Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lobbying Assault against Captioning Planned

Theater owners are planning a Tuesday blitz to lobby Congress against requiring them to provide closed captioning and video descriptions for the deaf and blind. But the trouble in Washington over Obamacare and a possible government shutdown could derail their plans. Read more at the Hollywood Reporter here.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Deaf West Opens new show

Deaf West Theatre's Flowers for Algernon opens tomorrow night (Sept. 28) at the Whitefire Theater in Sherman Oaks. Find out more here. KCAL-TV in Los Angeles has a video report.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Deaf Actor takes stage in "Tribes"

“As a deaf person I’m already invested in communicating through my body...And when I’m on stage it’s really easy for me to find that piece of emotion because I do it on a day to day basis," James Caverly says. We told you Tuesday about the show he is in called Tribes. Boston's NPR station has more on what Caverly has to say about his role here.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Using ASL with refugees in the classroom

Schools in Utica, New York are considering using sign language in classrooms to help communicate with the many refugee students from families that have just moved into the area, according to the Utica Observer. ASL teacher Brooke Erickson, who works at the New York State School for the Deaf which is just down the road from Utica in Rome, talks about the value of sign in the classroom in this video.

BOA sued over interpreter

The EEOC is suing Bank of America on behalf of Melchora Lee, a deaf woman living in Las Vegas. The bank is accused of violating ADA law by firing her for poor performance after failing to provide Lee with an interpreter. When she was hired in 1998, her boss knew sign language. But when a new supervisor took over in 2003, everything changed for Lee. Her supervisor did not know ASL and the company refused interpreter requests and she was let go in 2010. Here's short a video report on the case from KTNV-TV in Las Vegas (no captions).

150th anniversary for Academy

Special events begin today at the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf in Faribault, Minnesota. The facility is celebrating its 150th anniversary.Find out more about the schedule from the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf website here. The Faribault Daily news quotes Assistant to the Director Jody Olson as saying “Many of our kids come from families who don’t know sign language. I want to show them it’s okay to be deaf -- to be proud of it and have a role model they can look up to.”  here and part two,Former MSAD teacher reflects on history, evolution of local school, here. The Faribault Daily has put together a series on the school. You can read part one, MSAD graduate proves possibilities are endless for deaf students,

Gallaudet Player gets Award

Junior Tyler Snider
photo from Gallaudet Sports
A Gallaudet defensive end is Defensive Player of the Week for the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference. Tyler Snider has collected 10 tackles, made two sacks and two fumble recoveries. And that's only three games into the season. His fumble recovery on Saturday-which he ran back for a touchdown--helped the Bison win over the Rochester by a score of 37-13. The teams's 3-0 start is the best start ever for the program. Next up--Mount Ida College in Newton, Mass. this Saturday.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cross-country fundraising ride ends

We've been following Jacob Landis ride from Maryland to the West Coast and now to Miami--his last stop on his fundraising ride for cochlear implants. He's visited 30 Major League stadiums and last night, he watched a game at Marlins Park. WFOR-TV in Miami has a video report, which is posted below (captions available).

Washington School for Deaf auditorium to reopen

Tomorrow night's festivities were three years in the making on the campus of the Washington School for the Deaf. Special features have been added to the facility in Vancouver. You'll find more info at The Columbian here.

Guatemalan Boy Get Implant

A 7-year-old boy from the Central American country of Guatemala got his implant turned on yesterday. WANE-TV in Fort Wayne, Indiana has a video report, which is posted below.(Google captions available or read the story here).

University Sued over Sports Captioning

from Maryland Terrapins Athletics
NAD is suing the University of Maryland Sued over the lack captioning at its sporting events on large scoreboards. The National Association of the Deaf was filed on behalf of football fans Sean Markel and Dr. Joseph Innes. They say the lack of captions at Byrd Stadium and the Comcast Center leaves them out of some aspects of the games. NAD head Howard Rosenblum says "Every sports team should implement quality captioning systems visible to everyone not only to comply with the law but also to meet the needs of everyone." The Washington Post quotes the school as defending its policies as being within the legal requirements, saying "The here. Take a look at the NAD press release here. Below is a video report from WJLA-TV.

Monday, September 23, 2013

ND School expands reach

While enrollment is falling at the North Dakota School for the Deaf, the facility is expanding its services to reach thousands across the state to remain a vital part of deaf education. Find out more in The Jamestown Sun here.

Jacob Landis hit during fundraising ride

The cross-country bike ride of Jacob Landis stalled in Tampa over the weekend when Landis was hit by a tractor trailer's mirror just a few miles from the last Major League Baseball stadium on his tour. He's already visited 29 stadiums and Marlin Park in Miami is last on his list. Landis was taken to a  hospital in the area with cuts and bruises, a cheekbone fracture and a chipped from tooth. Despite the setback, he's not letting the bump up stop him from his journey to raise awareness about cochlear implants. Landis will still attend tonight's game at Marlin Park when the Marlins take on the Phillies. His team issued a press release  here in which Landis says:
"Yesterday, with less than four miles to go to the hotel I was struck by a tractor trailer ’ s mirror. I don't remember anything that happened until I woke up at the hospital. I just want to thank everyone for their kind words through my Facebook account and special thanks to all of my supporters who made this ride possible.”

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tribes premieres in New England

The off-Broadway show Tribes is now playing in Boston. It's the story of a deaf man who has learned to adapt to his hearing family’s unconventional ways, but they never bothered to return the favor. The SpeakEasy Stage Company’s production of Tribes runs through October 12th. The Patriot Ledger's review suggests "Ultimately, the rewards of the play make it worth seeing, in spite of its problems." Read the full review here.

ISL Awareness Week

The Irish Deaf Society is calling for recognition of Irish Sign Language in honor of International Week of the Deaf, which begins tomorrow. The theme of the week is Equality for Deaf People. Read more from the Irish Deaf Society site here. Here's a video produced by Irish Deaf Society explaining how to order a pint using ISL.

Friday, September 20, 2013

New NTID building

Deaf students at NTID have a new start-of-the-art building--the  Sebastian and Lenore Rosica Hall.  The National Technical Institute for the Deaf named the building for a couple who were life-long advocates for the deaf. Sebastian Rosica was an audiologist at St. Mary's School for the Deaf for four decades and Lenore Rosica was a speech pathologist. The Chicago-based William G. McGowan Charitable Fund made the facility possible through a $1.75 million grant. There will be a formal grand opening celebration October 11. Read more about the building here or watch a video report from WHEC-TV below (with captions available).

Jacob's Ride: Two stadiums to go

Jacob Landis is close to completing his ride across the country to raise money for cochlear implants. He's traveled about 10,000 miles on his bike, from his home in Maryland to the West Coast to Florida, where he'll catch a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game tonight. Landis is visiting 30 major league parks. Here's a video report on the ride from WFTS-TV in Tampa (captions available).

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Aborigines preserve hand signs

from a iltyem-iltyem project video
A group of Aboriginal Australian are creating a website dedicated to the hand signs used with speech in their region. The project is called Iltyem-Iltyem or “signaling with hands” and includes hundreds of videos involving five languages. The searchable site should be complete in the next three years and you can see it here. The group's blog showing the progress they've made is here. A sample of one of the videos is posted below.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

ASL program to be honored

Western Oregon Univ. is getting an award for its ASL Masters degree program. The University Professional & Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) is honoring the advanced degree program at its Tucson conference next month as an “outstanding” professional and continuing education program. Since the beginning of the year, the program has seen nine masters theses and two professional projects published. Find out more from UPCEA here and more about the Monmouth, Oregon ASL program here.

Assault and Robbery in Philly

image from Philadelphia police
surveillance video
Police in Philadelphia are asking for help in catching someone who robbed and beat a deaf many last week. The 37-year-old man was riding his bike near the intersection of Germantown Avenue and Walnut Lane when he was knocked off his bike and assaulted. The assailant took everything the man had on him--phone, wallet, work ID and even the bike itself. The deaf man was treated for injuries. Police are looking for a young black man with a medium build and wearing a red t-shirt with dark jeans. If you have information about the crime, authorities ask you to contact the Northwest Detectives Division at 215-686-3353/3354. Below is a surveillance video.

Movie Captioning could soon be mandated

The White House is getting ready to propose an update to ADA law that would make it a requirement that theaters install technology for deaf and blind moviegoers. Various news outlets report that the federal mandate could be out in the next couple of weeks. It will like call for installation of closed-captioning and audio narration technology. Some smaller theaters complain they can't afford the cost and could be put out of business by the new regulation.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

1000 Implants

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota is celebrating its 1000th cochlear implant surgery. Below is a video from KARE-TV explaining who got the 1000th implant. No captions, but you can read the story here.

Deaf School, Police sued for tasing boy

The parents of a 12-year-old are suing Connecticut's American School for the Deaf Student along with the West Hartford Police. Audley and Judith Muschette accuse them of abuse for tasing the boy on campus back in the spring.  The suit claims he was thrown to the ground by school staff, punched and eventually tased by police. Meanwhile, a new $20 million, 62,000-square-foot building called the Gallaudet-Clerc Education Center is being unveiled this morning at the school. Read more at the facility here and more about the lawsuit at Patch and Courthouse News.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

3-D printed "bionic ear"

Princeton's bionic ear
(image from a video produced by the
international society for optics and photonics) 
Using a 3-D printer, researchers have built a bionic ear that can tune in frequencies beyond the normal human hearing range--including TV and Wi-Fi and direct signals from a cell phone.The researcher from Princeton and Johns Hopkins used both electronics and living tissue--and were aided by a 3-D printer. A computer model of an ear guided the printer. Eventually, they say it could be developed to help someone hear in the same way that a cochlear implant does. Princeton professor Michael McAlpine explains the new possibilities for further combinations of electronics with biological tissue.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lawsuit: sex abuse at deaf school

A lawsuit filed against the Oregon School for the Deaf claims a child was abused while under supervision of the facility--and administrators failed to stop it. The mother of a former student wants $4 million from the Salem, Oregon school because, according to the suit, her daughter engaged in sexual relations with an older teenage boy more than once while she was 11 years old. The next court date for the complaint is scheduled for mid-November. The Statesman-Journal has more details here.

iPad stolen from deaf man on Portland train

Police in Portland are looking for two thieves who stole a deaf man's Ipad yesterday on the city's commuter train. KREM-TV reports the victim is 62 years old and offers this video report with captions.

Gally Runner Getting Noticed

Ivan Alfaro
(photo from Gallaudet
Gallaudet cross-country runner Ivan Alfaro doesn't let Ushers Syndrome slow him down. He put his name in the record books this past spring by setting a school record in the 3,000-meter run--while earning a 4.0 in the classroom. The North Eastern Athletic Conference honored him with its Inspirational Award winners for the 2012-13 academic year--one of only two winners. The NCAA has taken note of Alfaro and profiles him here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Comedian promises "curse words" in sign

Comedian Craig Gass will appear at the Rialto Theater in his native Tucson tomorrow tonight (Sept 14). The show will be interpreted for his family members who are deaf. He told the Arizona Daily Star in an interview “If you want to learn how to sign any curse words or god awful phrases, I will be repeating curse words and saying horrible things all night long. There will be at least 100 different opportunities." His voice has been a part of shows like Family Guy and American Dad while Gass has made appearances on HBO’s Sex in the City and King and Queens. There's more information on his appearance here.

Bike ride fund-raiser reaches Georgia

Jacob Landis arrived in Atlanta to seen the Braves play yesterday. It's part of a swing around the country that is taking Landis coast to coast--to major league baseball stadiums around the country. He's nearing the end of his cycling adventure that is raising money for cochlear implants. WAGA-TV sat down with Landis this morning in Atlanta (captions available). Below is a video of the interview.

Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Big River is coming to Trenton, New Jersey's Mercer County Community College. The show blends ASL with a traditional stage presentation from both deaf and hearing actors to tell the story of Mark Twain's Huck Finn. The Pennington Players will put on the Tony Award-winning musical next month on the college's campus the first two weekends in October. Click here for more information.

ASL for Google Glass

There's a new ASL app for users of Google Glass--the wearable computer glasses. SMARTSign creator Kim Xu includes quizzes which you can see in the demonstration video below. She plans to add functions in the future.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Glow Golf in Ontario

A special golf tournament takes place this evening in Ontario Canada. DeafBlind Ontario Services annual Glow Golf takes place at the Greenhills Golf and Country Club. Besides the glow-in-the-dark golf game and a “sensory putting contest" where players depend on their tactile senses, the organization promises a barbecue dinner, prizes and silent auction. You can visit the DOS site for more information here.

The Deaf State proposal

Before the U.S. civil war, a deaf man named John J. Flournoy tried to get the U.S. Congress to set aside land in the western territories for the establishment of a deaf state. In 1855, the American School for the Deaf graduate made the recommendation because he believed the deaf could flourish without the restrictions of the hearing world. The primary means of communication would be sign language. The state never worked out but another of Flournoy's ideas did--he wanted a school for the deaf in Georgia and his prolific letter writing helped lead to the formation of the Georgia School for the Deaf. Flournoy, known for living an eccentric lifestyle, had a deaf brother and his father was a Georgia slaveholder. You can read more about this chapter in Deaf History in the Disability Studies Quarterly here or in Jack R. Gannon's book Deaf Heritage: A Narrative History of Deaf Americans or John V. Van Cleve's A Place of Their Own: Creating the Deaf Community in America.

Deafhood vs Deafness Conference

Deaf Eye & Mind is hosting a gathering their calling the Deafhood vs Deafness Conference in the Los Angeles next month (Saturday, Oct 12). The meeting is based around the group's mission "to guide (d/Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and hearing) leaders in the transformation of culture to build an inclusive community where each person is equally respected and empowered."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Deaf School off to quick football start

Florida School for the Deaf is undefeated so far this season. The team took on St. Francis on Wednesday, notching their third victory against no defeats and a single tie. The final score was 32-14.

Implant inventors to get award

The inventors of the cochlear implant are getting a big award next week. Graeme Clark, Ingeborg Hochmair and Blake S. Wilson will share in the Lasker Award for clinical medical research--along with a quarter of a million dollars.  The 78-year-old Graeme Clark is an Australian doctor who was motivated to pioneer the first multi-channel implant by watching his deaf father struggle in his daily life.  Austria electrical engineer Ingeborg Hochmair worked with her husband, Erwin Hochmair, to develop their own multi-channel implant in Europe, eventually starting MED-EL--one of the "big three" cochlear implant makers. She now serves as CEO for the company. Blake S. Wilson is co-director at the Duke Hearing Center. He is strategy advisor for MED-EL and is credited with inventing many of the critical signal processing strategies used in implants today.  The award will be given to them a week from Friday (Sept. 20) in a New York ceremony.  Read more about the award from the Lasker Foundation here and a video interview with the three winners here (no captions). Below is a video from Australia's The Age, a daily newspaper out of Melbourne, Australia in which Graeme Clark explains the inspiration that led him to develop the prototype prototype (no captions).

Gally wins first game

(photo from Gallaudet sports)
Gallaudet's football team won their opening game against the Shenandoah Hornets this past weekend. The Bison quickly moved to a 14-0 lead and never let up until their 31-20 victory was complete--despite some trick plays from their opponents. It's the first season-opening win for Gally in six years. The team's four touchdowns were scored by brothers Todd and Ryan Bonheyo. Gallaudet returns to action this Saturday at home against Apprentice School. Read more about the win at the university's sports page here.

Child Saved from Drowning

A Florida deaf man saved his child who nearly drowned in a St. Petersburg swimming pool. A law enforcement officer told cable news television network Bay News 9 that he saw "a father running southbound through the intersection carrying a lifeless child.” Read more about the story from Bay News 9 here.

RIT makes top ten on best colleges list

(image from Google Maps)
RIT, the university that's home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), earned a #7 ranking for Regional Universities (North) on U.S. News & World Report's list of Best Colleges. Find out more about what the magazine has to say about RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) here.

Gally on Best Colleges List

(from Wikimedia Commons)
Gallaudet University is listed as one of the best regional universities on U.S. News &World Report's annual ranking of nearly 1,800 schools. The magazine gives it a #22 ranking for Best Colleges Regional Universities (North). Read more about Gallaudet's rankings here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Florida Killer Sentenced

A Florida man who stabbed four deaf people and injured others will spend the rest of his life in jail. Two of the victims died. Anthony Giancola was a middle school principal in Tampa until until his arrest for buying crack cocaine. In June of last year, he went on a crime spree, first attacking the deaf people in St. Petersburg at a group home before going after a couple with a hammer at a hotel they owned. Prosecutors also say he hit and injured several people but drove away. Prosecutors were never able to make a connection between Giancola and the victims--the violence appeared to be random. He cut a deal where he agreed to plead guilty in order to avoid the death penalty. Circuit Judge Thane Covert gave Giancola was 30 years on top of six consecutive life sentences. Below is a video from WTSP-TV about the crimes back when it first happened (no captions).

Monday, September 9, 2013

Arab school to use ASL

A school for the deaf in the Middle East will use new methods this year. The Al Amal School and Kindergarten in the United Arab Emirates' city of Sharjah is planning to introduce American Sign Language to its students, though Emirati sign language will still be used. Read more at Gulf News here.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

"Now she can hear me tell her I love her"

A father in Scotland is "so impressed" with the charity that provided his daughter with a cochlear implant, "that he is running the Great North Run half marathon on September 15 to raise funds" for it. He has never run long distance before, but has been training for the big day," reports the UK's Daily Mail. Read more at here.

School Battles City over Safety Concern

The Florida School for the Deaf and Blind is fighting a plan to let a gas station move close to the school. Supporters say it will improve a busy intersection but the school points out the plan includes hazards for its students. "This is a big safety concern,"FSDB president Jeanne Prickett tells WTEV-TV. The station has a video report which is posted below (captions available).

Lydia on the radio

Lydia Callis on the Brian Lehrer Show
Sign language interpreter Lydia Callis appeared on The Brian Lehrer Show radio show over New York City's public radio station WNYC yesterday. Callis came into the spotlight when media outlets picked up on her demonstrative interpretations during press conferences of the mayor about Superstorm Sandy last year. There's a transcript of their chat here. Here's an exempt where they discuss deaf in the workplace:
Lydia: When somebody meets a deaf person, for example if they come in for an interview or what not and they didn’t know that this person was deaf or hard of hearing, they don’t know what to do. And really the only difference between the hearing and deaf community is the fact that the deaf community communicates in a different way. And because of technologies these days they are able to work efficiently with other hearing people as well, such as having an interpreter, having email – you can communicate through email or texting through the phone – or by providing closed captioning as well. One of the great things that they have these days is something called the video phone. You can just provide a video phone for the deaf community or somebody that is deaf at their desk. And they can just turn on the video phone and they can call the deaf person – the hearing person can call the deaf person and it would go into a call center full of sign language interpreters that are trained there, ready to go, and the interpreter will be able to voice for the deaf person if they can’t speak themselves. And they’ll be able to sign what the hearing person Is trying to communicate with them and it’s right there.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Deaf Medical Student Wins Case

We've been following the case of Michael Argenyi--he sued Creighton University for discrimination because the Jesuit university refused to accommodate his learning needs, according to his suit. While Creighton accepted him for medical school, administrators refused his request for interpreters and a transcription system--claiming the services were to expensive. Argenyi has a cochlear implant but also uses cued speech. At Seattle University as an undergraduate he was able to use a transcription service along with a cued speech interpreter. A Nebraska jury agreed with Argenyi this week--but failed to award him any financial damages because the jury decided the decision to not provide the assistance was unintentional. Argenyi now faces paying off loans he took out for equipment and interpreters totally more than $100,000. You can read more on the case from Courthouse news service hereand more background on the case in the New York Times here.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Suit for captioning device in school

From KGTV video
Last month we told you about a deaf student in a San Diego-area school who was trying to get her school to provide a captioning service for her. You can read that post here. She spoke with KGTV about her "growing frustration" over the issue. Watch the interview in the video below. No captions, but you can read the text of the video here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Maine Woman: I was fired for being deaf

Kennebec Valley Community Action Program
Photo: Google maps
After 17 years, a worker in Maine says she was fired because she is deaf. And the Maine Human Rights Commission agrees with Agnes Farnsworth, according to the Lewiston Sun Journal. Farnsworth drove her car to transport clients for the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program. Two years ago she was mailed a letter unceremoniously letting her go. The nonprofit says it was due to Farnsworth's performance problems--but those problems seemed to be tied to a decision to no longer send her text messages to inform her as to when to pick up and drop off passengers. Read more at the Lewiston Sun Journal here.

St. Louis girl gets stem implant

10-year-old Jia Billadeau has no cochlea on one side at all and she has a malformed cochlea on the other side. Her adoptive parents had her undergo cochlear implant surgery which only worked for a while. This summer, Jia had a auditory brain stem implant placed in her and now she is beginning to hear again. KSDK-TV has a video report.

Cyclist rides into Kansas City on Fundraising Tour

Jacob Landis
Jacob Landis made it to Kauffman Stadium on Labor Day to watch a game between the Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Mariners. Several hundred supporters from the deaf community greeted Landis in Kansas City at a tailgate party before the game. He's making a cross-country ride to raise money for those who can't afford cochlear implants, as we've been telling over the summer. He's on his way to reach every major league ballpark in America--and he's only got four to go. His last stop will be on September 24th at Marlins Park in Miami. KMBC-TV has a video report on Landis stop in KC here (captions included)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Report: Right to sign language being denied to New Zealanders

Paul Gibson on One News
A report from a Human Rights Commission says thousands of New Zealanders are being denied a basic human right to sign language. The full report and its recommendations will be presented to the Parliament later today. New Zealand made sign language an official language seven years ago. One News has a video interview with Disability Rights Commissioner Paul Gibson about the report here.  No captions but there is a text of the interview. You can see a sign language video on the report here.