deafweekly

 

September 14, 2005
Vol. 1 No. 48

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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HURRICANE KATRINA
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LIST OF DEAF CASUALTIES SAID TO BE A HOAX

An email that began circulating two weeks ago claiming that 17 deaf people died in Hurricane Katrina is now believed by many to be a hoax. Mike McConnell (deafsurvivors@hotmail.com) wrote an email titled "The Cruelty of Unverified Death List of Dead Deaf People" indicating that several people on the list have been found at shelters or with family. Said McConnell, "As a perverted, sick joke, the original sender gets his/her jollies by passing an email list of unverified names of dead deaf people knowing that such a list can traumatize family members and friends."

MORE FUNDS ESTABLISHED TO HELP SURVIVORS

In addition to two funds mentioned in last week's Deafweekly (Gallaudet University and the Louisiana School for the Deaf), the following funds have been announced:

National Association of the Deaf Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund, 814 Thayer Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910, www.nad.org/katrinarelief. Purpose: To assist organizations and schools who are providing resources to feed, clothe and shelter displaced deaf and hard-of-hearing survivors and their families and to enable communication access to needed programs and services.

TDI Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund, 8630 Fenton St., Suite 604, Silver Spring, MD 20910, 301-589-3797 (fax). Purpose: Telecommunication needs including amplified phones, TTYs, captioned telephones, NOAA weather radios, portable TVs with captioning, web cams, videophones, telephone alerting devices and pager equipment needs.

WAD/MAD Deaf & Hard of Hearing Relief Fund, c/o Linda Russell, 29 E. Wilson St., #207, Madison, WI 53703. Purpose: replace communication access equipment, pay for interpreting services at shelters and emergency centers, pay for mental health service needs, and help with general relief efforts.

STARKEY MAKES $40 MILLION IN RELIEF AVAILABLE

Many hurricane survivors "are literally sitting around with almost nothing to do, so it is a perfect time for many of them to get their hearing checked," said William Austin, head of the Starkey Hearing Foundation, in a news release last week. The foundation has committed to making $15 million in hearing care services available through its Hear Now project to include hearing aids for hurricane victims, and two teams of audiologists and doctors have been sent to Houston and Austin, Texas to assist victims. In addition, Starkey Laboratories has pledged $25 million for its Help America Hear Project, a business recovery program designed to help with employment, new business plans and office relocation for hurricane victims. Since 2000, Starkey has given over 130,000 hearing aids to impoverished people around the world. For more information, visit www.sotheworldmayhear.org.

COCHLEAR AMERICAS DONATES BATTERIES, MATCHES CONTRIBUTIONS

Cochlear Americas invites cochlear implant wearers affected by Hurricane Katrina to call 800-458-4999 to request a three-month supply of batteries and will provide 3,000 batteries through the Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH) support network, Hear2Care. The company is also matching donations made by Cochlear employees and customers to relief organizations and working with audiology clinics to coordinate programming services for those displaced by the hurricane. "We are doing everything we can think of to help," said Cochlear Americas president Chris Smith.

AUDIOLOGISTS READY TO HELP THOSE AFFECTED BY KATRINA

The American Academy of Audiology and its member audiologists all over the country are working to help hurricane victims who have hearing loss. Anyone displaced by the hurricane and in need of audiology services may receive assistance from volunteer Academy members. In addition, people who have lost their hearing aids during the storm may be eligible for replacement aids. Mobile hearing care stations are being set up in Texas to test and repair hearing aids and facilitate replacements. A network of audiologists has agreed to provide services to hurricane survivors regardless of where they live in the United States. "Our audiologists stand ready to 'Care for America's Hearing,'" said Academy president Gail Whitelaw. Visit www.audiology.org/katrina or call 1-800-AAA-2336.

NUMEROUS WEBSITES PROVIDE INFORMATION

Several websites concerning Hurricane Katrina and the deaf community have sprung up in the past two weeks, including:
http://deafsurvivors.blogspot.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/katrinaterps
http://www.woodhavendeaf.org/katrina-deaf.htm
http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/katrinarelief-deaf
http://www.katrinadisability.info
http://www.katrina.deafreedom.com
http://www.deafnetwork.com/katrina/housing_available.htm
http://www.deafnetwork.com/katrina/need_relief.htm

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SCHOOL BECOMES HAVEN FOR DEAF HURRICANE SURVIVORS

The Louisiana School for the Deaf in Baton Rouge has become a haven for deaf survivors of Hurricane Katrina. "LSD's campus and facilities came through unscathed, allowing us to devote our attention to assisting the homeless," said superintendent Bill Prickett in an email last week. Staffers have focused on locating students and getting them back in school, while also providing shelter for their families. At one point last week, 11 families consisting of 49 people were living in one of the LSD dormitories. The school has also been housing staff members and members of the deaf community. "They come here, catch their breath, eat a hot meal, wash their clothes, get a hot shower and an air-conditioned night's sleep," said Prickett. LSD is seeking donations (PO Box 3074, Baton Rouge, LA 70821) to purchase clothing, toiletries, food and other goods. "It is sinking in to us that this is not something that will go away next week," said Prickett. "Our lives here in Louisiana have changed and will never be the same."

DEAF-BLIND MAN FOUND IN HOUSE AFTER 8 DAYS

Last week's Deafweekly mentioned Jennifer Sheff and her search for Bill Edmonds, her friend Donita's deaf and blind stepfather. Shortly after the issue went out, Sheff received what she called "the best email ever." It was from a woman named Amy, and contained a message from Philomena Wolf of Rayne, La. It said: "Hello folks, I recently learned that miracle Bill Edmund [sic] (Deaf/Usher Syndrome) is found. He is from New Orleans. He is still alive and had been stay at his house for 8 days. I do not know how he survived. He transfer from NO to ABL in Laf. now. Praise the Lord!"

NEWSPAPER PHOTO SHOWS DEAF MEN FORCED TO THE GROUND

A photograph by Ronna Gradus of the Miami Herald has been circulating in the deaf community. It shows two police officers armed with rifles hovering over two young black men lying face down on a highway. One man pleads with an officer while the other man seems to be signing "deaf." The caption reads: "New Orleans Police officers force two young men to the ground to find out if they are armed before allowing them to proceed past the Paris Avenue exit of I-10. The two men explain that they are deaf and need to read lips to communicate."

INTERPRETING FIRM INSTALLS EQUIPMENT AT SHELTERS

DeafLink, a San Antonio, Texas company that provides around-the-clock access to sign language interpreters, has installed video conferencing equipment at shelters in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. According to the Express-News, the free service allows relief workers to communicate with deaf evacuees. "These people need to know what's going on," said DeafLink president Kay Chiodo. "They're lost without this kind of communication." George Taylor, a deaf New Orleans resident, said he and his wife were sometimes overwhelmed in the aftermath of Katrina. "Where are the lines for FEMA?" he signed. "For Social Security? I would have been lost without this help."

VOLUNTEER FROM CALIFORNIA HELPS IN ASTRODOME

DeWayne Burger of Modesto, Calif., said to be one of only two deaf people in the country trained to teach Red Cross CPR and first aid classes, has been helping at the Astrodome in Houston since last Wednesday. Burger, 34, is a stay-at-home dad who took Red Cross classes in February to be prepared in case anything happened to his three daughters, ages 9, 7 and 2. According to the Modesto Bee, he and his wife attended a disaster meeting Sept. 1 and Burger wondered why he wasn't being sent to help. "You haven't put your name in to go," replied a local disaster relief coordinator. He quickly signed up and left for Houston last week. His kids were sad to see him go -- "All three of them cried when their daddy left," said wife Kinberly -- but Burger will return home when the Astrodome is empty.

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS HELP SURVIVORS REUNITE WITH FAMILY

Students in the deaf education program at Lufkin (Texas) High School have lent a helping hand to those in need, reported the Lufkin Daily News. Teacher Jennifer Maclin said her English class has helped to reunite people at a local Red Cross shelter with family members. "At first, the students said many reasons why they couldn't help," said Maclin. "The main reason why one student said he couldn't help is because he is deaf." But after Maclin volunteered over Labor Day weekend at the shelter, she had her students help with Internet searches. "It just took off," she said, and before long they had helped reunite 10 people from the shelter with family members -- all in one class period. "The students became so excited to feel they were included," said Maclin.

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Reminder: Call for Entries Entry Deadline: October 14, 2005

We are very pleased to announce 2nd Annual National Juried De’VIA Competition and Exhibit. Open to artists who are Deaf, or Hard of Hearing, or who have a strong connection with the Deaf community. Sponsored by Tennessee Relay Service; exhibit host Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Cash awards totaling $6,000.00. Juror panel – Maurice Blik, Nichole Pietrantoni, and Dr. Deborah Meranski Sonnenstrahl.

For more information and a prospectus, visit www.leagueforthedeaf.com (click De'VIA), call 615-248-8828 (v/tty), or contact the event co-chair; Karin Kalodimos at karibeyond1@yahoo.com.

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NATIONAL
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TWO WOMEN ARRESTED AS SUSPECTS IN FATAL CAR CRASH

Two deaf women from Albuquerque, N.M. have been arrested as suspects in a car crash that killed a family of five in Nevada last year, reported the Albuquerque Tribune. A tip to the Nevada Highway Patrol led to the arrest of Sheila O'Connor, 42, and Valerie Williams, 47. They will be extradited to Nevada after O'Connor completes court-ordered requirements for two domestic violence cases. They are suspected of causing the June 19, 2004 crash that killed a man, a woman, and three boys ages 8, 10 and 13. It is unclear who was driving, but the women are suspected of hitting the family's car from behind and causing it to spin and be hit by another car. The family's car burst into flames; police don't know if the fire or the crash caused the deaths. The vehicle that caused the accident fled, said Nevada Trooper Loy Hixson, even though "there was enough damage that anyone would have known to at least stop."

ROCHESTER WOMAN ARRESTED ON MURDER CHARGES

Theresa Vargas, 21, was arrested yesterday in Rochester, N.Y. on charges she stabbed a man to death. WROC-TV reported that the victim, whose name has not been released, was found at Vargas' home around 1:30 a.m. yesterday. Police said Vargas and the victim knew each other. Vargas is hearing impaired, as was the victim, and "police had to call in a special liaison for the deaf and hard of hearing to help investigate," said the news report.

WOMAN IN CANCER-DEAFNESS SCAM IN TROUBLE AGAIN

An Indiana woman who was sentenced just months ago for faking cancer and deafness in Muncie has been charged with a similar scam in Bloomington. Brookelyn Walters is in jail facing a charge of theft by deception, reported WISH-TV in Indianapolis. She had been hired by Erin and Michael Booher to work in their gymnastics school and spent several months convincing the couple she had cancer. The Boohers took her into their home and staged a fundraiser that raised about $3,000. The Boohers eventually researched Walters on the Internet and learned she had been sentenced to four years' probation in March for pulling a similar scam. In the previous incident, Ball State University provided Walters with interpreters when she claimed to be deaf. "She chose the wrong family," said Erin Booher. "We're not going to sit back and say, 'poor thing.' No, no. She needs to pay the price. She's been doing this to lots of people."

INVESTOR TO SUE MORGAN STANLEY OVER RELAY BAN

CBS Marketwatch reported that a deaf client of Morgan Stanley was expected to file a lawsuit yesterday claiming the securities firm discriminated against him by refusing to accept stock trade orders through the relay service. The lawsuit seeks class-action status under the ADA for Donald A. Brunner, Jr. and others faced with a similar situation. Brunner says in his complaint that Morgan Stanley allowed him to make trades from 1999 to June 2004 using a TTY and the telecommunications relay service. In June 2004, Brunner's broker told him the company would not accept trade orders through email or relay service because the individual's identity could not be verified. "Morgan Stanley's decision to turn the clock back violates the Americans with Disabilities Act," said Brunner's attorney, Gary Phelan.

FRESNO STUDENTS STAGE PROTEST OVER LACK OF INTERPRETERS

Deaf students at Fresno (Calif.) City College staged a protest last Thursday, saying they are being denied sign-language interpreters in their classes. According to the Fresno Bee, college president Ned Doffoney said he received a notice from the California Association of the Deaf on August 30 with a list of demands to be met that same day. The demands include certified interpreters for unlimited use and hours; appointment of an advisory committee on ADA issues; hiring of a counselor certified in sign language; training for college instructors on the needs of students with hearing loss; and modification of college policies and procedures. "We are working on it," said Doffoney. Brandon Thompson, 41, said he and other students met with Doffoney four weeks ago but has not heard from him since, though he heard the college is hiring four additional interpreters.

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NAD SETTLES LAWSUIT AGAINST MORTGAGE, SETTLEMENT COMPANIES

The National Association of the Deaf announced last week that it has settled a disability discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a deaf man who was denied an interpreter at a mortgage refinancing closing meeting. Mark Bosley had to provide and pay for the interpreter himself. The three defendants -- Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corporation, Old Line Title & Escrow, LLC and New Columbus Group, LLC -- disputed Bosley's claims and denied any liability, but agreed to pay him $1,000 and reimbuse him for the interpreter plus costs and attorneys fees. "I hope this will help educate other mortgage and settlement companies to make their services accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing," said Bosley.

COUNTY TO SPEND $323,000 TO ADAPT EMERGENCY ROADWAY PHONES

San Luis Obispo County in California is planning to upgrade 162 emergency call phones on county roads so deaf people can use them. The project will cost $323,000, reported the Tribune, and the money will come from a $1 charge in motor vehicle license fees. County official Phil Chu said six call boxes were adapted two years ago but have never been used by a hearing-impaired motorist. Talking about usage misses the point, said Jennifer Pesek of the California Center for Law and the Deaf. "You and I may not have used a call box," she said, "but we want it to be there." The law center filed a class-action suit in April charging nine counties, the California Highway Patrol and Caltrans with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Seven counties have settled out of court, with only San Bernardino and Riverside -- along with the CHP and Caltrans -- remaining as defendants.

MICHIGAN SCHOOL HONORS DEAF VICTIM OF SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACKS

Students, faculty, staff and community members at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich. are being encouraged to wear red, white and blue ribbons this week in honor of Nicholas Pietrunti, a deaf man who was killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Pietrunti, an entry clerk at Cantor Fitzgerald, died in the attack on the first World Trade Center tower. According to Inside CMU, he was active in his community, from serving as an assistant coach for the local roller-hockey league to being an active parishioner in his church. "It's important for students to show support for the heroes and their families," said CMU's Amy Terry.

LOS ANGELES BLACKOUT AFFECTS SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCY

Monday's blackout in Los Angeles affected the headquarters of the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, but only for about an hour. According to CEO Patricia Hughes, GLAD continued to provide services to consumers who were in the building when the blackout occurred. "Our telephone system was working, except for TTYs because all TTYs were plugged in, thus no power for TTYs," she said. The GLAD building contains 14 efficiency apartments for low-income deaf seniors, and a generator kicked in to provide some lighting especially for the residents. "We were fortunate because the weather was unseasonably cool and the blackout was for about an hour," said Hughes.

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INTERNATIONAL
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WIFE STABBER IN CANADA ORDERED RELEASED IN 19 DAYS

Mukesh Ratnum Gounder, 33, a deaf man found guilty of attacking his former wife, Sharmila, with a pair of scissors, was sentenced last Friday to three years and two months in prison. However, the judge in the Edmonton, Canada case gave Gounder credit for time served and said he would be released in 19 days. On April 26, 2004, Gounder hid in Sharmila's home while she was working one of two jobs she held to support the family. When Sharmila got home, Gounder jumped out and attacked her with scissors while the couple's 7-year-old son called 911. Gounder was later arrested at his parents' home. Sharmila fled to New Zealand with her two children and continues to live there. According to the Edmonton Sun, Gounder will serve three years probation and pay Sharmila $15,000 in restitution. He was ordered to surrender his passport and told to contact his former wife only through legal counsel.

INDIA-PAKISTAN PRISONER SWAP INCLUDES 42 'DEAF OR DUMB'

A prisoner exchange took place Sunday between India and Pakistan, reported the Navhind Times, and 42 of the 152 Pakistani prisoners that India agreed to release were described as "either deaf or dumb." The exchange of nearly 500 civilian prisoners at the border between the two countries was "another high in bilateral peace process," the Times noted. The Pakistani government had initially refused to give the deaf prisoners travel documents, but later agreed after India announced the handicapped prisoners would be kept at a rehabiliation center and not in jails.

TEACHER IN MALAYSIA DENIES MOLESTATION CHARGES

A secondary school teacher in Malaysia has been charged with five counts of molesting and "outraging the modesty" of three hearing-impaired school girls. According to the Malaysia Star, Mohd Rizal Reboo, 24, pleaded not guilty to the charges. The alleged incidents occurred in a computer room on two different days in July. The three girls, all aged 15, are classmates. If convicted, Mohd Rizal is liable to be jailed up to 10 years, fined or whipped.

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WOMAN, 101, IS 142ND ON WAITING LIST FOR HEARING AID

The Richmond and Twickenham Times (U.K.) reported earlier this month on Ena Thompson of Isleworth, a 101-year-old woman who is waiting for a new digital hearing aid from West Middlesex Hospital. The elderly patient has been put on a waiting list and told she is 142nd in line. Her son, John Thompson, has made requests to the hospital in hopes that it will provide an aid sooner, but "all my requests have been ignored" while his mother slips "deeper and deeper into depression," he said. The hospital said Mrs. Thompson didn't show up for an appointment March 7 and as a result would have been put on the bottom of a list of 979 people waiting for hearing aids. "Following a call from her family, Mrs. Thompson was put back on the waiting list at 142 this month," said a hospital spokesperson.

U.K. COUPLE HELP SAVE HOME AFTER SPOTTING FIRE

Eirian Murphy, 18, and her friend Jacob Thomas, 20, both deaf, helped save the home of a family of three after noticing a shed on fire behind the house in Cardiff, U.K. They pounded on neighboring doors until they were able to alert an elderly couple nearby. Eirian was unable to tell the neighbors about the fire because she only communicates in sign language, reported icWales, but the couple spotted the flames and called the fire department. Now Eirian's dad, paramedic Anthony Murphy, is calling for a service to allow deaf people to text 999. "She had to go bashing on people's doors as she couldn't contact the fire service," he said. A fire department spokeswoman said such a move is in the planning stages "although it is expected to be some years before it comes into service."

EDITOR'S NOTE

Deafweekly's other news sections are pre-empted this week due to coverage of Hurricane Katrina and will return next week.




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EMPLOYMENT
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ALI is a non-profit mental health agency located in Annapolis, MD. BA/BS in Human Services or related field preferred, and/or related work experience. Applicants must be fluent in American Sign Language.

Rehabilitation Specialist-Full Time. Duties include; transport mentally ill adults to appointments, medication monitoring, provide daily living skills support, and apply crisis intervention in a residential setting.

Send resume and cover letter to: ALI, 2012 Renard Court, Suite I, Annapolis, MD 21401, fax (410) 841-6045, or email Lmurphy@arundellodge.org. EOE/D/V.

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Care Manager Wanted

1/2 time (16 to 20 hours per week) private position managing independent living services for Deaf brain injury survivo.r

The job includes:
- assisting survivor to run her own household and finances,
- supervising home health workers who provide daily personal care
- coordinating shopping, cleaning, laundry, appointments
- maintaining ramp equipped van, motorized wheelchair and household appliances.
- scheduling rides, interpreters and other accommodations as needed

The job also includes helping the employer maintain contact with friends, disability groups, advocacy organizations and family.

A good working knowledge of computers is required and the ability to organize email, bank and calendar programs.

Applicant should be prepared to assist employer with a job search and possible job coaching.

In addition, 5 hours per week direct personal care (grooming, shopping, cooking, driving, etc) for the first three months-–or as long as it takes to build trust—is anticipated.

The job is in Arlington VA, at the Court House Metro Stop.

Compensation: $18.00+/hour plus benefits after 3 month training.

Knowledge of ASL and the Deaf community would be a great plus for an applicant and Deaf individuals are encouraged to apply.

Contact: Send letter of application and resume to PCAjob@aol.com.

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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, go to: www.gladinc.org. Status of all positions are: Regular, Full-time, Non-Exempt, Full Fringe Benefits unless otherwise noted. All positions are open until filled.

PROGRAM ASSISTANT/INTERPRETER in Los Angeles
Brief summary: Under supervision of the Director of Health Education/Services, using the guidelines of the assigned scope of work provided by the California Department of Health Service’s Community Challenge Grant, the Program Assistant/Interpreter will:
Work closely with the Community Health Educators on activities for GLAD’s program including plan and participate in community events and educational workshops as stated in the project scope of work; Provide interpreting services for teleconferencing meetings, collaborative meetings, OFP regional meetings, FamilyPACT clinic meetings, and appointments or any other situations which may arise to facilitate communication for project staff; Make arrangements and schedule with schools, programs and clinics for project educational/prevention activities; Responsible to coordinate Deaf Youth Advocacy Presentation and Mentoring Program; Implement media including articles, publications and GLAD’s website; Prepare Collaborative Alliance meeting minutes; Compile and distribute educational and promotional materials to project staff and community; Compile all documents for filing and prepare monthly progress reports; Clerical duties as well as such tasks and responsibilities as may be delegated…

JOB DEVELOPER/INTERPRETER in West Covina, Pacoima
Brief summary: Employment services offered at GLAD assist deaf and hard of hearing individuals with job information, job training, job placement and accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Co-located at 5 Employment Development Department (EDD) Offices and at each local office. The programs under employment services are: Job Readiness Training, Workplace Accessibility, Job Development, Placement and Follow-up…

COMMUNITY ADVOCATE in Riverside, Cypress, and Bakersfield
Brief summary: Under the supervision of the Regional Center Director, the Community Advocate will assist deaf and hard of hearing consumers in the area of communication access via TTY relay, document translation, and other duties, provide advocacy in the areas of social security, education, employment, consumer affairs, and others, record statistics on a daily basis related to provision of services, counsel deaf and hard of hearing consumers with problems related to personal and family adjustments, finances, employment, food, clothing and housing, assists deaf and hard of hearing consumers with independent living skills, educate the deaf and hard of hearing community about various laws and programs benefiting and protecting the rights of deaf persons such as Department of Rehabilitation and Social Security policies and the ADA, etc., work with the Resource Advocate regarding updates of the Directory of Resources, refers consumers to community resources and other organizations, secure information and resources beneficial to the department pertaining to social security, immigration, mediation, etc. through workshops, seminars and through networking with other agencies, some typing and other light office duties as necessary, driving is required as part of the job, perform such tasks and responsibilities as may be delegated…

NETWORK I.T. Administrator in Los Angeles
Brief summary: Operate MS network through on-site and VPN; Troubleshoot and resolve technical issues involving network hardware and software; Perform daily maintenance of network hardware and software systems; work with organizational staff to create and implement computer networking policies; Ensure backups and recovery of servers and workstations data and develop a disaster recovery plan; Assist computer users with technical hardware and software issues both on-site and remote access.; Perform in a pro-active manner by developing a plan of action to improve network productivity, security and ergonomics within budget; Maintain records of hardware and software inventories; Contact person for the organization’s ISPs, Web and Email Hosting; Train and educate computer user on the organization’s software, hardware and computer policies…Required to have hands on experience working on VPN and MS Exchange.

If interested then please submit resume and application to:

Jeff Fetterman
Human Resources
Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, Inc.
2222 Laverna Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90041
e-mail: jfetterman@gladinc.org

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