Vermont Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf – Election Info

Candidates Video:

David Krueger (President)

Elizabeth Fox, Lisa Bixler, Janet Dickinson (Co-Presidents)

Erin Sanders-Sigmon, Kevin Richmond (Co-Presidents)
Video Coming soon

Dawn Tomlinson (Treasurer)

Lindsey Bixler (Vice President)

Joan Pellerin (Member at Large)

Liz Vant (Member at Large)

GENERAL MEETING

SATURDAY, MARCH 13

1:30p to 4:30p

MEETING AGENDA

1. 45 minutes for candidates Q+A from members
2. 45 minutes for candidates Q+A from deaf community
3. 45 minutes for other agenda items such as new director for Deaf / Deaf-Blind / Hard of Hearing and Vancro, which is the agency that won the bid to replace VIRS for state-wide referral service.

Note: We will have a timekeeper who will make sure as follows:

1. Everyone has an opportunity to participate in Q+A with each candidate.
2. Each answer from candidates must be limited to 90 seconds.
3. Each question must be respectful and not personal.

During the first 45 minutes, the timekeeper will read all questions, which are submitted from VTRID members, and then sign each of them aloud to all candidates for them to answer.

During the second 45 minutes, deaf people have an opportunity to ask questions in ASL. Deaf people raise their hands using one of Zoom’s features and the timekeeper will call on them individually for them to ask questions in ASL. Then candidates will respond.

ZOOM INFORMATION

Topic: VtRID General Meeting 3/13/21
Time: Mar 13, 2021 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Update from the VTAD Board (Transcript under the video)

Transcript –

Hi my name is Elena Shapiro treasurer for VTAD. I want to update everyone on what the VTAD board has been doing. We have done a lot. We met every day and discussed different topics and various approaches on what we should do. We wanted to update everyone on what we have done and what we need your help with.

First we wrote a formal letter. That letter was recommended by NAD. We modified it to fit us better. That letter states that an ASL interpreter is required and that the interpreter remains on the TV screen the entire time. The video should not be zooming in and out and taking the interpreter out of the video. We also stated that we require captioning and that the caption must be the right size, not large and covering half the screen. That was our demand in that letter.

That letter – Laura our secretary did upload on the VTAD Facebook page and on our website. You can see the letter for yourself. www.deafvermont.com. That letter has a petition with over 375 signatures. We want to thank everyone for their support in signing the petition. The second item included is the video sequence document. This document was created from different pictures I took during the press conference yesterday. It includes a timeline and covers both WCAX and C-span. WCAX kept zooming the interpreter out of the video. They didn’t show the interpreter fully, and we kept missing the information on the screen. WCAX captioning was in the middle of the screen and it was hard to see the interpreter with the large captioning fonts. It was a frustrating experience. C-span had the interpreter some of the time, zooming in and out but had NO captioning at all.

FOX44 news were awesome. They had the interpreter and captioning on the screen the entire time. VTAD will write a letter thanking them for their support. That letter is available and you can read it for yourself. That letter includes a petition link. That link is not active. We want to preserve privacy for everyone who signed the petition and now broadcast their names and emails. The second link is to the video sequence document. You can see for yourself the pictures that were taken and the comments included.

WCAX showed the video then switched to other news, while C-span ran the video live for the entire conference without switching or leaving to other news. There were some pros and cons with both TV stations.

We sent that letter to the Commissioner Monica Hutt, Governor, WCAX TV, C-Span and the FCC.
WCAX did reach out to us but we have a hard time getting a hold of them. Their voice mail box was full. We have been struggling to get ahold of them, but we did send an email with all the attachments. The letter to the FCC was responded by them quickly asking for more information like the websites that we were watching and what time. So we sent them all the info. The FCC encouraged all the deaf people to send them an email too. The more people that file the complaint, higher the chance that FCC will have a strong case to address those TV stations and Governor’s lack of interpreter availability. This is a requirement for ADA by FCC to ensure that the interpreter is there and captioning is available. We need your help with that.

Now we will post a template “example” of the letter you can use to copy and paste and send emails to those TV stations, Governor’s office and the FCC. We will provide the emails for everyone. If you do not want to email, but prefer to call instead, we will provide a list of phone numbers for them as well.

The VTAD board has email – admin@deafvermont.com and a phone number for us. We will post this on the website. If you have concerns, questions, or want to help, feel free to email or call us. We appreciate your help. What we need from you is to send those emails. The more emails you send to the Governor or FCC, or the TV Stations, the higher the chance they will respond. They will be required to respond because many of you filed a complaint. We need your help with that. Lastly, be SAFE. We will all be fine. Thank you.

Bill to support Open Caption Movie Bill

John Quinney (cc’d johnq@gmavt.net) the Vermont Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America has announced that the open caption movie bill, H. 312, has a one hour hearing this Friday at 8:30 with the House Human Services.

John invites everyone to write a letter of support and email it to him as a PDF by today at noon. If you’re able to do this, your letters should be sent to John as a pdf and addressed to:

Rep. Ann Pugh
Chair, House Human Services Committee
Vermont State House
115 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05633-5301

The letters should be as personalized as possible, and may also cover these points:
· 60,000 Vermonters have hearing loss, and are at risk of social isolation
· Most have stopped going to the movies because they don’t understand the dialog.
· Offering a small number of open caption screenings would bring many of these people back to the movies.
· Turning on open captions is as simple as adding subtitles to home streamed movies. There is no cost.
· H. 312 requires open caption screenings to be clearly identified on all marketing materials, so that movie goers can choose accordingly.

Please see the attached background information compiled by John.

If anyone would like to testify, please contact John. He says: “Your personal experience would, of course be useful; we’re also looking for people to speak to the risks and costs of social isolation that are too often linked to disabilities. We have an hour, and want to provide plenty of time for questions, so you could expect to speak for about five minutes or so. Written testimony is also useful – mine will be based on the attached case study.”Access Denied – The Case for H. 312 – Open Captions at the Movies 09-23-19

Click this link to open the PDF and send the letter with your signature.
http://www.deafvermont.com/wp-content/uploads/Access-Denied-The-Case-for-H.-312-Open-Captions-at-the-Movies-09-23-19.pdf

Social Security SSDI/SSI new SGA thresholds amount for 2020

Just wanted to share some changes to the social security administration (SSA) allowance and SSI benefits amounts that started on January 1, 2020. These amounts will increase every year on January 1st.

SSDI: Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) amount allowed per month: $1,260.00 Important to know this if you are working part time earning wages.

If you are Deafblind on SSDI: the SGA amount allowed per month: $2,110.00

Full SSI amount for an individual in Vermont is now $835.04

If you are on SSI or SSDI and are interested in becoming employed, or have questions, feel free to reach out to our Vocational Rehabilitation services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. You can contact me to get started: Bill Hudson, Statewide Coordinator of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services.

bill.hudson@vermont.gov or video phone: 802-881-0125