The Tornoto International Deaf Film Festival starts tonight with its Red Carpet Gala. Two films will be shown this evening: The UK documentary short Crossing the Divide and the Canadian debut of the award-winning feature film Deaf Jam. The festival will show more than 20 films in partnership with the Deaf Culture Centre and the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf. Youth filmmakers will have a chance to learn at a boot camp at Ryerson University during the Festival. You can find out more here.
A Canadian college is dropping its ASL and deaf culture studies program as well as its sign language interpretation program. Alberta's Lakeland College will not accept new students into nine programs in all this fall in order to save money. A little more than 100 miles to the west in Edmonton, the University of Alberta will continue offering both programs to students.
A researcher in Washington State thinks the study of miniature zebra fish could lead to the development of drugs that could prevent hearing loss. The fish use sound to communicate and their outer sensory cells are similar to cells found in the human ear. Allison Coffin assistant professor of neuroscience at Washington State University Vancouver is watching how the zebra fish cells die and how they might be protected. Here's a video of Coffin explaining her work.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is asking the public for comment on establishing a video relay service. Public hearings will be held this fall, starting in Gatineau. Canadians who are deaf have access to TTY and Internet Protocol relay. Initial comments can be submitted to the CRTC by regular mail at Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N2. There is more info in the video posted below:
A Canadian man says his deaf son was pushed off the balcony of a third floor hotel at a resort along the Mexican coast. Ron Simpson says his son Kevin Simpson suffered a skull fracture and broken hip after he was robbed in Cabo San Lucas. Simpson hopes they can return to Kamloops, British Columbia soon, but Kevin remains hospitalized.
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.
Canada has its first deaf Catholic priest. Matthew Hysell lost his hearing as a toddler when he contracted meningitis. Raised a Baptist in Michigan, Hysell made the decision to become a priest as a teenager after reading about the priesthood in school. He graduated from City University in New York, then earned a master's in theology from a California program. He next moved to Edmonton to study at Newman Theological College. Hysell was ordained yesterday and is now assigned to St. Theresa’s Roman Catholic Parish and will also serve as a parish priest at St. Thomas Church in the nearby community of Mill Woods. Hysell will celebrate mass using sign language and will hear confessions face to face. Hysell tells the Edomonton Journal, “My next hope is to see someone who was born deaf become a priest in Canada. There is a hierarchy when it comes to this. They would outrank me.”
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