Monday, November 30, 2009

Benefit Concert

A concert takes place Thursday at Duke University to support the Children's Hearing Institute in New York. The organization helps to provide cochlear implants to children. The concert will feature folk-blues band Delta Rae and singer-songwriter Chris Bryant at 7 p.m. A group of children from around the area will also express song lyrics through sign language.

3D Subtitles

Disney says it's releasing the first movie to include 3D subtitles in the UK, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carrey. The company says the technology necessary to create subtitles in 3D is just getting to the point where it is usuable. Here's the press release.

Ultimate Fighter

An ultimate fighter finalist who is deaf compete in one of the featured bouts to be televised Saturday on Spike TV in Las Vegas. Matt Hamill from New Hartford, Connecticut is considered a rising star in the sport of mixed martial arts. He'll take part in the live finale of The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights. Hamill will fight Jon Jones in a light heavyweight bout. It’s his first time being showcased in the main event after 10 wins against 2 loses. Hamill says his hearing impairment has helped him to focus during a fight “without all the distractions.” You might have meet him at one of the Deaf Nation Expos which has toured the country.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pollin Dies

One of the original members of Gallaudet's Board of Associates has died. Abe Pollin was laid to rest yesterday, after passsing away Tuesday at the age of 85. The DC sports entrepreneur owned the Wizards basketball team. He joined Gallaudet's board when it was started in 1991 and was a major donor to the University.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

VRS Charges in NJ & Philly

The mother of a former Miss Deaf New Jersey is among the people facing charges in a federal probe across nine states involving video relay programs. The defendants are alleged to have generated fraudulent call minutes by making it appear that deaf Americans were engaging in legitimate calls with hearing persons. Irma Azrelyant is named in the indictments. She is co-owner of New Jersey's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Interpreting Services and the mother of Raymonda Azrelyant, Miss Deaf New Jersey from 2005 to 2007. Russian sign-language interpreter Hennadii Holovkin of Philadelphia is also charged. He's out on bail, waiting on a December 15th arraignment.

Golden Ear Mice

A new breed of mouse could point the way to drugs that treat age-related hearing loss. Details in an article by Scientific American.

Touch and Hearing

We reported yesterday about research suggesting that your sense of touch can help your hearing. National Public Radio offers a report on the study that you can read or listen to here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Job Crunch

National Public Radio aired a story this morning about about how the economy has affected work options for the deaf. You can read the story or listen to it here.

Missing Captions

Disney removed all subtitles and captions from the bare-bones DVD rental release of the film Up. The enterntainment giant admitted the move was not an accident but a cost-cutting move that it now regrets. Company officials say any new versions of the movie will include captioning.

Helen Keller Story on Stage

The Miracle Worker is playing through December 6 at the Ross Valley Players' Barn Theatre in the San Francisco suburb of Ross. More information here.

VRS Deal in Doubt

A plan by a video relay service company to buy Viable may not happen after all. Viable's president, John Yeh, and three other executives have been indicted along with others around the country in a scam to defraud the U.S. government out of millions of dollars. Snap!VRS had agreed to buy Maryland-based Viable back in August but the deal wasn't finalized when the indictments came out. According to the FBI, the defendants created fraudulent call minutes by making it appear that deaf Americans were engaging in legitimate calls with hearing persons. Viable is also facing lawsuits filed in federal and state courts by more than 100 employees seeking back payment of wages.

John Yeh, a native of Taiwan who immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager, has been a part of organizations such as the National Asian Deaf Congress and National Deaf Business Institute. He served as a trustee of Gallaudet University for more than a decade. Deaf Life, a monthly national magazine, honored Yeh as Deaf Person of the Year.

New Ways for Deaf to Hear

Brain images show touch affects what you hear, raising the possibility that one sense could be used as a substitute for another, creating new ways for the deaf to hear. MIT researchers found puffs of air to the back of a hand or their neck helped subjects hear better. Details of the new study have just been released by the journal Nature. Studies of deaf-blind people who learn the Tadoma method (learning to talk and hear by placing a hand on the neck and mouth of a speaker) have already shown the tactile and auditory senses are tied together. Another recent study revealed stretching a person's facial skin affects hearing which suggests we also hear through the face.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Georgia Woman Killed

A south Georgia deaf woman was shot in the back and left for dead today. Gayle Jackson was only 45-years-old. The Albany woman was left next to a dumpster early this morning. So far, police say they have no firm leads but are investigating the homicide.

Union Fined

A Minnesota union will pay a deaf sheet metal worker nearly $50,000 for discriminating against him. Leaders of Local 10 of the Sheet Metal Workers' Union refused to give apprentice Michael Sherman assignments because he is deaf. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights investigated and found that "stereotypes about deafness had led to a feeling among local industry professionals that deaf persons should not work in the field.'' The Union is paying the fine without admitting any wrongdoing.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Town to Make Changes

A south Mississippi town has agreed to improve its services for those with disabilities. The Department of Justice made the city of Poplarville come up with a plan after complaints. The plan includes: Adopting and implementing a grievance procedure to deal with complaints of disability discrimination, provide interpreters and auxiliary aids that are necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, provide assistance at polling places and create equal access to emergency management programs.

Toddler Gets Implant

KCAL-TV reports on a cochlear implant given to a 16-month old Newport Beach, California girl. Her hearing family says they will continue learning sign language (no captions).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

World Record Pizza Line

The California School for the Deaf in Riverside went for a record breaking pizza line today led by 12-year-old Trystany Capozi. She hopes to break a world record for the longest pizza-making line at her school to raise money for the 4th Annual Trystany's Toy Drive. The outreach could touch about 60,000 kids. Her father, Angelo, runs Two Chefs Catering and they are registering their accomplishment of making 2500 pizzas with the Guinness Book of World Records. KCAL-TV in Los Angeles has a video report about the effort (no captions).

Message Boards on Airplanes

Students from the Rochester School for the Deaf have made a proposal this morning to JetBlue that the airline make use of LED message boards for airline passengers. The message board would be placed at the front of airplanes, providing both deaf and hearing passengers with gate information, baggage claim, weather or connecting flights, etc. The students say this would give those in the deaf community the same access to information available to everyone else. JetBlue officials say they were impressed with the teenagers and will offer the idea to corporate administrators. If you would like to sign a petition supporting the boards, go here.

Family Gets New Home

Habitat for Humanity has provided an Appleton, Wisconson family with a new home offering technology espcially designed for the deaf. Owner Alan Peterson told a local TV station, "I'm just so surprised and excited right now. It's awesome," The new house has light sensors for the doorbell and a special lock for the bathroom, so that if his daughter accidentally locks the door, there's a special way they can communicate through lights. All the materials came from The ReStore which takes in and re-sells used or salvaged building materials. The family says they hope to move in right after Thanksgiving.

Bison Score 100

Gallaudet University men's basketball won 100-59 against non-conference foe Christendom College Monday night. All 12 Bisxon players scored points and logged an average of 17 minutes apiece. It's Gallaudet's first victory against two losses. This is the first time Gallaudet has scored 100 points since a 103-74 victory against Johnson Bible nearly a year ago. It's the largest margin of victory since a 46-point win over Juniata College, 77-31 in January, 2007. The team suits up again at its annual Holiday Tournament this Saturday against Penn State-York.

Oldest Surviving Football Team

The Illinois School for the Deaf football team that played together in 1948 may be a group of record setters. They could be the oldest living team in the US. And not just among deaf footballers but among hearing schools as well. All 11 starters played both offense and defense together and amazingly, no one suffered a single injury that year, so they were able to play the entire season together. The team only lost one game while winning six that year. One game ended in a tie.

The team was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2004 and eight of the group were able to attend Homecoming last year at the school. When they played together, team members ranged in ages from 17-19 years old. Now, they are between the ages of 78-80. They are hoping to get recogniztion from the Guinness Book of World Records for their longivity. The only thing holding them back is finding out if there are any other still around that are even older. So far, they appear to have everyone beat.

Here's a video interview with team member Jerry Tuchman.

Monday, November 23, 2009

NC Hall of Fame

The North Carolina School for the Deaf has honored Allen Rankin by inducting him into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame this past month. Rankin earned All-American honors and all-conference honors in football and track before graduating. He led the Bears to Burke County middle school football titles in 1973 and 1974. Rankin was 1978 conference runner-up in the 140-pound weight class in wrestling and was the 147-pound weight class champion in 1979, advancing to the state tournament each year. Now 49 years old, Rankin lives in Charlotte and works as a tool maker for Flextronics.

The Happiness Project

Charles Spearin asked his neighbors what makes them happy. He recorded their answers and then added musical instruments to bring out the musicality of their speech. Spearin calls it The Happiness Project. On the cut called Venessa, a woman who was born deaf tells about hearing for the first time with her cochlear implant. A piano part that follows her voice grows with her excited, translating into a deep and soulful sax and soaring violin. You can hear the selection for free here. (Haven't located a transcript yet)

Funding Cut in Iowa

Iowa has suspended a state program that helps children with hearing loss. The Hearing Aids and Audiological Services Program will no longer give out the $190,000 in state funding that it has in the past. About 3000 children in Iowa schools have hearing problems. There is a movement in the state to force insurance companies to pay for audiological services. About a dozen states have already created such a law.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tulsa Hospital Lawsuit Settled

An Oklahoma hospital has agreed to pay $100,000 to settle a lawsuit filed over failure to accommodate a deaf operating room scrub technician. Tulsa's St. John's has also agreed to provide disability discrimination training to employees and make reports on ADA requests to the EEOC for the next three years. The problem started when doctors complained to administrators about the hearing of scrub technician LaQuita Reherman. She wears hearing aids in both ears. The hospital removed Reherman from her position and let her go when she failed to find another position within the system. But the EEOC said the problems wasn't Reherman but the loud music played in the operating room. Plus, St. John's made no effort to assist her in finding another position.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

ASL Movie

A film created in ASL will show at the Illinois College campus tomorrow at 3pm. Gerald tells the story of a man who discovers he has a deaf autistic grandfather he has never known. The $10 admission price will benefit the Illinois Foundation for Deaf Children.

Football National Champs

The undefeated Iowa School for the Deaf are celebrating the team's selection as national champions for eight-man football. picked the Council Bluffs 8-0 team. They are also champions of the Great Plains Schools for the Deaf Conference.

Hearing Aid Assessories

A 10-year-old has a way to make hearing aids more attractive. Hayleigh Scott wanted to make girls and women less self-conscious about wearing them. So she has created various assessories which can be attached with clasps. The New Hampshire 5th-grader attends Hollis Upper Elementary School and you can find out more about her unique gifts at Hayleigh's Cherished Charms.

Owners Indicted

These are the companies indicted on federal charges they engaged in a scheme to defraud the FCC's VRS program intended for the deaf and hard-of-hearing:
  • Viable Communications Inc., of Rockville, Marylnad
  • Master Communications LLC, of Las Vegas
  • KL Communications LLC, of Phoenix
  • Mascom LLC of Austin, Texas
  • Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Interpreting Services Inc. of New York and New Jersey
  • Innovative Communication Services for the Deaf Corp of Miami Lakes, Florida
  • Deaf Studio 29 of Huntington Beach, California

Video Relay Charges

David Simmons of Austin is among those charged with trying to defraud the government of money from the FCC's Video Relay program which is intended to help the deaf and hard-of-hearing communicate. More than two dozen people around the country face charges that they made it appear than deaf people were using the system of interpreters and web camera but were not. The TRS Fund reimburses companies who help the deaf use the system. Simmons worked for Mascom LLC in advertising.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tased Deaf Man Files $2 Million Claim

Here is a video report on a lawsuit filed by a man who was tased and taken to jail in Mobile, Alabama because he took too long in the bathroom. Read the story here.

1st Jewish President

Gallaudet University's new president is the first Jewish leader for the school in its 145-year history. The Sioux City, Iowa native Alan Hurwitz wasn't one of four finalists for the position. Not only were all of them deaf, all them had deaf parents and all four were Jewish. Hurwitz grew up in an Orthodox environment. Traditionally, the deaf are exempt from learning the Torah. But when Hurwitz became a father he decided his son would learn Hebrew and have a bar mitzvah. His son is now a lawyer in Rochester, New York. Hurwitz and his wife has been to Israel four times and they are members of a Reform congregation.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

VRS Arrests

More than two dozen people have been indicted in a scheme to defraud a program intended to help the deaf. The suspects falsely billed the government at a rate of $390 per hour for using Video Relay Service systems. According to the indictments, conspirators created fake call reports to make it look like deaf people were speaking with hearing persons. It took 20 sign-language interpreters working with federal agents to catch the alledged crooks.

The 26 indicted individuals are from 9 states including New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Maryland. Federal agents say the conspirators may have stolen tens of millions of dollars from the government program. The 7 contractors companies engaged in the scheme are located in Austin, Texas, Miami Lakes, Florida, Rockville, Maryland, Las Vegas, Nevada, Phoenix, Arizona, and Huntington Beach, California. One firm operated in both New York and New Jersey.

YouTube Captioning

New Google technology will generate captions on YouTube videos automatically. The search giant and owner of YouTube showed off new feature today that will automatically bring text captions to many videos on the site by the end of the week. The speech recognition technology gives users the choice of reading the captions in 51 languages, although it will only work with English language videos at first. Ken Harrenstien, a deaf engineer helped develop the automatic captioning system. The technology will first be used with educational content from schools like Stanford, Yale, and MIT, then PBS and Google's own corporate videos. The reason the technology is being rolled out slowly is that the softward is not perfect and the Google team wants to improve it through user feedback.

There are already several hundred thousand videos on YouTube with closed captions, most of which come from broadcast networks that include them in their programs. Some other online video sites like Hulu also have some professionally created videos with closed captioning.

People uploading video to YouTube will also have the option of uploading a text file of the words spoken in the video. Google will turn the text file into captions to match the written words with the video. The captions will make it easier for anyone to search text inside videos and find specific snippets within a video.

Deaf Playwright Feature

Looking back... 2003. Five years ago Garrett Zuercher wrote a play called Quid Pro Quo as part of his senior thesis while a student at Marquette University. The play was performed by fellow students and Garrett figured that would be the end of it. But his little production was picked, along with six others out of over 1,300 other productions nationwide to perform at the Kennedy Center. Here's a report by a local TV station about the Milwaukee student at that time. (no captions).

Music Player for Deaf

SOUNZZ is a new MP-3 player intended for the the deaf that translates musical notes into vibrations. An LED light show change color and brightness along with the music. A high range oscillator senses the emerging vibrations. It has not been announced when the device will go into production but you can read more information about it here.

Youth Making Difference

WWLP-TVm in Massachusetts have a report on a teen making a difference at his school and on the footbal field. Read the story here.

Service Dog Controversy

A Colorado woman has been fined $500 by her condo's home owner's association because she has a service dog that isn't certified. However, an ADA spokesman says an animal doesn't have to be certified to be a service animal. As long as the animal is individually trained to perform a specific task for an individual with a disability, it qualifies. there are no pets allowed in her Fort Collins condo building. Julianna Rigby, who is deaf in one ear, says Pookee helps her function with her hearing impairment. The Park Lane Towers association is refusing to budge, claiming ADA law doesn't apply. The group is threatening to put a lien on her property and has hired an attorney to force Rigby into court next week.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Gally Chief

Don Beil will become Gallaudet University's Chief of Staff starting in 2010. He worked for 35 years at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, where he served for the last five years as executive assistant for T. Alan Hurwitz, Gallaudet's next president. Beil has authored 10 books on computing and served with the Peace Corps in the African nation of Somali.

Biker Killed

Here's a video report on the woman killed in a motorcycle-bike wreck from KTVK-TV . No captions but more details on the story are below.

Bicyclist Killed

A 68-year-old deaf woman was killed today while riding her bike in Mesa, Arizona. A motorcyclist hit Melva Millensifer at an intersection early in the morning. No charges are expected against the drive of the bike because Millensifer was riding against a red light. The motorcyclist suffered minor injuries.

Quiet Communicators

The student newspaper at the University of Georgia offers this front page story today on the deaf student organization on campus.

Barring Deaf Jurors?

The Ohio Supreme Court yesterday heard arguments on whether a juror can be disqualified from a case because of a hearing impairment. The issue came up in a 2002 murder trial. Scott A. Speer was facing charges in Ottawa County for killing Jim Barnett. Barnett fell from Speer’s boat while on Lake Erie. The evidence included an audio tape of a 911 call. That led the defense to attempt to get juror Linda Leow-Johannsen disqualified because she has a hearing disability. She told the court she could lip-read if a witness faced her. The judge refused to dismiss her and Leow-Johannsen was seated. She voted with the rest of the jury to convict Speer of aggravated vehicular homicide. He was sentenced to four years in prison. An appeals court overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial because of she couldn’t actually hear the 911 call, despite the fact it was put into the record by a court reporter and Leow-Johannsen could read it. The appeal’s court said she couldn’t make a just decision because she couldn’t hear Speer's tone of voice, inflection, and demeanor. Now the Ohio Supreme Court is looking at the decision. A ruling against allowing Leow-Johannsen as a juror could effectively bar the deaf from serving on juries in the state.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cable Captioning Problems

Some Comcast customers are having a problem with closed captioning. The cable provider's digital terminal adapters have a bug, causing the devices to display closed-captioning text incorrectly. Characters are repeated in two-letter segments. For example, "effective" was displayed as "efeffefectctivive e." Comcast is blaming the supplier of the terminal adapters, Thomson, for the problem. The under $50 units are designed to convert a digital program lineup into analog format. The Comcast program offering the devises is called Project Cavalry and is mainly having problems in these areas: San Francisco, Portland, Washington state, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

State Slashing School $'s

Students at the Tennessee School for the Deaf will be bused home instead of flying if cuts to the state education budget pass the legislature. The department's $4.9 billion budget is expected to be trimmed by nearly $12 million. That includes removing the $800,000 for student flights.

Deaf Priests

The lack of deaf priests will be discussed at a pontifical council gathering in Vatican City this week. The international conference is themed The Deaf Person in the Life of the Church. It runs from Thursday through Saturday.

There are an estimated 1.3 million deaf Catholics in the world but only 13 ordained deaf priests. Eight of them serve in the US, two are in Great Britain and one each serve in Brazil, Congo and South Korea.

National Champs

The Maryland School for the Deaf football team is national deaf championship again - for the 7th time in a row. The Orioles' volleyball team also picked up a national championship banner. This is the team's 4th time in a row to earn that honor. The football team finished the season with 10 wins and one loss. The Orioles volleyball squad only lost only one game as well. The champions were selected by Deaf Digest.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Walk for DeafHope

The Oakland School for the Arts will hold a walk for DeafHope and the charter school's theatrical production of The Wiz. The Ease on Down the Road fund-raiser will take students, faculty and staff on a four-mile trek on December 4th. The school hopes to raise $50,000 through pledges for each walker. The proceeds will be split between the organizations.
DeafHope was founded in 2003 by deaf women to combat domestic abuse and sexual assault against deaf women and children.

Orioles Stake Claim to Title

The Maryland School for the Deaf's football team finished its season with a 49-0 shutout of California SD-Riverside this past Friday. The Orioles are now 10-1 and looking for an 8th national deaf prep championship. The national deaf prep officials will decide who gets the national crown within a few days.

Buck Fever

A new children's book called Buck Fever tells the story of a child left parcially deaf from an ear infection. The main character in the book penned by Cynthia Chapman Willis is twelve-year-old Joey who is a talented hunter but the pre-teen is more interested in playing hockey and drawing. Joey struggles to tell his father that he doesn't want to shoot a deer. Publisher's Weekly says Willis avoids "easy answers, clich├ęs, and moralizing, instead focusing on Joey's inner struggle and the stress his mother's absence causes." It's for kids ages 9 to 13.

Hearing Aid Use

While 95% of people with hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids, only 23% currently use them (Hearing Review). Only 12% of US kids with significant hearing loss use an aid (Better Hearing Institute). Of those who own a hearing aid, one out of six do not use it at all (US News & World Report) and about one out of three do not wear them daily.

Volleyball Champs

Gallaudet University has won the ECAC South Region Tournament championship trophy in volleyball. The Bison beat top seated DeSales University 3-1 over the weekend. Gallaudet finishes the year with a 27-14 overall mark.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Deer Hunt

A boy Scout Scout camp near Truman Lake, Missouri offers deaf children the opportunity to take part in a two-day deer hunt. Children from the Missouri and Kansas Schools for the Deaf joined their parents last weekend for one of the hunts. Click here for more info about the Scouts in the area.

Toddlers Get Implants

Here's a link to an article in today's Denver Post about small children recieving cochlear implants.


A new documentary is being made about a 100-year-old Boston resident Julius Barthoff. He has been profoundly deaf since childhood. The film is going by the working title Julius and is being made by a professor at Olin College in Needham. Caitrin Lynch hopes the film will help viewers see the world through Barthoff’s eyes. It should be finished early next year.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hiker Rescued

A deaf hiker is safe after a rescue operation in Simi Valley, California. The 14-year-old son of Tereza Kristall reported her missing last night. The 45-year-old was text messaging the teenage, saying she was on a steep hill where she had fallen and temperatures were dropping. Emergency workers were able to find her using GPS data from her phone to guide a rescue helicopter. Kristall was treated for hypothermia and injuries she recieved in a fall.

Crime in Texas

The story of a Texas man fighting for his life after a home invasion left him injured. KTVT has this video report (no captions).

Gally Prez Honored

The staff of a San Diego-area school have decided to name the facility after Gallaudet's president, Nearly 50 children, mainly Hispanic, are served by the school. Next year the program will expand from pre-school and elementary school to the middle school. All of the school's staff members are fluent signers, even those who teach the oral/aural classes. Davilla is the first Hispanic person to graduate from Gallaudet and first deaf Hispanic person to earn a doctoral degree.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Deaf Veterinarians

The number of deaf veterinarians in the US range from 40 to more than 100. There are more than a dozen veterinary schools and colleges that have graduated deaf students, according to the Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses.

911 Calls

Can you make emergency calls through IP Relay or Video Relay Service? In this ASL video, the FCC offers an answer.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Outpouring of Support

Someone broke into the Durham Deaf Services, stealing equipment and causing thousands in damages over the Halloween Weekend. But the Oshawa, Ontario facility has had a happy ending to the crime. It has received an outpouring of community support including $1000 from the Ontario Electrical League and $500 each from Honest Movers and Ontario Power Generation. ADT Security Systems is donating a security system which includes strobe lighting for deaf clients. The head of Durham Deaf Services says,
"We're so appreciative to have people coming forward to help out. It certainly restores our faith in humanity to see so many individuals and businesses reaching out to us right now."
The organization helps more than 500 clients.

Dial Arounds

Can "dial around" providers still be used with VRS and IP calls, dispite the changes made by the FCC? The agency offers an answer in this ASL video.

Why the Video # Change

Here is a ASL video explaining why the FCC is requiring a 10-digit number in order to make non-emergency IP Relay or Video Relay Service (VRS) calls.

Registering for a Video #

In this ASL video, the FCC explains how the registration process to get a 10-digit number in order to make non-emergency IP Relay or Video Relay Service (VRS) calls.

Why Video # Requirement

In this ASL video, the FCC explains why the agency is requiring a local 10-digit number in order to make non-emergency IP Relay or Video Relay Service (VRS) calls. These new rules goes into effect today.

How to Get a Video #

In this ASL video, the FCC explains how to get a 10-digit number in order to make non-emergency IP Relay or Video Relay Service (VRS) calls.

New Videophone Rules

Here's an FCC-produced video in ASL about new rules requiring a local 10-digit number in order to make non-emergency IP Relay or Video Relay Service (VRS) calls. These new rules goes into effect today.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Awareness Expo

Northern Arizona's Yavapai College will host a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Awareness Expo tomorrow 10am to 1:30pm in the college's library community room. Disability Advocate Dr. Nanette Bowles will speak about the impact of hearing loss on people's lives. There will also be a free hearing test.

Cincinnati Benefit

A Climb-A-Thon will benefit the Cincinnati Deaf and hard of hearing community on November 21st. It’s the 2nd time Community Services for the Deaf has held the event. Climbers raising the most money will be given prizes. The cost is $10 per climber.

Hearing-Impairment.. by the Numbers

  • One in every 800 children is born with a hearing impairment.
  • 60% of people over the age of 70 suffer some hearing loss.
  • Hearing loss is the leading injury among soldiers returning from Iraq, according to the Deaf Independent Living Association of Salisbury, Maryland

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Commercial Casting

If you know ASL and Spanish or Tagalog, you could be shooting a commercial next week. Casting is underway for a non-union shoot in Los Angeles next week. The pay is $2500. The commercial makers are looking for men and women in their 30's. If you are interested, send your name, phone number and a photo to this address: or call for an audition at (310) 775-6616.

Texas Man Robbed, Beaten

Fort Worth Police have arrested three teens in connection with an attack on an 85-year-old deaf man that left him seriously injured this morning. The man's niece tells the Star-Telegram that the suspects kicked in the door leading from the garage into the home. The deaf man told them, “Take whatever you want, just don’t hurt me” but that's exactly what they did. They beat him until he was down on the floor as he begging them to stop. They stole money from his house and took his pickup truck. Police found it wrecked later. The teenagers are likely to be charged with three other robberies that took place in the same area. The deaf man remains in intensive care.

Deaf Studies Digital Journal

Gallaudet is launching a peer-reviewed academic and creative arts journal in ASL and English. It's believed to be a first for the signing community. The Department of ASL and Deaf Studies will oversee the Deaf Studies Digital Journal. Sponsored by the University and the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, the multimedia publication publish twice yearly and include academic articles, commentary, literature, film, video, visual arts, historical footage of signed languages, interviews, reviews and news about community events.

Matlin on Family Guy

Actress Marlee Matlin took part Sunday night in special put together from the people who produce the Fox comedy Family Guy (video below). She took part in a sketch that made fun of her speaking voice. Here’s what she told Entertainment Weekly about the appearance:

"I was just part of the joke. I learned a long time ago from when I did Seinfeld never to take anything seriously and to be part of the joke is the best way to show what a good sport I was.. I know a lot of deaf people might have been offended when they made fun of my voice but remember, it was MY voice they were making fun of. I was more than happy to show up and show them that I could dish it as well as I could take it and that being offensive works both ways.. Humor comes in all forms and everyone has their cup of tea about what makes them laugh. But the day we censor humor is a sad one for sure. All I gotta say is, lighten up, people.”
Matlin is developing a program for Showtime.

Hungary Accepts Sign

The country of Hungary has decided to acknowledge sign language as an official language of the Eastern European nation. Hungary's Parliament unanimously adopted a bill seeking to recognize sign language as an "independent and natural" language yesterday. This allows the deaf the opportunity to use sign language in official communication and the right to an interpreter in legal situations.

Monday, November 9, 2009

India's Driving Law

India may soon allow the deaf to drive. It's one of the few countries in the world where the deaf are not allowed to drive themselves. There are only 26 such nations, according to the NAD. India's high court has given the government three months to make a decision. There are around 50 million deaf in India.

Deaf Folklore

A presentation is planned at Michigan's Kalamazoo Valley Community College entitled Deaf Folklore: Deaf People, Culture and Identity. Simon Carmel will speak and offer Wednesday night at the Student Commons Theater located on the university's Texas Township Campus. Carmel was born deaf and has been collecting anecdotes and material reflecting the deaf community for years.

Battle Over Game Show Winnings

Here's an ABC video report on the dispute over funds won on the game show Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader. The money was intended for Deaf schools in Georgia. Click here for the written story.

Family Guy & Marlee Matlin

Family Guy voices Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein mocked Marlee Matlin during a skit on Family Guy Presents Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show. The half-hour special aired last night on the Fox network. The routine involved pretending Matlin is calling Moviefone! and the automated system cannot recognize what she is trying to say followed by a segment where Matlin attempts to sing pop songs but can't fully pronouce the words. But what was especially unexpected is that Matlin herself made an appearance. She then made fun of Alex Borstein who was pretending to do her voice, including some fat jokes and an offer to teach Borstein some sign language. Here's the clip with unfortunately no captions.

Medical Professionals

Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses (or AMPHL) began 2001 with three deaf veterinarians and three medical students. The association now includes as physical therapist and psychologist among others.

Race Drivers Help School

A video about how NASCAR works with the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bison Victory

Gallaudet's football team beat Maritime College in the final minute of play Friday night in Throggs Neck, New York. The Bison scored the game-winning touchdown with 53 second left on the clock and then stopped a Privateer drive to claim victory. That gives Gallaudet 6 wins and 4 loses on the season. The Bison finish third in the conference with a 3-2 mark.

Cali School Football

KPIX-TV has a video report on the California School for the Deaf in Freemont on the football field with rival Riverside as part of the school's 150th anniversary. Freemont won the game 41-6 (no captions).

Flu Vaccine

Here's an ASL video about where to get the H1N1 swine flu vaccine and what to do if you are sick with the flu from OIC Movies.

Signing in History

The earliest British account of signing dates back to a wedding in 1575, where the groom used signs during the ceremony. Samuel Pepys's account of the great fire of London in 1666 refers to a 'dumb' boy who describes the fire using "strange signs". This 'home signing', as it is known, was an ad hoc gesturing system developed by deaf children which would not have been passed down generations or across deaf communities.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Zambia Interpreters

Officials in Zambia are considering placing new restrictions on sign language interpreters after reports of abuse and profiteering from some in the deaf community. The Zambia Agency for Persons with Disability director, Charles Mwape, says the government effort will lead to issuing licenses to sign language interpreters.

Meanwhile, Zambia's Ministry of Community development is asking the Ministry of Health to train HIV/AIDS counselors and nurses in sign language so that they may better serve the deaf.

Deaf Veterinarians.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has posted a new story about deaf veterinarians.

Search for Vandals

Police in Eastern Ohio are looking for a couple who stole equipment for deaf students worth hundreds of dollars from Colerain High School. The pair can be clearly seen on surveillance cameras this week during an event at the school. After vandalizing the facility, the two were seen leaving in a large white van. They took advantage of unlocked doors for the school function.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hot Cake Flipper

The Illinois School for the Deaf will host a pancake feed tomorrow morning in the gym. Guinness Book of World Records holder Chris Cakes will make an appearance. He holds the record as the fastest pancake flipper in the world. The money will help the school’s eighth grade.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Details on School Assault

We now know more details about what happened at the Maryland School for the Deaf that lead to the arrest of 4 students. Police say a 16-year-old student was held down by other students at the Frederick facility while others pushed objects up his rectum including a small plastic bottle of hand sanitizer and a soft-drink bottle. About a half-dozen watched. A second juvenile told police he was injuted while fighting off and fleeing from students who tried to take off his pants.

One adult, 20-year-old Tyler Dilks, and three junveniles are now facing charges of fourth-degree sex offense, second-degree assault and conspiracy. Dilks has a January 12th trial date.

Hearing Aid Rally

WCVB-TV offers a video report on the effort to make insurance companies pay for hearing aids in Massachusetts. Here's a link to the text of the story.

Tampa Head Start

WTVT-TV in Tampa files this video report on parents who've gotten funding for high-tech center that will promote speech and literacy for the deaf children.

Hearing Aid Bill

A proposed Massachusetts law would require insurers to pay part of the cost of hearing aids for children. The bill would also require coverage of hearing aid replacements since they often need replacing every three years. Families rallied in support of the measure at the State House yesterday. State insurers are opposing the bill through efforts by the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Deaflympics Host

The man who ran Deaflympics this summer in Taiwan is moving up. Emile Sheng is set to become the new minister of the Cabinet-level Council for Cultural Affairs. Sheng grabbed the attention of government officials with his success in hosting the games. He will also oversee the
major activities to mark the 100th founding anniversary of the Republic of China in 2011. Sheng holds a doctoral degree in political science from Northwestern University in Illinois.

Causes of Hearing-Loss

A CNN report on hearing-loss (no captioning).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sexual Assault Arrests

Four students will be charged with sexual assault of a male student at the Maryland School for the Deaf last week. Frederick police say three of the suspects are minors and one an adult who lived in the same dormitory as the victim. He was treated and released from a hospital.

Implant Film

The director of a controversial film will be among those gathering to discuss the documentary at Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego this Saturday night. Sound and Fury has been out for a decade but it still divides the Deaf community. The movie shows how one family deals with cochlear implants. The film has recently been updated by director Josh Aronson.

Unexpected Death

The man leading the deaf studies program at the California State University Northridge has suddenly died. Lawrence Fleischer, better known as Larry, is one of main reasons the program even exists. He was 64 years old and had been a faculty member for more than decade. There are nearly 500 majors enrolled in the deaf studies program at CSUN.

Fleischer had just spoken at the ASL Teachers Association conference in Phoenix the day before his death. His daughter is an assistant professor of ASL and Deaf Studies at Utah Valley University.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Orioles Victorious

The Maryland School for the Deaf football team won again this weekend -47 to 0. The victory over the Model Secondary School for the Deaf gives the Orioles nine wins against a single loss. The team had to cancel two games last week. There was an outbreak of flu at St. James School and the replacement opponent couldn't field enough players.

See What I'm Saying

A film about deaf entertainers will be shown at the St. Louis Film Festival. See What I'm Saying documentary follows 4 deaf entertainers for a year: a rock drummer, a singer, an actor, and a comic. The film will be shown Saturday, November 21 at the Tivoli.