The Jackpot Blitz table is completely automated. All functions associated with a poker game are replicated on an 84-inch touch screen. No dealer, cards or chips are required.

Adding to the electronic poker platform’s departure from the traditional form of the game, the company announced earlier this month that it had signed a letter of intent that will allow cryptocurrencies to be used with the product.

“I think [Jackpot Blitz] has a very good chance of changing the landscape of gaming,” said Jackpot Digital president and CEO Jake Kalpakian.

“The key is to make the gameplay feel like you are playing with a real deck of cards: you can cusp the cards, hold the cards, fold the cards, the noises – it all simulates a real poker game.”

A demonstration video shows how players can swipe their fingers on the table toward themselves, causing the digital cards on the screen to flip up, replicating the real-life action of checking one’s hand.

The table also emits sounds associated with live play in a casino.

Another selling point of the table is that players can perform multiple functions while waiting for a turn.

“If I am sitting out of hand, I can order my food or drinks and the menu is on the table, I could play blackjack, I could play baccarat, I could bet on horses, I could bet on sports, I could do so many different functions,” Kalpakian said.

Jackpot Blitz has received a patent and, after generating interest at the table’s unveiling during the Canadian Gaming Summit in June, the company is accepting orders for units. The table was shortlisted for the Global Gaming Awards in the land-based innovation category.

The tables, which each cost about $25,000 to make, are manufactured at a facility in Burnaby.

According to the company, the software behind the product cost millions of dollars and 17 years to develop.

Jackpot Digital’s back-end software creates reports for gaming operators to track profits and rake totals and measure industry metrics.

According to Kalpakian, the rising cost of wages and benefits for casino employees is a strong motivation for gambling operators to go digital.

“If you talk to a casino, especially smaller or mid-size guys, they can’t staff a full poker staff,” Kalpakian said. “It is very difficult to keep people on salary.”

B.C. is home to 17 casinos and 18 community gaming centres, and more than 37,000 people are employed through B.C.’s gambling industry, according to the provincial government.

Jackpot Digital employs about 20 people at its headquarters on Granville Street in downtown Vancouver.


Mark Allred Can Hear Again thanks to Beltone

December 15th, 2017

TV STORY:  Our Client, Beltone Carolina/Virginia was featured in a story about giving the gift of Hearing to their patient Mark Allred


Peter Shankman says ADHD is A Gift!

December 14th, 2017

TV INTERVIEW:  Peter Shankman on Global TV’s “THE MORNING SHOW discussing his new book, “FASTER THAN NORMAL


Man Who Cares For His Elderly Mother Receives New Hearing Aids from Beltone

December 6th, 2017

TV STORY:  Our client, Beltone New England was featured in a story about giving the gift of hearing to their patient Daniel Bartenstein.


Peter Shankman says, ” If you have ADHD, you’re not broken, “YOU’RE GIFTED”

November 30th, 2017



Faster Than Normal Is A Must Read !

November 29th, 2017




Jake Kalpakian of Jackpot Digital on bringing you the best poker experience ever.

November 24th, 2017

ONLINE STORY:  Our Client, Jake Kalpakian, CEO of Jackpot Digital was featured in a story on Casinopedia.org.



With the rise of a millennial audience and an increasing love for all things digital among players, casinos and developers are increasingly looking at new technology to refresh the games that we know and love. Once such company is Jackpot Digital, which recently launched an innovative new dealerless electronic poker table, known as jackpot Blitz.

And while it remains to be seen just how the global poker audience reacts to the lack of a dealer and playing with electronic cards, it’s hard not to admit that the new tables look pretty cool. To find out more about just what you can expect when they hit the casinos we spoke exclusively to Jake Kalpakian, founder and CEO of Jackpot Digital.

CASINOPEDIA: How do you think poker players will react to the innovative new dealerless tables?

JAKE: That’s the central question that everyone wants to understand, and why electronic table poker has not worked up to now. It’s true that most people would rather play with a dealer, real cards and so on, but, what we wanted to simulate the electronic poker experience with our product so it’s as if you were really playing with real cards and chips.

jackpot digital poker table
Jackpot Digital’s electronic poker table may be dealerless, but you can still hold your cards, bend them and get down to the fine art of winning at poker

For instance, when the cards are dealt to you, you can ‘bend’ and ‘hold’ them, even though they are digital – you hold them as if you were holding real cards. Of course, you’re playing with real people, but it also simulates the chips, cards and more. Everything we’ve incorporated into the gameplay tries to simulate a real table game as much as possible, and it’s taken some really advanced technology to do so.

So far, people who’ve been playing it feel like they are actually playing at a live table, although there is no dealer. One thing we have noticed is that, when you go to a live table venue people are playing on their iPads online in between hands – they want action so they don’t get bored. With this table you can bet on blackjack, baccarat, horses or sports while waiting and order food and drinks. It gives players constant simulation.

“Everything we’ve incorporated into the gameplay tried to simulate a real table game as much as possible”

Of course, it will never replace the dealer, because some people will always prefer a ‘real’ dealer but the gap has shrunk significantly, and that’s twofold. Firstly, the gameplay feels like you are at a real table. Secondly, there are so many things to do to keep your interest.

This particular product is ideal for small and medium-sized casinos or specialty venues like racetracks or cruise ships. They might not necessarily be able to provide a full-time poker offering or staff a full poker room, so this table gives the flexibility not to have that but still offer great poker to players.

CASINOPEDIA: What about the social aspect? How do you think players will approach getting around a table without a dealer?

JAKE: Absolutely, you hit it right on the head. Tables have a social aspect to them. You’re playing with other people – of course – and you also get the benefits of speed, reliability, and efficiency from the operators’ perspective. We wanted to make the table player friendly so that players universally adopt the game, the table and the technology. It was all about simplifying it.

jackpot Digital
The table is truly player friendly, and is designed to encourage social activity during gameplay

Alongside speed and efficiency, we wanted that simplicity so that players could understand and play the game without too much training. The game is very intuitive. When you sit down you see all your options, they are spelled out carefully for you so you don’t feel intimidated. At the same time, you’re playing with other people and getting the social aspect of the game.

The biggest comment we’ve had so far is that it’s a perfect combination of the social entertainment of playing with other people while, at the same time, not having to worry about certain nuances of the game. Everything is very simple if you are a novice player. If you are a professional, you’re able to do all the things you can do on a regular table – straddles, special bets, you can move the seats, etc.

“Tables have a social aspect to them… We wanted to make the table player friendly so that players universally adopt the game, the table and the technology”

 How can players be sure that cards dealt by the electronic system are truly completely random and that games aren’t rigged in some way?

JAKE: The product still has to go through GLA testing, which is the industry benchmark standard, where they investigate the Random Number Generator and all the payout ratios and so on. It still goes through regulatory testing just like any other gaming product, whether it is a slot machine or a casino table game. It doesn’t matter what product it is, they all have to undergo regulatory testing.

Software will be tested, payouts will be tested, electronic capabilities and more. Every single aspect is tested by third party verification; it has to go through stringent government regulations so, there is no issue in terms of fair play.

If you’re in a licensed jurisdiction, our product has to meet those regulatory requirements. There is always some type of standard in any licensed jurisdiction, so no one should worry about the integrity of the game.

CASINOPEDIA: As you’ve emphasized, these tables offer a nice alternative for those casinos who can’t maintain a full-scale poker operation with human dealers. What about your company – do you plan on selling these tables, renting them out, or working out a different type of a compensation model?

JAKE: It’s a revenue share. We license the products for the revenue share. There are certain jurisdictions where we can’t take a portion of the wins, but we have to take a set monthly fee, which is fine as well. Old tables, current tables that are in the market place, we sell those. So, if there is a group that wants to buy older tables, we’ll sell those outright. But as far as the Jackpot Blitz games are concerned, we do licensing where it’s permissible, and where it’s not we do a set fee.

CASINOPEDIA: In your opinion, how much will technology change the general gambling and poker landscape change in the coming years? What can players expect to see coming out from companies such as yours?

JAKE: Electronic table games are taking up more and more floor space in casinos, even in larger ones. Players have more options to play, different variety of games and faster gameplay. People are increasingly comfortable playing these games because, as I mentioned, in licensed jurisdictions they go through a stringent verification process.

Jackpot Digital
Electronic gaming tables are, according to Jake, becoming increasingly popular on casino floors

I think players are looking for speed and entertainment, and they don’t necessarily have to have a dealer in front of them. There’s always going to be people that like to have dealers so they can talk to them and just feel better with the human element. However, with millennials, the age of the internet and people adopting and embracing technology, players are becoming more comfortable with games like ours.

As long as they are in a social environment with their friends, and they have the regular fun environment of the casino people don’t mind sitting at the table playing with or against each other, and doing it through technology.

“Electronic table games are taking up more and more floor space in casinos, even in larger ones”

Quite frankly, electronic table games are one of the few bright areas in casino gaming where it’s actually growing and taking more and more floor space – I expect them to at least come close to taking half the market share of regular table games. For the operator, it’s equally interesting – they get more games offered to players, they make more money and the games are faster and more efficient.

I think it is a trend that’s going to continue and we hope to capitalize on that by building the best poker experience you can have.




Beltone Makes A Difference. Another Patient Can Now Hear Again !

November 16th, 2017

TV STORY:  Our Client, Beltone New England was featured in a story about giving the gift of Hearing to their patient Tina Trematerra.