Technology powering the BlackCat wins the 2017 National Science Foundation’s Hearable Challenge



The minds behind the BlackCat recently announced that their new product won the 2017 National Science Foundation’s Hearable Challenge.

Samplified Audio, led by industry veterans Mario Augustyniak and Mark Kaal, won the Challenge with their newest product called SnowOwl. SnowOwl is designed to give users a personalized audio experience by matching the sound to the users hearing profile, which is almost as unique as a fingerprint. Using the same Clementine Wear technology powers the BlackCat, SnowOwl can amplify sound where the user wants it  while canceling or filtering out noise from other directions.

Announced in April, the Hearables Challenge brought together several different groups to try to find innovative ways to understand speech in noisy situations that could be able to be implemented into consumer audio products. Interest in consumer audio products has been on the rise since the Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid Law was signed on August 18.

SnowOwl will launch on Indiegogo on September 6. If you want to experience Clementine Wear for yourself, but don’t want to wait for the Indiegogo campaign to finish, Hearing Revolution has BlackCats available for purchase right now. Call us at 877-426-0687 for more information.

Researchers may have found a way to regrow auditory hair cells



Researchers at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital may be close to discovering a way to reverse hearing loss.

In a study released on April 11, St. Jude announced that they had used genetic manipulation to regrow auditory hair cells in adult mice, giving hope that it might be possible to use the same treatment on humans one day.

Losing auditory hair cells is the leading cause of hearing loss in adults all over the world. You can lose these cells with prolonged exposure to loud noises, illness and due to several other factors. Currently, the hair cells don’t grow back once they are lost, leading to the need for hearing aids or cochlear implants.

To develop the new therapy, the researchers at St. Jude looked at fish and chicken, who can regenerate auditory hair cells. By manipulating the same genes in the mice that allow for regeneration in the other aforementioned species, researchers were able to grow new cells similar to the auditory hair cells.

While this breakthrough comes as some good news to hearing loss researchers, St. Jude, as well as other research institutions, are still looking to replicate other factors to help in the regeneration of auditory hair cells. There are still many other genes and proteins that researchers have recognized might help hearing loss, but not yet figured out how to make them work for the human body.

If you feel you are suffering from any hearing loss, don’t hesitate to call Hearing Revolution at (877) 426-0687 or visit hearingrevolution.com.

Signia unveils Pure 13 BT Primax, a hearing aid made specifically for iPhone



Today, Signia announced the latest addition to their hearing aid line up, the Pure 13 BT Primax, scheduled for release in May.

The new instrument offers some of Signia’s most innovative technology and will be the only hearing aid in Signia’s line-up that combines binaural audio exchange and direct streaming thanks to the e2e™ wireless 3.0 and Bluetooth wireless technology. The Pure 13 BT also offers better adaptability when the user is moving by connecting to an iPhone’s motion sensors via Bluetooth.

The Pure 13 BT runs on an updated primax star platform, which is compatible with TeleCare 2.0. This system lets hearing healthcare providers remotely modify hearing aid frequency. Provider can also access real-time data on the patient’s experiences in different settings through the myHearing App and make adjustments, saving both the provider and the patient multiple trips to the office.

The Pure will be available as a RIC model, offering advance technology in a discreet form factor. For more information on the Pure 13 BT and the revolutionary systems it use, check out the Signia website.

If you are interested in purchasing a hearing aid process, contact Hearing Revolution at (877) 426-0687.

Taxable property values to soar


Some Williams County residents will be getting a shock when they get their tax bill in the mail next year, and the Williams County Commission is not happy about it.

As residential and commercial prices have drastically risen in the area, residents have been forced to pay higher taxes on their property. Countywide, people can expect a minimum of 40 percent increases in the valuation of their properties, according to Director of Tax Equalization Shawna Gooch-Egge.

The increase comes due to the fact that a state statute says the county must assess property in North Dakota by 100 percent of its market value.

“This is going to be the toughest year since I’ve been here,” Gooch-Egge said at Tuesday’s Williams County Commission meeting. “The girls that have been (in the tax equalization department) for 30 years don’t remember increases like this ever.”

If the county doesn’t fall into the 90-100 percent range, the state will get involved, raising values to the proper levels.. The state will also cut funding to the county if it fails to comply with state regulations.

Gooch-Egge said that the county had never seen valuations over $500,000 before this year. This year, they are seeing values of over $900,000.

When asked by Commissioner Barry Ramberg if it would be better for the county to be in charge of the increases or for the state to step in, Gooch-Egge said that it would be in the best interest of the people for the county to get involved.

“When our office does it, everyone gets a letter in the mail about what’s going on with their property values if the values are increased 10 percent or more or $3,000 in value,” said Gooch-Egge. “If the state does it, they don’t have to notify anybody, so these people don’t know until they get their tax bill in December and that to me is not that way to do things.”

Gooch-Egge said that while she was not aware of any other counties having to deal with a 40 percent increase in valuation, Ward County saw the state step in and increase values to 100 percent a few years ago.

While tax increases may come due to the large valuations, people won’t see 40 percent increases on their tax bill. The bill also includes a mill levy which determines the amount of money each government entity budgets. As the valuations go up, the amount of money these entities get from the mill levy should go down, but the system is not always perfect.

With people on fixed incomes already having to leave their apartments due to rapid rises in rent prices, County Commission Chairman Dan Kalil said now the state will be forcing people under similar circumstances out of their homes.

“The state of North Dakota has moved everybody on a fixed income out of their apartments. Now they’re going to do it on their houses,” said Kalil.

Gooch-Egge also noted during Tuesday’s meeting that residential properties in Tioga are selling for almost double what they had been previously been assessed for.

Kalil said he was tempted to fight the state on this issue, citing that it has been to blame for many of the problems Williams County is currently facing.

“I’m tempted to say if the state wants that kind of assessment, make them come up here and get it,” said Kalil. “When are we going to draw the line with this? It’s the same damn thing we’re up to every meeting that we sit here. Everything we deal with is a symptom, and it’s a symptom because the Industrial Commission was handing out drilling permits like they were theater tickets. Everything we deal with, from property to roads, is because of the unregulated mess they have made in our county. When are we going to say enough?”

Martinez continues scoring ways with Cowboys


Luke Martinez was a star for the Williston State Tetons. In the 2009-10 season, Martinez’s sophomore year, he led the Tetons to a 25-7 record, ranking 25th in the NJCAA with 19.7 points, earning Second Team All-American honors.

When his time was up with the Tetons, he moved on to the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo.

The scenery may have changed, but his scoring ability hasn’t.

In two seasons with the Wyoming Cowboys, Martinez has averaged 12.1 points-per-game.

Last season, he won the MVP award of the Jim Thorpe Classic, a Thanksgiving tournament.

“I’m pretty steady with everything,” said Martinez in an interview with the Herald on Friday afternoon. “There’s always room for improvement, and I’m never satisfied with anything, so I’m always looking to make the next move and improve my game.”

With two years of NCAA eligibility left after leaving Williston State, Martinez suffered a broken left elbow that kept him out of the 2010-11 season.

Martinez said it was tough for him to sit out his first year with the Cowboys, but it also helped him get a grasp on the game.

“I thought I was ready at that time,” said Martinez. “It was devastating, but I looked at it as blessing in disguise. It was good to sit out a year and learn the system and what Division 1 basketball was actually like.”

Now with one full season under his belt, Martinez said the biggest difference between junior college basketball and D-1 basketball is the mental approach to the game.

“You have to be coming in prepared,” said Martinez. “First of all, knowing you can do it and are capable of doing it. After that, the physical part comes in. It’s very physical and a lot more fast paced than junior college.”

After grabbing the spotlight at Williston State, Martinez said he had a lot of offers from different colleges, but Wyoming felt like the best fit for him.

“I had a lot of low and mid-major programs contact me,” said Martinez. “When I heard from Wyoming, I kind of had my mind set.”

Martinez is in his final year of the social science program at Wyoming. He will graduate in the spring, and will weigh his options when deciding on what his next move will be.

“I’m wide open,” Martinez said. “I’m up for anything, and whatever comes my way, I’m going to grab that opportunity.”

Martinez was in action for the Cowboys Saturday night, scoring 13 points and grabbing nine rebounds in a 76-69 upset of the No. 19 Colorado Buffaloes in Laramie.

County may bring sales tax issue back


In the midst of an election that included a presidential race and the race for one of North Dakota’s open Senate seat, Williams County was dealt a surprising blow.

Williams County Measure No. 2012-01, which would have charged a half-cent sales tax, was defeated by a slim margin.

“It was intended to be used for infrastructure needs,” said Williams County Commissioner David Montgomery. “Our rural EMTs and fire services are getting so overwhelmed. Just the areas that we felt we weren’t getting all the help, and not being derogatory, from the state.”

The tax would have essentially replaced a tax that the people had already been paying, which was being used to fund improvements to the County Law Enforcement Center. That tax expired in October.

The county commission felt that the measure would pass. Commission Chair Dan Kalil said during Tuesday’s county commission meeting that he felt there was no reason to think that the measure wouldn’t come out favorably.

Montgomery said that the failure might have been the limited time Williams County had to promote the measure.

“We didn’t make the decision until October to put it on the ballot,” said Montgomery. “This is my opinion, but it wasn’t enough time to educate the people on the needs. Plus, I think there was a lot of confusion out there, that people thought it was on top of the half-cent tax that was used for the Law Enforcement Center. It one of those things that if and when it does come again, I think the people understand it and what it’s intended to be used for.”

Much like the rest of the county, the fire departments in Ray and Tioga have been hit hard by the oil boom. Montgomery said many of them have come to the commission looking for help.

“We’ve had some conversations with the EMTs in Tioga and Ray, and they’re getting hit really hard with all the man camps,” said Montgomery. “Tioga said they were losing 20-some thousand dollars in bad debt because people don’t have insurance to pay for it. It’s hard for anybody to lose that kind of money.”

While talks are in the very early stages, it was indicated at Tuesday’s meeting that almost all the people who work for the county would like to see the measure brought up again.

Montgomery said that he hoped it would happen, but he had no idea when it would come up again.

“I would tend to say that (the measure) probably will be (brought up again), I just don’t know when,” said Montgomery. “It’s so hard to say. We could wait until the Legislature is done, and see what happens there. We could put it on a vote for sometime in the spring.”

Despite the measure failing, there will be money coming in from the state to help assist with infrastructure. Montgomery said getting that money involves playing the waiting game.

“That’s probably not going to happen until the Legislature’s done,” said Montgomery. “Those ladies and gentlemen are going to have a fun, interesting and busy session because I’m sure everybody is going to be lining up for a piece of the pie. I would tend to believe we probably won’t know anything until they adjourn or well into the session.”

Montgomery said that no programs will be cut due to the measure failing to pass, and that there is still a lot of work around the county that needs to be done.

“We’ll just carry on as is,” said Montgomery. “As we all know, the roads are in tough shape, too.”

Montgomery also said that most of the money that would be generated wouldn’t come from the everyday shopper, but from the bigger companies in the area.

“The other thing that needed to be stressed to the public is that a lot of those tax dollars are paid by the companies who are using our roads, the oil companies,” said Montgomery. “Williston didn’t lead the state in sales tax because people are going to Walmart and Economart and places like that, it was all the goods that were coming into the county for the oil field. In my mind, it was a fair way of making those that use the services pay for them.”

Tea Party rallies its forces in Williston


The North Dakota Tea Party Caucus hosted rallies in seven different cities across the state on Monday.

A press release on the rallies said  the purpose of the rallies was to “bring concerned citizens of North Dakota together to express Constitutional solutions in what is the most important election in a generation.”

The rally in Williston was held at the Airport International Inn and hosted four speakers who voiced the anger many people feel toward the vast amount of inaction they have seen in the current administration. The speakers and also spoke of ways to try and change things in this country for the better.

The first speaker on Monday night was Cathy Cartier. Cartier is the vice chairman of Empower the Taxpayer, a non-profit organization, as well as the secretary-treasurer for her local GOP.

Cartier spoke on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and opened with a quote by Illinois state senate candidate Barbara Bellar describing the inadequacies of the healthcare system under President Obama.

Labeling Obamacare as a creation for the denial of treatment, Cartier said the act should have been called “The End of Your Life Options,” because it allows a panel to tell you if your terminal illness can be treated or not.

She also noted that Illegal immigrants are more free than U.S. citizens, because they will not be forced to pay for health care.

Many doctors have decided not to accept government healthcare and thereby will force many people to travel long distances just to get basic health care, she said.

To close out her speech, Cartier said that Obamacare is chiseling away at citizens’ liberty and free will, and the people should pray for our country, a common theme throughout the evening.

The next speaker was Justin LeBar from Tioga.

LeBar based his speech around the famous speech entitled “The Proper Role of Government” by former Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Benson.

LeBar argued that the current government had abandoned the Constitution of the Founding Fathers. The government is supposed to protect the rights of the people, and the people must reject the belief that a person’s rights come from the government.

The people can only grant the government the powers they have themselves, LeBar said.

The solution to the problems in the country is for the people to changes themselves, LeBar said.

“Things will not change for the better until we change for the better,” he said.

Next was Robert Harms, a lawyer from Bismarck who was the former council to the Governor’s office. Harms spoke on how to get the the Tea Party to become more effective.

Harms said the founding fathers debated for months before they finally came to agreement. The founding fathers eventually used reason and history to shape the Constitution. Harms said that the leadership of this country needed to be removed because they have failed to live up to the fundamental ideas of the founding fathers

The Senate must be removed, according to Harms, because they have not presented the country with a budget since 2007. He went on to say current North Dakota senator Kent Conrad was one of the big players in this problem.

To get the Tea Party to be more effective in these elections, Harms said that people must get educated on the issues and bring friends along to rallies to help get more people motivated.

The biggest way to be more effective, according to Harms, was to stop all the name calling that goes on in the current political atmosphere.

The final speaker Monday night was Mark Skogerboe, a radio host in Tioga, Constitutional scholar and self-described “Freedom Poet.” He is also the author of a book called Three-fold Plan To Save America.

Skogerboe was the most fiery and passionate of the speakers and got things started by calling President Obama an evil man and accusing him of hating the United States.

Skogerboe also said that President Obama was impeachable on at least 10 different levels, and the agenda of the Obama presidency was aggressively Atheist, Socialist and Communist.

The current leadership is unfit to lead, Skogerboe said, because they don’t know what it’s like to fight and sacrifice everything like the founding fathers did.

Skogerboe urged the audience to find a candidate that best supports the Constitution and then support them with time and money. He also said the audience should pray, because the American people have a battle on their hands.

“We are at war, and we are losing,” Skogerboe said. “We have a government that hates wealth and hates success.”