May 25, 2005
Vol. 1 No. 32
Editor: Tom Willard
Deafweekly is an independent news report for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. It is mailed to subscribers every Wednesday morning and available to read at www.deafweekly.com. For information, contact email@example.com.
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PEOPLE MAGAZINE PRINTS LETTER CALLING TOWN FOUNDER 'DEAF AND DUMB'
In response to an article on the proposed signing town of Laurent, S.D., People Magazine printed a letter last week from Deborah Gideon of Pepper Pike, Ohio. Noting that her own deaf child "lives in the world of the hearing," Gideon said that town co-founder Marvin Miller "gives new meaning to the expression 'deaf and dumb.' " The National Association of the Deaf responded with a quick news release titled "NAD Condemns People Magazine." NAD President Andrew Lange said the term "deaf and dumb" was an "insensitive, insulting and archaic term ... that has been viewed by the deaf community as extremely offensive, negative and derogatory." He urged individuals to make their feelings known to People magazine through a link on the NAD website: www.nad.org/peopleaction. Another page -- www.nad.org/deafanddumb -- contains more information on the controversial term.
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES PLAN PROTEST TOMORROW IN WASHINGTON
More than 1,000 people with disabilities are expected to gather in front of the Department of Education in Washington tomorrow at 10 a.m. to protest cutbacks and other changes at the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). The protest will challenge Department of Education plans to close 10 regional RSA offices, eliminate about half the agency's staff, downgrade the position of RSA commissioner and block grant vocational rehabilitation funds. Among those expected to attend are Fredric Schroeder, RSA commissioner during the Clinton Administration, and Joanne Wilson, a blind woman who recently resigned as RSA commissioner to protest the proposed changes at the agency. "I cannot stand by while the Bush Administration tries to tear down a system that has helped so many blind and disabled people find employment," said Wilson.
HARVEY CORSON TO RETIRE FROM AMERICAN SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF
Harvey J. Corson's retirement from the American School for the Deaf was announced May 19 in a statement from ASD Board President Fred Larson. Corson, executive director since 2001, will step aside from day-to-day operations at the end of the current school year and will retire as executive director on June 30, 2006. His final year at the school will be devoted to managing a major renovation to Gallaudet Hall and maintaining relationships on behalf of the school with the State of Connecticut and other constituencies. A national search for a new executive director will be launched in coming weeks, and ASD's board members will take enhanced roles in school operations to maintain continuity during the search.
SUPERINTENDENT STEPPING DOWN AT NORTH DAKOTA SCHOOL
Rocky Cofer said Thursday that he will resign this week as superintendent of the North Dakota School for the Deaf. Cofer, 56, said he was stepping down because his wife is ill and he feels the need to spend more time with her. "It's something I've been thinking about for the past six months," said Cofer, who announced his decision to the school community last Tuesday. He was hired as the school's principal in 1995 and became superintendent in 1998. State School Superintendent Wayne Sanstead praised Cofer, an educator for 34 years, saying "We were fortunate to have him." Sanstead told the Associated Press that he didn't know when or if a new superintendent would be sought. The school's future is in question due to declining enrollment, with only 27 students and just one graduate this year.
FLORIDA MAN STRUCK BY TRAIN, DIES ON WAY TO HOSPITAL
George Williams, 49, of Bartow, Fla. was hit by a train and killed Saturday. Williams, who was deaf, "showed no signs that he was aware of the train" as he walked into its path, train conductor Jim McKee told police. According to the Polk County Democrat, McKee blasted the horn several times but Williams didn't respond, and he was struck by the train. McKee made an emergency stop and located the injured man alongside the tracks; paramedics arrived and performed CPR, but Williams died soon after being taken from the scene. According to a police report, Williams was also hit by a train in August 2003.
VIRGINIA MAN INDICTED IN KILLING OF 16-YEAR-OLD GIRL
Oswaldo Martinez was indicted by a grand jury in James City, Va. Thursday on charges of capital murder, rape, sodomy and robbery. Martinez, who is deaf, is accused of murdering Brittany Binger, 16, in January. According to the Daily Press of Newport News, Va., prosecutors recently added the robbery charges after learning that some of Brittany's personal items were taken from her. Meanwhile, prosecutors and defense attorneys were examining a report from two court-appointed psychologists on Martinez's ability to communicate. Neither side would discuss the report's findings, but the Daily Press noted that U.S. law doesn't allow states to try defendants who can't participate in their own defense.
THERAPIST'S HEARING DEVICE GOES MISSING AT SKATING RINK
Jolene Arnold is "trapped in a silent world" after losing the $6,500 speech processor that transmits sounds to her cochlear implant, the Dallas Morning News reported Thursday. Arnold, a recreational therapist, lost the device when she fell at an ice rink while skating with a client, an autistic child. A search, announcements and even a reward failed to turn up the missing earpiece. "I really need it to hear, and not being able to hear makes everything hard," said Arnold, 26, who earned a degree in recreation therapy in 2000 from Texas Tech University. She works for the city of Dallas, helping people with disabilities, and needs the processor so she can "understand my clients that have special needs." She can be reached at JEArnold@tmail.com.
17-YEAR-OLD IN MARYLAND ADMITS TO POSSESSION OF PARAPHERNALIA
A 17-year-old hearing-impaired boy admitted last week in Washington County, Md. juvenile court to possession of paraphernalia. According to the Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, the youth read lips and listened intently as the charges against him were read. Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Michelle Flores said that on Feb. 13, the boy was seen by a police officer smoking marijuana in a pavilion. When he was confronted, he produced a glass pipe containing a leafy green substance that was determined to be marijuana. Disposition of the case was delayed.
RAISE EXPECTATIONS OF THE DEAF, MIAMI LETTER WRITER SAYS
A news story in the Miami Herald
on a countywide spelling bee for deaf students inspired Miriam Masia to write
a letter to the editor that was published Sunday. Noting that the winning word
was "before," Masia asks, "Why are we not expecting grade-level
performance from deaf students?" Masia's own daughter was born profoundly
deaf, she explains, and is doing well in a mainstreamed kindergarten class with
the aid of a cochlear implant. "Regardless of the choices that deaf students
make in their communication styles," she concludes, "society's expectations
of the deaf should be equal to those students in the mainstream.
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VANDALS RANSACK U.K. DEAF CHARITY OFFICE AFTER OPEN-HOUSE EVENT
Vandals went on a wrecking spree at the Carlisle, U.K. headquarters of the Cumbria Deaf Association, the News & Star reported Thursday. The charity had just hosted an open house Sunday, May 15 to show off its newly redecorated offices, and after a day off, staff returned Tuesday to find their workplace ransacked. Thieves broke a window to gain entry and used a metal fire extinguisher to break down 10 internal doors. They managed to get into an office safe and stole 400 pounds that had been donated to help people with hearing loss. Ian Douglas, support services manager, said, "It is hugely disappointing that they would target someone like us. We are insured, but now we will have to pay excess, which we would rather be spending on providing a service for people with hearing difficulties."
NURSES IN CHINA BEGIN SIGN LANGUAGE TRAINING PROGRAM
The China Daily reported Friday that nurses at five major hospitals in Shanghai have become the first in the country to learn sign language. Twenty nurses will graduate this week from a sign language training program they started two months ago, and an additional 30 nurses will soon take up training. The nurses learn such phrases as "what's wrong with you," "when did the pain start" and "are you married," and the communication skills have proven useful in the emergency room. Wang Yunchang, 47, was getting ready to write down his symptoms when a nurse asked him in sign language what was wrong. "It was the first time I saw a doctor without a hitch," said Wang.
GREECE HOLDS HEARINGS ON PROBLEMS OF COUNTRY'S DEAF CHILDREN
The family of a 2-year-old deaf child in Greece was asked by welfare officials to submit details of their family finances going back seven generations to see if they qualified for benefits, the Cyprus Mail reported last week. The unusual request came to light during a hearing of the House Human Rights Committee, which is looking into the education, health and welfare problems of the country's deaf children. Another deaf child, 14, received a letter asking for authorization to review his school bank account for over-the-limit deposits. "Parents have stopped giving their children money to deposit into the school savings accounts so they don't lose their benefits," said one observer. Committee members are considering a proposal to quadruple the deposit limit, but even that would be too low, said some deputies.
VERSATILE INDIAN ARTIST GAINING INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION
A deaf artist from Bhubaneswar, India was profiled Sunday in the New Indian Express. Identified only as Sonia, she is a post-graduate student at the BK College of Arts and has won about a dozen awards at national and international "Ablympics" events. She's also earned a scholarship from Disabled People's International-India and an award from the Indian Red Cross Society. Sonia and her sister Seema were both born deaf, and Sonia started sketching with pencils when she was barely four. Among the obstacles she faced were college officials who were "initially reluctant to admit a deaf and dumb student," noted the Express. Sonia is adept in watercolor, oils, fabric painting, acrylics and pencil sketches, and spends 12 hours a day in her studio, where she paints, reads and browses through art-related websites.
DEAF CLUB NEAR LONDON UNVEILS NEW COMMUNICATION CARD
Eighty people turned out for a recent
Deaf Awareness Week event at the Walthamstow Deaf Club, reported the Waltham
Forest Guardian (London) Friday. They witnessed the unveiling of a new communication
card that can be carried around and shown to hearing people when the holder
needs to use public services such as hospitals. It tells how to arrange for
an interpreter and offers tips on communicating with deaf people. "The
card makes people aware that they have a deaf person in front of them and it
stops that embarrassment a lot of hearing people get," said Jean Smith,
head of Waltham Forest's sensory resource team.
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Nathie Marbury Documentary
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"No Hand-Me-Downs" is a full-length documentary of Nathie Marbury, a Black Deaf woman who is considered a legend by many people. Nathie grew up in a family that didn't believe in the importance of education but was able to earn a bachelor's and two masters' degrees. This DVD consists of Nathie sharing stories about her upbringing and her insights on the human condition. Also included are her powerful ASL poems. Find out more at http://www.harriscomm.com/link/?www.harriscomm.com?sr=deafweeklynews or contact us at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
LIFE & LEISURE
FCC LAUNCHES NEW CONSUMER INFORMATION REGISTRY
The Federal Communications Commission is launching its new Consumer Information Registry. The Registry can be customized to deliver information on whatever topics the subscriber chooses. Whether it's relay services, captioning, disability issues or other subjects in the communications or disabilities field, the latest information will be available through this Registry. You may subscribe by going to www.fcc.gov/cgb/contacts/ and clicking on "subscribe." Fill in the requested information and include your interests of choice to ensure that you receive only the information you want. After signing up, you will receive an email from the FCC to confirm your subscription.
AUSTINE SCHOOL REACHES OUT TO COMMUNITY WITH DOWNTOWN OPEN HOUSE
Students and staff at the Austine School for the Deaf held an open house Thursday on Main Street in Brattleboro, Vt. The school is marking its 100th anniversary, and public relations manager Robyn Weisel decided to hold the event downtown to attract a larger crowd. "Here we are, this little school for the deaf up on a hill," she told the Brattleboro Reformer. "Who's going to come visit us there?" They set up displays about the sports, clubs, programs and learning opportunities at Austine and lined the tables and walls with artwork. They showed a video and photos from the high school trip to France and Italy, and four students acted out "The Three Little Pigs" in sign language with interpreters voicing the lines. "We have our own language, our own culture, and it's nice to make people out there more aware of it," said high school senior Jennifer Harbart.
AUDIOLOGY GRADUATE INSPIRED BY HER DEAF BROTHER
Kansas University senior Susie Stephenson was inspired by her older brother Scott to pursue a career in audiology, reported the Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World. Stephenson, 21, graduated Sunday with a bachelor's degree in speech-language-hearing and plans to do graduate work this fall at the KU Medical Center. She still remembers when her brother was in second grade and a teacher said that he would probably never learn to do math or read because he was deaf. "People always underestimate the abilities of deaf people," she said. "I want to break those stereotypes." Her goal is to work with families of deaf children to help them decide on such issues as whether to use hearing aids and what sign language system -- if any -- to use.
MONTANA WOMAN RETIRING AFTER QUARTER CENTURY AS HOUSE MOTHER
Doris Wise, 62, is retiring Friday
after a quarter century as a house mother at the Montana School for the Deaf
and the Blind. According to the Great Falls Tribune, students say that her patience
never ran dry and she always helped them with their problems. Wise was born
deaf, like three of her seven siblings, and she learned ASL from her family
at home. As a house mother, she became known for cleanliness and taught young
women how to mop a floor, sort laundry, set a table and load a dishwasher. Wise
smiled when a newspaper reported noted that her residents' most vivid memory
of her is that she taught them how to clean. What she was really teaching them,
she said in response, was how to be responsible and independent.
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PHOENIX AIRPORT INTRODUCES AUDIO/VIDEO PAGING SYSTEM
The Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in Arizona recently introduced the world's first simultaneous audio/video paging system, designed to make announcements accessible not only to people with disabilities but also to those who are glued to headsets listening to music. Phoenix Sky Harbor is the only airport in the world to use this new technology, the Green Bay (Wisc.) Press Gazette reported last week, and it came about through the efforts of Judith Tunell and other disability advocates. Tunell, 62, is legally blind, wears two "really strong" hearing aids and sits on the Mayor's Commission on Disability. "The old airport paging system wasn't user friendly," she recalls. "When airlines changed gates, people didn't hear it and often would miss flights or get on the wrong plane." The system works well, she said, partly because the city included disabled people throughout the design process. Still, it's meant to serve a broader audience. "We didn't want it to be self-serving," said Tunell. "We were trying to meet the needs of the whole public."
NEW HAMPSHIRE CITY ROLLS OUT NEW COMMUNICATION SERVICE
The city of Nashua, N.H. last week rolled out a new service to help deaf or hard of hearing citizens communicate with City Hall, Motor Vehicles, the library and other government offices. The new technology is called Textnet, and it works with Windows-based PCs. According to The Telegrap, a deaf person can call through a computer or TTY, and Internet technology will turn the phone call into an instant message that pops up on a computer in the office being called. "These folks deserve the same access as voice callers," said Don Zizzi, president of Nashua-based Equivalent Communications, which teamed up on the project with HITEC Group International of Illinois and NXi Communications of Utah. Nashua is the first New England municipality to adopt the technology, and Mayor Bernie Streeter says it will make a difference: "I'd hope the deaf would feel more comfortable with city government. They'd get an instant response."
MARYLAND FIRM RECEIVES PATENT FOR CLOSED-CAPTIONING SOFTWARE
Captioning provider CPC of Rockville, Md. announced last week that it has received a patent for software that allows captioning to be done on a laptop computer. According to CPC, this is the first software patent in the field of encoding caption data onto video. CPC's new software costs much less than traditional encoding hardware and eliminates the need for costly digital tape machines, the company said. The new product is available as encoding-only software or as a complete captioning system on a CD (Windows or Mac) that positions, synchronizes and encodes captions. Even analog video users can benefit, said CPC president Dilip K. Som, since the new software captions onto an original video instead of working from copies, and "the quality of the original is preserved." For more information, visit www.cpcweb.com.
AFTER 67 YEARS, TELEPHONE ANSWERING COMPANY ADDS A TTY
For 67 years, Berkshire Communicators
in Pittsfield, Mass. has been providing telephone answering services, paging,
voice mail, personal emergency response and alarm monitoring services. Recently
the company decided to upgrade its equipment to include a TTY for hearing-impaired
callers. According to the Berkshire Eagle, officials felt the need to become
more accessible to the hearing impaired because the company serves a large number
of medical practices and emergency crisis lines. Berkshire Communicators operates
24 hours a day, seven days a week, and has 25 employees.
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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
'SUE THOMAS: F.B.EYE' AIRS FINAL EPISODE ON PAX
The final original episode of "Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye" aired Sunday night. Based on the true story of Thomas, a deaf former FBI agent, the show starred deaf actress Deanne Bray and ran for three seasons on the Pax network. It was not renewed, said Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Rob Owen, because Pax has "basically ceased development of entertainment programming in favor of an infomercial-filled future." The series finale featured the real-life Sue Thomas in the role of an actress named Deanne, an appearance made bittersweet by the revelation of her real-life multiple sclerosis diagnosis. The series was canceled in spite of protests by fans, with 93% of voters at savemyshow.com wanting it to stay on the air. Producers left some hints that they hope the show will be picked up by another network -- ending with, "The End ... For Now," and giving Bray the final line: "I've been told it's even better the second time around."
NAD EXPRESSES DISAPPOINTMENT WITH 'AMERICAN IDOL' CAPTIONING ERROR
The National Association of the Deaf issued a statement May 20 to "express disappointment" with the TV show American Idol. The popular Fox show ran incorrect voting phone numbers in the closed-captioning of its May 10 episode. "Typographical errors happen way too often," said Kelby Brick, NAD's director of law and advocacy, and the American Idol error showed that "too often they leave deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans with misinformation." You can take action and send a message to Fox by going to www.nad.org/american idol, and you can also sign a petition to support minimum captioning quality rules at www.nad.org/fcccaptionpetitions.
GEORGIA SCHOOL GOES OFF CAMPUS TO PRESENT SHAKESPEARE PLAY
William Shakespeare's classic "A Midsummer Night's Dream" will be performed in American Sign Language today and tomorrow at the Cedartown (Ga.) Performing Arts Center. The play is being performed by students from the Georgia School for the Deaf, and according to the Cedartown Standard, it will be translated by adults offstage who will speak the dialogue for those unfamiliar with sign language. This is the first time the school has presented a play off campus, and the show will be performed only at the Cedartown auditorium. The school was founded in 1846 but its drama department is still in its first year, and 22 students of varying ages will take part in the production. "It's very exciting for anyone who hasn't seen a play performed in sign language," said school official Shirley Childers. She can be reached for more information at 706-777-2248.
BEETHOVEN'S NIGHTMARE HOLDS RELEASE PARTY FOR DEBUT CD
Hawaii-based Beethoven's Nightmare held a release party Sunday for its debut CD, "Turn It Up Louder." Billed as the world's only all-deaf rock band, the group is made up of Californians Steve Longo and Bob Hiltermann and Hawaii's Ed Chevy, whose real last name is Corey. The three musicians got their start 30 years ago while students at Gallaudet University and have performed throughout the United States. Ron Tish, a local business owner, agreed to produce the group's first CD, reported the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, and worked with the band to tune their music for "hearing" ears. The deaf musicians had excellent rhythm, Tish said, but were off key, usually playing too high or too low. He also brought in a pair of backup singers along with guitar, percussion and keyboard players. In promoting the new CD, Tish said he wants to downplay the "sympathy aspect" of the band and "up-play the phenomenon." Said Tish: "These guys had the courage to stick it out for 30 years."
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TWINS THIRD BASEMAN ADJUSTS TO DEAFNESS IN ONE EAR
Minnesota Twins third baseman Michael Cuddyer has become a master at repositioning people so he can hear them better, wrote Tom Powers in the May 20 St. Paul Pioneer Press. That's because Cuddyer is deaf in his left ear, a condition that arose at age 11 from a bout with a rare viral infection. After suffering with a high fever for a week, Cuddyer noticed he could no longer hear the TV while lying on one side. Since then, life has become a series of small adjustments. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and most of Cuddyer's teammates are aware of his hearing loss, since his bad ear is toward the field and they've had to develop other forms of communication. The team's farm director and general manager, however, were both unaware of Cuddyer's condition until recently. When the ballplayer was first drafted, he checked "no" on a health form asking if there are any hearing problems. "Because it wasn't a problem," he said. "It isn't a problem."
CURTIS PRIDE JOINS LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Curtis Pride has been called up to the major leagues. His contract was purchased Saturday by the Los Angeles Angels, where he will fill in for injured slugger Vladimir Guerrero. Pride is the only deaf player in Major League Baseball and he's appeared in 353 major-league games, with a .253 lifetime batting average, 19 home runs and 77 RBIs. This spring he's been playing with the Salt Lake City Stingers, and the Deseret Morning News reports that he was batting .328 with six home runs and 31 RBIs in 119 at bats.
CSD SIGNS ON TO SPONSOR SALT LAKE CITY 2007 DEAFLYMPICS
Communication Service for the Deaf,
Inc. has signed on as a Gold Medal Partner Sponsor of the 16th Deaflympic Winter
Games. CSD joins Sorenson Media as a major sponsor of the Games, which will
take place February 2007 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The agreement between CSD
CEO Ben Soukup and Organizing Committee Chair Dwight Benedict calls for CSD
to contribute $250,000 in cash and provide various in-kind services to support
the 2007 Deaflympic Games. According to a Deaflympics announcement, the contribution
"stands as a testament to CSD's ongoing commitment to returning revenue
back into the deaf and hard-of-hearing community."
JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES PLAN ACCESSIBLE CONVENTION IN NEW JERSEY
A three-day convention presented in American Sign Language will be held July 1-3 at the Assembly Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses at Stanley Theater in Jersey City, N.J. Last year's convention attracted nearly 3,000 participants from 22 states and four countries. More than 130 tactile interpreters made the entire program accessible to 14 deaf-blind individuals. This year's theme of "Godly Obedience" was chosen "to appreciate the importance and benefits of obeying God." A video drama entirely in ASL will be shown on the last morning. The convention is free and open to the public, with no collections taken.
Position Announcement: CEO
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For more information, visit www.dcara.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for application: Wednesday, June 15, 2005.
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