Friday, April 30, 2010

Report on New School for the Deaf

Here's a video from KOAT-TV in Albuquerque about the new school for the deaf being built in the city.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Full House for Marlee

It was standing room only last night for Marlee Matlin at New York's Union College. Some 150 people greeted the deaf actress. The appearance was part of the College's Presidential Forum on Diversity series. The campus student paper quotes her as telling the audience,
"As my friend Stevie Wonder said to me, only when those who see can open their eyes, those who can walk can open the doors, and those who can hear are no longer deaf, can we finally stand side by side equally to one another and celebrate our diversity."

Judge: Child Must be Forced to Use Implant

A judge may punish a Spokane man for not making his daughter use a cochlear implant. District Court Judge James Stow signed an order requiring Emma McLaughlin-Orton to wear the device all the times at the request of her mother. But Shaun McLaughlin, who is deaf, says he wants to give his daughter "her own choices in life." He faces a contempt charge in Kootenai County for not making her wear the device. Emma had surgery to install a cochlear ear implant on the right side when she was a year old and a second one when she was five years old. She does not want to wear the external processor and transmitter which activates the device when she is with her father. Emma's grandmother says the girl wants to "be deaf like daddy" when she visits him. The girl's mother, Jennifer Orton Miller, is not married to Shaun McLaughlin but the couple share custody.

Deaf WrestleFest

A benefit for the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf takes place Sunday at the Pittsburgh campus. Deaf WrestleFest features a tag-team match organized by former pro wrestler with two deaf sons. More information here.

Miley Cyrus Learning Sign

Miley Cyrus is learning sign language, according to some celebrity Web sites. She was apparently motivated by an encounter with a fan who had recently lost her hearing. Cyrus is reportedly using tutorials on DVD and her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, is joining her.

New School For The Deaf

Albuquerque is getting a new school for the deaf.  Students with hearing loss in the New Mexico town currently have to travel to Santa Fe to attend a school for the deaf. The county commission agreed to lease a county building to the ABQ Sign Language Academy in the downtown area for $30,000. Renovation will cost half-a-million dollars with $400,000 coming from the county and $100,000 from the state. The Academy will enroll 40 children starting this July.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Augustana College ASL Program

Here are a few facts about the sign language interpreting program at Augustana College, a private liberal arts college located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The program began in 2006 when the Communication Services for the Deaf in Sioux Falls made a grant to help start up the program at the school.
  • There are currently 36 total sign language interpreting students in the program and four professors.
  • Four of the 7 graduating sign language interpreting majors from this year's program already have job offers.
  • The seniors were required to complete a 400-hour advanced interpreting practicum, shadowing a professional interpreter.
  • Augustana's program has a 100% pass rate on national certification (the national average is only 44%).
  • Students start with classes in American Sign Language during their first year and then advance into translation and specialized interpreting courses their sophomore year.

Signing Through Tanzani

A look at one man's experiences in some of Africa's deaf communities is told here.

Interpreting Doctorate

Gallaudet will soon offer a PhD in sign language interpreting. The program only needs the board of trustees stamp of approval to move forward. Members will consider the plan at their next meeting in May. Designed by the school's Department of Interpretation, the program would be the first of its kind. For more information go here.

Aiming for the Majors

Ryan Ketchner hopes to become one of the few deaf baseball pitchers to make it to the major leagues. The 28 years old will pitch tonight for the Toledo, Ohio Mud Hens against Syracuse in Triple-A ball. Ketchner first played pro ball in 2000 and underwent arm surgery in 2005. He was promoted from Double-A ball after Ruddy Lugo went on the disabled list after being struck in the head by a line drive late last week. He won both his starts last year for the Mud Hens.

Raffle Ticket Scam

Police in Shreveport, Louisiana are warning residents someone who says they are deaf is selling phony raffle tickets door-to-door. The woman claims she is part of the Deaf Action Center of Louisiana and asks for $5 for each ticket. The real Center is sending out email to members of the Facebook'g group warning of the scam.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Deaf Theatre Presents...

Deaf West Theater in Los Angeles is performing My Sister in this House from now until the end of May. Wendy Kesselman’s 1980 play won awards in telling the story of murders that took place in 1933 France that gained international attention. In the Deaf West version of the play, especially written for the cast, two of the characters are deaf.

Gallaudet's Baseball Coach

The USA Today features Gallaudet baseball coach Curtis Pride here. Here's video from the story.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sorenson Online Changes

Sorenson Communications has rolled out a new design for the Sorenson Video Relay Service website. The goal was a creating more deaf-friendly content by offering more videos using ASL.

State Deaf Association Sue State

The Missouri Association of the Deaf is suing the state over its mental health services. The suit says the Missouri Department of Mental Health doesn't provide mental health professionals who are fluent in American Sign Language or properly trained interpreters. The suit points to 3 recent suicides in the St. Louis area as evidence that deaf patients are not receiving adequate care. Some 1100 people in Missouri need mental health assistance. Rather than hiring more interpreters, the group wants better training for therapists and counselors.

Educator Uninvited to Conference

The Singapore Ministry of Education withdrew its invitation to a deaf educator to its Teachers’ Conference this year after finding out she is deaf. The decision caused an uproar on the Internet, so conference leaders decided to change their minds again and reinvited Susan Elliot to the September conference. She was Colorado's 2009 Teacher of the Year and holds masters degrees from Gallaudet University and California State University Northridge. The Ministry of Education released a statement saying “the withdrawal of our invitation to Ms Susan Elliot was a mistake on our part” which resulted from “our misunderstanding about the need for interpreters and her professional experience.”

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Texas Man Faces Murder Charges

A deaf man from Conroe, Texas is facing murder charges in the death of his estranged wife. When police tried to arrest Earl Handy, they had to taser him because he started stabbing himself after assaulting Donna Allen and her boyfriend. The boyfriend is expected to recover from his injuries. He remains in jail with no bond set. Handy faces life in prison and possible execution.

Student Competition at Gally

The Academic Bowl National Championship takes place at Gallaudet University starting today.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Gally's Green Celebration

Gallaudet went carbon-neutral Thursday in honor of Earth Day. The campus relied on natural gas for as much of the day's energy needs as possible and carbon offsets were bought for the remainder of the energy. Three-year-old Green Gallaudet has led the enviromental effort that has moved the school from about 35,000 in carbon savings during 2008 up to 38,600 in 2009. Gallaudet has had a recycling program in place for years and it has switched recently to using viturally all organic products for grounds maintenance. University officials hope to soon sign on to the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Suit Filed Against State Police

A Baton Rouge woman is suing the Louisiana State Police for discrimination. Camille Brewton says she was mistreated during her 10 years with the police as a data entry clek because she is deaf. She says she was only eight days from retirement. The lawsuit says her requests for an interpreter were ignored all but one time - and that one time she was provided an interpreter who was unqualified. A spokesman for the state police disputes her claims, saying Brewton failed to meet job expectations.

Expo in Texas

The DeafNation Expo comes to Fort Worth, Texas tomorrow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pope Sued Over Accused

As promised earlier this week, a deaf man from Illinois has filed a lawsuit in Wisconsin against the Pope. The unidentified man says a priest molested him at a Catholic school for the deaf and the Vatican knew about it but did nothing. The lawsuit asks for the release of secret files and the creation of a a system under which the court could monitor its compliance along with unspecified monetary damages. Documents released today in another lawsuit show the Vatican was informed of the situation in 1995, not 1996, as first believed. The accused priest died in 1998. The Vatican is dismissing the lawsuit as a publicity stunt. The Vatican says knew nothing of the crimes until decades later and isn't responsible for the abuse.

City Won't Provide Terps

The city council in Statesville, North Carolina heard from the mother of a deaf man during their Monday meeting. Speaking through an interpreter, Summer Lipford called in the city to have an ASL interpreter on call for emergencies or other situations that could arise between the city and its deaf residents. She told members of the council that the city is not "ADA friendly" and handed out copies of the law. She's referring in particular to her son's recent arrest. Lipford claims that magistrates told her they were not obligated to provide Michael Godbey with an interpreter.

Lawsuit Against Pope

Victims of a Wisconsin Catholic priest say they will file a lawsuit in Milwaukee this afternoon naming Pope and other Vatican officials as defendants. Father Lawrence Murphy allegedly molested some 200 deaf children. The lawsuit will say Benedict had detailed proof and direct admission by Murphy of criminal acts, yet did nothing. He worked at St. John's School for the Deaf in St. Francis until 1974.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Indecency Charges Against Teacher

A student teacher at the American School for the Deaf is facing charges of sexual abuse in Dewitt, New York (east of Syracuse). State police arrested Micah S. Brown after a 16-year-old girl said he gave her alcohol, marijuana and had sex with her. Police say Brown, who is from Oregon, admitted he had sexual conduct with both 14 and 16-year-old girls. The National Technical Institute for the Deaf placed him at the Hartford, Connecticut school for 5 weeks.

Pope Meets Victims

Pope Benedict says he'll take action on the sexual abuse scandal. His comments came after meeting with victims, saying he was "greatly moved." There have been 100s of allegations of abuse by Catholic clergy in the Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria and Germany. An American priest is accused of molesting 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin at the St. John's School for the Deaf.

MO Schools Add ASL Classes

The Springfield, Maryland school board voted last night to add ASL as a foreign language to its curriculum starting. Even thought there are only two sections that will be taught starting next school year, 120 freshmen and sophomores requested to take the class. School officials say the number of sections will be be expanded when staffing can be expanded. Students for the first classes will be selected on the basis of their English grades and attendance.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fleeing Car Hits School Van

A police car chase put two deaf students in the hospital this afternoon. Officers were pursuing a fleeing driver in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania when the driver hit a van filled with students from the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. The injured students did not have serious injuries. Two people were taken into custody.

In Pursuit of Silence

In his new book In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noises, George Prochnik says the modern life assaults us with an unhealthy barrage of noise. He traveled the world to find places of silence for the book, including Gallaudet University. He writes about the Deaf Architecture featured at the school that includes lots of natural light and “free-flowing curvilinear movement.” In front of a dorm on an open plaza Prochnik could see that the “fortuitous alignment of buildings, landscaping, and roads, the peripheral sight lines were as spacious and open as the center of the visual field.” Read an interview with Prochnik from Salon here.

Gallaudet Academic Bowl

16 schools will compete in the 14th annual Academic Bowl for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students Sunday and Monday at Gallaudet University's Kellogg Conference Hotel. The championship match will be held Monday night. You can watch it live on the National Academic Bowl website which is here. There were 76 teams to participate in the five regional tournaments that took place across the country earlier this year. The three highest ranking teams from each regional contes and one overall at-large team, earned berths in the national contest.

Boy Left on Bus

An 8 year old deaf boy was left on a school bus in Las Vegas. Jessi Hart says her son Hunter was left alone in the bus yard when he was supposed to be left at Roundy Elementary School. After a quarter of an hour passed, another driver spotted the boy. Even though the incident happened a couple of weeks ago, Hart still hasn't been told by school officials whether any action will be taken against the driver. They are refusing to say publically, calling it a personnel issue.

Implant Kids Catch Up with Peers

Children with cochlear implants catch up with their peers and enjoy similar educational and employment levels, according to a new study. French researchers found the deaf children who receive cochlear implants are likely to do poorly in early grades but eventually equal other students their own age. Most of the children followed in the study without other disabilities received mainstream schooling. Details of the study are in the April issue of Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Baseball Captioning

The closed-captioning on the Yankee Stadium scoreboard recently changed AJ Burnett's name to A.J. Burning Net, Curtis Granderson became Curtis Grapdersson and Brett Gardner was translated as Dwreg Gardner. In a warning about balls and bats leaving the playing field during warmups, "warmups" became warm yums.

Netflix Captioning

Netflix is adding captioning to its streaming. So far, only 100 titles have been closed captioned but the company hopes to have all titles captioned soon. It's limited to PCs and Macs right now but Netflix says the technology in the works that will support captioning its game console, Blu-ray, and DTVs. The options should be available this fall.

Nobody’s Perfect

An award-winning children's musical will be performed in Spartanburg, South Carolina this afternoon at 4pm at the David Reid Theater in Chapman Cultural Center. The Kennedy Center production of Nobody’s Perfect is based on the book of the same titled written by Marlee Matlin.
There's more information about the show here. A morning performance just for students has already sold out. This is the first show to tour the US complete with open captioning and ASL interpreters at every show. The production is about an elementary school student who thinks a classmate doesn't like her because she is deaf and the two wind up becoming partners on a science project.

To find out more about the tour, click here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Champion Jump

A freshman jumper on Gallaudet University men’s track and field team won the triple jump yesterday at the 2010 Capital Athletic Conference championships. Darius Flowers is from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and soared 48 feet, 3.5 inches. The second-place jumper was nearly three feet shorter.

Freshman thrower Jessica Israel scored in two events to lead the women’s track and field team. The Frederick, Maryland native scored points in the shot put and discus events to give the Bison their only points on the day.

Is ASL a Foriegn Language

On many college campuses, it is, but to some, it doesn’t make the cut, sparking a fierce debate about the nature of culture and language itself . The Chicago Tribune looks at the debate over whether ASL is a foriegn language in this article.

Terping in Oklahoma

Read a story about sign language interpreters in Oklahoma here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Film in NY

The documentary See What I’m Saying shows in Syracuse, New York.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Whitestone Shares Story

KCAU-TV reviews an appearance by Heather Whitestone McCallum in Sioux City, Iowa here. She was born deaf but because Miss America 1995.

NAD Picks Terp Agency for Conference

Interpreting at the National Association of the Deaf 50th Biennial National Association of the Deaf Conference will be handled by Access Interpreting. The conference takes place in Philadelphia from July 6-10. The DC-metro service is calling for hearing/Deaf interpreters and Special Service Providers (SSP)s. The deadline for submitting applications and supporting materials is May 13. Read more here.

Expo in Alabama

The DeafNation Expo comes to Birmingham tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Deaf Theater: Feel the Performance

Journalism students at Northwestern University in Chicagoland offer video and a story about a presentation featuring deaf actors here.

Closed Captioning Pioneer Dies

The founding president of the National Captioning Institute has died in Virginia. John E.D. Ball was 77 years old. A native of Scotland who came to the US in the 1960s, Ball won an Emmy award for his efforts to develop closed captioning for television programs while working for the Public Broadcasting Service. He then became president of the National Captioning Institute, a nonprofit organization working to expand the availability of closed captioning. The first live news broadcasts were captioned during his time at the NCI. In honor of his work, Gallaudet University granted him an honorary degree.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Test on Newborns Ineffective

DNA testing of newborns for hearing loss is not effective, according to new research. The testing did not identify the most common non-genetic cause of deafness in the US nearly two-thirds of the time. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say the disease remains a significant public health problem. Details will be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Resource Center Opens

Springfield, Ohio now has a office of the Deaf Community Resource Center. County commissioners approved the move today. he office will be open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays. Services to be offered include assistance with job placement, resumes and cover letters and interview skills. Read more information here.

School For The Deaf Lawsuit

WAPT-TV in Jackson offers this video report on the teacher who was awarded money when she sued the Mississippi School of the Deaf after she was fired. We first told you about the story here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

TV Star Reveals Hearing Loss

A British TV soap opera star is admitting he's struggled with deafness for more than half a century. Bill Roache plays Ken Barlow Coronation Street has only 50% of his hearing in each ear and relies on visual cues during filming. The 77-year-old lost his hearing in an accident as a young soldier. He's now involved with the Sound Barrier Star Awards, which recognise the achievements of the hard of hearing.

Profiles in Excellence

The California School for the Deaf is profiled by KGO-TV in San Francisco in this video.

Violence in Relationships

Researchers at RIT say the violence against deaf men in relationships has been underestimated. They say previous literature ignores males as victims, particularly in dating relationships. A review of information from students on the RIT campus in New York, which includes the National Technical Institute for the Deaf over the course of 8 years, shows deaf men were more likely to experience they types of violence they studied. Deaf women were only more likely to experience one particular category of abuse more frequently than hearing women. The research was sponsored by the US Department of Justice. Read more here.

Matlin's TV Family

Here's some more on the family selected by Marlee Matlin's production company, Solo One, to be the subject of a new show called My Deaf Family. Leslie Firl and Bridgetta Bourne-Firl of Livermore, California have four children. Bridgetta works as the outreach department at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont and Leslie is a high school teacher. Both of the parents and two of the children are deaf and the two other children are hearing. Each is given time to explain the challenges of being in a mixed family. Matlin conducts interviews and sometimes joins in on activities. More than 90,000 people have seen the pilot episode. You can watch it here.

Major Leaguer

Outfielder Tyson Gillies got a shot at joining the Philadelphia Phillies during spring training. The 21-year-old deaf ball player didn't make his new team's rooster but was assigned to the Class Double-A Reading Phillies. The Vancouver, British Columbia native is considered a prized prospect, one of the few deaf players in the history of professional baseball. Gillis wears hearing aids but he still can't pick up the crack of the bat. Deaf at birth, Gillies was able to lip reading until he reached the 4th grade and his condition was discovered. He skill at baseball became evident and Gillies was drafted out of high school in 2006 by the Seattle Mariners. He spent the 2007-09 seasons playig Single-A ball and has only nine errors in 224 career games. Last year, he hit .341 and 44 stolen bases.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Gally Grad Receives Appointment

A Gallaudet graduate is taking over as regional administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Robin Finegan will lead FEMA's Denver office which deals with issues in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Finegan was director of consumer protection under Denver's District Attorney. She also served as a managing partner at a crisis-management consulting firm. Finegan received her master’s degree from Gallaudet University.

School Will Stay Open Afterall

Illinois'only public school for the deaf and blind won't close afterall. The Philip J. Rock Center and School in Glen Ellyn had warned that it would soon have to close its doors. There was no money to pay employees after April 15th. The state owed it $1.7 million in payments. But by the end of the week, state officials had come up with $1.3 million - enough to keep the school going at least until July. State education officials had looked at moving the center's 14 students to other facilities.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

50 Years to Life for California Man

A California judge gave a deaf man 50 years to life in prison for the killing his girlfriend's unborn baby. When Danny Ray Poplin Jr. attacked Vanessa Robert with a butcher knife on New Year's Eve of 2006, he accused her of having an affair with another man and signed to her "His semen is in you." DNA tests later showed Poplin had killed his own child and there was no evidence of infidelity on her part. A jury convicted him of the rarely prosecuted charge of first-degree fetal murder. He'll serve the sentence after finishing a 12 year sentence for the attack on Robert. The couple lived in a Sacramento suburb with another child they had together who saw the attack and testified at the trial. Poplin's previous conviction for first-degree burglary doubled what would have been a 25-year sentence. Even though 5 interpreters worked the trial, Poplin's attorney complained that he understood little of the proceedings because he was born deaf and never learned ASL because his mother used a crude home sign.

Documents Contradict Account of Abusive Priest

A priest involved with looking into accusations of sexual abuse by another priest at a Milwaukee-area school for the deaf now admits there are documents that contradict what he says happened. Thomas Brundage admits in a letter to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (read it here) that his archbishop in 1998 told him to stop the judicial process against Lawrence Murphy, a priest accused of molesting 200 deaf children. Brundage says he's sorry but his false statements were only a misunderstanding of how he remembered the events.

Matlin's Tweet Gets Action from MTV

An episodeof the MTV series True Life was re-edited thanks to actress Marlee Matlin. She and her daughter noticed the True Life episode called I'm Deaf had no closed captioning. Matlin first used Twitter to express her concern. She tweeted:
"As my daughter would say 'DUHH!' MTV show "True Life" about deaf kids WITHOUT closed captions-FAIL!"
Matlin's post wound up getting 38,000 people to re-tweet her message. When it reached MTV's offices, the network responded:

"Thx @MarleeMatlin for pointing out an unfortunate oversight; we'll add captions to the online segment ASAP so all in our audience can watch."

You can watch the episode here.

What Did the Pope Know?

An AP reporter discusses the Pontiff's involvement in the Catholic church's decision on what to do with a California priest with a record of sexually molesting children. This comes after revelations about a Wisconsin priest who alledged abused some 200 deaf children.

Theater Opening

My Sister In This House opens at Deaf West Theatre in Los Angeles tonight.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Northwestern ASL Classes

After a year of student campaigning, Northwestern University may final get its first sign language class. A student government committee is working toward the eventual goal of seeing ASL recognized as a foreign language at the Chicago-area school. Right now, only a student led ASL seminar is available.

Bison Sweep

Gallaudet's baseball team swept a doubleheader with non-conference opponent Lancaster Bible College yesterday at Hoy Field. Gallaudet won the first game 8-7 on a 8th inning throwing error from right fielder. In the second game, the Bison powered its way to a 10-2 victory.

Nebraska Event

The DeafNation Expo visits Omaha tomorrow.

Film Opening

The documentary See What I’m Saying shows in New York starting today through the 22nd.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Why Isn't Matlin's Show On TV?

In a National Public Radio (NPR) story about Marlee Matlin's show on YouTube the reviewer writes admits, "This is a show that I would watch." The post is titled A Baffling Question: Why Isn't Marlee Matlin's 'My Deaf Family' On Television? Read more here.

$200k Jury Award to Teacher

A Mississippi jury has awarded a a former teacher at the state's school for the deaf more than $200,000. Melissa Ross says her dismissal from the Mississippi School for the Deaf in 2007 was racial discrimination. She was awarded $40,000 in back pay along with $165,000 in pain and suffering. However, jurors rejected her claim that the Mississippi Department of Education retaliated against her because she was taking part in an EEOC investigation. Her case had been moved from state court to federal court. The Mississippi Department of Education said it was disappointed with the verdict and was weighig its options.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Deaf Children Abused in Italy

There are reports that Catholic priests in Verona, Italy sexually abused some 70 deaf men and women over a period of about 30 years at a Church-run institute for deaf children. There are also allegations of abuse reported in Rome, Bologna and Bolzano, in the Sud Tyrol region. European media are reporting that Italian authorities arrested, investigated or convicted 130 Catholic priests for sexually abusing children over the last decade. There are also indications that some Italian priests who sexually abused children in their care were protected from investigation by bishops.

Gallaudet Response to Protests

Gallaudet University president Alan Hurwitz is accepting email about the controversial play to be performed on campus starting tomorrow but calls are being sent to chief of staff Don Beil. Gallaudet students have had "a series of dialogues" about the play called Corpus Christi which portrays Jesus and his disciples as gay. Playwright Terrence McNally will be on campus tonight to meet with the actors.

Here's what Gallaudet provost Stephen Weiner had to say about the peformance:

"Gallaudet University neither endorses nor condemns the views expressed in Corpus Christi, or any dramatic production. We understand that there are people who will find this play affirming, liberating, and cathartic, and others who find its message disrespectful, distasteful, and repugnant. We seek to allow all views to be aired openly and respectfully, and we hope that open discussions will allow individuals to listen to one another. This is the hallmark of an academic institution."Gallaudet spokeswoman Mercy Coogan told me that Hurwitz, who is deaf, is accepting e-mails but routing calls to his chief of staff, Don Beil, who is hearing."

Read more about the controversy in an earlier post here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Protests at Gally

Some students and their parents are calling on Gallaudet to cancel a play at the school they are calling offensive and blasphemous. The production is called Corpus Christi and in it Jesus and his disciples are portrayed as gay. Gallaudet's theater department has scheduled three performances from April 8-10 where Jesus will be portrayed as both gay and deaf. Tarleton State University canceled a planned performance of Corpus Christi after a protest at the Texas school. A Catholic group called The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property has launched an online petition here. The group says Gallaudet does not have the right to let the performance take place. So far, the university is standing by its production.

Helping Students in Colorado

The Coloradoan looks at how a Fort Collins School district is utilizing a variety of tools to teach daef children. Read the story here.

Jonas Brothers' Mom

Denise Jonas is known as the mom of the Jonas Brothers but she also knows sign language. She learned to sign for drama and worship during her time with Christ for the Nations in Texas while attending college. Denise has met a number of leaders in the deaf community since her sons have become famous, including actress Marlee Matlin.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Vatican Dismisses Abuse Accusations

The Vatican is calling accusations it covered up the abuse of deaf children by priests "petty gossip." The remarks came in a surprise move in which a cardinal made the unusual decision to speak before Pope Benedict offered his Easter Sunday Mass. Benedict himself did not mention the scandal though the Vatican several times has recently blamed the media for creating a smear campaign. The Vaican newspaper says he's the real victim, writing that Benedict is having to endure a "despicable campaign of defamation." The New York Times reported Benedict was warned about the priest but he was not defrocked and he continued abused children even after his forced retirement. Barbara Blaine, a leader of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said, "Victims are seeking consolation and healing and should not be insulted and told that our speaking out is petty gossip."

Rhyming Signing

A new book called Rhyming Signing offers an innovative approach to teaching sign language. Author Brad Wyant believes it will help students learn quicker. Instead of grouping signs together under subject categories (like food words, or furniture items), the illustrated book groups similar hand signs together, even though they may be used to form words with completely different English meanings. The Gallaudet University graduate lives in South Dakota. Born deaf, his first book was titled You Can Sign - A Path to the Deaf Way.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Priest Abused Children After Forced Retirement

A Wisconsin priest continued abusing children even after the Vatican decided not to punish him. Lawrence Murphy was sent into retirement after victims of sexual abuse demanded he be removed from work at a school for the deaf near Milwaukee. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee had put Murphy under restrictions including that he not having any contact with children. Yet he interacted freely with children until his death in 1998 and never recieved any punished from local authorities or the church.
Documents uncovered in a lawsuit show Murphy used his family’s lakefront cottage as a lure in his sexual advances, bringing youths from the school into his home.

Gallaudet Ends Losing Streak

The Gallaudet University baseball team has won its first conference baseball game since 1997. The Bison defeated Stevenson University by a score of 5-3 on Thursday in the first game of a doubleheader. Its the first Capital Athletic Conference baseball victory in 13 years. Jeremy Shepps pitched a complete game and had a no-hitter going in the fourth inning. Stevenson won the second game of the doubleheader by a score of 3-2.

Gallaudet's only winning season since World War II came in 1966 and 1977. The team earned 7-5 records both years. Before Thursday's win, the Bison had lost 150 straight games in the Capital Athletic Conference. They were 0-14 so far this season and 0-20 overall.

Coach Curtis Pride took over the team two years ago. He's the only deaf player to reach the major leagues in the modern era.

Thriving through Hardship

The remarkable story of the woman's basketball coach at Gallaudet University is told in today's Washington Post newspaper. Read it here.


A 2008 Cornell University study indicated 44% of working-age Americans with a hearing disability were unemployed.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Implants Threaten ASL Education

Here's a video from WHYY-TV about the new school for the deaf in Delaware that's under construction and how cochlear implants are affecting the educational process and the threat it posses for ASL. The text of the video is here.

Cook Off

Two teams from the California School for the Deaf's Riverside and Fremont campuses completed yesterday in the first ever deaf culinary cook-off at the Riverside school. The timed "Iron Chef" style competition was the idea of Ian Goldstein, a former restaurant chef who has taught culinary courses at the Riverside deaf school for two years.

Dispute Over Documents in Catholic Abuse Scandal

The Catholic judge assigned to oversee the church trial of a priest accused of molesting up to 200 deaf boys says he was not ordered to to drop the case even though records indicate he was told to do so. A 1998 letter from the Archbishop at the time to the Vatican says Brundage was instructed to stop the trial. The letter came to light along with other documents in a fraud lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. They show Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, who initially sanctioned the trial decided to discouraged it just after the priest wrote to the Ratzinger, asking that he be able to live out the rest of his life "in the dignity of my priesthood" and, in effect, not face his accusers or the accusations he molested hundreds of children at St. John's School for the Deaf in St. Francis. The priest died in 1998.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Historian Casts Doubt on Helen Keller Legacy

The satiracal blog GlossyNews offered readers an April Fool's joke today about the so-called double life of Helen Keller. Read the story here.

Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal: One Man's Story

The story of one man who attended the Milwaukee school for the deaf where a priest routinely molested children is told in the Los Angeles Times here.