December 21, 2005
Vol. 2 No. 10

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 contents of Deafweekly are Copyright 2005. Any unauthorized use, including reprinting of news, is prohibited. Readership: approximately 5,000 including subscribers and website readers.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to the holidays, there will be no issue dated December 28, 2005. The next issue will be January 4, 2006. Happy holidays from Deafweekly!



In the wake of Ryan Commerson’s eight-day protest and hunger strike outside the Michigan School for the Deaf, a visit by a Gallaudet University professor has been moved up to next month. Laurene Simms will participate in the debate over the educational direction of the school, reported the Flint Journal. Commerson ended his hunger strike November 28 after meeting with Jeremy Hughes, deputy superintendent for the state Department of Education, who promised a special study committee would review the school’s educational policy. Commerson and others want a bilingual education focus, with more emphasis on American Sign Language. Though his hunger strike is over, “We are not going to give up,” said Commerson.


San Francisco International Airport will install 80 visual paging monitors under terms of a lawsuit settlement announced last Wednesday, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. The large plasma screens will display text messages that duplicate announcements made over the airport’s public address system. The messages will scroll so that passengers with hearing difficulties may view recent announcements. The airport will also set up a special phone number for deaf travelers, install TTYs in baggage claim areas and provide a video service for use in emegencies. “We’re hoping SFO is going to be a model for other airports to follow,” said attorney Kevin Knestrick of Disability Rights Advocates, an Oakland nonprofit that filed an Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit against the airport in 2002.


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security would hire a Disability Coordinator reporting directly to the Secretary under an act introduced Monday by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). The Emergency Preparedness and Response for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 2005 will also require 30 percent of emergency housing to be accessible and would provide incentives to create more accessible housing during reconstruction efforts. “This bill is an important step to ensure that the needs of disabled Americans will be addressed in case of an emergency,” said Harkin, who in 1990 was the chief sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


The Deaf Gay and Lesbian Center in San Francisco is working on two new videos for deaf gays and lesbians, one on the dangers of speed and the other on HIV prevention. “Information on meth is not available in the language used by deaf gay men,” Todd Higgins, the center’s former program coordinator, told the Bay Area Reporter. “Most deaf people don’t use English as their primary language. They use sign language.” Higgins, who now works at San Francisco State University as a deaf services coordinator, applied for a Horizons Foundation grant while working for the center and won $5,000 for the project. The two videos will be unveiled in the spring.


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A 71-year-old San Marcos, Calif. resident is the winner in the first “Hearing 4 the Holidays” essay contest put on by the Palomar Pomerado Health Center. Ruth Penny has lost more than 70 percent of her hearing in both ears and has watched the world in near-total silence for more than five decades, reported the North County Times. For the last 10 years she has depended on a hearing aid purchased in a grocery store. When she saw a newspaper ad for the contest, “Something inside told me I needed to do this,” she said. Entrants were required to describe their hearing loss and explain why they wanted the prize - a Widex Diva hearing aid worth over $3,000. More than 50 people entered from around the country, and Penny said she couldn’t believe it when she won. “I’ve never won anything,” she said, “not even playing cards.”


The Community Emergency Preparedness Information Network (CEPIN) Project recently marked its first anniversary. The two-year project is funded through a nearly $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is managed by TDI (Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc.). “Under the able leadership of James House, national coordinator, this project has brought together a unique collaboration between consumers and professionals in a crucial life-saving partnership,” said Claude Stout, TDI executive director. During the first year, project members set up a website with consumer fact sheets, began distributing an e-newsletter, provided assistance in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita “and assembled a wonderful team of experts,” said House. “We’re really looking forward to the next year.”


A new website has been created to provide information to parents, educators, consumers, professionals and others who are working to improve the education of deaf and hard-of-hearing children. The website is part of the National Deaf Education Project (NDEP), which, in collaboration with national parent organization Hands & Voices, wants to see “the development of a communication- and language-driven educational delivery system for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the United States.” The website is a repository of resources and includes information on the 2006 Deaf Education Summit, which will be held May 16-17 in Riverside, Calif. Check it out at


A deaf mother of five has struggled since her husband was killed by a drunk driver in 2004, reported the Honolulu Advertiser. The woman, identified as K.B., was featured in the newspaper’s Christmas Fund column, which seeks donations to help families during the holiday season. K.B.’s older children would like clothes for Christmas, whiile the younger ones hope for toys and she herself wants a TV with closed-captioning so she can watch TV with her family. An “anonymous Santa” will match the first $25 of each donation to the Christmas Fund. Checks payable to “The Advertiser Christmas Fund” may be sent to Helping Hands Hawaii, PO Box 17780, Honolulu, HI 96817.


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Only three percent of the people in India who need hearing aids can afford them, reported WebIndia123. A survey by the National Social Service Organization shows that 97 percent of people with hearing loss “suffer silently,” mainly because of the stigma associated with using hearing aids in India. Vikram Pal, director of an Indian hearing aid company, said lack of awareness also keeps people from using hearing aids. Statistics show that it takes an average of seven years for a person with a hearing impairment to consult a medical professional. Pal announced that his company was launching the new Metrix line of hearing aids, a state-of-the-art digital aid that “could solve all problems.”


The Scotsman reported recently on “the world’s largest telephone deafness check,” a project designed to help an estimated four million people in the U.K. with untreated hearing loss. The Royal National Institute of the Deaf (RNID) is coordinating the project, which was unveiled by the Countess of Wessex. Callers who dial the special number (0845 600 5555) are asked to listen to recordings of numbers played against a background noise and use the telephone keypad to select the numbers they have heard. They will be told if their hearing is normal, below normal or well below normal.


The Canadian rock group Simple Plan has been testing a high-technology wireless FM system during its 19-city tour, reported CBC Arts. Audio product manufacturer Sennheiser developed the system and chose 120 deaf teenagers from across Canada after consulting with audiologists in several cities. Simple Plan was chosen by most as their favorite group. A wireless microphone and transmitter plug directly into the band’s console, and the teen’s receivers are put on the same frequency. The receivers have a tiny cable attached to their hearing aids or cochlear implants, bringing the sound directly to their auditory nerves. “They could hear and have a good time like everybody else,” said Simple Plan guitarist Sebastien Lefebvre. “It blows my mind.”


Aabhas Garg, 24, earned a degree in electronics and electrical communication from Punjab Engineering College in 2004, but the Chandigarh, India resident has been unable to find a job. Garg, who was born with a hearing and speech impairment, “is in the depths of depression,” reported the Chandigarh Newsline earlier this month. His mother, Manjula Garg, said, “We are tired of circulating his resume, but no one has given him an opportunity to showcase his talent. All I pray for is that he finds a job, whether it pays him or not.” Two days later, Newsline printed a follow-up headlined “Job offers pour in.” Several employers have come forward after reading the article, including one who said, “We have electronics work and are thinking of using the talent of this special but intelligent boy.


CSDVRS Launches Sign Language to Spanish Service

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Researchers continue to learn new things about cochlear implants: 1) A Johns Hopkins Hospital study of 749 implant patients 14 to 91 years old shows that age should not influence the selection of candidates for an implant. Even elderly people can benefit from the device, reported Med Page Today. 2) A team from the University of Maryland tested 36 children ages 5 to 14 who were deaf since birth and who had used cochlear implants for at least a year. The results present “a strong argument for providing cochlear implants at the earliest possible age,” reported Australia’s News-Medical. 3) A University of Michigan doctor who has studied the use of cochlear implants in blind people doesn’t think it’s worth the expense and risk to put implants in both ears. “The benefits of the first implant are immense,” Dr. Steven Telian told the Providence (R.I.) Journal. “The second is incrementally much smaller.” And with insurance the way it is, “If somebody gets two implants, somebody else gets zero,” he said.


Earlier this month, Lynn Steinman of Aurora, Colo. became the second person in the world to be treated for severe tinnitus with a brain-stimulation device that is normally used to treat people with Parkinson’s disease, tremors or other brain disorders. Steinman, 56, has been plagued with ringing in her ears for more than a decade. “Imagine a kid’s tin whistle blowing in your ear 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” she told the Rocky Mountain News. A licensed practical nurse, she part of a blind clinical trial at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Doctors either activate the device for two weeks or leave it off and turn it on for the following two weeks. Patients aren’t told what the doctors choose, but Steinman said with a laugh, “I’d better be able to tell when it’s on or off.”


Among nearly 50 Christmas trees donated to the St. Johns County (Fla.) Festival of Trees was one contributed by the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. Teacher Carol Cowan took the lead, reported the St. Augustine Record, collaborating with 63 deaf students and 10 visually impaired students to make ornaments for the tree. The trees were on display at World Golf Village as part of a silent auction. Visitors voted for their favorite tree by putting money or checks in an envelope for that particular tree. Proceeds benefitted an local homeless shelter and the St. Augustine Record’s “Empty Stocking Fund.”


A group of eight Kansas City Community College students have written a book for young deaf students, reported the Kansas City Star. The students recently “signed” their book, “The Adventures of Joey and Joshua,” to a group of kindergartners through fifth graders, parents and teachers at the Kansas School for the Deaf. “We were worried they were going to laugh at us,” said Michael Maxwell, who came up with the book idea early in the fall. Maxwell’s roommate, Kelly Birch, a senior at KSD, taught Maxwell to sign, and he in turn taught other members of the team. Each person wrote two pages of the story, which tells of a deaf rabbit named Joey and an octopus named Joshua whose interest in learning sign language is made problematic by having eight arms. “It was so nice to see the kids open their arms to us and be so appreciative,” said team member Lisa Martinez.


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The New York Times published an update December 18 about Jin and Xing Luo, deaf immigrants from China who were first featured in the newspaper in November 2002 as part of the New York Times Neediest Cases Fund. Three years ago, Jin was earning $7 an hour at a Pathmark supermarket and dreaming of cooking Chinese food at a hotel. A stroke in February 2003 left him unable to stand for long, marking an end to his dream. “It will stay the same, same, same,” said Jin, 50, who still works 20 to 25 hours a week at Pathmark. His wife had just lost her job at a factory when the Times wrote about the couple three years ago. Since then, Xing, 43, has found a $17-an-hour job as an office cleaner and the couple moved out of a cramped home with relatives into their own one-bedroom, $600-a-month apartment.


The Duluth campus of the University of Minnesota has become “the first public stations in the Northland” to offer videophones for the deaf, Nancy McFarlin Diener told the Duluth News Tribune. Diener, the university’s coordinator of disability services and resources, “was aware of this new technology that was going wild in the deaf community, and we didn’t have it here yet.” She contacted Sorenson Communications, the company that introduced the first videophone designed for the deaf community in April 2003, and Sorenson agreed to install videophones in the UMD library and Multicultural Center. “I’ve used it before and it’s an awesome technology,” said deaf UMD student Elee Vang.


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Rap artist Foxy Brown told reporters at a December 15 news conference that she has been totally deaf for the last six months and plans to have surgery in January to restore her hearing. Brown, whose real name is Inga Marchand, met with the press at a New York City soundstage owned by BET, reported the Daily News. “I have spent many confusing, agonizing nights crying in isolation and silence,” she said. “But today, I stand before you blessed with only the voice of God in my ears as a vessel of inspiration.” Brown, 26, was surrounded by supporters, including her medical consultant, Laura Arias, who would not elaborate on the upcoming procedure but did say, “She’s a strong candidate for recovery.”


The Ringer, a new movie that makes its debut December 23, was filmed partly at the Texas School for the Deaf, says TSD’s Karen Kingrey. Movie makers arrived on campus one year ago and stayed three months, she explained. “If you see the yellow furniture and the game machines in the movie, it was located at the girls dorm, Koen Hall,” said Kingrey. “Also the track and other places at TSD.” The Ringer, starring Johnny Knoxville as a man who pretends to be mentally challenged in order to win money at the Special Olympics, “is so complicated it literally requires a flow chart to explain it,” said the Associated Press.


The Wild Zappers performed December 7 at the New Carrollton, Md. library, but they “couldn’t hear the applause any more than the beats and lyrics to which they performed,” wrote the Gaithersburg Gazette. The performance by the male deaf dance company based in Prince George’s County was designed to educate and entertain. Director and dancer Fred Michael Beam began by teaching 60 audience members how to applaud in sign language. Beam and Warren “Wawa” Snipe helped Irvine Stewart found The Wild Zappers in 1989, and the group has appeared at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and New York City’s Apollo Theatre, while touring in Japan and Jamaica.


A Colorado sign language interpreter who taught sign language to an elderly deaf and blind man has written a book about the experience. “Words in My Hands,” by Diane L. Chambers, begins when the author meets Bert Riedel for the first time. Riedel, who became blind and deaf from Usher’s Syndrome at 42 and lost his wife at 86, had moved in with his son and daughter-in-law “to live out the remaining years of his life in silence and darkness.” When Riedel met Chambers and sat down to play Beethoven on the piano, the interpreter knew immediately“this was going to be a unique experience.” Joanne Greenburg, who wrote “In This Sign,” said Chambers has written a book that “tells us that we can, and should, teach, learn, rise, rejoice and gain in wisdom until we die.” More information may be found at


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Two Lecturers in American Sign Language
Arizona State University, Department of Speech and Hearing Science

The Department of Speech and Hearing Science seeks two full-time lecturers of ASL. The nine-month appointments begin August 16, 2006. For each position, responsibilities include teaching four levels of ASL and participating in program advancement. Requirements include a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and three years experience teaching ASL at an accredited college or university. A Master’s degree from an accredited college or university, five years experience teaching ASL at an accredited college or university, and experience using Microsoft PowerPoint or other computer-based presentation software are desired but not required. To apply, send a letter of application, statement of teaching philosophy, resume or vitae, and the names and contact information of three professional references (email and/or phone number, and address) to: Pamela Howard, Search Committee Chair, Department of Speech and Hearing Science, Arizona State University, PO Box 870102, Tempe, AZ 85287-0101. E-mail applications are encouraged and must be sent to: The application deadline is January 13, 2006; if not filled, every Friday thereafter until the search is closed. Supporting credentials and additional materials may be required later. Visit for program information. A background check is required for employment. ASU is an EO/AA employer.


POSITION AVAILABLE: WEB / GRAPHIC DESIGNER - Telecommute, a deaf owned business, provides Internet services including web development, design, and Internet marketing-- currently seeking a creative genius whose main strength is in making really great website designs.

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Non-Profit mental health agency in Edgewater, MD has positions available in Deaf Program. BA/BS in Human Services or related field preferred, and/or related work experience. Applicants must be fluent in American Sign Language. Must have valid driver’s license

Interpreter/Mental Health Specialist-Full Time, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Mon-Thurs as Interpreter, other hours as needed for Mental Health Specialist (will include weekends). Interpreter must be able to interpret a variety of situations. Specialist duties include; coordination of doctor appts., transport clients to appts., medication monitoring, provide daily living skills & job support, and apply crisis intervention.

Rehabilitation Specialists-Full Time 3:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m., Monday-Friday; Full Time 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Mon-Fri; Part Time hours available on weekends, evenings, days. Duties include transporting mentally ill adults to appointments, medication monitoring, applying crisis intervention, and providing daily living skills support in a residential or day program setting.

Send resume and cover letter to ALI, Human Resources, 2600 Solomons Island Road, Edgewater, MD 21037; fax to (410) 841-6045; or email


Birnbaum Interpreting Services of Silver Spring, MD, seeks a Professional Development Coordinator

Responsible for all facets of the interview process for interpreters. Administrative support as needed.
Assist with interpreter training/workshops including Deaf Culture, ADA and related.
Manage and oversee the Certification Achievement Program (CAP)
Assists in evaluation of the Entry Level Interpreting Program Participants. Provide support as needed.
Responsible for teaching ASL classes as needed; research and develop proposal bids for ASL classes.
Assist in the Outreach program as needed.

B.A. in Communications or Deaf Education Studies or four years related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
Bona fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) adopted for the position connected to the performance of the job and in honesty and good faith it is necessary to the fulfillment of the work-related responsibilities. Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDI’s) are encouraged to apply.
Superior interpersonal skills as well as excellent organizational and time management skills

Submit resume, cover letter highlighting your skills for the position & salary no later than 12/28/2005:

Larry Rocha, Director of Human Resources
Birnbaum Interpreting Services
8555 16th Street, Suite 400
Silver Spring, MD 20910
301-608-2382 Fax



GLAD is an Affirmative Action Employer with equal opportunity for men, women and people with disabilities. For more information on the following positions, 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.

Brief summary: Employment services offered at GLAD assist deaf and hard of hearing individuals with job information, job training, job placement and accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Co-located at 5 Employment Development Department (EDD) Offices and at each local office. The programs under employment services are: Job Readiness Training, Workplace Accessibility, Job Development, Placement and Follow-up…

COMMUNITY HEALTH EDUCATOR - Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program in Los Angeles
Brief summary: Under the supervision of the Director of Health Services, using the guidelines of the assigned scope of work provided by the California Department of Health Services’ Community Challenge Grant, the Community Health Educator will: Provide teenage pregnancy prevention and education services to Deaf and Hard of Hearing youths, adults and parents in Los Angeles County using the “Be Cool…Sign NO to Sex” curriculum; Plan and implement daily activities; Coordinates Family PACT clinic referrals/linkages…

Brief summary: Under the supervision of the Los Angeles Regional Director, the Community Interpreter will interpret assignments as delegated by the Interpreter Referral Specialists and/or Regional Director for assignments that can range from routine medical appointments, staff meetings at large companies, formal speeches (platform interpreting), press conferences or any other situation that requires communication access. Assignments will depend on level of interpreting skills, record statistics on a monthly basis related to provision of service, in-house tasks such as answering phones and providing information and referral to general public as needed…

Brief summary: Work under the supervision of Director of Health Education/Services to implement the assigned scope of work; Schedule and implement outreach encounters, individual counseling sessions and multi-session workshops on HIV Risk Reduction to deaf woman and sexual risk and men having sex with men (MSM); Maintain calendar of sites, dates and times; Make necessary referrals for high-risk women and MSM; Work collaboratively with subcontracted Outreach Specialist for recruitment and project related activities…

Brief summary: Perform all duties and tasks as outlined in the HIV Interpreting program scope of work; Interpret initial HIV antibody test and results; Interpret in a variety of HIV/AIDS related services for people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS; Update and maintain a pool of qualified HIV-trained interpreters to assist with interpreting assignments; Promote the availability of interpreter services to the deaf community and service providers; Implement survey to assess client satisfaction of interpreter services provided; Generate monthly reports and IMACS for the Office of AIDS Programs and Policies…

Brief summary: Provide direct peer counseling, on one to one basis and family’s coping process; Address individual’s needs to become knowledgeable about his or her hearing loss; Provide linkage to other individuals and resources such as advocacy related to healthcare; Provide assistance in transitional period for hard of hearing individuals with hearing loss; Provide transition to other agency staff for advocacy; Develop relationship with (1) agencies providing early intervention services such as diagnostic and audiological clinics, deaf/hard of hearing program at local education agencies, diagnostic clinics, and (2) other interested parties such as Hearing Coordination Center staff and audiological community representatives…

Brief summary: Work under the supervision of Director of Health Education/Services to implement the assigned scope of work; Schedule and implement outreach encounters, individual counseling sessions and conduct multi-session workshops on HIV Risk Reduction to deaf women at sexual risk. Make necessary referrals for high-risk women. Administer risk assessment and behavior commitment forms. Identify barriers and procure culturally appropriate HIV/AIDS materials including videos, written prevention and outreach materials. Responsible for reviewing, developing and modifying prevention curricula and materials…

Brief summary: Work under the supervision of Director of Health Education/Services to implement the assigned scope of work; Schedule and implement outreach encounters, individual counseling sessions and conduct multi-session workshops on HIV Risk Reduction to men having sex with men (MSM) at sexual risk. Make necessary referrals for high-risk women. Administer risk assessment and behavior commitment forms. Identify barriers and procure culturally appropriate HIV/AIDS materials including videos, written prevention and outreach materials. Responsible for reviewing, developing and modifying prevention curricula and materials…

Under the supervision of the Director of LIFESIGNS, the LIFESIGNS Dispatcher will: be responsible for answering all incoming calls; accept and fill all requests for service with appropriate interpreters; keep detailed information on each assignment; dispatch interpreters to various assignments; perform such tasks and responsibilities as may be delegated…

If interested for any of these positions then please submit resume and application to:

Jeff Fetterman
Human Resources Specialist
Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, Inc.
2222 Laverna Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90041
V/TDD: (323) 550-4207
Fax #: (323)550-4204


Artist in Residence

Part-time 10-month renewable position beginning September 1, 2006

Responsibilities: Teach one scenic-technology class per quarter. Serve as primary scenic designer for three theater productions. Serve as scenic artist and prop master and supervise student workers for 12 15 hours per week. Work with resident artistic director, production manager/technical director and scene shop foreman.

Required: Bachelors degree or equivalent professional experience as a theater artist.
Preferred: MFA degree, fluency in American Sign Language and knowledge of Deaf culture strongly preferred.

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