October 28, 2009
Vol. 6, No. 2
Editor: Tom Willard
Deafweekly is an independent news report for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community that is mailed to subscribers on Wednesdays and available to read at www.deafweekly.com. These are the actual headlines and portions of recent deaf-related news articles, with links to the full story. Minor editing is done when necessary. Deafweekly is copyrighted 2009 and any unauthorized use is prohibited. Please support our advertisers; they make it possible for you to receive Deafweekly.
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NTID PRESIDENT TALKS ABOUT DECISION TO LEAVE
There is mixed emotion on the campus of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at RIT. The school's president, Alan Hurwitz, announced over the weekend that he is leaving at the end of the year. After 40 years at NTID, Alan Hurwitz wasn't looking for a new job. "I had planned to make this actually my last position," says Hurwitz through an interpreter. But then Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. began a search for its next president. / YNN / captioned video
CLEVELAND THEATER GROUP FOR THE DEAF REPAID AFTER THEFT
The family of a man accused of stealing from a Cleveland-based theater company that adapts plays for hearing-impaired children repaid the company two weeks ago. Sign Stage on Tour was repaid a week after The Plain Dealer ran a story about the theft. James R. Jones III, 27, of East Cleveland racked up nearly $4,000 on company credit cards, according to a warrant accusing him of aggravated theft. It was unclear last Wednesday whether Jones has been arrested on the warrant. / The Plain Dealer
Council Bluffs, IA
IOWA DEAF AND BLIND SCHOOLS FACE DEVASTATING BUDGET CUTS
Iowa's three public universities and two special schools are still working on carving 10% out of their budgets. The Board of Regents will meet this week to trim nearly $60 million. The University of Iowa, Iowa State and UNI must come up with most of that money. The Iowa School for the Deaf and the Iowa Braille School are left to cover a combined $1.5 million. The size of the cuts may be smaller, but Regents President David Miles say they are "truly devastating." While universities have alternate sources of funding, the special schools do not. / 13 WHO-TV
BROWN'S MEDICARE BILL COULD ADD HEARING AIDS
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown introduced a bill last Thursday that would make Medicare cover hearing aids, a provision that he says he'll try to incorporate into broader health-care reform legislation being crafted by Congress. Hearing aids are excluded from Medicare's basic coverage even though 30 percent of adults ages 65-74 have impaired hearing, as do nearly half of those older than 75. "Too many seniors go without hearing aids because they cannot afford them," the Democrat from Avon said in a news release. / The Plain Dealer
POMONOK FIRE KILLS MOTHER OF 2
A Kew Gardens Hills mother of two died Sunday after a fire ripped through her apartment, police and neighbors said. Bianca Kuros, 44, died in the blaze at her fifth-floor apartment in the Pomonok Houses near the intersection of 71st Avenue and Parsons Boulevard, according to police. Kuros was a widow whose husband had died five years ago, neighbor and friend Eileen Ramos said. Along with her two children, she helped to take care of her deaf parents in Brooklyn and knew sign language. / YourNabe.com
COP SHOOTS DEAF, 19-YEAR-OLD FAMILY CAT
I am shocked by the Labor Day 2009 shooting death of the Wesner family’s 19-year-old cat Tobey in Raymore, Missouri I understand a Raymore police officer fired two bullets into the elderly cat’s head, wrapped the body inside a plastic bag and tossed Tobey into a city dumpster. Though Kelly Wesner describes her six-pound cat as declawed, deaf, and on prescription meds, a supervisor directed an officer to “put [the cat] down” in a remote area. Unbelievably, no one involved with the cat’s slaying has been penalized. / Kansas City Freecycle / KSHB-TV 41
GRANDSTAY OPENS DEAF-FRIENDLY HOTEL
A St. Augusta-based hotel chain opened a hotel this month that became the first in the country to install strobe lights for deaf and hearing impaired in all its rooms. GrandStay Residential Suites Hotel opened on Oct. 1 in Faribault. It installed the strobe lights because the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf is in Faribault, said Matt Williams, vice president of GrandStay Hospitality, the franchiser of GrandStay Residential Suites Hotels and Crossings by GrandStay Inn & Suites. The strobe lights, in all 59 rooms, are a fire alarm for people who can’t hear well or at all. / St. Cloud Times
TRUCK AMONG ITEMS STOLEN FROM MSD
A building where Maryland School for the Deaf students take classes was burglarized over the weekend, police said. The burglars ransacked offices and classrooms in the Career and Technology Building on 300 S. Carroll St., Frederick Police Capt. Kevin Grubb said. They destroyed property and stole cash and tools along with a 1995 GMC truck belonging to a staff member. / Frederick News-Post
POLICE: TEENS MUG DEAF SOUTH BOSTON WOMAN, WHO THEN CHASES AFTER THEM
Boston Police report a woman walking near Dorchester and Ward streets was mugged around noon last Thursday by three teens who took her cell phone and then ran toward the McCormack project. The woman, police say, ran after them. They eluded her, but a detail officer near Kemp Street spotted them and was able to direct responding cruiser to them. / Universal Hub
MOTHER RESCUES DEAF DAUGHTER FROM FIRE
A mother rushed to rescue her deaf daughter as their east side apartment went up in flames early Monday. Jodi Reynolds and her daughter jumped into action when their Bexvie Avenue apartment caught fire, around 6:30 a.m., 10TV's Patrick Bell reported. "Fire was shooting out the back window like crazy. And my daughter had already grabbed my granddaughter and got out," said Reynolds. "My other daughter can't even hear, so I had to go in the room and literally shake her - she had no clue." / 10 TV News
VISUAL SMOKE ALARMS NOW STATE LAW IN TEXAS
Visual smoke alarms now a state law! If requested by a tenant, a landlord must install a visual smoke detector that is capable of alerting a person with a hearing impairment of the presence of smoke. As of January 1, 2010, landlords of dwelling units in Texas, such as apartment complexes, will be required to purchase and install visual smoke alarms upon request for their deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind tenants. These visual smoke alarms must be installed in the bedroom where a deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind person will be sleeping. / Examiner
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Johannesburg, South Africa
MARRY US, GIRLS TELL DEAF DANCE STAR
Since making an appearance on the TV reality show SA's Got Talent, deaf hip-hop dancer Darren Rajbal has been overwhelmed by fans, including some proposing marriage. His mother, Shereen, said: "Most of his fans are girls. They tell him how handsome he is and that they want to meet him, but all he is interested in is his dancing. I help him to write messages to them anyway, to let them know that he is thankful for their support." Rajbal, 19, astounded the show's judges and audience with his performance two weeks ago. / The Times
Queenstown, New Zealand
DEAF AND BLIND KIDS BENEFIT FROM FUNDRAISER
Queenstown welcomed the first fundraising flight by the Australia-based Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) to New Zealand on Saturday. The 2009 Qantas Pathfinders Charity Flight to the resort was the eighth annual flight and was a sold-out event. A full capacity of 168 passengers of all ages and backgrounds, mostly from Sydney, but some from interstate, paid $680 US each to board the Boeing 737 for the one-day cultural and adventure experience across the Tasman. / Otago Daily Times
CINEMANILA'S DEAF SECTION COULD SET A PRECEDENT
The deaf section of the 11th Cinemanila can lead to a whole industry of films made for and by the hearing impaired. This is according to director Mike Sandejas, whose latest movie, “Dinig Sana Kita,” is part of the international film festival’s special section billed as Sights and Signs. If moviegoers support these films, Sandejas said Cinemanila’s organizers would be inspired to turn Sights and Signs into a competition section that could even extend to other Southeast Asian countries hopefully by next year. / Manila Bulletin
DEHRADUN HOSTS THREE-DAY BADMINTON TOURNAMENT FOR SPECIALLY-ABLED
About 70 specially-abled badminton players are participating in a special three-day badminton tournament in Dehradun. Concluding on Tuesday, the tournament was first of its kind organised by the state. The competition for players with hearing disability is organised with the aim to give a platform to those who want to make big despite their shortcoming. “You can see the excitement in the face of the players,” said organiser Prem Kumar. / Thaindian News
SURVEY CALLS FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY TO HELP DEAF
More than half of deaf and hearing impaired patients regularly face difficulties communicating with their GP surgery and would like practices to make greater use of IT (information technology) solutions, according to a new survey. Patient information website Patient.co.uk and charity SignHealth surveyed 525 people with hearing problems to find out about their experiences of GP practices. A total of 56% said hearing difficulties had led to poor communication either in a GP consultation or in carrying out non-clinical tasks such as booking an appointment. / Health Insider
Montreal, QC, Canada
DEAF SWIMMER IS UNSTOPPABLE
It's 5:30 a.m. and cracks of light are starting to appear through the windows above the Olympic Stadium pool. The air inside is humid and thick with the smell of chlorine. Christopher Rinaldi stands at the edge of the pool, his eyes scanning in anticipation of a light flicker signaling the start of the race. Rinaldi is the only deaf swimmer in his training group, comprised of athletes between 18 and 38 years old, some with disabilities, some without. The 20-year-old Notre Dame de Grâce native was diagnosed as deaf soon after he was born and began his swimming career at age 9. / The Gazette
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Nassau and Suffolk County
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LIFE & LEISURE
Redwood City, CA
KOKO THE GORILLA PICKS WINNING JACK-O'-LANTERN; PROMPTLY DEVOURS PUMPKIN
The Gorilla Foundation, home of Koko, the gorilla who can speak to us through the use of American Sign Language (ASL), on Monday announced the winner, selected by Koko herself, of their pumpkin design contest. Pumpkin-loving Koko closely inspected the carved and lighted creation, gently blew into its ear (of all the entries, only the top design she selected sported ears), then dug in and promptly devoured her own smaller carved pumpkin. / PR-inside
A NEW ONLINE GUIDE TO HEARING AIDS
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched a new Web site that will benefit current and potential users of hearing aids. FDA regulates hearing aids, which it defines as sound-amplifying devices designed to aid people who have impaired hearing. "People who already use a hearing aid know that selecting the right one is not a simple process," says Eric Mann, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director of FDA's Division of Ophthalmic, Neurological, and Ear, Nose, and Throat Devices. "There are many issues to consider." / FDA
CHURCH, ARCHDIOCESE TURNS ATTENTION TO DEAF
When the Vatican hosts a conference on increasing the role of deaf people in the Catholic Church Nov. 19 to 21, Eileen Colarusso will be watching on from the Archdiocese of Baltimore with great interest. As coordinator of the archdiocese’s deaf ministry, Colarusso has been fighting for greater involvement amongst the deaf population. “It's just huge that the 'voice' of the deaf community is going to be heard at the Vatican at the highest levels of the church,” Colarusso said. “Hopefully it will all trickle down to the local church.” / The Catholic Review
DEAF EXCHANGE STUDENT FROM NEW ZEALAND SPENDING SENIOR YEAR IN OLATHE
Most foreign exchange students experience newcomer jitters while adjusting to their host family’s country, language and customs. But exchange student Fallon Simchowitz from New Zealand, who is the guest for the school year of Olathe residents Ron and Kim Symansky, faces a few additional challenges. Simchowitz, 17, is deaf and so are the Symanskys and their three children. Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem because they all communicate through sign language. But sign language, like spoken language, differs from country to country. / Kansas City Star
U.VA. DISABILITY AWARENESS WEEK INCLUDES PREMIERE OF VSDB FILM
For students at the University of Virginia, the focus is usually upon ability and achievement. But beginning Monday, Student Council is partnering with the University Programs Council's Learning Needs and Evaluation Center to put the spotlight on the challenges that many people face. Disabilities Awareness Week will feature two film screenings and two guest speakers, including the premiere of "Spotlight: Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind." / The News Leader
Grand Blanc, MI
BURTON WOMAN SETS UP SOCIAL HOUR FOR THE DEAF
For a time, the cafe was almost empty and, despite one table full of chatter, silent. Kathleen Kinnee didn’t quite get the turnout she’d hoped for at her first Deaf Chat Coffee gathering -- a chance for people in the deaf community to get together and socialize-- but she’s determined to establish a monthly social hour. “(We) need some kind of social event,” Kinnee, 48, of Burton said in a written interview. Kinnee attributed the low turnout to the time she’d picked, 12:30 p.m. on a Wednesday. / Flint News
CAPE GETS MIXED GRADE FOR ACCESS
For most people, getting around Cape Cod is relatively straightforward if not always quick. But for residents and visitors who are confined to wheelchairs or who have hearing or vision impairments, a crack in the sidewalk or the lack of a sidewalk altogether can be a nearly insurmountable challenge. Almost two decades after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Cape has made progress but still has further to go to meet the law's intent, according to attendees at a conference on the ADA last Friday sponsored by the Barnstable County Department of Human Services. / Cape Cod Times
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DEAF PROFESSOR TEACHES ENGLISH
Even though she is deaf, Ohio State professor Brenda Brueggemann uses her disability as a tool to break down communication barriers between her students. Brueggemann, a professor in the department of English, has taught at OSU for 16 years. She teaches students from all areas of study, though most students in her English 597 class are there because they have a disability or know someone with a disability, she said. / The Lantern
Tarpon Springs, FL
FROM PIZZA CHEF TO X-RAY TECHNICIAN
When not making pizzas at an Italian restaurant in downtown Tarpon Springs, Katy Daniel-Rivera, who has been deaf since birth, is studying to become a medical imaging technician. When Daniel-Rivera, 28, interviewed for the job at Mama Lena's the staff told Kouskoutis they wanted to try and work with her. Daniel-Rivera can read lips, but the staff's willingness to make concessions to her deafness is appreciated. "Everyone has been so nice" and welcomed her to the restaurant, she said. / The Suncoast News
INTERPRETER FOR DEAF COMES FULL CIRCLE
A serious car crash in 1987 left Ramona Richardson in constant, debilitating pain. After five surgeries in six years, her pain has diminished. And with help from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, she achieved her dream of interpreting for the deaf. Richardson is working again -- for VR. At the time of the accident, Richardson was an assistant vice president for a large mortgage company. She came to VR after unsuccessfully attempting a return to work at her former employer and realizing she needed a career change. / Business Matters
Silver Spring, MD
NAD ANNOUNCES CEO SEARCH COMMITTEE MEMBERS
The Board of Directors of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is pleased to announce members of the CEO Search Committee (CSC). The CSC is chaired by Kirsten Poston with Melissa Draganac-Hawk as vice chair, both of whom serve as appointed members of the NAD Board of Directors. The full membership of the CSC is comprised of Glenn Anderson, Mark Apodaca, Kelby Brick, Melissa Draganac-Hawk, Larry Forestal, Jennifer Pfau, Kirsten Poston and Tom Wells. Biographical information on each of the above can be viewed online. NAD President Bobbie Beth Scoggins also serves as an ex-officio member of the CSC. / NAD
DOCTORS FACE A LANGUAGE BARRIER
It’s an extraordinary Friday morning in August. Inside the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, a transformation is happening. Dozens of volunteers wearing aqua surgical scrub shirts are setting up a role-playing exercise that includes a mock waiting room, emergency room, psychiatrist’s office, pharmacy, and station for consulting with social workers. The school’s cavernous atrium becomes Deaf Strong Hospital, where the staff are deaf and the patients are hearing. / CDC
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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Wilkes Barre, PA
HEEDING THE HUMOR
Kathy Buckley, who has been hearing-impaired from birth, tells stories that make you laugh until you cry. Like the time a lifeguard ran over her while she tanned on a beach (“talk about not living up to your job description”) and doctors said she would never walk. (“I didn’t hear them, so I got up and left.”) She admits to five suicide attempts before graduating high school, then quips, “OK, there are some things I will never be successful at.” Well, except for being a comedienne, author, actress and inspirational speaker. / The Times Leader
99-YEAR-OLD NEEDHAM RESIDENT SUBJECT OF DOCUMENTARY
Every morning for the past six years, 99-year-old Julius Barthoff has awakened in time to meet the Boston Globe deliveryman, taken a stack of about 20 papers, and placed them on the door of every subscriber in his Needham senior citizen housing building. Barthoff, who has been profoundly hearing impaired since he was an infant, wears large hearing aids in both ears and has a constant smile on his face as he describes his morning routine. He says he takes care to gently fold the papers and prop them upright, so that when each resident opens his or her door the paper falls right inside. It’s just his daily good deed – one that has earned him the attention of a local documentary producer. / The Boston Globe
DISABLED ARTISTS SHOWCASE THEIR WORK
Visitors who go to offices at the Burlington County Human Services Building often are experiencing hardships and go there seeking job, senior citizen or homeless assistance. The walls in the spacious lobby used to be bare but now are decorated with artwork by artists who have experienced physical hardships. In honor of National Disabilities Awareness Month, the Burlington County Board of Freeholders for the first time has sponsored an art show by two deaf artists and one blind artist. / Courier-Post
Toronto, ON, Canada
EMOTI-CHAIR BRINGS MUSIC TO THE DEAF
Listening to music is something that most of us take for granted. I for one, consume music like it is going out of style. The deaf and hard of hearing unfortunately aren't afforded that same luxury -- but that has been something that Dr. Frank Russo, professor of psychology at Ryerson, has been researching and developing the latest technology that will allow the deaf and hard of hearing to feel the same emotions from musical performances through vibrations in his groundbreaking Emoti-Chair. / The Brock Press
Keith Wann's ASL Comedy Tour
Keith Wann, renowned for his hilarious, sidesplitting comedy performances, is now producing and hosting the ASL Comedy Tour 2009, which will travel the U.S. this year. With American Sign Language (ASL) artists presenting solo performances incorporating comedy, skits, songs, improvisation, and stories, each show lasts two hours. Sponsored by www.CallVRS.org, the multi-city tour is designed to be affordable for each location – making it ideal as a fundraiser for participating organizations.
“We really want to reach out to all communities, so we are sharing in the costs and profits at each location. We will work closely with booking parties to maximize profits for their organization and to bring in as many people as possible for a night of laughter, socialization and fun,” Wann said. “We also offer workshops by some of our performers, which can be held the day of the performance. People can come to our workshops, and then unwind by attending the comedy show that evening.”
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