Vol. 1 No. 5
Editor: Tom Willard
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WOMAN WHO FAKED DEAFNESS, CANCER PLEADS GUILTY
A Culver, Ind. woman who pretended to be deaf for three years and shaved her head to fake having cancer pleaded guilty but mentally ill Monday to two felony counts of theft. Brookelyn Walters, 25, who had been scheduled to face trial this week, faces up to three years in prison when she is sentenced Jan. 13. Walters was arrested in October 2003 and charged with faking letters from doctors and starting a website to collect donations for her cancer treatment, said the Associated Press. Fellow students at Ball State University raised $1,000 for her at a hog roast, and school officials provided her with a sign-language interpreter to attend classes. Her attorney said she carried out the hoax to attract attention. She was admitted to a mental hospital this past summer after attempting the hoax again, he added.
FEDERAL JUDGE STAYS OWN RULING ON DEAF UPS DRIVERS
The federal judge who last month gave UPS 30 days to change its rules barring deaf drivers issued a stay of his own ruling Monday in San Francisco. According to the Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson’s stay, at the request of UPS, means the company’s policy barring deaf drivers won’t be changed for years, if at all, pending the outcome of lengthy appeals.
ONE-DAY WALKOUT FOR ARIZONA STATE INTERPRETERS
Interpreters at Arizona State University walked off the job Monday to protest low pay. ASU pays about $21 per hour, but now finds itself competing for interpreters with the new Sorenson VRS center that opened recently in the area, where interpreters can earn $38 per hour. “The market has been tremendously skewed, turned upside down" by Sorenson's arrival, a college official told the State Press. Already two veteran interpreters have left the university, said a staff interpreter, leaving those still at ASU to deal not only with low pay but also extra work. Deaf student Marisa Espinoza got through Monday without her interpreters, but “it felt like an eternity,” she said.
OKLAHOMA SCHOOL DENTIST KILLED IN PLANE CRASH
Scott Hudelson, who until recently was dental director at the Oklahoma School for the Deaf, was killed Nov. 12 in a crash of his private plane while en route to a conference in Boston. Dr. Hudelson served as dentist at the Sulphur school for many years, continuing even after starting a private practice in Flower Mound, Texas. Every month for more than 10 years, he made the 250-mile round trip in his small plane, until leaving the job recently when his contract ran out. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he spoke with students in sign language and put them at ease. “They loved him and were always glad to see him,” Teresa Ryan, said OSD’s former health clinic director.
SIGN LANGUAGE PORN VENDOR ASKED TO LEAVE DEAF EXPO
The exhibit booth of a deaf-owned company promoting its new porn flick “Sexy Sign Language” was shut down by Deaf Expo officials last Saturday. PoleCat Pictures said in a press release that it paid its booth fee and had been welcomed for its diversity to the Nov. 12-13 event in Anaheim, Calif. The company agreed in advance to exclude nudity and profanity from its booth, yet show officials ordered the removal of all flyers and signs in the booth, and finally told PoleCat to “pack up and leave” at noon Saturday, the press release claims. Deaf Expo director David Rosenbaum told Deafweekly he worked hard with PoleCat reps to address the “unfavorable comments and grave concerns” of attendees, exhibitors and sponsors, but was not successful. “As a result and by mutual agreement, the exhibitor vacated his exhibit,” he said.
DEAF MOM IN TENNESSEE SAYS COP PULLED GUN ON HER
A deaf woman claims an off-duty police
officer drew his gun on her last Thursday night outside a supermarket in Vonore,
Tenn. According to the Monroe County Advocate, Cora Rivera Griffin said she
tried to tell Joel Degoma, a Blount County jailer, that she was deaf, but he
wouldn’t listen. Degoma said in his statement that he observed Griffin
yelling and allegedly beating her children, and he thought a robbery or kidnapping
might be taking place. He admitted taking the gun from his holster but said
he didn’t point it at anyone. Police were called to the scene by store
employees, but Degoma had already left when they arrived. Griffin filed a police
report the next day, saying she “was in great fear for the lives of herself
and her children when the ‘officer’ pulled the gun on them.”
POLICE CHARGE WOMAN WHO REPORTED RAPE AT MALL
Police in Norfolk, Va. charged a deaf woman Nov. 15 with filing a false report. The woman, identified as Pernita Jackson, 22, claimed that she was raped Nov. 5 after her mom dropped her off at a local mall to spend time with friends. She was bleeding and late when her mom picked her up in the food court several hours later. She underwent surgery for an injury she said was related to the attack, the Virginian-Pilot reported, but police said the injury did not result from rape. An investigation involving 18 officers and involving security tapes from the mall led to the false report charges.
AG BELL SCORES ANOTHER VICTORY FOR ORAL EDUCATION
The AG Bell Children’s Legal Advocacy Program, formed in 2001 to advocate for appropriate spoken language services in public schools, racked up another victory recently. In E.N. vs. St. Johns County (Fla.) School Board, a state judge ordered the school board to reimburse the family of a deaf three-year-old girl for education-related expenses. The girl has a cochlear implant and has been learning to listen and talk at a private oral school. A St. Johns County public school classroom for students with special needs did not meet the requirements of a hearing-impaired child using spoken language communication, the judge ruled.
METRO STATION NEAR GALLAUDET TO OPEN SOON
Everything is on target for the Nov. 20 opening of a new Metro stop near Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. The $103.7 million project is down to “the spit and polish stuff,” Metro project manager John Thomas told The Washington Times. The Red Line’s newest station is expected to bring in about 1,500 riders daily by its first anniversary and will likely be a catalyst for development in the area, Metro officials said.
SCHOOL BUS DRIVER, 79, TICKETED IN CRASH
The driver of a bus filled with students of the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf in Falmouth, Maine returning from White Mountains ran a red light Nov. 13 and collided with a station wagon. The driver of the car had to be extricated and was taken to the hospital with severe injuries, said the Portland Press Herald. Three students were also brought to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Bus driver Reginald Corson, 79, was ticketed for failure to stop at a red light.
BODY SHOP BURNS, ALL-DEAF WORK CREW UNHARMED
A two-alarm fire Monday at the Clark Farm in Columbia, Md. destroyed a barn housing an auto body shop. According to WBAL-TV news, “all the workers inside the barn were deaf, but there were no reports of any injuries.” The cause of the fire, which shut down a major county road during rush hour, is under investigation.
L.A. TIMES DETAILS ORIGINS OF JOHN TRACY CLINIC
The origins of the John Tracy Clinic
were detailed in the Nov. 14 Los Angeles Times. The clinic was founded by Louise
Treadwell Tracy and her husband Spencer Tracy, film star known for his partnerships
with Katherine Hepburn. The clinic was named for their son John, born deaf in
1924, who was taught to speak and read lips. Louise gave her first speech on
raising a deaf child in 1942 when John was 18, and later that same year the
John Tracy Clinic opened in a small bungalow on the University of Southern California
campus. The clinic moved to its current home on West Adams Boulevard in 1952.
Spencer Tracy died in 1967 and Louise passed away in 1983. John Tracy, an artist
with Disney Studios, is married with one son.
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FIRST CENTER OF ITS KIND TO OPEN IN ISRAEL
The Beit Zusman Multi-Service Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is set to open in January in Kiryat Hayovel, the first facility of its kind in Israel. The 10-room center will offer lip-reading lessons, rehabilitation classes, social events, a library, resource room, meeting hall and offices, along with displays of hearing assistance devices. About 5,000 people are expected to be served each year and all services will be free, thanks in part to a donation from Larry and Leonore Zusman of Columbus, Ohio. The center evolved from a coalition of deaf and hard-of-hearing people formed in 1997 shortly after Jerusalem fired its only social worker for deaf issues. “We discovered the power of unity,” one activist told the Jerusalem Post. “We saw that we could change things.”
SOMETHING NEW IN NEW ZEALAND: TELEPHONE RELAY SERVICE
Telephone relay service has arrived in New Zealand. A call center in Auckland, set up by Sprint New Zealand, will serve an estimated 7,000 consumers. Text telephones will be available for rent for $15 per month, though the fee will be waived for people with lower incomes. “It promotes inclusiveness,” said Communications Minister David Cunliffe, and “meets needs that are neglected in the marketplace.”
CENTER FOR DEAF OPENS IN THE PHILIPPINES
Nine years after it was first proposed, the Hearing-Impaired Center of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu, Phillipines opened for business Nov. 9. The center is run by Dr. Joecel Reyes, one of only two audiologists outside Manila who have undergone a two-year training program on hearing loss. Reyes told The Freeman that the Phillippines is 30 years behind other countries in treating deafness, and that hundreds of deaf children turned out on opening day, but the center could only treat 30-35 patients a day. The center is open two days a week, and asks for donations only from those who can pay.
DEAF FRENCH ADVENTURERS SET SAIL FOR ANTARCTICA
A yacht once known as the “Antarctica”
and now called the “Tara 5" has returned to the Falkland Islands
for the first time in 15 years, carrying 15 deaf people from France on a trip
called “Mountain of Silence.” The sailors, ranging in age from 30
to 50, plan to journey from King Haakan Bay to Stormness, following the 1916
route of Sir Ernest Shackleton, a famed polar explorer. According to the Falkland
Island News, “Five of the six-member crew come from France and the sixth,
Alistair Moore, is from New Zealand. She has been extensively re-fitted especially
in the accommodation area.”
SMOKE KILLED ELDERLY HARD-OF-HEARING COUPLE
An inquest was held in Wales Nov.
10 on the fire in March that killed former Gwent police chief William Farley,
87, and his wife Marjorie, 86. According to Coroner David Bowen, the fire started
in a cupboard when a faulty immersion heater switch ignited nearby textiles.
Mr. Farley apparently smelled smoke and got up to investigate, but was overcome
after only a few breaths and passed out before he could alert his wife. Bowen
said both victims were hard of hearing and wore hearing aids, but took them
out before they went to bed.
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LIFE & LEISURE
STUDENTS FISH WALLET FROM OCEAN FLOOR
A wallet that fell out of John Vitkevich’s pocket on a Long Island Sound ferry July 3 was fished out of 100 feet of water Oct. 20 by middle-school students from the American School for the Deaf. The students at the West Hartford, Conn. school were taking part in Project Oceanology, a day-trip science project that includes trawling the ocean floor with a net. The day’s catch included a bluefish, some squid, flounders, blue crabs – and Vitkevich’s wallet. “The money was pretty skanky and starting to disintegrate,” teacher Annie Nutt told The Day newspaper, but she found the owner’s phone number and gave him a call. The miraculous find “blew my mind,” Vitkevich said, and he agreed to Nutt’s request to use his wallet as a cultural learning tool for her students. Vitkevich, 50, was “treated like a celebrity” when he spent a couple of hours at the school Oct. 27 meeting with students.
VARDON FAMILY ‘MAKEOVER’ A RATINGS BLOCKBUSTER
A whopping 20.5 million viewers tuned in to ABC-TV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” Nov. 7 when the Vardon family of Detroit was treated to an extensive renovation of their house. The two-hour special was a ratings blockbuster, said the Daily Tribune, and made history for ABC, delivering the largest audience in almost five years for its time period, said ABC reps in Hollywood. Parents Judy and Larry are deaf, and youngest son Lance, 12, is blind and autistic. Older son Stefan, 15, wrote a letter asking to make their home safer for his brother and parents. The Makeover team gave Judy the kitchen of her dreams, built an autism room in the basement for Lance and created an Australian-themed bedroom for Stefan, complete with a mountainscape that lights up behind his bed.
VET OFFERS LABELS, STICKERS AND PINS
When Wayne Wicklund began to experience hearing loss three years ago, he didn’t know that it resulted from his service in Vietnam – until he was diagnosed at a Veterans Administration hospital in Phoenix, Ariz. Now Wicklund, 56, is working to help others who also experienced hearing loss in the service. He and his wife Anne, 58, have created a website (www.hearingimpaired.net) that offers a variety of labels, stickers and pins to let people know how to communicate with someone who can’t hear well. According to the Arizona Republic, hearing loss is the No. 1 disability among veterans, and the Veterans Administration spends $81 million every year on hearing aids alone.
LONGTIME ASL INSTRUCTOR CALLS IT QUITS
Friends and colleagues of Frankie Widner gathered for a reception last week to mark her retirement as American Sign Language instructor at Tyler Junior College. For 30 years she “taught attorneys, policemen, doctors and even dentists,” Widner told the Tyler Morning Telegraph. A graduate of the Texas School for the Deaf, Widner said she plans to travel and enjoy her new hobby of photography, but will continue to work as a pharmacy medicine coordinator at Mother Frances Hospital.
ETHICS QUESTIONS RAISED IN STUDY OF ‘DEAF’ GENE
Medical researchers in Australia face an ethical dilemma in their hunt for a “deaf “ gene, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Nov. 12. Scientists are studying 6,000 schoolchildren to see if they carry a mutation in a gene linked to deafness. But if they do detect changes in DNA that could predict later hearing loss, they would be unable to predict when the condition would develop or do anything to prevent it. “Parents appear not to understand genetic testing and what it will mean,” said a researcher in Melbourne. “There will be no health benefit or information they can act on.”
KENTUCKY SCHOOL WEIGHS CAMPUS CHANGE
The Kentucky School for the Deaf’s Danville campus would shrink from 166 acres to 50 acres but gain three new buildings under a plan unveiled Nov. 10 and reported in the Advocate Messenger. About 175 students, staff, parents and alumni packed a meeting to learn about the proposal, which recommends the campus be condensed around a cluster of newer buildings and athletic fields. Officials hope to raise money by selling or leasing unused real estate to pay the $12-15 million price tag for the plan, which includes a new 400-seat auditorium, student center and elementary building..
ONLINE PREP COURSE SET FOR INTERPRETERS
Central Piedmont Community College is offering a 16-week National Sign Language Interpreter Written Study Prep Course, beginning Jan. 10, 2005. This is an online course that covers ethics, history, sociolinguistic parameters and multicultural aspects of interpreting. The cost is $72. To register, go to http://mycollege.cpcc.cc.nc.us/default.asp.
VOLUNTEER INTERPRETERS SOUGHT BY WICHITA POLICE
The Police Department in Wichita, Kansas has issued a call for volunteers who are fluent in sign language. As reported in the Wichita Eagle, 23-year-old Charley Davidson is currently the only officer certified to interpret sign language, and the department wants to provide him with backup. A call went out in September for volunteers who speak a foreign language, but none of the 25 who replied know sign language. “Good, non-biased interpreters” are brought in for major investigations, said Deputy Chief Tom Stolz, but officers rely on family members to interpret for minor calls. “We stumble our way through,” he said.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
DEAF WEST’S ‘BIG RIVER’ MIDWAY THROUGH NATIONAL TOUR
Deaf West Theatre’s “Big River” keeps going and going. The show that premiered in the company’s North Hollywood theater in 2002 made the big leap to Broadway last year and enjoyed a critically acclaimed run. The troupe is now midway through a national tour that began last June in San Francisco. “Big River” will appear at the Wang Theatre in Boston this week and will visit 15 more cities between now and May 31, 2005, when the tour ends in Seattle. (Check http://deafwest.org/productions/touring.html#tourdates for tour dates.) A second company is being organized for an extended run next spring at Washington, D.C.’s Ford Theatre. Deaf West artistic director Ed Waterstreet, appearing with wife Linda Bove (of Sesame Street fame) at a press conference last week, said, “There are still a lot of misconceptions and barriers, but the ignorance I grew up with just isn’t there anymore.”
PERFORMERS UNVEIL WEBSITE, ‘MUSIC FOR THE EYES’ DVD
A new DVD and website have been unveiled by performers Mindy Moore and Theron Parker. The deaf twosome’s 60-minute act, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” is said to be wildly popular, and their new DVD, “Music for the Eyes,” has just become available on their website, www.justmindy.com. Moore and Parker have been performing since 2002, when they made their introduction at Timberfest, and they’re now working on a children’s program to promote literacy through ASL storytelling, mime and performing workshops.
FLORIDA STUDENTS ‘STRUT THEIR STUFF’ WITH C.J. JONES
Professional actor C.J. Jones of Los Angeles spent a week with five deaf middle-school students in West Palm Beach, Fla. and the results were on display Oct. 29 when they performed a series of short plays for over 100 classmates, teachers and parents. It was part of a Very Special Arts Florida-funded project that has brought Jones to Palm Beach County public schools for the past five years. “These kids never get to see deaf adults,” teach Lynn Weinthal told the Palm Beach Post. “It gave them an opportunity to strut their stuff.” Said Jones: “It’s a great experience and these are great kids.”
ROCHESTER TO HOST DEAF FILM FESTIVAL
Plans were announced last week for the first Deaf Rochester (N.Y.) Film Festival, scheduled for March 18-20, 2005. The festival, designed to showcase works that reflect deaf themes and experiences, is being organized by three area colleges and the local community. “Audism Unveiled,” “No Talking Allowed” and “Flying Fingers” are some of the films to be shown. If you’d like to get involved, send a note to DeafRochFilmFest@yahoo.com.
JOHN "LENO" MAUCERE
MAINTAINS A BUSY PACE
He performed in nine states over the summer, but deaf entertainer John Maucere isn’t planning on slowing down. He's been taking his popular John "Leno" Maucere Show to all of the DeafNation Expos and will perform soon at an interpreters conference in Missouri. Maucere maintains a heavy pace "because demand is high for a show where deaf people are featured," he said. A longtime actor and comedian who performs as a talk show host, Maucere's humor is popular with deaf and hearing audiences. Dan Brubaker of Seattle has seen the show seven or eight times, "and I've found myself laughing every time." More information may be found at www.deafywood.com.
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MISSISSIPPI NAMED TOP TEAM IN FOOTBALL
The Mississippi School for the Deaf was named Team of the Year by the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf on Monday. The Bulldogs went 6-0 in eight-man football and also won two 11-man games. It’s the fourth straight year the NFSD selected MSD as national champions, but team members told the Clarion-Ledger that the honor never gets old. “We still get excited about it,” junior running back Ro’Derrick Brown said. “We want to continue winning and let people from all over the country know that we can play football.”
WIFFLE BALL BENEFITS CURTIS PRIDE’S FOUNDATION
More than 60 teams took part in the 3rd annual Palm Beach Wiffle Ball World Series, held Nov. 13 in Wellington, Fla. The event was organized by the Together With Pride Foundation to raise money for hearing aids and scholarships for children with hearing impairment. The foundation was established by Curtis Pride, the first full-season deaf player in Major League baseball’s modern era. Pride said he chose Wiffle ball over a sport such as golf because it allows a wider variety of people to participate. “No matter what kind of disability we have, we can live a very productive life and have fun,” he told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Visit www.togetherwithpride.org to learn more about the foundation.
DIVE AND SAIL TRIP TO THAILAND MADE ACCESSIBLE
If you haven’t made any Christmas plans, why not go diving in Thailand with manta rays, barracuda and leopard sharks? Naomi Hayam, a deaf divemaster and graduate of marine and freshwater biology who speaks, lip-reads and signs, will lead a one-week liveaboard sail and dive adventure Dec. 24-31. (Three more are planned for March 2005.) Hayam has teamed up with Worldwide Dive and Sail owner Frank van der Linde, an experienced deaf educator, to offer trips that are accessible, but not limited to, deaf and hard-of-hearing adventurers. You’ll dive, sleep and eat off the boat for a week, with laptop computers, DVDs, digital cameras and stereos on hand to make your stay more comfortable. Info: www.worldwidediveandsail.com.
The Learning Center for Deaf Children
30 Seton Way
Randolph, MA 02368
Our Randolph campus is in need of
an Educational Coordinator. The
Educational Coordinator oversees educational services to all students and
supervises teaching staff. In addition, the EC will oversee collaborative
teamwork in program development, curriculum development, communication
regarding meetings, overseeing the implementation of IEP’s and maintaining
contact with school departments.
This position requires 2-3 years
direct teaching experience at the
elementary level, advanced degree in Education as well as Massachusetts
teacher certification or the ability to obtain certification. Knowledge
of Deaf culture and fluency in American Sign Language required. This is a
12-month Position available immediately. Salary dependant upon experience.
Please send resume and cover letter
The Learning Center for Deaf Children
Attn: Nancy Maguire
30 Seton Way
Randolph, MA 02368
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