Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center Newsletter - February 20, 2010

THE TOP STORIES OF THE WEEK

CALL FOR ACTION:

Elimination of Los Angeles Department on Disability

The Los Angeles City Council Arts, Parks, Health and Aging (APHA) Committee will hold its Meeting on Tuesday, February 23, 2010, at 8 a.m., at the Los Angeles City Hall - Board of Public Works, Room 350. The APHA Meeting is pertaining to the proposed elimination of the City of Los Angeles Department on Disability (DOD).

It is critical that our municipal government remain responsive to the needs of this segment of our population. For your information, our Department serves over 15,000 persons annually, which include people living with mental and physical disabilities, and those living with HIV/AIDS. The AIDS Coordinator's Office is administered by the DOD. Moreover, Los Angeles is home to over 1.5 million people with disabilities - reflecting the composition of cultural, religious and ethnic diversity of this area.

Remember, you may also contact the offices of the Mayor and City Councilmembers via telephone and E-mail.

If the proposed elimination of the Department and/or distribution of the existing Department staff occurs, services will not continue as usual and/or will become ineffective and non-existent.

For further information about the DEPARTMENT ON DISABILITY, please call between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at (213) 202-2764 voice, (213) 202-2755 TTY, or visit our website at www.Disability.LACity.org.

For media-related inquiries, please contact Deanna McNeally at (213) 202-2761 office, (213) 500-2293 cell, or E-mail at Deanna.McNeally@lacity.org.

Thank you!

Regards,

Deanna A. McNeally
Public Relations and Communications Manager
CITY OF LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT ON DISABILITY
201 North Figueroa Street, Suite 100 / Mail Stop #760
Los Angeles, California 90012
213.202.2761 (Direct)
213.202.2755 (TTY)
213.202.2715 (Fax)
www.Disability.LACity.org

Brought to you by the Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center Http://www.deafadvocacy.org

*******************

DO YOUR SHOPPING AT OUR WEBSTORE.

We have lots of new items and our webstore count stands at over 690 items!

Lots of products for the deaf, and blind, and other disabilities. Remember your parents, grand parents, brothers, sisters, family members, co-workers who need adaptive equipment. Employers can shop here for equipment and accessories for their hearing impaired workers.

Buy Here, Buy Now, Pay Less with our ADA kits! This includes long term savings associated with ADA compliance.

Stop by http://stores.ebay.com/OCDAC-Adaptive-Equipment-and-More today to start your shopping.

*******************

THE GRAPEVINES

Recap Of California Bills For The Disabled

AB 214 (Chesbro): Would have made health plans cover durable medical equipment (DME) such as wheel chairs, ventilators, hospital beds, and walkers. Keeps health plans from paying smaller amounts for DME than they would for other health services. Did not pass.

AB 287 (Beall): Makes the State Council on Developmental Disabilities create an Employment First Committee. The committee would help make job opportunities available to people with developmental disabilities. Signed by the Governor.

AB 1538 (Ma): Limits how special education staff can restrain students with disabilities. Stops them from using restraint that could cause serious harm or death. Currently a two-year bill.

SB 781(Leno): Makes Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly tell why a person is being evicted in the eviction notice. Explains their right to appeal the eviction. Signed by the Governor.

AB 398 (Monning) Moves the Traumatic Brain Injury Program from the Department of Mental Health to the more appropriate Department of Rehabilitation. Signed by the Governor.

AB 1269 (Brownley) Lets people with disabilities who are not working continue to have health insurance for up to 26 weeks through the California Working Disabled Program – a program under Medi-Cal. Signed by the Governor.

AB 1422 (Bass) Continues funding for the California Healthy Families Program by taxing the profits of Medi-Cal managed care health plans. Signed by the Governor.

SB 290 (Leno) Keeps the law that makes a landlord give at least 60 days notice before evicting a tenant. If the tenant has lived there less than one year, they have to give 30 days notice. Signed by the Governor.

SB 630 (Steinberg) Makes health plans cover dental or orthodontic services in certain cases. They must be provided when the services are part of reconstructive surgery or needed to fix a cleft palate. Signed by the Governor.

AB 421 (Beall) Would have made the state pay the school district or county when a child is placed in for-profit out-of-state placements pursuant to an IEP. Right now only non-profit placements are paid for by the state. This bill did not make it out of the Appropriations Committee.

AB 438 (Beall) Would have made more programs to treat people with developmental disabilities charged with nonviolent crimes. People would be treated in these programs instead of going to jail or prison. This bill did not make it out of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Brought to you by The Orange Deafie Blog Http://www.deafadvocacy.org/blog/blog.html

*******************

FACE TO FACE TIMES

Americans with Disabilities Bleeding from Budget Cuts: Angry, ADAPT Fights Back

Denver, CO -- ADAPT today launched its ADA 20th Anniversary Campaign demanding that the Administration and the U.S. Department of Justice aggressively protect the civil rights of disabled Americans and enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act. The campaign, Defending Our Freedom: ADAPT's Call to Action for Home and Community in America, also calls on people with disabilities and those who are older to file civil rights complaints if they have been forced into institutional settings, denied community services, or have had their community services reduced. And, finally, the campaign will collect personal and state stories about the effects of budget cuts, and the efforts to fight back against the cuts.

"People with disabilities are literally "bleeding to death" already because of state budget cuts, and there is no end in sight," said Rahnee Patrick , an organizer with Chicago ADAPT. "When states cut budgets, the first things on the chopping block are what are called "optional services," the services that states can choose to provide, but aren't mandated to provide...only they aren't so optional for us. Those are the services that pay aides to help us out of bed, get dressed, get ready for work, eat, and live in our own homes instead of being forced into nursing homes."

Nearly every state in the union is currently planning budget cuts that impact the ability of people with disabilities and older people to stay in their own homes. Federal law currently mandates states to provide nursing home services. Providing home and community-based services is considered "optional" under the law, which is why those services are usually cut when states are reducing their budgets. Because there is no provision in the law that tells states they must also provide the same services in a person's own home, countless thousands of people across the country are forced every day into nursing facilities and other institutions when they need help with the activities of daily living.

"For all these 20 years since the ADA was passed, Congress has refused to remove the "institutional bias from the law," said Mike Oxford, organizer from Kansas ADAPT. "That institutional bias has made older and disabled people America's political prisoners. We are deprived of our freedom, and deprived of our civil rights, and that is totally unacceptable, and most certainly illegal. Apparently, Congress is too politically scared to address the issue, but we aren't, and we won't stop until we have the first class citizenship and rights that our Constitution guarantees us!"

ADAPT is calling on individuals and groups of people who are aging or have disabilities to send in stories of cuts in services. ADAPT will collect these stories and post them on the ADAPT website in a "People's Forum to Fight Back." Stories and pictures can be viewed on the ADAPT Defending Our Freedom blog at http://www.defendingourfreedom2010.blogspot.com . The ADAPT website will also have a link to the forms that people can use to complain to the Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights about a violation of their civil rights. Violations include being forced into a nursing home, not being allowed to move from a nursing home or other institution back into the community, or having home and community services decreased due to budget cuts so you don't have the hours you need.

ADAPT will also post on its website pictures of you visiting your state and federal senators and representatives, and your state Medicaid and other government officials. These pictures and descriptions will create a public record of the disability community's efforts to stop cuts, and will inspire others across the country to speak up and speak out, too. Send your personal "cut" stories, and your pictures, with a description of what occurred and what you were told by your public officials, to defendingourfreedom@gmail.com then watch for them on the blog. Let's hold public officials accountable for what they tell us!

FOR MORE INFORMATION on ADAPT visit our website at http://www.adapt.org/

Brought to you by Modern Deaf Communication http://www.moderndeafcommunication.org

*******************

MAXED OUT ON YOUR CREDIT CARDS?

Get yourself an OCDAC credit card through a special program at http://www.cardpartner.com/enduser.aspx?AEID=D0974

We get a $50 donation for each person who completes the signup, and uses the card.

*******************

THE FINGER BOWS

Our community partner of the film is GLAD - The Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, and they have supported our film throughout its production, but we are now reaching out to as many groups as possible to pack this house for this open captioned film which is accessible to hearing and deaf audiences alike. We want to send a message to hollywood, that if we make films for a deaf and hearing audience, they will turn out!

This film follows the story of four deaf performers, renowned comic CJ Jones, rock singer TL, drummer Bob Hiltermann from the all deaf rock band Beethoven's Nightmare, and Robert DeMayo an actor from Philadelphia over a year of their lives as they struggle and succeed in making their art. The movie follows four talented artists who happen to be deaf, and they can do anything with their lives.

More information on the film at www.seewhatimsayingmovie.com

Tickets will be on sale online soon!

Brought to you by ASL News http://www.aslnews.com

*******************

Take a look and bookmark our new search page! Http://www.deafadvocacy.org/search.html . It's a good source of information you can use.

*******************

THE SOUR ORCHIDS

Two Former Executives of Video Relay Services Company Plead Guilty to Defrauding FCC Program

Irma Azrelyant and Joshua Finkle, the former co-owners of New York and New Jersey-based Deaf and Hard of Hearing Interpreting Services Inc. (DHIS), pleaded guilty today to engaging in a conspiracy to defraud the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Video Relay Service (VRS) program of more than $7 million, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

Today, Azrelyant, 47, and Finkle, 41, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Joel A. Pisano in Trenton, N.J., to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Azrelyant and Finkle were indicted on Oct. 29, 2009, along with DHIS assistant bookkeeper and video interpreter coordinator Oksana Strusa, as well as video interpreters Natan Zfati, Alfia Iskandarova and Hennadii Holovkin.

In pleading guilty, Azrelyant and Finkle admitted that beginning in approximately October 2007 and continuing through approximately July 2009, they conspired with others to pay individuals to make fraudulent VRS phone calls that were processed through DHIS, and that were billed to the FCC through VRS provider Viable Communications Inc. (Viable). According to the guilty pleas, Azrelyant and Finkle made VRS calls to prerecorded messages and other numbers for the sole purpose of generating VRS minutes and also coordinated with others to generate illegitimate VRS minutes that would be billed to the FCC. Azrelyant and Finkle also admitted to processing illegitimate VRS calls that were routed to DHIS by Viable.

According to the indictment, VRS is an online video translation service that allows people with hearing disabilities to communicate with hearing individuals through the use of interpreters and web cameras. A person with a hearing disability who wants to communicate with a hearing person can do so by contacting a VRS provider through an audio and video Internet connection. The VRS provider, in turn, employs a video interpreter to view and interpret the hearing disabled person's signed conversation and relay the signed conversation orally to a hearing person. VRS is funded by fees assessed by telecommunications providers to telephone customers, and is provided at no cost to the VRS user.

According to information contained in the plea documents, Azrelyant and Finkle admitted that their role in defrauding the FCC's VRS program led to a total of between $7 million and $20 million in fraudulent billing to the program. At sentencing, Azrelyant and Finkle each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, as well as mandatory restitution and forfeiture. Sentencing is set for June 29, 2010 at 10 a.m.

Co-defendants Strusa, Zfati, Iskandarova and Holovkin are scheduled to stand trial on May 24, 2010, on the charges in the indictment. An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.

In addition to the indictment charging Azrelyant, Finkle, Strusa, Zfati, Iskandarova and Holovkin, five indictments were unsealed on Nov. 19, 2009, charging an additional 20 people with engaging in a scheme to steal millions of dollars from the FCC's VRS program. In all, the indictments charge owners and employees of the following six companies with engaging in a scheme to defraud the FCC's VRS program:

Viable Communications Inc., of Rockville, Maryland;

Master Communications LLC, of Las Vegas;

KL Communications LLC, of Phoenix;

Mascom LLC of Austin, Texas;

Innovative Communication Services for the Deaf Corp. (ICSD), of Miami Lakes, Fla.; and

Deaf Studio 29 of Huntington Beach, Calif.

These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Hank Bond Walther and Trial Attorney Brigham Cannon of the Criminal Division's Fraud Section. The cases are being investigated by FBI's Washington Field Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's Department of Justice Fraud Team and the FCC Office of Inspector General.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice

Brought to you by the other Orange Deafie Blog at http://ocdac.wordpress.com/

*******************

COME TO OUR MEETUPS!

The Orange County American Sign Language Meetup Group - http://asl.meetup.com/37/ - and the Orange County Deaf & Hearing
Impaired Meetup Group http://deaf.meetup.com/38/ meets each 3rd Fridays of the month.

We are currently pondering a new locations for all of our meetup events because our competition appears to have hijacked the excitement, prestige, and normalcy of our cherished monthly gatherings.

*******************

FROM THE BLOGSPHERE

Someone thinks having a Department of Deaf Education at U.S. Dept. of Education is a good idea.

Read about it and see the video at http://froggerforgoogle.blogspot.com/2010/02/dept-of-deaf-education.html

Editor : We dont need Department of Deaf Education as U.S. Dept. of Education has shown to be exceedingly flexible with the differring needs of students with hearing disabilities.

Brought to you by the Hearing For Life Foundation Http://www.hear-for-life.org


*******************

DO YOU HAVE TINNITUS? ARE YOUR EARS RINGING ALOUD BY ITSELF? DO YOU WANT THAT TO STOP?

Tinnitus affects people with or without hearing loss.

Tinnitus is the ringing sensation that occurs in the ears. Severe tinnitus can be painful and disable a person. Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center has two people serving in a patient advocacy council. Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center wants to help people retain their productivity by helping them manage tinnitus.

We are introducing a nutraceutical cocktail of Ginkgo Biloba, Zinc, and Garlic to manage tinnitus (ringing) in the ears. New studies show that a combination of these three working together helps manage tinnitus. We have the research that suggest the cocktail helps manage tinnitus.

This cocktail doesn't create the flush reaction you get from using high dosage of Niacin taken to manage tinnitus.

Tinnitus management kit contains Ginkgo Biloba, Zinc, Garlic, pill minders box, carrying case, and 2 sets of ear plugs.

Kit is assembled by people with disabilities.

If you care about your ears, please shop through our paypal link below now

Tinnitus 2 month management kit $79.99 - Free Shipping On All Orders! https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=8502596

Refills each month $29.99 (Link will be mailed to you with your order)

The funds generated from this offering will be returned to the community in the form of assisted housing, education, advocacy, free equipment, outreach, and conference activities.

***These Statements have not been evaluated by the US FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease. There is no guarantee this will help you manage tinnitus. This may work on some people and this may not work on some people too.

*******************

FROM THE VLOGSPHERE (VIDEO BLOGGING)

Why is Tar2006 Panicking?

A vocal community videoblogger who's got his good eyes in the U.S. Legislature is panicking as he believes Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act (EHDI) would leave out the deaf community.

Dont panic Tar2006! The deaf community through NAD supports the EHDI bill.

http://www.nad.org/issues/early-intervention

http://www.nad.org/issues/civil-rights/early-hearing-detection-and-intervention

NAD is involved with EHDI programs and NAD's participation is fair and balanced.

Dont worry Tar2006, be happy!

Brought to you by the Eye Fire Vlogs Http://eyefirevlogs.com

*******************

Please donate to Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center. We have a lot of work to do on behalf of people with hearing and speech impairments and we have a donation form ready for your use.

Donation form : http://partners.guidestar.org/controller/searchResults.gs?action_donateReport=1&partner=networkforgood&ein=33-0806007

Thank you very much for the time youve taken to read this newsletter and clicking on the donation link above.

*******************

FROM THE NEWSLETTER READERS

Hello Richard ,

Are you ready for Tax Time? Tax is around the corner!

I hope you had a good year in 2009 and look forward to 2010. It’s more important than ever to qualify for the most tax breaks possible. It’s a priority this year, more so than in the past. There is no need for you to spend countless hours struggling to understand the new tax laws. I have put in the time learning the new laws so you don’t have to. I’m committed to make sure you pay the least amount of taxes possible and get the largest refund allowed by law. The uncertainty of today’s economic times has impacted us all. With foreclosures, bankruptcies, losses in retirement funds have all become commonplace in our economic climate. My prices will continue to be the lowest price guarantee and I will beat any price anywhere anytime.

Overwhelmed? You're not alone! Need help? Contact me! I'm DEAF CPA candidate, accountant & tax professional with over 13 years experience! I'm Authorized IRS E-file Provider!

$10 dollars off for early filing-February ONLY!

$20 dollars per new customer that you refer to me! Tell your family & friends to come see me! I will pay you $20 dollars once my service has been performed.

LOWEST PRICE GUARANTEE! Please show your support for Deaf Tax Service and spread the word!

See DeafTaxService.com in Facebook for more information. Any questions, let me know.

Sean Maloney
Deaf Tax Service
Email: Sean@DeafTaxService.com
VP: 866-751-1258
www.DeafTaxService.com (Coming soon)

Brought to you by Deaf Paradise Http://deafparadise.ning.com/

**********************
**** DISCLAIMER ****
**********************

The OCDAC Newsletter is designed to share information of interest to people with disabilities, their friends, associates, and relatives and promote advocacy in the disability community. Information circulated herein does not necessarily express the views of The Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center. The OCDAC Newsletter is non-partisan. OCDAC Newsletter does not sell advertising space.

The Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center is a community based organization that puts people with disabilities first in their advocacy for equal opportunities in safety, health, and productive living.

The Orange County Deaf Advocacy Center provides services for disabled individuals and their families in our community who need help in navigating the social services maze. Every day people go without proper food, shelter, and essential medical care every day due to a variety of factors including low wages, job loss, injuries, illness, age, domestic violence, or divorce. While all of us are susceptible to hard times, disabled individuals are at the most risk. With the generous support of people like you, we are able to help many of these families and individuals not only to meet essential daily needs, but to work toward a brighter future with programs in job training, education, counseling, elderly assistance, and temporary housing.

Feel free to forward this email message IN ITS ENTIRETY to anyone and any of your personal mailing lists so we can get the important messages out far and wide and encourage them to sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Our physical address is 2960 Main Street suite #100, Irvine California 92614 and this email is in compliance with CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.

To subscribe to this newsletter go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ocdacnewsletter/ or send a blank email to ocdacnewsletter-subscribe@yahoogroups.com