deafweekly

 

July 13, 2005
Vol. 1 No. 39

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 mail@deafweekly.com.

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The contents of Deafweekly are Copyright 2005. Any unauthorized use, including reprinting of news, is prohibited. Readership: approximately 5,000 including subscribers and website readers.

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NATIONAL
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MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO FAKING STORY OF PARK MUGGING

A deaf tourist who told police he was mugged in a Port Angeles, Wash. park in May was released from jail last Wednesday after pleading guilty to second-degree theft and making false statements to a public servant. Tony Dean Branch, 29, was released after 36 days in county jail, which prosecutors decided was enough to fit the crime. Branch, who said he legally changed his name to Wolfjunge M. Wolfsburger, said he made up the story about being mugged to get help for mental problems and never asked residents to give him money. According to the Peninsula Daily News, Branch was offered free lodging at a local hostel and received about $1,000 in donations. "I've done some wrong things," he said in court. A judge ordered him to pay $710 in court fees and return the money he was given by residents. Branch said the Clallam County jail did not make accommodations for his deafness, so he slept to pass the time.

MAINE ADDS $8.1 MILLION TO FUND FOR ABUSE VICTIMS

The state of Maine is adding $8.1 million to a fund to compensate victims of physical and sexual abuse at the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf. The Baxter Compensation Authority, created in 2001, has already paid $12.5 million to 240 victims of abuse going back to the 1940s. State lawmakers originally allocated $6 million to the fund, but another $6 million was provided last year when the money ran out with fewer than a third of the claims satisfied. The compensation board meets monthly to hear abuse claims from former students. According to the Portland Press Herald, claim amounts range from $25,000 to $100,000 and are based on the severity of the abuse. Forty people have been on a waiting list pending the recent funding, and a claim-filing deadline has been set for March 31, 2006.

POLICE SEEK MAN IN FATAL SHOOTING OF DEAF BYSTANDER

Police in San Antonio, Texas are searching for a man they say walked into a crowd and started shooting, killing 21-year-old Joe Albert Rodriguez. "Silent Joe," as neighbors knew him, was gunned down by a man who got out of a vehicle and fired at a group of people. Rodriguez's younger brother was in the crowd, and he told WOAI-TV News, "Some guy came around the corner with a gun yelling, 'Who's messing around with my chick?'" The brother then heard gun shots and saw Rodriguez fall to the ground. "He looked at me and tried telling me in sign language, I'm alright." But he had been shot in the neck, and he died in his brother's arms. "He was such a good boy," said neighbor Debra Trevino. "He never bothered anybody."

FAMILY ESCAPES SAFELY FROM HOUSE FIRE IN FLORIDA

A house in Daytona Beach, Fla. sustained about $70,000 in damages from a fire early Monday, but residents Kathy Robbins, 49, and her son Erick, 18, both deaf, were able to get out safely. Robbins' mother, Mary Trapp, was on her way to bed at 3:30 a.m. after a late movie, the News-Journal reported, when she heard "what sounded like hail on the roof." She also noticed an odd light, which turned out to be a backyard shed on fire. With flames starting to spread to the house, Trapp woke up her daughter and grandson and called 911. "If there is a God, he spoke this morning," said Trapp's friend, Theresa Miller. "Kathy and Erick were in a deep sleep, and of course, they would not have heard anything." Police suspect arson, and a $2,500 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest.

PSYCHOLOGIST CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ASSAULT OF CLIENT

A Grand Rapids, Mich. psychologist has been charged with four counts of sexually assaulting a deaf client and could be jailed for up to two years, the Grand Rapids Press reported last Thursday. Robert G. Eardley, 53, worked for Touchstone Innovare, an outpatient mental health agency, and began counseling the alleged victim in 2001. According to a police report, Eardley began having sex with the client in October 2004, "using victim's weakness to prey upon her when she told him that she had an attraction to him." The woman "knew it wasn't right, but she didn't think anyone would believe her," the report said. She finally reported the alleged incidents to police last month. Eardley, who has worked for Touchstone for more than 20 years, was placed on leave pending the outcome of internal and police investigations.

TEXAS WOMAN FIGHTS OFF ROBBERY ATTEMPT AT ATM

A deaf woman in Lubbock, Texas fought off two people trying to rob her at an ATM, KCBD-TV News reported last week. The unidentified Hispanic woman was making a transaction at about 1:30 in the afternoon Thursday when a jeep pulled up behind her. A female suspect pulled the victim's hair and tried to get her money, but the deaf woman fought back and the suspects drove away empty handed. Police are looking for the suspects, a black male and a black female driving a tan or gold Jeep.

KENTUCKY SCHOOL TO RECEIVE $160,000 DONATION

The Louisville (Ky.) Deaf Oral School will receive a $160,000 donation from philanthropist June Tafel at a ceremony tomorrow. She is donating the proceeds of her book, "Behind Closed Doors II," a series of photographs by Stephen Driver showcasing famous homes in Louisville. Tafel has volunteered with the school for over 20 years, reported the Business First of Louisville, and in recognition the school building will be renamed the June Tafel Early Education Center.

PA RELAY CELEBRATES SPECIAL DAY OF AWARENESS

Monday was recognized as "711/PA Relay Day" in Pennsylvania by Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll, who encouraged residents to learn more about PA Relay. Representatives from PA Relay distributed information about telecommunications relay services in Allentown, Erie, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading and Scranton. Celebrity spokesperson Christy Smith of "Survivor" fame was in Harrisburg to help spread the word. The statewide campaign includes radio, billboard, mass transit, mall kiosk advertising, a website and a program for school children. Monday, July 11, was chosen for PA Relay Day because 711 is the number to dial for relay services.

AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR DEAF CHILDREN MEETS IN PENNSYLVANIA

More than 400 people were expected to attend the five-day National Conference of the American Society for Deaf Children, which started Saturday at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. The 19th biennial conference, organized mostly by families of deaf children, focuses on reading, cochlear implants and preparing deaf children for life after high school. Among the presenters is Rodney Danco, 58, vice president of finance at Danco Precision, an industrial molding company founded by his uncle. Danco has served on the WPSD board since 1984 and has served as president the past four years. One of seven members of the school's first graduating class in 1965, he recalled the advice he gave his classmates. "I told them it's okay to be deaf," he said.

CSD OPENS NEW VISITORS CENTER AT SIOUX FALLS HEADQUARTERS

CSD hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Thursday for its new visitors center at CSD headquarters in Sioux Falls, S.D. The center's opening took place during CSD's second annual "Passion Day" employee appreciation event and included a kick-off celebration for the organization's 30th anniversary. The visitors center provides video and visual displays that highlight CSD's key products and services. Future developments will include an interactive sign-in kiosk and floor-to-ceiling murals portraying key individuals in the history of CSD, also known as Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. CSD will host a 30th anniversary banquet at the Sioux Falls Convention Center on October 28, and tickets will go on sale soon at www.c-s-d.org.


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Signing Time Gift Set Now at Harris Communications

Alex, Leah and all their friends help you learn ASL in the 6-video or 6-DVD Signing Time Full Collection Gift Set now at Harris Communications. Start with the basics with "My First Signs" and continue to learn more signs as you watch all the videos. These videos are made for children ages 1-8 and are a fun way to learn ASL. Set also includes two music CDs. For more information, go to http://www.harriscomm.com/link/?www.harriscomm.com?sr=dw071005 or contact us at mailto:info@harriscomm.com.

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CONTACT KERSTIN AND BOOK YOUR CRUISE NOW AT kerstin@kerstinstravel.com

Visit us at www.kerstinstravel.com for more information.

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INTERNATIONAL
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U.K. COMPANY FACES LAWSUITS OVER DAMAGED HEARING

A U.K. company called Eircom faces the prospect of mass litigation by former telephone operators who claim their hearing was damaged after years of working for the company, the Sunday Business Post reported in Dublin. The company confirmed it is defending litigation in at least one case, and sources said potentially thousands of former operators could take legal action. The operators' cases will likely center on "acoustic shock," hearing damage that is caused by sudden increases in noise in the headsets. Symptoms include tinnitus and sensitivity to loud noises. The National Association for Deaf People in Dublin has been in touch with Eircom over the issue. Another phone company, British Telecom, has paid millions of pounds in out-of-court settlements to former operators for hearing damage.

MAYOR OF ROME INAUGURATES NEW RESTAURANT

Rome is celebrating the opening of its "first restaurant for the deaf and dumb," reported the ANSA in Italy on Friday. The new restaurant, inaugurated yesterday by Mayor Walter Veltroni, will serve an estimated 4,500 deaf people in the city. Captioned films will be shown and tables will have computers to allow guests to send and receive email and instant messages. Waiters and waitresses are trained to take orders in sign language, and the first illustrated Italian Sign Language dictionary was presented at the restaurant's opening.

TWO WOMEN IN ZIMBABWE SEEK AIRFARE TO ATTEND BEAUTY PAGEANT

Two woman in Zimbabwe have been invited to this week's Miss World Deaf Beauty Pageant, AllAfrica.com reported, but they were having trouble raising money for airfare. The pageant, established in 2002, is held every July in the Czech Republic. Air Zimbabwe offered the women and their two companions a 50% discount, but they still needed to fly from London to the Czech Republic and an additional $362 (US) fare was required for each traveler. "We have tried in vain to raise the money ... but all our efforts have been fruitless, said Audrey Chikara, 22, a dance instructor. Patricia Manyeruke, 22, was still hopeful that she and Chikara could make the trip. "If I win, it will be proof to all the deaf and dumb beautiful girls in the country that all things are possible," she said.

INDIAN ARTIST, A FORMER MASON AND GOAT HERDER, UNVEILS EXHIBITION

"Forms in Flow," an exhibition of oil paintings by deaf artist Khaled Mohammed, opened Saturday in India. A former mason and goat herder, Mohammed is known for his revival of the difficult 17th-century art form of marbling. He was discovered four years ago by VirtualO, an organization that helps disabled artists to become full-time professional artists. Based in Hyderabad, VirtualO was founded in 2001 by two American professors, Baba Prasad of the University of North Carolina and Leela Prasad of Duke University. They support the group through their personal funds, providing artists with salaries, art supplies and studio space. VirtualO sells the artwork as originals and greeting cards, reinvesting the profits to help other artists. Internationally ranked deaf badminton player S. Chandramouli works full time as manager of the organization, which has already helped more than a dozen artists.


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Relay with Wireless IP-RELAY.com on Sidekick

Wireless IP-RELAY.com brings the world to you via wireless device! When traveling for work or vacation, you can now keep in touch with family, friends, or co-workers. Gone are the days of having to find a TTY in an airport or shopping mall! Simply click on Wireless IP-RELAY.com, and directly connect to relay in real time. Reschedule your plans in an instant and communicate with all the convenience at your fingertips. For more information on how to download and for a comprehensive listing of wireless devices that provide you with relay choices, visit www.ip-relay.com. MCI’s Wireless IP-RELAY.com – your wireless relay tool!

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WELCOME TO CSDVRS
VIDEO: Welcome CSDVRS- www.csdvrs.com/abstract.html

There were telephone lines
To the homes of deaf and hearing.
Deaf who make phone calls,
Asking for help.

Then the world of teletype machines,
Those were loud houses.

And years later,
Telecommunications relay service agents facilitating calls.

Then things changed.

NOW we have small gadgets connecting users to video interpreters:
“You have reached CSDVRS...”

Have you tried CSDVRS?

Call a hearing person using sign language through this video relay service!
Find out how you may qualify for free videophone equipment!
Visit the CSDVRS website: www.CSDVRS.COM

VIDEO: Welcome CSDVRS- www.csdvrs.com/abstract.html

CSDVRS Rocks !

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LIFE & LEISURE
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TWO NEWSPAPERS LAUNCH DEAF-FRIENDLY COLUMNS

Newspapers in Massachusetts and Florida have recently begun printing regular columns on deaf issues. The Republican of Springfield, Mass. is running a twice-a-month column by Carrie Barrepski, a Livonia, Mich. native now living in Western Massachusetts. "Hearing impairment is one of my many disabilities," Barrepski wrote in last Thursday's newspaper. "But actually I see it as one of many characteristics." Meanwhile, the St. Augustine (Fla.) Record launched a column Saturday by Missy Kaler called "Neighbors: An introduction to the Deaf culture." The column will appear every two weeks and report on events in the deaf community. "I am a proud Deaf person who was born deaf with a severe congenial [sic] hearing loss," she wrote.

NEVADA TEEN WINS FIRST MISS DEAF USA PAGEANT

The Las Vegas (Nev.) Sun reported July 1 on Lacy Tingey, an 18-year-old who, in April, became the first winner of the Miss Deaf USA pageant, which was held at the Palace Station Casino. Tingey, of Mesquite, Nev., has been deaf since she was 18 months old after suffering constant ear infections, and as a child she was in a Miss Cinderella pageant. More recently, she was the first runner-up in the Miss Mesquite pageant, where she had to strut onstage in a bathing suit. "The swimsuit was the worst part," she said. "I don't like to show my body a lot." There was no swimsuit competition in the Miss Deaf USA pageant, and Tingey said she felt as if the deaf culture understands her more. The pageant was organized by Bonita Leek to recognize young deaf or hard-of-hearing women who are career- or goal-minded. Leek said it differs from the Miss Deaf America pageant, which has focused more on community service and social work since it was first held in 1972.

'ACCELEGLOVE' TRANSLATES SIGN LANGUAGE INTO SPEECH OR TEXT

The CIO in Singapore reported Friday on the development of the AcceleGlove, a device based on sensor technology that translates American Sign Language into speech. The device is a glove lined on the inside with sensors called "accelerometers" that can measure acceleration and translate finger and hand movements. Attachments for the elbow and shoulder capture ASL signs made with full arm motion. Algorithms in the glove's software translate the hand gestures into words that can be relayed through speech synthesizers or read on a PDA-size computer screen. Inventor Jose Hernandez-Rebollar started with a single glove that could only translate the manual alphabet. Now, the device has two gloves and the potential for a 1,000-word vocabulary. One of the biggest hurdles has been translation speed ("Experienced signers sign really fast," said the inventor) and has been solved in part by using intelligent predictors, software that can predict the word a signer might use next. Hernandez-Rebollar is now getting a patent and expects to pitch the product to potential investors by the end of this summer.

CENTER IN CINCINNATI MARKS 80TH ANNIVERSARY

The Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center of Greater Cincinnati is celebrating its 80th anniversary this month. Laurie Berman, executive director, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that the center still provides state-of-the-art care and will launch new programs and services soon. "We hope to start training in the summer or fall to deal with tinnitus," she said, and a workshop in October will focus on "intimacy hearing problems" of couples, or what happens at night when hearing aids are removed. The center was founded in 1925 as the Cincinnati League for the Hard of Hearing, and organization founder Dr. Jean W. Rothenberg knows the value of education and technology in this field -- she has worn hearing aids since 1937.

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NEW RELAY OPTION >>>

Introducing i711.com, the newest Internet relay service. i711.com delivers the best relay call experience, but is much MORE than relay. i711.com also has an online community, with exclusive articles on deaf culture, employment and technology, community news headlines, open captioned movie information and more. Visit i711.com to have a great experience when you make your Internet relay calls. But you'll also love i711.com's community connections, news, and content you can't find anywhere else.

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Deaf Awareness Vacation

Excitement cruise vacations for all hard of hearing and deaf people. My name is Terzino Bomprezzi, deaf owned and licensed travel agent of The Sunset Cruise Agency. Have done many trips with all groups since 1996. All trips come with professional and licensed ASL interpreters. Please visit this exciting website at www.deafcruises.com. You will find many interesting information and plenty of photos to see. Your trip will guarantee be the wonderful and best time of your life. Contact me fax at 870-339-4117 or email me at BomprezziTravel1@aol.com. Will look forward to hear from you all.

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WORKING WORLD
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GOAMERICA, INC., HANDS ON ANNOUNCE MERGER PLANS

GoAmerica, Inc. and Hands On announced last week that they have entered into a merger agreement. GoAmerica, of Hackensack, N.J., is a provider of wireless and Internet relay services, and Hands On, of Rocklin, Calif., provides video relay and interpreter services. Under terms of the agreement, Hands On shareholders will receive an amount of GoAmerica shares about equal to the number of GoAmerica shares outstanding immediately prior to closing. Completion of the merger is subject to shareholder approval from both companies, and Hands On's shareholders have already agreed to support the merger. The two companies will continue to operate from their current locations. Hands On president Ronald Obray will join the GoAmerica board of directors and report to GoAmerica CEO Dan Luis.

HAMILTON RELAY UNVEILS NEW LOOK AT TDI CONFERENCE

Hamilton Relay has unveiled a new look and website, along with the slogan, "Hamilton Relay ... That's what I'm talking about." The new message focuses on real-life accomplishments that have been achieved through the use of its relay services. Corey Gember, for example, used Hamilton Relay to call his future father-in-law after asking for his girlfriend's hand in marriage. "I couldn't wait until the next time I saw her dad face to face," he said. "I had to call him." The company introduced its new message Monday at the Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc. (TDI) conference in New Orleans, and yesterday hosted a reception for TDI attendees at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. "We value our customers," said Hamilton's Dixie Ziegler.

ERIN CASLER JOINS TDI IN PUBLIC RELATIONS POSITION

Erin Casler has joined Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc. (TDI) as the organization's new public relations and resource development officer. Casler comes to TDI after serving with CSD in Sioux Falls, S.D., where she directed development and public relations efforts. She also served as public information officer with the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, Conn. A 1996 graduate of Smith College with a degree in art history, Casler serves on the board of directors for Deaf Women United and is the reigning Miss Deaf America of the National Association of the Deaf. "We are delighted to have Erin join the TDI team," said TDI executive director Claude Stout.

ADVOCATE WANTS TO OPEN TRAINING CENTER

Stefan Pop, who owned a dental lab for 20 years, wants to open an educational center where deaf trainers would teach deaf people new skills. "My vision is that we can get these people off of the social service system, disability payments, and Medicare system payrolls and train them to be productive contributors in society," he said. He hopes to get government funding for a center that would train deaf people to be business owners, who would then "give back" to the program by volunteering at the center. "Most employers will not take the time to train a deaf person," said Pop, and "the deaf are always put in menial positions and fail to gain upward mobility opportunities." He'd like to hear from other deaf people "and maybe start collecting signatures and see if I have the support to do this." Contact him at nobelbest1@yahoo.com.

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New Products from Compu-TTY, Inc.

The KA300 Alarm system is the newest and most affordable multi-room system. It monitors all types of audible alarms, such as smoke detectors, fire security and pool alarm, etc. in your home or office. The KA300 system has powerful bed shaker and strobe light with indicators for all alarms. Optional weather radio also works with the KA300 system for all types of emergencies, such as hurricanes, tornados, severe storms, etc. in your area. For more information, check out www.computty.com.

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Want quicker access to Video Relay Service?
Hamilton VRS encourages all D-Link consumers to add call.hipvrs.com to their videophone speed dial list. This will also enable consumers to connect with their choice of VRS provider.

To add the IP address for Hamilton VRS to your list:
1. Go to "Dial" button and click on the button to enter another prompt.
2. Go to "Add" to add the video relay service address in the Speed Dial list. You will see a prompt immediately after hitting the "Add" button that will contain information such as name, telephone number field, and address field.
3. Go to the address field and enter "call.hipvrs.com" and click on the "OK" button upon completion to save the address.

Contact Customer Support
Via Phone: 1-877-283-7687 V/TTY
Via Instant Messaging (AOL, Yahoo or MSN) at HamiltonVRSHelp
(from 8:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. (EST), Monday - Friday
Via E-mail: hipvrs@hamiltonrelay.com
Hamilton VRS hours are from 7:30 AM to Midnight EST daily.

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
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'THE SOUND OF SILENCE' CHOSEN FOR O'NEILL WRITING CONFERENCE

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Norwich, Conn. has selected a deaf-related story as one of two screenplays chosen for its first Film and Television Writing Conference. The pilot program is part of the O'Neill Playwrights Conference and will include screenings and public readings of the screenplays in progress. "The Sound of Silence," by Craig Weiner, is scheduled to be performed tonight. According to the Norwich Bulletin, the story centers on a young deaf scientist forced to choose between her loyalty to the deaf power movement of the 1980s and the opportunity to develop the first cochlear implant after a tragedy strikes her closest friend. It is produced in American Sign Language, with subtitles.

NEWSPAPER WRITER OFFERS ODD EXPLANATION ON CAPTIONING

Mike Holtzclaw, writing in the Daily Press of Hampton Roads, Va., attributed Superman-like qualities to deaf people in a brief blurb titled "Captions." Referring to a local movie theater that was showing an open-captioned print of the Martin Lawrence basketball comedy "Rebound," Holtzclaw wrote, "The technology allows deaf or hearing-impaired viewers to see captions superimposed on the screen that remain invisible to the rest of the audience."

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SPORTS
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VARSITY FOOTBALL TO RETURN TO GALLAUDET IN 2007

Gallaudet University plans to restore its varsity football program, the Washington Post reported yesterday. The Washington, D.C. school, which hasn't fielded a team since 1979, plans to return to varsity status at the Division III level by 2007. Ed Hottle, 32, has been hired to coach the team after leading Calvert High to a 1-9 record last season, his first as a coach. He'll begin a crash course in sign language on his first day, with daily two-hour sessions. Gallaudet has had a club football program for the past 26 years, and the Bison went 3-5 last year against other club teams and junior varsity opponents. A fundraising campaign is underway to install lights and new bleachers in time for the 2007 season.

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Sprint Relay Wireless, powered by GoAmerica®,
is available on the Sidekick/HipTop wireless devices. Sprint Relay Wireless is also accessible through the RIM 850, 857 and 950 devices running WyndTell® service.
Sidekick and HipTop wireless device users access Sprint Relay by clicking on the bright TTY icon directly from the chooser screen. To download and install Sprint Relay Wireless, access the device’s Catalog download feature. In the catalog, simply select Sprint Relay Wireless from the Applications list, and select Purchase to download and install the service for free. For more information on Sprint Relay Wireless, visit http://www.sprintrelay.com/ or email srw@goamerica.com.

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