Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Leonard Hall commentary: Olathe most deaf-friendly city

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Olathe has been named by Deaf 411 Inc. as one of America’s “Most Deaf Friendly Cities.”

Other cities making the list were Seattle, Boston, Washington D.C. and Austin, Texas.

It’s worth noting that Olathe is the only city on the deaf-friendly list that also is ranked highly in Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live.” These are great national honors for Olathe.

One reason for these honors is the number of community events and activities for the deaf community. When looking at Kansas Deaf News’ list of events in the Kansas City area in September, there are many events from which to pick. That’s not the case in other major cities.

For example, the Olathe Club of the Deaf offers monthly meetings, weekly dart and poker tournaments on Wednesday and Friday evenings, respectively, and social events or parties on most Saturday evenings.

On Sept. 19, Kansas Relay Services will host its second annual picnic, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Frisco Lake picnic shelter for the deaf community to learn more about the TAPS program, which offers special telephone equipment and telephone relay services for the deaf.

Kansas School for the Deaf has events for the public nearly every month during the school year. On Friday, Sept. 25, KSD will host K.S.D. RACE (Raising Awareness for Children’s Education). There will be a car show, entertainment, pep rally, inflatable play areas and food booths. Famous deaf race car driver Greg Gunderson will be showing his car. At night, there will be music provided by a D.J. playing music with an LED light board. For more information, e-mail [email protected].

Saturday, Sept. 26, will be Deaf Day at Kauffman Stadium. The 6 p.m. game between the Royals and the Minnesota Twins will benefit the Deaf Culture Center. Tickets are available online at

On Sept. 18, the Community Emergency Preparedness Information Network will offer the program “Emergency Responder and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community: Taking the First Steps to Disaster Preparedness.” It will be presented to a group of local emergency responders, managers, planners, members of the fire and police departments, and members of the deaf community.

These events and other activities in September show why Olathe is one of the most deaf-friendly cities in America.

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