August 9, 2006
Vol. 2 No. 40

Editor: Tom Willard

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KOIN in Portland, Ore. reported yesterday that a group of 19 deaf teenagers and three adults are missing and presumed lost in the Santiam State Forest south of Mill City. The group, due back Monday from a five-day survival training trip, was reported overdue about 8:40 p.m. Monday night after one of the leaders walked out and called for help. More than 30 search-and-rescue police and a National Guard helicopter responded and searched through the night and into Tuesday morning. The group is said to be well equipped with shelters, clothes, sleeping bags, water and food for five days - and one of the adult leaders is a nurse.


CBS News reported this week on stem cell research at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., where team leader Stefan Heller said he hopes in five years that it is possible to cure deafness - “at least in animals.” The entire team was recruited away from Harvard and has made what is described as a breakthrough discovery: that stem cells have the ability to regenerate in the inner ear. They’ve already learned how to inject stem cells into the ears of mouse embryos and watch them grow, and now they’re ready to try it on live mice. Heller described the inner ear’s microscopic hair cells as “like a little microphone in your ear” and said “we can grow these tiny microphones from these stem cells.” Trying the technique on animals “will be the first step toward treating human patients,” he said.


A former program specialist with the U.S. Department of Education has pleaded guilty to accepting a $10,000 gratuity from a company that was awarded a contract to install computers at schools in California and Oregon. Ramon Rodriguez, 76, of Alexandria, Va., entered a guilty plea July 26 in U.S. District Court to the charge of offering, giving, soliciting or receiving a gratuity, said a U.S. Department of Justice press release. Rodriguez was employed by the DOE from January 2003 to July 2005 and was responsible for monitoring millions of dollars worth of grants given to educational institutions for the deaf and hard of hearing. He could face up to two years in prison when he is sentenced in October. “There is no room in our government for those who abuse their positions for private gain,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth Wainstein.


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit last week against Sears, Roebuck and Co., alleging the company’s Hyannis, Mass. store discriminated against a deaf job applicant. According to the Barnstable Register, the EEOC charged that on November 3, 2004, Christopher Doherty was denied the opportunity to apply for any job at the store because he is deaf. The EEOC attempted unsuccessfully to reach a voluntary settlement and is now seeking back wages, changes in employment policy and compensatory and punitive damages. “Employers should refrain from making assumptions about individuals with disabilities based on myths, fears and stereotypes,” said EEOC attorney R. Liliana Palacios Baldwin. A Sears spokesman said the company “has very strict policies against discrimination” but could not comment on the suit.


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A lawsuit filed last year against the New Mexico School for the Deaf has been settled, reported The New Mexican last week. The suit alleged that school officials allowed a 17-year-old cross-dressing male with a history of sexual misconduct to interact with other students and live in a dorm room with three boys, who were 13 and 14 at the time. All three were allegedly molested by the older student, said the suit, and each received an undisclosed amount of money in the settlement. The settlement contained no admission of liability, said the school’s attorney, Jerry Walz, and was in everyone’s best interests. “This would have gone on for years and years.”


The conviction of a California massage therapist for sexually abusing a client was overturned by a state appeals court last week because a hard-of-hearing juror could not follow all the testimony or deliberations. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Joe Luis Rubio was found guilty of sexual battery and indecent exposure in 2004 by a Santa Cruz County jury and was sentenced to five years in prison. After the verdict, the hard-of-hearing juror wrote on a questionnaire that she had missed a lot of testimony and discussion in the jury room but had been too embarrassed to tell the judge. “How could she possibly deliberate on evidence she did not hear?” said San Jose Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Conrad Rushing in a 3-0 ruling. The decision entitles Rubio to a new trial.


A 50-year-old California woman has agreed to forgo a preliminary hearing on charges that she had inappropriate sexual relations with a 15-year-old male student, said the Stockton Record last week. In return, Vickie L. Kerby was offered a negotiated plea that could send her to jail for one year and force her to register for life as a sexual offender. Kerby, a former Edison High School teaching assistant and sign-language specialist who worked with deaf students, was found with the boy in a vehicle on July 3 and arrested on charges of oral copulation, lewd and lascivious acts with a child and unlawful sexual intercourse. San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Grant Brooks said the deal will keep the alleged victim from having to testify. “It’s going to punish her for what she did and deter others, too,” he said.


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Alumni of the Marie H. Katzenbach School for the Deaf gathered in Ewing, N.J. over the weekend for what The Trentonian called the school’s second largest alumni reunion. Graduates from as far back as 1930 attended the event, some who hadn’t seen each other since graduation. The reunion featured the opening of the New Jersey School for the Deaf museum, a collection of artifacts gathered over the years since the school was founded in 1883. Special attention is given to the success of the school’s sports teams. Dennis Munn, chairman of the museum committee, expected about 800 people to view the exhibits after a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening. The museum took a lot of hard work by a big group of people, said Munn, but the effort was worth it for the alumni. “They get goose bumps seeing everything,” he said.


The Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind marked its 100th anniversary last Friday, but most of the schools’s faculty and alumni were too concerned about the school’s future to celebrate its past. Lawmakers are proposing to close the Gooding campus and enroll the blind students in public schools and send the deaf students to five day programs throughout the state. “This may be the last time that the alumni will have to visit the school, said Janette Lancaster, who attended the school herself and recalls feeling isolated with people who didn’t sign before enrolling at ISDB. Lawmakers want to convert the campus to a substance abuse treatment center, but some said they just don’t understand what the school is doing for its students. “As long as political people are deciding the future of education for the deaf and blind, nothing will get better,” said Angel Ramos, the school’s former superintendent.


Neighbors of a deaf Wisconsin woman named Helen Keller have complained to police that the woman’s dog has been “barking and barking and barking,” reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Keller, 76, of Greenfield, was born Helen Oblanzy and married Martin Keller, a deaf man who died of leukemia in 1993. Keller lives with her daughter, Mary Keller, one of the couple’s eight children, who are all deaf. Helen and Mary are both retired postal workers and live with a 9-year-old Chihuahua named Cheerio. It’s not only Cheerio's barking that bothers people, said neighbors. “It attacked me and my son,” said a man in his 70s. A letter from the condo association’s board of directors was notable for its use of exclamation points and its nagging and condescending tone, said the report. The dispute has deterorated to Mary Keller describing next-door neighbor Wendy Budzien with the universal sign for crazy while Budzien apes Keller’s speech: “Meh-han laah-dee.”


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A 3-year-old deaf girl from Iraq will soon be able to hear the bombs and bullets in Baghdad, thanks to the U.S. Army and a Miami, Fla. charity called the International Kids Fund. Amina was taken from her home to a hospital in Miami to undergo a cochlear implant operation July 30, reported the Gulf News in the United Arab Emirates. Amina’s journey began with a simple e-mail from a friend of her father to a friend in the U.S., who contacted Col. Warner Anderson, an Army special forces doctor. Anderson’s wife, a nurse, then contacted Dr. Thomas Balkany, who she once worked with, and he agreed to do the surgery. “We fully expect her to live a normal life once she goes back to Iraq,” said Balkany.


A 10-year-old girl in Ghana, described in the Ghana News as “deaf and dumb,” drowned in a river near Tepa 10 days ago. Zakina Dauda was walking along the River Woromso when she suddenly fell in, said a police source. The river had become stagnant after a culvert became choked with silt. In response to the accident, government official Nana Eric Agyemang Prempeh has advised that the area be redesigned with a bridge and walkways.


Eight former residents of a home for the deaf in the U.K., now in their 40s, are suing the Catholic Church over claims that a former priest abused them. According to Yorkshire Post Today, the lawsuit centers on Father Neil Gallanagh, who was convicted in April 2005 of indecently assaulting two students at St. John’s Catholic School for the Deaf, in Boston Spa, between 1975 and 1980. Cavanagh, 76, walked free after the conviction when Leeds Crown Court gave him a six-month suspended sentence. The eight men, taking part in a group action that is expected to go to court by next summer, could be awarded up to £50,000 ($95,450 US) each.


A trial is underway in Leeds, Yorkshire, U.K. for four Polish men who are accused of gang-raping a deaf woman in a cemetery. Each of the four men deny raping the unidentified 36-year-old woman, said yesterday’s Yorkshire Post Today. Prosecutor Julian Goose told Leeds Crown Court that the woman went outside with one man thinking he wanted to talk to her and not understanding what he wanted. When they reached the cemetery of St. Martin’s Church, he pushed her against a gravestone, held her down and raped her while the other three watched, said Goose. The others then took turns raping or sexually assaulting her, he told the jury. The woman is considered trusting and naive, he added, and believes something was put in her drink while she was in the bathroom.


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The parents of a deaf boy in England have won their battle to force the North Dorset Primary Care Trust to fund cochlear implants for both of their child’s ears. According to the Dorset Echo, health officials claimed that one implant would be enough to meet 2-year-old Matthew Harvey’s clinical needs. If his parents wanted a second implant, they would have to pay the extra cost. One implant costs £36,750 ($70,000 US); a second adds an extra £8,000 ($15,250 US). “We hope his case will set a precedent,” said Matthew’s father, James, “so others in his situation are automatically offered two implants and parents don’t have to fight for it.”


A deaf Canadian man who attacked his own dog on a Toronto street was found guilty of cruelty to animals and banned from owning a pet for one year, reported the Toronto Sun. Evan Dwight Lockwood, 32, of Etobicoke, Ont., punched and kicked his 45-kilo (99-pound) Rottweiler on March 22, 2005 after a drunken fight with friends, said the report. Lockwood told Justice Heather Katarynich that he “cannot be without a dog,” but the judge said he must learn to control his rage before he can again own “an utterly defenseless” animal. Lockwood also was fined $1,000, given 12 months probation, ordered to get counseling and required to do 100 hours of community service. The judge said the Etobicoke, Ont. man narrowly escaped a much harsher sentence. “You’re escaping incarceration by the skin of your teeth,” she said.


Two Australian men, including one who had both legs amputated four years ago, set off yesterday on a bicycle tour to raise money for the Bionic Ear Institute. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corp., John Nelson and Ted Lowe were all set to begin the trip in 2002 when Nelson was hit with Meningococcal septicaemia. He ended up spending five months in the hospital, and told ABC it was the trip that pulled him through. “I can’t die,” he said. “I’ve got this ride to do.” The two men, who changed to three-wheel tricycles to accommodate Nelson, plan to travel from Mount Isa to Bairnsdale in Victoria and stop at Rotary clubs along the way. Nelson was inspired to do the trip by his two deaf children. “They’re 38 and 40, so they’re ahead of the bionic ear,” he said.


2nd Annual Las Vegas World Deaf Poker Tournament

When? October 11, 2006; 6 PM; Door opens at 12 noon.

Where? Palms Casino and Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Event? No Limit-Texas Hold’Em/ All in. For all deaf and hard of hearing people who wish to
participate. Must be 21 years or older to play.

Prizes? Based on 300 entries, 1st place winner will receive $27,000.

Cost? $300 entry fee per player.

Hosts? Southern Nevada Silver Knights and Southern Nevada Coalition of Organizations of and
for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Both are non-profit organizations and the net proceeds
will be donated to worthy deaf community charities.

Comments? Last year the 1st annual tournament was a complete success. Many local deaf poker
tournaments were held across the country because of this success. So far none of them
have not met the magnitude of this one. It has the “major league” status. The “big one”.
Since Las Vegas is the poker capital of the world, no wonder it is so popular here.

Web Site? Go to This will give you all the information needed,
such as tournament entry form and Orleans Hotel room reservation form.

E-Mail? Need to e-mail for additional information? Go to lvdeafpoker1@earthlink.Net.

From the Committee: We are anxious to treat all of you to the unique and exciting experience in the world of poker. Come to Las Vegas, the city of awe and thunder. It is your chance to come home
as a winner. See you all in “Viva Las Vegas."


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GLAD is an Affirmative Action Employer with equal opportunity for men, women and people with disabilities. For more information on the following positions, please go to: The status of all positions is: Regular, Full-time, Non-Exempt, Full Fringe Benefits unless otherwise noted. All positions are open until filled.

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2222 Laverna Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90041
V/TDD: (323) 550-4207
Fax #: (323)550-4204



FEGS is one of the largest health and human services organizations in the country with a budget in excess of $230 million and 3,500+ employees.

Excellent opportunity to become vital member of a multidisciplinary team, strongly rooted in the Deaf community. Seeking experienced professionals, fluent in ASL, to work with adult disabled, Deaf population.


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Facilitate communication between Deaf, chronically mentally ill clients and staff of the Continuing Day Treatment Program. Interpreter services are required in individual and group counseling sessions, meetings, and other program activities as needed. Must have flexibility in working with client’s personal signing styles.

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