September 7, 2005
Vol. 1 No. 47

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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An email circulating among the deaf community claims 17 deaf people were killed in Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath . The source of the information is not clear and has not been independently verified, but the named victims are:
-- Gina Ruebush (deaf, mid-60s), killed in New Orleans. Call 210-678-9232.
-- Fran Blackston (deaf mother) with her infant daughter, Rose Marie, killed in Bayou Batre, Louisiana.
-- Chad Morgan (25, deaf, legally blind), killed in Brookhaven, Miss. (email his brother
-- Michael Holmes & William Nicks (deaf group from Woodhaven Baptist Deaf Church in Houston), killed in New Orleans area.
-- Madeline Scott (deaf), died at Reliant Center in New Orleans.
-- Martha Coray (deaf), killed in New Orleans.
-- Jerry Galloway, died at the seating in the deaf section near the medical station in New Orleans.
-- Sterling Everidge (deaf), died at the Reliant Center in New Orleans. Call 504-710-3510.
-- James Francis Smith Sr. (deaf, 85), from Nashville, Tenn. Missing in Louisiana or Mississippi. Call 615-832-6364.
-- Monroe Bowens (deaf), killed at the post office where he worked in New Orleans East.
-- Anne Farmer & Jane Hardy (elderly, deaf), killed in Constantinople and Prytania Street. Call 917-846-2265.
-- James Firmin (37, deaf), died Sunday. He lived in New Orleans. Call 804-986-9194 or 804-249-3682 or
-- Lenny Kaye & Morell English (deaf, blind), killed in Pine, Louisiana.


Emergency assistance plans have been put in place for Hurricane Katrina victims who are deaf or hard of hearing. The Community Emergency Preparedness Information Network (CEPIN) project under TDI has designated two agencies as contact centers. People in Louisiana or westward to Texas may contact CSD of Oklahoma (, 866-845-7445 TTY/Voice). People in other areas such as Florida, Alabama and Mississippi may contact the Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (, 703-352-9056 TTY, -9055 Voice). Volunteers who have experience working with deaf people and training in first aid, CPR, CERT and other rescue efforts are encouraged to contact either center to offer their services.


The CEPIN website has a list of statewide resources available at:

If you need assistance in recovering from the disaster, contact the nearest Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):, 1-800-462-7585 TTY, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) Voice

For a list of organizations to donate money to:
FEMA and other organizations are asking for monetary donations, not food, clothing or other goods.

If you need food, clothing, shelter or medicine, contact the American Red Cross:

For help finding family members, go to

For information on Social Security benefits, visit
1-800-325-0778 TTY, 1-800-772-1213 Voice


Gallaudet University is welcoming students who were attending a school now closed due to Hurricane Katrina. Gallaudet Provost Jane Fernandes said displaced students may enroll as visiting students or full-time transfer students. Already, two deaf undergraduates from New Orleans are being processed for admission. Gallaudet also welcomes deaf and hard-of hearing students displaced from elementary or secondary schools. Students interested in attending Gallaudet should contact (undergraduates); (graduate students); and (elementary and secondary school students). The school's Mental Health Center is prepared to offer services to those affected by the disaster. The university has also set up a fund to support relief efforts. Checks payable to Gallaudet University/Hurricane Relief Fund should be sent to Gallaudet University, Office of Development, 800 Florida Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002.


The National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology said in a statement yesterday that students unable to enroll in college due to the hurricane can contact NTID for assistance in maintaining their progress toward their college degrees. "We will work with students on an individual basis to assist them with their educational needs," said T. Alan Hurwitz, dean of NTID. Classes began Monday, but RIT/NTID will continue to help students enroll up until September 12. RIT's quarter-based calendar will allow students to complete fall classes by Thanksgiving, allowing ample time to transfer back to their intended college in Louisiana or Mississippi this winter. Interested students should contact


The Louisiana School for the Deaf in Baton Rouge has opened its doors to students, teachers and interpreters who have lost their homes and have no place to stay. Mainstreamed students from New Orleans are also welcome. These people need clothing, toiletries, linens, school supplies and other items, provisions that were not built into the school's budget. You can help by sending a check (write "Hurricane Relief" on the bottom) to Hurricane Relief, c/o Bill Prickett, Louisiana School for the Deaf, 2888 Brightside Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70820.


Johanna Epps Hammond, 43, worked as an aide to the elderly in New Orleans. Her employer evacuated the elderly woman Hammond was with on Sunday, but somehow Hammond got left behind. According to the News Journal (New Castle, Del.), her family has not heard from her since Sunday, when Hammond said via TTY, "I should be with my family. Everyone else is with their family." By that time, Hammond's sister, Venita Seals, was in a convoy of trucks and cars carrying 23 family members to safety in Birmingham, Ala. Police wouldn't let anyone drive back to New Orleans, said Seals, and now she wonders what happened to her sister. "She didn't understand anything that was going on," said Seals. "If she stayed in the house, it's under water."


"I wonder if you can help," wrote Jennifer Sheff in an email to Deafweekly. "My friend had to leave New Orleans and her step Dad Bill Edmonds refused to leave. He is deaf and blind. We are hoping he left at the last minute with other deaf people. We haven't heard anything about him yet and are very worried about him." Anyone with information may write to


The Dayton (Ohio) Daily News reported yesterday on Bridget and Dallas Davis, who are opening up their home to relatives from Mississippi who lost everything in the hurricane. Katrina demolished the Wal-Mart store and the Boontown Casino where Ecki and Sabine Kaszubowski worked in Biloxi. Ecki and Sabine, both deaf and unable to speak, sent a text message to their daughter-in-law, Bridget Davis, 800 miles away in Sidney, Ohio. On Sunday, Davis tackled the 15-hour drive from Biloxi back to Sidney in her Chevrolet Silverado, with Ecki, Sabine, their two children and the family's two dogs. For now, Davis plan to put her in-laws in their home's unfinished basement. "We need to get a generator," she said. "When the power goes out, the basement floods."


Volunteers in Houston are attempting to make life a little easier for hurricane victims with hearing loss. A man named Ray is keeping a journal of their efforts on a Yahoo group called DHHC. They have been giving out hearing aid batteries and temporary ear molds, tightening loose eyeglass screws and giving books "to our deaf reading friend" at the Astrodome and the Reliant Arena. One woman requested a dri-aid setup to remove moisture from her hearing aid. "She glowed with appreciation and gleefully yelped, 'Yes, that's it!'" when Max, an audiologist, produced a brand-new one. Later, Ray spoke with Max "about how we all really hadn't done anything big today - no curing deafness, no cochlear-implant surgery, no Big Deal. We realized, however, that the little deal we did, when we consider the plight of someone who has lost family, home and life as they used to know it, was really a big deal for them at that moment."


The Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons would like to hear your hurricane experiences. NVRC, working with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network, released a national report on experiences of deaf, hard-of-hearing, late-deafened and deaf-blind individuals during 9/11 and its aftermath. The report, written by NVRC executive director Cheryl Heppner and released last December, had numerous recommendations for improvements in emergency planning and communication. NVRC wants to continue documenting the experiences of individuals during their preparation for Katrina, the storm itself and the recovery process. "It is our hope," said Heppner, "that in passing on these accounts we can educate emergency planners, public officials, human service agencies, disaster relief organizations, first responders and others." NVRC's website may be found at


Weather Alert Products at Harris Communications

September is Emergency Preparedness month and Harris Communications has products to help you prepare. Our Weather Alert Systems are specially designed for deaf and hard of hearing people and include a weather radio that has been modified to alert you by light or vibration. Or, select a system that will transmit to any Silent Call receiver. Operating round-the-clock, our Weather Alert Systems will notify you of hazardous weather conditions so you and your family can stay safe. For more information, go to or contact us at


Sprint Relay Wireless, powered by GoAmerica®,
is available on the Sidekick/HipTop wireless devices. Sprint Relay Wireless is also accessible through the RIM 850, 857 and 950 devices running WyndTell® service.
Sidekick and HipTop wireless device users access Sprint Relay by clicking on the bright TTY icon directly from the chooser screen. To download and install Sprint Relay Wireless, access the device’s Catalog download feature. In the catalog, simply select Sprint Relay Wireless from the Applications list, and select Purchase to download and install the service for free. For more information on Sprint Relay Wireless, visit or email




I. King Jordan, who became president of Gallaudet University during the 1988 "Deaf President Now" protest, plans to retire on December 31, 2006. His decision was announced at a press conference last Thursday by Glenn Anderson, chairman of the university's board of trustees. "By all traditional measures of a university president, Dr. Jordan excelled," said Anderson. Jordan led Gallaudet's first capital campaign, raising nearly $40 million, and increased the school's endowment from $5 million to $150 million. He also was a lead witness in Congress in support of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Upon his retirement, he plans to travel with his wife, Linda, spend more time with his family, continue to run marathons, teach scuba diving and remain a voice for deaf empowerment. A nationwide search will soon be underway to select his successor.


Three students who attended the New Mexico School for the Deaf, and their parents, have filed a lawsuit against the school and its administrators for failing to protect them from alleged physical and sexual abuse by another student. The News-Bulletin (Belen, N.M.) reported Saturday that the complaint names the school, superintendent Ronald Stern and principal Terry Wilding as plaintiffs. The three teenage students claim that between August and December 2003, they were victimized by another student, who is not named in the lawsuit. The alleged incidents include physical assaults, battery, sexual abuse and other related crimes. The students claim they suffered physical injury, severe emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation and loss of self-esteem. "What is most disconcerting is that the New Mexico School for the Deaf didn't seem to think that anything improper had occured," said David Chavez, a Los Lunas attorney who filed the lawsuit.


A Fort Myers (Fla.) High School sign-language interpreter pleaded not guilty last Thursday to distribution and possession of child pornography charges. William Allen Lane, 34, was indicted after a tattoo artist told Lee County Sheriff's Office investigators that Lane sent him pornographic pictures as payment for a tattoo he wanted on his shoulder. Lane remains in jail, reported the Naples Daily News, and was suspended with pay after school officials learned of his arrest. According to court records, Lane admitted to having between 4,000 and 5,000 pictures of 6- to 15-year-olds engaged in sex acts. "He acknowledged fantasizing about minors," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Yolande Viacava. But fantasizing is different than acting on such thoughts, said Lane's public defender, Martin DerOvanesian, who noted the penalties for child abuse are less severe than for pornography charges.


A deaf California woman is suing a hospital that allegedly failed to provide her with an interpreter during childbirth, reported SFGate. Lisa Monique Webb filed the lawsuit last Wednesday against St. Francis Medical Center of Lynwood, Calif. The Western Law Center for Disability Rights is representing her. The absence of an interpreter made Webb's Caesarean section and hospital stay a fearful and frustrating experience, said the law center, because Webb didn't know what was happening to her or her newborn daughter. "In a hospital, silence is not golden," said Michelle Inouye Schultz, a law center attorney. Hospital officials declined to comment on the pending suit. Webb is seeking a court order requiring the hospital to train its employees about communication with deaf patients. "I never want what happened to me to happen to anyone else who is deaf," she said.


Heather Estella Lopez, the Fontana, Calif. woman reported missing August 21, was found safe by Los Angeles detectives last Tuesday. The 19-year-old deaf and mentally handicapped woman was reported missing by her mother after getting in a car with a man who said in sign language, "hurry up, get in the car," reported the Riverside Press-Enterprise. "Lopez told authorities she is happy with her new boyfriend," said Fontana Sgt. William Megenney. "She said she is fine, alive, well and happy and wants to be left alone."


Officials from the Howard County (Texas) Junior College District announced Monday a $159,000 settlement in a civil lawsuit related to the alleged sexual assault of a clerk by the former dean of the SouthWest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf. According to the Midland Reporter Telegram, Howard College president Cheryl Sparks said the settlement does not affect claims the clerk and her husband still have pending against former dean Franklin Wellington Fahnbulleh III. Fahnbulleh, 49, fled to Bermuda after being arrested for the alleged Nov. 8, 2002 incident and before being indicted in March 2003. The 56-year-old plaintiff claims Fahnbulleh bent her head back by her hair, put his tongue in her mouth, bit her breast and tried to pull her pants down. Fahnbulleh has denied the claims, but Kenneth McGuire, who represents the plaintiffs, said, "Texas law is very clear that flight is evidence of guilt." A Bermuda newspaper reports that Fahnbulleh now works for the Bermuda Islands Association of the Deaf, where his wife, Jennifer, is director.


Rising gasoline prices are causing problems for deaf education teachers in Lubbock, Texas, reported KCBD last week. The teachers drive 600 miles a week throughout the region, and higher costs are forcing them to make changes. The school district reimburses a set amount per mile for travel and until recently that amount would cover oil changes and wear and tear. But with gas prices going up, "the mileage we get paid covers the gas just barely," said Valerie Kochis. Teachers are now streamlining their routes and using email and the telephone instead of driving to the schools. Kochis used to visit a school in Plainview twice a week but now only goes on Tuesdays, packing her schedule with appointments. But even if she has to use rollerskates or a mo-ped, she said, "We're gonna do what it takes to do our job."


An unidentified man described by police as a "deaf mute" was struck by a car in Canton, Ohio early last Wednesday morning, reported the Canton Repository. He was treated at a local hospital for cuts and a bump on the head and released. The accident occurred at 6:05 a.m. when the sky was still dark, said police, and the victim could not hear the car coming on the unlighted street. The driver sped away but was later arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident. His name was not available due to an incomplete police report.



The Age in Melbourne, Australia reported Sunday that the Education Department will spend up to $500,000 (AU) on legal fees fighting a discrimination case brought by a deaf boy denied a classroom interpreter. Dylan Beasley's mother, Robyn, believes it would cost only about $35,000 to provide an interpreter. Damian Lacey, chief executive officer of Deaf Children Australia, said the government was dragging its heels on long-overdue reforms, forcing parents to take legal action. "The department and the minister seem content to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars defending the results of their inadequately resourced systems," he said. An Education Department spokesman declined to comment on the case, since it is pending before the courts.


Ryan Hopkins, a deaf 22-year-old from Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, was sentenced to six months in jail last Wednesday after pleading guilty to defrauding several people by stealing different Internet personal identification numbers (PIN) to purchase police badges. According to Northern Life, Hopkins managed to steal account information from several people to try and make numerous purchases on the Internet between November 2004 and March of this year. The court was told Hopkins had a long criminal record despite his young age and had been given lenient sentences in the past. This time, however, the seriousness of the offense and number of counts involved required a harsher punishment, said a defense lawyer. After his jail term, Hopkins will serve 18 months on probation. He was ordered to refrain from making any Internet purchases during that period.


Simple tasks like shopping or contacting friends can be virtually impossible for people with hearing loss, reported the U.K.'s Borehamwood Times last week. "We even feel afraid opening the door," said Janet Padrazolla, a 60-something woman who developed a hearing loss more than 10 years ago. One in seven people in the U.K. suffer from hearing loss, the newspaper noted, but fortunately "lip-reading classes have provided a means for many of these people to continue living normal lives." Padrazolla has been taking classes for 13 years and "many people cannot tell that she has a hearing condition," noted the Times. Her skills come in handy at odd times. "When I watch the football I can see what the players are saying," said Padrazolla, "and they swear their heads off during the games.


Relay for Your Busy Lifestyle.

Life moves fast so don't let relay calls slow you down. Talk with your family and friends from wherever you are. My IP Relaysm on AIM® lets you use Instant Messenger to make your calls and connects you to an operator quickly. Simply add “My IP Relay” to your AIM Buddy List®. With MCI’s My IP Relay, you can connect with family, friends and businesses on any AIM-enabled PC or wireless devices (Sidekick, Ogo, or AIM-enabled Blackberry). It’s easy! For more information, visit


VIDEO: More Than One Videophone-

Video Relay Service (VRS) is a new concept. The purpose of VRS is equal access like TTY relay (TRS). Some people prefer VRS because communication is faster.

CSDVRS distributes free videophone equipment. Videophone equipment CSDVRS currently distributes is called ‘D-Link.’

With D-Link you can hook up more than one videophone to one Internet connection in the same location.

For questions about having more than one videophone, contact CSDVRS Customer Support:
LIVE ‘Signed’ Video:
Web: or D-Link:


VIDEO: More Than One Videophone-





Students at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind will be more comfortable in their dormitory rooms this fall, thanks to a donation from Springs Industries. An official from the company toured the school during graduation ceremonies in May and saw the need for new bed and bath linens. As a result, Springs Industries donated 346 comforter sets, 96 shower curtains, 500 towels and 500 washcloths. The new products, valued at $27,000, arrived over the summer in time to furnish the residential halls, which serve students from kindergarten to 12th grade. "A good night's rest is important to academic success," said Barbria Bacon, the schools' director of education services.



Introducing, the newest Internet relay service. delivers the best relay call experience, but is much MORE than relay. also has an online community, with exclusive articles on deaf culture, employment and technology, community news headlines, open captioned movie information and more. Visit to have a great experience when you make your Internet relay calls. But you'll also love's community connections, news, and content you can't find anywhere else. Better call experience. Better call tools. Community and
customized for you. Try today. It's Relay and Beyond.


Deaf Awareness Vacation

Excitement cruise vacations for all hard of hearing and deaf people. My name is Terzino Bomprezzi, deaf owned and licensed travel agent of The Sunset Cruise Agency. Have done many trips with all groups since 1996. All trips come with professional and licensed ASL interpreters. Please visit this exciting website at You will find many interesting information and plenty of photos to see. Your trip will guarantee be the wonderful and best time of your life. Contact me fax at 870-339-4117 or email me at Will look forward to hear from you all.




Deaf and hard-of-hearing people with a bachelor's degree are invited to apply for a Professional Fellowship at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, N.Y. Fellowship awardees can earn a master's degree in a professional or technical field while receiving a full tuition waiver, free housing in a single room in a residence hall, and a $15,000 annual stipend as compensation for a career-oriented, part-time job. To be eligible, applicants must be U.S. citizens and accepted into a two- or three-year master's degree program at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The application deadline is February 15, 2006. Contact for more information.


Gallaudet University has announced the schedule for the 10th annual National Academic Bowl for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students. A series of five regional competitions next spring will lead up to the National Academic Bowl, which takes place April 22-25, 2006, on the Gallaudet campus in Washington, D.C. The regional schedule includes: Southeast, Feb. 16-19; Midwest, Feb. 23-26; West, March 2-5; Northeast, March 16-19; and Mid-Atlantic, March 30-April 2. Academic excellence, good sportsmanship and social opportunities are among the purposes of the program. For more information, visit


New Products from Compu-TTY, Inc.

The KA300 Alarm system is the newest and most affordable multi-room system. It monitors all types of audible alarms, such as smoke detectors, fire security and pool alarm, etc. in your home or office. The KA300 system has powerful bed shaker and strobe light with indicators for all alarms. Optional weather radio also works with the KA300 system for all types of emergencies, such as hurricanes, tornados, severe storms, etc. in your area. For more information, check out


Want quicker access to Video Relay Service?
Hamilton VRS encourages all D-Link consumers to add to their videophone speed dial list. This will also enable consumers to connect with their choice of VRS provider.

To add the IP address for Hamilton VRS to your list:
1. Go to "Dial" button and click on the button to enter another prompt.
2. Go to "Add" to add the video relay service address in the Speed Dial list. You will see a prompt immediately after hitting the "Add" button that will contain information such as name, telephone number field, and address field.
3. Go to the address field and enter "" and click on the "OK" button upon completion to save the address.

Contact Customer Support
Via Phone: 1-877-283-7687 V/TTY
Via Instant Messaging (AOL, Yahoo or MSN) at HamiltonVRSHelp
(from 8:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. (EST), Monday - Friday
Via E-mail:
Hamilton VRS hours are from 7:30 AM to Midnight EST daily.




Deaf theatergoers who wish to see the Broadway smash hit musical "Mamma Mia!" no longer need to wait for a special signed performance. The Cadillac Winter Garden Theater has installed the I-Caption system, an assistive technology that uses a handheld wireless unit to display dialogue and lyrics in real-time text from any seat in the house. A polarized screen keeps nearby patrons from being distracted by light or moving text. The individual captioning system was developed by Sound Associates Inc., which also serves non-English-speaking audiences in Spanish, Portuguese, German and Japanese through ShowTrans, an automated multilingual commentary service. There is no charge to use the captioning units, and they can be reserved in advance. For more information, visit or


Reminder: Call for Entries Entry Deadline: October 14, 2005

We are very pleased to announce 2nd Annual National Juried De’VIA Competition and Exhibit. Open to artists who are Deaf, or Hard of Hearing, or who have a strong connection with the Deaf community. Sponsored by Tennessee Relay Service; exhibit host Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Cash awards totaling $6,000.00. Juror panel - Maurice Blik, Nichole Pietrantoni, and Dr. Deborah Meranski Sonnenstrahl.

For more information and a prospectus, visit (click De'VIA), call 615-248-8828 (v/tty), or contact the event co-chair; Karin Kalodimos at


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Are you are a high energy person? Fluent in American Sign Language? Have your own transportation? Allies, Inc. is currently searching for individuals to fill two job coaching positions. Part time and full time positions available in Northern & Southern New Jersey.

Successful candidates must be fluent in American Sign Language and should have extensive knowledge of Deaf culture and issues pertaining to being Deaf in the work place. You should also possess excellent writing skills. Please contact Alyse Betso, Coordinator of Deaf Services at Allies, Inc. v/ 609-689-0136 extension 147 or email for more information and to set up an interview.


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