deafweekly

 

November 24, 2004
Vol. 1 No. 6

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 can also be read at www.deafweekly.com. For more information, contact mail@deafweekly.com.

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The contents of Deafweekly are Copyright 2004. Any unauthorized use, including reprinting of news, is prohibited. Circulation: approximately 2,350 plus an average of 1,800 weekly website readers.


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NATIONAL
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FORMER STATE OFFICIAL INDICTED ON THEFT CHARGES

Linda Schrenko, former Georgia state superintendent of schools, was indicted last week on charges that she conspired with a former chief deputy and a computer consultant to steal $614,000 that was designated for Georgia’s two state schools for the deaf. According to WSBTV in Atlanta, Schrenko was released on $40,000 bail Monday after surrendering to federal authorities. The government wants the money repaid, but Schrenko, 54, and her then-husband filed for bankruptcy in Oct. 2003, listing $232,644 in liabilities and $172,615 in assets. Federal authorities claim Schrenko diverted $250,000 to a failed campaign for governor in 2002 and spent another $9,300 on cosmetic surgery. She denies all allegations, and the case is expected to go to trial early next year.

WALKOUT WINS ASU INTERPRETERS A PAY RAISE

Interpreters at Arizona State University were back on the job Tuesday, Nov. 16 after staging a one-day walkout the previous day. Over 30 interpreters stayed home Monday, leaving officials scrambling for substitutes to serve about 25 deaf students. “I wish they hadn’t walked out,” an administrator told the Arizona Republic. “If they had just waited two days, they would have had an answer that would have pleased them.” But interpreters saw the work stoppage as a last resort after complaining for years about their pay, a situation that worsened when a video relay center opened that offered interpreters almost twice as much money. ASU came up with $125,000 for a raise that they say will make the interpreters’ pay “very, very competitive with the market.”

COCHLEAR IMPLANTS BACK ON MARKET AFTER SIX-WEEK RECALL

Advanced Bionics Corp. of Valencia, Calif., returned to the market Nov. 8 after a six-week recall of its unimplanted Clarion and HiResolution cochlear implants. The company initiated the global recall voluntarily on Sept. 24 due to concerns that moisture in the internal circuitry might cause the implants to stop working. More than 16,000 people use cochlear implants from Advanced Bionic, which was acquired by Boston Scientific in June. But rival Cochlear Ltd. told Dow Jones Newswires it gained some market share during the absence of its competitor. “It was a positive for us, absolutely,” said Cochlear CEO Chris Roberts.

INTERPRETER ACCUSED OF MOLESTATION WANTS SPEEDY TRIAL

A high school interpreter accused of sexually molesting three male students filed a speedy trial demand last month. Natasha McCrary of Athens, Ga. wants her day in court as soon as possible, reported the Athens Banner-Herald Nov. 19. McCrary’s lawyer, Kim T. Stevens, said he was ready to proceed, but doubted the prosecution was prepared. McCrary says she herself is the victim, claiming that one of the students was attempting to extort money from her and that the boy’s parents had threatened her. An investigation turned up three other boys who claimed to have had sex with the interpreter, two of whom were underage. McCrary and the boy’s parents, Latasha Sims and Greg Byrd, were arrested Sept. 10. Sims and Byrd were charged with theft by extortion. The case could go to trial as early as Dec. 6.

MARYLAND MAN BLAMED FOR FIRE THAT KILLED 2

Philip Jobes, 36, of West Inverness, Md., was sentenced to 15 months in prison last week for his role in a fire that killed two deaf and blind developmentally disabled residents of a group home. According to the Dundalk Eagle, Jobes was the overnight caretaker on March 6, 2003 when he fired up two countertop kitchen burners to keep warm and then left the area. A fire started and spread to the cabinets, causing thick black smoke to fill the apartment. Delano Mitchell, 32, and Nevalon Thomas, 38, died of smoke inhalation and complications. A third resident reportedly survived the fire. Judge J. Norris Byrnes sentenced Jobe to five years in prison, but suspended all but 15 months.

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY TAKES A TWIST IN PHILADELPHIA

NBC 10 in Philadelphia reported Nov. 17 on an elderly deaf couple who turned the tables on a potential robber. Sarah Gary, 61, and husband Henry Battle, 63, who is also blind, were walking home to watch an Eagles game when they were confronted by Shawn Savage, 32, described later by police as a career criminal. Gary grabbed her husband’s cane and began attacking Savage. The crook tried to run off, but Gary began chasing him. Police pulled up and arrested Savage, who faces a long list of charges including robbery and assault. “She watches a lot of action movies,” Gary’s daughter Karen Battle told NBC 10.

SCHOOL DISTRICT TOLD ONE THING, THEN ANOTHER

The Peoria (Ill.) school district is caught between the recommendations of two state agencies, the Peoria Journal Star reported Nov. 19. At issue is the education of a group of deaf children ages 3 to 5. Last fall, the students were moved from their school, which had built an addition in 1972 with $700,000 earmarked for deaf education, after the district decided it wanted to convert the space into offices. Parents complained, and the Peoria Regional Human Rights Authority intervened. Three weeks later, the Peoria School Board voted 4-3 to return the students to the school. Now the Illinois State Board of Education has weighed in, finding in a report issued Nov. 3 that the students should be placed in a setting where they can interact with other children their age. The district must submit a corrective action plan by Jan. 14.

BUS DRIVER, AIDE FIRED FOR LEAVING DEAF BOY ON BOARD

A substitute driver and aide were fired last week after leaving a deaf 4-year-old boy sleeping unnoticed on their bus. Austin Alvarez’s mom Julie told WVEC-TV News that when her son didn’t come home Nov. 18, she called Hampton (Va.) Schools and nobody knew where the bus was for an hour and a half. “I wore a hole in the carpet pacing back and forth,” she said. Officials found that the substitute driver parked the bus at the regular driver’s home, never noticing Austin was still on board. “I hate to see someone lose their job,” Julie Alvarez said, “but what they did was wrong.”

DEAF WOMAN’S LANDLORD WANTS DOGS TO GO

A deaf California woman is fighting to keep the two dogs she trained to alert her to noises in her home. Jan Moses of Palm Desert told KESQ-TV News that she lives alone and needs her dogs for security reasons. But her landlord at Hidden Springs told a news reporter that Moses did not follow the park’s rules about dogs. Sheila Lawrence, a friend, said she will do what she can to help, but worries time is running out. “They wanted her dogs out in 24 hours, we are going to stay here until they take us to court and the judge can decide.”

INDIANA WOMAN KILLED WHILE WALKING TO GET NEWSPAPER

An elderly woman was killed Nov. 17 while crossing the street in front of her house to pick up her morning newspaper. Minnie Provines, 81, of Auburn, Ind. was struck by a car driven by an unidentified 18-year-old driver, who was not injured or immediately charged by police. WANE-TV News of Fort Wayne reported that the victim was deaf and would not have heard the car coming at her.

CITY SAYS NO TO ‘DEAF CHILD AT PLAY’ SIGN

The Bosserts of Mount Washington, Ohio want the city to install a “Caution Deaf Child at Play” sign on their street to warn drivers that their daughter is deaf. But City Traffic Engineer Steve Bailey turned them down, telling ChannelCincinnati News 5 “It’s quite impractical for the city to install signs of that type.” Bailey added that research shows such signs don’t have much of an effect. Mom Julie Bossert said she didn’t care, and would get a sign on their cul-de-sac one way or another. The city said the couple could install a sign in their own yard if the sign complies with zoning regulations.

HARPER HOSTS ‘DEAFEST’ FOR 12TH YEAR

For the 12th straight year, deaf culture enthusiasts gathered for the DeaFest at Harper College in Palatine, Ill., a suburb 30 miles northwest of Chicago. About 600 people were expected to attend the two-day event, said the Daily Herald Nov. 19. Among the activities were storytelling for children and an academic bowl for deaf students, with seven teams competing. “The event is designed to celebrate deaf culture and to inform and educate society about deaf culture,” said Harper College’s Denise Kavin.


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INTERNATIONAL
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DEAF MAN WITH KNIFE STORMS POLICE STATION

Police in Ipoh, Malaysia were trying to learn why an armed deaf man stormed the Rungkup police station Sunday, The Star Online reported Nov. 24. A police officer at the counter was confronted with a knife by the 25-year-old man, who worked as a helper at his father’s food stand outside the station. When the deaf man did not respond, the officer shot him in the right knee to defend himself. The man is recovering in the hospital, and “We will try to establish his motive,” a police official said.

CHINA MAN ACCUSED OF HIRING DEAF BROTHER’S KILLER

When Chung Chin-yung, 56, left for vacation July 19 with his brother Chin-fang, 63, he told neighbors he was “trying to find a bride for his deaf-and-dumb older brother,” reported The China Post Nov. 21. Chung returned home a week or two later with the ashes of his deaf brother, raising suspicions. Now Chung has been accused of hiring Li Chih-kang, 32, to kill his brother during their vacation, and he has been asked to appear before police for questioning. Alleged killer Li was arrested Aug. 1 and said Chung had paid him only a fraction of the agreed-upon amount before leaving shortly after the murder, which took place at the brothers’ hotel.

RUSSIAN RESEARCHERS DEVELOP ELECTRONIC AID

The Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported Nov. 9 on the development of “electronic mini-chips that allow dead [sic] and dumb people to hear and talk.” Yakov Altman, leader of a project at Moscow’s Pavlov Institute of Physiology, said, “The chip is implanted in the ear auricle together with a miniature generator and an amplifier of electrical impulses.” A small wireless microphone can be carried in the pocket. A so-called sound arc designed at the institute was the basis of the design, he said. The discovery may also benefit children with cerebral palsy and help cosmonauts adapt to weightlessness.

SINGAPORE STUDY SHEDS LIGHT ON ATTITUDES

Channelnewsasia.com reported on a survey last week showing that half of the people in Singapore “will distance themselves from people with disabilities.” Two-thirds admit not knowing enough about people with disabilities, and 54 percent think disabled people are “dependent, have poor self-esteem, and are difficult to deal with.” The report mentioned two deaf women: Andre Ng, angry at a doctor who described her as “deaf and dumb”; and Priscillia Leong, who said that when she’s with friends, they laugh at her and “I feel very embarrassed, so I leave quietly. It’s very sad.”

DIWALI FESTIVAL FOLLOWED BY HEARING LOSS

Every year after Diwali, a festival of light and sound in New Delhi, India, at least 3-5 people visit Batra Hospital every day for several days afterward complaining of sudden hearing loss. According to Times News Network, local ENT doctors have their hands full treating patients with a range of hearing problems, ranging from temporary to permanent hearing loss and including perforated eardrums. The government promised to crack down on the noise, but this year’s Diwali was as noisy as ever, doctors said.

RELAY PHONE SCAM HITS WESTERN ONTARIO

A telephone scam using the deaf relay service has hit Western Ontario in Canada, and the Better Business Bureau is warning businesses to be on the alert. Scammers use stolen credit cards and place orders from outside the country using the relay service, which allows them to hide their identity. Jim Jearvis of Biz Pro Ltd. had a “gut feeling” about an order for about $50,000 in printer cartridges, and stopped the first shipment worth $9,000 just 20 minutes before it was to be delivered. BBB of Western Ontario president Jan Delaney told the London Free Press that she has been getting warnings from the U.S. for months, “but this is the first time we have seen it here.”

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LIFE & LEISURE
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STEM CELL RESEARCH COULD AID IN DEAFNESS CURE

Sheffield University researchers in the U.K. are using embryonic stem cells in hopes of growing new cells in the inner ear, raising hopes for a cure for deafness within 10-15 years, said the Daily Mail Nov. 22. Dr. Marcelo Rivolta of the university’s Institute for Molecular Physiology shared his research Monday at a conference sponsored by the Royal National Institute for Deaf People. During 10 months of study so far, it has been shown that stem cells from the sensory nerves could be regrown in the damaged area. This has the potential to lead to the return of hearing, though Rivolta said the research was still in the “very, very early stages.”

SOON YOUR PILLOW MAY WAKE YOU UP

Engineering students Miguel Angel Perez and Pedro Galvez of Chile have invented a pillow that wakes up deaf people by gently inflating and deflating. The pillow can be programmed to go off at any time, just like an alarm clock. “The Good Awakening Pillow” was unveiled at the recent Inacap Ideas for Business Fair in Santiago. “We can help all deaf people to be more independent with this invention,” Galvez told local paper Las Ultimas Noticias.

IBM INTRODUCES VOICE RECOGNITION SOFTWARE

IBM Corp. introduced its new ViaScribe voice recognition software in Toronto last Thursday, after investing over $1 million to develop the new technology. According to Canadian Press, IBM teamed up with the Alexander Graham Bell Institute at the University of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia to design the software, which instantly translates spoken words into script that can be viewed on computer screens or a hand-held PDA. The new technology has already been tested at 10 universities in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. IBM says the development will help students in classrooms and older people with hearing loss, and could enhance the delivery of bilingual services in museums, parks and tours. ViaScribe is 90-95 percent accurate, an IBM rep said, with an improved rate in closed settings such as classrooms and museums.

ILLINOIS GRANDMA WINS ALDA AWARD

The newest recipient of the prestigious I. King Jordan Award from the Association for Late-Deafened Adults is the wife of a farmer, mother of two sons and grandmother of six who stays busy with the National Snowmobile Racing Association. She’s Kathy Schlueter of Dakota, Ill., and she picked up the award at the recent ALDAcon in Burlington, Vt. ALDA presents the award annually in honor of I. King Jordan, the first deaf president of Gallaudet University. Schlueter has served as president of the ALDA board and in numerous other jobs, all voluntary. She’s also active in her local community, and in 2002 she became the first woman president in the 48-year history of the Dakota Lions Club.

DEAF KIWANIS PRESIDENT PROVES ‘MIRACLES HAPPEN’

Donald Sharpe of St. Martin, Miss. is “living proof that miracles happen,” said the Sun Herald of South Mississippi Nov. 21. Born premature with cerebral palsy, he weighed only 2 pounds. His parents were told he wouldn’t live; later doctors said he’d never walk. Sharpe defied them by taking his first steps when he was four – his first miracle. Later he had surgery on his spinal cord and was told he’d never walk again. He kept working until he did – his second miracle. Sharpe was found to be deaf when he was 10, and sent to the Mississippi School for the Deaf in Jackson. After graduating in 1973, he attended printing school in Talladega, Ala., graduating in 1979. He went on to teach sign language and work as a purchasing clerk for a Biloxi hospital. Last month, Sharpe was installed as president of a local Kiwanis Club, the only deaf Kiwanis in the world. He continues to teach sign language and is always willing to help new signers, longtime friend and interpreter Jerry Howard told the Sun Herald.

DEAF AND BLIND PRIEST ON TOUR FOR NEW MINISTRY

The Islington Express in the U.K. wrote briefly of a deaf and blind priest who was set to lead a special mass at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church last Sunday. According to the newspaper, Father Cyril Axelrod worked in China and South Africa under apartheid and was in Islington as part of his tour to launch a new ministry for the Westminster diocese that would serve deaf-blind people. St. John’s priest, Father Shaun Lennard, said he hoped it would lead to better access for those who are deaf and blind. “The church is poorer for the absence of their gifts,” he said.

SPRINT WALK RAISES $14,000 FOR AUSTIN ORGANIZATIONS

More than 200 people came together on a cold day to take part in the ninth annual Sprint Walk at the Texas School for the Deaf on Sat. Nov. 13. The event raised over $14,000 to benefit four local organizations: Camp Sign; Deaf Abused Women and Children Advocacy Services; the Texas School for the Deaf Foundation; and the Travis County Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Holiday Fund. Since 1996, Sprint Relay Texas has raised more than $130,000 for deaf and hard-of-hearing organizations. “This is a way we can give back to the community,” said Kathy Ahlschwede, Walk Coordinator and supervisor of Sprint Relay Texas in Austin.

NEW DEAF CAFÉ BRINGS CHRISTIANS TOGETHER

Young deaf adults (18-40) are the target audience of the new Deaf Café, “which brings hearing-impaired Christians together for fellowship,” said the (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal Nov. 21. But everyone is welcome, and about 75 people came together one recent night at the Louisville Deaf Baptist Church to take part in songs and skits and watch a cartoon movie about Moses. The monthly meetings began in June 2003 and have attracted as many as 161 people. Deaf Café is the brainchild of Steve Dye, 30, a deaf pastor. In addition to Louisville, there are Deaf Cafes in Portland, Ore.; Flint, Mich.; and Spartanburg, S.C.; and they will open soon in Lexington, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Houston.

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WORKING WORLD
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GALLAUDET PRESIDENT NO. 13 ON LIST OF TOP EARNERS

Gallaudet University President I. King Jordan becomes a millionaire every two years, according to a report in the Nov. 15 Washington Post. Jordan was number 13 on a list of 2003's highest paid private college presidents in the United States, earning $582,668. The president of Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University tops the list at nearly $900,000, said the study by the Chronicle of Higher Education. College presidents “are not easy to find,” a spokesman for the Association of American Universities told the Post.

PROS AND CONS OF VIDEO REMOTE INTERPRETING

Some people see Video Remote Interpreting as a good thing, since it allows hospitals in isolated areas to hook up quickly with an interpreter. Others see it as a bad thing, because hospitals may become overly reliant on the service and use it at every opportunity instead of calling in a live interpreter when requested. A meeting will take place Dec. 4 in Pasadena, Md. (midway between Baltimore and Annapolis) to discuss the pros and cons of the subject. Volunteer interpreters are needed to help write letters to hospitals and other organizations. For more, write: carolstevens100@hotmail.com.

ACADEMIC BOWL REGIONALS START IN FEBRUARY

Regional competition for the ninth annual National Academic Bowl for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students will take place in five locations throughout the country in February and March. The top two teams will meet at Gallaudet University in Washington April 23-26 to determine the champion. Gallaudet, J.W.Marriott and Sorenson VRS sponsor the event, which promotes academic excellence, competition, sportsmanship and social opportunities. To view the regional competition schedule, see http://academicbowl.gallaudet.edu.

MILD HEARING LOSS CAN CAUSE PROBLEMS IN CLASSROOM

Even minimal hearing problems can cause a child to have trouble in school, said a researcher from Vanderbilt University last week at the annual meeting of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Philadelphia. It’s hard to hear in a classroom even if your ears work fine, Dr. Anne Marie Tharpe said, and her study of 2,000 children showed that students with hearing problems were 10 times more likely to fail a grade or have other scholastic difficulties. As reported by Reuters Health Nov. 18, such students don’t necessarily need hearing aids, but they might benefit from an FM system that lets teachers use a microphone to send their amplified voices to speakers or a device students can wear.

COLLEGE STUDENT FINDS LACK OF ASL AWARENESS ‘INFURIATING’

It’s “infuriating that such a liberal and highly regarded university isn’t aware” of American Sign Language, Northwestern University student Joe Messana told The Daily Northwestern Nov. 22, noting that the school doesn’t offer any courses on the topic. Messana hopes to “fill a void” by starting an ASL club in winter quarter. The club will teach people to sign, explore deaf culture and be a social outlet for ASL communicators, he said.

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
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NTD TO MAKE APPEARANCE ON ‘SESAME STREET’

Actors from the National Theatre of the Deaf will be in New York City Dec. 1 to film scenes for the children’s TV show, “Sesame Street.” Colleen Foy, Ian Sanborn, Greg Anderson and Little Theatre of the Deaf director Shanny Mow and cast will film four separate segments introducing the “Sign Language Moment of the Day.” They’ll be joined by muppets Elmo, Big Bird, Telly and Zoe. NTD Executive Director Paul Winters noted that NTD is 37 years old this year and Sesame Street is 36: “What a perfect time for two ‘national treasures’ to work together for one common mission – to entertain and educate children through the wonderful medium of theater.” The episode will air sometime in April 2005.

JADE FILMS TO RELEASE NEW DVD THIS MONTH

A new DVD is being introduced this month by Jade Films. “Passion of Words Turning Into Action: A Black Deaf Filmmaker’s Journey” is company founder Ann Marie Bryan’s semi-autobiographical film featuring interviews, student films, behind-the-scenes productions, personal video diaries, production clips and more. Jade Films is a New York City-based production company formed by Bryan in 1994 to provide equal employment opportunities in the production and management workforce. For more information, visit www.jadefilm.com (not to be confused with www.jadefilms.com, which is a Mexican production company that’s also called Jade Films).


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SPORTS
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SORENSON MEDIA HELPS DEAFLYMPICS ATHLETES

Fifteen deaf athletes will receive $500 each from Sorenson Media to help them attend the Deaflympics in January. Sorenson Media will also donate $6,000 to the USA Deaf Sports Federation and $1,000 to USA Deaf Basketball. “This is something really good to do,” Sorenson vice president Dave Johnson told the Salt Lake Tribune. Each athlete on the U.S. team is expected to raise $4,500 to attend the Deaflympics, which take place Jan. 5-16 in Melbourne, Australia.

DEAF BROTHERS FOLLOW COLLEGE FOOTBALL DREAM

Brothers Nick and Mose Fuga have brought deaf awareness to the football teams at Edmonds-Woodway High School in Edmonds, Wash. Nick, a sophomore, plays for the varsity team and Mose plays for the freshman squad. Their mother signed them up for junior football six years ago after the boys expressed their dream to play college football. “My boys don’t take their hearing loss as a disability,” she told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Nov. 6. Nick scored four touchdowns in one of his first high school games, and “he’ll definitely be a starter for us next year,” coach John Gradwohl said.


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MILESTONES
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PAULA TRAYLOR, HOUSEPARENT AT IOWA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF

Paula Traylor was like a mom or big sister to students at the Iowa School for the Deaf, the Omaha World-Herald reported Nov. 22. She started working as a houseparent at the school 24 years ago, after graduating from high school. She was persuaded to join the staff by an administrator who noticed that she was always visiting her deaf brother at the school. Traylor was diagnosed with liver cancer in August 2003 but kept working through chemotherapy and radiation, her daughter told the newspaper. Traylor, 55, died last Thursday and was buried Monday in Council Bluffs. She is survived by Robert Traylor, her husband of 36 years, as well as her mother, a son and three grandchildren.


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EMPLOYMENT
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The Learning Center for Deaf Children
South Campus
30 Seton Way
Randolph, MA 02368

Educational Coordinator

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 to:
The Learning Center for Deaf Children
Attn: Nancy Maguire
30 Seton Way
Randolph, MA 02368

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