deafweekly

 

July 12, 2006
Vol. 2 No. 36

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 2006 and any unauthorized use, including reprinting of news, is prohibited.

Please support our advertisers; they make it possible for you to receive Deafweekly at no charge.

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NATIONAL
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CALIFORNIA MAN DIES AFTER ROOF COLLAPSES ON HIM

A deaf California man who was working on his home was killed when the roof collapsed on him last Tuesday, reported My Mother Lode (Sonora, Calif.). Danny Hoskins, 51, of Burson, couldn’t hear the roof begin to give way, said Clint Gleason of the Foothill Fire Protection District. One other person at home escaped injury. Two bystanders provided rescue breathing for Hoskins, who was unconscious, while awaiting rescue workers. Firefighters extracted Hoskins from the rubble and transported him to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

BAR OWNER ARRESTED FOR OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

A deaf bar owner in Bellows Falls, Vt. is facing the possibility of three years in prison for refusing to let a pair of plainclothes officers enter his bar on June 16. According to the Brattleboro Reformer, Wayne Ryan, owner of Nick’s, told the officers – a state trooper and a Bellows Falls officer on a underage drinking patrol – that they looked too young to enter the building. The officers then presented their law enforcement ID cards, but police say Ryan dropped them to the ground without looking at them. When threatened with arrest for obstruction of justice, Ryan allegedly pushed the state trooper out the door. Five days later, several state troopers returned and arrested him. A family member said Ryan was deaf and could not hear what they were saying, but the officer who filed the affidavit said, “I could not see anything that would indicate Ryan had a hearing problem.”

NAKED CALIFORNIA MAN ESCAPES HOME ROBBERY

A hard-of-hearing California man escaped a home robbery Monday by wriggling free of duct tape, reported NBCSanDiego.com. Paul Trocco was about to get into the shower when a man posing as a delivery driver entered his San Diego apartment, pulled out a gun, ordered him to the floor and duct-taped his hands and feet. Trocco wriggled free, and the suspect taped him again. Trocco, who was naked throughout the ordeal, freed himself a second time while the suspect was ransacking a bedroom and escaped to a neighbor’s apartment, where he and the neighbor watched as the robber departed. Trocco then returned home and called police. A helicopter search failed to turn up the suspect, and Trocco reported several silver bars and gold coins missing.

JUSTICE DEPT. SETTLES WITH JUVENILE SERVICE PROVIDER

The U.S. Justice Department announced yesterday that it has settled a lawsuit against Youth Services International, Inc., a company that provides services at juvenile justice facilities and in community non-residential programs in several states. The Department filed suit under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act following allegations that YSI failed to provide an interpreter for a deaf youth at the Victor Cullen Center in Sabillasville, Md. The youth was detained for 11 months and required to participate in programs without interpreters despite the fact that he communicates in American Sign Language. Under the settlement, YSI agrees to provide auxiliary aids including interpreters, telecommunication devices and visual alarms, and start a training program on the ADA and communicating with deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

NON-CUSTODIAL MOM JAILED IN TEEN ABDUCTION

An Emergency Missing Child Media Alert was issued last Wednesday on behalf of a deaf teen who was abducted by his non-custodial mother, reported The Troy (Ala.) Messenger. Khiry Cummings, 14, was found in Pensacola, Fla. on Wednesday night, a day after his mother, Mabel Cummings Rouse, forced him into a car in Troy while he was visiting relatives with his paternal aunt. The teen has been with the aunt since Rouse lost custody in May. Authorities suspected Rouse would return home to Pensacola with Khiry and alerted the local sheriff’s office. Rouse was being held in county jail on a warrant for interfering with custody, and Khiry, who normally attends school in Talledega, was picked up by family members at a youth center in Pensacola.

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AMERICAN SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF PICKS 12TH DIRECTOR

A year-long, nationwide search for the 12th executive director of the American School for the Deaf ended last Friday with the appointment of Edward F. Peltier to the job, reported the Hartford Courant. “Ed brings a wealth of experience, insight and passion for students and deaf education to this venerable institution,” said Fred Larson, president of ASD’s board of directors. Peltier, 60, was the school’s assistant executive director for 21 years before leaving in 2003 to become president of the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. “I am delighted to be coming back to the American School for the Deaf as its next executive director,” he said in a written statement. Peltier will succeed Harvey J. Corson, who was director at the West Hartford, Conn. school since 2001.

AUDIT SAYS EX- MSD EMPLOYEE BROKE ETHICS LAW

A former Maryland School for the Deaf employee was instrumental in awarding $107,000 over six years in contracts for lawn maintenance work to a company owned by her brother-in-law. According to The Baltimore Sun, a state audit released Monday showed that the unidentified woman was terminated for violating a state ethics law against dealing with close relatives. The company, which was not identified in the audit, also employed the MSD worker’s son. The woman argued that the ethics law did not apply to her because she did not gain financially from the contract. State officials responded that the rules were spelled out in an employee handbook she had signed, and she was responsible to seek guidance if she had any questions about the law. The contract has been rebid and awarded to a different vendor.

MARYLAND SCHOOL CONSIDERS ADMITTING HEARING STUDENTS

Maryland School for the Deaf Superintendent James Tucker told Gov. Robert Ehrlich this week that the school is thinking about admitting hearing students who are fluent in sign language. According to the Associated Press, such admissions reflect a belief that schools for the deaf should be considered language schools, not just places to teach the hearing impaired. “It is a natural evolution,” said Tucker, noting that his school already follows public school curriculum. He hopes to have a yearlong discussion with school trustees and state officials about the idea. Hearing siblings of MSD students and children of deaf adults are among those who would be considered for admission. Gov. Ehrlich and running mate Kristen Cox were on campus Monday in Frederick, which has an enrollment of 277. MSD also maintains a campus in Columbia, which serves 100 students.

DEADLINE SET FOR VIRGINIA SCHOOLS TO MERGE

June 30, 2008 is the deadline for the Virginia School for the Deaf, Blind and Multi-Handicapped in Hampton to turn over its facility to a regional day program and relocate to the Staunton campus, reported The News Leader. The new state budget sets the deadline and provides $2.5 million to begin planning renovations on the Staunton campus. Both schools had been haunted by fears of closure for decades. “Certainly, it’s a decision that was long in coming,” said Nancy Armstrong, superintendent of the Staunton school. “It’s a relief to know that we’re going to be here.” The Department of Education will continue to support both schools as long as they remain open, and a replacement search for Hampton Superintendent Darlene White, who accepted a new job in Arizona, is expected to begin soon.


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INTERNATIONAL
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BBC TV FILM FEATURES DEAF MURDER SUSPECT, INTERPRETER

“Soundproof,” a new TV movie about a deaf murder suspect and his interpreter, will soon be shown on BBC Two, reported the BBC in London yesterday. Both lead actors – Joseph Mawle (Dean), the man suspected of murdering his housemate, and Susan Lynch (Penny), the woman brought in to interpret for him – had to undergo a cram course in British Sign Language. Mawle lost his hearing at 16 from a virus, at the same time he began living in a caravan after his parents split up. His hearing improved two years ago but he continues to wear hearing aids and said learning BSL in five weeks was “extraordinary.” Lynch had only three weeks to learn sign language, a learning process she described as “hard.” “Sign doesn’t make sense if you just do it with your hands,” she said. “People need to understand what you’re saying with your face as well.”

JAPAN BUYS BUS FOR SCHOOL IN YEMEN

An agreement signed on Saturday in Sana’a, Yemen calls for the Japanese government to contribute up to $34,000 (US) so that a school for the deaf in Aden can purchase a bus. The agreement was signed by the Ambassador of Japan in Sana’a and the chairperson of the Deaf and Dumb Care and Rehabilitation Association. It is part of a Japanese program called “General Grant Aid for Grassroots Projects.” According to the Yemen Times, the new bus “will enable those students to reach their association smoothly and safely to obtain training on certain skills of income generation nature,” helping them become “creative, independent and of use to their society.”

CHINA LAUNCHES FIRST-EVER DEAF TEACHER TRAINING

The first-ever professional teacher training for deaf teachers in China began on Monday at Beijing Normal University, reported Xinhua. The national deaf teacher training workshop, sponsored by Save the Children (U.K.) and China Disabled Persons’ Federation, is targeted to teachers at deaf schools who teach through sign language. The majority of deaf teachers in China will be offered five weeks’ training every year for five years, said a Save the Children official. The report said in 2004 about 80,000 hearing-impaired students attended special schools or classes and were taught by around 200 deaf teachers.


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U.K. CHARITY CHOOSES HEROIC HEARING DOG OF YEAR

A Yorkshire terrier cross named Fraser has won the U.K.’s Heroic Hearing Dog of the Year, reported the Dunstable News in Bedford. Fraser was honored for rushing to alert deaf owner Dawn Munslow, 32, when her daughter Emily became sick at their home in Houghton Regis. “Fraser was tapping at my legs as if he was trying to gell me something,” said Munslow. She followed him and found Emily, 4, collapsed on the floor in pain. She was taken to the hospital and is still having tests. TV personality Clare Balding judged the awards – sponsored by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People – and explained why she chose the winner: “Fraser is evidently a very special little person, and will only get more so with age.”

DYNASTY’S STEPHANIE BEACHAM SPEAKS OUT

Former Dynasty actress Stephanie Beacham was interviewed on the U.K.’s Breakfast TV recently during Deafblind week, talking of her own partial hearing loss and her role as spokeswoman with SENSE, an organization for people who are deaf and blind. According to the Belfast Telegraph, Beacham’s own father was both deaf and blind when he died at 91. Older folks suffer embarrassment when their senses decline, she said, and hate having to ask repeatedly, “What was that, dear?” Her advice: “Practice block writing by capital letters on their palms and make your presence known by touch and clear, direct speech."

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LIFE & LEISURE
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LARGE CROWD ON HAND FOR KENTUCKY DEAFESTIVAL

An estimated 10,000 people turned out July 1 in Louisville, Ky. for DeaFestival, a biennial event first held 1996. Gov. Ernie Fletcher was on hand to greet the crowd, but his remarks drew little applause. Instead, reported the Louisville Courier-Journal, the audience “fluttered their hands in the air, the deaf symbol for clapping.” The Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing sponsors the festival, and the idea behind the free event is to draw attention to the deaf experience and way of life, said the Commission’s executive director, Bobbie Beth Scoggins. “This is our opportunity to show we are here,” she said. Scoggins, in California for the NAD conference, flew home to Louisville to oversee the festival and then flew back to California, where she was elected president of the NAD board.

IMPLANT STUDIES: EARLIER IS BETTER, BUT WAIT ON NO. 2

Two recent studies have shed new light on cochlear implants. Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine and the Southwestern Medical School at the University of Texas-Dallas studied 76 children over 3-1/2 years old and compared their speech skills with the length of time each child had an implant. They found that the earlier a deaf infant or toddler receives a cochlear implant, the better his or her spoken language skills will be. And a study presented at the American Otological Society in Chicago suggests it may be beneficial to allow some time to pass before a child receives a second implant in the other ear. Researchers at the Dallas Otolaryngology Cochlear Implant Center and the University of Madison-Wisconsin reached that conclusion after studying 30 children, aged 3 to 13, who received a second implant at least six months after the first.

TEXAS AWARD WINNER ATTENDS DINNER IN WASHINGTON

San Angelo, Texas resident Aulby “Larry” Gillett, 50, was in Washington, D.C. last month on an all-expense-paid trip to represent his hometown and the San Angelo Standard-Times at the Jefferson Awards dinner. According to the Standard-Times, Gillett was the local winner of the Jefferson Award, conferred by the American Institute for Public Service to recognize outstanding community and public service work. Gillett, who is deaf, became involved in improving access to the 9-1-1 system for deaf people after rescuing a man from a car fire 16 years ago. He was nominated for the award by his boss at the U.S. Postal Service, Postmaster Ernie Jones. The June 20 awards dinner in Washington was hosted by actress Ellen Burstyn, and among the award winners was I. King Jordan, president of Gallaudet University.

ARIZONA STATE GETS $200,000 TO RESEARCH HEARING AIDS

Arizona State University researchers have received a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a better hearing aid, reported The Arizona Republic in Phoenix. Connection One, an NSF-affiliated research center at ASU, hopes to learn how the ear’s biological system operates and then “mimic that system with the seamless integration of a digital hearing device,” said director Sayfe Kiaei. Researchers hope to improve the comfort, decrease the size, increase sound quality, make the devices more flexible and extend battery life. If the prototype is successful, ASU could receive additional NSF funding of perhaps more than $1 million to expand research and possibly bring the new device to the market.


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WORKING WORLD
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MASSAGE THERAPIST ‘ADDICTED’ FROM AN EARLY AGE

A deaf massage therapist who began to learn her trade while growing up in Africa was profiled in the Frederick (Md.) News-Post last month. May Wille “grew up in the trees ... with the wild animals and slept outside,” and in 1944 was sent to a school for the deaf 300 miles from home, where sign language was not permitted. May Wille remembers seeing the word “massage” in a newspaper headline and not knowing what it meant. “Then I tried it and was addicted,” she said. The Thurmont, Md. resident moved to the U.S. and took her first massage therapy class at Gallaudet University in 1989. Since then, she has developed her knowledge of several massage techniques and other health topics. Her website (www.soothingwaves.com) includes services, rates and information on organizing a massage party.

TRUCK MECHANIC ‘IN A GOOD MOOD EVERY DAY’

The Odessa (Texas) American did a story June 20 on Warren Glass, a deaf mechanic at Bruckner’s Truck Sales. Glass has been on the job for more than two years and Bruckner’s Keith Martin remembers the company was worried about hiring him for safety reasons. Ultimately, the hire has paid off. “He comes to work in a good mood every day,” said Martin, “when those of us who don’t have disabilities are looking for something wrong.” Glass is animated and extroverted, said the report, and isn’t bothered by the loud noise of the busy garage. “I like this place very much,” he said. Service manager Rich Hudgins added, “If I could pull the ears off everybody, some days it would be helpful.”

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
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MATLIN BEGINS WORK ON ‘THE L WORD’

Marlee Matlin said she’s been feeling “like the new kid in school” since joining the cast of Showtime’s “The L Word,” which begins shooting this month in Vancouver. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the Oscar-winning actress will play an artist and the new lesbian love interest of Jennifer Beals’ character. “That’s the part I love about acting, when people have asked me to do things I’ve never done that are different and challenging,” she said. Matlin had never seen the show – “I’m a mom of four, and I go to bed early,” she said – but watched the DVDs and got hooked. Former castmates at a “West Wing” wrap party were supportive. “Jimmy Smits said, I love ‘The L Word,’” said Matlin, “and Richard Schiff said, I’m getting Showtime.”

FOXY BROWN SAYS HEARING HAS ALMOST FULLY RETURNED

Rapper Foxy Brown plans to release a comeback album in December, one year after revealing to the world that she had lost her hearing. Brown, whose real name is Inga Marchand, underwent surgery in February and has experienced an almost full return of her hearing, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. She marked her comeback with a recent cameo appearance at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. “I went straight from the operating room to the studio,” Brown told MTV News. “It was really hard. I was deaf for an entire year. Completely deaf. The surgery was iffy. They didn’t know if it would be a success, and it was.”

L.A. MAN TO APPEAR ON ‘EXTREME MAKEOVER’ AUGUST 3

A deaf employee of the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness will be featured on the August 3rd episode of ABC’s Extreme Makeover. Phil Janes, a placement coordinator in GLAD’s EDD-Anaheim office, learned that he had been chosen for the reality show last summer, when Marlee Matlin broke the news to him during the Farwest Athletic Association of the Deaf Softball Tournament in Mira Loma, Calif. Janes began surgical procedures September 12, with GLAD interpreter Michael Purcell working alongside him. According to the show’s website, each episode features a “before” phase, the transformation phase and the revealing of results to family and friends. The “Extreme Team” consists of plastic surgeons, dermatologists, eye surgeons and cosmetic dentists, along with hair and makeup artists, stylists and personal trainers.

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SPORTS
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EASTERN TIMBERFEST BRINGS HUNDREDS TO VIRGINIA

Keg throwing, mud wrestling and flying axes were all featured activities at the Eastern Deaf Timberfest, reported the Roanoke (Va.) Times. The biennial event took place June 29-July 4 at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts in Natural Bridge, Va. About 500 adults and up to 300 children attended, said organizers, with some coming from as far away as Poland and Japan. Ron Markel, a logger from Maryland, helped organize the original event in 1994. “I’ve always been going to professional logger events and thought, ‘Why don’t we have one?’” he said, with son Mark interpreting. A big reason to hold the event, said Allen Markel, “is to preserve the deaf culture.” Technology such as videophones make communication easier, he said, but the feeling of togetherness among the deaf community has been affected.

MUSEUM TO HONOR ‘DUMMY’ HOY WITH CLASSIC GAME

The Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, N.Y. has announced that it will hold a William “Dummy” Hoy Classic on Saturday, September 30. Plans are underway to stage a vintage baseball game in honor of the first deaf Major League baseball player, said a museum announcement. Deaf community members who would like to participate should contact Steve DeBottis (sgdbosox@yahoo.com). Information on the museum’s ball field can be found here: http://www.gcv.org/attractions/baseball/.

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MILESTONES
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GEORGE PROPP, 84, INFLUENTIAL NEBRASKA EDUCATOR

Funeral services were held Saturday in Lincoln, Neb. for George Propp, described by The Journal Star as “a pioneer in advocacy and education for the deaf and hard of hearing.” Dr. Propp died July 3 from esophageal cancer at 84. Born in 1922, Propp was the son of German-Russian immigrants and grew up speaking German at home. As a teen, he became deaf from spinal meningitis. At 15, he entered the Nebraska School for the Deaf, and he went on to earn two master’s degrees and a doctorate – “back in the days when there weren’t support services for deaf students like there are now,” said John Bernthal of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Propp was a coach and teacher at the Nebraska School for the Deaf in Omaha before going to work for UNL, where “he was among the vanguard of deaf educators,” said his son Gregory. Dr. Propp was influential in convincing the Nebraska Legislature to form the state Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, said commission director Tanya Wendel, and “he’s going to be sorely missed because not many deaf individuals were so involved and made such an impact.”

JAMES DI SANTO, SCHOOL WORKER FOR 50+ YEARS

James V. DiSanto, a maintenance man for more than 50 years at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, died at his Versailles, Pa. home on Monday, June 19. He was 95. Mr. DiSanto used his skills as a house painter to teach students the mechanics of his trade, said the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Dad understood how difficult it could be for young men to acquire a career,” said his son, Deacon Dale J. DiSanto. Mr. DiSanto and his sister were the children of Italian immigrants. He attended the Western Pennsylvania School and got a job with the YMCA upon graduation. Before long, “Dad returned to the school in the early 1930s and stayed for over 50 years,” said his son. It was at the school that he met Edna Busch, a kitchen worker, and the two were married in 1936. Mrs. DiSanto died in 1980. Mr. DiSanto continued to paint houses after retiring from the school and was a committed member of the Pittsburgh Association of the Deaf.

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READER RESPONSE
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‘JOY TO READ’

I’m just writing to commend you on the quality of your newsletter. Not only is it well-organized, easy to read, and you keep improving it technologically with the links to sources, that I find it a joy to read. Keep it up!

– LUCY


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EMPLOYMENT
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Position: Deaf Habilitation Service Specialist

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Center for Disability Rights, Inc.
497 State Street, Rochester, NY 14608

Or cover letters/resumes can be e-mailed to: mstevenson@rochestercdr.org

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JOB OPPORTUNITIES AT GLAD

GLAD is an Affirmative Action Employer with equal opportunity for men, women and people with disabilities. For more information on the following positions, please go to: www.gladinc.org. The status of all positions is: Regular, Full-time, Non-Exempt, Full Fringe Benefits unless otherwise noted. All positions are open until filled.

LIFESIGNS Director – Los Angeles, CA
Network I.T. Administrator – Los Angeles, CA

If interested for any of these positions then please submit resume and application to:

Jeff Fetterman
Human Resources Specialist
Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, Inc.
2222 Laverna Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90041
V/TDD: (323) 550-4207
Fax #: (323)550-4204
E-mail: jfetterman@gladinc.org

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