Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gally Prez in Cali

Gallaudet President T. Alan Hurwitz spoke at California State University in Fresno for the first time yesterday. He told those who gathered on the campus that Gallaudet's goals include enrollment growth, better retention and graduation rates, and revenue generating operations. Hurwitz says he hopes to see the school go from 2000 students to 3000 enrolled students during his tenure.

Academic Bowl Winner

The Maryland School for the Deaf has won the 2011 Academic Bowl Champion for Deaf and Hard of Hearing for high school students. Instead of holding regional tournaments and having the finalists travel to Gallaudet University for the championships, the University decided to have all 78 teams travel to Washington. The championship game pitted Maryland against New Mexico School for the Deaf. The final score was 48 to 29. Maryland won last year as well.

Captioning at NFL Games

An appeals court has upheld a lower court decision that deaf football fans should have access closed captioning at Washington Redskins' games. Deaf fans have no way of knowing what music is being played over the public address system during games. That's why the NAD sued five years ago on behalf of 3 deaf fans. The court ruled the that this is part of the entertainment experience at FedEx Field, and deaf fans should have access it, under ADA law. But the court also said captioning was not required for play-by-play coverage provided in the stadium concourse through the Redskin's radio station. Since the lawsuit was first filed, the stadium operators started captioning some content on boards throughout the facility. Both courts ruled that this was not enough since this could be stopped at any time.

Laser-based Hearing Aids

A University of Utah group is working on a way to use lasers to create a new kind of hearing aid. Led by biomedical engineering professor Richard Rabbitt, researchers say exposing hair cells to low-power infrared light (like those used in laser pointers) causes them release neurotransmitters and activate adjacent neurons. This could lead to the development of new optical hearing aids. These laser-based ear implants could stimulate cells with thousands of sound wavelengths.

Film Fest Today

A Deaf Film Festival starts today through Saturday in Rochester, New York. For more information, click here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Matlin Interview

Parent Dish spoke with Marlee Matlin about her role on this season's Celebrity Apprentice and raising four kids here.

Gally Breaks Streak

Gallaudet's baseball team ended a 37-game losing streak with a win over St. Mary's yesterday. It's the first time in 14 years the Bison have beat the Seahawks. Gally won by a score of 6-3 in the first game of a double hitter. St. Mary's won the second game of the double hitter 7 to 5. Gallaudet now has a record of 8 and 15.

Implant Recall Leads to Resignations

The CEO and CFO of cochlear implant maker Sonova have resigned. An investigation commissioned by the company's board of directors revealed the company did not properly notify investors about a major correction in its profit report due to a recall by Advanced Bionics of its cochlear implant. Sonova bought the implant maker recently and voluntarily recalled its HiRes 90K cochlear implant. After the report became public, chief executive officer Valentin Chapero and chief financial officer Oliver Walker quit. The chairman of the Board of Directors, Andy Rihs, says he will step down from his position as well. Board member Alexander Zschokke has been named as interim-chief executive officer while board member Robert Spoerry will become Chairman.

Today.. 31 Years Ago

It was on March 30, 1980 that the Broadway production of Children of a Lesser God opened in New York

Bring a Kleenex

The Miracle Worker is being performed in Houston through April the 9th. The Houston Press has a review here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Inova Health System has cut a deal with the Justice department to end a complaint about the company's failure to provide sign language interpreters during medical services. An expectant mother and other deaf people said the northern Virginia health care provider violated ADA law. The agreement, which still needs court approval, requires Inova to pay $95,000 to the deaf individuals along with a $25,000 civil penalty. Inova has agreed to provide at the several hospitals it operates in the suburbs of Washington, DC, training for its staff and a plan to meet the future needs of deaf clients. Under a separate agreement, Inova agreed to pay $25,000 to two other deaf people who complained about the same problem.

Funding Restored

The Rochester School for the Deaf and ten similar New York schools will not lose $98 million in state funding that was originally cut out of the budget. The Governor's office backed down on the move following protests from parents, teachers and advocates of the facilities.

Terps Needed

There is a lack of qualified interpreters in Indiana. WXIN-TV in Indianapolis offers a video report below. You can read the story here.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Film Fest

The 4th annual Deaf Rochester Film Festival takes kicks off Friday with a round table discussion takes place Friday with deaf filmakers and workshops for student filmmakers. Find out more about the New York event here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


The deaf team on this season's Amazing Race have been cut from the competition. On the 5th episode of the CBS show, Margie and Luke (a mother and son team) along with the other 8 teams went from Lake Park, China to India where they faced a tea challenge. Luke struggles to complete the task and winds up crying on the floor in frustration. His mother gives him a hug and tells him that she believes he can finish and he does. But it's too little, too late. They arrive last and are eliminated from the competition.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hospital Lawsuit

A Maryland hospital is being sued by a deaf woman. Jennifer Simmons and her mother, Susanna Paulay, are accusing St. Joseph Medical Center in Townsend of refusing to provide an interpreter during a medical emergency. The suit says they are seeking unspecified damages. The hospital defends its policies and procedures, but officials say they've haven't seen the lawsuit yet.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Film Fest

A film about a deaf man will open the 35th Cleveland International Film Festival tonight. Hamill is based on the life of wrestler and ultimate fighter Matt Hamill whose home state is Ohio. Some 150 films will be shown during this year's festival. Read more here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Apprentice #3

The third episode of The Celebrity Apprentice, which includes Marlee Matlin as a contestant, aired Sunday night. One of the more remarkable moments in the show came when Gary Busey revealed that the deaf actress told him he had a hearing impairment and recommended going to her doctor. Busey found out he had lost some 60% of his hearing. Busey told host Donald Trump:
"Marlee Matlin brought me a miracle last Saturday. She sent me to see her doctor -- the head of The Hearing Foundation -- at the Marriott Hotel in Times Square. He took 40 minutes to make me two hearing aids that go in the canals of my ears."
Each team (the contestants are divided by men and women) was given two RV's and a $5000 budget to come up with an outdoor camping experience. At the end of the episode, Trump fired former super model Niki Taylor from the NBC show. She supervised the woman's losing effort in the contest.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

School Faces Budget Crisis

Here's an article about how budget cuts could hurt the Cleary School for the Deaf on Long Island. Read it here.

School Faces Closure

The Las Vegas Charter School for the Deaf needs $28,000 immediately to stay open or the school could close within weeks. Several of the school's major supporters have withdrawn their support because of economic reasons. The school receives about $50000 in public funding as a charter school for each of the nine students who learn English and ASL. The staff consists of two teachers and one administrator. Read more information about the school here.

Hoops Tourney Starts

USADB National Basketball Tournament starts today in Bloomington, Minnesota and run through April 2nd. For more information, click here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Winterfest Today

Deaf, INC Winterfest 2011 takes place today in St. Louis, Missouri. For more information, click here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

School Director Fired

The Georgia School for the Deaf Director has been fired. Lee Shiver will temporarily be replaced by the director of the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, Kenney Moore, who will split time between Atlanta and Cave Spring for the immediate future. The Georgia Department of Education has not explained why Shiver has been let go.

1 Year In Deaf Man's Death

Two brothers got only a year in jail for their part in causing the death of a deaf man they dragged outside a Florida blowing alley. You can watch a video about the crime here or you can read more here.

College Changes ASL Restrictions

Ohio's Kent State will no longer allow students to take ASL for foreign language credits. School officials cite budget cuts. The Department of Modern and Classical Language Studies says only ASL majors and minors will be allowed in classes. Read more about the decision here. There is a petition started by students against the move here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hearing Loss More than Expected

Researchers say they've discovered many college students who believe they have typical hearing actually have some hearing loss. About a quarter of the students involved had 15 decibels or more of hearing loss. While not severe enough to require a hearing aid, it is enought to disrupt learning. Seven percent had more than a quarter of hearing loss. That falls under the clinical definition of mild hearing loss. The University of Florida findings are detailed in the International Journal of Audiology.

1st for Med Journal

For the first time, an article in a medical journal is accompanied by a web video in American Sign Language. The video is produced by the University of Rochester Medical Center for the journal Preventing Chronic Disease. The report is about the health of deaf persons, particularly the lack of information about the health of the deaf. You can read (or watch the video) here.


One of the speakers at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin was visual storyteller Robyn Girard. She tries to bring together deaf and hearing audiences through film and animation. She talked about how deaf people are portrayal in movies. Her most recent project is titled 101 Things That Unite and Divide. It explores storytelling in Deaf Culture using design, animation and film. Here's a video interview with her.

Hamill Wins Award

A film about a deaf ultimate fighter has won a movie award. Hamill picked up the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the Miami Film Festival. The film already took the Breakthrough Film award at the 2010 AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles a few months ago. Newcomer Russell Harvard has the lead role as Matt Hamill who next fights May 28 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The film will headed for Cleveland, the Florida Film Festival, the Philadelphia Film Festival, and the Newport Beach Film Festival.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Budget Protest

The New York School for the Deaf in Greenburgh will hold a rally this evening to protest planned state budget cuts. The governor has proposal to cut $100 million in funding to goes to schools for blind, deaf and physically disabled children. The New York School for the Deaf, also known as Fanwood, has more than 180 students in 4 counties. About $12 million from the Fanwood budget comes from the state.

Matlin on Comedy Central

Marlee Matlin is one of the presenters on tonight's Roast of Donald Trump. The Comedy Central show will air at 10:30 Eastern.

Service Animal Rule Change

The definition of a service animal will change starting today. The Department of Justice is tightening its ADA rules because a variety of animals have been brought into businesses by people claiming their pets are service animals under ADA law - including pigs, horses, snakes, iguanas, parrots and monkeys. Under the new rules, only dogs will count as service animals. That means merchants will be in their legal right to ban animals other than service dogs from their places of business. This rule change will not apply to federal employment or housing laws.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Teacher Arrested

A teacher at the Phoenix Day School for the Deaf is behind bars. 39-year-old Bryce Freeman is accused of soliciting sex from a 17-year-old former student. Her mother called police after finding a Facebook conversation between the deaf girl and the Freeman, who is also deaf. The Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind had no comment on the matter.

Makenna's Magic Ear

A new book about cochlear implants tells the story of a young girl from the time that her hearing loss was discovered as a baby to the time she went through implant surgery. Makenna's Magic Ear explains what the implant is and how it works from a kid's perspective. It's written by speech-language pathologist Ellen Waters from Illinois who says Makenna was a real person, one of her clients. Find out more here.

Matlin: Success at Roast

Jersey Shore star Mike "The Situation" was nearly booed off stage at Comedy Central's Roast of Donald Trump this past week. He didn't get laughs for calling Trump Donald Chump and fellow presenter Marlee Matlin "ugly." She shot back at him later, "Like the Situation, "I too have never heard the sound of laughter." The New York Observer reports that Matlin "was a surprise success onstage" and the actress said she was "coming out of my comedy closet." Gilbert Gottfried made a surprise appearance as Marlee Matlin's replacement translator. The special will air Tuesday night.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Matlin on Apprentice

On the second episode of The Celebrity Apprentice Donald Trump had the men and women prepare a children's book with a positive message. There was a fight between Marlee Matlin and Dionne Warwick over Matlin's suggestion to create a sign language book. Lisa Rinna, who led the women on this project decided to go with a happy and fun book about a kid who emerges from being shy. Matlin mentioned that she respected Warwick because "people tell me she is a legend." Trump was surprised that Matlin didn't know for a fact that Warwick was "a legend," to which Matlin had to declare, "Well, I'm deaf." Trump decided the men created the better product. He sent Rinna home.

Amazing Race: Episode 4

Margie and Luke are a mother and son team competing in this season's Amazing Race. The 4th episode of the CBS show took the remaining teams to China where they rode yaks, searched for zodiacs, smashed candy with a hammer and carried a large horn. At the end of the episode, Margie and Luke were in first place, but this leg of the race will be continued next week.

On This Day in 1988

23 years ago today, the Deaf President Now movement succeeds. I King Jordan became the first deaf president of Gallaudet University. Also, Deaf History Month begins today and runs through April 15.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

125 Years

A New Mexico newspaper takes a look at the 125th anniversary of the state's School for the Deaf here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Trip to the State Capital

Students from Rochester School for the Deaf travel to Albany to plead for their funding not to be cut off. WHAM-TV has a video report.

Education's Conference Begins

The California Educators of the Deaf Conference starts today in Norwalk, California. It continues through Sunday. Click here for more information. For more events, see the Deaf News Today list of Important Events in the right column of our website.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

DC Metro Ad

An ad for Convo Relay greets metro riders getting on at the Gallaudet Station in DC. The floor promotion is one of the few - possibly the only - commercial media promotion aimed at the deaf. Hearing people may not understand the message at all. The ad reads, "Finally, you can hang up on Alexander Graham Bell." Bell opposed to the use of sign language.

When Hearing Aids Destroy a Child's hearing

There is an article posted by about how hearing aids can ruin an child's hearing. Read it here.

Deaf-Blind in Mass.

The Boston Herald looks the Deaf-Blind in Massachusetts in an article posted here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Qur’an in ASL

The Minnesota chapter of Global Deaf Muslim is translating the Qur’an into American Sign Language. A fundraiser is planned Saturday to help the project. Some Minnesota mosques have added ASL interpretation of Friday prayer services thanks to the group and several organizations have incorporated sign into their meetings. Here's a video about the effort.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fake Cop

A deaf Florida woman says a man pretending to be a police officer pulled her over with a blue light this past weekend. Ida Webster, who can read lips, told Volusia County deputy sheriffs she was on State Road 15-A when she was pulled over by flashing lights. The man was not wearing a uniform nor did he show her a badge. When he asked her how much money she had at the moment, Webster drove off and stopped in an area with a lot of people.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cut Planned in NY

New York state's proposed budget would cut $14 million in funding for tuition at the state's unique schools, including those for the deaf. The cost of attending some of these schools can range from $40,000 a year to more than $100,000. A group of parents and educators will meet with some 70 legislators this Wednesday to plead their case. The next day, the group plans to travel to Albany and hold a rally at the legislative building.

The Rules for Driving

The deaf are able to obtain a driver license like anyone else. There are no special requirements or classes. Examiners may set aside extra time to allow for better communication during the driving test. A deaf person's driver license may indicate that outside mirrors are required on both sides of the vehicle as well as a rear view mirror. However, federal law prohibits the deaf from holding a commercial driving license.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Amazing Race: Show 3

The third episode of this season's Amazing Race includes a deaf contestant. Luke and his mother, Margie arrived in 8th place. Best friends Zev & Justin took first place on the CBS show for this leg of the race while father and son Mike and Mel were eliminated. The teams journeyed to Japan where they dressed as warriors, shot bow and arrows, and searched in mud for frogs while being pelted by onlookers.

The writer for an Illinois newspaper is rooting against Luke and Margie, hoping they will be eliminated next because of Luke's "annoyance." You can read the column here.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Iowa Suit over Terp

A woman is suing an Iowa hospital for not providing an ASL interpreter. Jessie Fox says Trinity Regional Medical Center in Fort Dodge make her use her 7-year-old daughter as a translator before the child went into surgery. As a result, the suit says that Addison was not given an antibiotic for the proper length of time following her hospital stay. Although the child is now healthy, Fox claims it was an unnecessary mix-up. The hospital says it is taking steps to better address the needs of patients like Addison and their families. Fox does not believe the actions taken by Trinity go far enough.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Gally Season Ends

The Gallaudet women's basketball team lost in the first round of the NCAA Division III championship. The Juniata College Eagles beat the Bison 62-45. Gallaudet had a 20-game win streak during the season, its longest in history. This was the last game for seniors Nukeitra Hayes and All-American Easter Faafiti Faafiti led the Bison with a team-high 14 points, 16 rebounds and made four steals and passed out two assists. The double-double is the 22nd of the season for Faafiti. The turnaround of the Gallaudet women's basketball team will be featured Saturday morning when the Bison story will be shown on ESPN's College Gameday basketball pregame show.

Lawsuit Dropped

A parking officer has dropped his lawsuit against the Pennsylvania state police. Bill Furman had hopes of becoming a law enforcement officer was told he didn't qualify because he wears hearing aids. But now, the Boalsburg man been accepted into a sheriff's training academy thanks to his current position with the Centre County sheriff's office. He will be able to skip around the training state police provide for municipal police officers since the training of sheriff's deputies is conducted separately.

Killed by Train

A Utah man died after being hit by an Amtrak train in Salt Lake City. Joseph Gutierrez was walking along the train track about two in the morning when a slow moving train approached. A conductor sounded the train's horn but Gutierrez did not hear it.

Implants Down Under

An Australian politician is making promises about implants. New South Wales Premier Kristina Keneally says she wants to give more than $3 million to pay for cochlear implants and early intervention services. New South Wales already gives $4 million. She says the extra money would end waiting lists for children who wait for the surgery. The new funds would provide 53 implants for children and 25 for adults.

FL Hospital Suit Settled

A Jacksonville, Florida hospital chain has settled a lawsuit filed by a group of deaf patients. They claimed Baptist Health violated ADA law by failing to provide qualified sign-language interpreters. The health service provider has agreed, among other things, to beef up its interpreter program by hiring a coordinator for the services. Baptist Health operates 5 hospitals in Northeast Florida.

Theater Review

An LA Times reviewer called Deaf West Theatre's version of The Adventures of Pinocchio a "puzzling misfire." Read more about the cast comprised of both deaf and hearing actors here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Airport Paging

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport is now offering visitors visual paging services. If an audio page is made from the airport's Information and Paging Office, that same message is posted in text form for travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing. The message shows up at the bottom of the TV weather monitors and at the airport's information booths.

Deaflympics Update

The future of the Deaflympics is in doubt. That's what the new CEO of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf is telling the media. Mark Dolley, who lives in London, says keeping the games going is his main goal, following accusations that the lead organizer of this year's winter games in Slovakia stole money from the program, forcing the cancellation of all events. The next games are set for Greece in 2013. But that country is in the midst of a financial crisis. Even the games set for 2015 in Vancouver are in doubt because the organizing committee has dissolved.

Hoops Tourney

The 64th Men’s & 18th Women’s Annual Regional Basketball Tournament begins today in Big Spring, Texas and continues through Saturday. For more events, see the Deaf News Today list of Important Events in the right column of our website.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stolen Implant

There is a search underway in Concord, California for part of a cochlear implant. A two-year-old lost a part of his hearing aid when he fell off a scooter last night. Witnesses say someone took off with it. The child wears implants in both ears. The custom devices are useless to anyone else and cost the family about $3000. Police say the culprit appeared to be a male Hispanic teenager.

ASL in VA Schools

The bill passed last month that would allow ASL to count as a foreign language in Virginia's schools is finally going to the governor's desk. If Bob McDonnell signs the bill into law, sign language would meet foreign language requirements in both high schools and colleges around the state.

Getting to Know… Bobbie Beth Scoggins

Bobbie Beth Scoggins is president of the National Association of the Deaf.
  • Born deaf to a deaf father and a hard of hearing mother. Her brother is also hard of hearing.
  • Her father, Lloyd Bridges, was a pioneer in supporting communication access for the deaf and hard of hearing in Texas. He died in 1978.
  • She has been married to Jim Scoggins for more than 30 years.
  • Educated in residential deaf schools in Oklahoma and Texas.
  • Received her bachelor's and master's degrees from California State University at Northridge. She earned a Ed.D. in institutional management from Pepperdine University.
  • Served as executive director for the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for 14 years.
  • Played Sarah, the main female character in Children of a Lesser God, 1,000 times with 13 different regional theater companies.
  • In an early "Law & Order" episode she recorded the sound of a deaf woman screaming.
  • She is the chief operations officer of Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD).

Read her blog here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Switched at Birth

Marlee Matlin will guest star on the ABC show Switched at Birth. The program is will premiere this summer. It is about teens who find out they were mistakenly switched at birth in a hospital. One of the girls lost her hearing in childhood. Matlin will play the mother of a school friend.

ADA Hotel Requirements

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act says hotel owners must provide certain "auxiliary aides and services". This means architectural and communication barriers should be removed and policies modified to accommodate guests. Telecommunications devices and a means of decoding captions would be among the services that can expected under ADA. But the law does not require hotels to provide customers with devices such as hearing aids or services of a personal nature, such as assistance in eating, toileting or dressing. Hotels have a responsibility to provide individuals use of facilities as fully as possible, but not when it involves fundamentally altering the services being offered or when it places an undue burden on the hotel staff.