deafweekly

 

December 1, 2004
Vol. 1 No. 7

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 2004. Any unauthorized use, including reprinting of news, is prohibited. Readership: approximately 3,500 including subscribers and website readers.


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NATIONAL
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YOUNG ACCIDENT SURVIVOR HONORED FOR HER COURAGE

Brittany Jones, 16, a student at the Tennessee School for the Deaf, was honored by Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam last week for her courage in a car accident that claimed the life of her classmate Viola Wooten. Jones was one of six people in a van that went out of control, flipping several times and smashing into a utility pole. According to KnoxNews, Jones suffered a broken arm but was able to assist rescue workers at the scene. Just four months earlier, Jones broke her back and neck in a car accident that killed her boyfriend. “Tragic things happen,” said Mayor Haslam at last week’s ceremony, “but it’s the way we respond to them that says the most about who we are.”

LACK OF HURRICANE CAPTIONING LEADS TO COMPLAINT

Richard Schuler was so upset by the lack of closed-captioning during Hurricane Charley, said the Nov. 25 News-Press, that he has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission against four local TV stations. Schuler, 44, a deaf Southwest Florida resident, contends that the stations did not comply with FCC regulations that require TV stations to make emergency news broadcasts accessible to the hearing impaired. Two local agencies also filed complaints: Hearing Impaired Persons Inc. and the Deaf Service Center of Southwest Florida. Real-time captioning would solve the problem, but the cost – $100 an hour and up – can be a hurdle. One station found a solution recently when it received a grant from the Department of Education to cover captioning costs for the next three years. “We were pretty aggressive after the storms to get it resolved,” said WINK-TV news director John Emmert.

ICE FROM AIRPLANE LANDS IN DEAF WOMAN’S HOME

A piece of ice the size of a brick fell off an airplane that was landing at Logan Airport in Boston Nov. 26 and crashed through the roof of Constance Cotter’s home in Lynn, Mass. Cotter, 80 and deaf, “actually heard the boom and thought the house was falling down,” Cotter’s daughter, Mary Petrillo, told the Associated Press. The ice left a hole in the roof measuring 2 feet by 4 feet, and though the damage has been temporarily repaired, Petrillo worries it may happen again. “My mother was lucky,” she said, but “the next person might not be.”

TASK FORCE TO REPORT ON FATE OF VIRGINIA’S DEAF SCHOOLS

Dec. 1 is the deadline for a task force in Virginia to report to the governor its final recommendations for the fate of the state’s two schools for the deaf. Last year, seven of the group’s 12 members voted to close the schools in Hampton and Staunton and build a new, single facility. About 20 Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind advocates expressed their concerns at a public meeting Nov. 17, where two state officials answered their questions. “Will they [also] move Virginia Military Institute someplace?” asked Fred Yates, a former student, teacher and principal at the Staunton school. “VSDB has the same history, the same importance. We want Richmond to support that.”

SCHOOLS OFF THE HOOK FOR COCHLEAR IMPLANT UPKEEP

Congress passed an amendment to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act last month saying school districts do not have to pay for the ongoing upkeep of their students’ cochlear implants. The issue arose when the parents of a 6-year-old deaf student sued the Stratham, N.H. School District, maintaining that the IDEA required the school to fund the device’s continued maintenance – a very costly expense, school board chairman Bob O’Sullivan told the Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald. Congress decided that surgically implanted medical devices are not considered to be “assistive technology,” meaning schools don’t have to pay to service the devices.

(NOTE: The above item was found to be in error. One of the participating attorneys told Deafweekly that schools actually are still responsible for upkeep. Please see the first news item and the attorney's letter in the Dec. 8, 2004 issue.)

DEAF AWARENESS ON TAP FOR MARYLAND POLICE

A $23,667 grant from the Horizon Foundation will be used by the Howard County (Md.) Police Department to fund a deaf awareness training program for police officers. The funding will allow 20 officers to receive training in sign language and will also pay for TTYs to be installed at the front desks of each police station in the district. Also part of the program: car-visor placards and wallet cards to identify deaf drivers.

2 STUDENTS INJURED AS CAR COLLIDES WITH SCHOOL BUS

A car ran a stop sign in Fort Worth, Texas on Monday and collided with a school bus bringing 14 students to the Jean Massieu Academy, Texas’s only charter school for deaf and hard-of-hearing children. According to the Star-Telegram, two students were taken to a hospital with minor injuries. “Nobody was seriously hurt, just shaken up,” said Susan Hill, the school’s chief operating officer. The school, established in 1999, has 180 students who are transported on 14 bus routes.

MORE THAN 7,700 ATTEND ANAHEIM DEAF EXPO

The numbers are in for the 12th annual Deaf Expo, held Nov. 5-6 at Anaheim Convention Center near Disneyland. The show attracted 7,729 patrons from California, 29 other states and five foreign countries. Eighty-three exhibitors were on hand, filling up 113 exhibit spaces. This year’s sponsors were Sprint Relay and the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness (GLAD). “Patrons marveled at the playful show set-up, convenient parking lot and a bustling crossroad layout with activities at every juncture,” said a spokesman for CSD, which manages the show.

MOM GETS HER ‘DEAF CHILD’ SIGN

As reported in last week’s Deafweekly, Julie Bossert of Mount Washington, Ohio wanted officials to post a traffic sign warning drivers that her deaf daughter might be outside playing, but the city and county turned her down. News 5, the TV station that first reported the story, teamed up with a charity called Cincy Kids for Kids to donate a sign, and workers put it up outside the Bossert house on Monday.


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INTERNATIONAL
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UKRAINE INTERPRETER HELPS BREAK YEARS OF NEWS CENSORSHIP

A sign-language interpreter on Ukraine’s state-run TV news program played a leading role last week in ending years of news censorship by government authorities. Ukraine, a former Soviet Union republic, is mired in controversy, with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets to protest the recent presidential election. President Leonid Kuchma’s chosen successor, Viktor Yanukovych, was said to win, but many in Ukraine believe the election was stolen and support the other candidate, Viktor Yushchenko. State TV, however, had mostly ignored the controversy. Last Thursday, appearing in a small inset on the TV screen, interpreter Natalia Dmytruk, 47, broke through the censorship when she ignored the news script and began signing on her own: “Our president is Viktor Yushchenko. Don’t believe the results they have announced. ... I am very ashamed to translate these lies.” Emboldened by her actions, co-workers held an angry meeting with network president Oleksandr Savenko later that day. “Can we now, finally, tell the truth?” asked one, and Mr. Savenko replied, “Yes, tell the truth.” That evening the news program began with a pledge to avoid censorship in the future.

CATHOLIC LEADER APOLOGIZES TO DISABLED

It “never even crossed the minds” of authorities in the Catholic Church to include people with disabilities in church activities, said Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin last week. “I think that we all have an obligation to apologize for our lack of sensitivity, for our inability to listen.” Speaking at St. Vincent’s Centre for Deaf People in Dublin, Ireland, the archbishop said that an audit of every parish would take place to improve access for the disabled. He asked for priests to cooperate and said he would report back on progress in a year.

BAHRAIN MEDIA TO STUDY SIGN LANGUAGE FOR 4 DAYS

Members of the print and broadcast media in Bahrain will participate in a four-day workshop this month focusing on Arab sign language, said the Gulf Daily News last week. Organized by the Bahrain Radio and TV Corporation, the workshop is designed to teach participants how to hold basic conversations with deaf people. It will start Dec. 12 at the Shaikhan Centre for Total Communication in West Riffa, and three faculty members are set to lead the training.

TOP RUSSIAN HONOR GIVEN TO DEAF SPORTS ACTIVIST

Valery Rukhledev, president of the Russian Association of the Deaf and the Russian Sport Union of the Deaf, received one of the country’s most prestigious awards recently: the Medal of Peter the Great. The award was presented by the Russian Federation’s Academy on Issues of Security, Defense, Law and Order. He is said to be the first deaf person ever to receive this honor. Rukhledev is known in deaf Russia as a world-class athlete in judo, sambo, free style and Greco-Roman wrestling. He is currently running for President of the CISS/Deaflympics; elections will be held during the 39th CISS Congress Jan. 4 in Melbourne, Australia.

‘ISOLATED, EXCLUDED’ DEAFENED WORKER WINS CASE

A classroom assistant in Scotland who felt “isolated and excluded” from co-workers after losing her hearing to a viral infection won a landmark legal ruling in November, said the Edinburgh Evening News Nov. 27. Elizabeth Simpson, 56, argued that the West Lothian Council should have provided training to help her colleagues deal with a deaf co-worker, but instead did almost nothing. An Edinburgh tribunal ruled in her favor, finding such training to fall under the “reasonable adjustment” provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act. A new tribunal will now decide if the absence of deaf awareness training is what forced Ms. Simpson to resign from her job in Aug. 2001.


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LIFE & LEISURE
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‘BRAILLE NOTE’ HELPS VARDON FAMILY COMMUNICATE

USA Today did a follow-up last week on the Vardon family of Oak Park, Mich., who were featured on ABC-TV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Nov. 7. The article focused on a $10,000 device called BrailleNote, which allows 12-year-old Lance Vardon, who is blind and autistic, to type in braille and have his message converted into words on his mother’s computer screen. “I use it more every day and I think it’s wonderful,” Judy Vardon said. The BrailleNote technology was developed by Pulse Data HumanWare, which donated the device to the Vardon family.

NEW DEAFWORLD.COM OFFERS ONLINE DIRECTORY

A new website aiming to be the Yellow Pages and White Pages for the worldwide deaf community was introduced last month. DeafWorld.com provides a central site on the Internet for individuals and businesses to list their contact information. There is no charge to be included in the listings, and information is categorized to make searching easier. Developers Ralph and Trina Fernandez say the directory will be updated continuously. Info: www.deafworld.com or info@deafworld.com.

STUDY: NO RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SMOKING, HEARING LOSS

If you were wondering if smoking can make you deaf, researchers have a new answer: no. At least that’s the word from the University of Madison-Wisconsin, where scientists studied the relationship between hearing loss and cotinine, a substance created in the body when nicotine breaks down. According to the November “Archives of Otolaryngology,” researchers studied 197 people with newly discovered hearing loss and 394 with normal hearing (all ages of 53-75) and found no significant association between serum cotinine levels and hearing loss. This contradicts a previous report that did find a relationship between hearing loss and tobacco. Further research, said the researchers, must be done.

‘TOW TRUCK PARADE’ DELIVERS TOYS TO PSD STUDENTS

About 100 tow truck drivers drove through the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf campus yesterday to deliver holiday toys to more than 200 PSD students. The “Tow Truck Parade” is the idea of Kenny Yeretzian, treasurer of the Towing Association of Philadelphia. Yeretzian met with students and staff to choose appropriate gifts, including sign language DVDs and videos, board games, drawing sets and vibrating alarm clocks. Yeretzian led the parade in his specially painted Spider Man tow truck.

NEWSPAPER’S CHARITY FUND HELPS SINGLE MOTHER AND SON

A single mom and her deaf son are home in their new Oakland, Calif. apartment thanks to the San Francisco Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund. Katherine Kray and her son Jordan, 11, shared a two-bedroom apartment with six other people for years and lived in a small apartment in a bad neighborhood, where Kray’s car was vandalized and Jordan’s bike was stolen. Kray didn’t qualify for housing assistance because she works full time, but as a single mother in a tough economy, she hadn’t been able to save up enough for a deposit and two month’s rent on a better apartment. That’s where the Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund came in, making it possible for Kray and Jordan to move to a new home in a safe, quiet area where, for the first time, Jordan has a room of his own. “It’s just a blessing,” said Kray.


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WORKING WORLD
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HEARING-AID-COMPATIBLE PHONES A WORK IN PROGRESS

The wireless industry is “working diligently” to comply with FCC rules on hearing-aid-compatible phones, an industry attorney told Communications Daily last week. The problem is that the wireless service companies are dependent on equipment manufacturers to meet upcoming FCC deadlines. By next September, carriers must offer at least two digital handset models that are hearing-aid compatible. By February 2008, at least half of all handsets should be compliant. Comments filed in November with the FCC showed that handset vendors such as Motorola and Nokia were developing new handsets but didn’t have them ready yet.

VIDEO MAIL MADE SIMPLER THROUGH SPRINT VRS

Video mail is only a page away, thanks to an enhancement of Sprint VRS announced last week by CSD of Sioux Falls, S.D. Users will be notified through a pager notification and will see a message saying, “Sprint VRS Video Mail has been delivered to (user’s email address).” It’s that simple, says CSD, and once the user has access to email, the video mail will be waiting to be viewed. More info may be found at www.sprintvrs.com.


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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
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COLONIAL ARTIST JOHN BREWSTER IS SUBJECT OF NEW BOOK

DawnSignPress, a San Diego publisher of ASL and Deaf Studies media, is offering Harlan Lane’s new book, “A Deaf Artist in Early America: The Worlds of John Brewster, Jr.” Brewster, born deaf in 1766, recorded America’s early years in portraits that now hang in museums throughout the country. In this first biography of Brewster, Lane takes readers into the artist’s world, visiting the first school for the deaf in Hartford, Conn. and the famous deaf-friendly community of Martha’s Vineyard. Contemporary Deaf Art is also considered by Lane, a Northeastern University professor who has written many other books on deaf history and culture. For more information, visit www.dawnsign.com.

7-HOUR ‘DEAFMAN GLANCE’ SPARKED DIRECTOR’S CAREER

Theater director Robert Wilson shared his appreciation for the people of France at a Nov. 23 news conference in Paris. Speaking at an exhibition opening, Wilson shared memories of his breakthrough 1971 play. “Deafman Glance,” a seven-hour silent play featuring a 13-year-old deaf and mute boy who had never been to school and knew no words. It was a “very strange play,” said Wilson, and “much to my surprise it was a big success.”

BEETHOVEN’S NIGHTMARE RECORDS FIRST ALBUM

The all-deaf rock band Beethoven’s Nightmare made history Nov. 15 when it recorded its first album, “Turn It Up Louder,” at Ocean Way Studios in Hollywood. Beethoven’s Nightmare has been performing for deaf audiences nationwide for 30 years, ever since Steve Longo (guitarist), Bob Hiltermann (drummer) and Ed Chevy (bass player) met as students at Gallaudet University. “We want to show America and the world that being deaf doesn’t exclude you from loving and performing music,” said Longo. The trio’s 10-song CD is expected to be released with a music video in early 2005.

DEAF MUSIC FESTIVAL PLANNED IN HAWAII

Plans have been announced for an International Deaf Music Festival and Symposium. The event will take place June 17-18, 2005 at the Hawaii Arts Place and the Pearl City Cultural Center in Pearl City, Hawaii. VSA arts Hawaii-Pacific, one of three sponsors, is seeking music performers with hearing or visual challenges to participate in the festival. Dr. Arthur Harvey of the University of Hawaii (aharvey@hawaii.edu) can be contacted for more information. Symposium proposals are also invited; details may be obtained from Susan Miller (millers@hawaii.edu). The deadline is Jan. 30.


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You are invited to place your ads in DEAFWEEKLY and reach an audience across the country and around the world, those who are interested in products and services for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Please visit www.deafweekly.com for more information.

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SPORTS
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RYAN KETCHNER ADDED TO DODGERS ROSTER

Left-handed pitcher Ryan Ketchner and six other players were placed on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 40-man Major League roster last week, protecting them from the Rule V Draft at this month’s Winter Meetings. It is believed that Ketchner, 22, would be the first deaf pitcher in the Major Leagues since 1908, according to a Major League Baseball report. The Californian was acquired from Seattle in April for Jolbert Cabrera after being a 10th-round pick in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft by the Mariners. He went 8-7 with a 3.02 ERA at Double-A Jacksonville, striking out 98 and walking 36 in 119-1/3 innings.

CURTIS PRIDE SIGNS WITH ANGELS

Veteran outfielder Curtis Pride signed a minor league contract with the Anaheim Angels recently, and he has been invited to spring training with the major league team. Pride, 35, who is deaf, batted .250 last season in 35 games with the Angels. He also played in 19 games with the Angels’ Triple-A team in Salt Lake City, batting .431.

BREWINGTON AIMS TO BE FIRST DEAF NBA PLAYER

Providence sophomore guard Dwight Brewington has a dream of becoming the first deaf player in the National Basketball Association. The 6-foot-5 sophomore scored a career-high 23 points in a 72-63 win over Michigan last week at Madison Square Garden in New York. Brewington, from Lynn, Mass., is averaging 20 points for the Friars (4-1), after averaging only 5.7 points last year, his first season. “Dwight has always had the ability,” coach Tim Welsh said in an ESPN post-game interview, “but you’ve got to hone your skills and be patient. He wasn’t patient last year.”

DISABLED SPORTS GROUPS SIGN AGREEMENT

Officials from the Deaflympics and the International Paralympic Committee signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday morning at Gallaudet University. Under the agreement, the IPC’s Summer and Winter Paralympic Games and the multi-disability World Championships will be open to deaf athletes who have additional disabilities. Conversely, multi-disabled Paralympic athletes with a hearing loss of at least 55 dB in the better ear will be able to compete in the Deaflympic Summer and Winter Games and the Deaf World Championships.

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MILESTONES
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NICHOLAS NUGENT, 90, FORMER RSD TEACHER, COACH

Former Rochester (N.Y.) School for the Deaf teacher and basketball coach Nicholas Nugent, 90, died of pneumonia Nov. 21 in Ballston Spa, N.Y. Mr. Nugent, who could hear, was a standout basketball and soccer star in his youth. He joined the RSD staff in 1948, rising eventually to the post of athletic director. “He required everybody to do their best,” former RSD superintendent Leonard Zwick told the Democrat and Chronicle. “He wouldn’t settle for anything less.” Mr. Nugent’s wife Amelia died earlier this year; they had been married 63 years.

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EMPLOYMENT
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CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE

Society’s Assets, Inc is seeking a qualified individual to work as a full-time Customer Service Representative at the Wisconsin Telecommunications Relay System in Madison, Wisconsin.

General Information
The Customer Service Representative performs a variety of job functions in order to provide an optimum level of relay customer service. The primary job responsibilities of the Customer Service Representative are to serve as the
principal point of contact for WTRS consumers and give educational presentations about the relay system. This position requires travel and schedule flexibility.

Requirements
- Bachelor’s Degree
- Three or more years of exposure to Deaf Culture and the diverse
communication needs of people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing and/or Speech
Disabled.
- Ability to communicate effectively on the phone and in person
- Experience in public speaking
- Excellent presentation skills
- Excellent customer service skills

Additional Skills Preferred
- Fluency in American Sign Language (ASL)
- Preference for studies in Communications or Social Services
- Basic data entry skills and knowledge of a variety of computer programs
(Microsoft Office Suite preferred)
- Knowledge of telecommunications equipment
- Experience teaching ASL classes

Salary
Salary is commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package!

Submit cover letter and resume to:
Wisconsin Telecommunications Relay System
Attn: Human Resources Manager
8383 Greenway Blvd, Suite 90
Middleton, WI 53562
Phone (Voice/TTY): (800) 600-7826
Fax: (608) 827-0402
Email: kathy.ottelien@hamiltonrelay.com

Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer

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