Thursday, December 31, 2015

6 years ago today.. at the South Pole

(image from NASA)
Ian Berry become the first deaf man to walk to the South Pole on this day in 2009. The UK native dragged a sled across 112 miles of ice to raise more than $40,000 for the National Deaf Children's Society. The 43-year-old reached the pole on New Year's Eve as part of a five person team. Read more about his adventure here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Text-to-911 saves woman's life

The ability to text an emergency request made the difference for a California woman yesterday. The Press-Enterprise has the story of how police are crediting a news 911 option with saving her life here.

Leader at Deaf Church accused of Sexual Battery

The treasurer at a Deaf church in Kasnas is facing charges that he sexually molested another church-goer. KCTV-TV has a video report. No captions but you can read the story here.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The First Deaf Player in the NFL

The first deaf player in the NFL ran onto the field for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973. Bonnie Sloan and played in four games at defensive tackle and only lasted one season, because of knee injuries--but he had made his mark. Sloan was born on June 1, 1948 in Lebanon , TN and attended Austin Peay State. The next deaf player in the NFL was defensive lineman Kenny Walker who played college ball at Nebraska and then in 31 games for the Denver Broncos in 1991 and 1992. the third deaf player is Seattle Seahawks running back Derrick Coleman who entered the NFL in 2012, becoming the first deaf person to play offense in the league. Coleman is on the roster for today's Super Bowl. Read more about Bonnie in a Fox Sports article here.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Is a college getting ready to close its program for the deaf?

A community college in Connecticut is making changes and "advocates for the deaf are concerned" the program-the "only deaf program of its kind in the state"--is on its way out. But the school denies the changes that are underway are a sign of things to come. Read more from WNPR here.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Marlee Matlin talks Broadway

Marlee Matlin and some of the cast members of Deaf West's Spring Awakening shared with Good Morning America what it's like to be a part of the Broadway show.


ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Mickey D's sued for refusing to provide Terp

McDonalds is in trouble with the EEOC for refusing to interview a deaf person who applied for a job in Missouri because he wanted an interpreter. Ricky Washington even said he would let his sister interpret for him. It didn't matter. The EEOC, which enforces federal employment discrimination laws, says McDonalds wouldn't interview him and that's an ADA violation. Read more about the story here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Students win national competition

A dozen deaf students in Iowa won a competition sponsored by the foundation of NFL deaf football player Derrick Coleman. They had to make a video about why being deaf and hard of hearing was no excuse. Here's a video report from KWWL-TV.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Prof making a difference in student's lives

Gary Davis
(image from Oklahoma State University website) 
Oklahoma State professor Gary Davis tells The Oklahoman that the Deaf President Now movement at Gallaudet University inspired him. “Experiencing Gallaudet and that protest really opened my eyes to the deaf community. They were standing up for themselves and making changes in their world. If they could do it, I knew I could.” Read the story of how Davis ended up training interpreters at Oklahoma State
here.

officer shoots deaf woman's dog

A Greenbelt, Maryland police officer is being investigated for animal cruelty after she shot a deaf woman's dog at a dog park just for growling at her. WJLA-TV has a video report. Read the story here.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Deaf woman sues NYPD over Terp

She was locked up for 24 hours without an interpreter. The New York Daily News explains what happened to Opal Gordon and why she is suing the New York Police Department in the video below. No captions, but you can read the story here.

Deaf wrestler wins right to terp during match

(image from WJBK-TV video report)
A week ago we told you about the deaf wrestler in Michigan who wasn't allowed to communicate with his interpreter during matches unless he was looking in her direction--not easy to do during a wrestling match. Now the Michigan High School Athletic Association has settled Ellis Kempf's complaint. Read the story from AP here.

Friday, December 18, 2015

2 years ago today--Long-time Gally prof killed

A former Gallaudet professor was killed two years ago today (Dec. 18, 2013) when she was hit by a car leaving a parking garage where she lived in Washington, DC. Peggie Parsons was 90 years old and had spent her life setting up schools around the world that would teach sign and voice and wrote several books. She taught art history and retired from Gallaudet in 1988.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Nurse settled lawsuit against College

A community college is paying a former student $75,000 to settle a lawsuit against it. Shirley Parrott-Copus is hard of hearing and said in her suit that Terra State Community College in Fremont, Ohio threw her out of the program when she asked for accommodations. Here's a video report from WTVG-TV. No captions but you can read the story here.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

'Zombie Walk' driver: probation

Matthew Pocci drove through a group participating in a Zombie Walk during San Diego's 2014 Comic-Con. He injured a woman and was sentenced yesterday to "three years probation and 60 days of electronic monitoring" according to KGTV. The TV station has a video report, posted below. No captions but you can read the story here.

Hospital slapped with suit over terp

Chris and Donna Cantrell are suing Johnson City Medical Center in Johnson City, Tennessee for not providing a qualified sign language interpreter during the six months they sat by their 21-year-old daughter's side as she died from cancer. The Medical Center declined to comment on the lawsuit. Read more from the National Association of the Deaf here.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Deaf Package Handler sues UPS

A UPS package handler is suing his employer for allegedly failing to provide him a sign language interpreter. Michael MacDonald is deaf and works out of the Philadelphia airport. He told Philly.com,"No meeting, I don't need an interpreter, I can do my job. But when there's a meeting, I need an interpreter, period, end of story. The communication is vital. If I'm not privy to this communication and this information, then I can't do my job." Read the full story here.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

National Tour in Broadway show's future

Can't get to New York to see Deaf West Theatre's Broadway production of Spring Awakening before it closes on January 24? Don't worry, it might be coming your way. The producers have announced a nationwide tour starting in 2017. More details about which cities the show will visit and how to buy tickets have yet to be announced.

On this day 2 years ago… the fake interpreter at Mandela’s memorial service

During Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in Johannesburg on December 10, 2013, a man pretending to interpret for the dignitaries that spoke was declared a fraud by South Africa's deaf federation. U.S. President Barack Obama was among the heads of state attending the service at the 95,000-seat football stadium when Thamsanqa Jantjie took to the stage. The incident raised security concerns and is an embarrassment for the South African government, Bruno Druchen, the National Director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa, posted a statement on its Facebook, which reads in part:
The so called “interpreter” who interpreted at the Official memorial service for late former president Nelson Mandela at FNB stadium has been dubbed the “fake interpreter” and the Deaf community is in outrage. This man is not in fact a recognised, professional South Sign Language Interpreter. He is not known by the Deaf Community in South Africa nor by the South African Sign Language interpreters working in the field... This ‘fake interpreter’ has made a mockery of South African Sign Language and has disgraced the South African Sign Language interpreting profession. The organisers of the memorial service, and indeed any event, should have contacted organisations who coordinate South African Sign Language interpreting services to secure a professional, trained experienced interpreter.
It turned out that Thamsanqa Jantjie was once charged with murder, according to a eNCA TV network that also said he has a history of lying and fraud. Jantjie admitted to being violent and claimed to have been "hallucinated during the memorial service as he was gesturing incoherently." Here's a early SkyNews report (with captions).

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dimarco Wins Top Model!

Nyle Dimarco
(image from ANTM video)
Nyle Dimarco The last America's Next Top Model contest was one by the first deaf contestant on the show. Nyle Dimarco told People magazine, "Being a deaf person on a television show alone is pretty groundbreaking, so it felt incredible just to be on the show – but to win it was amazing!" Read more of that interview here. Top Model introduced him with this video. You might have seen Dimarco on ABC's Switched at Birth where he plays Garrett Bandgucci.
 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Looking Back... Kitty O'Neil

It was on this date 39 years ago (Dec. 6, 1976) that professional stuntwoman Kitty O'Neil set a record for land speed by a female driver in Oregon's Alvord Desert: 512 miles per hour. Born deaf, she became a champion diver at a young age. Her work later as a Hollywood stuntwoman was featured in TV shows like Quincy, Baretta and The Bionic Woman along with movies like Smokey and the Bandit, The Blues Brothers and Airport '77. She set a record for the highest stunt fall by a woman (105 feet).  She has held as many as 22 speed records on land and water. A movie was made about her life in 1979 titled Silent Victory: The Kitty O'Neil Story. You can read more about her land speed record at a Sports Illustrated article here.  The article explains that she could have broken the men's record as well and why she didn't do so.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

ASL typeface

Peter A. Blacksberg
(image from RIT)
ASL Manutype Black is a modern typeface for American Sign Language designed by Peter A. Blacksberg. Blacksberg attended Rochester Institute of Technology where he studied photography and developed an interest in sign language when he took part in an NTID summer interpreter program.  He says:
As a photography student in 1972, I became fascinated by the visual aspects of fingerspelling and the challenge of representing hand shapes as graphical forms. I proposed an independent study project and developed a complete typeface along the lines of the international signage that I had seen in Europe. I spent hours reducing visual complexity while retaining and enhancing elements which made each letter shape identifiable.
The RIT official announcement is here.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Deaf men fight gun-toting robber

Police in Parma Ohio say after a "21-year-old man walked into a gas station and fatally shot its owner during a robbery, the man turned to two customers who are deaf," according to WEWS-TV. Here is a video report. No captions but you can read the story here.

A writer gets to know her deaf neighbor

A Washington Post story "gives a face to the thousands of deaf senior citizens out there without support" as one commenter writes. And it's the story of what's happened to one of Gallaudet's former biology professors. She lost her father to the Nazis while her mother's death ended up bringing her to the attention of a neighbor. Read the story in Washington Post here.

Wrestler sues over terp rules

A high school wrestler is suing "a Michigan athletic association for not allowing him to use the interpreter during wrestling matches." The Detroit News quotes Ellis Kempf's mother as saying, "We aren’t seeking money and he doesn’t want an advantage. He just wants to continue using his interpreter so he can understand what his coach wants him to do during matches.” Read the full story from the Detroit News here or watch a video report from WJBK-TV. No captions but the text of the story is here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Linguists document ASL Philly 'accent'

"There's this real pride in how different Philadelphia ASL is," says one of the professors in the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Linguistics. That's why they did some research on the accent. Read about their work here.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Usher doesn't stop Rebecca

Usher Syndrome hasn't stopped Rebecca Alexander from making an Alcatraz swim, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, authoring books and speaking out about her challenges and attitude. Seattle's KING-TV has a video report.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

New York Hearing Aid Scam

Joshua Miller
(image from audibelsyracuse.com )
Upstate New York prosecutors filed charges against Joshua Miller this week. According to Syracuse.com, the state Inspector General's Office said he outfitted hundreds of state employees with $1.6 million in "earbuds and ear plugs meant for video gaming and hunting, then billed state insurance as though those items were hearing aids." And that's not the only charge against the owner of Syracuse Hearing Aid Centers. Read the story here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"I'd rather be deaf"

image from CNN digital short
CNN's digital short All-American Family is about a family of five where everyone is deaf-except the oldest son. He tells CNN that people often ask him if he wishes his family were all hearing. He tells them, "I'd rather be deaf." Read the story and see the video here.

Broadway Cast on Seth Meyers

The cast of the Broadway show Spring Awakening performed on Late Night With Seth Meyers last night. Here's a video of Touch Me. with an introduction from Marlee Matlin.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sisters get implants together

Two Minnesota sisters both with hearing loss are journeying through the process of getting cochlear implants together. KMSP-TV has a video report

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Harvard Law's 1st Deaf-Blind graduate

The first deaf-blind student to earn a degree from Harvard Law School plans to work to make accessibility technology more available. Haben Girma spoke at the White House this week during the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Friday, November 20, 2015

"Victim of a School Sex Club"?

The parents of a student at the California School for the Deaf says their son is the victim of an alleged school sex club. They've filed a lawsuit against the school says their son was raped and drugged on the campus.Los Angeles TV station KABC has a video report.

Portland's new captioning Ordinance

There's a new ordinance in Portland requiring any public televisions-such as at a bar or doctor's office- to turn on the closed captioning. The new rule goes into effect before the end of the year. A violation gets a $500 fine. Read more about it here.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Deaf actors to perform at White House

The entire cast of Spring Awakening will perform at the White House this coming Wednesday (Nov. 18). It's part of the 25th year anniversary celebration of ADA. You can even see it live-streamed on Whitehouse.gov here. The Broadway show uses ASL and combines deaf and hearing actors in the presentation.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

'Creed' star wears hearing aids in film

image from trailer for Creed
In the upcoming Rocky franchise spinoff, Creed, actress Tessa Thompson plays the love interest of title character Adonis Creed. What makes her character unique is her hearing aids. Read more from the Associated Press here.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Austin: a top city for deaf-owned businesses

The number of deaf-owned businesses in the country is growing, and Austin is leading the pack, reports KXAN-TV. Watch the video report below.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Deaf West Wins Awards

It started in Los Angeles before moving to Broadway. Deaf West's Spring Awakening, a revival of a theatrical hit combining the skills of both deaf and hearing actors, took the top honors at Monday's 2015 Ovation Awards-a celebration of LA performances and stage. The show won best intimate theater for its run at the Inner-City Arts' Rosenthal Theater and best large theater for Spring Awakening's run in Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Read about the other awards it won in the LA Times here.

Monday, November 9, 2015

FCC roundtable event on captioning tomorrow

The FCC is holding a meeting to discuss closed captioning of public access and governmental programming tomorrow (November 10) at the FCC Headquarters in Washington, DC. Topics include "the benefits of captioning such programming, the relevant captioning obligations of programmers and stations, and effective and efficient captioning solutions." The event is free but if you can't attend live captioned video will be available at www.fcc.gov/live. Read the complete announcement here.

Deaf man robbed by teens

A deaf man was robbed at knife point yesterday in Odenton, Maryland. Read the story from Baltimore's WMAR-TV here.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Victims of sexual abuse at deaf school speak out

Students at an east London school for deaf children "tried to tell people they were being sexually abused without success." Students were punished for signing at this oral school, according to a BBC report here.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Threat to Kill Students at Deaf School

A Dallas man is behind bars--accused of threatening to kill students Texas School for the Deaf in Austin. Andre Dwayne Williams is 30 years old, deaf, and faces up to a decade in prison. KXAN-TV has a video report.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Zombie-Walk Driver found Guilty

Matthew Pocci says he was frightened and protecting his family when he drove his car through a crowd during a Zombie Walk in San Diego. But a jury disagreed and found him guilty of felony reckless driving. Pocci faces as much as three years behind bars. Here's a video report from KGTV. No captions but you can read the story here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

3 years ago today

The ASL interpreter for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg began getting serious social media attention two years ago because of her efforts with Super Storm Sandy. The passionate style of Lydia Callis has, according to New York magazine, given "New Yorkers a legitimate reason to smile" Lydia Callis became an internet sensation when videos and gifs of her began circulating. Here is a little background on her:

Age: 30

Home: Westchester, New York

Family: Her mother is deaf and so are her three siblings

Job: ASL interpreter

Education: 2010 alumna of NTID's ASL Interpretation Program

Experience: Worked for RIT as an interpreter on campus for a year after she graduated

Here is a video showing her in action.


Comedian Chelsea Handler took time during her late night talk show on the E! Network to mock Callis, which you can see below. The National Association of the Deaf wrote an open letter to the show asking for an apology "for with the despicable manner in which you mocked American Sign Language (ASL) and the profession of sign language interpreters" because ASL interpreters “served a valuable purpose in communicating the critical and urgent information during an emergency to everyone including those who are deaf and hard of hearing.” The skit was a “totally offensive mockery of American Sign Language.”




The attention reached a peak on November 3, 2012, when NBC's Saturday Night Live offered its take on the expressive sign language interpreter. SNL newcomer Cecily Strong imitated Callis, followed by Nasim Pedrad who pretended to be New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s signer. The skit (which you can see below) did not sit well with Marlee Matlin. Instead of funny, the Oscar winning actress says it was just "dumb". Matlin wrote, "Millions of deaf people use sign (language). Why poke fun/fake it? Poke fun at ME but not the language. Sign is not mime; it is a legit language... I don't mind fun poked at me, as I poke back. But at the language, that millions use? It feels childish and insulting. Deaf people HAVE a sense of humor... But faking signs that we use isn't the same. Imagine if a show started making fun of Spanish (using fake Spanish) or Japanese. Do you think they'd actually get away with it? Uh, no..." See the video below.

.

Monday, November 2, 2015

DeafNation in Chicago

DeafNation Expo hits Chicago this Saturday (Nov 7). Join the trade show for exhibitions and entertainment at no charge. You'll find it at the Building M, Wellness and Sports Center. Find out more here.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Kidnapping turns out to be misunderstanding

A woman jumped out of a Lyft car, breaking her ankle because she believed the deaf driver was kidnapping her. SF Gate explains how the misunderstanding happened here.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Live-Time Closed Captioning

A group of researchers are trying to raise money for what they are calling the Live-Time Closed Captioning System or LTCCS. It clips to the frame of the user’s glasses. Like Google Glass this wearable is intended to be used in daily life to provide closed captioning of nearby conversations. The technology is supposed to work more quickly than apps that provide real time translation because the LTCCS is dedicated to captioning. You can find more about the effort on Indiegogo or watch the video below.

One of the largest deaf discrimination settlements ever

New York City will pay a deaf woman $750,000 for the way NYPD officers treated her. The city agree to a settlement this week with Staten Island landlord Diana Williams. In 2011, she was attempting to evict a tenant when officers wrongfully arrested her and held her for 24 hours without giving her access to an interpreter. Williams was released without any charges being filing. You can read the settlement here.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Deaf student: offensive sign used at game

Matt Cerar says he is "shocked" by a sign being used for school spirit at Utah State University basketball games. Salt Lake City's KSL-TV has a video report. The video does not have captioning but you can read the story here.

azfamily.com 3TV | Phoenix Breaking News, Weather, Sport

Friday, October 23, 2015

Lawsuit goes after Hollywood Studios

A lawsuit filed in LA accuses some major movie and TV-show makers of discriminating against the deaf by failing to offer streaming captioning. Named in the suit: Disney, Fox, Warner Bros, Paramount, Universal and Sony. The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf filed it as a class action suit on behalf of its members. AG Bell President Meredith Sugar said:
For people who are deaf and hard of hearing to understand a show, captions and subtitles are essential. If part of the show is not captioned or subtitled, then they cannot follow what is being said and they miss out on enjoying popular culture the same way as other people without hearing loss enjoy. Studios believe that copyright law prohibits them from captioning song lyrics in movies and television shows. That is just flat-out wrong. Courts have made clear that reproducing otherwise copyrighted material for the purpose of making the material accessible to people with disabilities is not a violation of the federal Copyright Act.
Read the details of the lawsuit here.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Pot-laced brownies at Deaf school

Students at the California School for the Deaf, Riverside, had to be admitted to the hospital yesterday because someone gave them brownies with marijuana in them. Read more from the Press Enterprise here.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Amazon agrees to expand closed captions

Amazon will put captioning on nearly all of its rental videos by 2016. That's what the company said it would do in order to avoid a lawsuit threatened by the National Association of the Deaf. Vice President of Amazon Video Jim Freeman said, “We are happy to partner with NAD to extend captions even deeper into our back catalog of titles.” The NAD's Howard Rosenblum said his organization is "thrilled by Amazon’s decision to make its online entertainment experience more accessible to deaf and hard of hearing customers who also look to Amazon to fulfill their needs for comprehensive goods and services." Read more at the NAD website here.

Deaf NFL player arrested

The only deaf player on the Seattle Seahawks is off the team for now. Bellevue Police arrested Derrick Coleman following a hit-and-run, so the team has suspended him indefinitely. Read more details here. Here's raw video of the accident scene from KIRO-TV.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

deaf or Deaf? Academics weigh in

Academics argue over when and whether to capitalize "deaf" in a Chronicle of Higher Ed stories. The author of the article says the question is "whether students should be encouraged to capitalize 'self-defined references for specific groups,' as Penn State’s office puts it, in order to convey respect—or whether such capitalization implies advocacy and is inappropriate in an analytical paper." In the comment section, there are academics taking both sides. Read the story here.

Switched Gag Reel

Here's the gag reel from ABC Family’s Switched at Birth--now in its 4th season.

ASL or Captioning?

Not everyone in Canada's Deaf community supports a CBC decision to include ASL during a recent 90-minute news special. Activist Michael Hale tells the CBC, "ASL-dubbed is not a way to go," except for emergency announcements and government-related events. Read the full story from the CBC here.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Changes coming to Gallaudet

Gallaudet University is getting ready to file the paperwork "for the first phase of a planned-unit development it plans with Chevy Chase developer The JBG Cos." The approval process could take up to two years. It's part of Gallaudet's "vision for a mixed-use development along the Sixth Street border of its Northeast D.C. campus." Read the details in the Washington Business Journal here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Doctor Who writer talks about creating deaf TV characters

Deaf actress Sophie Stone is playing a role on Doctor Who to the “delight” of fans.’ Writer Toby Whithouse spoke with Entertainment Weekly at New York Comic Con about creating deaf characters on television. He said one thing that viewers loved about Stone's character was “the fact that she was heroic and she was clever and she was kick-ass, and she was sort of standing up to the Doctor.” Read the full story here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Prisoner suit given class-action status

A federal judge in Chicago is giving the go-ahead for a lawsuit about deaf prisoners to be treated as a class-action effort. The complaint against the Illinois prison system claims the inmates were denied interpreters and technology needed to communicate. The suit was first filed four years ago on behalf of 11 prisoners. Read a copy of the complaint here and the judge's order here.

New Computer Program Predicts Cochlear Implant Success

Researchers say they've developed software that can indicate whether a child will develop language skills after cochlear implant surgery. By looking at brain scans, Long (Jason) Lu, a member of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center team says:
This study identifies two features from our computer analysis that are potential biomarkers for predicting cochlear implant outcomes. We have developed one of the first successful methods for translating research data from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of hearing-impaired children into something with potential for practical clinical use with individual patients.
Read the details in the journal Brain and Behavior here or the hospital's press release here.

Monday, October 12, 2015

DeafNation in Portland

DeafNation Expo hits Portland this Saturday (Oct 17). Join the trade show for exhibitions and entertainment at no charge. You'll find it at the Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center. Find out more here.

SoCal deaf-friendly restaurant

A Southern California restaurant has installed sign language kiosks for Deaf customers. Read about what the PizzaBar is doing in Newport Beach's Daily Pilot here.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

10 Things to Know About Choreographing for Broadway's Deaf Actors

The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at the unique staging necessary to pull off Broadway's Spring Awakening. The show combines the talents of both deaf and hearing actors. Read about the choreography here.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hospital Settles Terp Complaints for $75k

A Georgia hospital has settled a complaint over it's handling of deaf patients. Floyd Medical Center in Rome will pay $75,000 to three Deaf people who didn't get the services required under ADA law. One woman went through a C-section without an interpreter. Floyd has agreed to change its procedures. Read more about the settlement here.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Gally has a new President

Roberta "Bobbi" Cordano
Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano will become Gallaudet's 11th president. The Board of Trustees picked the Minnesota foundation executive from a group of three finalists. Cordano is 51 years old and deaf. She attended Wisconsin's Beloit College before earning a law degree University of Wisconsin at Madison. She will will take office January 11, succeeding T. Alan Hurwitz. Heather Harker, chair of the Board of Trustees said:
“As our students are connecting with our vibrant community, discovering their academic and career aspirations, and influencing conversations and their futures, Ms. Cordano will be the kind of president to lead transformational change at the university. She’s the right person at the right time for Gallaudet.”
Read more at the Gallaudet website.

Monday, October 5, 2015

DeafNation comes to California

DeafNation Expo hits Pleasanton, California this Saturday (Oct 10). Join the trade show for exhibitions and entertainment at no charge. You'll find it at the Alameda County Fair. Find out more here.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Did T-Mobile & Sprint dodge required support for Deaf users?

T-Mobile and Sprint are getting grief from rival AT&T because they didn't bother to develop technology for deaf callers as part of their new Wi-Fi calling option. Users can "make calls over an internet connection rather than a traditional wireless connection" reports MotherBoard. Read the full story here.

Staging a Broadway Musical With Deaf Actors

"Staging a Broadway show is always a three-dimensional chess game. But this “Spring Awakening,” which uses eight deaf actors, eight hearing actors and seven onstage musicians, has added another layer of complexity and sparked a burst of theatrical innovation," the New York Times says. Read the full story here.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hope for Deaf Mexicans

Several deaf Mexicans have been granted asylum in the U.S. That doesn't happen to many people. Find out why a California attorney is having success with this novel approach. Read the story in Fusion here.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Murder at Gally: 15 years ago today

It was on this day in 2000 (Sept 27) that Joseph Mesa, Jr. beat Eric Plunkett to death in his Gallaudet dorm room. The killing put the school in a state of panic, with some students withdrawing from the school rather than living in a situation where they knew a murderer was among them. The terror came to an end in February of the next year when Mesa turned himself into police - but not before he killed again. Mesa stabbed Benjamin Varner in his Gallaudet dorm room more than dozen times, then turned himself into police a few days later. In July of 2002, the 22-year-old from Guam pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, telling jurors he saw hands wearing black gloves that told him in sign language to kill. Jurors convicted Mesa on all counts and a DC judge sentenced him to six life terms without the possibility of parole. Mesa is now serving time at the United States Penitentiary in Atwater, California near San Francisco, a high security facility.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

He was the 1st Gally Prez

Edward Miner Gallaudet 
Edward Miner Gallaudet served as president (1864–1910) of the school that would become Gallaudet University. He died on this date (Sept. 26) in 1917. Edward was the youngest of eight children born to Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. When plans were made to change the name of the school from the Columbia Institution for the instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, Edward Miner Gallaudet wanted the honor to go to his father, a a pioneer in deaf education, rather than himself. So the school was renamed Gallaudet College.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Deaf West production up for more than Dozen awards

Deaf West Theatre's latest effort earned 15 Ovation Award nominations. Although Spring Awakening officially opens on Broadway this coming Sunday, the show was first performed in Los Angeles. The Ovation awards are picked by local theater professionals in LA. The winner will be announced Nov. 9. For a list of of what awards Deaf West is nominated for, click here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sharing a role on Broadway

As the final touches are put on Deaf West Theater's Spring Awakening on Broadway, the show is drawing interest because of the use of two actors to play some roles. One of the actors in the lead role is from New Jersey and a local paper takes a look at the advantages and difficulties of having a deaf actor and hearing actor in the same role at the same time. Read the story here.

Monday, September 21, 2015

DeafNation in New Jersey

DeafNation Expo hits Edison, New Jersey this Saturday (Sept 26).Join the trade show for exhibitions and entertainment at no charge. You'll find it at the New Jersey Convention & Expo Center. Find out more here.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Deaf campers with ASL version of 'Home'

Camp Mark Seven's Deaf Film Camp got a lot of attention last year with an ASL rendition of Pharrell's song Happy--more than one million views. This year's Deaf campers (ages 13 to 16) have used their two-week experience to tackle Phillip Phillips' Home. They wrote, directed and produced the video. See for yourself.

Spring Awakening Gets Extension

Deaf West Theatre's Spring Awakening is getting such positive reviews on Broadway, the show is being extended. The new closing data is January 24. The show is performed by both deaf and hearing actors while simultaneously interpreted in spoken English and American Sign Language. For tickets and more info, click here.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Toddler part of hospital history

Tatum Lanier is the 1000th person to have cochlear implant surgery at the University of North Carolina's medical center. WTVD-TV has a video report.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

History's Deaf Astronomer

On this date (Sept 17) in 1764, John Goodricke was born in the Netherlands, though he lived most of his life in England. Goodricke only survived to the age of 21, but the deaf astronomer made a major impact on his field. Working with Edward Pigott, Goodricke learned to measure the variation of light coming from stars. This would eventually lead astronomers to figure out the distance of galaxies from the earth. While still a teenager, the Royal Society of London gave him the Copley Medal, making him the youngest person to be given its highest honor. Goodricke lost his hearing after a bout with a childhood disease, which might have been scarlet fever. He studied at the first school for deaf children in the British Isles, Thomas Braidwood’s Academy for the Deaf and Dumb in Edinburgh. Goodricke went on to study for three years at the Warrington Academy.

Monday, September 14, 2015

DeafNation in Louisville

DeafNation Expo hits Louisville this Saturday (Sept 19). Join the trade show for exhibitions and entertainment at no charge. You'll find it at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Find out more here.

Switched at Birth guide

After nearly four seasons, Switched at Birth has entered binge-worthy territory. It will take some 60 hours to watch them all. Wired Magazine has some suggestions on episodes of the deaf-focused show not to miss.. and others to skip. Check it out here.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Yosemite makes changes for deaf visitors

If you plan to visit Yosemite National Park, you may be expecting the park will provide a sign language interpreter. Yosemite has a long history of doing so. But things have changed and Mashable explains why here.

Deaf actor headed to Broadway

Daniel N. Durant is taking Broadway by storm. The New York Times profiles the deaf actor who is starting in Spring Awakening here.

Deaf man jailed without terp wins lawsuit

William Pierce spent more than 50 days without a sign language interpreter. A federal court found that his rights ADA rights were violated. Now a jury will decide how much money he gets. Read more at the Washington Post.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Deaf Section created at Football Stadium

Texas State has created a section in the team's football stadium designated for the deaf. KXAN-TV has a video report.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

RIT gets financial boost for DeafTEC

The National Science Foundation is giving $4 million to the National Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology. The money will go to keep DeafTEC going after a gift of $4.45 million got the project started four years ago. DeafTEC partners "with high schools, community colleges and industry with the goal of building a professional community that will improve access to technological education and employment for deaf and hard-of-hearing students." NTID’s principal investigator on the project is Donna Lange. She says, “DeafTEC’s goal has always been to successfully integrate more deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals into the workplace in highly-skilled technician jobs in which these individuals are currently underrepresented and underutilized." Read the details at RIT.

Grant To Help Domestic Violence Victims

A federal grant of $425,000 will go to the Willow Domestic Violence Center in Rochester, New York. The funds will support the agency's mission to help deaf victims of domestic violence. Read more from WXXI radio here.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Gally's $60k competition

Gallaudet University is holding a design competition based around DeafSpace Guidelines. The competition is being led the UK's Malcolm Reading Consultants. A new gateway plaza with a visitors’ pavilion is part of the requirement to get involved in the $60 million competition. A winner will be announced in February. You can read more about it here.

Friday, September 4, 2015

An ASL Lottery for Broadway Tickets

Deaf West Theatre's Spring Awakening is coming to Broadway next week and there's a unique way you can see the show. An ASL ticket lottery two hours before each performance will give front row seats to a group of people for just $35. There's more information here. And you can read a profile of one of the stars in the Courier-Journal here.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Cali Education Bill

A California lawmaker is asking the state Assembly to set new educational standards for deaf students. James Gallagher of Yuba City proposed Senate Bill 210 partly because he has two deaf brothers and sees the need personally. Read the bill and see where it stands here. Some deaf students helped Gallagher explain the bill to the Assembly. You can see this in a video here.

Looking Back: School for the Deaf’s origin

The South Dakota School for the Deaf has an interesting history. Read about its origins here.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Hospital settles suit over failure to provide interpreters

A California hospital will pay $100,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by two deaf women. Arrowhead Regional Medical Center refused to provide Trixy Betsworth with an interpreter when her husband (also deaf) was struck by lightening and admitted to the hospital. Betsworth filed suit with Jacquelyn Fithian who had been a patient at the Los Angeles-area facility and didn't get an interpreter at any point during her three-day stay. Arrowhead has agreed to provide qualified interpreters and other services in the future when requested. Read more at the Disability Right Center website.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Accessibility technology in a hearing-centric world

The Verge's Top Shelf visits the Motion Light lab at Gallaudet University to find out how motion capture technology can make a difference in the reading level of Deaf children. The video also presents information on closed captioning efforts and hearing aids.

Gallaudet's new look

While Gallaudet University looks for a new president, the school
is changing its logo and website. The Washington Business Journal has more here.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

New Maryland Football Coach

The football team at the Maryland School for the Deaf has a new coach-Ryan Bonheyo. As the school gets ready to kick off the season, WHAG-TV decided to do a report on how things are going.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

New Super for Deaf School

The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind is getting its first deaf superintendent. Martin P. Keller Jr. comes from the Indiana School for the Deaf where he served as principal of the high school and middle school. Keller starts his job in September. He has degrees from Lamar University, Gallaudet University, McDaniel College, and Xavier University. The previous superintendent, Lynn Boyer, was at the school since 2011 and retired this year. Read more here.

Deaf Dance Festival

The 2015 3rd annual Bay Area Deaf Dance Festival will celebrate the creatives talents of Deaf and Hard of Hearing fine and performing artists in the disciplines of dance, music, painting, and handcrafted artisan wares. It will include workshops on the arts. It takes place August 28-30 at the ODC Theater in San Francisco. There's more info here.

Whatever Happened to.. Jane Fernandes

image from guilford.edu
When the Gallaudet University Board decided to appoint provost Jane K. Fernandes as president in 2006, students protested until the board revoked her appointment. You can read about what happened in the Washington Post. Fernandes, who was born deaf, went on to became president of North Carolina's Guilford College in 2014 and will officially be inaugurated as president of the school in a ceremony on campus this coming Wednesday (August 26). You can read more about it at the Guilford website.

Friday, August 21, 2015

FCC: Video platform for ASL coming soon

The FCC is launching a video program that will make it easier to communicate with government agencies using sign language. It's called Accessible Communications for Everyone or ACE. how it will work: an ASL-user will select who they want to chat with and they will be taken to a relay service. There will likely be some creative developments over time because the code is open source. ACE is not supposed to replace the systems already in place, just provide video relay to more people in more ways. The FCC already has an ASL support line last year-something you can expect from the EEOC and the Census Bureau soon. The ACE effort is a collaboration between Gallaudet University, the Rochester Institute of Technology's National Technology Institute of the Deaf, and TCS Associates. A beta version will be rolled out later this year and a final version expected by spring. Read more about it from the FCC here and there is a recent White House press release here. Below is a video introduction to VATRP which stands for Video Access Technology Reference Platform (VATRP). You can read more about VATRP here.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

This Is How You Make an All-Deaf Music Video

The Daily Beast pays a visit to the set of the Deaf Professional Arts Network’s latest music video shows. D-PAN co-founder Joel Martin told The Daily Beast that the vibrations they produced while the music was playing “goes straight through your bones... You feel the rhythm. When you see a deaf person moving perfectly with the song and hitting every mark, you might not think that they are deaf, but it’s all through the vibrations and sensing the movement of other people.”  Read the full story here.

Deaf man charged with threatening to blow up Statue of Liberty

A deaf West Virginia man is facing charges for allegedly threatening to blow up the Statue of Liberty, reports the New York Post. Jason Paul Smith was arrested in Texas yesterday. More than 3000 people were evacuated from Liberty Island because of the threat. The FBI says Smith used the name of 1993 World Trade Center bombing conspirator Abdul Yasin and could get as much as five years in jail for the hoax. KJTV-TV in Lubbock has a video report. captioning option here).

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Deaf woman slapped with home security alarm fines

A California woman is fighting fines from the city of Vallejo, bring on because her home security company kept calling 911 when an alarm was tripped rather than checking with her first. WLS-TV has a video report.

Monday, August 17, 2015

ASL version of song 'Happy' wins award

An ASL version of Pharrell's song Happy picked up Adweek's award for Best Cover Music Award. The video was put together by Camp Mark Steven for Deaf Film Camp's rendition. The Watch Awards "highlights the best in online video content, from the hilarious to the heartfelt."Read more about the winners in Ad Week. Here's the feel-good award-winning video.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Parents: Sex Club at Deaf School

The parents of a deaf student are suing the California School for the Deaf in Riverside. They claim their son was raped as part of a sex club at the school. KABC-TV reports the "ringleader" is now at a difference school.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Welcome to Mozzeria!

San Francisco's Mozzeria restaurant is not only Deaf-owned, it is Deaf-staffed. Learn more about Melody and Russell Stein's world-class pizzeria in this remarkable six-minute short film.

The Small Business Revolution Presents: Mozzeria's Small Business Story from The Small Business Revolution on Vimeo.

Gally picking new prez

Gallaudet has narrowed it's search for a new president. The three finalists to replace T. Alan Hurwitz and take over next year all are women and all are deaf. Here is a bit of info on each of them:

Roberta "Bobbi" Cordano 
(image from 
Gallaudet University)
Roberta "Bobbi" Cordano holds a B.A. from Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., and a Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is currently the vice president of programs for the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in St. Paul, Minn., overseeing direct community-based programs in the areas of early childhood, community mental health, school reform, among other areas. Her full bio can be found here.


Pamela Lloyd-Ogoke
(image from 
Gallaudet University)
Pamela Lloyd-Ogoke holds a B.A. from Rochester Institute of Technology and a M.A. in deafness rehabilitation from New York University. She is currently the chief of community integration services and supports for the North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, providing budget oversight and oversight of statewide programs that enhance access, independence and outreach. Her full bio can be found here.




Annette Reichman
(image from 
Gallaudet University)
Annette Reichman holds a B.A. in psychology from Gallaudet University and M.S. in rehabilitation counseling with the deaf from the University of Arizona. She is currently the director of the Office of Special Institutions in the U.S. Department of Education, which oversees statutorily funded special institutions including Gallaudet, National Technical Institute for the Deaf and the American Printing House for the Blind. Her full bio can be found here.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sign language education program ending

Vietnam spent millions launching an education project for deaf children. But after only five years, the Inter-generational Deaf Education Outreach is being shut down. Part of the reason for the failure? Parents "did not bring them to schools (for the deaf).They did not want their children to use sign language, but speak instead," said IDEO program manager Le Thi Kim Cuc. Read more here.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Judge: false arrest suit can go forward

A deaf woman from Staten Island, New York can go ahead with her lawsuit against the NYPD. Diana Williams says cops violated her Civil Rights, according to the New York Post. She was "locked up for 24 hours without an interpreter." The video below shows her and another man who also says his rights were violated.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Bill to get Hearing Aid Covered by Insurance

A bill working its way through Congress would require require that Medicare pay for hearing exams and hearing aids. The Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2015 wouldn't directly affect private insurance, it might lead the way for states to address the issue, which is important to many in the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing communities. You can read the text of the bill here and read a column explaining the importance of the proposed law here.

Short Film: The Kiss

A short film about a deaf couple and a hearing couple has won several awards at Film Festivals. Charlie Swinbourne's The Kiss took Best Film and Best Script honors at the Basque Region Festival of Deaf Arts and Films.

Dad's implant tattoo

image from Facebook
The six-year-old daughter of Alistair Campbell got a second cochlear implant, so to show support for her, Campbell had a tattoo that looks like an implant placed on his bald head. The New Zealand Herald has more here.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

brothers get implants together

Elias Goutoufas had his cochlear implant turned on Wednesday, just a couple of months after his brother had his implant turned on. WFLA-TV has a video report (o captions but you can read the story here).

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Cochlear's "silence" on animal testing

Australia's implant maker, Cochlear, is coming under fire for how it's using animals to test the latest version of its "bionic ear." One commentator says the company "maimed animals" in the process. Read the full story here.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Deaf man gets $150,000 for injuries during arrest

This city of Framingham, Massachusetts will pay Jon Dresser $150,000 to settle his lawsuit. Dresser claimed during his 2010 arrest, police injured his hands. He underwent multiple surgeries afterward, suffering permanent injuries, impairing his ability to sign. Read the full story in the MetroWest here.

It's being called “WhatsApp for the deaf”

image from a Glide YouTube video
Glide was supposed to be a WhatsApp for video messages. But its creators accidentally made a “WhatsApp for the deaf.” Glide currently has 20 million registered users, of which Caras estimates about 250,000 of are deaf, according to Quartz. Glide is looking at ways to create instant subtitles for sign language, or converting text into visual graphics. Read more at Quartz here.

the first deaf contestant on 'America's Next Top Model'

image from Nyle DiMarco's Instagram account
Meet Nyle DiMarco, the first deaf contestant on America's Next Top Model. DiMarco attended Gallaudet University and will appear on the TV reality show for the first time this coming Wednesday (August 5). "It is inspiring being the first deaf participant on ANTM, knowing I am making a difference by reaching out and educating others about our Deaf Culture and teaching sign language to other cast members," said DiMarco. Maryland's Frederick News-Post interviewed him here and Gallaudet issued a news release about it you can read here.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Gally gets an "A"

Forbes magazine has issued it's annual grades for private college, based on their financial health. Gallaudet University earned an "A" after Forbes looked at its endowment, reserves, assets, surplus, tuition, admission rate and other factors. If you look at how other schools on the list did, you'll see that's a major vote of confidence for the school's financial health. See the list here.

Explaining The Brain Stem Implant

Bloomberg has a video that explains what's happening on the Auditory Brainstem Implant frontier here.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Deaf woman assaulted, robbed

A deaf woman was attacked and robbed during the middle of the day in Austin. KXAN-TV has a video report.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

NY Deaf couple: Hospitals refused to provide terp

A New York-area couple say a hospital refused to provide a sign language interpreter when the husband, Alfred Ortiz was admitted in January after having a heart attack. They are suing Westchester Medical Center-as well as the Orange Regional Medical Center. The couple says both facilities denied their request for an interpreter. Read the full story at the Daily Journal here.

NJ school refuses to admit deaf man

A school in New Jersey won't let Kenneth Frilando attend because he is deaf. So the New Yorker is suing the Smith & Solomon School of Tractor Trailer Driving" in Linden, New Jersey. WABC-TV has a video report (thanks to Joseph Frilando‎ for alerting us to this story).

Friday, July 24, 2015

One state is prepping for deaf jurors

Massachusetts is getting ready to start calling prospective deaf jurors to come in. "The state is two years into a three-year pilot program designed to work the kinks out of the process," reports the Boston Herald. Read the full story here.

Marlee coming to Broadway!

image from http://www.marleematlin.net
Deaf West’s Spring Awakening is getting a boast from the announcement that Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin will join the cast when the show hits Broadway in September. A news release quotes Matlin as saying, “It’s been 30 years since I had the opportunity to be part of the groundbreaking Children of a Lesser God and I couldn’t be more proud and honored to have been asked to join Deaf West Theatre’s innovative revival of Spring Awakening on Broadway.” Previews begin at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre Tuesday, September 8 with opening night set for Sunday, September 27. The show will run through Saturday, January 9.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The man behind Zest Finance

He was Google’s Chief Information Officer and he earned a doctorate from Princeton. But Douglas Merrill left the search giant to start his own online company to lend money to people who "don’t have access to regular bank loans." Find out what the man who lost his hearing as a child for a few years is up to in a story from Business Insider.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Deaf film camp starts soon

Less than a year ago a video put together at a deaf camp racked up more than half a million views in only two weeks. While many videos have been posted on YouTube featuring Pharrell's Happy song, this one featured American Sign Language. Upworthy even said the work of two dozen deaf students was "better than the original." It was filmed at Deaf Film Camp which takes place each summer at upstate New York's Camp Mark Seven. The camp is about to get underway again this year (July 26). You can find out more here and you can read the Deaf Camp's Facebook page here.

A call for deaf actors

The New York auditions for the Deaf West Theater's Spring Awakening brought out an enthusiastic group yesterday. The New York Times has a report here on what happened in preparation for its Broadway debut in September.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mother: Deaf son abused in prison

The mother of a deaf New York State prison system inmate says she is getting letters form other inmates threatening to kill the 20-year-old son-and that her son is being abused. WIVB-TV has a video report.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

FCC plans roundtable event on captioning

The FCC is holding a meeting to discuss closed captioning of public access and governmental programming November 10 at the FCC Headquarters in Washington, DC. Topics include "the benefits of captioning such programming, the relevant captioning obligations of programmers and stations, and effective and efficient captioning solutions." The event is free but if you can't attend live captioned video will be available at www.fcc.gov/live. Read the complete announcement here.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Florida man hospitalized after attack

Police in the Tampa, Florida-area are looking for the two men who attacked and stabbed a deaf man. They approached him from behind, just a few hundred yards from a mall. WTVT-TV has a video report. There's no captioning but you can read the story here.

FOX 13 News

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Genetic tweaks may reverse some deafness

Researchers are getting close to reversing deafness caused by genetic defects through gene therapy. Dr. Tobias Moser tells NPR "I'd say we are very close" to having gene therapies that can restore hearing loss from a wide range of causes. "The therapy is designed to deliver a gene to the inner ear that generates new hair cells." Read the full story here.

A first for London

Leia Armitage is the first child in the London area to get a brainstem implant. The Daily Mail has her story here and below is a video of her parents (no captions).

The Grateful Dead's Deaf Zone

The Grateful Dead's "Fare Thee Well" concert in Chicago included a "Deaf Zone," where fans could follow sign interpreters. the Wall Street Journal has a video report here.

How do you produce a musical when half the cast cannot hear the music?

Spring Awakening isn't the first production for Deaf West Theater that has combined both deaf and hearing performers. BuzzFeed has a video showing how the group used ASL and spoken English in show that will make its way to Broadway this year.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Motion Light Lab at Gally

NPR takes a look at the unique work going on at the Motion Light Lab (ML2) at Gallaudet University where high tech is being used to translate research into tangible educational products. "In its latest venture, the team wants to pair original ASL rhymes with a 3-D signing avatar, a concept that could eventually be rendered into a signing cartoon animal on a kids show, for example." Read the full story here.