July 6, 2005
Vol. 1 No. 38

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 For information, contact

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The deaf woman who survived nearly a week in a canyon outside Flagstaff has been thrown in jail, the Arizona Daily Sun reported Thursday. Mistie McWhirter, 30, was arrested June 28 for violating terms of probation in Idaho, and is expected to be extradited. McWhirter became lost during a family picnic on Father's Day and turned up five days later with a hiker who led her to safety. During the search, investigators learned that McWhirter had a warrant out for her arrest. Jail staff in Boise, Idaho said she is wanted on $15,000 bond for a probation violation in connection with a felony conviction. "It was no big deal," said McWhirter's mother, Karen Buell, explaining her daughter was caught with a plastic bag that contained drug residue. Nevertheless, Boise officials insisted that McWhirter be arrested and returned to Idaho. "It was not something we wanted or desired to do," said Jim Driscoll of the Coconino County Sheriff's Office.


The National Association of the Deaf issued a statement yesterday in response to the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. NAD President Andrew Lange, noting that the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law by President Bush's father in 1990, said "The NAD encourages President Bush to honor his father's lasting legacy by appointing a Justice who is committed to protecting the United States Constitution and ensuring that the ADA and other Civil Rights Laws are not destroyed." The NAD has posted a web page where you can take action on this issue:


Three deaf members of a family in Connecticut last week filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against police officers and the City of Torrington, alleging police used unnecessary force during what they claim was an unlawful arrest. According to the Register Citizen, the complaint was filed in U.S. District Court by Wendell Hunte, his wife Barbara, and his brother Roosevelt Hunte. The lawsuit names 10 police officers and city Police Chief Robert Milano as defendants and claims a loss of due process rights, false arrest, emotional distress, assault and battery. It stems from a July 10, 2002 incident in front of the Hunte's home, in which authorities, unable to communicate with family members, sprayed them with mace and arrested them, the complaint alleges. James Sabatini, the attorney representing the Huntes, said a witness yelled out to police, "Oh god, please don't shoot, they can't hear you, they are deaf!" Criminal cases against the family members were resolved without jail sentences, and now the Huntes, who say they suffered injuries, emotional distress, pain and anxiety, want the court to order compensatory and punitive damages.


An Illinois family who lost their home and belongings in a fire two weeks ago needs donations and a place to live, the Alton Telegraph reported. David and Lynn Sabin went back to see their burned house Thursday with 3-year-old son Joseph, who woke them up and alerted them to the June 24 fire that started under a window air conditioner. The family's insurance only covers structural damage to their home of 18 years and will not cover their living expenses. "They are both disabled, hearing-impaired, and they draw Social Security," said Betty Dale, sister of David Sabin. The Sabins are staying at a motel. Local charities have been asked to help, but "we are rapidly running out of money," said Dale. "They've got to eat, too, so any amount is greatly appreciated." Donations may be written to IMPACT on behalf of the Sabin family and mailed to IMPACT, 2735 E. Broadway, Alton, IL 62002.


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing Micron Technology Inc. of Delaware on behalf of Jose Artalejo, a deaf man who worked at the company's microprocessor plant in Lehi, Utah. The federal disability and civil rights lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, reported the Deseret Morning News. Normally the EEOC screens discrimination complaints for merit and allows individuals to take legal action. In this case, however, the EEOC is suing the company directly because "the facts in this case were particularly egregious," said EEOC attorney Mary Jo O'Neil. The suit alleges that Artalejo, who worked for Micron from 2000 to 2002, was called names due to his hearing impairment and Mexican origin, and mocked by fellow employees in pretend sign language and "deaf speak." Artalejo complained to management but was told to "deal with it," the suit alleges, and he was ultimately fired in retaliation for his complaints, the EEOC claims. The lawsuit, filed after settlement talks fell through, seeks $300,000 in punitive and compensatory damages.


Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt signed the American Sign Language bill (HB 530) into law on Friday, 24, at the Capital in Jefferson City. HB 530 requires that ASL be counted toward satisfaction of any foreign language or language arts requirements in any public school or public institution of higher education in Missouri, reported the Neosho Daily News. Neosho residents Karin Sack and her son, Jeff Blazek, a high school freshman, witnessed the signing after addressing the House of Representatives in support of the bill this past spring. Karin and Jeff, both of whom are deaf, were given copies of the bill that were signed by the governor. "We were thrilled," Karin told a reporter. "It has taken nearly seven years to get this bill signed."


The McCook County (S.D.) Planning Commission gave the go-ahead yesterday for the first reading of a zoning ordinance to allow the construction of the proposed signing town of Laurent. According to the Aberdeen News, the first reading of the ordinance has been scheduled for July 19. The ordinance is needed because McCook County's current zoning does not allow a new town to be built. Planning and zoning administrator John Knox said the county wants to preserve farmland while embracing the economic growth a new town could bring. "As opposed to having hundreds of acreages out there, we have a huge tax base built in to 260, 270 acres that doesn't interfere with the farmland," he said.


A North Carolina radio advertisement designed to educate deaf and hard-of-hearing people about tornado warnings has been pulled from the airwaves over concerns that it could unintentionally trigger an actual tornado alert. WRAL-TV News reported that the advertisement, created by the North Carolina Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, includes a real tornado warning tone that triggers a break in programming for radio stations in the area as if there were actually severe weather. The advertisement, intended to inform people with hearing loss that they are eligible for free public alert radios, will be redesigned to better meet its goals.


Nonprofit groups that sell fireworks to raise money are struggling this year, said the San Bernardino County (Calif.) Sun. Shane Singleton, a volunteer with the Deaf and Blind Foundation in San Bernardino, said nonprofits were limited to just three and a half days of sales, from Friday noon through Monday. Authorities, citing the risk of injuries and brush fires, have tried unsuccessfully to ban fireworks and recently took a different approach, adding a 10 percent surcharge to pay for extra enforcement and education. Merle Turner, who also volunteers at the foundation, said people need to use common sense around fireworks. "We need this money," she added. "It really helps."


The director of a deaf advocacy group plans to throw away 100,000 deaf awareness resource CDs because he doesn't want to be associated with the cochlear implant company mentioned on the CDs. Richard Roehm, CEO of the Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center, said in a statement Sunday that he is forced to take this action because he has "picked up strong wind in the deaf grapevines that Cochlear Americas may have been engaged in questionable and unethical marketing practices." No details were provided, but Roehm added that the company turned down his recent funding request after helping to sponsor his exhibit at last year's Orange County Fair. "They stated that our booth wasn't educational enough for them," he said, "when in fact we got a blue ribbon."


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A deaf British sailor realized a dream he had nurtured for 24 years last week when he completed his first Atlantic crossing, reported the Providence (R.I.) Journal. Gerry Hughes, 47, a lifelong sailor, was a participant in the Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race. His journey was made more difficult early in the race when he lost all power on his 34-foot yacht, Quest II. He was spotted two weeks ago by sailors going in the opposite direction and wasn't seen again until he sailed into Newport, R.I on Saturday. "We hadn't expected him," said Robin Wallace of the R.I. State Yachting Committee, "so his deaf wife and his two hearing children were in Boston when he arrived. They came down and had a reunion with him Saturday night."


A judge in Canada has ruled that a deaf man must stand trial for sexual assault and breaking and entering, despite objections that the man can barely communicate. Bobby Suwarak, 35, was charged with the crimes in March 2004. Two months ago, attorney Tim Kavanaugh asked to have the charges dropped, saying Suwarak wasn't able to get a fair trial because he can communicate only with a few people using signs and charades. Kavanaugh also said a man acting as Suwarak's interpreter doesn't understand the legal process and hasn't been properly trained. Justice Earl Johnson of the Nunavut Court of Justice rejected the argument, saying officials have been working to improve Suwarak's communication skills. Johnson gave the court administration until September 2006 to complete a training program for Suwarak and the people who will act as his interpreters at the trial.


The BBC in London reported Monday that a deaf roadside flower seller was stabbed by robbers in Dunstable, Beds. The unnamed 26-year-old from At. Albans, Hertfordshire was attacked Sunday by two men who demanded money and then stabbed him after he handed over some loose change. The victim flagged down passersby for help and was transported to a hospital, where he is in stable condition. The two men fled toward a nearby farm, and police were asking the public to help track them down.


A group of deaf and hard-of-hearing protestors used sign language to get their point across during a protest last Tuesday in central Athens, Greece. According to the Athens Kathimerini, the protestors want the government to provide more money for sign language training programs and hire more interpreters to work in hospitals, civil services, courts and universities. A similar demonstration took place in Thessalonika, where deaf advocates marched on the Macedonia and Thrace Ministry calling for the same benefits.


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The Alabama Institute for the Deaf and the Blind has arranged for nearly 350 seniors in Jefferson County to receive free vision and hearing exams since October 1. The new screening program was launched last fall after a local church, through its Lucille Steward Beeson Committee, pledged $25,000 if AIDB could raise an additional $50,000. The institute met the challenge, and the program, dubbed "the Beeson Challenge," got underway. Three service coordinators were hired to visit senior centers to conduct exams, provide counseling and make referrals. Also, a resource manual and booklet on the causes of vision and hearing losses were developed and distributed to seniors and their families. With 261,000 people in the county over 55, AIDB hopes to come up with another $100,000 for next year's program. Organizers plan to hold a health fair and send the contractors to nursing homes and churches. "We're going to them," said AIDB's Jessica Edmiston. "They don't have to come to us."


The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks has offered a Summer Institute for Linguistics program for over 50 years, and this summer "the emphasis is on sign language," said SIL director Albert Bickford. People from 10 different countries are working at UND this summer to put the grammar of various forms of sign language into writing. The goal of the linguistic group is to reduce all spoken languages of the world into writing, Bickford told the Grand Forks Herald, and that includes sign language. It's not an easy task -- there are more than 150 forms of sign language worldwide -- but it's not all work: faculty, staff and students take meals together and socialize with volleyball, parties and camping. Graduate student Stuart Thiessen enjoys being around people who know sign language. "This is one place where I can tell a joke and the people will laugh," he said.


The American Library Association (ALA) Council voted unanimously June 26 to support a resolution calling on the President of the United States to declare National Deaf History Month, to be held annually from March 13 to April 15. The resolution also calls upon public officials, educators and librarians to celebrate with activities to highlight the contributions of the deaf community to American society. Alice Hagemeyer, chair of the National Association of the Deaf Ad Hoc Committee on National Deaf History Month, promoted the resolution at the ALA conference in Chicago last week at her FOLDA (Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action) booth, and she thanked librarians and friends for their support. The NAD committee is now putting together a free kit of information to help libraries observe the month.


University of Oregon researchers who study language and vision are looking for deaf adults with deaf parents to be involved in their studies. They want to learn more about how the brain processes visual input and language by studying the brains of people who have relied mostly on visual input throughout their lives. If you are deaf and have deaf parents, and live in Oregon or within a short flying distance (Seattle or San Francisco area), you are invited to apply. Participants receive $20 an hour and can choose between one or two full days of testing. A hotel room will be provided for out-of-town participants. To learn more, write to Sarah Hafer at



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Misonix, Inc., a Farmingdale, N.Y. developer of ultrasonic medical device technology, announced last week that it has acquired the equity of Hearing Innovations, a developmental company with patented HiSonic ultrasonic technology for profound deafness and tinnitus that filed for bankruptcy in November 2004. Under the plan announced June 29, all equity interest in Hearing Innovations was canceled and reissued to Misonix, which becomes the sole shareholder. The acquisition "will contribute to our strategy of developing and bringing to market a diverse line of ultrasonic medical device products," said Michael McManus, Jr., Misonix's president and CEO. Misonix still believes in the HiSonic technology, he added, with studies in Virginia and Japan appearing to confirm the benefits of the technology for the profoundly deaf.


Audiologists are accustomed to helping other people with hearing problems, but what happens when the audiologists themselves are the ones with hearing loss? Two graduate students at the University of Western Australia are determined to find out. Brenden van Fleet and Dr. R. Patuzzi have posted a questionnaire on the Internet, and they are inviting audiologists who are deaf or hard of hearing to participate. Among other things, they want to find out if some tests and equipment can be modified to make them more accessible. To get started, go to


A $1,200 fellowship award is available to a qualified deaf woman pursuing a Ph.D. degree. The award has been presented annually since 1989 by the International Alumnae of Delta Epsilon Sorority (IADES), an alumnae sorority of Gallaudet University. The 2006 IADES Fellowship Award is intended for tuition costs only and will be paid directly to the recipient's school in January. Applicants must be taking at least 12 credits in Spring 2006 and have a GPA of 3.0 or better. September 15 is the deadline to apply. To request an application form, write to


CSD has signed on to sponsor two major conferences this month. CSD, also known as Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc., announced this week that it has agreed to be the top sponsor of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf conference, which starts Sunday in San Antonio, Texas. More than 2,000 people are expected to attend the conference, the largest gathering of sign language interpreters in the world. CSD also agreed to be the title sponsor of the 16th biennial TDI conference taking place July 11-13 in New Orleans. TDI (Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc.) is "one of the most important consumer advocacy organizations today," said Ben Soukup, CEO of Sioux Falls, S.D.-based CSD. "We should encourage their continued vigilance in defending and demanding Deaf America's access rights."


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Dan Gradoville is stepping down after 24 years as head coach of the boys basketball program at the Iowa School for the Deaf. "It's a decision whose time has come," Gradoville told the Daily Nonpareil of Council Bluffs. "With three kids still active in sports, I'll take those evening and weekend hours to be a Dad." Gradoville coached the Bobcats to titles three years in a row at the Great Plains Schools for the Deaf Basketball Tournament (2002-04). His 2004 team finished with a 14-4 record and earned him National Coach of the Year honors from The Frat, a national deaf publication. "It's hard to believe," said Gradoville, who has been coaching at some level for 27 years. "You wonder where the time went, but it has been enjoyable."



Plans have been announced for a deaf trade show in Long Beach, Calif. in November. The Mata Expo 2005 for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will be held Nov. 5 at the Long Beach Convention Center. According to a news release, "mata" means "see you later or again" in Japanese and "eyes" in Tagalog, and represents a symbolic visual concept in the deaf world. Event organizers promise an audience in the thousands, along with performances by deaf artists and celebrities known nationally and worldwide. Open to the public, the show targets deaf people, their employers, friends, family, government and nonprofit organizations, and students of sign language and deaf culture. For more details, visit


A three-day convention presented in American Sign Language will be held July 22-24 at the Assembly Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Plant City, Fla. This will be the first year the convention is held in Plant City. In previous years, ASL users who wanted to attend did so at Stanley Theater in Jersey City, N.J. As a result of the increase in attendance, an additional convention was added this year. Last year's convention in Jersey City had a peak attendance of 2,960, and Plant City organizers are planning for about 1,600 people attendees, with people traveling from all over the United States. Deaf-blind individuals will have access to the program with the assistance of numerous tactile interpreters. The convention is free and open to the public.


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Response to Michele Pilchen (Deafweekly June 29):

Michelle, it is an unfortunate fact of reporting news that sensationalism sells more newspapers than printing news about all the nice things that happen.

I think that the only way the bad things will ever change is if people demand change. People can only demand change if they know something needs to be changed. By reporting the items that should cause us concern, the news media is able to spur us to demand change, to empower its readers to take action by providing us with the information we need.

This issue of Deafweekly had a nice variety of news, and I appreciate every tidbit of it, especially your letter!

Jennifer Tiziani
SHHH-Northwoods, WI


As you see READER RESPONSE Deafweekly, June 29,2005.......

I have read this deafnews....Michele Pichen is right!.....Look like 90% bad happen stories about deaf people who are empowered...too much for your deafweekly.... Hope you can do something better for deaf people who are realy enjoy to read some nice way for them. The stories about Deaf People who are succeed...I like that. That what make deaf people to enjoy about it.

Clarence Chessher
Photo Editor of Deaf Bikini Girl and Deaf Fantasy Girl
Lufkin, Texas.


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