Monday, October 21, 2019

Deaf father and his newborn

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Signmark in Hong Kong

Image from https://twitter.com/signmarkmusic
Finnish deaf rapper Signmark is preparing for his second performance in Hong Kong next month. He was born deaf and says:
My family is deaf, but my grandparents are hearing, so th
ey didn’t know any sign language. I watched as my grandfather was playing the piano and my grandmother was singing. I began lip-reading what she was singing and then I started signing it to my parents. They got involved and realized that music is something that connects people. “Then I translated hundreds of songs into sign language; different artists’ songs, for instance those of Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson and Metallica.
The South China Morning Post takes a look at the remarkable artist here.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Deaf students sue over decades-old sexual abuse

A dozen women "who attended the New York School for the Deaf decades ago are suing the school, claiming they were sexually abused by the man who supervised their dorm." One of the women said, "He abused all of us in our early childhood... That's a scar and trauma that stays with you. We were little girls... We didn't know how to take care of something that needed (to be told)." Below is a video from the Westchester Journal News about the suit and you can read more about the story here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

New finding about Deaf infants and their Parents

A new study finds that deaf infants exposed to American Sign Language are especially tuned to a parent's eye gaze and "at a more advanced level than hearing infants." The study "stems from broader research into early learning and finds that Deaf infants of Deaf parents may be more attuned than hearing infants to the social and visual signals of others." It was recently published in the journal Developmental Science. Read more from Science Daily here.

Monday, October 14, 2019

A deaf congregation grows in New Jersey

"What started with one interpreter has grown into a church for the deaf and hearing" in Newark, New Jersey. Read about what's happening at Chosen Generation Ministries in NJ.com here.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Deaf Woman Dies in Arson Fire

A deaf woman and her two-year-old daughter died in a fire—it was intentionally set by a man who said he was trying to get back at his girlfriend. Star Milligan tried to save her daughter by wrapping her in a blanket and using her body to protect her from the flames. The Fox TV station in Detriot has a video report below or read the story here.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

An Emergency System for Deaf Beach-goers

An emergency system for deaf beach-goers called Beach Emergency Evacuation Lights System (BEELS) will get its first workout in Torrance Beach. There will be a ribbon-cutting and day at the beach for the deaf community next month. Within two years BEELS is expected to be in place along LA's coastline. Read more about it in the LA Times here.

DeafBlind Art

DeafBlind writer John Lee Clark talks about art he can touch in a Poetry Magazine post. He poses the question: We have DeafBlind artists, but do we have DeafBlind art? Read his entire piece here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Young Deaf Fan Joins Carrie Underwood on Stage

Carrie Underwood invited 9-year-old Savannah Dahan to perform The Champion with her during a concert stop in Washington, DC over the weekend. Access Hollywood has a video report.

Monday, October 7, 2019

The history behind RI School for the Deaf

The Rhode Island School for the Deaf was started by Mary Ann Lippitt who was born on this date, Oct. 7,  in the year 1823. Her daughter became deaf after contracting Scarlet Fever in 1856. "Lippitt created her own program and founded the Providence Day School for the Deaf in 1876. Her husband Henry Lippitt, who had become governor in 1875, used his own influence to inspire the State to take over the administration of the school the following year." Read more here.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Suit in Utah over Terps Dismissed

A lawsuit filed by deaf students against the Utah Shakespeare Festival was immediately dismissed. The festival refused to provide sign language interpreters for their performance of Hamlet. At issue is whether offering captioning was adequate accommodations. Read the full story in the Salt Lake Tribune here.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Jury awards Deaf man $125,000

A jury is awarding David Updike $125,000 in damages after deciding that Oregon's Multnomah County failed to provide him a sign language interpreter while he was in jail. Oregon live reports that a linguistics expert testified during the three-day trial that "Updike, who was born deaf to hearing parents, can’t read lips proficiently and doesn’t read English well." Read the full story here.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Deaf Actor on Netflix show

image from natashaofili.com
One of the actors on a new Netflix show called The Politician is deaf. Natasha Ofili plays a no-nonsense principal in four episodes. Ofili started out with an eye toward fashion but switched careers about five years ago. So far, she's appeared in several short films, theater productions, and commercials. And soon she'll be seen on Amazon Prime's Undone. a member of the National Black Deaf Advocates association, Ofili lost her hearing as a toddler. Read more of her story here. Below is the trailer.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Docu shows deafness as a gift, not as a disability

A new documentary about hearing loss takes a look at Beethoven, filmmaker’s son, and her deaf parents. Irene Taylor Brodsky first introduced her parents in her 2007 film Hear and Now. A Washington Post reviewer calls Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements a "moving and thought-provoking film." Read the review here. Below is a video interview of Brodsky.

19 years ago today: Murder at Gallaudet

It was on this day (Sept 27)  in 2000 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 living 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 a dozen times. 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 Washington, DC judge sentenced him to six life terms without the possibility of parole. Mesa began serving time at the United States Penitentiary in Atwater, California near San Francisco, a high-security facility.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

On this date... 28 years ago

On Sept 26, 1991, a major TV show debuted that—for the first time—featured a deaf or hard of hearing actor in a lead role. The NBC police drama Reasonable Doubts ran from 1991–1993 and starred Academy-Award winner Marlee Matlin as Tess Kaufman, a prosecutor who fought for the rights of the accused. She portrayed a lawyer who happened to be deaf—instead of just a deaf lawyer. In 1994, she joined the cast of Picket Fences for a couple of seasons. The Seinfeld TV show made a nod to Reasonable Doubts during an episode called The Pitch. When Jerry and George visit NBC they sit under a poster showing Mark Harmon and Marlee Matlin was on the wall of Seinfeld episode.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Deaf Awareness Week Celebration

It's Deaf Awareness Week and KIII-TV has a video report on a celebration of Deaf Culture and ASL in Corpus Christi. You can read the story here.

Lawsuits over Hospitals not providing Terps

A healthcare provider is facing two lawsuits for not providing ASL interpreters for deaf patients. Intermountain Healthcare, which operates Primary Children’s Hospital and McKay Dee Hospital, released a statement saying, despite the legal action, it takes ADA and all other applicable laws "very seriously." KUTV has a video report (or read the story here).

Monday, September 23, 2019

Review of Deaf West's New Show

image from DeafWestTheatre.org
LA's Deaf West Theatre is performing The Solid Life of Sugar Water through October 13 and the LA Times says the stage arrangement is quite unusual: "The actors playing Phil and Alice stand on the footboard of a vertical prop bed, but scenic designer Sean Fanning’s trompe l’oeil, bird’s-eye-view perspective makes it look like they’re lying flat, while we, hovering somewhere around the ceiling, look down on them." Read the full review here.
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Judge: videophones must go in Colorado state prisons

A judge says the Colorado Department of Corrections must make videophones available to every deaf inmate. That's the outcome of a lawsuit prompted by the decades-old technology in state prisons. Read the full story at the Denver Post here.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

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.

On this day in History.. Miss America

On this date (Sept. 17) in 1994, Heather Whitestone of Alabama became the first deaf Miss America.

Monday, September 16, 2019

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. The first game that season was played on this date (Sept. 16) against the Philidelphia Eagles. Bonnie Sloan 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.

University Sued over Failure to Provide Interpreters

Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is being sued by four students who say the school violated ADA law by not providing a sign language interpreter in their classes. They say the school failed to pay the interpreters for previous work. The four deaf students are from Saudi Arabia. Read more at The Advocate here. You'll find the suit here.

This Day in History: The 1st deaf player in the NFL

Bonnie Sloan in the NFL
On this day (Sept. 16) in 1973, the first deaf player ran onto the field for the St. Louis Cardinals against the Philadelphia Eagles. Bonnie Sloan played in four games at defensive tackle and only lasted one season, because of knee injuries, but he had made his mark at the age of 25. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder was a 10th-round draft pick out of Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he was the first player to bench press 500 pounds. Sloan was an All-Ohio Valley Conference defensive tackle at the college. The City of Hendersonville, Tennessee honored him by declaring a Bonnie Sloan Day. After Sloan came defensive lineman Kenny Walker. He played college ball at Nebraska and played in 31 games for the Denver Broncos in 1991 and 1992. Seattle Seahawks running back Derrick Coleman entered the NFL in 2012, becoming the first deaf person to play offense in the league. Coleman was on the roster for the 2014 Super Bowl pitting Seattle against Denver.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Rise of the Deaf Architecture

It was on the campus of Gallaudet University nearly two decades ago that a workshop took place that would "change the way the world’s only university for the deaf and hard-of-hearing engaged with architecture and design." The Washington Post has a look at how the deaf architecture got started here.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Deaf Woman Refused Service at Drive Thru

A San Jose Jack in the Box refused service to a deaf woman last month—and there's a video showing the worker mocking her by pretending to sign. KRON-TV has a video report (or read the story here).

Sunday, September 8, 2019

A Legal Battle over Text Captions for Audiobooks

Book publishers are suing Amazon to stop the internet company from offering text captions for audiobooks through Audible. Publishers say it's a copyright violation. Audible says that since users can't scroll through the text there's no problem. The feature is called "Captions" and will be available starting Tuesday for Amazon-owned and public domain titles. The works of publishers like HarperCollins and Macmillan, who are suing Audible will not be included until the dispute is resolved. You'll find the text of the lawsuit here.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Company Sued over Treatment of Deaf Job Applicant

A Denver company is being sued for refusing to hire a qualified deaf person, according to an EEOC lawsuit. Carefree of Colorado told Anna Biryukova the wouldn't hire her because her deafness could be a “challenge” and present “safety issues.” Carefree declined to comment. Read the full story from the EEOC here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Service Animal Rules

What are the rules for service animals? Seattle's KING-5 has a video report (or read the story here).

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Man tried to sexually assault a deaf woman

Police in Forestville, Maryland are looking for the man accused of attempting to sexually assault a woman who had asked for directions earlier this month. The police have released a sketch of the man and a map of where the incident happened, which you can see at WTOP's news site here.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Principal at Deaf & Blind School Reassigned

The beloved principal of the Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind has been transferred to another school and alumni and parents don't understand why. They gathered to protest yesterday, telling HawaiiNewsNow, “He has a deaf education background. He knows how to manage and make deaf people learn...Teachers were so thrilled. They worked so well with him.” Read the full story and watch a video report here.

“Bummy” Burstein died one year ago today

Gerald “Bummy” Burstein has died. He worked tirelessly in the deaf community for 57 years—even after he retired. He died at the age of 91 in Riverside, California on August 31, 2018. The student center at the local deaf school carries his name. Burnstein was the certified Professional Parliamentarian for the National Association of the Deaf and the author of two books. His work for Gallaudet University led the Board of Trustees to rename the Gallaudet Leadership Institute after him—the Gerald "Bummy" Burstein Leadership Institute. He first taught for 15 years at the Minnesota School for the Deaf before moving to the California School for the Deaf, Riverside. Burstein got his nickname "Bummy" from his love of the Brooklyn Dodgers who were often referred to as “Dem Bums.” Here's a video featuring Berstein as he explains how he brought visual applause from France to America.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

A problem with New Orleans Movie Theaters

Deaf movie-goers in New Orleans say the local theaters don't accommodate them as prescribed by ADA law. The closed-captioning devices are often broken. WWL-TV has a video report below or read the story here.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

A first for a deaf person in the UK

Matthew Johnston is believed to be the first profoundly deaf person to sit on a jury in a crown court in England and Wales. He's a 54-year-old technology consultant from London. The Guardian quotes Johnston as saying, “It’s all about inclusivity, isn’t it. It’s a big thing for me. We don’t want to turn our backs to society, we want to be part of society. We want to feel included. I feel great that I can be one of a jury.” Read the full story about how the deaf have been kept out of jury rooms in the UK here.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Woman says she was refused service at fast food restaurant because she’s deaf

Rachel Hollis claims workers at a Burger King drive-thru in Oklahoma City refused to serve her because she is deaf. She explained what happened to KFOR-TV in a video report (or read the story here).

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Deaf Coaches Teach Gymnastics

The head coaches at a gym in Utah are both deaf. KSL-TV has a video report about Champion Sports Center below or read the story here.

Burning Man sued over terps

Two deaf men are suing the California desert celebration known as Burning Man after the organizers refused to provide sign language interpreters. Read more from Bloomberg news here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Cochlear implants for one-sided hearing loss

A research team looked at whether cochlear implants could help people with hearing loss in one ear. WRAL-TV has a video report.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

First Deaf Tennis Pro on Tour wins Match

The ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) has its first deaf player on the tour. South Korea's Duckhee Lee, who has been deaf since birth, won his first match yesterday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He's only 21 years old and beat Switzerland's Henri Laaksonen 7-6 (4), 6-1 in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open. Next up: Hubert Hurkacz of Poland who is seated #3. Here's a video about him from the ATP.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Texas Senior Making his Mark on the Football field

Billy Haynes is not only a hard-of-hearing senior at a Texas high school, he's an important part of the school's football team. Haynes plays for Robert E. Lee High School in Baytown, Texas and has been hard of hearing since he was born. KTRK-TV has a video report (or read the story here).

Monday, August 12, 2019

Alabama man charged with kidnapping deaf child

An Alabama man is behind bars and facing kidnapping charges according to the Gadsden Times. Darrell Wade Watkins is accused of taking a deaf 4-year-old girl out of his family's year. Read about it here.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Deaf customer discriminated against while trying to order food

In a recent episode of ABC's What Would You Do? a deaf actor was discriminated against while trying to order food in a restaurant. Nyle Dimarco, winner of Dancing With the Stars and America’s Next Top Model winner watched what happened behind-the-scenes. He said it resembled his own real-life experiences living as a deaf man and was overwhelmed by the passionate reactions.



And after a time, Nyle Dimarco stepped in to play the actor:

The deaf YouTuber campaigning over poor Captions

Rikki Poynter's #NoMoreCRAPtions campaign to get YouTubers to ditch the site's automatic captions "highlights how impressive advances in assistive technologies such as automatic captioning can obscure these technologies’ imperfections. The campaign is Poynter’s way of pushing back against any misguided notion that deaf people live in a technological future that hasn’t yet arrived for everyone else." Read more about the deaf 28-year-old in a piece published by The Atlantic here.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Myths about making your website accessible

More than 2,250 federal lawsuits were filed against websites for ADA compliance issues in 2018, according to Amihai Miron, who heads User1st, a website accessibility firm. That's triple the number the year before. He says there are six myths related to the ADA issue including the idea that "No one’s complained, so there’s no problem" and "There’s no clear legal standard." Read more at Technical.ly here.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Theater loses appeal: Must provide terps

The Fox Theatre in St. Louis must provide interpreters for the deaf when asked —- not just once for the run of a show. That's the ruling of an appeals court panel. The 8th U.S. Court of Appeals voted two to one to uphold a lower court ruling. Tina Childress sued the theater when it refused to provide her captioning for a performance of Rent. She was told there was only one interpreted show and she would have to attend it if she wanted a sign language interpreter. You can read the ruling here.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Researchers say they're a step closer to new ways of restoring hearing

Researchers say they have figured out which proteins control the formation of hair cells—a finding that could lead to new ways of restoring hearing by triggering hair cells to grow. The findings come out of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine based on the use of genetic tools. Read the details of the study here.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

The Deaf Teen taking Esports by Storm

image from CNN video
Soleil Wheeler was born deaf and now at 13 years old, she's an international star in the world of esports. Known as Ewok, she has 200,000 followers on Amazon's Twitch streaming service and is the first female to join Faze Clan, a famous esports organization that helps promote its 80-or-so players and train them for competitions. Wheeler attends the Indiana School for the Deaf and tells CNN, "I wanted to really make history. It's a great opportunity to help inspire other girls... they can join any organization. They can play any game." Watch a video report here.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

happy Birthday, Bob Hiltermann!

from BobHiltermann.com
Deaf since the age of 4, Bob Hiltermann was born on this day (August 1, 1952) in Germany, the tenth of eleven children born. A bout with meningitis left him deaf but he wasn't diagnosed until the age of ten. Hiltermann learned ASL while attending Gallaudet University in Washington, DC and later formed MuSign (a Signing/Mime company). He acted with Marlee Matlin in Children of a Lesser God, was featured in See What I'm Saying and The Hammer, he created ASL videos called Shut Up and Sign and is drummer for Beethoven's Nightmare.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Delta will be first to offer sign language bar for uniforms

Delta Air Lines is now allowing in-flight crew members' to include a language bar option on their uniforms to indicate whether they know a signed language. The option is already available for spoken languages like Spanish and Russian. Delta will be the first U.S. airline to do this. Delta CEO Ed Bastian shared the news with a video on his LinkedIn page.

BBC Tests New Audio Mix

The BBC is testing new technology that allows hard-of-hearing viewers to adjust audio levels in new ways. They can reduce background noise and make the dialogue crisper. Find out more about the technology on the BBC’s Taster website here.

Monday, July 29, 2019

A "tireless champion and advocate for the Deaf community" has died

Harlan Lane
PHOTO: Mary Knox Merrill/Northeastern University
Harlan Lane died July 13 at the age of 82 from Parkinson’s disease. A psychologist and linguist, Lane helped to found the ASL program at Northeastern University. But he will mostly be remembered as a "tireless champion and advocate for the Deaf community." Among the books he authored was The People of the Eye: Deaf Ethnicity and Ancestry. He argued in the book that deafness is not a disability but a unique community. Lane became interested in Deaf culture and ASL in the 1970s while teaching at the University of California, San Diego. He happened upon students who were signing to each other and wanted to learn more. He explained in an interview with the Northeastern in 2011 here. The interim co-director of the ASL Program at Northeastern, Angela Herbert, said:
Professionally speaking, he was decades before his time in terms of understanding the value of Deaf people and the Deaf community. There are so many books on ASL, Deaf culture, and the Deaf community now, but when Harlan was starting out, that just wasn’t the case.
People at Gallaudet University remember Lane as a professor in the 1980s who was an outspoken member of the “Deaf President Now” movement. Read more about Lane here.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

How Rochester Became a Hub for the Deaf

Rochester is home to one of the largest deaf and hard-of-hearing populations in the U.S. Read about how that came about in an article from the Daily Beast here.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Sainsbury’s turns store into signing supermarket

Sainsbury’s, one of the UK's largest supermarkets, turned one of its stores into a signing supermarket. It was renamed “Signsbury’s” for the three-day project. Read more about it here.

On this date: The ADA was signed into law

It was on this day (July 25, 1990) that President George H.W. Bush signed the American Disability Act into law. Senator Tom Harkin says the ADA law was inspired by his deaf brother. The Iowa Democrat says watching his brother, Frank, struggle against social barriers motivated him to push the ADA bill through the U.S. Congress. The law prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training and other conditions and privileges of employment. You can watch the signing in the video below.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Deaf man: Theater prevented him from seeing ‘Lion King’

A Tampa Bay, Florida deaf man says he tried to see The Lion King at a local movie theater but they couldn't find captioning equipment for him that worked. WFLA-TV has a video report.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Looking Back.. 16 years ago

On this date (July 23) in 2003, a revival of Big River opened on Broadway with a cast of hearing and deaf actors. Roger Miller's 1985 musical about Huck Finn was the first Broadway show to do so since the 1980's Children of a Lesser God. The show was a co-production of the Roundabout Theater Company and West Hollywood's Deaf West Theater.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Inventing sign language for deaf scientists

The BBC has a video report on Liam Mcmulkin, a deaf student who was frustrated by the lack of sign language for scientific terms—so he invented his own.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Keyless ignition leads to death of deaf woman

Connie Dotson died after accidentally leaving her car running in the garage while she slept inside her home. This is not the first time this has happened to someone who is deaf with keyless ignition systems. WKYT-TV has a video report from Kentucky (or you can read the story here).

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Plan to prevent deafness in gene-edited babies

image by XhenetaM
A Canadian bioethicist says a plan to edit human embryos to prevent deafness is "offensive." Fran├žoise Baylis is criticizing the efforts of a Russian molecular biologist who told the New Scientist he "has recruited five couples with genetic deafness who wish to conceive a child who can hear." Denis Rebrikov says he will edit the GJB2 gene to eliminate the possibility of deafness based on the couples' genetics. Baylis told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, "What's interesting and controversial about this is that many people in the deaf community think that this is a misguided perspective. And that's because they don't see deafness as a disability. They just see that as diversity." You can listen to the story or read the transcript here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Deaf Printers at the WaPo

Many of the Washington Post's printers have been deaf and recently more than a dozen of them got together at Gallaudet University. The Post quotes history professor Brian Greenwald as telling the group, "If I’ve done my math correctly, you represent more than 350 years of experience." Read the full story here.

On this Date: Sentenced to Life in Prison

It was on this date (July 10) in 2002 that a District of Columbia judge sentenced Joseph Mesa, Jr. to six life terms without the possibility of parole for the murders of two Gallaudet classmates. The 22-year-old from Guam was convicted of first beating Eric Plunkett to death in September of 2000 and then stabbing Benjamin Varner to death in February of 2001. Both attacks took place in Gallaudet dorm rooms. Mesa took money from both victims but turned himself in to police a few days after killing Varners. Pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, Mesa told jurors he saw hands wearing black gloves telling him in sign language to kill the 19-year-olds. Mesa's defense attorney suggested that the attack on Plunkett was prompted by rage over an unwanted homosexual advance. Mesa was convicted on all 15 counts. Mesa is now serving time at the United States Penitentiary in Atwater, California near San Francisco, a high-security facility.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

DC is getting a new deaf-owned Pizzeria

A San Francisco pizzeria owned by a deaf couple is expanding to Washington, D.C. Just like Mozzeria west and the second Mozzeria in Austin, the new restaurant will be staffed by deaf employees and located just down the street from Gallaudet University. The new Mozzeria will open next spring. Read more about Russ and Melody Stein's new venture here or watch the announcement below.

Monday, July 8, 2019

How the Brain Links Gestures, Perception & Meaning

Neuroscientists say gesture guides our perception of the world and how we assign meaning to what happens around us. Read more in Quanta magazine here.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Life and Deaf

image from MarleeMatlin.net
Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin has developed a new comedy series that may be picked up by Disney. It's called Life and Deaf and is based on the life of Matlin's long-time interpreter, Jack Jason. The show is set in the 1970s and tells the story of a kid growing up with deaf parents. Read more about it at Deadline Hollywood.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Deaf Umpire Calls ‘Em Like He Sees ‘Em

Jon Breuer went from working on the New York Stock Exchange to a career as a deaf high school umpire in New Jersey. CBS New York has a video report (you can read the story here).

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Getting to Know: Cochlear Limited

You could have bought stock in Cochlear Limited at the turn of the century for about $10. A few days ago the stock was worth more than $140 a share.  Cochlear Limited is the biggest of the three companies that dominate the cochlear implant market with about two-thirds of the market. More than a quarter of a million people have a Cochlear implant. Based in Australia, Cochlear Limited does most of its business in Europe and the U.S. through more than a dozen subsidiaries. Its net revenue ios about $220 million. With brands like Nucleus and Baha, more than a quarter of a million people have one of its implants. It employs more than 2800 people.

Monday, July 1, 2019

A Florida First

Bethany Baker is the "first deaf person admitted to the University of North Florida’s post-baccalaureate nursing program." Get to know her in an article from FristCoastNews here.

On this day in history: 26 year ago

It was 26 years ago today (July 1, 1993) that the FCC requires all U.S. analog television receivers with screens 13 inches or larger to include built-in decoder circuitry that could display closed captioning.

Friday, June 28, 2019

This day in history: 115 years ago

Helen Keller graduated with honors from Radcliffe College on June 28, 1904, 114 years ago today, becoming the first deaf and blind person to graduate from college with a B.A. Radcliffe was a women's liberal arts college in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a part of Harvard University.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

On this date in 1889

The statue of Thomas Gallaudet that greets visitors to the university in the nation's capital that bears his name was unveiled on June 26, 1889. The work of sculptor Daniel Chester French, the bronze statue shows Gallaudet teaching a little girl, Alice Cogswell. She holds a book to her heart, with the alphabet running across the page. They are practicing the letter “A” of American Sign Language. She was a neighbor of the Gallaudets in Connecticut. Thomas noticed Alice did not play with the other children and inquired about her. After discovering she was deaf, Thomas Gallaudet asked to become her first teacher, which he did. This was the first in a series of events that lead to the founding of the first permanent school for the deaf in America and the establishment of what is now Gallaudet University.

Some believe there are mistakes on the statue, but university officials say this is not the case. The chair has only one arm and one straight leg. This was a type of chair common in Gallaudet's day. The chair is not hollow underneath, in order to support the weight of the statue's plaster model. However, the statue was delivered late because French found several mistakes he wanted to correct, including making Gallaudet's legs too short. The text on the statue includes a reference to the "United-States." It was not uncommon for a hyphen to be used at the time, though was considered old fashioned, even in 1889. However, the statue is not consistent because the phrasing on the other side does not include a hyphen. Also, there are periods included in some of the text that is not included on other parts of the statue.

Happy Birthday, Signmark

Deaf Finnish rap artist Signmark (Marko Vuoriheimo) was born on this day (June 26) in Helsinki, Finland in 1978. The child of deaf parents, Signmark stumbled into Hip Hop music while translating songs into sign. He felt a connection between the rappers hand gestures and sign language. He now works with other artists who sing as he signs, becoming the first deaf rapper to sign with a major label. His first album was released in 2006. Signmark came in second in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Getting to Know: The Father of the Internet

Vinton Cerf
It was on this date (June 23) 1943 that Vinton Cerf was born in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1997, President Clinton presented the U.S. National Medal of Technology to Cerf and his colleague, Robert Kahn, for founding and developing the Internet. In 2004, the pair were given the ACM Alan M. Turing award, which is sometimes called the "Nobel Prize of Computer Science." In 2005, President George W. Bush awarded Cerf and Kahn the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award given by the US government. Cern now works for Google as its chief Internet evangelist, looking for and promoting new technologies and services. What many do not know, is that Cerf was partly motivated by his frustration with communication with other researchers. He is quoted as saying, “In creating the Internet with my colleagues, in part, I wanted to help people with hearing loss as well as other communication difficulties. Written communication is a tremendous help for me, and so when electronic mail was invented in ’71, I got very excited about it, thinking that the hard-of-hearing community could really use this.” Cerf has hearing loss as does his wife, who had hearing loss due to spinal meningitis at the age of three. She received her first cochlear implant in 1996 and a second implant in her other ear nearly a decade later. They met at the office of a hearing aid specialist and married in 1966. Cerf joined the Board of Trustees of Gallaudet University in 1997.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Deaf Republic


Hard-of-hearing poet Ilya Kaminsky has written a new book called Deaf Republic. Kaminsky was born in the former Soviet Union and his new book, which is really a collection of poems, imagines deafness as a collective form of resistance against a military regime. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Baseball ASL Culture Night in Oregon

A minor league baseball team in Oregon is holding the team's first-ever ASL Culture Night this evening. The Medford Rogues home game "will feature ASL translation for all of the PA announcements, as well as fun facts about deaf culture. Half of the proceeds raised through the game’s ticket raffle will be donated to Crater High School’s Deaf Academic Bowl team." Here's a video report from the Mail Tribune or read the story here.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

On this Day: First Deaf Computer PhD

image from Gallaudet.edu
It was on this date, June 15, 2008, that Karen Alkoby became the first deaf woman in the U.S. to earn a PhD in computer science. She graduated from DePaul University in Chicago, helping to pioneer a computer-animated dictionary. Alkoby’s dissertation involved determining how the human brain interprets shapes like those made by hands in ASL. This may help with the creation of a ASL-to-English dictionary. She now teaches computer science at Gallaudet University.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Deaf-owned Business Thriving

A deaf-owned Austin-based virtual mailbox service just scanned their millionth piece of mail this month after five years in business. KXAN-TV has a video report (or read the story here).

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Deaf woman concerned over note from Portland drive-thru

A deaf Dunkin' Donuts customer in Maine says she was told not to use the drive-thru, even though she had done so many times. Read the story from WMTW-TV here.
image from WMTW-TV video

Monday, June 10, 2019

On this Day: Ed Dundon was born


Ed "Dummy" Dundon was the first deaf player to play baseball professionally. He was born on this day (July 10) in 1859. After attending the Ohio State School for the Deaf, Dundon went on to play several years of professional baseball. He had two seasons with the Columbus Buckeyes before retiring and becoming an umpire. During his hitch with the Buckeyes in 1883 and 1884, Dundon had a record of 9-20 and a 4.25 ERA.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Getting to know: Canada's first deaf Priest

Canada's first deaf Roman Catholic priest was ordained in 2012. Raised a Baptist in Michigan, Matthew Hysell lost his hearing after a bout with meningitis as a toddler. He made the decision to become a priest as a teenager after reading about the priesthood in school. He graduated from City University in New York, then earned a master's in theology from a California program. He celebrates mass using sign language but is leaving his post as Associate Pastor at Corpus Christi Parish with responsibility for St. Mark’s Catholic Community of the Deaf, to pursue a doctorate at the Dominican University College in Ottawa. Mysell also cofounded the Mark Seven Bible Institute located at Camp Mark Seven in Old Forge, New York.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

a Video of Life in a 1950s Deaf School

Here is video filmed in 1954 at the UK's Royal School for Deaf Children in Margate.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

32 years ago: Implant history

image from Cochlear.com 
On June 4, 1987 Holly McDonell (now Holly Taylor) of Sydney became the first child to receive a commercial multi-channel cochlear implant system (Nucleus made by Cochlear, LTD). The four-year-old became profoundly deaf from bacterial meningitis. Holly still has her original implant and had several sounds processor upgrades. The Daily Telegraph takes a look at what's happened in the 30 years since in an article here.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Tips on How to Speak to Deaf People

* Make sure you have eye contact with the person before speaking
* If there is an interpreter, speak to and look at the deaf person not the interpreter
* Face the person to whom you are speaking (that helps with lip-reading)
* Stand in good lighting and avoid standing so that light is on the face of the deaf person
* Avoid background noise whenever possible
* Move your mouth to articulate but don’t exaggerate
* Speak a little louder and slower than normal but don’t shout or drag
* Keep your hands away from your face and particularly your mouth
* Use lots of facial expressions and body movements
* If something is unclear, rather than just repeating the same thing, rephrase thoughts in shorter and simple sentences

Sunday, June 2, 2019

More than 100 years ago

Here is something from the June 1907 issue of Scientific American magazine, more than 100 years ago:
The loss of the sense of hearing should not necessarily mean deprivation of the power of speech also. Is it only within recent years that we have come to realize this fact, and in up-to-date institutions the old –fashioned finger alphabet is now unknown. Every child is taught to speak in the natural way by means of the vocal organs. The four or five years of the primary course are devoted almost exclusively to the acquirement of language and numbers.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

On this day: the 1st Deaf NFL Player was Born

Bonnie Sloan
On this date (June 1) in 1948, Bonnie Sloan was born in Tennessee. At the age of 25, Bonnie would become the first deaf player in the NFL when he ran onto the field for the St. Louis Cardinals against the Philadelphia Eagles in 1973.  His career only lasted one season, thanks to knee injuries, but he had made his mark. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder came out of Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he was the first player to bench press 500 pounds. Sloan was an All-Ohio Valley Conference defensive tackle at the college. The City of Hendersonville, Tennessee recently honored him by declaring an August day in 2013 as Bonnie Sloan Day. Read more about Sloan here.

On this Date 50 Years ago

Helen Keller died in Westport, Connecticut on June 1, 1968, 51
years ago today.

Friday, May 31, 2019

The Silent Natural

A new film called The Silent Natural debuts tonight in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. It tells the story of William Ellsworth “Dummy” Hoy who played in the baseball major league from 1888 to 1902. Hoy slugged "41 home runs, 605 stolen bases and one game in which he threw out three baserunners at home plate from the outfield." Read more in the Columbus Monthly here or watch the trailer for the film below.

In a Silent World

A documentary called In a Silent World tells the story of hearing parents who learn about Deaf culture through their deaf daughter. The 90-minute film is available on Amazon Prime Video and there's more information at the film's website here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The connection between Monks & Sign Language

National Geographic Australia explores the connection between the vow of silence taken by monks some 500 years ago helped in the development of sign language. National Geographic Australia has more here.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Mocked & Harassed for Being Hard of Hearing

Massachusetts is paying $95,000 to a former employee who says he was mocked and harassed and eventually fired for being hard-of-hearing. Ralph Claudomir worked for the Massachusetts Environmental Police in charge of managing the offices where people register their boats and recreational vehicles. According to MassLive, his request for accommodations was denied" and he was "yelled at during meetings and 'humiliated, degraded and harassed' due to his disability. He was given written warnings for speaking too loudly." Read more about the lawsuit here.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Poetry Slams for the Deaf in Israel


Forward takes a look at a poetry slam in for the Deaf in Isreal. Read the full story here.

Netflix Show features Deaf Teen

Netflix’s new apocalyptic teen drama called The Society features a deaf teenager played by Sean Berdy. Everyone in a small New England town disappears. Berdy's character offers a steady moral center. You may remember him from the family drama Switched At Birth.  He explains in an interview with TIME magazine why he left acting for a time after that show came to an end.  Read the story here.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

A new social network for signers

AN Israeli-based company is launching a new social network for signers. Joseph Geliebter, founder of SignTalk Foundation, says:
SignTalkers gives members of the signing community – both hearing and deaf – a space for thoughtful, thriving, and engaging conversation. Unlike other social media platforms, this exclusive space will serve to provide a home away from home to meet, share and interact with members of the signing community around the world.
Using the site requires registration. You'll find the SignTalkers website here and more information in a article published by an Israeli newssite here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Starbucks opens Signing Store in China

image from Starbucks.com
Starbuck's third signing store is open—in China. in Guangzhou's Yuexiu district. Besides using sign language to communicate with customers, the store will offer sign language classes and coffee workshops in sign language. Starbucks has opened signing stores in Kuala Lumpur and Washington, DC (near Gallaudet University). At those stores, and the new one, baristas wear aprons with sign language that spells the word Starbucks. Belinda Wong, chief executive officer of Starbucks China, said:
The new Signing Store is an example of how we are building inclusive environments and careers for our partners. This store truly creates a sense of belonging for everyone and is a strong testament to our continued commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive working environment.
Read more in the company's press release here.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

A Deaf Immigrant is Student of the Year

Blanca Ceja-Salas is 2nd in the bottom row in the photo
Image from mccd.edu

Read more here: https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/local/education/article230437094.html#storylink=cpy
A deaf immigrant is Student of the Year at California's Merced College. Blanca Ceja-Salas is graduating with a degree in photography and a 3.7 GPA. Board of Trustees President Carmen Ramirez is quoted in a press release as saying:
To have Blanca be the Student of the Year is an impressive flag for what Merced College is and how it transforms lives. We know students come here, they prepare themselves and they move on. But for Merced College to be the kind of place where someone that’s not your typical student can come in and not just do OK, but do something amazing, speaks to the kind of campus we have. Blanca hasn’t just overcome physical limitations, but language barriers and immigration issues as well. She’s an amazing young woman and we’re proud to have her as the Student of the Year.
Read the press release here.  

Deaf Access to Legislative Sessions Debated in Florida

Florida's failure to provide captioning on videos of its legislative sessions has led to a legal battle that has made its way to an appeals court. The National Association of the Deaf and activist Eddie Sierra sued, claiming it's an ADA violation. Lawyers for the state claim captioning the sessions is just too expensive and the lawmakers would rather not have a video feed at all than have to pay the cost of captioning. Read more about what's at issue in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in a Courthouse News article here.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

School for the Deaf Campus Sold

The Sioux Falls Ministry Center is buying the South Dakota School for the Deaf campus for $6.9 million. The Center will get the building as well as the football and track field. Read more in the Argus Leader here.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

FCC Debates Live Captioning for News

The FCC recently held a forum on best practices for TV news closed captioning. TV Technology reports that forum included not only the FCC but broadcasters and the Deaf community. Read more about it here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Seattle bar owner upset over new captioning law

image from Google Maps
The owner of the Marco Polo Bar and Grill in Seattle says that while he'll turn on the captioning on the TVs in the bar if someone asks, he doesn't like the city council requiring him to do so. Matt Miera told KIRO radio, that "the closed captioning ordinance, like so many of the city’s recent regulations, is just 'another way to reach into my pocket and take more money.'" The ordinance takes effect later this year and will fine businesses that fail to turn on captioning for everything TV they have on display. Miera asks, “Is the city of Seattle going to require us to have a translator there, to do sign language for the music that’s playing over the jukebox?” Read the full story here.

Deaf Man Shot & Dismembered

A Kansas City man has been arrested for allegedly shooting and dismembering the body of a deaf man. Police say Colton Stock also set the remains of Matthew Calkins on fire. Calkins graduated from the Kansas School for the Deaf in 2002. FOX-4 Kansas City has a video report (or read the story here)

Monday, May 13, 2019

Deaf actress dies on this date

from CBS Photo Archive
One of the first deaf actresses to have a major role on a TV series died on this day one year ago (May 13, 2015) in Fremont, California. Audree Norton was 88 years old.

A founding member of The National Theatre of the Deaf, Norton appeared on the CBS show Mannix in 1968 and later on The Streets of San Francisco and Family Affair. When she was cut out of a role just because she was deaf, Norton filed a complaint with the Screen Actors Guild. John Schuchman suggests in his book Hollywood Speaks: Deafness and he Film Entertainment Industry that the decision ended her Hollywood career--but opened the door to others.

Norton lost her hearing to spinal meningitis at the age of two and attended Gallaudet University. A memorial service was held at the California School for the Deaf. You can read her obituary here.
.

Stephen Colbert's Ear

image by
NEIL GRABOWSKY
Comedian Stephen Colbert was born on this day (May 13) in 1964. What many people do not know about the comedian is that he is deaf in one ear. When he was young a surgery left him without an ear drum in his right ear. He explains, "I always wanted to be a marine biologist but then I had this ear problem. I have no ear drum. So I had this operation at the Medical University when I was a kid. Now I can't get my head wet. I mean, I can, but I can't really scuba dive or anything like that. So that killed my marine biology hopes."

Friday, May 10, 2019

Google announces new captioning app

There's a new captioning app that will soon be available for Andriod phones that's getting some good reviews. Live Caption works for audio and video. Here's a video that show it in action.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Baseball team to honor Deaf Fans

A minor league baseball team is hosting a Deaf Awareness Night next month. This will be the third time the Pawtucket Red Sox have honored deaf fans of the Rhode Island team. The team will wear jerseys with their name spelled out on June 7. Gallaudet baseball coach, and former major leaguer, Curtis Pride, will take part in the festivities. WPRI-TV has a video report below or you can read the story here.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Partnership between NTID & Chinese University

Rochester's NTID (National Technical Institute for the Deaf) is partnering with a Chinese university to establish "a cultural and educational partnership between the two institutions." Changchun University is exploring a joint degree program in graphic design and 3D graphic technology. NTID president Gerry Buckley says, “These partnerships are instrumental in giving our students global enrichment experiences that will make them even more marketable upon graduation.” Read more about it here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Deaf umpire in Jersey

Jonathan Breuer is a softball and baseball umpire in North Jersey who says, “I want to show the world what deaf people can do." NorthJersey.com has a video report.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

On this date in history: Frederick Barnard dies

Frederick Barnard
It was on this date in 1889 that Frederick Barnard died at the age of 80 (May 5). His full name was Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard. The deaf American educator was quite the renaissance man. Besides teaching college students, he was a scientist, writer and mathematician. Barnard served as president of the University of Mississippi, then took the same position at Columbia College in New York City (it later became a university). The year he died, an affiliated college for women was established and named Barnard College in his honor. He is acknowledged by historian of deaf history as someone who made a significant contribution to deaf education.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Getting to know the Gally Baseball Coach

image of Curtis Pride from MLB.com
Former major league outfielder Curtis Pride has been the head coach of Gallaudet University's baseball team for 11 years. He tells the Washington Times, "“The biggest challenge is recruiting. I probably have the most difficult job of college coaches for recruiting. I recruit deaf or hard-of-hearing players. There are not that many out there. Once I get the player I have to develop the skill to get them up to the college level.” Pride led the Bison to one of their best seasons ever in 2012. Gallaudet won a school record 25 games. When he was in the majors, Pride played for six teams including the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Detroit Tigers, Montreal Expos and Atlanta Braves. Read more about Pride's impact on the
students here.