Monday, August 26, 2013

Hatis website

I was browsing on the Harris Communications website, taking a look at the dual Hatis Epic device and checking out the cost... when I noticed the Harris site says it's been discontinued. So I made my way over to the Hatis website, and on there it says out of stock.  But what caught my attention was this photo: 
Why, that's my ear!  With my old Phonak Supero hearing aid, with the smiley face stickers on it.  They must have gotten the photo from this blog perhaps.  Cool!
Am thinking I might spring for the dual NoizFree earhooks from TecEar... But then again, maybe not. Who knows.  All I know is, I don't want another Music Link, feels like it's more filmsy than the NoizFree.

First day of Fall 2013 semester

First day of classes at the college for the fall semester was today.  All weekend, I fussed with my netbook, getting it all up to date, getting internet security going, charging up all my electronics (the RevoLabs mic, FM transmitter, batteries for the Neptune, etc.), and finding the Phonak FM receiver as it wasn't attached to the Neptune control (I took it off for the summer, stuck it in a hearing aid case and stored it with my CI accessories storage, and ended up not using the Neptune much anyway).  Took a while before I finally was able to get Skype installed on the Netbook, oy.  But I eventually got everything working as it should be.

My Sonic Boom alarm clock went off at 8:30 this morning, shaking my bed and causing my dog to jump all over me.  I got up and going, and made my way to the college campus by 9:45ish.  Math went smoothly since I already was used to the redesign course and knew what was expected; English wasn't too bad. Turns out I was supposed to have taken the blue network cable with me last semester for my wired network connection for the Skype/captioning set up.... Oops.  So the disabilities counselor went and got the cord for me.  Now I know to take the cord with me at the end of class each time.  The microphone kept cutting in and out, so the transcriber wasn't able to caption everything.  Augh!  Don't know if it was because the mic was possibly not fully charged (even though I charged it up over the weekend) or what was up.  But hopefully all the kinks will get worked out.  I didn't even use my FM set up today, as I was messing with the Netbook set up, conversing with the transcriber on Skype every now and then when an issue came up.  But, today was a much better first day than last semester.  I ended up in tears on the first day in January when I couldn't get anything to work with the captioning set up then, oh man.

After my classes were done with for the morning, I headed over to the Gateway building to get my financial aid, and also to get my student ID.  I've already checked in with my 2 online classes over the weekend, and good thing I did.  Turns out I only needed just one text book for the government class (the 2nd book is used for the course taught on campus, but for online we're to use online government sites instead), so I'll be returning the unneeded book.  And it took me a while to figure out everything for the online human anatomy class. Since I got the used text book, I didn't get a registration code of the online lab, so I had to purchase that separately online.  Ahh, if it isn't one thing, it's something else.  :)

But overall, wasn't too bad for a first day.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

More sounds

It was last week when I finally figured out what that sound was that I kept hearing every so often at work but couldn't figure out what it was!  I heard the sound again, and I looked around, as usual, to see if I could find the source.  There was an employee at the front, stapling paper bags together!  I watched her while she stapled, and that was indeed the sound I was hearing.  I was glad to have finally figured out the sound.  Now when I hear it, I know what it is and I can ignore it, instead of trying to identify the sound!  I mentioned this on my facebook that same day, and it was the next day at the deaf school library that my old teacher from the deaf school days decided to tease me and she used a stapler and stapled at nothing right next to my ear.  Of course, this stapler in the library had a different sound; the one at the newspaper had more of a metallic sound.  But it was still funny anyway.  The former teacher asked if I remember all the listening practice we had done during the deaf school days, which I did.  Don't recall having to listen for a stapler in those days though... :)  She also asked if I would consider doing auditory training with a professional with Medicare covering it.  I had thought of it here and there, but who?  And with school coming up again, in addition to work, I'll have a full enough schedule as it is, so I will continue to do the auditory rehab with my iPad and laptop, and while out and about in general, on my own time.  I haven't done much rehab with the ipad or computer over the summer, but I have been trying to pay more attention to the TV, trying not to rely so much on the captionings just to see if I can make sense of anything.  I can make sense of bits and pieces here and there without the captioning.

On Saturday, I was over at my mom and stepdad's house, hanging out.  They decided to throw some burgers and hot dogs on the grill for dinner that evening, so I was helping mom kind of prepare for it.  At one point during the evening, mom and I were in the kitchen. She came up to me, and whispered into my CI ear.  I heard what she said, but thought it'd be funny to mess with her. "What? I didn't hear that?"  I just wanted her to do it again.  She whispered "I love you" into my CI ear 3 times in those few minutes.  Nice to hear!  I also heard the crickets outside while we were hanging out in the back yard at the table.  I had my hearing aid on at the time when I heard the sound, so I turned it off to see if I could hear the crickets with the CI.  I could.  That was cool.  My nephew also asked what the sound was too, which was kind of funny.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hear on the Range!

Last Friday was the Hear on the Range 5K run/walk for the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund.  It was a great evening, with over 360 registrations!  Sure was fun walking along the path, seeing all the lights glowing off the participants.  Props to Justin Osmond and the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund, and Wyoming Hands and Voices, for arranging this event!  A local boy received new hearing aids thanks to the Fund, and hopefully he's hearing more now with more powerful hearing aids.  His dad was telling me his old hearing aids just were not powerful enough anymore and that he was struggling, and the family couldn't afford to get him new hearing aids at this time. So awesome this fund was available to help him get the new hearing aids he needed. 

Anyway, Friday was a great day! Not only was the 5K run happening, but the Wyoming Relay also arrange for a free open caption movie showing at a local movie theater as well.  The movie shown was "See the Crowd Roar" about William "Dummy" Hoy, and copies of the DVDs were passed out to those who came to see the movie.  The movie was at 4, and registrations for the 5K started at about 6:30.  They had family fun going on, with bounce houses and face painting for kids.  Then at 8:30, the walk/run started!  I actually walked the full 5K, even though my feet were already hurting before the walk/run started.  But I did it!

On Thursday, when I got done with work, I went over to the deaf school library just for the heck of it.  The Wyoming Hands and Voices board meeting was going on, and Justin Osmond showed up at this time so he could talk more of the run and the hearing fund.  I was invited to sit in to listen to what he had to say.  Very interesting stuff.  He is very motivated and involved, raising runds for hearing aids or FM systems for those who need them but can't afford them, and also just to spread deaf awareness out there.  He's a very neat and interesting person, and now that I know what this program is all about, I'm all for supporting it.

Here is Justin being interviewed by KTWO News about the event:

and here's the video showing what Justin and the Hearing Fund has done, with a song written by Nathan Osmond special for this:

And some photos from the event that I took:

 Setting up for the 5K

 Justin Osmond in a tree
 the movie that was passed out, courtesy of Wyoming Relay
 a shirt I bought for a nephew.  Very fitting!
 ready to go!

 Justin speaking and doing a raffle
got my photo with Justin at the very end, after clean up.
It sounds like the Hear on the Range 5K will be a yearly event, which would be fantastic!
More info about the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund:,!/HearingFund

School starting up again soon...

Oh no!  College classes will start up next Monday!  Ack!  Am I ready?  I don't know if I am.  I have already seen the disabilities coordinator at the college and re-checked out the Revo Labs microphone to use for the CART captioning set up for English (using ACS Captions' service again).  English and Math classes on campus, human anatomy and government online.  It's a full time schedule for me this semester.  Vocational Rehab will again be paying for my courses, and covered most of the costs of my text books (one book I had to pay for myself, and instead of paying full price for a used book, I just rented it instead).  In a way, I am ready.  I have the books and equipment needed, and will be getting financial aid again.  And at the same time, I'm thinking "oh no, gotta get up early enough so I can get to class on time, ugh".  I am NOT a morning person! And I'm not particularly looking forward to the homework either.  Shoot, I still need to get my office/library set up/organized at the new apartment, so I actually have a place to do homework.

I've got one full week left to get everything out of my old apartment and into my new one... and getting the old one cleaned up and everything before turning over the keys to the apartment management.  And I still haven't gotten the chance to hit up the pool at the new apartment with the Neptune yet!  I mean to last night, but by the time I got home from the grocery store last night, maintenance had already locked the pool up for the night. Hopefully soon enough I can grab the Neptune and go for a swim.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Alums, preservationists fear Casper deaf-school demolition

Alums, preservationists fear Casper deaf-school demolition



The former Wyoming School for the Deaf is more than just an old building to some.
To Dan Frazier, who attended the school in the ’80s, it was a life-changing experience, he wrote in an email.
Julianne Orth, an alumna from the 1970s and ’80s, described learning sign language and playing sports on the playground at the school, which is attached to Pineview Elementary School on Payne Avenue.
“Wyoming School for the Deaf is very popular in the world,” she wrote in a letter.
They, other alumni and the Casper Historic Preservation Commission believe its future is in jeopardy, though, and are attempting to garner enough support to save it.
Hillary Lindmire, a member of the Casper Historic Preservation Commission, said state and local school officials assured the commission last winter that the school would not be torn down. But by spring, the group was told plans could include demolition.
Built in 1961 and opened to students in 1963, the school was designed by the local father-and-son architect team of Krusmark and Krusmark. Lindmire said the younger Krusmark had two children who were deaf who inspired his work.
Barbara Dobos, a member of the historic commission, said they designed it with the hearing-impaired in mind – the gym floor and rotunda helping to transit sound, for example.
The school closed in 2005 when students were mainstreamed into their local school districts.
Dennis Bay, the Natrona County School District’s executive director for business services, said the school district has an agreement with the state to provide maintenance for the building while the Wyoming Department of Education operates a library and resource center in the rotunda.
Pineview Elementary School is in the preliminary stages of reconstruction, which could separate it from the former school for the deaf.
“If we build a new building there, separate from the school for the deaf, the state then would take over all the maintenance and custodial duty for that building,” Bay said.
He said early conversations with the state Building Commission indicated the state did not have the money to continue caring for the former school and would prefer demolition. Bay said there is a possibility the new elementary school would include services for the deaf. The project is currently in the design phase, and the state has not yet allocated construction money.
Anthony Hughes, spokesman for the state School Facilities Department, said construction money won’t be in next year’s budget, which will be approved during the 2014 Wyoming Legislature’s budget session. The state, he said, has made no decisions about the future of the deaf school because plans are “premature.”
“There are really no construction funds available yet,” he said, “so there’s a number of options on the table.”
If demolition is an option the state pursues, Hughes said there will be a public hearing before the former Wyoming School for the Deaf is torn down.
Lindmire said a hearing is “good news” but doesn’t represent enough public involvement. She’d like a discussion about the possibility of incorporating the building into a new elementary school.
“One of our big concerns is just that the community hasn’t had a chance to actually weigh in on this,” she said. “It is a historic building, and it’s very important to the deaf and hearing-impaired community, as well as Casper.”
When the building was slated for destruction in 2007, the deaf community and supporters submitted about 7,000 signatures to the Wyoming Department of Education to prevent its demise. Lindmire said the state still intended to tear it down, but lacked the demolition funding.
The historic commission is interested in maintaining the building because it is an example of modern, mid-century architecture. Lindmire said it has a “butterfly roof” that peaks and slopes and a unique rotunda, where the library and resource center are currently located.
Lindmire lives in the area, which includes post-war World War II houses, and said the building acts as almost a centerpiece.
“It goes beyond just the school building, but also to the whole neighborhood,” Lindmire said.
It’s also indicative of historic education trends throughout the state. Lindmire said the connection to Pineview Elementary School was seen as a precursor to “mainstreaming” because students could attend classes at the elementary school while having access to special services.
Laura Ratcliff, who taught at the school for 14 years, said educators would pre-teach and review coursework that hearing-impaired students learned at Pineview.
“It was the first state school that really mainstreamed into the regular elementary schools,” she said. “It was a real new concept then.”
The school also served as a kind of second home to students, where they could communicate with teachers and peers. Ratcliff, who now teaches hearing-impaired preschoolers, said she still refers families to the resource center for books about deafness and sign language.
“It keeps us all connected,” she said. “Even though that we’re all separate right now.”

Source: Casper Star Tribune