Wednesday, February 29, 2012

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Hearing Loss and Falls

There's a connection between hearing loss and falling, according to new research out of Baltimore. Doctors from Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging looked at information from a group of 40 to 69 year olds and they found more than 14% of the participants in the survey with a significant hearing loss reported falling in the past year. The odds of having a serious fall more than doubled with each 10 decibles of hearing loss. That was true, even when adjusting for health issues. Details are in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Charlotte Theater

A local community theater group is putting on Children of the Lesser God in the Charlotte, North Carolina suburb of Davidson starting tomorrow (Thursday, March 1) through Saturday. The play won awards for its portrayal of a speech therapist who falls for one of his students at a school for the deaf. Find out more about the Davidson Community Players production here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

School Reverses Policy

Central Michigan University is changing its policy and will let a deaf student graduate. The school has gotten criticism from around the country for putting a requirement on Kelly Laatsch that you won't find in other elementary education programs. School officials had insisted that she do her student teaching without access to an interpreter. This afternoon, Laatsch told local media that Central informed her that it is changing its policy and will let her have an interpreter for the rest of her time as a student teacher. She is thanking everyone for their support. Since this is her last requirement before graduation, Laatsch will likely walk during graduation ceremonies in May. The University released this statement:
"Central Michigan University remains focused on the success of its students and continues to work with Ms. Laatsch toward her goal of becoming a teacher. CMU has been in communication with Ms. Laatsch related to this matter in hopes of reaching a mutually satisfactory outcome."

TN school history online

There's a new site where you can take a look at the architectural history of the Tennessee School for the Deaf in Knoxville. The exhibit was put together by the Tennessee Virtual Archive and features images of the unique buildings on the campus. Many of these structures were designed by noted deaf architect Thomas Scott Marr in the 1920s. Marr graduated from the school and went on to found a prominent Nashville architectural firm that carried his name - Marr and Holman. You'll find the site here.

Update: Deaf Student Not Allowed to Finish

Here's video update from a local TV station on the story we told you about Friday. Central Michigan University says Kelly Laatsch can't finish her degree to become an elementary teacher for deaf children because she asked for an interpreter during her student teaching sessions. The video below on from WJRT-TV has no captioning, but you can read the story here.

YouTube Changes Captioning

Google says it's expanding the captioning possibilities YouTube. Captioning was first introduced to the video sharing site back in 2006 and now, there will be more language and search options for users. YouTube supports automatic captions in Japanese, Korean and English. Captioning can be added, though not automatically, in another 155 languages. Another help is ability to change the color of the captions so the text is more legible against the video background. There's also better formatting for broadcast video, where the text is often positioned near the person speaking. Google says is also making it easier to upload videos that already have embedded captions

Monday, February 27, 2012

Switched wins Awards

The Alliance for Women is giving ABC Family’s Switched At Birth two Gracie Awards. Creator and Executive Producer Lizzy Weiss is being honored as Outstanding Producer-Entertainment and Constance Marie as Outstanding Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Drama Series or Special. Marie plays Regina Vasquez on Switched. Both women will be honored in a ceremony May 22 in Los Angeles. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation supports educational programs, charitable activities, public service campaigns and scholarships to benefit the public and women in the media.

Matlin and the Oscar Curse

The Charlotte Observer got some heat from Marlee Matlin and her fans when it ran a Newsday article last week, listing Matlin among actresses who "suffered from the 'Oscar curse' of having a career meltdown after winning an Oscar." Daniel Bubbeo write in the article "Sadly, her most memorable post-Oscar performances have been in The Lip Reader, a 1993 episode of Seinfeld and on season 6 of Dancing With the Stars." The Oscar-winner shot back in a tweet "The West Wing, The L Word, Switched at Birth; my 4 Emmy nominations is hardly a "curse." Many fans added their voice to the discussion in support of the Matlin as well. Read the original story here.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Austin's first ASLFest takes place this week at the Texas School for the Deaf. Hosted by Gallaudet University Regional Center, Southwest, things kick off Thursday with Student Day and runs through Saturday. There will be booths with services and products related to ASL as well arts & crafts and food. Performers include Rapper Sean Forbes. Take a look at the agenda here and below is a video introduction.

Hottest Chef

A deaf chef from Austin, Texas is in the running for the title Hottest Chef in America, an annual competition sponsored by a site called Eater that started a few years ago in New York and has expanded to other cities. Kurt "The Irishman" Ramborger beat out the 32 Austin competitors and is now among 17 chefs vying for the title. Ramborger made it through the first round by beating Portland's Greg Gourdet. He'll face a Seattle competitor next. Deaf since birth, Ramborger opened a new restaurant with some friends in the Austin suburb of Buda just a few months ago. Ramborger is executive chef at ViUDA Bistro (pronounced View-dah), owner Paul Rutowski is also president of the Texas Association of the Deaf, and their partner, Rene Alcala, got the idea off the ground by convincing the two men to quit their catering service and go into the restaurant business. His sister, Heidi Branch is posting video updates of his progress. KEYE-TV interviewed Ramborger this past Friday. Watch that video here.

Korean Starbucks barista

What's it like to work at Starbucks in Seoul, South Korea. Read the story of a 33-year-old deaf barista here.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Smartphones a vital tool

The Boston Globe takes a look at the impact mobile technology has had on deaf communication here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Singing at the State Capitol

Students from the West Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind sang for members of the state House Wednesday visiting the state Capitol Wednesday. Here's a video showing the students offering a rewrite of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama, with the lyrics switched to "sweet home West Virginia."

Deaf Student Not Allowed to Finish

Central Michigan University has told a student that she can't graduate because she wants an interpreter. Kelly Laatsch has finished all the classes necessary to become an elementary teacher for deaf children - except for her student teaching requirement. Deaf since birth, Laatsch asked the school for an interpreter - but was told by the director of Student Disability Services she would not pass and get her degree if she has an interpreter because the Michigan Department of Education Teaching Technical Standards requires student teachers to “understand and speak in English.” Laatsch has filed a civil rights complaint against the school and is waiting the outcome of the investigation.

Chinese Film Fest

The Second Hong Kong International Film Festivals just started today the Hong Kong Arts Centre in Wanchai. One of the films is a 12-minute short called Deaf Kid Not Stupid from director Sammie Wong. Born profoundly deaf, the 22-year-old communicates in Chinese sign language, which she learned from classmates because the teachers at her deaf school in Hong Kong did not know how to sign. She will join filmmakers from more than a dozen countries at the three-day festival, which will feature 45 short films including a film about a deaf-blind Holocaust survivor and a Malaysian comedy. There is more information about the film festival here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

SIGNin’ in the Street

The Disneyland Resort is hosting what its calling a "celebration of creativity in the deaf community." SIGNin’ in the Street will take place March 17 and 18 at Disney's California theme part. The cast of ABC Familiy's Switched at Birth will take part in a panel discussion and sign autographs (including Katie Leclerc, Vanessa Marano, Constance Marie, Lea Thompson, D.W. Moffett, Lucas Grabeel, Sean Berdy and Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin). Two unseen episodes of the show will be screened during the weekend. The film about ultimate fighter Matt Hamill called The Hammer will also be shown along with the documentary See What I’m Saying. Stars from those films will be available to answer questions and to perform live. Deaf West Theater will preview the groups upcoming show and offer guests workshops about ASL and acting. Drum CafĂ©, TL Forsberg, Beethoven’s Nightmare, and comic CJ Jones will perform as well. Disney is creating merchandise especially for the event featuring American Sign Language.

Stage Fright

Deaf-blind blues pianist Michelle Stevens will play at Stage Fright Saturday morning in Melbourne. It's a showcase of talented singers, musicians and artists such as Stevens to raise funds for Able Australia Services. Stevens career was re-ignited by the charity after she gave up playing because of an ear disease. Blind since infancy, she played at clubs and made television appearances until she lost most of her hearing in the early 90s. More than a decade later, Able Australia Services reintroduced her to music and provided a cochlear implant. For more information on Stage Fright, click here. Below is a video on about Stevens graduation from La Trobe University.

Thru your child's eyes

There's a new video made for parents to help them understand the value of sign language. Produced by the California State University at Northridge, you can see it below on

Imagine Yourself Here

Gallaudet University has started a new recruitment campaign called Imagine Yourself Here. A TV ad will show up during the ABC Family show Switched at Birth in some markets. You can see it below on

Prosecutors: Attacker Claimed to be Deaf

Prosectors say a Chicago man claimed to be deaf before stabbing a flower shop employee. They say Alexander Hampton communicated with her in writing before the attack. When she refused to give him money, he grabbed a pair of shears in the Asrai Garden floral shop and cut her on the arm and head. Her injuries were not life threatening.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Golf for a Good Cause

A golf tournament is planned for a week from Saturday (March 3) in Mobile, Alabama for the Regional School for the Deaf and Blind. No captioning, but you can read the story here.

Golf Tournament and Student Art Sale to benefit Regional School for the Deaf and Blind:

Family turns to Implants

The story of one family's journey to provide two children with cochlear implants here.

Million $ artwork sold for $164

The University of California at Berkeley sold a piece of art made for the California School for the Deaf and Blind valued at over one million dollars - for practically nothing. Celebrated artist Sargent Johnson designed the natural-world, 22-foot relief during the 1930s to cover organ pipes at the old location of the California School for the Deaf and Blind in Berkeley. It was secured to a wall until 1980. The University of California at Berkeley took over the building and the art was moved into storage during a renovation. But it was never put back up and forgotten. Eventually, someone in the school came across the piece and sold it in 2009 for just $164.63. It was resold for an estimated one million dollars and is now on display in California's Huntington Library in San Marino. Berkeley says the school now regrets the “error of ignorance.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Florida State Contract

Florida's Public Service Commission is dumping Sprint and giving a 3-year contract to provide telephone service for nearly 3 million deaf and hard of hearing to AT&T. The new contract starts June 1 and will pay about $5.5 million each year. Both Sprint and Hamilton bid against AT&T.

UK Bank Investigation

The London Times says UK banks could face huge penalties for their treatment of deaf customers. The paper says the banks it investigated are “routinely discriminating against customers with hearing loss by failing to provide equal access to services.” Some deaf customers have to deal with “broken hearing aid loop systems, poorly trained and rude staff, a lack of understanding about how text phones work and an over-reliance on spoken answers to security questions.” There are even stories of people stranded overseas because the customer could not call the bank to resolve the problem. Action on Hearing Loss says a majority of the 152 banks it surveyed have no working hearing loop, a device which many deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the UK depend upon.

NC Teen shot by Police

Law enforcement officers shot a deaf teen multiple times early this morning near Asheville. Buncombe County sheriff’s deputies say they stopped the 17-year-old for a traffic violation, but later saw him speeding in his pickup truck. During the ensuing chase, they say he backed into a patrol car. The boy's mother says he was scared and confused and tried to put the truck in park when the officers pulled him over the second time. The unnamed teen did not have a weapon and is now hospitalized with multiple injuries. His mother says he was hit five times. An investigation is underway by the FBI. The office who did the shooting has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome. Below is a video of part of the Sheriff's news conference about the shooting.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Texting 911 in Canada

911 operators will take texts from the phones of people who can't use the voice service in some Canadian cities as part of a 3 month experiment. If all goes well, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission will expand the program nationally. Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, and the Peel Region are taking part in the trial run, which involves more than 100 people who have signed up to take part.

School Vandalized

Police caught several teens and pre-teens vandalizing busses at the Rhode Island School for the Deaf over the weekend. They caused thousands of dollars in damages while students and parents were attending a basketball tournament Saturday. The kids may have been responsible for damage to vehicles in the parking lot on previous weekend as well. Police aren't saying whether the vandals are students at the school, but officials are now re-thinking plans it had for a garage that were shelved.

Gallaudet wants its diplomas back

Gallaudet is asking its alumni to donate their diplomas back to the school as part of its anniversary celebration to help preserve deaf history. Gallaudet is making plans to mark its 150th anniversary in July of 2014 and school officials want to include as many diplomas as possible from its 142 graduating classes in an online display and in the Gallaudet Archives. Starting with Ulysses S. Grant in 1869, each President of the United States has signed Gallaudet's diplomas because it is a federally chartered institution with the President as the patron of the university. You can see some of the diplomas here.

Bragg at Gally

Alum Bernard Bragg will perform at Gallaudet this Saturday (Feb 25). He'll perform The World is my Stage in ASL with voice interpretation.  The show is about the mistakes, misadventures, and accidents that take place while performing.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Coffee and a Pencil

A new documentary by deaf Japanese filmmaker Ayako Imamura will debut next month in Tokyo. Coffee and A Pencil is about competitive surfer Tatsuro Ota. The 49-year-old deaf man runs a Hawaiian goods shop in Kosai, where both pro and amateur surfers come to find new boards, order repair work or just hang out. Ota offers a cup of coffee to every visitor - and a pencil with which to write notes, since few people in Japan know sign language. He learned the value of hospitality from his parents who entertained guests in their home with magic shows. The 67 minute film includes touching moments, such as Ota consoling a young surfer who bursts into tears after losing a competition. Filmmaker Ayako Imamura has created more than two dozen short films about the lives of deaf people in Japan and her latest offering is being translated into English, so it can be submitted at film festivals in the U.S. The 32-year-old Nagoya native studied filmmaking at the California State University at Northridge.
Kohi to Enpitsu (or Coffee and A Pencil in English) will play for two weeks in Shinjuku, Tokyo starting March 10. For more information, visit here.

"Absolutely Gobsmacked"

The first person to earn a doctorate in Deaf education in New Zealand says she is "absolutely gobsmacked" over her government's refusal to provide a note taker for the nation's first deaf member of Parliament, Mojo Mathers. The Otago Daily Times quotes Dr. Denise Powell of Dunedin as saying New Zealand is risking a violation of United Nations agreement on the rights of the disabled it ratified in 2008. Advocates of the deaf in Australia and Europe are already writing to show their concern. The Parliamentary Services expects Mathers to pay the $30,000 cost of a full-time note taker herself. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, passed by New Zealand, upheld the rights of disabled people to hold political office and carry out all the functions of government, using "assistive and new technologies."

A Deaf Actor Finds a Rich Role Off-Broadway

An interview with Russell Harvard in the Wall Street Journal here.

Harmony on the court

A look at the basketball coach of the New York School for the Deaf team here.


A new off-Broadway show follows the story of a deaf man who has learned to adapt to his hearing family’s unconventional ways, but they’ve never bothered to return the favor. When he meets Sylvia, a young woman on the brink of deafness, that he finally understands what it means to be understood. The show started this weekend at the Barrow Street Theatre in New York and stars deaf actor Russell Harvard. For tickets and more information, click here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lessons Beyond the pool from Swim Coach

The Seattle Times looks at the image of Coach Michael Dobner in a story you can here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Update on "Excessive Force" Story

There are new developments the case of a Canadian police officer accused of using excessive force on a sick, deaf man in the small Alberta town of Red Deer. The policeman involved has been fired. We told you last month about Bill Berry, an elderly deaf man, who was trying to pay a ticket at the city courthouse. Officer Thomas Bounds told Berry he had entered through an exit door and would have to go back out and come in again, through the proper screening entrance. Bounds ignored Berry's attempts to communicate that he is deaf and didn't understand the order - and couldn't speak because Berry had his larynx removed because of cancer. You can see what happened in the video below. When Bounds forced Berry outside, he knocked out a tube in Berry's neck through which Berry breaths. The investigation by the Solicitor General Office's Law Enforcement and Oversight Branch in Alberta found that "Sheriff Bounds use and level of force against Mr. Berry was unjustified, excessive."

Implant Divide

The BBC talks to deaf teenagers divided over the use of implants. Read the story here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Video on KY Captioning Settlement

Here's a video report on the story we told you about earlier today. WDRB-TV reports on the Kentucky fan's suit over captioning. Click here.

Deaffie Eddie Freddie

A new teddy bear is in development that would help kids learn sign language. An Irish teenager came up with the idea. Katie McCarthy is talking with manufacturing companies in both the UK and US about mass producing Deaffie Eddie Freddie. A child can press pictures on a screen located on the bear’s body and its movable fingers will sign the word. Katie got the idea from talking with a woman whose daughter was the same age as her sister. They met in a toy store and the woman told Katie how hard it is to find toys designed for deaf children. After hearing the story, she told one paper "I was almost reduced to tears. I thought it was so sad because my little sister has so much choice."

KY Scoreboard Suit Ends

The University of Kentucky has settled a lawsuit over closed captioning at its football stadium. Charles Mitchell, a deaf season ticket holder, sued the school for not providing captioning at Commonwealth Stadium for its game announcements. That will change this fall when the season kicks off. The scoreboard will begin showing captions for all public address messages.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Finding a Home with Parking Service

Frank D’Ettorre works for MAPCO Parking as a valet at the airport. Read a profile of the hard-of-hearing New York State man here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Terp Program in Iowa Proposed

The University of Iowa could get its first sign language interpreter training program if a group of school officials and students get their way. A summit was held over the weekend to promote the idea. They hope to see a deaf studies major added to what the school presently offers, deaf studies certification.

Sex Slave Trial

A deaf woman from Pakistan says she was taken to the UK at the age of 10 where she was beaten and used as a sex slave for a decade, according to her testimony made through a sign language interpreter in court today. The couple she lived with denies the charges. Read the story in the Daily Mail here.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Legal center for deaf could shut down

A center that says it is the only legal center for the deaf may close its doors over a lack of funds. WLS-TV in Chicago reports in the video below (captions included).

The chance to serve in the military

Below on is a video from WJLA-TV in Washington, DC about Keith Nolan, a deaf man fighting for the right to serve his country.

Fulfilling a Dream on the Hardwood Floor

Here's a video about one of the few mainstream deaf college basketball players from Pennsylvania's WHP-TV.

Looking Back: GoAmerica Changes Color

Two years ago, GoAmerica changed its name to Purple Communications. Even the company's stock ticker went from GOAM to PRPL. Besides providing text and video relay, the company combined its interpreting services under the banner Purple Language Services. That includes Sign Language Associates (or SLA), Hands On Services and Visual Language Interpreting (VLI). Hands On first used purple in its logos, leading some to refer to it as the 'purple company'.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Implants OK with Organ Transplants

Cochlear implants are safe for people who've had organ transplants, according to a new stduy. The drugs they are required to take for the organ transplant to prevent the immune system from attacking the organ can also leave these patients vulnerable to inner ear infection and hearing loss. But a new study out of Georgia Health Sciences University finds if the patient waits at least six months after the organ transplant and also takes the right antibiotic before and after the cochlear implant procedure, cochlear implant surgery can be safely performed. Details of the study are in the American Journal of Otolaryngology.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Woman Hit By Car

A deaf-blind woman was hit by a car in Corpus Christi, Texas yesterday. KIII-TV has a video report posted below (no captions). You can read the station's report here.

Council Puts Cuts on Hold

The city council in the Manchester suburb of Salford is delaying its plans to cut services for deaf children. The Salford Council intended to cut the number of teachers. Now, these proposed changes will be considered by a committee of parents and interested officials. The proposal had drawn protests from the National Deaf Children's Society and more than 4000 locals who had signed a petition opposing the cuts.

Two Years Ago.. Docu Debut

It was 2 years ago (Feb 8) that hundreds of people turned out near Seattle for the first public showing of See What I’m Saying: the Deaf Entertainers Documentary. It introduces audiences to deaf comedian CJ Jones, deaf actor Robert DeMayo, deaf rock ‘n’ roll drummer Bob Hiltermann, and hard of hearing singer TL Forsberg. 

Record Attempt Today

The UK charity SignHealth is organizing an event today that involves tens of thousands of children. They will try to break the record for the most people to sign and sing a song together. SignHealth set the record last year with more than 94,000. Below is a video showing what happened at the sign2sing event one year ago today.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Home Depot Settlement

Home Depot has settled a class action lawsuit brought against the home improvement retailer by deaf workers in California. The suit accused Home Depot of violating ADA law by failing to provide interpreters at interviews, trainings and meetings. The agreement puts sign language interpreters in each of these places - and Home Depot agreed to make sure there are visual alarms for emergencies in its retail stores as well as provide technology the technology necessary to improve communication with deaf employees.

Music in ASL

Kitty Aubry will talk about music in the deaf community at MacMurray College tonight in Jacksonville, Illinois. She teaches in the Interpreter program at the school and will offer a visual presentation of music interpreted in American Sign Language. The title of Aubry's speech is A Hearing-Deaf Connection: Music in the church? Straight talk for hearing people. The event takes place at Thoresen Recital Hall at the Putnam/Springer Center.

Charges Dropped from G-20 Arrest

Prosecutors in Toronto have dropped charges against a deaf man arrested during G-20 protests in 2010. Emomotimi Azorbo was taken into custody when police clashed with demonstrators during a downtown march. His lawyer says Azorbo was in the area just to see what was happening and not because he was part of the protests. When Azorbo was told to stay off the street, he did not understand, according to his lawyer, and a struggle began when officers tried to arrest him. Azorbo was charged with assaulting two policeman and resisting arrest. Those charges have now been dropped with Azorbo agreeing to stay out of trouble for the next six months. Azorbo, who grew up in Nigeria, was not provided an interpreter during his court appearances or during his 16 hours of detention - despite the fact that the Canadian Hearing Society offered its interpreting services to Toronto police during the G20 summit for free. Below is a video of Azorbo's confrontation with police.

Talking with Texts

Read about how cell phones are impacting deaf children in Uganda here.

Super Bowl Snub

More than 1500 people have signed a petition asking for an apology from NBC and the NFL for not showing NAD's Miss Deaf America sign the national anthem and America the Beautiful. The television cameras did not show Rachel Mazique even one time during the Super Bowl. Mazique was not shown on the Jumbotron or invited to stay to see the game. The network and the NFL have yet to comment. You can see the petition here.

Cochlear: Stock up Despite Losses

The Cochlear Ltd is reporting losses for the first time since 1995. The Austrailian company says it lost $20 million during the second half of last year after recalling one of its most popular implants. During the same period in 2010, Cochlear earned more than $87 million in profit. However, investors took heart in the fact that the loss wasn't as big as expected. Stock shares rose by $4.41 to close at $62.52 yesterday. Cochlear was helped by the fact that its Swiss rival, Sonova, also had a major recall this past year.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Stephen Colbert's Ear

Comedian Stephen Colbert is deaf in one ear. A surgery when he was young left him without an ear drum in his right ear. He says, "I always wanted to be a marine biologist but then I had this ear problem. I have no ear drum. So I had this operation at the Medical University when I was a kid. Now I can't get my head wet. I mean, I can, but I can't really scuba dive or anything like that. So that killed my marine biology hopes." During a 2006 segment on his show, Colbert "played the humor card."

Hospital Complaint Dismissed

A deaf woman has lost her case against a Missouri hospital. Amanda Crider says when she was admitted for the birth of her child she told the staff at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital that she wanted to have a natural childbirth - no epidural or other pain medications. Yet nurses still gave Crider an epidural injection anyway. Crider says it was without her consent because she thought it was a medical necessity. This wouldn't have happened, according to her complaint, if the hospital had provided interpreters. To make matters worse, Crider says the injection left her in constant pain and disabling symptoms. A trial court dismissed her complaint, saying Crider did not file the right paperwork. An appeals court has just upheld that decision. Hospital lawyers refused to talk about the case.

Switched star is a gamer

Actress Katie Leclerc talks technology with USA Today in the video below. The star of ABC Family's Switched at Birth plays 16-year-old Daphne, who is deaf. Leclerc has a hearing disorder called Meniere's disease, which causes occasional hearing loss.

Domestic Violence Workshop

A one day workshop is planned in Montgomery, Alabama this coming Friday (Feb 10) concerning violence in the Deaf Community. It will provide an understanding of how to help survivors of domestic violence and its perpetrators. Domestic Violence in the Deaf Community will be held at the Alabama Public Library Service.

Play Reading Tonight

A reading of a new play takes place this evening at the Seattle Public Theater. Preying Hands is based on a true story of a Wisconsin priest who molested more than 200 deaf children. The play was written by Richard Medugno, author of Deaf Daughter, Hearing Father, and playwright Howie Seago who has an extensive acting resume. (pictured is Howie Seago).

Deaf Couple Turned Aside

An investigation is underway into why a Canadian couple was cut out of a survey because they are deaf. A Statistics Canada representative came to the couple's home in Fredericton, New Brunswick asking if they would take part in the technology survey. The couple agreed by passing notes and asked for an interpreter. The national statistics agency left a note a couple of days later saying they are were no interpreting services available and the deaf couple's opinions were no longer of interest to the federal agency. When their daughter called to complain, she says she was told by a manager her parents didn't need an interpreter. The manager asked her, "They can read, can't they?" Statistics Canada says it is looking into what happened.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Going for a World Record

Kids across the UK will try to break the record Wednesday for the most people to sign and sing a song together. The UK charity SignHealth is organizing the event involving hundreds of schools. If SignHealth succeeds, the group will be breaking its own record set last year when more than 94,000 took part. Below is a video showing what happened at the sign2sing event.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

CNN sued over Captioning

A lawsuit against CNN over captioning will move forward. A US Magistrate in Oakland refused to dismiss the suit on the grounds it violates the news network's First Amendment rights. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of deaf Californians who are hoping to set a precident for the entire news industry. CNN already provides captioning on its television broadcast, as required by law, but does not on its website. New FCC rules will soon require recently captioning for professionally produced online videos, including newscasts, but the regulations do not cover short clips of less than 3 minutes or so.

Possible Service Dog Suit

A Kansas woman says she's going to sue Intrust Arena. She claims workers at the Wichita facility harassed her about her service dog at a recent hockey game. KSN-TV has a video report posted below on (no captions but you can read the story here).

Technology helps Hearing

KRQE-TV offers a video report of how a cochlear implant helped an Albuquerque woman who lost her hearing as an adult (no captions).

Friday, February 3, 2012

Casino Jobs

The Rivers Casino opened last year in Des Plaines in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines with hundreds of jobs. Seven of the new employees are deaf. WLS-TV in Chicago filed the video report below on these workers (captions included).

Carnival of the Deaf

The 3rd International Carnival of the Deaf takes place in Modena, Italy on March 31. Guests include Giuseppe, Rosaria Giuranne and Bernard Bragg. You can find more information here or watch the sign video below.

International Sign 03 (Location) from ZfK on Vimeo.

UK Hotels Not Ready

A survey of more than 200 London hotels shows at least 10% do not have procedures or equipment to help deaf guests in case of an emergency. Only 13% have flashing alarms, according to Action on Hearing. One receptionist claimed the hotel said the facility didn't have responsibility to do anything different for deaf guests than it does for other guests. The UK's Equality Act of 2010 requires businesses to make "reasonable adjustments" in order to ensure that hotels are accessible to everyone. Find out more about the survey and what can be done to secure hotels here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Gallaudet officials are hoping a new app will make it easier for students to report crime without having to verbally communicate. The free app, created by a Washington, DC developer, allows you to easily gather evidence for the police. Because CrimePush uses Internet service through a wifi connection instead of cell phone service, it should work in metro stations as well as on the street. It can be set to alert local police or other officials, such as university public safety officers. You can download CrimePush here. Here's a video report about it from WUSA-TV (no captioning).

Off The Wall

The RIT/NTID Dance Company performs Off the Wall starting a week from today (Feb 9) through Sunday, Feb 12 on the Rochester campus. Some of the student dancers are deaf, some are not. Find out more here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Hammer in Rochester

Here's a video report of Matt Hamill's appearance at NTID for the premiere of his film The Hammer. The WUHF-TV video has captioning.

Michigan Hospital Fined for ADA Violation

Kingswood Hospital in Ferndale, Michigan has settled a complaint that it violated ADA law by failing to provide a deaf patient with an interpreter in 2004. The Department of Justice reviewed the services of Henry Ford Health Systems, the hospital owner, and found its policies and procedures inadequate. As part of the settlement, the company has agreed to pay the patient who filed the complaint $70,000 as well as provide interpreters to other patients as needed, train hospital workers on ADA law, and develop procedures that will ensure ADA law is followed throughout its healthcare facilities.

Super Signing

Miss Deaf America Rachel Mazique will perform the National Anthem and America the Beautiful in ASL at Sunday's Super Bowl. The Chicago native and winner of the Miss Deaf Illinois Pageant is working on her doctorate at the University of Texas in deaf literature.

VRS Deadline

The FCC has announced the deadline for submitting comments related to its plan to overhaul the Video Relay Service. According to the Federal Register, comments are due by March 2. You may submit comments, which should be identified as relating to CG Docket Nos. 10–51 and 03–123 through email by accessing the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System. To go there, click here.

Getting to Know.. Mozzeria

Melody and Russell Stein opened Mozzeria in the Mission district of San Francisco at the end of 2011. The owners are deaf, as are many of the wait staff and cooks. The Neapolitan-style pizzas are cooked in a wood-burning oven. The name Mozzeria is a combination of mozzarella cheese and pizzeria.