November 3, 2004
Vol. 1 No. 3
Editor: Tom Willard
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NAD SEEKS VOTER FEEDBACK
Did you vote? Or stay home? Either way, the National Association of the Deaf would like to hear from you. The Silver Spring, Md.-based organization is running a survey on its website to learn how to make voting more accessible for deaf and hard-of-hearing people nationwide. To participate, go to www.nad.org/2004votersurvey.
GRASSROOTS PUSH TO REGISTER DEAF VOTERS
Don Shuster, 74, a deaf Elyria, Ohio resident, planned to vote for the first time Nov. 2. “In all my life, no one ever explained to me about voting,” he said. “I felt like voting was not important for me as a deaf person.” The majority of deaf people have never voted, said the Deaf and Deaf-Blind Committee on Human Rights at a press conference Oct. 28 in Cleveland. The committee, a non-partisan grassroots advocacy organization based in North Olmsted, Ohio, helped people like Raymond Seal register to vote. “We all need to vote if we want to have a better future,” said Seal.
WAR OF WORDS OVER DEAF VOTE
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s website posted a statement recently claiming to have the support of “27 million Americans with hearing loss.” The statement was attributed to Gregory Hlibok, co-chair of the National Deaf and Hard of Hearing Americans for Kerry-Edwards Steering Committee. A group called DeafRepublicans quickly rejected the claim. “While they are entitled to their own opinions about their candidate, they are most certainly not at liberty to speak for the entire deaf and hard of hearing community,” said spokesman Richard Brklacich.
WOMAN SENTENCED IN DEATH OF EX-ROOMMATE
Kimber Douglas was sentenced to 8-1/2 years in prison Oct. 25 for the 2000 murder of Alex Smith, her former roommate. Douglas, who attended the Washington School for the Deaf, confessed more than a year after the crime that she and former boyfriend Christopher Neil Ladner, 29, had gone to Smith’s apartment to collect a $250 debt and that Ladner had killed Smith, who was 19. Ladner was acquitted by juries twice, leaving Douglas to serve time for the crime. According to The Columbian, Douglas, 25, will remain in the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor at least until June, 2008.
BUSH SIGNS ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY ACT
Last week President Bush signed the Assistive Technology Act of 2004, extending indefinitely a program that had been scheduled to “sunset” this year. The Assistive Technology Act Program, which began in 1988, helps provide disabled people with access to technology in school, home, workplace and community. To find information on the program in your state, visit http://www.resna.org/taproject/at/statecontacts.html.
N.J. COUPLE SUE HOSPITAL OVER LACK OF INTERPRETER
A deaf couple from Glassboro, N.J. filed a civil lawsuit Sept. 30 against Virtua-West Jersey Hospital in Marlton, alleging that the hospital failed to accommodate their disabilities during two hospital stays last year. Vincent and Lamont Ricci contend that they were not provided with an interpreter as requested and required under the Americans with Disabilities Act, leaving them unable to understand Lamont Ricci’s treatment for major back surgery. “Plaintiffs were ignored, humiliated and treated like non-persons by the defendant,” states the lawsuit, filed by attorney Clara R. Smit. The Riccis seek compensatory and punitive damages along with a court order requiring the hospital to create a policy to prevent similar situations in the future.
MURDER STILL A MYSTERY TWO YEARS LATER
The family of a deaf Rochester woman who was murdered two years ago marked the anniversary Oct. 29 by making their first visit to the small town where the unsolved crime took place. Family members of Kisha Sullivan visited the wooded area in LeRoy, N.Y. where her body was found and met Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster, who is leading the murder investigation. Sullivan’s family questioned if people were doing their job, said local TV station WROC, but putting a name with the face helped earn trust. According to Brewster, the investigation has been hindered because Sullivan wasn’t from the immediate area (LeRoy is 27 miles from Rochester) and the victim was deaf (“A lot of the people we interviewed were hearing impaired,” he said.)
EX-STUDENTS PACK COURTROOM AT DEAF ABUSE TRIAL
Lawyers for two Catholic priests and 12 nuns asked a judge Oct. 28 for their clients’ cases to be dismissed or separated. The clergy members are being sued for allegedly abusing deaf children under their care at the now-defunct Boston School for the Deaf. The Suffolk Superior courtroom was mobbed with former students, said the Boston Herald, and one lawyer representing 91 clients said a scarcity of interpreters was a problem. The judge set a hearing Nov. 8 on severing the case of one defendant, a former Boston auxiliary bishop.
WASHINGTON POST AD QUESTIONS FEDERAL HIRING
Four organizations joined forces to advertise in the Oct. 29 Washington Post, calling attention to the federal government’s record on hiring disabled workers. The ad notes that the federal workforce declined 7.33% from 1993 to 2002, while the number of disabled workers fell 12.49% and those with targeted disabilities declined 20.49%. Among the suggested solutions is implementation of Executive Order 13163, which requires the Federal government to hire 100,000 new qualified workers with disabilities. The ad can be seen at http://www.dhhig.org/public/finalwashpostad_20041029.pdf.
CANADA LAWSUIT SEEKS CAPTIONING IN MOVIE THEATERS
Former Ontario MPP Gary Malkowski and two other deaf people filed a human rights complaint against some of Canada’s biggest movie companies to get more captioning in movie theaters. Malkowski, 46, is vice president of the Canadian Hearing Society and sat in the Ontario Legislature in the mid-1990s as the country’s first deaf parliamentarian. Joining him in the lawsuit are Scott Simser, a hard-of-hearing civil lawyer, and Nancy Barker, a University of Toronto student. At issue, said the Globe and Mail Oct. 28, is whether all films in Ontario should be shown with rear window captioning. A Universal distributor said 80 to 90 percent of films already come with rear-window captioning but the problem is that most movie houses don’t have the equipment to show the captioning and it costs $20,000 per theater to install.
STUDY SHOWS VIOLATIONS OF U.K.’S NEW DISABILITY LAW
Thousands of businesses throughout the United Kingdom are in violation of the new Disability Discrimination Act, a survey shows. The Royal National Institute for the Deaf studied small and medium-sized businesses nationwide and found that 75 percent have not made any changes. The businesses are at risk of court action under the new law, which went into effect Oct. 10. “This research shows there is much that remains to be done,” RNID chief executive John Low told Community Newswire.
BANK DONATES FOOD TO JAMAICAN SCHOOL
A bank in Jamaica gave a much-needed donation of food recently to the Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf in Montego Bay, St. James. The Capital and Credit Merchant bank donated rice, flour, mackerel, chicken and salt, which will be used to provide meals for the school’s 31 students. No one is turned away from the school, regardless of ability to pay the $5,000 fee, said principal Sophia Reid. She noted that 10 students have been abandoned by their parents. “We have to take special care of them as the school is now their home,” she told the Jamaica Observer.
A HUG FROM PRINCE CHARLES FOR YOUNG REFUGEE
Prince Charles made headlines Oct. 27 when he hugged a deaf and blind boy during a trip to Jordan’s former capital city, Salt. Mohammed Maher “was determined to find out as much as he could about Charles using his sense of touch,” said the Daily Mail. Mohammed and his family are Palestinian refugees, and the boy attends the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf. The school, opened in 1964, was the first in Jordan to offer education to children with disabilities.
PHILIPPINES’ SITCOM STAR ASSISTS DEAF TRAINING GROUP
Aga Muhlach, star of the Philippines’ top sitcom “Ok Fine Whatever,” is widely known for helping to organize STEAM, the Special Team for Deaf Persons Foundation, Inc. The organization has helped train about 400 deaf people for employment. After chairing the foundation eight years, the TV star and two-time “Box-Office King” stepped aside for a new chairman, Cromwell Umali, a college graduate who was born deaf. STEAM held its first national conference Oct. 20 in Pasig City, said the Manila Bulletin Online, and the theme was “Hearing the Deaf.”
INDIA CONFERENCE STUDIES COCHLEAR IMPLANTS
Surgeons who met for a conference last week in India learned to perform cochlear implant surgery by operating on dead people. That’s not a typo. Cadavers were brought in to provide hands-on training for the doctors. Nearly 200 surgeons, audiologists and auditory-verbal therapists joined about 50 industry reps for the three-day event. The goal was to train ENT surgeons in this specialized field and to help establish more cochlear implant centers in India and neighboring countries
VIETNAMESE SIGN LANGUAGE PROJECT WINS AWARD
The Voice of Vietnam reported Oct. 30 on a new sign language dictionary for the deaf developed at Ho Chi Minh City Teacher’s Training University. The dictionary, offered through video, CD-ROM and the Internet, was designed to help deaf people with sign communication and train educators of the deaf. It received the highest award in the Samsung DigitAll Hope 2004 program.
DEAF MAN, 88, OLDEST TO BE CHARGED WITH MISBEHAVIOR
Alexander Muat, 88, is believed to be the oldest man in the United Kingdom ever to be charged with breaking an anti-social behavior order (Asbo for short). The BBC reported Oct. 19 that Muat denied charges of harassing his neighbors and shining lights into their home. The profoundly-deaf Muat said he was merely copying the actions of his neighbors and that he himself is the victim. Muat, a retired engineer, is banned from making loud noises, filming his neighbors, swearing at them and driving into other people’s driveways.
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LIFE & LEISURE
NEWEST HEARING AIDS TALK AMONGST THEMSELVES
Clam Devine, 24, who has been testing the newest hearing aid from Siemens, is one of only a handful of people outside the company who have seen or used the new device. The German company calls its “Acuris,” and it’s the first to feature a binaural system, which allows a hearing aid in one ear to adjust the sound quality of the aid in the other ear using a wireless signal. Siemens says it will allow speech clarity to be fine-tuned against background noise. The company’s first “leading edge” launch in three years was unveiled Oct. 20 in Germany. “The wireless technology is pretty cool,” said Devine, a deaf graphic designer in Wellington, New Zealand. “I’ve been very impressed with them.”
LONG-TIME ENGINEER EARNS RECOGNITION
Paul Kuplicki, a deaf engineer, was among the honorees at Operation ABLE of Michigan’s annual awards luncheon. Kuplicki, of Sterling Heights, is a project designer at Spalding DeDecker Associates. He joined the company 25 years ago, said The Macomb Daily, “with a dream to be treated as an equal by his co-workers and clients.” He is known for his expertise with construction documents for land development projects, and serves as finance director for the DeSalles Center in Brooklyn, Mich., an agency that helps families affected by hearing loss.
COCHLEAR IMPLANT PIONEER THANKED ON THANK YOU DAY
Graeme Clarke met up again with the Croydon sisters - Nicole, 11, and Ellen, 10 - when he spoke at a Thank You Day Campaign event Oct. 22 in Melbourne City, Australia. The campaign is designed to highlight the contributions of medical researchers. According to the Herald Sun, Nicole and Ellen thanked Clarke for inventing the cochlear implant they received as toddlers. Clarke told the paper he got a thrill out of bringing sound to deaf people. “It fills me with awe, humility and excitement, and it still makes me want to cry sometimes,” he said.
MASSACHUSETTS GROUPS PUSH HEARING AID COVERAGE
The Disability Policy Consortium
and DEAF Inc. have joined forces to sponsor a Hearing Aid Bill in Massachusetts
that would require health benefit plans to provide coverage for hearing aids.
One aid worth at least $3,000 per impaired ear would be covered every three
years. Anne Springer of Seniorcare, writing in the Tri-Town Transcript of Beverly,
Mass., wrote of the urgent need for such benefits. The social isolation that
results from hearing loss is unpleasant, she said, but it “is nothing
compared to not being able to hear a horn warning you to jump quickly out of
SACRIFICE OF FIREFIGHTERS INSPIRES CHILDREN’S BOOK
Twelve special-education students from the Pinelands Regional schools in Tuckerton, N.J. will visit six school districts over the next two months to present the book “Do Firefighters Have Wings?” in sign language to hearing fifth-graders. Their teacher, Jane Hall, and fellow educator Anne Benoit were inspired to write the limited-edition children’s book after students expressed gratitude for the sacrifices made by firefighters on Sept. 11, 2001. The Pinelands students - in grades 7 to 12 - will also teach the manual alphabet and a few signs. The program is funded by a $1,230 grant from the New Jersey Education Association.
TDI RECEIVES $1.4 MILLION GRANT FOR HOMELAND SECURITY
Telecommunications for the Deaf Inc. (TDI) has been awarded a $1.4 million Competitve Training Grant from the Department of Homeland Security. TDI, known for its “Blue Book” TTY directory, will partner with numerous organizations to provide training in disaster preparedness for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. The Silver Spring, Md.-based nonprofit will also develop an online information resource center. TDI was one of only 14 programs selected for funding out of about 220 that applied.
SCHOOL ALLEGES MISUSE OF FUNDS
An employee of the Missouri School for the Deaf was fired last month for allegedly embezzling about $8,000 from the school’s Parents Association, said the Columbia Daily Tribune. Michelle Henson handled record keeping and finances for the association, which receives $3.3 million from the U.S. Department of Education to provide captioned films and videos throughout the state. Henson admitted “personal use” of the funds to school superintendent Barbara Garrison during an internal audit, and was terminated after money was found missing. The Parents Association decided not to prosecute Henson as long as she pays back the missing funds, and also agreed to hand over management of the captioned films program to the school.
SORENSON VRS NOW OFFERED AROUND THE CLOCK
Sorenson Media announced Oct. 25 that its Video Relay Service is now available around the clock, all year round. A company press release said Sorenson is the only VRS provider offering 24-hour service, something deaf and hard-of-hearing consumers have been asking for. “Sorenson Media is pleased to respond to this need,” said COO Pal Nola. Info: www.sorenson.com.
USE YOUR PAGER TO MAKE RELAY CALLS
You can use your pager, PDA, cell phone or other mobile device to make relay calls with HIP Relay Wireless from Hamilton Relay Service. All you need is a wireless service plan and text-messaging capability. Use AOL Instant Messenger to send a message to screen name HipRelay, and an operator will relay your message, allowing you to call anyone you could call through relay on a home TTY. Hamilton is “delighted” with the new capability, said VP Dixie Ziegler, and “constantly working to provide communication solutions.” Information: www.hamiltonrelay.com.
GALLAUDET STUDENTS TO STUDY OVERSEAS
Two Gallaudet University students have received Fulbright awards for the 2004-05 academic year. Carla Colley will study in Italy and Kate Poturica will study in Germany. Both are graduate students in linguistics. They are among 1,100 American students in 104 fields of study to be offered grants to study, teach English and conduct research in more than 110 countries throughout the world.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
A ROOM WITH A WOMB?
A major installation of abstract artworks by deaf artist Rubbena Aurangzeb-Tariq is scheduled to open Nov. 20 at Queen’s Park Center in Aylesbury, England. “Room Full of Memories” will feature a room full of painted canvas of varying sizes pieced together like a jigsaw. According to a news release, “The womb-like space encourages the viewer to reflect on the artist’s experience of being a deaf female Asian arts practitioner within a contemporary British context.” The installation will represent barriers faced by the artist, she said. “I aim to evoke that feeling of confusion and frustration.”
ARTIST, AUTHOR SPEAK WITH STUDENTS ON INDIAN ART
Tony Landon McGregor’s Native American ancestry is one reason he’s been attracted to Indian art, the Grand Island (Neb.) Independent reported Oct. 25. McGregor was in town to talk with 30 deaf and hard-of-hearing elementary and middle-school students from Central Nebraska. He was accompanied by Walter Paul Kelley, an author with whom he has collaborated on several children’s books. The two men, both deaf native Texans, share an interest in Indian art. McGregor discovered the Navajo Indians’ “rock art” while studying for his doctorate. He visited an archaeological site in Texas and “it became etched into my life,” he said.
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MELBOURNE PREPARING FOR SUMMER DEAFLYMPICS
January 2005 might seem an odd time for the Summer Deaflympics, but Melbourne is the host and it will be summer in Australia. More than 3,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing athletes from 80 nations are expected to compete in 15 individual and team sports. The Deaflympics, sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, were first held in Paris in 1924 and called “The Silent Games.” Only the Olympics themselves are an older multisport world gathering. After Melbourne, next on the schedule is the Winter Deaflympics in Park City, Utah in 2007. Information: www.deaflympics.com.
LAWSUIT AGAINST CISS OFFICERS DISMISSED
The Deaflympics announced Oct. 10 the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Rafael I. Pinkashov Pinchas against three past and present officers of CISS (the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf) - John Lovett, Donalda Ammons and Jerald Jordan. Pinchas was suing for discrimination, defamation of character, conspiracy and other charges. U.S. District Court Judge William Nickerson cautioned Pinchas that the court “will not hesitate to impose sanctions should he file another frivolous suit.” Pinchas has already filed an appeal. Kelby Brick, attorney for the defendants, said the appeal is expected to be overturned due to lack of merit and credibility.
DEAF FOOTBALL PLAYER INSPIRES TEAMMATES
Daniel Gathers is turning into a leader on the Lincoln High School football team of McClellanville, S.C., said coach Michael Peavey in the Oct. 29 Post and Courier. Gathers, 17, was born deaf and uses an interpreter and simple sign language to communicate with his hearing teammates. “I can do the same things that people who hear can do,” said Gathers. The 6-2, 240-pound athlete, who plays offensive tackle, nose guard and linebacker, doesn’t use his disability as a crutch, his coach remarked. “When you meet the kid, you’ll see he’s the most upbeat person around.”
BASKETBALL STAR INDUCTED IN BUFFALO SPORTS HALL OF FAME
Kevin Mulligan, a standout basketball player for the St. Mary’s School for the Deaf and Gallaudet College in the 1950s, was inducted Oct. 27 into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. Mulligan was one of 10 sportspersons honored at the Class of 2004 Induction Dinner at HSBC Arena. In 1955, Milligan led St. Mary’s to its best record in school history, 22-2, and he went on to score 1,681 career points at Gallaudet. He also led the U.S. basketball team to a gold medal in the 1961 International Games for the Deaf in Finland. Mulligan was previously inducted into the Sports Halls of Fame at Gallaudet University and the American Athletic Association of the Deaf (now the USA Deaf Sports Federation).
TOP USA QUARTERBACK GIVES CREDIT TO FAMILY
Louisville’s (Ky.) Stefan LeFors is the top-rated college football quarterback in the country, said the Associated Press Oct. 29, and he credits some of his success to an unusual unbringing His parents, grandparents, three uncles and brother are all deaf, and LeFors learned the importance of eye contact at an early age. It gives him an advantage at reading defenses, he explained. “Maybe a guy from a normal hearing family wouldn’t pick that up.” LeFors is leading No. 14 Louisville (6-1) to a spot among the nation’s best teams, playing even better than last year when he was the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year.
INDIANA VOLLEYBALL TEAM POSTS 30-4 SEASON
Members of the Indiana School for the Deaf volleyball team have been playing together since the fifth grade, and it shows. The team went 30-4 this year and broke 39 school records in 26 categories, coach Aimee Bippus told the Indianapolis Star. The team lost a heartbreaker to Lutheran, keeping them out of the Oct. 30 Class A Volleyball Regionals, but spent the season beating metro teams and deaf schools from around the country. “It was a wonderful team this year,” said Bippus, and in 2005 “we have a lot more expectations.”
FREDERICK H. SMITH IV, ADVOCATE FOR DEAF CAUSES
A memorial service will be held Nov. 7 in San Francisco for Frederick H. Smith IV, who died Oct. 5 at the age of 96. Mr. Smith was an advocate for many causes, said the San Francisco Chronicle, including helping deaf people. He was active in the San Francisco Hearing Society, serving as its president, and in Self Help for Hard of Hearing. Mr. Smith helped train hospital workers to communicate better with deaf and hard-of-hearing patients, said his son Daniel Smith, and he designed a button saying, “Please Face Me, I Lipread.”
Deafweekly is a wonderful addition
to news on people who we serve each day in Louisiana. Of particular interest
are the articles on Deaf people, Deaf/Blind people and Hard of Hearing people.
The Louisiana Commission for the Deaf (LCD) is mandated to serve speech impaired
people, too. Do you also get and will you publish in Deafweekly any information
related to speech impaired people, their life stories and accessibility? If
your editors do decide to do so that would be an addition to your weekly that
would go a long way to providing information where there appears to be little
in the public domain. Thank you all for Deafweekly!
- W. Fred Roy III, Executive Director, Louisiana Commission for the Deaf, Baton Rouge, LA
I am writing to thank you for the
recent article in Deafweekly regarding Heather Whitestone McCallum and her new
company Esther. We are grateful for the publicity that it has already given
us and especially appreciative that you have allowed us to reach you audience
of other hearing impaired individuals. We have had a great response from the
link that you attached with our web address. We are blessed to have people like
you who have taken the time to promote our company.
-ANNE McCALLUM FRAZIER, Esther, Inc., St. Simons Island, GA
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