Saturday, December 7, 2019

Getting to Know Dr House

It was on this date (Dec. 7, 2012) that Dr. William F. House died in Oregon at the age of 89. Dr. House is credited with installing the first cochlear implant in 1961. He was told by experts the electric current he was using would destroy the ear, but that didn't stop him. He believed in what implants could do to change someone's life. Here's a little about him.
  • Known as the "father of neurotology."
  • He received his doctorate in dentistry from the University of California at  Berkeley.
  • Practiced medicine in Newport Beach, California until 2000, when he moved to Aurora, Oregon, next door to his son.
  • His cochlear implant was approved by the FDA in 1984.
  • When he started performing the cochlear surgery on children some claimed he was just after money.
  • His half-brother, Howard P. House founded the House Ear Institute which became the House Research Institute.
  • He completed some 3,000 implants throughout his career.
  • Developed a new approach to removing tumors on the nerve that connects the ear to the brain.
  • Created a new surgical procedure for Meniere's disease, an inner ear disorder contracted by Astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space. He couldn't have flown to the moon had it not been for House's surgery. He wrote a memoir called The Struggles of a Medical Innovator

Friday, December 6, 2019

Looking back at Kitty O'Neil's Record

It was on this day (Dec. 6) in 1976 that professional stuntwoman Kitty O'Neil set a record for land speed by a female driver. It was in Oregon's Alvord Desert that Kitty hit 512 miles per hour.

Childhood diseases left her deaf and nearly killed her. 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.  She died Nov. 2, 2018, from pneumonia at the age of 72. Read more about her amazing life in a Washington Post article here. Below is a video report on Kitty from the Midco Sports Network put together in 2015.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Deaf Actor plays characters not defined by his being Deaf

Russell Harvard, a third-generation Deaf man, is playing the roles of Link Deas and Boo Radley in Broadway’s To Kill a Mockingbird. It's the "first time the actor had played a character not defined by being Deaf." He tells Playbill
I think it simply means I’m good at what I do. It makes sense with Link Deas and Boo Radley because they share similar qualities. Both are outcasts in the community and good-hearted men who know what’s right and wrong...I’m an actor who happens to be Deaf, and I get to share the artistry of ASL with the audience of this landmark show.
To Kill a Mockingbird is in its second season at the Shubert Theatre. Read more from Playbill about Harvard here.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

On this Date: Dimarco Wins Top Model

Nyle Dimarco
(image from ANTM video)
Nyle Dimarco won America's Next Top Model contest on this date (Dec. 4) in 2015. He was the first deaf contestant to do so. Afterward 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.
 

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Happy Birthday, Linda the Librarian!

Linda Bove was born on this day (Nov 30) in 1945. She’s remembered as the deaf lady on Sesame Street. Bove was a regular on the show from 1971 to 2003 as Linda the Librarian, introducing thousands of children to sign language and deaf community issues. In 1991, she and her husband founded DeafWest, a resident sign-language theater in Los Angeles which has produced several award-winning shows. Here's a video of her from 2010 talking about Why We Need Deaf Actors in Deaf Roles. Happy Birthday, Linda the Librarian!



Friday, November 29, 2019

NAD wins settlement against Harvard over captioning video

Harvard has settled a lawsuit over captioning. The school has agreed to make its website and online courses "friendlier" to those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The National Association of the Deaf filed the suit four years ago, saying "many of its videos and audio recordings lacked captions or used inaccurate captions." NAD CEO Howard Rosenblum said, "This lawsuit (puts) universities and colleges on notice that all aspects of their campus including their websites must be accessible to everyone." At first, Harvard tried to get the lawsuit dismissed. A judge rejected Harvard’s argument that its websites do not constitute a physical “public accommodation” covered by federal civil rights laws. The judge ruled that Harvard’s online are offerings can be seen as an extension of the campus. Read more details on the settlement from the NAD here.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Oldest Terp Dies

The woman believed to be the oldest working sign language interpreter in the country has died at the age of 97. Norma Lewis worked with deaf people in the Kentucky court system. Read more about Norma in the Courier-Journal here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Priests who abused deaf children get 40-year jail terms

"Two Roman Catholic priests were each sentenced to more than 40 years in prison in Argentina for the sexual abuse, including rape, of deaf children" reports AFP. The victims were living at a Catholic boarding school and ranged from between four and 17 years of age. "Some burst into wild celebrations when the sentence was read out in court. Some of the victims' mothers simply embraced and wept." Read more here.

Monday, November 25, 2019

11 years ago today: William Gibson died

On November 25, 2008, the man who wrote a famous play about Helen Keller called The Miracle Worker died. William Gibson's story of Helen Keller’s relationship with her teacher, Anne Sullivan, won the 1960 Tony Award for best play and is still regularly performed around the country in community theaters. Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke, played the stage roles of Sullivan and Keller, respectively. They went on to win Academy Awards when repeating the parts for the film version in 1962. Mr. Gibson was nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay. Twenty years later, he wrote a sequel about Sullivan called The Monday After the Miracle but it flopped on Broadway. Gibson died at the age of 94 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

NTID partners with Beijing school

The National Technical Institute for the Deaf is partnering with a Chinese university to create student and faculty exchange programs. A delegation from Beijing Union University visited the Rochester campus where they signed a Memorandum of Understanding yesterday. Read more about the agreement here.

First Deaf Player in Youth Hockey League

The Madison Gay Hockey Association has its first deaf player. Stephanie Schwartzkopf is from Colorado but moved to Wisconsin a couple of years ago and she is among the 70 players. Read more about her in an Isthmus article here.

Happy Birthday Mojo!

This is Mojo Mathers birthday (born Nov 23, 1966). She became the first member of New Zealand's parliament when she ran as a Green candidate in 2011. She was born profoundly deaf and is a lipreader. She began to use sign language in the late 2000s New Zealand became the first country to adopt sign language as an official language in 2006 and now, some 25,000 people use sign language in the country. The New Zealand government provides interpreters in Parliament as well as for major speeches and announcements.