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NAD’s 49th Biennial Conference: An Enlightening Experience Jennifer Dans-Willey SIGNews staff writer Note from the Editor: The editor was a delegate for the state of South Dakota at the NAD Conference and this article is based entirely on her experiences at the conference. The NADMag will be publishing an in-depth article, along with official photos, in their next issue. Be sure to become a member of NAD to subscribe to the NADMag. Go to www.nad.org to learn how to do so. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) hosted its 49th Biennial Conference in New Orleans, La., from July 7 through July 11. Hundreds of deaf and hard of hearing people went to
the conference in the French Quarter area to mingle, to represent their state associations, to learn more about issues impacting the deaf and hard of hearing community in the country, and to elect the new NAD Board members and selecting priorities for them to work on for the next two years. State Associations and affiliates of NAD sent their delegates to the Council of Representatives to go through items of business and reporting of activities that the NAD accomplished in the past two years. Revisions to the bylaws were proposed and carried into getting the bylaws up to date. The biggest discussion of the whole bylaws was the objectives
of NAD. Mission, Vision and Values statements were inserted. The 2006-08 Board worked on these statements to ensure that all deaf and hard of hearing individuals in United States are represented by NAD. The Council of Representatives had four sessions throughout the week with the opening session on Sunday, July 6 and ending with a closing session on Friday, July 11, with two days of rest on July 9 and 10. Top 30 motions were voted on July 8 and they were brought to the final Council of Representatives session on July 11, to “battle it out” for the Top 20. The top 20 were announced and the top priority went to the Certified Deaf Interpreters motion, which asks the NAD to support the efforts in bettering the testing and qualifications of Certified Deaf Interpreters in the country.
Exhibit Hall Full With Products and Services
The SIGNews staff with Gizmo, the Deaf Traveling Gnome at the SIGNews booth.
Exhibitors galore! With hot and humid weather in New Orleans, patrons at NAD Conference mostly stayed inside the Marriott Hotel in French Quarter to enjoy the exhibits. Exhibitors from all over the country came and exhibited new releases, promoting services and awareness, and displayed existing products that would benefit nearly everyone who attended the conference. The biggest exhibits belonged to the two top NAD conference sponsors, CSDVRS and Powered by Purple (GoAmerica, HOVRS, and i711) with their newest products that was announced exclusively at the conference. CSDVRS announced the “Z” and the Purple Team displayed its newest product, Mobile Video Phone (MVP),
Lightweight and portable videophones were the biggest attraction at the NAD’s Exhibit Hall. CSDVRS unveiled its “Z” line and the Purple Team demonstrated its highly anticipated MVP. both portable and lightweight videophones with WiFi capabilities, along with cool features designed for deaf and hard of hearing people. The most impressive and unexpected exhibitor was the Blackberry team. As history had it, Blackberry used vendors such as Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and
others to market and sell their products, but at NAD, Blackberry marketed their own product line. The exhibits opened on July 8 and lasted through July 11. The most delightful moment at SIGNews’ exhibit was meeting Gizmo, the Deaf Traveling NAD, continued on page 2
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www.signews.org NAD, continued from page 1
Volume 6, Number 8 E d i t o r - i n -C h i e f Jennifer Dans-Willey Copy Editor Kim Barron L ay o u t E d i t o r Deb Kuglitsch B u s i n e s s A s s o c i at e /S a le s Shawn Whitney C u s t o m e r S e r v i ce Jo Schumack • C o n ta c t I n f o r m at i o n To subscribe firstname.lastname@example.org Letters to the Editor email@example.com News tips, articles & photos firstname.lastname@example.org To advertise in SIGNews and/or on SIGNews’ website email@example.com All advertising published in SIGNews is subject to the current rate schedule and are available upon request.
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Gnome who has gained fame in the deaf community for his travels across the world. He made a visit at the booth, and posed with the SIGNews staff.
ASL Live! Was Entertaining
NAD hosted ASL Live! with ten finalists selected from the pool of videos sent in to NAD. The event’s judges were CJ Jones, Monique Holt and Michael Schwartz, and the audience. Sponsored by CSDVRS, the audience members got the opportunity to vote just like America’s Funniest Home Videos, pressing on keypads to give input. Technology was a blessing to audience members who got to vote for those who they thought deserved the big cash prizes of $2,000 (first place), $1,500 (second place), and $1,000 (third place). The honors went to Douglas Ridloff, Jimmy Mitchell and David Rivera, respectively.
College Bowl Competition
On July 9, the College Bowl went into session with CSUN, Gallaudet and NTID competing for the top honors of being the “intelligent” university in the country. Gallaudet won the College Bowl, leading with 127 over NTID’s 79 and CSUN’s 76. Kudos to Gallaudet on winning the College Bowl honors for the third time in a row. The GOOD TIMES, a daily newsletter published a blurb, written by CT Karnowski: “The second round saw Gallaudet jump out with a commanding lead, accumulating 52 points, in second was NTID/ RIT with 34, and CSUN fin-
ishing out with 26. In the third round, there were a lot of objections and disputes; nevertheless Gallaudet finished strong down the finish line to win an unprecedented third straight College Bowl.”
Miss Deaf America Pageant Shines at NAD
The pageant night was the most well-organized and wellplanned by a high quality committee. Sponsored by Hawk Relay, the pageant was easy on the eyes, especially with the master and mistress of ceremonies, Raymond Merritt and Nancy Hlibok-Amann. The way they presented the contenders, they did with grace and honor. Melissa Draganac-Hawk was the competition director and she did a fabulous job along with her committee to provide support with the retreat, with the stage and the program. The stage was beautiful, with a starry night feel along with park benches, trees, making it feel like Central Park in New York City. The 2006-2008 Miss Deaf America, Chelsea Tobin of South Dakota, was radiant in her red dress with a shiny tall crown, performing eloquently on her artistic expression “Dr. Seuss, ASL-ized!” The top six honors out of 22 contenders went to Miss Deaf District of Columbia, Miss Deaf Maryland, Miss Deaf Missouri, Miss Deaf Nebraska, Miss Deaf New York and Miss Deaf Texas. The ladies gave their platform presentations, artistic expression, presence and poise competition and last of all the stage interviews. The practice question
Michelle Lapides, Miss Deaf Maryland, was crowned as 2008-2010 Miss Deaf America, succeeding Chelsea Tobin of South Dakota. was a great warm-up: “Which reality show would you want to be on, and why?” The answers to that question were the most intelligent answers received from the ladies. Time came around to announcing the winners. The second runner-up went to Miss Deaf Missouri, the first runnerup went to Miss Deaf Texas, and the crown of Miss Deaf America 2008-10 was bestowed upon Miss Deaf Maryland. “It’s all surreal! My dream since I was 3 years old, to be Miss Deaf America has came true!” Michelle Lapides exclaimed to Amy Cohen Efron, who interviewed her for the NAD’s V/Blog website.
New Board for 2008-2010 Term
The Gallaudet University’s College Bowl team led the evening with nearly double the points of NTID and CSUN.
The election occurred on July 11, choosing Bobbie Beth Scoggins (S.D.) for her second presidential term, along with Chris Wagner (Fla.) as the vice president, Lynn Z. Null (Okla.) as the secretary and Ronald E. Sutcliffe
(Md.) as the treasurer. The regional Board member seats were filled as well with Sean Gerlis from (N.Y) for Region I, Michael Berger (Ill.) for Region II, Liz Hill (Ala.) for Region III, and James “Manny” Johnson (Calif.) for Region IV.
Closing with a Ball and a DPHH
NAD announced that three locations were in consideration for NAD’s 50th Biennial Conference: Baltimore, Md., Boston, Mass. or Philadelphia, Pa. An official announcement should be expected from the NAD sometime in near future. NAD wrapped its 49th Biennial Conference with a mask hosting its Masquerade Ball. After Masquerade Ball, attendees went to Pat O’Brien’s for the Deaf Professional Happy Hour to grab every opportunity to socialize the night away with deaf locals of New Orleans, along with visitors from all over the United States of America.
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Blackberry Curve or iPhone? Erick Posner SIGNews staff writer Two devices are emerging as the most popular pager choice among deaf and hard of hearing users. More deaf people are opting for Blackberry Curve, offered by Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon. Many deaf people are also considering AT&T and Apple’s iPhone as well. Many deaf and hard of hearing users are choosing Curve and iPhone because of various features and device appearances. Sleek interface and easy usage are the most cited reason for some deaf people getting the iPhone. Wei, a Virginia resident, who declined to provide her last name, cited the friendly interface when describing the iPhone. “I like the iPhone because it is easy to customize and design the menu from my Mac, it has many features such as Google Map, user friendly, task list, calendar, camera, and especially downloadable language support,” said Wei.
iPhone Not Compatible to Hearing Aids Yet
For those who can speak on the phone, some people reported that they were able to use the iPhone with their hearing aids. However, Apple has stated that the iPhone is not hearing aid compatible. A post on the DeafPagers website indicated that some users had reported that they were able to hear very clearly. “Since iPhone isn’t hearing aid rated - your experience with the iPhone may vary,” the post warns. In a post on the MacRumors forum, a user by the name “Crmhere9” stated that Apple was working on the compatibility issue. “We are working on it… it’s a small market share, but we do care about all our customers. We will bring you hearing aid support on iPhone, granted, we are waiting for [the last minute]. I have not been informed as to why we are waiting so long to get you this support that you will need,” wrote Crmhere9. Apple has said that iPhone is TTY compatible. Users can purchase Apple iPhone TTY Adapter and hook up the iPhone to their TTY. “However, this will use minutes on your iPhone plan,” an blogger wrote on DeafPagers. Instead, the blogger suggested using IPTTY.com on the
The Blackberry Curve 8830 and the recently-released iPhone 3G. Deaf people are struggling with choosing between the two devices. iPhone’s Safari browser in the landscape mode. However, according to CNET Review, the iPhone does not include Bluetooth support and 3G data transmission compatibility, but the new version of iPhone that was recently released has 3G data transmission compatibility. Several deaf people have complained about the iPhone’s “virtual” keyboard. “No tactile typing, and this isn’t great for deaf-blind or low-vision deaf users,” lamented a DeafPagers blogger.
Keyboard a Plus for Curve Users
Tactile keyboards are one of the key features of the Blackberry’s Curve. Released approximately a year ago, the Curve quickly became popular pager for deaf users. More deaf people are opting to abandon their venerable Sidekicks and old Blackberry devices for the Curve at the end of their contracts. Available with AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and TMobile, the Curve is popular because of its
ease of use and the integrated 2 mega pixels camera. When AT&T finally offered a data only plan on the iPhone for deaf and hard of hearing, some people still opted for the Curve or other pagers. In a post on the BoyGenius Report. com, the writer by the user name, MIDkid, wrote that the AT&T pricing was indeed a great deal for the deaf, but characterized the keyboard as an issue. “This is a great deal for some deaf, but the lack of a keyboard is a huge deal breaker for many deaf and hard-of-hearing. Plus, with the new Blackberry [Bold] coming out, I would say more deaf go for that than the iPhone,” said MIDkid, a self-described interpreter. He mentioned that most of his deaf family members had switched from the Sidekick to the Blackberry. Depending on the service, some Curves have features such as an integrated WiFi connection when using T-Mobile service and a video camera when using Sprint provider. The Curve also can use Global Positioning Service (GPS) on all providers. The GPS is free for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, but, users on Verizon’s Curve may need to pay $10 per month.
Additionally, the Curve has the capability to set up to 10 e-mail addresses within the same device.
Consumers’ Struggle to Choose
Amy Blades, a deaf woman who attends McDaniels College in Maryland, is debating whether to get iPhone or Blackberry Curve. Her chief concern is that she tends to drop her pagers often and labeled herself as having butter fingers. “I have dropped my pagers so many times, I just want to make sure that my next pager can withstand the multiple drops,” mulled Blades. Igor Bilis, who lives in Rocklin, Calif., mentioned that he liked both the iPhone and the Blackberry Curve but he optioned to get the Blackberry Curve saying that it had more features that fit his needs. Granted, iPhone would be great for him as a Mac fan, but Bilis pointed out that there are some shortcomings with iPhone. “The reason why I didn’t switch over to iPhone is because it is a new technology and I wanted the guinea pigs to test it out,” said Bilis. “It didn’t fit my needs and also the monthly subscription to the service is ridiculously high.” A feature that can be found on Verizon and Sprint Curve models is the ability for users to use the Curve as a “phone modem” and connect to their laptop computers using Bluetooth. Sprint calls it “Phone As Modem” (PAM) while Verizon calls it “Broadband Access.” This is an excellent way of utilizing the Internet without having to pay for regular cable, DSL service, or buying a separate wireless card.
Reception Excellent Underground
One side benefit of Sprint and Verizon Curve units is that they are able to be used while underground in Washington, D.C.’s Metro system. This is what appealed to Sprint Curve user, Allon Yomtov, a deaf government worker who commutes daily to Washington from Baltimore. “The reception was great while underground. I also liked that I was able to have up to 10 e-mail accounts on it. It was useful to a point where I found myself relying on my computer less,” mused Yomtov. He believed that the Sprint Curve had excellent reception, better price and superior to the Sidekick in terms of features and versatility. Yomtov mentioned the Curve was less user friendly than the Sidekick and it was
Pagers, continued on page 3
4 • August 2008 • SIGNews Pager, continued from page 3 “harder” to learn the Blackberry shortcuts. He wishes that the Curve had clearer help instructions on the shortcuts.
Media Pro and Cons
Not everything about Curve was positive as some people have complained about its shortcomings. Bilis lamented that the Curve lacked the web Flash support and Sling, software that allows people watch TV on their pager. “Curve also lacks Sling Media support; for two years, [Blackberry] talked about releasing Sling on the Blackberry and it still hasn’t happened. Sling is software that lets you watch and control your TV on the device.” said Bilis. Only Sprint-branded Curve has the capability to watch Sprint TV for a monthly fee; however, users can watch certain programs for free. Both Curve and iPhone also have the capability to view videos on the devices. iPhone has a special application that allows users to view YouTube contents. Deaf and hard of hearing consumers may be in luck as Apple has announced plans to release a new version of iPhone device that will run on the 3G network. The 3G network is supposedly faster, similar to the speed of a WiFi network. The new iPhone was rumored to have iChat capability along with a second camera mounted on the front of the iPhone.
New iPhone Released
Jeff Fredrickson mentioned that he plans to buy the new iPhone the minute it comes out. He is seeking to replace his five year old Treo that recently kicked the bucket. “I bet the store will run out [of the new iPhone] the first day but I will try and get it on the same day!” said Frederickson. Bilis does not plan to go out immediately and buy one. He intends to sit back and watch how the new iPhone evolves and then decide whether he wants to buy it or not. “If the review is positive and fits my needs, then there is a high chance I will buy it,” Bilis said. Disclaimer note: The SIGNews reporter and the editor are Curve users.
Gallaudet University Announces Multiple Events & Activities Adrienne Parsons SIGNews staff writer Gallaudet University’s public relations office has released a total of five announcements of events, activities and appointments, ranging from community service to selecting new Board of Trustees members.
New Vice President Appointed
On May 27, Gallaudet announced that Paul Drehoff was appointed Vice President for institutional advancement. Drehoff has begun his tenure at Gallaudet on June 16. He oversees the departments of alumni relations, development and public relations. He came to Gallaudet after serving for seven years as assistant vice president for public relations and communications at University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). Drehoff will assume a leadership role with Gallaudet’s development office, which recently closed a $31 million capital campaign, “The Campaign for Gallaudet’s Future” to build the James Lee Sorenson Language and Communication Center and endow the I. King Jordan Chair in Leadership. “I have been associated with the deaf community, in some way, for nearly twenty years and am excited by the opportunity to combine my interest and experience in a way that will advance the important work at Gallaudet,” said Drehoff.
Canadian Scholarship Fund Established
Canadian students enrolled at Gallaudet now have another source of support to continue their educational goals at the University, thanks to The Rober Elder Sowerby Scholarship for Canadian Students Fund. The newsroom of the Inside Gallaudet reported on June 2 that the fund was established by Nova Scotia residents Robert Charles and Minnie Sowerby and named for Robert’s late father Robert Elder Sowerby, a great supporter of Gallaudet and the deaf community. Sowerby, who passed away in 1971, was an important figure in the Canadian deaf community and was known as the “grand old man of the Maritimes,” the Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswich and Prince Edward Island. Sowerby became the director of the Maritime Association of the Deaf at age 17. In his 42-year career with Canada Post, Sowerby was a man of many talents, apprenticing as a tailor, making his own suits, and a professional photographer. Sowerby’s son stated, “My father was the only surviving member of his family and at no time did he ever feel sorry for himself or use his deafness or lack of brothers and sisters as an excuse for not working to better his family’s position in life. How can one not respect a man that
worked hard to provide for his family and betterment of Moncton’s deaf community? Thus the scholarship.”
Gallaudet Aids Deaf Cyclone Victims
Twelve deaf families in Myanmar whose lives were shattered when Cyclone Nagris left a path of destruction in their country on May 3 are rebuilding their homes and gaining some stability in their futures, thanks to the generosity of the Gallaudet community, the Inside Gallaudet reported on June 17. The faculty, teachers, staff and students of Gallaudet raised a total of $2,300 to provide relief to families that suffered the most powerful storm in the country’s history. Myanmar is one of the 10 poorest countries in the world, and their government does not provide social services to deaf people. The fundraising effort was initiated by Gallaudet employees Paul Dudis, Richard Lytle, Sam Weber and Charles and Jum Reilly. The donation was transmitted by Partners in Excellence, a non-profit organization assisting deaf people worldwide. The money was sent to Dr. Owen Wrigley for disbursement. Each recipient received either 200,000 Kyats ($180) or 100,000 Kyats ($90), depending on their level of need. Some will entirely rebuild their homes, and some will replace roofs and purchase cooking items and food supplies.
Gallaudet Names Two New Trustees
Inside Gallaudet reported on June 18 that the Board of Trustees has named James Lee Sorenson and Tiffany Williams-Granfors as the new members of the Board of Trustees at Gallaudet. Sorenson is a nationally recognized business leader and entrepreneur, and Williams-Granfors is a noted leader in international sports programs for deaf people and is a Gallaudet alumna (’89). Sorenson currently serves as chairman of Sorenson Development, Inc. in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is credited for helping develop technologies such as mass-market videophones and video relay services. Sorenson also contributed to development of electronic medical pain pumps, and environmental testing that have become industry standards. Sorenson is also a major philanthropist, donating his time, expertise and money to a wide range of civic and educational efforts. Williams-Granfors has a strong background in business and management, having served at AT&T for eight years in variety of administrative positions. She has masters of advanced studies (MAS) degree in sports administration and technology from the International Academy of Sports Science and Technology at the University of Lausanna, Switzerland. She currently oversees the Win-
The lives of 12 deaf families in Myanmar were shattered when Cyclone Nagris left a path of destruction in their country on May 3. Families received funds from the Gallaudet community to rebuild. ter and Summer Deaflympics and World Deaf Championships.
Accreditation Reconfirmed at Gallaudet!
A “WE DID IT!” banner was hung on the front of Gallaudet’s entrance, announcing that as a whole campus, accreditation has been restored at Gallaudet University. Dr. Robert Davila wrote a letter on June 27 to the community, “It is with great pride that I inform you that the Middle States Commission on Higher Education have reaffirmed Gallaudet’s accreditation today. I learned the good news this afternoon that the hard work the entire campus community has undertaken over the past 18 months has paid off. I never had any doubt about our combined ability to complete the formidable tasks that reaffirming our accreditation required of us. We have successfully addressed each and every one of the 14 accreditation standards for institutional quality required of the nation’s colleges and universities.” Davila ended his letter stating, “I am proud of the way we have all worked together to achieve this momentous accomplishment. It is truly a historic milestone in Gallaudet’s history. Please accept my sincere thanks for your efforts, and for the trust and collegiality you have displayed.”