deafweekly

 

May 13, 2009
Vol. 5, No. 1

Editor: Tom Willard

Deafweekly is an independent news report for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community that is mailed to subscribers every Wednesday and available to read at www.deafweekly.com. Please visit our website to read current and back issues, sign up for a subscription and advertise. Deafweekly is copyrighted 2009 and any unauthorized use, including reprinting of news, is prohibited. Please support our advertisers; they make it possible for you to receive Deafweekly.



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TROUBLED SCHOOLS
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FUNDING SLASHED IN SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA

The Pennsylvania Department of Education announced last Friday that the high school and residential programs at the 129-year-old Scranton State School for the Deaf will end after the 2009-10 school year. The Times-Tribune reported that the school's operations will be taken over in late June by the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, whose administrators will then oversee a three-year transition to a permanent kindergarten to 8th-grade program in Scranton. With high school being phased out and half of the school's 91 students living on campus, those who choose to attend WPSD's campus in Pittsburgh will face a five-hour bus ride twice a week across the state. The slash in funding, proposed by Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, will save up to $2 million next year out of a state budget of $61.7 billion.

SOUTH DAKOTA SCHOOL PROJECTS CLASS OF 16

South Dakota lawmakers voted recently to continue funding the South Dakota School for the Deaf, but a deal made two weeks ago may leave them with no choice but to close the school. According to the Argus Leader, the Brandon Valley Board of Education signed a deal with the Board of Regents to take over the deaf school's auditory-oral program and educate its 12 students at the new Fred Assam Elementary School four miles east of SDSD. The move leaves the school, which had more than 130 students at its peak in the 1970s, with a projected fall enrollment of 16 students. Critics said it was all part of a plan to shut down the school and take over its 14-acre, $10 million campus.

STUDENTS STAGE PROTEST IN WEST VIRGINIA

The West Virginia School for the Deaf suspended 26 students last week for camping out in the school's multipurpose room and refusing to return to class. According to the Associated Press, the students felt their needs were being ignored and demanded improvements in the cafeteria, dormitories and gymnasium. Superintendent Patsy Shank agreed to meet with students this week to clear the air.

ARKANSAS SUPPORTERS RALLY AT STATE CAPITOL

A rally last Monday at the state capitol in Little Rock, Ark. brought together about 185 parents, teachers, students, alumni and supporters of the Arkansas School for the Deaf. The group has been trying to arrange a meeting with the school board to discuss "ongoing issues" with Superintendent Marcella Dalla Rosa, reported KARK-4 News, but the board has refused to discuss the superintendent. In a written response from the Attorney General's office, teachers and their attorneys were told, "If the board decides to hear input on this issue, they will issue guidance on the process they intend to follow."

SCHOOL CLOSING PROMPTS SEARCH FOR NEW HOME

A board decision to close several schools in Colorado Springs, Colo. will leave 17 students in the district's elementary Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program temporarily without a home, said The Gazette. More than 8,000 students will have to change schools in the fall, but there is disagreement about where the deaf students should go. The school board voted in February to move the program to Stratton Elementary School, but complaints from Stratton parents and staff have forced a second look. One official said Stratton is the best choice because it shares a campus with a middle school that also houses a deaf program, but an opponent presented a slide show of crowded conditions at the school. With at least three board members favoring other schools, another vote was set for May 20.

COLLEGE AXES DEAF PROGRAM TO SAVE MONEY

A 25-year-old program at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, Mass., that helps deaf students become more proficient in reading, writing and English grammar may be coming to an end, said The Eagle Tribune. An "extraordinarily challenging budget" forced the decision to cut the English Language Cluster program, said an NECC official, leaving 15 students out in the cold. The classmates held a seven-hour rally two weeks ago, wearing T-shirts with slogans, selling baked goods to raise money and gathering more than 170 signatures on a petition. "We can't just sit idly by," said rally organizer Sumit Malik, 20.


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The long awaited coda Cruise...!!!

This is a chance for us to gather and share our stories not only with ourselves but with our loved ones... Codas of all ages and their Deaf parents are welcome! "Odas (...of deaf adults), including dodas, godas, sodas, wodas ... are welcomed here to share their stories and expereinces and relate to others who have had the same.

We will have many activities that help us to learn and share in a fun family-oriented atmosphere.

Workshops, panel discussions, and performances that include you. The Workshops will be led by Arlene Malinowski, "Storytelling", and Alan Marcus, "Codas and their spouses". We will have workshops for both children and adults. The performance will be emceed by Keith Wann and have an open stage for you to come and share your hilarious stories. A children's show will also be led by Keith and Arlene. The panel discussion will be a great time for Deaf parents with young codas to ask questions...

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A ny questions email Jen@ASLcruise.com

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NATIONAL
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FUNERAL OF WOMAN, TWO SONS DRAWS LARGE CROWD

More than 1,000 people attended a funeral April 1 in Washington, D.C. for Erika Peters, 37, and her sons Erik Harper, 11, and Dakota Peters, 10. Peters, described by the Washington Post as a deaf community leader "and a dancer who went from New York's Apollo Theater to an inaugural event for President Obama," and her sons were killed March 21. Boyfriend Joseph R. Mays, 44, has been arrested for the murders in a case that has brought renewed attention to domestic violence. Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty, who called for more education and involvement on police, social service and community levels, said at the funeral, "It doesn't get any more tragic than this."

VIDEO DEATH THREATS LEAD TO BOY'S ARREST

A deaf juvenile male was arrested by New York City police April 15 and charged with using a video phone to threaten the life of a 10-year-old girl at the New York School for the Deaf in Greenburg. The eighth-grader, who brandished what appeared to be a handgun, was charged with harassment and menacing after the Norwalk (Conn.) Police Department was alerted by the girl's mother, who had intervened in the video call. Investigators obtained the boy's name from Sorenson Communications, which initially refused to release the information until police obtained a court order. Officials are withholding the boy's name and age, said The Hour, due to his status as a minor.

JUDGE SETTLES DOGFIGHT OVER $500,000 BEQUEST

A legal battle over a $500,000 bequest ended in disappointment for San Francisco's Hearing Dog Program when a San Mateo (Calif.) County judge ruled April 28 that the funds belonged to the San Francisco SPCA and Canine Companions for Independence. The money had been earmarked for the SPCA's hearing dog program, said SFWeekly, but the agency ended that program last year and some staff members left to form the new Hearing Dog Program. Judge Rosemary Pfeiffer ruled in favor of the SPCA, however, because the agency met the definition of having "a program." SPCA spokeswoman Tina Ahn said her colleagues were "delighted" with the outcome, while plaintiffs said they weren't sure if they would pursue an appeal.

CREDIT UNION SUED FOR REJECTING RELAY CALLS

A California credit union charged with refusing to accept relay calls from deaf customers was the target of a class-action lawsuit filed in Alameda County by the non-profit Disability Rights Advocates. KeyPoint Credit Union engaged in "systemic civil rights violations" that went against state and federal anti-discrimination laws, said the DRA in court papers. "As a credit union serving high-technology worker," DRA director Larry Paradis told All Headline News, "KeyPoint should have embraced this technology long ago."

FLORIDA BOY, 12, HIT, INJURED BY CAR

Police in Daytona Beach, Fla. said an unidentified 12-year-old boy who was hit by a car last Friday just before 5 p.m. is deaf. "Some witnesses said the boy ran out into the street," said Sgt. Robert Rhoulhac in the News-Journal. "Others said the car was going too fast.. It's hard to tell." The boy was hospitalized with head trauma and a broken ankle and leg, and the driver, unidentified by police, may be facing charges.

BURGLARY SUSPECT LEAVES DEAF HELPERS BEHIND

A man allegedly burglarizing an auto shop in London Grove, Pa. fled when police arrived and left two deaf accomplices behind, reported the Pottstown Mercury News. Officers found Christopher Hagerty and Christopher Finnerfrock hiding near a fence outside Ginn's Motor Shop, and Finnerfrock implicated Timothy Michael Adams, 26, in the failed burglary. Adams, whose case is pending, was in court May 1 on unrelated charges, while Hagerty, 28, and Finnerfrock, 29, both pleaded guilty to burglary and are awaiting sentencing.

VERMONT'S TOP DEAF ADVOCATE TO BE LAID OFF

Carrie Foster, who helps deaf and hard-of-hearing Vermonters like herself obtain services from the Agency of Human Resources, is one of more than 300 state workers scheduled to be laid off over the next few weeks. Her position was created four years ago, Foster told the Barre Montpelier Times Argus, after many years of advocacy by the deaf community. "If this position is eliminated," said Foster, "who will go to bat for them?" State commissioner Joan Senecal said the situation was "very difficult," but workers in the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation would pick up the slack.

HEALTHCARE MILESTONE EYED IN WISCONSIN

Wisconsin "could be first to require cochlear implants," said a headline in an Associated Press article of April 23. But don't worry, the state doesn't plan to force its deaf residents to get CIs. Instead, the report indicated that private insurance companies would be required to cover cochlear implants, hearing aids and other treatment for children with severe hearing problems up to age 18. Some Republicans and business groups oppose the measure because of its costs, but the bill passed in the Senate and the Assembly April 23, and Gov. Jim Doyle has promised to sign it into law.

SOUTH AFRICAN LEADER TO ADDRESS GALLAUDET GRADS

Gallaudet University will honor Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen, the first deaf person elected (in 1999) to the South African Parliament, at the university's 140th commencement ceremony this Friday in Washington. Newhoudt-Druchen will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from Gallaudet President Robert Davila and address the Class of 2009. The South African leader prepared for her career by earning a social work degree from Gallaudet in 1992, and returned to earn a master's in 2005. Ursula Bellugi, Knud Sondergaard and Roberto Wirth will also receive honorary degrees, said a university news release.


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INTERNATIONAL
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CANADIAN MAN SENTENCED FOR ROLE IN KILLING

Canadian Anthony Medwid, 20, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for his role in the March 2007 murder of Brian Wainman, 27, who was deaf. Medwid, of Brampton, Ont., was found guilty of manslaughter in November and sentenced last week by Justice Bonnie Wein, who said the evidence showed that he had repeatedly stabbed Wainman. Medwid was joined in the attack by Corey Martin, who pleaded guilty in September and is now serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole for 13 years. The judge said Medwin was intoxicated and didn't intend to commit murder, said the Toronto Star, and Medwid told the court he was "very sorry and very remorseful" for what happened.

MOTORIZED RACING SHUT DOWN AT POPULAR CANADIAN CAMP

The Ontario Camp of the Deaf has been hosting ATV, dirt bike and off-road driving competitions for more than 10 years, said ATV Quad News, but last month camp owner Derek Rumball received a letter from Seguin Township reminding him of a zoning bylaw that does not allow motorized racing anywhere in the township. Town officials acted after receiving complaints from neighbors about noise and traffic around the dirt track, which was named last year's favorite by Canadian Motorsports Racing Club. Neighbor Bev Burnham, who witnessed "dozens and dozens of trailers hauling off-road vehicles," said she was glad the bylaw was finally being enforced but "wishes it could have happened sooner."

WOMAN FREED AFTER 28-MONTH JAIL WAIT

A 20-year-old deaf woman caught stealing a laptop in Manila, Philippines spent more than two years in jail without being charged because no one could communicate with her. The unidentified woman, jailed since January 2007, was finally ordered released by Judge Arlene Dato in late April, said GMA News. The woman cannot speak and does not know sign language, said Dato, leaving the court with no way to arraign her and hampering her right to a speedy trial. Jail officials now face the problem of "who to turn the deaf-mute over," said the report, "as she has no known family or address."

UNIVERSITY, DEAF SCHOOL TEAM UP ON DIPLOMA COURSE

A university in India is teaming up with a school for the deaf to provide a week-long diploma course in animal husbandry, fishery, dairy and dairy products. The joint project between the Maharashtra Animal and Fishery Sciences University (Mafsu) and the Deaf and Dumb Industrial Institute at Shankar Nagar aims to provide self-employment and sustainable livelihood for deaf people in rural areas, said The Times of India. "Managing animals, birds and fishes gives a feeling of general well-being," said Mafsu veterinary dean P S Lonka, "as it sends positive signals to the person's mind."

DEAF DRIVING SCHOOL LAUNCHED IN ENGLAND

The Norwich (England) Evening News reported this week on a driving school for the deaf, launched by Graham Briggs in 2007, that conducts classes in British Sign Language. Seven deaf drivers have passed their tests through the BSL Driving School and three more are currently enrolled, including 23-year-old Donna Vallis. She has been studying for more than three years but cannot take the road test until she passes the written test. Briggs said Vallis has tried more than 10 times, but the written test "is particularly difficult for deaf people whose first language is sign language."

TEEN LOOKS INTO FUTURE, WINS TOP PRIZE

Helen Thomas, a deaf teenager from Eggbuckland, Plymouth, won first prize in the "It's My Future" contest sponsored by Deafness Research UK and picked up her award last week at a House of Commons ceremony. According to the Plymouth Herald, deaf people ages 12 to 19 were asked to share their thoughts on where research into deafness should focus over the next 20 years. Helen said she'd like to see more advances in cochlear implants (she has one) and more research into gene therapy, and suggested new technology that could display captions on eyeglasses and contact lenses. A panel of deaf and hearing judges chose winners in two age categories, awarding top prizes of about $150.

NOISY SEX KEEPS PARTIALLY-DEAF NEIGHBOR AWAKE

A married couple in England were fined for noisy sex sessions that repeatedly woke their neighbor, a partially deaf woman. According to The Sun, Margery Ball told officials she had been unable to sleep through the night for two years because of what other neighbors described as "moaning, groaning, screaming and even slapping." Environmental Health officials made 23 recordings through a neighbor's soundproofed walls and decided to serve the Cartwrights -- Caroline, 47, and Steve, 46 -- with a noise abatement notice for being a "statutory nuisance."


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LIFE & LEISURE
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LIP-READING COMPUTERS MAKE ADVANCEMENT

The development of lip-reading computers that can tell the difference between different languages could have practical uses for deaf people, said the Times of India. Computers that can read lips are nothing new, said the report, but this is the first time researchers have "taught" the machines to recognize different languages. A team at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England worked with 23 bilingual and trilingual speakers, developing statistical modeling of the lip motions in English, French, German and several other languages. "We found more prominent tongue movements among Arabic speakers," said Prof. Stephen Cox.

AD CAMPAIGN BOOSTS AWARENESS OF DEPRESSION

The Deaf Wellness Center at the University of Rochester (N.Y.) last week unveiled three Public Service Announcements designed to raise awareness of depression in the deaf community. The 30-, 45- and 60-second ads, featuring Sesame Street actress Linda Bove and presented in ASL and subtitled formats, were funded by the American Psychiatric Foundation, the Ad Council of Rochester, Roberts Communications, Inc. and Eastman Kodak Company. The spots will air in Rochester for several months and can also be viewed on the Deaf Wellness Center's website.

ANNUAL SPACE CAMP BRINGS 40 TO ALABAMA

About 40 deaf students from around the world are in Huntsville, Ala. this week to attend Space Camp for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. They are experiencing G-force rides, space walk missions and more. "This is a place these kids can feel normal," said Amy Newland, a Model Secondary School for the Deaf teacher who has directed the camp since 1995. The job requires year-round behind-the-scenes work, said The Huntsville Times, but Newland said when she sees the kids' smiling faces and gets thanked by parents, "It makes it all worth it."

NAD HIGHLIGHTS SWINE FLU INFO

Concerned about the swine flu? The National Association of the Deaf sent out a news release last week to share a few links where consumers can find accessible information. They include DeafMD.org and the National Center for Deaf Health Research, where ASL videos can be viewed, and a Center for Disease Control swine flu video, which is closed captioned.


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WORKING WORLD
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NEW SCHOLARSHIP FUND TAKES ROOT

Gallaudet University last week announced a $100,000 pledge for a new scholarship fund for top students. University President Robert Davila secured the gift after visiting Chicago philanthropist Judith Lipin, who consequently made the donation through her and her late husband's Lipin Foundation. S. Barry Lipin, who died in February, was founder, chairman and CEO of US Auto Leasing and a strong advocate for deaf people, having lost his own hearing as a teenager. The S. Barry and Judith Lipin Endowed Scholarship Fund will require applicants to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, said a news release, and be able to show financial need.

VRS USERS URGED TO CHOOSE DEFAULT PROVIDER

Video Relay Service users were urged in a recent Sorenson Communications news release to choose a default VRS provider by June 30 or give up the ability to place routine VRS calls. A new Federal Communication Commission order designed to make VRS usage more equivalent to traditional phone usage is prompting the change.. Those who sign up will be given their own 10-digit local number that they can use for years to come, even while enjoying the option to change their default VRS provider at any time. The new rules will also require VRS users to keep their address information current to make it easier for emergency workers who respond to their 911 calls.

HOTEL COOK 'EMBODIES AMERICAN DREAM'

The Gazette last week profiled Siau Lioe, 37, a born-deaf Indonesian native who works as a cook at the Marriott Suites in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Md. Lioe, who moved to the United States in 2002 with wife Christiana, has a story that hotel manager Keith McNeill said "embodies the American dream." Unable to find work as a skilled computer programmer due to poor English skills, Lioe began taking high school English classes and was soon hired by the hotel as a dishwasher. During quiet times, he sought out opportunities to learn to cook. "Fortunately I had a kind supervisor who was willing to teach me everything he knew," he said.

DIRTY DOGS SOUGHT BY NEW PET WASH SHOP

When customers start talking to Dirty Dog Pet Wash co-owner Marlene Hodge, said the Lodi (Calif.) News-Sentinel, they often don't realize at first that she is deaf. A shirt that says "What?" offers a clue as Hodge, accompanied by trained service dog Sonic and a parrot who knows some sign language, tends to her tasks quickly and gracefully. A friend seeking a place to bathe her pet gave Marlene and husband Bruce the idea for the business, and after doing some research the couple bought out a shop that had just opened a year earlier. Dirty Dog Pet Wash offers self-service pet washing and grooming for $13 (or $16 for dogs over 13 pounds) and sees as many as 40 clients a day.


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Keith Wann's ASL Comedy Tour 2009-2010

Keith Wann, renowned for his hilarious, sidesplitting comedy performances, is now producing and hosting the ASL Comedy Tour 2009, which will travel the U.S. this year. With American Sign Language (ASL) artists presenting solo performances incorporating comedy, skits, songs, improvisation, and stories, each show lasts two hours. Sponsored by www.CallVRS.org, the multi-city tour is designed to be affordable for each location – making it ideal as a fundraiser for participating organizations.

“We really want to reach out to all communities, so we are sharing in the costs and profits at each location. We will work closely with booking parties to maximize profits for their organization and to bring in as many people as possible for a night of laughter, socialization and fun,” Wann said. “We also offer workshops by some of our performers, which can be held the day of the performance. People can come to our workshops, and then unwind by attending the comedy show that evening.”

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
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LATE STUMBLE BRINGS HEARTBREAK TO 'AMAZING RACE'

Deaf contestant Luke Adams and his mother Margie were leading in the season finale of the CBS reality show The Amazing Race but stumbled near the end, allowing brother-and-sister attorneys from California to capture the $1 million prize. Luke, a 2008 criminal justice alumnus of the Rochester Institute of Technology, said in an RIT news release that he was proud to be the show's first deaf player because his example "means other deaf people can do the same as me." About 25 deaf RIT students gathered for the May 10 finale at a luau party that featured inflatable palm tree, Hawaiian pizza and colorful leis in honor of the race's end city, Maui.

MATLIN MAKES ROUNDS AS NEW BIO HITS SHELVES

Marlee Matlin was in Seattle in early April, said the Post-Intelligencer where the Oscar winner gave the keynote speech at the Council for Exceptional Children convention. Tears flowed among the audience as the "deaf girl who hit the big time in Hollywood" told her story. Matlin has also been chatting with guest host Joy Behar on Larry King Live and PopEater about the abusive past and drug problems chronicled in her new autobiography, "I'll Scream Later." She also appeared in Rochester, N.Y. April 19 speech and book signing attended by hundreds of deaf students at the Rochester Institute of Technology

FESTIVAL CALLS FOR FILM, VLOG SUBMISSIONS

Gallaudet University has announced plans for a four-day international festival to recognize excellence in deaf filmmaking. The WORLDEAF Cinema Festival 2009 is set to occur November 4-7 in Washington, D.C. With competitions open to students and professionals, the film festival -- scheduled to take place every three years -- will also promote interaction between industry representatives and festival participants through guest speakers, panel groups, open forums and film screenings. Marlee Matlin has agreed to serve as honorary chair. August 1 is the deadline to submit films and blogs, and more information can be found at wdcf.gallaudet.edu.

'VAGINA' MADE ACCESSIBLE TO DEAF VIEWERS

Lauren Kinast, assistant director for deaf services at the University of Texas in Austin, drew laughter at a recent American Sign Language performance of The Vagina Monologues when she raised the issue of how to sign vagina monologues. The signs would vary among the seven actresses, Kinast told the audience at the show, which was sponsored by the Gender and Sexuality Center. The Daily Texan said Kinast was approached a month ago by director Don Miller to arrange the performance and chose the cast just two weeks before opening night. Proceeds from the play benefited SafePlace-Deaf Services and the Mali Signs Project, which provides healthcare information to deaf people in Mali.


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Sign Language Inc presents CruisEUs 2009

Just south of the U.S. border lies a vibrant culture, world-class beaches, lush green rain forests, a a vividly painted architecture that will dazzle your eyes. Whether your idea of adventure is exploring a colonial city or discovering the joys of a siesta on a white-sand beach, a Mexican cruise vacation is "almost" perfect for you...making it PERFECT would be while at all these great locations, also attending workshops presented by Peter Cook, Byron Bridges, Mark Morales, Lynne Weisman, Emilia Lorenti-Wann and Keith Wann!

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IF YOU NEED MORE INFORMATION, EMAIL EMILIA LORENTI-WANN cruiseus@cruiseus.net
or call (916) 412-6241

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SPORTS
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DEAF POOL PLAYER MAINTAINS WORLD'S TOP RANKING

Shane Van Boening, a deaf pool player from a billiards-loving family, has become "arguably the world's top player," said the Las Vegas Review-Journal. A "97 percent deaf" workaholic who practices up to 15 hours at a time, Van Boening picked up the bug as an 18-month-old from his trick-shot-artist grandfather. Last year he earned $147,420 while ranking No. 1 with AZBilliards.com; this year he continues to hold the No. 1 spot with winnings of $34,750 to date. Saying he doesn't want to be known simply as "the deaf player," Van Boening views himself more as the Tiger Woods of his sport. "I always wanted to be the best pool player in the world," he said.

SUBJECT OF 2000 DOCUMENTARY NOW A SPORTS STANDOUT

Heather Artinian, who was featured at age 6 in the 2000 documentary "Sound and Fury," has grown up to be a 15-year-old star in basketball, lacrosse and volleyball for Glen Cove (N.Y.) High School. The Academy Award-nominated film chronicled Heather and her parents as the family struggled with the idea of cochlear implants. Parents Nita and Peter chose to wait until Heather was old enough to be involved in her own decisions, and she had the surgery after moving back to Glen Cove when she was 9. Heather was a trailblazer, said Newsday, as her mother, brothers, an aunt and four cousins all chose to follow her lead and get implanted. Her father is a hold-out, Heather said, because he is "happy with what he has."

MOTORCYCLE 'POKER RUN' RAISES SCHOOL DOUGH

A motorcycle group called the Old Pueblo Riders held its sixth annual Run For The Kids fundraising ride April 26, raising almost $8,000 for the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. Riders followed a 70-mile trail over a five-and-a-half hour period, stopping at five designated locations to pick up one poker card; the rider with the highest poker hand at the end won the top prize of $250. The group has raised $40,000 for the schools over the last five years, which is used to buy things that are not covered by state funds.


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Introducing the New Harris Communications Website

Check out the new Harris Communications website during our Grand Opening celebration! The first 100 customers to place an order will receive a $10 gift certificate. An automatic 10% discount will be given on all
orders.*

The Harris website has many new features including improved navigation and product reviews from customers. Be sure to sign-up to receive our online newsletter with information on new products and specials.

*Certain product restrictions may apply. Sale ends May 21, 2009.

Click here or contact us at: mailto:info@harriscomm.com.

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Greater Rochester Physical Therapy
Life is full of Choices… Choose Well… Choose GRPT
www.grpt.com

We are pleased to announce access to physical therapy services for the Deaf community!

Please help us welcome

Gretchen Roman
Licensed Physical Therapist & Certified Sign Language Interpreter

Tobey Village Office Park
140 Office Park Way
Pittsford, NY 14534
(V): 585-387-7180

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EMPLOYMENT
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You can advertise your job openings here for just $20 a week (up to 100 words, 10 cents each add'l word). Start spreading the news! To place your ad, send the announcement to mail@deafweekly.com.

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Purple Communications
JOB DESCRIPTION

JOB TITLE: Manager, Customer Care
DEPARTMENT: Customer Care
REPORTS TO: Director, Customer Care
FLSA STATUS: Exempt
SUPERVISES: Supervisor, Customer Care; Customer Care Representatives I, II & III

POSITION SUMMARY:
Under broad supervision, plans, organizes and directs the activities of the Customer Care department in implementing post-sale marketing strategies and providing technical product support to customers. Employees in this job class establish processes and procedures to ensure timely delivery of products and overall customer satisfaction. This job requires technical and operational knowledge of the company’s products and video relay services, the skill to lead staff in attaining objectives, the ability to work with diverse populations, and excellent customer service skills.

TYPICAL DUTIES:
* Manage departmental call staff, and ensure their competence and motivation through effective hiring, training, coaching, and performance management.
* Manage a variety of large and small departmental projects such as integrating new systems, services and technical improvements.
* Implement departmental goals and delivery expectations. Establish departmental policies and procedures consistent with company processes, rules and regulations; and ensure adherence while maintaining a high level of customer service.
* Respond to escalated customer care issues, complaints and questions; and work with staff to resolve.
* Deliver departmental communication directives to external customers.
* Develop departmental improvements in training, mentorship, quality processes, career paths and performance reviews.
* Forecast headcount and overall efficiency based on operational statistics such as average speed answered, abandoned calls, and win backs.
* Manage customer retention and other loyalty programs.
* Provide training to department staff in technical and product knowledge and in providing excellent customer service.
* Conduct and participate in a variety of meetings including regular staff meetings.
* Act as an information source regarding Customer Care department operations.
*Administer human resource programs and address employee relations issues under the guidance of Human Resources Department personnel.
* Perform other duties and special projects as assigned.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:
* Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, or comparable related experience
* At least 5 years of supervisory experience in customer service, and experience troubleshooting computer systems and phone/video equipment.
* Knowledge of both PC and Mac operating platforms. Knowledge of computer software and video equipment installation.
* High level of computer literacy of specialized software related to departmental operations including database, Email, Internet, spreadsheet, and word processing programs.
* Ability to effectively supervise and develop assigned staff to meet production goals and departmental goals/objectives in a high volume call environment.
* Knowledge of departmental operations, organization policies, applicable laws, procedures, and processes
* Human relations skills to build effective working relationships with staff, management, vendors and others.
* Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing; and present information and respond to questions from clients, customers, managers, and others.
* American Sign Language (ASL) proficiency
* Familiarity with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Regulations
* Mathematical skills to include the ability to apply concepts such as fractions, percentages, ratios, and proportions to practical situations.
* Time management skills to handle multiple, competing priorities and work effectively under pressure.
* Human Resources Management skills to hire and train employees, appraise work performance, address employee relations issues, and resolve problems.
* Business management skills to establish priorities and effectively supervise and develop assigned staff to attain optimum skill and performance levels.
* Demonstrated organizational, problem solving and analytical skills.

To apply for this position, please go to www.purple.us and click on the “career” and “search listings” tabs.

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Tier 2 Customer Care Representative

Reports to: Call Center Director
Department: Cust Care
FLSA Status:
Location: Rocklin

About Purple Communications:

Purple Communications is one of the nation's largest providers of communication services for the deaf, hard of hearing, and speech-disabled communities. As a leading provider of onsite interpreting services, video relay and text relay services, and video remote interpreting, the Company delivers a wide array of options designed to meet the varied communication needs of its customers.

Purple Communications’ vision is to improve the quality of life of its customers by being their premier provider of high quality, innovative communication services that break down communications barriers.

We are experiencing tremendous growth and are looking to add strong expertise to our world-class teams!

Brief summary of duties:
Assist in troubleshooting complex home router issues, working with ISP on some barriers occurring in their network for the home users to use Video Relay Services. Supporting sales engineer with some projects. Do extensive testing with home based routers to duplicate problems in the field to find the best solution
Areas of Responsibility:
· Uses knowledge of H.323, SIP to support home based users and small businesses environment
· Test and evaluates network configurations to eliminate problems and make improvements.
· Assist customers with connectivity issues
· Advise customers on how best to use the products or services provided.
· Use technical skills to demonstrate to potential customers how and why product/services suit the end user’s needs better than competitor’s products
· Using “consultative” style to focus on customer’s/client’s particular environment and show how it best be configured for the products and services
· Help customer solve any problems that arises when the product is installed
· Proficient with all videophone on the market for the deaf
· Support sales engineer with testing and documentations
· Research into patterns of common issues that is being seen out in the field
· Support our outreach representative out in the field
· Installing as needed where an outreach installer may not be available
· Provide top level technical support for all inbound callers
· Resolve complex network, router and firewall support
· Conduct technical training workshops for Customer Care
· Keep abreast of current video and technology trends

Minimum Qualification Requirements:
· Knowledge and ability to use American Sign Language (ASL) and Knowledge of Internet Video technology is a must
· Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology or equivalent experience
· Ability to install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot majority of home based routers.
· Working knowledge of appropriate network technology and network applications such as TCP/IP
· At least 1 year related experience with customer care
· Customer facing communication skills
· Must be willing to work at nights and weekends.
· Advanced knowledge of PC and MAC platforms
· Industry knowledge of firewalls, routers, switches
· 1+ years of technical troubleshooting experience with emphasis on customer satisfaction
· Video conferencing technical knowledge ( h.323, SIP, h.264 )
· A+ Certification a plus
· Excellent presentation skills
· Excellent writing and grammar skills

Preferred Qualifications:
· Knowledge of Deaf Culture

Physical Requirements: 
Employees may experience the following physical demands for extended periods of time: 
· Sitting, standing and walking (95-100%)
· Keyboarding (60-80%)
· Viewing computer monitor, videophone, and pager requiring close vision (60-80%)

Work Environment: 
Work is performed in a customer care environment. Some travel to company, customer and vendor sites, including some that are out of state may be required.

Disclaimer: 
The above information on this description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification.  It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees to this job.  Employees are expected to follow their supervisor’s instructions and to perform the tasks requested by their supervisors.

Purple Communications is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Principals only please.

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Tier 3 Customer Care Rep.

Reports to: Director of Customer Care
Department: Technology
FLSA Status: Exempt
Location: Rocklin, CA

About Purple Communications:

Purple Communications is one of the nation's largest providers of communication services for the deaf, hard of hearing, and speech-disabled communities. As a leading provider of onsite interpreting services, video relay and text relay services, and video remote interpreting, the Company delivers a wide array of options designed to meet the varied communication needs of its customers.

Purple Communications’ vision is to improve the quality of life of its customers by being their premier provider of high quality, innovative communication services that break down communications barriers.

We are experiencing tremendous growth and are looking to add strong expertise to our world-class teams!

Brief summary of duties:
Assist in troubleshooting complex home router issues, working with ISP on some barriers occurring in their network for the home users to use Video Relay Services. Supporting sales engineer with some projects. Do extensive testing with home based routers to duplicate problems in the field to find the best solution

Areas of Responsibility:
Uses knowledge of H.323, SIP to support home based users and small businesses environment
Test and evaluates network configurations to eliminate problems and make improvements.
Assist customers with connectivity issues
Advise customers on how best to use the products or services provided.
Use technical skills to demonstrate to potential customers how and why product/services suit the end user’s needs better than competitor’s products
Using “consultative” style to focus on customer’s/client’s particular environment and show how it best be configured for the products and services
Assist with maintaining current customers with Tier 2 support
Help customer solve any problems that arises when the product is installed
Proficient with all videophone on the market for the deaf
Support sales engineer with testing and documentations
Research into patterns of common issues that is being seen out in the field
Support our outreach representative out in the field
Installing as needed where an outreach installer may not be available
Provide top level technical support for all inbound callers
Resolve complex network, router and firewall support
Conduct technical training workshops for Customer Care
Keep abreast of current video and technology trends

Minimum Qualification Requirements:
Knowledge and ability to use ASL strongly preferred
Knowledge of Internet Video technology is a must
Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology or equivalent experience
Ability to install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot majority of home based routers.
Working knowledge of appropriate network technology and network applications such as TCP/IP
At least 1 year related experience with customer care
Customer facing communication skills
Must be willing to work at nights and weekends.
Advanced knowledge of PC and MAC platforms
Industry knowledge of firewalls, routers, switches
1+ years of technical troubleshooting experience with emphasis on customer satisfaction
Video conferencing technical knowledge ( h.323, SIP, h.264 )
A+ Certification a plus
Excellent presentation skills
Excellent writing and grammar skills

Preferred Qualifications:
Knowledge of American Sign Language and Deaf Culture, preferred

Physical Requirements: 
Employees may experience the following physical demands for extended periods of time: 
· Sitting, standing and walking (95-100%)
· Keyboarding (60-80%)
· Viewing computer monitor, videophone, and pager requiring close vision (60-80%)
 
Work Environment: 
Work is performed in a customer care environment. Some travel to company, customer and vendor sites, including some that are out of state may be required.

Disclaimer: 
The above information on this description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification.  It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees to this job.  Employees are expected to follow their supervisor’s instructions and to perform the tasks requested by their supervisors.
 
For more information on Purple Communications or its services, visit http://www.Purple.us or contact Purple Communications directly at TTY 201-527-1520, voice 201-996-1717, Internet Relay by visiting http://www.i711.com or http://www.ip-relay.com, or video phone by connecting to hovrs.tv.

TO APPLY:
Please submit your resume to:
jobs@purple.us
Please note job title in Subject line

Purple Communications is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Principals Only

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