September 10, 2008
Vol. 4, No. 14
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 2008 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.
SUPT. TO DONATE $1 MILLION GAME SHOW PRIZE
Kathy Cox, the state superintendent of Georgia Schools, became the first person to win $1 million on FOX TV's "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader," and said she would donate the entire amount to three Georgia schools. Cox and about 100 friends and supporters gathered at a Peachtree City restaurant last Friday to watch the show, which was taped August 6 in Los Angeles. (She was sworn to secrecy, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and did not reveal she had won before the show.) The three schools designated to receive her winnings are the Georgia Academy for the Blind in Macon; Atlanta Area School for the Deaf in Clarkston; and Georgia School for the Deaf in Cave Spring.
MAN BITES COP, TESTS POSITIVE FOR HIV
A deaf Georgia man who bit a police officer on the arm during a traffic stop has tested positive for HIV. Ross Deadwyler, 41, is facing charges of aggravated battery, aggravated assault, speeding to elude, felony obstruction and improper equipment following the August 23 event. He was pulled over for a broken headlight and allegedly attacked the officer as he reached into the car to shut off the ignition, reported WSBTV. The unidentified officer was at home taking medication for 30 days, said a police spokesman. It was not Deadwyler's first brush with the law; two years ago he was found not guilty of murdering his cocaine dealer.
MAN PLEADS GUILTY IN RAPE OF CALIFORNIA TEEN
A California man agreed to a plea bargain last month and will receive a six-year prison sentence for raping a 16-year-old deaf girl. Marcos Esteban Ortega, 39, sexually assaulted the unidentified victim in April after she snuck out of her parents' home in Corona and offered him gas money to drive her to visit friends, said The Press-Enterprise. Ortega, of Lake Elsinore, was arrested after a former co-worker identified him from a convenience store's surveillance video. "You made me suffer so much," said the girl in a statement read in court by her mother.
JUDGE DECLARES MISTRIAL IN RAPE CASE
The trial of a deaf man accused of raping his deaf ex-girlfriend in her Lacey, Wash. apartment ended in a mistrial August 28, said The Olympian, with the jury split 6-6 after three days of deliberations. Prosecutor John Skinder said he plans to retry Nathan Anderson, 26, who has been jailed for more than a year since his arrest, and objected to a defense request to lower the $100,000 bail. Defense attorney Richard Woodrow said the jury should have acquitted his client since witnesses backed up Anderson's alibi that he was home at the time of the alleged rape and because the accuser's "reputation is one for dishonesty in the deaf community."
SOUTH CAROLINA SCHOOL INVESTIGATED, PRESIDENT RESIGNS
Fox Carolina reported August 18 that South Carolina state officials are investigating criminal allegations made against an employee at the School for the Deaf and the Blind. In February, a student confessed to sexually assaulting another student, and in March a man was arrested for bringing a gun on campus and threatening to kill a school employee, but officials would not confirm that these incidents were the focus of the investigation. The school's Board of Commissioners held a special meeting August 15 and announced afterwards that the school's president, Pamela C. Shaw, was resigning after only seven months on the job. A reason for the resignation was not provided.
DEAF SENIORS ANGRY OVER NEW HOUSING COMPLEX
About 25 deaf community members in Spartanburg, S.C. turned out for a meeting August 28 to express disappointment about the new Cedar Springs Place apartment complex. The facility was designed as a senior deaf community and built across from the South Carolina School for the Deaf, but an August 14 newspaper article revealed that low-income seniors who are not deaf were planning to move in. "We feel we've lost everything," said Richard Price, a Spartanburg Association of the Deaf member who helped spearhead the project. Leasing manager Melissa Evans said only 16 of the 48 units have been leased, reported the Herald Journal, and she hoped the remaining units would go to deaf seniors. "But this has to happen now," she said. "In three weeks, I won't have those apartments."
HOUSING PROPOSED FOR COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA
A Wisconsin developer wants to build a 32-unit housing community for low-income deaf and/or blind seniors in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Cardinal Capital Management Inc., a Milwaukee-based firm that manages more than 1,000 units of affordable housing in Wisconsin, has submitted an offer to purchase city-owned property worth $320,000 for the development, reported The Daily Nonpareil. The company plans a second phase, with another 32 units, at a later time. The project is estimated to cost $5.4 million, said Cardinal spokesperson Judy Leiterman, and Council Bluffs officials will vote in October or November on financial assistance for the project.
RIBBON CUT AT GALLAUDET'S NEW SORENSON CENTER
A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place last Wednesday at Gallaudet University for the new James Lee Sorenson Language and Communication Center (SLCC). It's the first building on campus to be designed by and for deaf people, said Gallaudet Today, and was funded partly through a $5 million donation in November 2004 from Sorenson Media and the Sorenson Legacy Foundation. Spectators crowded all three floors to watch President Robert Davila, Provost Stephen Weiner, and Board of Trustees members Cheryl Heppner and James Macfadden cut the ribbon, after which Davila invited guests to take a tour and "see what a truly great building this is!"
CLARKE SCHOOL PRESIDENT'S HOUSE TO BE SOLD
Officials at Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, Mass. have decided to sell Parsons House, a 100-year-old building that has traditionally served as the school president's home. It is the fourth campus building to be put up for sale in recent years, said The Republican, with Clarke focusing on streamlining its campus and opening satellites in other parts of the country. (Current school president William J. Corwin chose not to live in the house when he assumed the job last year.) Parsons House has been assessed at $684,580, which a local realtor said is "relatively affordable for the neighborhood."
CANDIDATE SAYS HE'S NOT RUDE, HE JUST DIDN'T HEAR
A letter printed last Wednesday in the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal accusing City Council candidate Nnamdi O. Chukwuocha of being rude for ignoring the writer's son at a school event brought a quick response from the candidate. "I assume many people may not know that I am deaf on my right side," said Chukwuocha in a letter printed Friday. "If you do not have my attention, it is possible I will not hear a word you are saying." Chukwuocha went on to say that he does not use his disability "as a crutch or excuse" and noted that even some childhood friends are not aware of his condition.
COMMENT ON READING LEVEL 'SPARKS OUTRAGE'
A Jackson, Miss. TV station was "flooded with feedback" after airing interpreter Greg Goldman's comment that many deaf people have a fourth- or fifth-grade reading level. Goldman was profiled by WAPT News after interpreting for Gov. Haley Barbour during several news conferences about Hurricane Gustav. His comment "sparked outrage among the deaf community," said WAPT, and prompted the station to contact a Mississippi School for the Deaf teacher (Amanda Parker) for clarification. WAPT also pointed to a Gallaudet University study showing 17- and 18-year-old deaf students read at an average fourth-grade level.
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BRITISH TEEN WINS MISS DEAF WORLD 2008
Rosanna Mazzocchio, 19, of Lancashire, England, was crowned Miss Deaf World 2008 in Prague, the Czech Republic, on July 12. She was one of 16 contestants (none from the US) in the eighth annual competition, and she walked away with a crystal crown worth more than $21,000 and an offer of a two-year modeling contract in Prague, said the Lancashire Evening Post. "I still can't believe that I've won the title," she said. "It was brilliant, a fantastic feeling." Next year's competition takes place in Poland; visit www.missdeafworld.com to learn more.
CAMP COUNSELOR FOUND GUILTY OF SEXUAL ABUSE
A deaf mountaineering instructor from Scotland has been convicted of sexually abusing deaf boys age 10 to 15 at summer camps over a 10-year period between 1973 and 1983. Colin MacDonald, 61, finally faced justice after two of his victims exchanged text messages in May 2007 and went to the police together, said the Strathspey & Badenoch Herald. The judge, Lord Malcolm, refused bail and postponed sentencing until psychological and background reports were completed. "I hope he stays in jail for the rest of his life," said "Andy," one of the two men who alerted authorities.
CANADIAN WOMAN, 71, TICKETED FOR WALKING DOGS
A deaf 71-year-old Canadian woman is fighting city hall after receiving a ticket for walking her dogs in a river-front park. According to the Montreal Gazette, "Julia" (not her real name) was ticketed in June 2006 for violating a LaSalle, Quebec law that prohibits people from walking dogs in "green spaces." Julia arrived at a Montreal courthouse this week with an audiologist to argue that she needs her two black Labrador retrievers for safety reasons, but was told the case had been postponed to January.
DEAF ARGENTINE COMPETES IN BEIJING OLYMPICS
Deaf 21-year-old Maria Belen Dutto was one of 137 people representing Argentina at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, competing in the relatively new sport of BMX racing. Described by Deutsche Presse-Agentur as "98 per cent deaf," Dutto was inspired by Maria Gabriela Diaz, a three-time world champion BMX racer, who shares the same home town in Cordoba province. Dutto usually has her father tap her on the back when a beep signals the start of the race, but "technology is more advanced" at the Olympics, said Gabriel Curuchet, head of the Argentine cycling team. "There is a traffic light signal that allows her to know what is happening."
SWIMMER MISSES START WHEN LIGHT MALFUNCTIONS
A deaf Australian swimmer was left standing alone on the blocks at the Paralympics in Beijing, China when a technical malfunction prevented a light from going off at the start of the race. Teigan Van Roosmalen, 17, burst into tears when she realized what happened, said the Macquarie National News, but the 400m freestyle race was stopped at 75 meters and it was agreed to start the race again. Roosmalen, who is also visually impaired, finished eighth when the race was re-run.
SURGERY DELAY LEAVES AUSTRALIAN TEEN ALMOST DEAF
An Australian teenager has been waiting three and a half years for surgery to repair a perforated ear drum, reported News-Medical.net last week, and as a result, he is now almost deaf. The Royal Hobart Hospital in Tasmania blamed the delay in treating Jeremy Brewer, 15, on an "administrative mistake" and said the boy would be scheduled for surgery after his condition is reassessed. Jeremy's mother, Vanessa Brewer, said her son's hearing and speech have significantly deteriorated and he has been subjected to bullying at school, and the state government has apologized for the lengthy delay.
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LIFE & LEISURE
SCIENTISTS CONTINUE SEARCH FOR DEAFNESS CURE
Oregon Health & Science University researchers reported a "significant breakthrough" in their search for a cure for deafness, said a news release. Their work focuses on the sensory cells in the inner ear that can be lost to aging, noise, genetic defects and certain drugs, and which do not regenerate, leading to progressive and irreversible deafness. By transferring a gene called Atoh1 into the cells of the inner ear in developing mice, the researchers have shown "that it is possible to produce functional auditory hair cells in the mammalian cochlea," said one of the scientists, John Brigande. Their findings were published last week in the journal Nature.
LATIN STUDENT COMPETES IN NATIONAL CONVENTION
A deaf teen from New Jersey was one of 14 Latin students from her school to compete this summer at the National Junior Classical League Convention at Miami University of Ohio. Peri Himsel, 15, attended the event with interpreter Courtney Fast from Gloucester County Special Services, said South Jersey Local News, and won first place in the Colored Ink Drawing category for ninth graders. Peri said she took up Latin at the suggestion of her mother, Staci Greenberg. "This is what happens when a deaf 15-year-old receives the services she requires," said Greenberg. "She gets to be a teenager like everyone else."
ZERO-MERCURY HEARING AID BATTERIES COMING SOON
Energizer announced in July that its new mercury-free hearing aid batteries will be widely available in the US by next month. The batteries, which debuted in Europe in 2001, are the result of more than 10 years of laboratory and field testing, said Serge Traylor, Energizer Brand Manager, in a news release. Not to be outdone, competitor Rayovac announced that it will also begin offering zero-mercury batteries, but not until next year.
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CSD UNVEILS PUBLIC VIDEOPHONE
CSD has introduced the Public Access Videophone (PAV), billed as "the first one-size-fits-all public communication device ever available." The Internet-based communications device offers standard payphone, videophone, keyboard and camera in a vandalism-resistant unit that allows deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-disabled people to make phone calls in a public setting. Users can communicate directly with other videophones, make Video Relay Service (VRS) calls or use the keyboard for traditional TTY calls. Hearing people can use the PAV as a standard payphone. The device has a 15-inch screen that can be used for visual paging and to share emergency information or display advertising. To learn more, visit www.csdpav.com.
CALL CENTER IN FLORIDA TO CLOSE NEXT MONTH
First Coast News reported last month that South Dakota-based Communication Service for the Deaf will close the call center it has operated in Jacksonville, Fla. since 2005, putting 114 people out of work. Rick Norris, CSD's communications director, gave October 12 as the closing date and said the decision was based on budget cuts and changing technology that is eliminating the need for the text relay service.
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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
BRAGG'S 80TH BIRTHDAY PROMPTS FUNDRAISERS
Bernard Bragg's 80th birthday will be celebrated Saturday, October 4 with a special Birthday Bash at Gallaudet University's Kellogg Conference Center. The celebration is being organized as a fundraiser to benefit the National Association of the Deaf and the National Theatre of the Deaf. (A similar event in Los Angeles will benefit the NAD and Deaf West Theatre.) Several noted deaf community figures will be on hand to honor Bragg for his distinguished career as performer, playwright, director, artist and poet, said an NAD news release. Admission is $80, and payment must be received by September 30.
LOTS OF NEW BOOKS TO READ
Several deaf-related books have been published in recent months. They include "Words in My Hands," by Diane Chambers, the story of 86-year-old deaf-blind pianist Bert Riedel; "Day by Day: Chronicles of a Hard of Hearing Reporter," by Elizabeth Thompson, who used her newspaper column to educate readers about hearing loss; "Deaf Sentence," a novel by David Lodge that the Otago Daily Times said "reads like a memoir"; and "Enrique Speaks With His Hands," by Benjamin Fudge, a children's book that the San Bernardino (Calif.) Sun said is based on a deaf youngster Fudge met in 2003 while doing ministry work in Honduras.
VITAC LAUNCHES CAPTIONING AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
VITAC, a captioning provider based in Pittsburgh, has launched a national awareness campaign called CaptionsON. The campaign includes a special website -- www.captionsON.com -- where viewers, educators, public officials, video providers and the media can find relevant information and resources. According to a VITAC news release, a major part of the campaign is the Viewer Relations Bureau, a website feature that allows viewers to submit captioning feedback directly to the appropriate network, station or cable/satellite provider. VITAC kicked off the campaign by providing 150 hours of free captioning to nonprofit organizations nationwide.
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SCHOOL PROMOTES DEAF MAN TO HEAD HOCKEY COACH
Devils Lake (N.D.) High School has a new head hockey coach: David Zimmerman, who is deaf. The 43-year-old Minot native has been the school's assistant coach for eight years and has also taught at the North Dakota School for the Deaf for 19 years, said the Associated Press. Zimmerman said he spent hours every day in speech therapy classes while growing up and credits his parents for keeping him motivated. "I know that I'm where I'm at now because of my speaking skills," he said.
STILL NO CAPTIONING, BUT METS HOST 'DEAF DAY'
The New York Mets are hosting their second annual Deaf & Hard of Hearing Awareness Day at Shea Stadium. Sponsored by SorensonVRS and benefiting the New York Deaf Theatre, the event is set for this Sunday, September 14, at 1:10 when the Mets take on the Atlanta Braves. Matthew Gulotta of the Mets Group Sales Dept. can be contacted for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ironically, the Mets continue to refuse to provide closed-captioning of their games on SportsNet New York, taking advantage of an FCC provision that allows new stations four years to begin captioning its programs.
FOOTBALL TRIO SET FOR SECOND COLLEGE SEASON
KLTV in Tyler, Texas did a story August 19 on three deaf Tyler Junior College students who are in their second season as teammates on the school's football team. Tyrone Denson is a wide receiver for the Apaches, B.J. Hester is a linebacker and Rodney Watts is a defensive tackle. Tina Beaton interprets for the players, relaying play calls and coaches' instructions. "I really didn't think I'd be successful in college football," said Hester. "I was really surprised." Denson hopes to follow in the footsteps of Martel Van Zant, also deaf, who attended high school in Tyler and played for Oklahoma State. (Van Zant, said KLTV, worked out recently with the Tennessee Titans and is on the NFL's "ready" list.)
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NTID CONFERENCE TO EXPLORE TECHNOLOGY'S IMPACT
A two-day conference next month at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, N.Y. will explore how storytelling in American Sign Language is being affected by changing technologies. Organizers expect more than 400 people to attend "Redefining the Literary Expressions of Deafhood: The Impact of the Digital Age," set for October 3-4 and made possible by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities. Keynote speakers include Christopher Krentz, a University of Virginia assistant professor of English and ASL, and Kristen Harmon, an English professor at Gallaudet University. The event is free and open to the public, but participants are asked to register by October 1. To learn more, visit www.ntid.rit.edu/friends/lean_reg.php.
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CSDVRS is hiring!
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CSDVRS, LLC (TM) We're still working to be the BEST video relay service provider for you. We continue to surpass FCC guidelines by requiring all of our interpreters to be nationally certified. This guarantees you the best possible experience with a relay service provider.
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Tutoring Positions Available Nationwide
Signing L.O.V.E. (Live On-Line Visual Education) provides live, on-line tutoring to Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Help deaf children succeed while you earn extra money!
Fluency in sign language is required. Positions are currently available tutoring in all academic areas. Salary is very competitive, is commensurate with education, and increases with certifications and experience.
Tutors use video relay to teach from home. And because students are located coast-to-coast, you can tutor outside of your regular work hours. For more information, visit http://www.signinglove.com. Videophone interviews begin on Sept. 9th.
DEAF SERVICES CENTER
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Deaf Services Center (DSC) is a dynamic team of behavioral health professionals serving Deaf and hard of hearing children and adults. We take great pride that our program is strongly Deaf centered with about 85% of our staff being Deaf or hard of hearing. Our staff environment is one of incredible teamwork and mutual support. As a result, we are rapidly growing with new programs and expansions of our existing programs. Whether you are a high school graduate, recent college graduate or have many years experience in the field of human services we have a career building position waiting for you!
DSC is looking for dedicated, motivated, energetic individuals who are fluent in American Sign Language and knowledgeable about Deaf Culture and the Deaf Community to fill the following positions:
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Come be a part of our exciting growing professional TEAM! For more information go to our website at www.salisb.com under our job section.
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Our vision is to enable free-flowing communications between people, inclusive of differences in abilities, languages, or locations.
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Client Support Specialist — San Jose
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MASSACHUSETTS TRS OUTREACH MANAGER
Hamilton Relay in Massachusetts currently has a full time position open for a “Massachusetts TRS Outreach Manager”. This position can be located anywhere within Massachusetts.
Position summary: Position is responsible for Outreach, marketing, and gathering information which will help improve the quality of the relay service and the number of customers served in Massachusetts. Individual will be required to travel.
Preferred education, experience
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Hamilton Relay, Inc. is a division of Hamilton Telecommunications based in Aurora, NE.
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