October 27, 2004
Vol. 1 No. 2
Editor: Tom Willard
Welcome back to Week 2 of DEAFWEEKLY! More than 875 people have signed up for this new ezine in less than a week. Please help us grow by telling your friends, family and coworkers about DEAFWEEKLY. To subscribe, visit our website at www.deafweekly.com. Also, a big thank you to Harris Communications for becoming our first sponsor! Comments are greatly appreciated, and we are seeking advertisers to help support this service. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
AROUND THE U.S.A.
IMMIGRANT KILLED BY TRAIN WHILE RETRIEVING HEARING AID
A poor deaf immigrant was killed by a train in lower Manhattan Oct. 16 while trying to retrieve his new hearing aid after it fell on subway tracks. Syed Fazle Mowla, 67, could not hear the train bearing down on him nor the shouts of panicked onlookers. NYU student Eric Munson, 19, rushed over and managed to lift Mowla halfway before the train hit him. Mowla came to America eight years ago and sent $200 back to his family in Bangladesh, their primary source of support. His son Anjon said via phone, “My mom is in shock. She’s crying all day long.” Munson, a politics and religion double major, has set up a fund to help the family. Contact him at email@example.com.
DEAF-BLIND MINNESOTA WOMAN SEEKS PUBLIC OFFICE
When voters in Inner Grove Heights, Minn. go to the polls next Tuesday, they won’t have the chance to elect Rachel Eggert, who is deaf and legally blind, to City Council. Eggert, 23, beat three other candidates last September in the primary, but didn’t make the cut for the general election. Describing herself to the Pioneer Press as a freelance campaigner, Eggert said she plans to run again next year, this time for the school board. “I won’t give up,” she said. A spokesperson for the Helen Keller National Center could not think of any other deaf-blind candidates for public office. “Good heavens,” said Allison Burrows. “I do think that’s rather rare.”
HAWAII MAN ALLEGES POLICE BRUTALITY
A deaf Vietnam War veteran in Honolulu who had four ribs broken in a confrontation with a policeman has filed a lawsuit against the city. Martin Swanson, 54, alleges that officer Damon Taylor used excessive force, violated his civil rights and falsely arrested him during an incident Aug. 26. Swanson was walking near a construction site when confronted by the officer, who allegedly spun him around, pushed him against a fence and kicked his legs out from under him. Swanson, a U.S. Postal Service mail sorter, lost more than a month of work due to his injuries. A misdemeanor harassment charge against him was dismissed by city prosecutors Oct. 20. “He feels vindicated to some extent,” a friend told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
JUDGE ORDERS UPS TO LET DEAF DRIVE TRUCKS
A federal judge in San Francisco gave UPS 30 days to change its rules barring deaf and hard-of-hearing people from driving parcel delivery trucks. U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson said Oct. 21 that the company’s policies violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. “We are very strongly considering an appeal,” said a UPS spokesman, calling it “an issue of public safety.” The judge’s ruling follows a class-action case representing as many as 1,000 would-be drivers that was filed by Oakland-based Disability Rights Advocates. Last year, a $10 million settlement in the same case required UPS to track promotions and provide interpreters, text telephones and vibrating pagers to its deaf workers. The U.S. Postal Service and Federal Express already allow deaf workers to drive trucks under 10,000 pounds.
DEAF MAN DOESN’T NOTICE AS WIFE IS ATTACKED AT HOME
A 15-year-old boy allegedly assaulted and robbed an 83-year-old woman in her Louisville, Ky. home Oct. 15, but the woman’s husband didn’t hear the attack because he is deaf. The victim, who was not identified in news reports, was recovering at a local hospital in fair condition. Police said the teen is an acquaintance of the victim and faxes numerous charges, including assault, robbery, tampering with evidence and intimidating a witness. His name was not released because he is being charged as a juvenile.
AFTER FIVE YEARS IN JAIL, FLORIDA MAN PLEADS GUILTY
A deaf man in Florida who had been imprisoned more than five years while awaiting trial was sentenced to time served and released Oct. 25. Daniel Harrison, 29, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and sexual assault against two women in 1998 and 1999. Harrison will have to wear a monitoring bracelet for the next two years, cannot consume alcohol, must stay away from his two victims and is not to enter Indian River County. The lengthy legal delay was attributed by the Vero Beach Press Journal to Harrison’s limited language skills. He was originally found to be linguistically incompetent to stand trial, but after some training he was found by one expert to be competent and able to enter a plea agreement.
HELEN KELLER STATUE FOUND SIX YEARS AFTER THEFT
A statue of Helen Keller, the deaf and blind role model for millions, has been recovered six years after it was stolen from a talking garden for the blind. The 150-pound bronze sculpture, showing Keller as a child, was found in the home of Cleveland Heights art collector William Hahn, 54. According to the Chillicothe Gazette, Hahn said he didn’t know it was stolen and provided police with a receipt from an antique store that is no longer in business.
PIT BULL IN DEAF MAN’S CARE MAULS WOMAN’S DOG
A poodle owned by a 74-year-old Chandler, Ariz. woman was mauled Oct. 14 by a pit bull being watched by its owner’s deaf son. Hazel Yont’s 3-pound poodle died in the attack, which a witness said occurred in seconds. The pit bull owner’s son, Angel Cervantes, who is deaf and speech-impaired, screamed at the pit bull but could not deter the attack nor communicate with Yonts. He “just looked at her and walked off,” a witness reported. Yont told The Arizona Republic, “To see my baby mauled in front of my eyes and bleed to death was awful.” She has filed a complaint in municipal court against Cervantes, and a hearing is set for Oct. 28.
COLLEGE STUDENT SUES OVER NOTE-TAKING SERVICES
A deaf college student who blames note-takers for her poor grades is suing the Nevada university system. Lezlie Ann Burton, 34, of Cortland, N.Y., filed a civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas to have the low grades removed from her academic transcripts at the Community College of Southern Nevada and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Burton, deaf since infancy, claims that her note-takers couldn’t keep up, missed classes or quit, or didn’t provide adequate coverage. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the university system denies responsibility for Burton’s failing grades, humiliation and distress. Burton graduated from CCSN with an associate’s degree but left UNLV after she said the school refused to provide her with real-time captioning services besides an interpreter.
GROUPS NEEDED TO VIEW BREAST HEALTH VIDEO
A UCLA team is working with the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness (GLAD) to increase awareness of breast health and breast cancer among deaf and hard-of-hearing women. Pilot funds from the California Breast Cancer Research Program allowed the group to interview 70 women about their unmet needs, and a proposal is now being developed to fund a signed video and guide. UCLA’s Barbara Berman is looking for people throughout the country to assist in the project by organizing small groups of about 8-10 deaf/hoh women in their community to meet with her team and view the video when it is developed, “so that we can see if, indeed, it does what we hope it will do.” Berman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DON’T BELIEVE RUMORS, SAYS WRAD CEO
“There are some people that are doing everything possible to interfere with our WRAD organization and its events, programs, activities, meetings, gatherings and services,” said Bruce Gross, founder and director of the World Recreation Association of the Deaf in a statement issued Oct. 20 in Los Angeles. The problem centers on WRAD’s relationship with the Southern California Recreation Association of the Deaf (SCRAD). Gross explained that SCRAD is and always has been a legal subsidiary of WRAD, though the local group had become inactive in recent years. Gross claimed that a recent flyer from a group he didn’t identify claiming to be a “successor” to SCRAD is misleading, defaming and unfair. “We cannot tolerate this,” he said. “Neither can you!”
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EDUCATION & SCIENCE
GALLAUDET HONORS FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN GRADUATE
Dr. Andrew Jackson Foster, the “father of deaf education in Africa,” was remembered Oct. 22 when Gallaudet University dedicated a newly renovated auditorium in his honor. A bust of the educator, donated by the National Black Deaf Advocates, was unveiled during the ceremony, which was attended by his widow Berta and other family members. Foster, the first African American to graduate from Gallaudet (in 1954), established 31 schools and two centers in 13 African countries. He died in a plane crash in 1987.
CELL TOWER THWARTS PLANS FOR DEAF SCHOOL
A school for the deaf operating out of a church in Montgomery, Ohio had to drop its plans to build in Miami Township after discovering that a cell tower near the site would interfere with cochlear implants worn by most students. Maria Sentelik, executive director of Ohio Valley Voices, told the Cincinnati Enquirer, “I’m cursed. I’m cursed.” She said she will continue to look for a new home for the school, which has seen enrollment triple since opening in 2000 with a dozen students.
BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY
FORMER MISS AMERICA LAUNCHES LINE OF SKIN CARE PRODUCTS
Heather Whitestone McCallum, Miss America 1995, has launched her own line of skin care products. “When you feel beautiful from your heart, you want to take care of your skin better, to live longer and help people more,” she told The Birmingham News. She and her husband, John McCallum, have founded Esther (named for the Old Testament queen), a national direct-sales company that will operate much like Mary Kay, with associates selling the products from their own homes. The former beauty queen, who now lives in Georgia, kicked off the new venture Oct. 16 in her old hometown of Birmingham, Ala. Coincidentally, her mother, Daphne Gray, taught middle-school math to Deidre Downs, the newly crowned Miss America 2005, who is also from Birmingham. Info: www.myesther.net.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
‘SHOCKTOBERFEST’ FEATURES DEAF ACTOR
Tristan Thunderbolt, a deaf performance artist, is a featured player in “Welcome to the Hypnodrome,” the latest in the popular Shocktoberfest extravaganzas in San Francisco. Thunderbolt, of Richmond, Calif., is a Gallaudet University graduate and Native American Indian (Chippewa/Ojibwa). His credits include numerous theater and film appearances and he has worked as an empowerment speaker for about 15 years. “Welcome to the Hypnodrome,” presented by San Francisco troupe Thrillpeddlers, features three classic tales of terror never before performed for American audiences. It opened Oct. 7 and runs through Nov. 20. Info: www.thrillpeddlers.com.
AUDITIONS ANNOUNCED FOR NEW “BIG RIVER” PRODUCTION
Professional deaf actors are invited to audition for roles in an upcoming production of Deaf West Theatre’s “Big River.” Deaf and hard-of-hearing actors should prepare a monologue, poem or song translation of 1-2 minutes. Auditions will take place in November and early December. Rehearsals start in January and the play runs through June 1, 2005. Seven roles are being cast. Call 212-307-6690 or fax 212-307-7179 for details. Mail submissions to Barry Moss Casting, Ltd., 484 W. 43rd St., Suite 28R, New York, NY 10036.
DEAF SCHOOLCHILDREN RALLY FOR HOSTAGE’S RELEASE
Two hundred colleagues of Margaret Hassan, the director of Care International who was kidnapped in Baghdad last week, staged a protest Oct. 25 to call for her immediate release. They were joined by about 30 schoolchildren from an Iraqi school for the deaf who were brought to the rally by teacher Nasrat al-Asadi. “They all love her,” said al-Asadi. “She helped them with hearing aids besides reconstructing the institute.” Hassan, 59, has lived in Iraq for about 30 years and was seen begging for her life in a video last Friday.
YOUNG DEAF MAN IN U.K. KILLS SELF OVER DEBT
The suicide of a 21-year-old deaf man has focused new attention on the United Kingdom’s debt crisis. Scott Smith owed about $27,500 on three credit cards and a bank loan when he took his life in August following an argument with his father over the debt. Smith’s case was raised during an Oct. 19 government hearing by a Member of Parliament who wished to “emphasize the tragic consequences of irresponsible lending to young people.”
TOUGH TIMES FOR BRITISH DISABLED
A British study shows poverty among disabled people to be seriously under-estimated, the BBC reported Oct. 20. Disabled people on benefits fall $1462 short a month on basic living expenses, says the Loughborough University study. People with the greatest needs had the highest costs, researchers found, and deaf people needed at least $687 a month for an “acceptable quality of life” but had average incomes of several hundred dollars less.
TRINIDAD MAN IS VICTIM OF GANG VIOLENCE
The death of Bill Phillip was blamed on gangland activity in a Trinidad Express article Oct. 19. Phillip, described as “a 42-year-old deaf mute,” was one of two people gunned down alongside a road in the vicinity of St. Barbs. Phillip was described as a “decent man who had no involvement in gang warfare” and said to be “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
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L.A. STARS BASKETBALL TEAM SIGNS OSEI MORRIS
The Los Angeles Stars of the American Basketball Association have signed Osei Morris, 25, to a contract. Morris, born hard of hearing, developed his talents over the years playing with the National Deaf Basketball League along with his profoundly deaf twin brother Adei. The Morris brothers led their team, the South Bay Cougars, to the championships this past season, with Osei being named Most Valuable Player. According to a Stars press release, if Morris makes the team he will become the first deaf African-American player on a professional basketball team in the United States.
A SPECIAL VICTORY FOR MISSISSIPPI FOOTBALL TEAM
The Mississippi School for the Deaf extended its winning streak to 24 games Oct. 21, beating Pisgah High 46-45 when sophomore Courtland Clay scored on a quarterback keeper as time expired. MSD had to drive 71 yards in less than one minute for its come-from-behind victory. It was the team’s first victory against a non-deaf school in many years. “We wanted to show the world that we could play with hearing schools,” first-year MSD coach Tyrone Blackmon told The (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger. “Playing against the other deaf schools isn’t really a challenge, but tonight was a challenge.”
CSD-RIVERSIDE BREAKS 13-YEAR LONG STREAK TO CSD-FREMONT
The California School for the Deaf at Riverside broke a 13-year losing streak against its rivals CSD-Fremont with a blowout 37-3 win at home Oct. 23. Riverside coach Len Gonzales was the Cubs’ quarterback the last time the team beat Fremont in 1990, noted The Press-Enterprise. “This feels great,” Gonzales said. “We’re gonna celebrate all night long.” The team improved its record to 6-1 with the win.
HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW
The American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association, which holds clinics in Chicago for deaf and hard-of-hearing players, will benefit when Amy Kaspar, 29, shaves off her hair Nov. 5. Kaspar will donate her long blonde hair to Locks of Love, which provides wigs for children who have lost their hair to illness. According to the Associated Press, Kaspar is taking bids from people who want to participate in the cut-off. Money from bidders will go to the hockey group.
KANSAS UNIVERSITY EVENT SAID TO BE INACCESSIBLE
When Kansas University kicked off its basketball season Oct. 15 with the annual “Late Night in the Phog” event, student Tara Schupner found it to be “a bitter lesson in the inadequacy of accessibility for deaf people at KU athletic events.” The event featured skits, performances and a scrimmage by the men’s and women’s teams. Schupner, a senior journalism and English major, said that she and her roommate, both deaf, “were given lousy accommodations and expected to accept it.” Writing in the University Daily Kansas, she criticized seating arrangements; lack of a script to assist the interpreter; inadequate sound system; and lack of lighting on the interpreter. “Just because deaf people can’t hear doesn’t mean we can see in the dark,” she said.
COMING UP: DEAF EXPO 2004 WEST
If it’s November in Southern California, it must be time for another Deaf Expo. This year’s show, the 12th straight, takes place Nov. 5-6 at the Anaheim Convention Center next to Disneyland. You can learn how to make your house “deaf friendly”, watch performances by “Iceworm,” practice your sign language, view a captioned-film demonstration, join in the “DEAF$aire” game show ... even get a free massage. TOYS Theater will perform, as will Rathskellar – their final West coast performance. More than 80 exhibitors have signed up for this CSD-sponsored event and a day pass is $12. For more information, visit www.deafexpo.org.
SAN FRANCISCO TO HOST DEAF SENIORS
More than 2,200 people have already signed up for the 8th biennial National Conference of Deaf Seniors of America. It will take place Aug. 31-Sept. 5, 2005 at the Hilton San Francisco. Hosted by the Bay Area Coalition of Deaf Senior Citizens, the conference will feature a reception, banquet, luncheon, skits and entertainment, along with seminars and presentations on a wide range of subjects. Go to www.deafseniors.com and click on SF2005 DSA for more information.
JIM P. KIELY, TAUGHT DEAF STUDENTS FOR 31 YEARS
Jim P. Kiely, 55, a teacher of deaf children for 31 years, died at the hospital in Tarzana, Calif. Sept. 17. Mr. Kiely was born in Chicago and raised in La Jolla, Calif. He graduated from the University of San Diego and CSU-Northridge and attended Gallaudet University for graduate studies. He is survived by his longtime companion Richard Hill, and other family members. Friends remember him for his love of nature, warmth, friendliness, humor and love of life.
Last week’s Deafweekly mentioned an upcoming appearance on ABC-TV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition by a deaf family from Detroit. After the issue went out, we were informed that the air date has been changed from Oct. 24 to Nov. 7. In two back-to-back episodes (7 to 9 p.m.), the design team will transform the family’s house into a dream home outfitted with the latest assistive devices for people with hearing loss.
A story last week about Darryl Beamish, an Australian deaf man who was convicted of the 1959 murder of Melbourne socialite Jillian Brewer, mistakenly said that he was still in prison. New information has come in from The Australian indicating that Beamish was released from jail in 1976 after serving 15 years, including four months on death row. The court is still reviewing his recent appeal – his sixth attempt to clear his name. Beamish now lives in a Perth suburb with Barbara, his wife of 23 years, whom he met at a deaf club dance.
I am a Deaf person with
a Cochlear Implant that makes me a very happy HOH person wherever I am. I would
like to suggest breaking the newsletter into maybe four areas to cover news
of each of the four zones in the USA. Perhaps put all the Eastern zone news
on one page, Central zone on another, Pacific and Mountain on another. Is there
any way to have a page that has announcements, such as weddings, engagements,
births and that sort of entertainment?
- LINDA CHAIMOWITZ
Congratulations on your
first issue of DeafWeekly. I'd like to suggest that you include hyperlinks in
each article so people can read the original full article of anything they are
particularly interested in. I appreciate the short summaries of each article,
but from time to time, I'd like to be able to learn more about some of them.
What a great idea and service!
However, it was described as a newsletter for deaf and hard of hearing. The
orientation seems to be strongly for the deaf and especially the signing deaf.
It is certainly true that people who are deaf need an advocate and to educate
the hearing world. However, as important as this is, there are far more hard
of hearing in our country/the world and your issue gave very little education
or help for the hard of hearing. I am not writing this to be mean or super critical,
but in all fairness I believe you should have a more realistic balance between
Deaf and Hard of Hearing if you have as your purpose to "help people keep
up with news in the deaf and hard of hearing community.” Hope to see another
issue with more balance.
-PAUL AND JANE HARRIS
Editor Replies: Thank you for these suggestions. All feedback will be carefully considered as this new venture continues to grow.
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