Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Village of the Deaf

A video report on a villiage in India located nestled in the Himalayan mountains known as the village of the deaf and mute. This comes from New Tang Dynasty Televivision, a Chinese language service based in New York.

School Building for Sale

The Las Vegas Charter School for the Deaf may lose its building. The school opened last fall with three students in a building owned by Creative Kids Learning Center. The Center’s owners are willing to sell the whole 7300 square-foot building for $1 million. But that figure is beyond the resources of the School.

Minnesota Money

A new Minnesota law goes into effect tomorrow making it easier for deaf residents to access online state services. New funds will update state Web sites for the disabled.

$30 Million to Deaf School

Rhode Island's recent bond sale has raised more than $54 million - and much of it will go to the state school for the deaf. Some $30 million will help pay for the design, construction and the equipment necessary for a new Rhode Island School for the Deaf to be located in Providence.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Implant Agorithms

Dr. Philip Loizou is working on improving the filtering system of cochlear implants. Recently given the highest award in the field of acoustic signal processing, Loizou is a fellow in the Acoustical Society of America. He also teaches electrical engineering at the University of Texas at Dallas. He says the processing system of implants can be changed to better cut out background sounds at noisy restaurants and other public places by developing algorithms to remove or suppress unwanted sound.

Video Helps Financial Advisor

Louis Schwarz is a financial adviser in Bethesda, Maryland. Schwarz is deaf and uses video relay to keep in touch with his clients. A senior managing partner at Schwarz Financial Services, Schwarz has offered money advice for more than a quarter of a century. His company has invested in ten videophones and find that many of the firm's new clients come from outside the DC area, thanks to the new technology. Clients must have at least $100,000 to invest, giving Schwarz Financial more than $20 million a year to invest.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Silencer

A wrestler called The Silencer won his match last night against Lifeguard Wade Koverly in Miami. What the audience didn't know is that The Silencer is deaf. Combantants often whisper their next wrestling move into their opponent's ear to keep the show flowing. But that's not possible with a deaf wrestler, making it all the more difficult to coordinate a match.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

School to Stay Open

Even if Indiana’s state government shuts down on Tuesday, the Indiana School for the Deaf will stay open. Other state employees will be immediately furloughed if a budget isn’t passed by lawmakers. But the school falls under a state law that excepts it and a few other services from that fate. Indian Governor Mitch Daniels threatening to shutdown the rest of state government on Friday because of the impasse. Budget conferees are expected to have negotiations over the weekend with the lawmakers reconvening Monday.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Feeling the Music

Here's a profile of a deaf bass guitarist in Georgia.

Relay for Life

A 24-hour walkathon will kicks off at 10 am tomorrow morning at the California School for the Deaf in Freemont. The American Cancer Society's annual fundraiser is called the Fremont Relay for Life.

A Day of Prayer

Deaf Catholics will gather tomorrow morning in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for a A Day of Prayer in American Sign Language. The event is sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg Office of Ministry and People with Disabilities. The event will be lead by Father Michael Depcik, who is deaf, at the Cardinal Keeler Center in Lower Paxton Township . The $15 retreat will be entire in ASL with no voice interpretation and includes lunch with the bishop.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Murder Conviction Upheld

A deaf woman’s conviction for murder has been upheld by the South Dakota Supreme Court. Daphne Wright of Sioux Falls was convicted of killing Darlene VanderGiesen because she was jealous of VanderGiesen's friendship with a former lover. Wright claimed she didn’t get a fair trial because of the interpreter and she wanted statements she made to police thrown out. The South Dakota high court ruled that she got a fair trial. Wright got a life sentence for the murder and cutting up the body with a chain saw.

Deaf Rapper

KSAZ -TV has a story on deaf rapper Sean Forbes.

Jackson's Choir

Michael Jackson wants a children’s choir that knows sign language for his upcoming concerts in London. The singer wants the kids to range in age 5 to 13 and be made up of equal numbers of black, white, Asian, and mixed-race children.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ADHD Test

There’s a DVD now available that will test for ADHD in deaf and hard-of-hearing adults. The test provides the original Attention Deficit Scales for Adults published in 1996 by Santo Triolo and Kevin Murphy in ASL. The Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder test was developed by researchers at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology. It’s estimated that as much as 38% of the deaf and hard-of-hearing population could have the disorder. The DVD will cost you $150 plus shipping. Contact the NTID for more information at (585) 475-6906.

Music and Silence

Every culture creates music and babies love it. But other mammals either don’t like it or are indifferent to it. Researcher Josh McDermott at New York University found monkeys preferred slow tempo music but silence best of all.

Rocker Says He's Deaf

Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young says he is “completely deaf.’’ The 64-year-old musician wears hearing aids in both ears. He says in a recent interview his fellow band members often come to his aid during interviews because he misses questions.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Springfield Protestors

Dozens gathered at the Illinois Capitol today to protest the possible closure of the Illinois School for the Deaf in Jacksonville. Governor Pat Quinn says if lawmakers fail to agree on a budget, it’s one of the services that will be shut down. Some 5000 other protesters showed up as well – concerned about a variety of state organizations that could be affected.

Chili's Effort for Deaf-Blind

Chili's restaurants in southern Mississippi are donating 10% of proceeds from 4pm to closing tonight to the Mississippi Deaf-Blind Project. You can print a flyer for it here. The Project is located at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Joanel is on his Way

Joanel Lopez will go to the Deaflympics in Taiwan thanks to readers of the New York Daily News. The paper issued an appeal for donations to his efforts. Some $2700 came from readers. It will be added to the $1800 he already has for fees and expenses. Lopez also hopes to make to the 2012 Olympics in London.

Troubled Facility

In the last couple of years, police have been called out more than 300 times to the National Deaf Academy near Orlando. There are fights not only between patients but between patients and staff. Some residents just walk away. The Florida private organization for deaf, hard-of-hearing and autistic adults and children has a new CEO and claims the issues that have brought police to the facility are in control. But doubts persist because the Academy accepts patients with long histories of abusive or psychotic behavior.

Sign Language in Other Countries

University of North Florida students say they were surprised to find the number of similarities between different sign languages during a trip to Europe which included stops in Austria and Solvenia. The journey was part of a summer American Sign Language course at the school. Students used different gestures and facial expressions to work around communication differences with the deaf from other countries.

Carolina Merger

WGHP-TV reports on state plans to cut funding for a school for the blind and put students into two deaf schools.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Implant Wait in Canada

The wait for adult cochlear implant surgery is about a year-and-a-half in Ontario at a cost of about $24,000 each. Children have a three month wait. The London Health Sciences Centre makes the decision on whether to provide the implants to adults. Only about 35 patients are approved for implants each year.

Soccer Exhibition

The US National Soccer team for the Deaf makes a Gulf Coast appearance for an exhibition match. WALA-TV in Mobile has a report.

American Society for Deaf Children

The 2009 Biennial Conference of the American Society for Deaf Children starts Wednesday and runs through Sunday at the Oklahoma School for the Deaf.

DB Awareness Week

This is Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week. Go here for more info.

Oregon Hearing Aid Bill

Insurance providers may soon have to cover children's hearing aids in Oregon. State lawmakers are considering legislation (House Bill 2589) that would make it manditory for anyone under the age of 18. In the Senate version of the bill, the coverage would extend to dependents in college. However, the law would not provide coverage for cochlear implants.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Staffing Cuts

The Connecticut state Commission on the Deaf and Hearing Impaired is losing half of its office staff. Five workers are retiring. There are about 3000,000 deaf and people with hearing loss living in Connecticut.

Essay Winner

A Kansas City CODA has won the 2009 Kansas City Royals Father of the Year Essay Contest. Katie Gwynn attends St. Thomas Aquinas High School took first place out of 4500 entries. She has four siblings and says her deaf father is a very good listener.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Grand Ole Opry

Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry will offer captions for fans with hearing loss for the very first time tomorrow night. Several hundred people from the Hearing Loss Association of America convention will be in attendance at the Saturday evening show. Captioning will be projected on a large screen. If it goes well, the experiment may be continued in the future.

Charity Ride

Dr. Mike Tuccelli will lead a group on a charity motorcycle ride to Alaska next month. The University of Florida professor who is deaf has been making the11,000-mile round-trip for eight years in order to raise funds for the SKI-HI Institute. The group helps children who are deaf and those who are blind.

Friends of OSD

There’s a new group created to help the Oregon School for the Deaf. Friends of OSD is a nonprofit that will raise money to improve programs and student services at the school. Click here for more info.

Couple's Argument

The Tampa Bay Tribune explains what happened when a deaf couple got in a fight last night and then called the police.

Family's Implant Decision

KING-TV in Seattle takes a look at a family with three deaf children and their cochlear implant decision.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Video of Protesters

Here is some video of the Raliegh, North Carolina protesters, demonstrating against the possible merger of a a school for the blind with a deaf state school.

Protests Take to the Streets

Dozens of protestors marched in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina yesterday. They are upset that lawmakers want to close a local school for the blind and send the children to the school for the deaf. The plan to shut down Governor Morehead School would send them to either the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf in Wilson or the North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton. Neither facility is equipped to handle blind students.

Kansas 911 Sued

A Kansas deaf woman is suing her county’s 911 operation. The city of Lyons and Rice County do not have TTY devices for the deaf and hard of hearing, according to the suit filed by Danette Dixon and the Kansas Disability Coalition.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Implant Software

Researchers say they've figured out how to make cochlear implants functure better. Cable news 8 in Austin files this video report on this software program put together at the University of Florida.

Action Deafness Books

There’s a new UK site for books and DVDs produced by deaf authors. Action Deafness Books will focus on materials about deafness and British Sign Language (BSL). The profit will fund promotion of deaf writing and deaf authors. The charity already has a working relationship with DeafEducate, Signature, the Sign Language Video People and other deaf communication companies.

School May Close

The Illinois School for the Deaf could be shut down because of state budget cuts. The Governor says it may happen if Illinois lawmakers fail to pass a full budget by the end of the month.

UPS Lawsuit

There’s a proposal that would end a discrimination lawsuit filed against UPS by deaf and hard-of-hearing drivers. The settlement would end a dispute that started a decade ago over whether they can drive vans weighing less than 10,000 pounds. The new rules they’ve agreed upon, set up by a panel of experts, would not be as tight as the federal government reuqires for heavier trucks. The company had previously barred the workers from driving smaller trucks. A San Francisco judge will hold a hearing later this month to announce whether he will approve the deal.

Golf Tourney for Implants

The Midwest Ear Institute holds its annual benefit golf tournament starting today at Deer Greek Golf Club in Kansas City. The cost is $200 per golfer and $1,000 per hole/team sponsor. The funds raised will go toward providing cochlear implants. The Institute is not-for-profit cochlear implant center founded in 1980.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Arrest in Hit & Run

Police in the San Francisco suburb of Dublin have arrested a woman for hitting a deaf man with her car and fleeing the scene of the accident. Barry Lim is in critical condition after being hit by Saraswathi Karumuri. Dublin officers say she first claimed to have been hit by another car but the car’s front end damage suggested otherwise. Lim was found laying on the ground with a severe head injury.

Blind School May Close

A North Carolina school for the deaf could soon be getting blind students although the facility has no services for the blind. But Morehead School in Raleigh may have to accept the situation if a bill before state lawmakers passes. It would close the Governor Morehead School. Parents and students opposed to the closure play a rally tomorrow afternoon at the capital. Here's a video report on the situation from WTVD-TV.

Deaf-Blind Man Honored

WOOD-TV has the story of a deaf-blind man honored in Grand Rapids.

Activitist Passes

A well-known advocate for the deaf has died. Marcella Meyer to fought for the civil rights of the deaf through GLAD (the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness). Meyer helped to organize the organization in 1969. She died at the age of 84.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Service Dog Saves Florida Man

A service dog saved an Orlando man from a house fire early this morning. Dearrin Weaks is hard of hearing and was awakened when his dog jumped on his bed. Fightfighters quickly put the blase out but the duplex suffered major damage. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Looking Back.. 1st Computer PhD

One year ago today, Karen Alkoby became the first deaf woman in the US to earn a PhD in computer science. She graduated from DePaul University, helping to pioneer a computer-animated dictionary. It interprets English words typed into the program and gesture them into American Sign Language. It helps in situations where hiring an interpreter would be impractical. Alkoby’s dissertation involved determining how the human brain interprets shapes like those made by hands in ASL. This may help with creation of a ASL-to-English dictionary.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Jail Lawsuit

William Kral is suing a county in Eastern Washington State for the way he was treated during his time in jail. The deaf man says Benton County failed to follow ADA law when it didn't provide him an interpreter during his court appearances and refused him access to a TTY phone during his incarceration. Officers also wouldn’t turn on closed-captioning when he watched TV. Kral had been convicted of DUI and driving with a suspended license. Prosecutors deny Kral’s claims, saying he had an interpreter in court and access to a TTY - until he abused his privileges. Kral has since moved to Seattle.

Michigan Meeting

The Grand Rapids chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America holds its 5th anniversary celebration tomorrow. Hope College professor David Myers will be honored. He wrote A Quiet Life: Living with Hearing Loss. Amway co-founder Richard DeVos will be honored as well.

Helen Keller Celebration

The Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Celebration takes place tomorrow in Orlando, Florida. Click here for more information.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Open Captioning in Yuma

Arizona's Yuma Art Center will offer open captioning at some of the perfomances at its theater this summer for the first time. The Center is getting help from ARTability, an Arizona-based group that specializes in making art accessible. A special audio system may eventually be added that will offer a description of everything happening on stage.

Gaming for Deaf Services

A gaming arcade will open in New Port Richey, Florida to provide funding for The Deaf Service Bureau of West Central Florida. City Commissioners agreed this week to allow the skill-based slot machines to raise money for the nonprofit. Players have to push a button to stop the spinning of the slot machine. This changes it from a game of chance to a game of skill. The most money that can ride on a spin will be 75 cents. No one under 18 will be allowed to play.

Women's Motorcross

The fastest woman motorcross racer in the country is Ashley Fiolek who was born deaf. The 5-foot-two 18-year-old from St. Augustine, Floirda is the only woman rider to be featured on the cover of a major US motocross magazine. She became women's pro rookie champion last season.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cuts in Carolina

North Carolina lawmakers are considering closing Governor Morehead School in Raleigh. The North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton and the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf in Wilson may be facing some budget cuts as well. Enrollment is down to about 250 students at all three combined. Just 63 attend Governor Morehead School.

Read My Lips

Read My Lips by Teri Brown tells the story of an oral deaf girl named Serena. She's good at reading lips and uses her ability to gossip and win friends. She's the new girl at her school. This is Brown's debut novel and she weaves a great deal of humor into the high school drama. Below is a video about the book.

Rainbow Alliance

The Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf Conference is set to take place in Chicago from June 30-July 4. It takes place at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers and will be hosted by the Windy City Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf. Some 500 people are expected from around the country. This year’s theme is Our Vision, Our Kind of Life. The conference starts two days after Chicago's annual Pride Parade.

State Assoc Meetings

The Illinois and Texas Associations of the Deaf begin their biennial meetings today. The 45th Biennial Texas Association of the Deaf Conference will take place at the El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel in San Antionio today through Saturday. A little further north, the Illinois Association of the Deaf holds its 45th Biennial conference the same days in Bloomington.

Disc Golf

Kentucky Deaf Disc Golf Association holds its Bluegrass Cup Tournament at Idlewild Park in Burlington, Kentucky starting tomorrow.

H&V Conference

The Hands & Voices National Leadership Conference starts Thursday in Lake Tahoe and continues through Saturday.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Breaking The Sound Barriers

A new book published in Australia tells the stories of what it was like raising nine deaf children. Breaking The Sound Barriers is written by Julie Postance and published by Deaf Children Australia. Here is a TV report from Australia on the new release.

Sims 3

The most popular and best-selling life simulation game is by far and away The Sims. Deaf gamers will not be at a disadvantage in the latest version of the virtual reality game (Sims 3). The game's audio consists of mostly happy music and nonsensical musing as characters "chat" to each other. Users see little summeries of these "conversations" in bubbles over characters heads and in body language. But you don't miss anything without the audio because it's just baby talk, no real words are exchanged between characters.

Complaint Filed against Schools

The Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind is facing a complaint from the National Federation for the Blind. The paper filed with the Utah State Office of Education wants an outside investigation into problems at the school. The Federation claims the students are not getting the education they are required to recieved according ot state and federal law. Some parents complain that all the students are getting the equipment they need. "

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Final Graduation

The Scranton State School for the Deaf held perhaps its final commencement today. Seven students received their diplomas. The state of Pennsylvania is turning it over to a private group. Here's a video report on WNEP-TV.

Gally Leaving CAC

Gallaudet Univeristy is leaving the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) after the 2009-10 academic year. Salisbury, St. Mary's, Hood and Stevenson will remain a part of the group while Frostburg State will take Gallaudet's place.

Implant Tuner

New software will customize a cochlear implant to each person's hearing ability. Instead of using tones to test range, the computer uses the most common syllables in the English language. WJRT-TV has a video report.

Monday, June 8, 2009

$3 Million Bond

Vermont’s Austine School for the Deaf plans to go green with the help of a nearly $3 million bond. The Vermont Economic Development Authority gave its stamp of approval to the plan along with $15 million in commercial and agricultural financing. The school and 15 other programs are run by the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The funds will go to upgrade several buildings on campus including new lighting, insulation and heating system.

School Project

Some 200 8th graders are helping determine the best seats at Minute Maid Park for those with limited hearing. Thier classroom project involves measuering speech and music samples played over the loud speaker at the stadium. The data will determine which sections of the ballpark are the best locations to sit if you are deaf. KRIV-TV has this video report.

Lawsuit Over Rape

A former New Mexico School for the Deaf student who was raped in a campus bathroom is suing the school. Her parents say officials knew about a growing problem with the perpetrator and did nothing. Last year, he pled guilty to raping the girl and recieved three years probation. Her parents claim they warned the school and were told their daughter would be safe.

Camp Wonder Hands

This is the first full day of events for deaf and hard-of-hearing campers attending Camp Wonder Hands near Columbia, South Carolina. It’s a weeklong annual event taking place at Camp Kinard. Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital hosts the free event. This year’s theme: Christmas in June.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dog Saves Woman

A deaf woman near Orlando was saved from a fire by her Chihuahua early yesterday. Lillian Miller was asleep when the dog began furiously barking at 3 in the morning. When she stepped outside of her mobile home, Miller saw flames leaping from her living room window.

TV Goes Digital

TV broadcasters are making the switch from analogue to digital transmission this Friday. If you are using “rabbit ears” or a rooftop antenna, you must take action to continue using your old TVs after June 12, 2009. If you don't have a digital ready television and haven't installed a digital converter box, your TV will stop working unless you have cable or satellite. The deaf can call TTY number 1-877-530-2634 for more information.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Longshot

Professional basketball player Lance Allred tells his unique story in the new book Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA. Allred grew up deaf on a polygamous Mormon commune and battles with an obsessive compulsive disorder and once considered suicide. But Allred signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers last year and is now playing with the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Developmental League.

Red Earth Festival

The 23rd annual Red Earth Festival is taking place in Oklahoma City this weekend. The celebration of American Indian culture and hertiage brings together more than 1200 dancers and includes a grand parade and children's activities. Among the dancers is Jordan Watson from Canada and Samuel Phillips from California. They're the first deaf dancers to take part in the festival. KSBI-TV has this video report on the couple.

Training for Deaflympics

KRIV-TV in Houston interviews Duggan Baker who's training for the Deaflympics.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Gally Prez Selection

An interview with a Gallaudet University trustee is shedding some light on how the school picked Jane Fernandes as its choice for president. The nomination was withdrawn after protests erupted from students and faculty. Dick Kinney, an investment adviser from Milwaukee, tells the Chronicle of Higher Education that the board decided to commission a study to find who would meet three criteria: The candidate needed to have experience in higher education, an earned doctorate and significant hearing impairment. Only 27 people in the world fit all three criteria. That’s part of why the board ended up going with an unpopular internal candidate.

Heroes Adding Deaf Character

The NBC show Heroes will offer a deaf character next season. Emma will first appear in episode three of the science fiction show and then she will show up throughout the volume. She's expected to be a new love interest for Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia), one of the main Heroes regulars. Word is Deanne Bray will play the part.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Deaf Pilots Fly-In

The 16th annual Deaf Pilots Association Fly-In 2009 takes place next month at Wisconsin’s Manitowoc County Airport. The show will run from July 30 to August 6. Last year’s fly-in took place in Corona, California. Pilots will be joining this year’s event from Kentucky, Michigan, Illinois, Nebraska and California. Rather than offering aerial stunts, the Deaf Pilots Association Fly-In 2009 gives pilots a chance to talk about common problems and share experiences with one another. A youth outreach takes place August 2nd.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Baseball Clinics

The Beverly School for the Deaf in Beverly, Massachusetts is offering free ASL baseball clinics during this month for children 7 to 13. The clinics will take place each Saturday at the Strike One Sports Complex. Contact Anthony D'Ambrosio for more information at adambrosio@shoreschool.org.