Thursday, December 31, 2015

6 years ago today.. at the South Pole

(image from NASA)
Ian Berry become the first deaf man to walk to the South Pole on this day in 2009. The UK native dragged a sled across 112 miles of ice to raise more than $40,000 for the National Deaf Children's Society. The 43-year-old reached the pole on New Year's Eve as part of a five person team. Read more about his adventure here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Text-to-911 saves woman's life

The ability to text an emergency request made the difference for a California woman yesterday. The Press-Enterprise has the story of how police are crediting a news 911 option with saving her life here.

Leader at Deaf Church accused of Sexual Battery

The treasurer at a Deaf church in Kasnas is facing charges that he sexually molested another church-goer. KCTV-TV has a video report. No captions but you can read the story here.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The First Deaf Player in the NFL

The first deaf player in the NFL ran onto the field for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973. Bonnie Sloan and played in four games at defensive tackle and only lasted one season, because of knee injuries--but he had made his mark. Sloan was born on June 1, 1948 in Lebanon , TN and attended Austin Peay State. The next deaf player in the NFL was defensive lineman Kenny Walker who played college ball at Nebraska and then in 31 games for the Denver Broncos in 1991 and 1992. the third deaf player is Seattle Seahawks running back Derrick Coleman who entered the NFL in 2012, becoming the first deaf person to play offense in the league. Coleman is on the roster for today's Super Bowl. Read more about Bonnie in a Fox Sports article here.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Is a college getting ready to close its program for the deaf?

A community college in Connecticut is making changes and "advocates for the deaf are concerned" the program-the "only deaf program of its kind in the state"--is on its way out. But the school denies the changes that are underway are a sign of things to come. Read more from WNPR here.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Marlee Matlin talks Broadway

Marlee Matlin and some of the cast members of Deaf West's Spring Awakening shared with Good Morning America what it's like to be a part of the Broadway show.

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Mickey D's sued for refusing to provide Terp

McDonalds is in trouble with the EEOC for refusing to interview a deaf person who applied for a job in Missouri because he wanted an interpreter. Ricky Washington even said he would let his sister interpret for him. It didn't matter. The EEOC, which enforces federal employment discrimination laws, says McDonalds wouldn't interview him and that's an ADA violation. Read more about the story here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Students win national competition

A dozen deaf students in Iowa won a competition sponsored by the foundation of NFL deaf football player Derrick Coleman. They had to make a video about why being deaf and hard of hearing was no excuse. Here's a video report from KWWL-TV.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Prof making a difference in student's lives

Gary Davis
(image from Oklahoma State University website) 
Oklahoma State professor Gary Davis tells The Oklahoman that the Deaf President Now movement at Gallaudet University inspired him. “Experiencing Gallaudet and that protest really opened my eyes to the deaf community. They were standing up for themselves and making changes in their world. If they could do it, I knew I could.” Read the story of how Davis ended up training interpreters at Oklahoma State

officer shoots deaf woman's dog

A Greenbelt, Maryland police officer is being investigated for animal cruelty after she shot a deaf woman's dog at a dog park just for growling at her. WJLA-TV has a video report. Read the story here.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Deaf woman sues NYPD over Terp

She was locked up for 24 hours without an interpreter. The New York Daily News explains what happened to Opal Gordon and why she is suing the New York Police Department in the video below. No captions, but you can read the story here.

Deaf wrestler wins right to terp during match

(image from WJBK-TV video report)
A week ago we told you about the deaf wrestler in Michigan who wasn't allowed to communicate with his interpreter during matches unless he was looking in her direction--not easy to do during a wrestling match. Now the Michigan High School Athletic Association has settled Ellis Kempf's complaint. Read the story from AP here.

Friday, December 18, 2015

2 years ago today--Long-time Gally prof killed

A former Gallaudet professor was killed two years ago today (Dec. 18, 2013) when she was hit by a car leaving a parking garage where she lived in Washington, DC. Peggie Parsons was 90 years old and had spent her life setting up schools around the world that would teach sign and voice and wrote several books. She taught art history and retired from Gallaudet in 1988.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Nurse settled lawsuit against College

A community college is paying a former student $75,000 to settle a lawsuit against it. Shirley Parrott-Copus is hard of hearing and said in her suit that Terra State Community College in Fremont, Ohio threw her out of the program when she asked for accommodations. Here's a video report from WTVG-TV. No captions but you can read the story here.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

'Zombie Walk' driver: probation

Matthew Pocci drove through a group participating in a Zombie Walk during San Diego's 2014 Comic-Con. He injured a woman and was sentenced yesterday to "three years probation and 60 days of electronic monitoring" according to KGTV. The TV station has a video report, posted below. No captions but you can read the story here.

Hospital slapped with suit over terp

Chris and Donna Cantrell are suing Johnson City Medical Center in Johnson City, Tennessee for not providing a qualified sign language interpreter during the six months they sat by their 21-year-old daughter's side as she died from cancer. The Medical Center declined to comment on the lawsuit. Read more from the National Association of the Deaf here.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Deaf Package Handler sues UPS

A UPS package handler is suing his employer for allegedly failing to provide him a sign language interpreter. Michael MacDonald is deaf and works out of the Philadelphia airport. He told,"No meeting, I don't need an interpreter, I can do my job. But when there's a meeting, I need an interpreter, period, end of story. The communication is vital. If I'm not privy to this communication and this information, then I can't do my job." Read the full story here.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

National Tour in Broadway show's future

Can't get to New York to see Deaf West Theatre's Broadway production of Spring Awakening before it closes on January 24? Don't worry, it might be coming your way. The producers have announced a nationwide tour starting in 2017. More details about which cities the show will visit and how to buy tickets have yet to be announced.

On this day 2 years ago… the fake interpreter at Mandela’s memorial service

During Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in Johannesburg on December 10, 2013, a man pretending to interpret for the dignitaries that spoke was declared a fraud by South Africa's deaf federation. U.S. President Barack Obama was among the heads of state attending the service at the 95,000-seat football stadium when Thamsanqa Jantjie took to the stage. The incident raised security concerns and is an embarrassment for the South African government, Bruno Druchen, the National Director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa, posted a statement on its Facebook, which reads in part:
The so called “interpreter” who interpreted at the Official memorial service for late former president Nelson Mandela at FNB stadium has been dubbed the “fake interpreter” and the Deaf community is in outrage. This man is not in fact a recognised, professional South Sign Language Interpreter. He is not known by the Deaf Community in South Africa nor by the South African Sign Language interpreters working in the field... This ‘fake interpreter’ has made a mockery of South African Sign Language and has disgraced the South African Sign Language interpreting profession. The organisers of the memorial service, and indeed any event, should have contacted organisations who coordinate South African Sign Language interpreting services to secure a professional, trained experienced interpreter.
It turned out that Thamsanqa Jantjie was once charged with murder, according to a eNCA TV network that also said he has a history of lying and fraud. Jantjie admitted to being violent and claimed to have been "hallucinated during the memorial service as he was gesturing incoherently." Here's a early SkyNews report (with captions).

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dimarco Wins Top Model!

Nyle Dimarco
(image from ANTM video)
Nyle Dimarco The last America's Next Top Model contest was one by the first deaf contestant on the show. Nyle Dimarco told People magazine, "Being a deaf person on a television show alone is pretty groundbreaking, so it felt incredible just to be on the show – but to win it was amazing!" Read more of that interview here. Top Model introduced him with this video. You might have seen Dimarco on ABC's Switched at Birth where he plays Garrett Bandgucci.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Looking Back... Kitty O'Neil

It was on this date 39 years ago (Dec. 6, 1976) that professional stuntwoman Kitty O'Neil set a record for land speed by a female driver in Oregon's Alvord Desert: 512 miles per hour. Born deaf, she became a champion diver at a young age. Her work later as a Hollywood stuntwoman was featured in TV shows like Quincy, Baretta and The Bionic Woman along with movies like Smokey and the Bandit, The Blues Brothers and Airport '77. She set a record for the highest stunt fall by a woman (105 feet).  She has held as many as 22 speed records on land and water. A movie was made about her life in 1979 titled Silent Victory: The Kitty O'Neil Story. You can read more about her land speed record at a Sports Illustrated article here.  The article explains that she could have broken the men's record as well and why she didn't do so.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

ASL typeface

Peter A. Blacksberg
(image from RIT)
ASL Manutype Black is a modern typeface for American Sign Language designed by Peter A. Blacksberg. Blacksberg attended Rochester Institute of Technology where he studied photography and developed an interest in sign language when he took part in an NTID summer interpreter program.  He says:
As a photography student in 1972, I became fascinated by the visual aspects of fingerspelling and the challenge of representing hand shapes as graphical forms. I proposed an independent study project and developed a complete typeface along the lines of the international signage that I had seen in Europe. I spent hours reducing visual complexity while retaining and enhancing elements which made each letter shape identifiable.
The RIT official announcement is here.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Deaf men fight gun-toting robber

Police in Parma Ohio say after a "21-year-old man walked into a gas station and fatally shot its owner during a robbery, the man turned to two customers who are deaf," according to WEWS-TV. Here is a video report. No captions but you can read the story here.

A writer gets to know her deaf neighbor

A Washington Post story "gives a face to the thousands of deaf senior citizens out there without support" as one commenter writes. And it's the story of what's happened to one of Gallaudet's former biology professors. She lost her father to the Nazis while her mother's death ended up bringing her to the attention of a neighbor. Read the story in Washington Post here.

Wrestler sues over terp rules

A high school wrestler is suing "a Michigan athletic association for not allowing him to use the interpreter during wrestling matches." The Detroit News quotes Ellis Kempf's mother as saying, "We aren’t seeking money and he doesn’t want an advantage. He just wants to continue using his interpreter so he can understand what his coach wants him to do during matches.” Read the full story from the Detroit News here or watch a video report from WJBK-TV. No captions but the text of the story is here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Linguists document ASL Philly 'accent'

"There's this real pride in how different Philadelphia ASL is," says one of the professors in the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Linguistics. That's why they did some research on the accent. Read about their work here.