Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New TN School for the Deaf building

Tennessee's governor is looking to spend $22 million to put up news buildings at the school for the deaf. WBIR-TV has a video report below or you can read the story here.

Service for Gally Prof

A memorial service will take place Sunday in honor of the Gallaudet University math professor who died in a fire with her daughter. Laura Snyder-Gardner and her daughter, Mary Ann, were both hard of hearing. The fire that engulfed their home in Falls Church, Virginia took their lives--along with ten family pets. Authorities are investigating the cause. Mary Ann was a junior at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf where Snyder-Gardner helped coach the girls soccer team.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rapper's National Release Date

Deaf rapper Sean Forbes releases his album Perfect Imperfection on April 2. Read about it here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Interview with ‘Deaf’ Viral Video Star

An interview with Sarah Churman talks about her new book and ability to hear. Read it here.

Drug Bust at Gally

A Gallaudet student is behind bars and facing felony drug charges after police found two pounds of marijuana in her dorm room. Some of it was baked into cookies and fudge squares. Prosecutors say Molly Sachs is drug dealer. She will appear in court for a preliminary hearing Thursday. The bust started when an RA notified a security guard about a smell in the dorm. More than 100 prescription pills were found along with the marijuana. Below is a video report from WJLA-TV (no captioning).

Changes to WV deaf school

West Virginia is looking into combining its schools for the deaf and blind. The state Board of Education will also consider moving the facilities when it meets next month. The schools have been in Romney on some 80 acres of land since 1870. About 120 students attend the schools.

Friends reflect on death of a Gallaudet teacher

Gallaudet University is mourning the loss of Laura Snyder-Gardner and her daugther Mary Ann, who died in a house fire in Falls Church this past week. Snyder-Gardner taught at Gallaudet

Miss. Festival this Spring

DEAFFEST returns to Mississippi in May. The bi-annual Deaf Festival started in Jackson during 2011 and will bring together family and friends once again on May 3 and 4. Watch for more information here.

A First for Thailand

Bo Bo Kyaing is breaking ground as the first interpreter for the deaf to appear on Thailand's broadcast airways. Read the story here.

Suit: Police didn't Provide an interpreter

A Florida woman is hoping to soon resolve a lawsuit she filed over the failure of police to provider her with a sign language interpreter during her arrest last year. Yolanda Gevarzes is deaf says Port Orange officers took her into custody on a domestic violence charge following an argument with her boyfriend in the parking lot of a Chili's restaurant during which she bit him. Rather than call an interpreter to find out what Gevarzes says took place, they used her boyfriend as an interpreter, which led to her arrest. The 41 year old from nearby Daytona Beach was even handcuffed with her hands behind her back for a time, before being taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail. The staff of the facility did not provide with an interpreter either. Gevarzes is a grandmother who had never been arrested. She was released the next morning and no formal charges were ever filed against her.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The man who crafted the ADA law is retiring

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says he will not run for a 6th term next year. Harkin is 73 and been a member of the US Congress for nearly 30 years. A Democrat, he is the 7th most senior member of the body and chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. His most significant achievement came in 1990 when he authored the Americans with Disabilities Act and helped it through the legislature. Harkin says the Americans with Disabilities Act was inspired by his deaf brother, Frank, whom he watched struggle against social barriers. The ADA law prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training and other conditions and privileges of employment.

Teen Tennis Sensation Getting Notice Down Under

A deaf teen is taking part in the Australian Open's boys' tournament. 14-year-old Korean junior Lee Duck-hee tells Paul Newman says not being able to hear makes it easier for him to concentrate on the court. He prefers not to mention his deafness to opponents or officials, but wants to be treated like anyone else. Read the story here.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Deaf Rapper moving up

MTV just added Def Deaf Girls a video from Deaf rapper Sean Forbes.

University receives gift for deaf students

A very generous computer engineer is giving more than one million dollars to support deaf students at California's Fresno State. Find out why he's giving the money in this video report from KGPE-TV or you can read more about the gift on the school's website here.

Police Stand off in Texas

A deaf man is behind bars after a standoff with police in Corpus Christi. Watch a video report from TV station KIII below on or you can read the story here. South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Celebrity shows off her signing skills

Lawless star Jessica Chastain surprised onlookers by communicating through ASL with a deaf fan. Read the story here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Texting 911 in Canada

One year from today (Jan 24, 2014) is the deadline for Canadian wireless carriers to upgrade their equipment so that their networks support text messaging communication with the deaf. Users will have to register their phone numbers with their wireless service provider to ensure it is compatible with the new 911 feature. Here's how it works: During an emergency, the phone customer calls 911 and then the emergency center is automatically informed there is a text message coming through related to an emergency. A text message sent to 911 does not go to emergency services in the country.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gally Prof Dies

A Gallaudet math professor died in a fire along with her daughter in the northern Virginia town of Falls Church. Laura Gardner and her teenage daughter, Marry Ann, had moved from Florida to the DC suburb about two years ago. Neighbors say the neighborhood was rocked by a loud noise before the fire broke out. WUSA-TV has this video report (no captions). Gardner was 48 years old and had worked at Gallaudet since 2009. She served as an assistant coach of the girls' soccer team at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf last year.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hearing Loss affects Memory, Thinking

If you are losing your hearing as you grow older, you might also lose your ability to remember and your mental sharpness. That's the finding of a new study. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University say those with hearing loss lose as much as 40 percent on their thinking abilities over time, compared to their counterparts with no hearing loss. Lead author of the study, Dr. Frank R. Lin, published findings a couple of years ago linking hearing loss with dementia. Details are published in JAMA Archives of Internal Medicine.

The ASL Petition

The woman who is waiting for a White House response on her petition to have ASL recognized as an official language was born deaf and discouraged from using American Sign Language. But Adrean Clark went on to start ASL for America with fellow Gallaudet alum Jeannette Johnson. Clark now lives near Minneapolis with her deaf-blind husband and poet, John Lee Clark, and their two children. She submitted a petition to the White Houses's We the People website back in November. You can see it here. It has more than 32,000 signatures- more than the required 25,000 in 30 days to earn an official response, which should be coming soon.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Learning the Fiddle By Touch, Sight

Profoundly deaf fiddle instructor Liz Shaw is helping students learn to to play the fiddle. Read the story here.

Switched at Birth Scoop

Switched at Birth will air an episode using no spoken English, just ASL, as we told you earlier this month. It is a TV first. The Seattle PI has a fuller explanation on what you can expect during this March 4th TV show here.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Retreat hosted for parents of deaf students in South Texas

A group of more than two dozen parents also heard from different speakers and attended classes on a range of topics yesterday in McAllen. Read the story here.

Screening misses some deaf kids

Newborn hearing tests are missing some deaf infants, leading some parents to mistakenly believe their child has no hearing loss. That's the finding of a new study. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center looked a the medical records of more than 900 children who came to the Center with hearing loss. Nearly 80 of the kids had passed their initial newborn screening. Some received wrong results while others developed progressive hearing loss. The researchers recommend a second round of testing at three months of age, though they want to do more research into when these children began losing their hearing.

For a Homeless Deaf Man, an iPad Makes Life Easier

The NY police have gotten angry with a homeless man because they did not realize that he could not hear their instructions. He was born with no hearing in one ear and only a little in the other. A charity bought him an iPad last month to make it easier for him to communicate through ASL on video relay. Read more of the story from the New York Times here.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Desktop Captioning Phone

A new phone unveiled last week offers a new tool for the deaf and hard-of-hearing when it comes to making calls. Clarity's Ensemble phone is a corded desktop unit that amplifies sound as much as 50 decibels using the same technology found in many expensive hearing aids. Plus, you can read what the other party is saying through a 7-inch color touch-screen text display. The text is provided by call center agent at Purple Communication, so Ensemble offers near-real-time speed captioning. The cost is $229 for the until while the captioning is free.  Find out more here.

Charges added to school worker indictment

A teacher’s aide at the Maryland School for the Deaf is facing multiple counts of abuse. Prosecutors say Clarence Taylor sexually abused seven children at the school. Taylor was indicted for kissing and fondling three girls between the ages of 10 and 13 in December and this week charges related to four other children have been added. He worked in the evenings as an aide for two years.

Bison Lose Coach

Gallaudet is losing its men's soccer coach. Luis Gendive held the part-time position at the University for five years. He leaves with a record of 10-77-1. A search is underway for a replacement.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Britain’s only deaf Rugby referee

Danny Shepherd loves his job - because he can’t hear abuse from fans. Read the story here.

YouTube Sensation Writes Her First Book

Sarah Churman became a YouTube sensation in 2011 when video of her reaction to getting her first hearing device implant went viral. The North Texas woman born with hearing loss wrote a book about her implants. You can watch a video from Dallas station KXAS-TV below on The station caught up with Churman at a book signing yesterday. Or read the story here.

View more videos at:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tom Cruise: Another Swatting Hoax

It happened again to a Hollywood celebrity. Someone made an emergency call today, claiming shots were fired at the home of Tom Cruise. Beverly Hills police surrounded his house, but the call was a fake. Police are now trying to figure out who made it. It has recently happened to other celebrities, too: Simon Cowell, Ashton Kutcher, Charlie Sheen, Miley Cyrus, and Justin Bieber. LA police arrested a preteen a few months ago for making "swatting calls" in at least two of those cases. The boy used a computer program to make TTY calls, typically used by the deaf and hard-of--hearing.

Former School Leader Dies

The first deaf superintendent of the Texas School for the Deaf has died. Victor Galloway battled a long illness and Alzheimer's before passing yesterday at the age of 84. He was superintendent for five years, from 1981-1986. He was also the first deaf superintendent of the Scranton State School for the Deaf in Pennsylvania, where he served from 1979-1981. Not only that, Galloway was the first deaf educator in the College of Sciences the NTID (National Institute for the Deaf) in Rochester. He lost his hearing as a toddler because of a childhood illness. He got a bachelor's degree from Gallaudet University, a master's degree from the California State University at Northridge, and a doctorate from the University of Arizona. Galloway met his wife in 1966. She was a student in his ASL class.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

BBC on Deaf Belgian twins

The BBC has a video report on the identical twin brothers in Belgium who died by lethal injection, reopening the euthanasia debate. Watch it here (no captioning).

Bad Lip Reading

A YouTube channel called Bad Lip Reading offers a look at how difficult it is to read lips. One of the channels videos, focused on NFL players and coaches, has gone viral with more than 1.5 million hits since it came out yesterday. See what you think.

Fed of Blind on Euthanized Deaf Twins

The National Federation of the Blind is speaking out about two deaf men who were put to death by lethal injection in Belgian after they began losing their sight. President Marc Maurer says:
"This disturbing news from Belgium is a stark example of the common, and in this case tragic, misunderstanding of disability and its consequences. Adjustment to any disability is difficult, and deaf-blind people face their own particular challenges, but from at least the time of Helen Keller it has been known that these challenges can be met, and the technology and services available today have vastly improved prospects for the deaf-blind and others with disabilities. That these men wanted to die is tragic; that the state sanctioned and aided their suicide is frightening."
Read more here.

Deaf-Blind Performers take Stage tonight in NY

An acclaimed Israeli theater ensemble debuts its show Not by Bread alone tonight in New York. All the performers in the troupe, named Nalagaat (Hebrew for Please Do Touch) are deaf and blind. The US premiere takes place at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University. Read some background on the group in the New York Times here.

Medical Student Wins Appeal

It looks like a deaf medical school student will get his jury trial. An appeals court is reinstating Michael Argenyi's lawsuit against Creighton University after it was dismissed by a judge. He sued the Omaha school for discrimination because the private Jesuit university accepted him for medical school but then refused to accommodate his learning needs. Argenyi has a cochlear implant but also uses cued speech. He was able to use a transcription service along with a cued speech interpreter at Seattle University as an undergrad. He earned a high GPA at the school in Washington State. But while at Creighton, he was provided some assistance, Argenyi says it was not enough. The school refused his request for interpreters and a transcription system - claiming they were to expensive. Creighton even refused to let him use an interpreter when he interacted with patients--despite the fact that he was willing to pay for the service out of his own pocket. The school told him that he should not be using interpreters in the "real world".

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gang Members Sentenced

An LA judge gave the deaf 22-year-old son of a gang leader a decade in prison yesterday. Louie "Lil Chico" Rios is the son of Santiago "Chico" Rios. The elder Rios was sentenced to 19 years and seven months behind bars. Prosecutors say their gang committed hate crimes against black people in the Los Angeles suburb of Azusa. Both men have tattoos above their upper lips that say "Azusa". More than 50 members of the gang were arrested in 2011 and all have been convicted. The gang assaulted blacks in an attempt to drive them out of Azusa.

Monday, January 14, 2013

French 'Switched' star living the American dream

Gilles Marini is not only a star on Switched at Birth, he has also played roles in Brothers and Sisters and competed on Dancing With the Stars. Read his story here.

Stabbed Man Speaks Out

A deaf man attacked for using sign language - mistaken for gang signs - spoke with WXII-TV today. You can watch the video here. The TV station did not supply captions.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Implant remote stolen from deaf woman

An Ohio woman didn't mind losing her purse, keys and wallet as much as the remote control for her cochlear implant. Read the story here.

Update: More on Sign Language Assault

We told you Thursday about a deaf man who was stabbed in North Carolina. Another man mistook sign language for gang signs. Below on is a video report from Carolina TV station WGHP. Or read the story here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Deaf Restaurant in the Middle East

The BBC takes a look at a Gaza restaurant staffed by deaf people here.

Deaf-Blind Israeli Theater Troupe Performing in Manhattan

The only troupe in the world whose actors are deaf and blind, is leaving its comfortable home in the Israeli port of Jaffa to perform Not by Bread Alone at the Skirball Center in Manhattan from Jan. 16 to Feb. 3. Read more about it here.

Life Guard wins Appeal

An appeals court is overturning a ruling against a deaf life guard. Nicholas Keith says Oakland County, just outside of Detroit violated his ADA rights when it fired him before he even started work at the Oakland County wave pool. A Michigan judge dismissed his case in 2011, but Keith appealed and now a higher court has unanimously agreed with Keith. Born deaf, he is a certified lifeguard and wears a cochlear implant.

Beaten and Robbed

Three men robbed a deaf man at knifepoint and beaten in Riverside, California Tuesday. Police say the crime took place near the Corona library. The victim's name was not released.

Seattle Summer Academy

The deadline for applying to U-Dub's Summer Academy is coming up (January 25). The University of Washington program is designed to improve the math and science skills of deaf and hard of hearing students who are looking to go into a career involving computers. The 9-week program runs from June 21 to August 24, 2013. If you are accepted, your tuition, housing and transportation is free.

School Leader Out

The superintendent of Utah's Schools for the Deaf and Blind won't be back and the state school board isn't saying why. The members met behind closed doors before taking a vote on whether to keep Steve Noyce. It was unanimous to not renew his contract. This upends Noyce's plans to work for one more year and then retire. He had come under criticism recently from ASL advocates who said he favored spoken instructions over sign language.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Attacked over Sign Language

A North Carolina man is behind bars for attacking a deaf man he thought was using gang sign. Terrance Daniels was signing with a friend as they walked down a street in Burlington. Robert Neal mistook ASL for gang signs, he stabbed Daniels repeatedly. Daniels is in stable condition, while Neal is behind bars. His bond was set at half-of-a-million dollars.

CNN picks up deaf discrimination story

A Missouri woman's complaint against eBay highlights the dispute over Web access. Read the story here.

Reversing Hearing Loss

A drug treatment is showing promise for reversing hearing loss from loud noises. Harvard Medical School researcher Albert Edge says LY411575 will partially restore hearing in mice and could grow hair cells in humans. You'll find details of the study in the journal Neuron.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Text to 911 progress

The FCC is recognizing Gallaudet University’s Technology Access Program for the vital part it is played in the development of text-to-911 technology. The service will be available nationwide a year from this May from by the four big U.S. wireless carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon.

William's cochlear implant story

William Mager has been profoundly deaf since birth. He uses sign language and lip-reading to communicate. In November, after many years of thinking about it, he chose to have a cochlear implant surgically fitted. The device was activated just before Christmas and since then he has been learning how to interpret the sounds and impulses that it feeds to him. The BBC has a report about his experiences here.

Gally's Grad school

Gallaudet is getting a positive nod from US News and World Report. It's survey of grad schools from 377 ranked colleges and universities across the country gives the Washington, DC school a high ranking for having a high percentage of alumni who enroll in graduate school within a year of graduation. Gallaudet had 55 percent of its graduates continue on to higher education within their first year out of college, putting it at number ten among the schools surveyed.

Update: Baby In Cochlear Implant Video

Whatever happened to the 8 month old in the video that went viral when his cochlear implant was turned on? It happened in 2008. In the video, he can be seen smiling widely when he hears his mother’s voice for the first time. Jonathan is now five years old. You can read an update on his family and view a photo slideshow here.

Gallaudet Reinstates Diversity Officer

Gallaudet University is giving Angela McCaskill her job back. President T. Alan Hurwitz made the announcement Monday in an email to everyone at the DC school. He didn't explain why he was making the move. McCaskill was put on leave in October when it became known that she had signed a petition encouraging the issue of gay marriage to be put to a vote in Maryland. Hurwitz explained his decision here which led to protests and an online petition here. Watch a video report from WJLA-TV below or you can read the story here.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Suit: ‘Deaf Discrimation’

WDAF-TV offers a video report on a Missouri woman who sued eBay. Watch it below on or read the story here.

Hong Kong Conf

A Sign Linguistics and Deaf Education conference takes place Jan. 30 through Feb. 2nd in Hong Kong. The 3rd International Conference on Sign Linguistics and Deaf Education in Asia will be hosted by the Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. There is more information here.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New signs for science

The University of Washington student paper takes a look at a school project to developing a science-friendly American Sign Language vocabulary here.

'Switched at Birth''s Marini Talks Show's Impact

Actor Gilles Marini talks about working on a TV show where the characters are both hearing and deaf and the impact that has on the way people view the deaf community.

14-hour Fight for Survival

A deaf North Carolina hunter nearly died in a hunting accident last month. Only through grit and determination was he able to win his battle against nature and pull himself and his mangled leg out of a swamp following a hunting-related accident. Read his story here.

Call for special license plates

There's an effort underway to get special license plates for the deaf in Kentucky. WDRB-TV has a video report, posted below on You can read the story here.

WDRB 41 Louisville - News, Weather, Sports Community

Friday, January 4, 2013

Bringing Judaism’s Oral Law to the Deaf

If you are a religious deaf man in Israel, the traditional doors to Jewish learning have been in so many ways closed to you. But Yosef Tolidano—a young deaf man descended from a long and distinguished line of Sephardic rabbis—has pulled open those doors. Read more here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Search for restoring stability after state takeover at deaf school

A look at what the new leader of Rhode Island's School for the Deaf is doing to restore its battered reputation here.

Deaf Boys Save Friend's Life

A couple of deaf teenagers in the UK saved the life of an 11-year-old who nearly drowned in a pool. Shezan Khan and Jordan Naylor came to the rescue of Waseem Hussain in Hartlepool, England. The boys were swimming together at an event organized by a local deaf club when Waseem got into the deep end--and cannot swim. It took a great deal of effort for the boys to pull him up from the bottom. Chris Drew, principal of their school, The King’s Academy, has honored them with a Principal’s Commendation award.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

On this date... Jan 1, 2010

On this date in 2010, Alan Hurwitz became the 10th president of Gallaudet University. Here's some background on him:

Family: Deaf since birth, he was raised by Harold and Juliette Hurwitz, both of whom were deaf, in Sioux City, Iowa. His father worked as an upholsterer for 20 years at Sioux City Furniture Company and then for Metz Baking. Juliette was a quality assurance assembler for 25 years. His parents retired and moved to Kansas City, Missouri. Juliette died in 1991 and Harold passed away in 2000. Alan Hurwitz has been married to his wife, Vicki, for 44 years. They have two children. A son, who is hard of hearing and a daughter, who is deaf.

Education: An expert lip-reader, Hurwitz is a 1965 graduate from Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis where he spent a decade learning to talk as a child. He then attended North Junior High where he was the only deaf student. Hurwitz was without the aid of an interpreter or note taker but excelled at sports. Hurwitz went on to earn electrical engineering degrees from Washington University and St. Louis University. His doctorate is in curriculum and teaching from the University of Rochester.

Family Education: His wife, Vicki, graduated from Central Institute for the Deaf in 1954. His mother, Juliette Ruth Kahn, also graduated from Central Institute for the Deaf in 1934. His son is now a lawyer in Rochester, New York. His daughter works for a family service foundation.

Career: Five years as an engineer and programmer at McDonnell Douglas aerospace company in St. Louis. Current president of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) where he has worked since 1970. Hurwitz sometimes living in dormitories for a few days to inspect conditions. His wife was a student development coordinator at NTID and directed RSD's outreach center.

Service: Hurwitz has served as president of both the National Association of the Deaf and the World Organization of Jewish Deaf. He served two decades on the board of Rochester School for the Deaf. His wife co-founded Deaf Women of Rochester.

Religion: The first Jewish leader for Gallaudet, Hurwitz grew up in an Orthodox environment. He and his wife has been to Israel four times and they are members of a Reform congregation.