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									                            RAISING AWARENESS


Isabell “Izzy” Florence

Vice President
Scott Davert

Treasurer/Director of DBW, DeafBlind Workshop
Jill Gaus
Phone: 517.764.6178 V/TTY/VP
Brenda Cuddeback

             MEMBERS AT LARGE
John Robe
Harold Riley
Odessa Carter
Patty Grindel
Mike Reese

Beth Kennedy
Jonathan Truman

Dee Robertson

Mike Reese
Phone: 734.394.2790 VP

               SHI-M=DB MISSION

Our focus is to improve the lives and well-being of
DeafBlind individuals. SHI-M=DB will play an
active role in educating the public about the
needs and abilities of the DeafBlind. SHI-M=DB
helps DeafBlind individuals realize their potential
and utilize the skills they have to improve their

 SHI-M=DB is a 501-C-3 non-profit organization
 and contributions are tax deductible.


From the President’s Pen – by Izzy Florence
Birthdays and Anniversaries – January to June
Meet a Board Member!
Michigan Interpreter Bill Signed into Law – by
Janet Jurus
Izzy’s Rehab Corner – by Izzy Florence
Patty’s Poetry Podium – by Patricia Grindel
Usher Syndrome and the “Missing Link” – by Jill
New Free Service for the Blind – by Laura Thomas
Mark Your Calendar!
Topics in Next Issue
Resources Section

   From the President’s Pen – by Izzy Florence

Hello Everyone!

I would like to give you an update on what is
happening in SHI-M=DB.
Jeff Smith has resigned as President of SHI-M=DB
for personal reasons. We do thank you very
much, Jeff, for all the many many hours you have
devoted to SHI-M=DB and all the fruitful efforts
you've made to make SHI-M=DB a success.
The SHI-M=DB board had a closed meeting in
January where we focused on finances, paying
bills and fundraising, and deafblind issues that
have come up such as Deafblind Relay Service.
We also discussed our SHI-M=DB website which
is now completed, up and running. If you'd like to
see what's happening with SHI-M=DB, visit the
website as we plan on having it
updated as often as possible.

Our Newsletter will be out on a regular basis. If
you have anything you'd like to publish in the
newsletter, please contact Michael Reese. We
welcome submissions.

We would also like you to know that Michael
Reese is our newest "member at large" in addition
to his responsibility as our newsletter editor.
Thank you, Mike, and welcome to the SHI-M=DB
board. Scott Davert is our new Vice President and
Isabell "Izzy" Florence is SHI-M=DB's new

Don't forget our 2008 Deafblind Workshop
(Deafblind Camp) at DeSales coming up this
summer. You should be hearing about it soon.
Make sure you fill out the paperwork and get your
payment in as soon as you receive the form in the
mail as housing for campers is limited.

I look forward to working with all SHI-M=DB
members. If you have any questions or concerns
about SHI-M=DB, please feel free to contact me
via email:

Your SHI-M=DB President,

Isabell Florence

            January to June 2008


JANUARY                 JANUARY

FEBRUARY                FEBRUARY
1 – Mike Reese
4 – Jill Gaus
8 – Chasity Coryell

MARCH                   MARCH
8 – Susan Reese         27 – Mike & Susan Reese

APRIL                   APRIL
30 – Zoe, Emma &        22 – Jill & Jim Gaus (25)
   Sophie Dunn (8)
MAY                      MAY
19 – Melanie Bond        1 – Chasity & Warren
27 – Jim Gaus               Coryell
27 – Warren Coryell

JUNE                     JUNE
15 – Johnny Robe
27 – Isabell “Izzy”

If you would like to submit your birthday, your
spouse’s or significant other’s birthday, and/or
your anniversary, please email the Editor, Mike
Reese, at

              Meet a Board Member!
                 Patricia Grindel

My name is Patty Grindel. Since August of 2007, I
have been a SHIM=DB board member. However, I
have been going to the workshops almost every
year since it started in 1997.

I have been deaf-blind since the age of five as a
result of encephalitis. When growing up, I didn't
consider myself different from anyone else.

Fundraising seems to be what I do best for SHIM
as a representative at large and it is something I
My hobbies are writing articles and poetry,
playing scrabble and euchre, teaching sign
language, dancing and visiting family and friends.

I've been a widow for seventeen years this July. A
mother of three children, I have two grandsons.

  Michigan Interpreter Bill Signed into Law – by
                   Janet Jurus
(Reprinted with permission by DODHH Fall 2007

Granholm Signs Laws Expanding Rights of Deaf &
Hard of Hearing
    Qualified Interpreters Now Required in All
   Specified by Americans with Disabilities Act

The past and present staff of DODHH is proud to
be a part of the new and historic interpreter
legislation in Michigan. Below is the original
press release from Governor Jennifer Granholm
with information about the new interpreter law.
Governor Granholm hosted an invitation only
ceremonial bill signing ceremony at her
ceremonial offices located at the Capitol on
October 25, 2007.

DLEG and DODHH will be hosting a rules
committee beginning this fall to discuss the
details of this law. This rules process may take
up to one year to complete. Public hearings will
be announced with full accommodations during
this rules process and we look forward to
receiving your input. DODHH staff has been and
will continue to educate the Deaf, Deaf-Blind and
Hard of Hearing community about the impact of
this legislation and also the businesses,
organizations and agencies that provide and host
interpreter services to the citizens of Michigan.

Please access our website at www.mcdc- to read the Frequently Asked
Questions (FAQ) related to the legislation. We
will continue to update you on our website of any
issues related to the legislation and the rule
making process.

June 29, 2007 - LANSING - Governor Jennifer M.
Granholm signed legislation that requires the use
of qualified sign language interpreters who
possess state or national certification in all
accommodations required under the Americans
with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), making the
scope of Michigan’s law comparable to the federal
law. Approximately 1.4 million Michigan citizens
are deaf or hard of hearing.

“We’re ending the confusion, frustration, and
errors that are so often experienced by the deaf
and hard of hearing in important life situations
due    to   misinterpreted   information,”  said
Granholm.   “Equal      access       to    accurate
communication is a basic civil right of us all.”

Under Public Act 23 (Senate Bill 25) and Public
Act 24 (House Bill 4208) employers, state and
local governments, and businesses providing a
variety of services to the public are now obligated
to provide for effective communication. Such
entities include public and private schools and
colleges;    doctors’     offices,  hospitals  and
pharmacies; banks, hotels, restaurants and
theatres. Reasonable notice is required if a
qualified interpreter is needed.

PAs 23 and 24 amend the Deaf Persons’
Interpreters Act (PA 204 of 1982) which limited the
application of interpreter standards to court and
administrative hearings and was not sufficiently
clear on the standards. PA 23 now defines a
“qualified” interpreter as a person who is certified
through the National Registry of Interpreters for
the Deaf or by the Division of Deaf and Hard of
Hearing (DODHH) in the Department of Labor &
Economic Growth (DLEG).

“I’m pleased to sign legislation that sets universal
standards of excellence for qualified interpreters
and protects our citizens from unqualified
practitioners,” Granholm said.
If an entity willfully fails to provide an interpreter
when one is required or an unqualified interpreter
is provided, the business or entity may be subject
to a civil fine. Individuals who misrepresent
themselves as qualified interpreters would be
guilty of a misdemeanor and punishable by
imprisonment and/or a fine. Individuals who
violate the law are subject to rejection of their
application for certification, or revocation,
suspension, or limitation of certification.

PA 24 grants rulemaking authority to the DODHH,
including establishing rules on minimum
credential requirements and levels, minimum
standards of practice, and continuing education.
Rules must be coordinated with the Michigan
Department of Education and the Michigan
Administrative Rules for Special Education for the
purpose of increasing interpreter qualifications,
improving educational services to deaf and hard
of hearing students, increasing the supply of
qualified interpreters by promoting interpreting as
a profession, and increasing the number of
training programs.

Michigan becomes one of only a few states to
recognize the interpreting field for the skills and
credentials it requires and make qualified
interpreters mandatory in a broader range of
situations. These factors serve the state well in
attracting qualified interpreters to Michigan as
well as training more people who want to become

“This brings significant job growth opportunities
to the state,” said Keith W. Cooley, director of
DLEG. “We’re already in short supply of qualified
interpreters and the demand for services is

According to a 2006 study “Supply & Demand for
Interpreters for the Deaf in Michigan” conducted
by Public Policy Associates, Inc., in consultation
with DODHH and the Michigan Department of
Education (available online at www.mcdc- the demand for interpreters will grow
over the next 25 years and it will take 15-20 years
to close the gap between the supply and demand
of interpreters. Factors contributing to the
demand include: the aging of the deaf and hard of
hearing population; the growing need for
interpreters in health care settings; expansion of
video relay service (VRS) and other new
communication services for the deaf and hard of
hearing; and the impact of the No Child Left
Behind Act, the ADA, and the Educational
Interpreters Proficiency Assessment guidelines.

To meet the demand, interpreters in the future will
need to be better educated, possess more
specialized skills, and will be required to meet
more stringent certification criteria. The study
found that 30 percent of interpreters in Michigan
are not certified at all.

Currently there are approximately 500 state or
nationally certified interpreters in Michigan.
Interpreters who possess Michigan Quality
Assurance Certification at levels, I, II, or III are
considered qualified until that certification status
expires. Such a certificate may be renewed
annually until it expires and retesting is required.
Interpreters    who     currently   hold     national
certification recognized by DODHH must be
issued a state certification upon filing a
completed application and paying applicable

Senate Bill 25 and identical bill, House Bill 4208
were sponsored by Senator John Gleason
(District 27, Genesee County) and Representative
Dudley Spade (District 57, Lenawee County)

Contact: Janet Jurus, State Interpreter, DODHH:
(517) 335-6004 Voice/VP/TTY; or (877) 499-6232
Voice/VP/TTY toll free. Visit the DODHH website
at: To view PA 23 and PA 24
go to .
      Izzy’s Rehab Corner – by Izzy Florence

Hello to all SHIM Members. I sincerely hope you
are getting through this cold, long Winter. I don't
know about you, but I'm ready for warmer temps
and giving my home a good cleaning up and
airing out! Here are some tips you might use for
the upcoming Spring cleaning of your home:
1. It doesn't matter if you have little sight or no
sight at all, what I find easier when cleaning the
floors is to clean while barefoot. When I'm
barefoot, I can feel "stuff" on the floor and am
more aware if I miss something while vacuuming
or mopping my floors.
2. Always start from the edges of a room and work
towards the center. This will help you to NOT
push dirt or objects towards the edges where they
can be overlooked while cleaning.

3. Divide your room into sections. To help keep
you from being overwhelmed or to miss an area of
your room, divide the room into sections. You can
use furniture as a "cut off" point or use area rugs
and know that when you get to that piece of
furniture or area rug, the portion of the floor
behind that is clean. I use furniture pieces as
"landmarks" as I go along cleaning so if the
phone rings or I'm distracted, I know where I
stopped, and when I come back, I know where to
start. This is true of other surfaces as well. If
you're cleaning your table or counter tops work
from the far edges and work towards you.
If you are Diabetic and have little or no feeling in
your feet due to neuropathy, you can still use
"landmarks" to help you breakdown the cleaning
space so you're not overwhelmed. If you vacuum
or mop using landmarks, you can probably
assume your floor is clean.

4. Work systematically. If you establish a cleaning
pattern using landmarks, cleaning will be much
easier and you will be sure not to miss dirt or
objects on the floors or flat surfaces of your

5. Don't forget to clean windows too! Even though
I might not always enjoy the view outside my
windows, my sighted visitors do. I often forget
that windows matter to some people. Luckily the
person that "shared" that with me was nice about
it and I learned something about sighted culture
in the process. So make sure you clean your
windows too.

Happy Spring and happy cleaning!!!
          Patty’s Poetry Podium
           by Patricia Grindel


   A man took a walk through the forest
      And felt a crack upon his head
      Dazed, he sat on a rock to rest
   Then found himself a soft green bed

   Fairies and little men danced around
    Shamrocks were all over the place
  A fire blazed lighting the world around
        Flickering on each tiny face

  Fairies told him there was a pot of gold
 And he’d find it at the end of the rainbow
       Off he started, strong and bold
 Following pastel blue, green and yellow

  Over mountains and through streams
 He went in search of the overflowing pot
    Then woke from his fairy dreams
 And found himself on the very first spot

    By a falling acorn, he had been hit
     And had slipped into Dreamland
But a discovery nearly gave him a royal fit
 For there was a pot of gold near at hand

The surprise filled him with amazing shocks
And he splurged on his friends and foes
 Green ale, tipping hats and shamrocks
   Filled the night with dancing toes

            Patricia Grindel
              March 2005

            Which Corner?

   When I peeked out the window
Nothing could I see but a winter scene
 For there was a mountain of snow
   Piled as high as any I’ve seen.

       Everyone keeps saying,
  “Spring is just around the corner”
 But to which one are they referring?
  Every corner has a look of winter!

  I searched around a parked vehicle
 And saw snow and ice on the ground
  So checked for a rider on a bicycle
    But no bicyclist could be found.

 Maybe, spring was around a building
  So I decided to go for a little stroll
  All the snow, slipping and sliding
  Told me winter was still in control

  One day, the snow started melting
     Until it was completely gone
   Warm spring rains started coming
  And sun bringing smiles to everyone

      Winter coats were set aside
       For lighter spring jackets
      Birds were singing outside
   And soon we’d be hearing crickets

     Michigan springs bring potholes
      The same cycle year after year
      And as sure as the wind blows
      Cracks are everywhere, I fear.

   Tiny buds poked from their shoots,
   Ground turned from brown to green
   Mud swirled around children’s boots
   There before me was a spring scene

Now, no matter which corner I peek around
  Spring has sprung everywhere I look
   It’s in the feel, the scene and sound
  Mother Nature, her wand she shook.

            Patricia Grindel
         February – March 2004
     Usher Syndrome and the “Missing Link”
                  by Jill Gaus
    (Source: NIH public release 27 June 2006)

NIH/National Institute on Deafness and Other
Communication Disorders

Protein tied to usher syndrome may be hearing's
'Missing Link'

A protein associated with a disorder that causes
deafness and blindness in people may be a key to
unraveling one of the foremost mysteries of how
we hear, says a study in the June 28 issue of the
Journal of Neuroscience. Scientists with the
National Institute on Deafness and Other
Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one of the
National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the
University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom,
have identified protocadherin-15 as a likely player
in the moment-of-truth reaction in which sound is
converted into electrical signals. (Protocadherin-
15 is a protein made by a gene that causes one
form of type 1 Usher syndrome, the most common
cause of deaf-blindness in humans.) The findings
will not only provide insight into how hearing
takes place at the molecular level, but also may
help us figure out why some people temporarily
lose their hearing after being exposed to loud
noise, only to regain it a day or two later.
"These findings offer a more precise picture of the
complicated processes involved with our sense of
hearing," says Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., director of
the NIH. "With roughly 15 percent of American
adults reporting some degree of hearing loss, it is
increasingly vital that we continue making inroads
into our understanding of these processes,
helping us seek new and better treatments, and
opening the doors to better hearing health for

Tapping Your Inner "Tip Link"

Researchers have long known that hair cells,
small sensory cells in the inner ear, convert
sound energy into electrical signals that travel to
the brain, a process called mechanotransduction.
However, the closer one zooms in on the
structures involved, the murkier our
understanding becomes. When fluid in the inner
ear is set into motion by vibrations emanating
from the bones of the middle ear, the rippling
effect causes bristly structures atop the hair cells
to bump up against an overlying membrane and
to deflect. Like seats in a three-row stadium, the
bristles, called stereocilia, are arranged in tiers,
with each lower seat connected to a higher seat
by minute, threadlike bridges, or links. As the
stereocilia are deflected, pore-like channels on
the surface of the stereocilia open up, allowing
potassium to rush in, and generating an electrical
signal. Because the "tip link" – the link that
connects the tip of the shorter stereocilium to the
side of the adjacent, taller stereocilium – must be
present for the channel to function, scientists
believe that this structure may be responsible for
opening and closing the channel gate.

Researchers suggest that if they can learn the
makeup of the tip link, they'll be that much closer
to understanding how the gate mechanism

"This research identifies protocadherin-15 to be
one of the proteins associated with the tip link,
thus finally answering a question that has been
baffling researchers for years," says James F.
Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., director of the NIDCD.
"Thanks to the collaborative effort among these
researchers, we are now at the closest point we
have ever been to understanding the mechanism
by which the ear converts mechanical energy – or
energy of motion – into a form of energy that the
brain can recognize as sound."

NIDCD's Zubair M. Ahmed, Ph.D., and Thomas B.
Friedman, Ph.D., together with the University of
Sussex's Richard Goodyear, Ph.D., and Guy P.
Richardson, Ph.D., and others used several lines
of evidence to identify a protein that Drs.
Goodyear and Richardson had earlier found to
comprise tip links in the inner ears of young
chicks. The protein is referred to as the "tip-link
antigen" (TLA) because it induces the production
of special antibodies, which bind to the protein at
the stereocilia tips.

Using mass spectrometry, a laboratory technique
that breaks down a substance into its individual
components, the researchers analyzed the
makeup of the TLA and found two peptide
sequences that match up to key segments of the
protein protocadherin-15 in humans, mice, and
chickens, suggesting that the two proteins are
evolutionarily comparable. Additional
experiments using western blot analysis, a
technique that identifies individual proteins in a
substance by separating them from one another
by mass and testing how they react to certain
antibodies, demonstrated that the antibody that
recognizes protocadherin-15 in mice also binds to
the TLA.

The team also analyzed the amino acid sequences
of protocadherin-15 and discovered four distinct
forms -- three of which are present in various
developmental stages of the mouse inner ear. The
researchers refer to the three alternative forms
found in the inner ear as CD1, CD2, and CD3
because the sequential variations occur in the
protein's "cytoplasmic domain" – a stretch of
amino acids anchored inside the stereocilium.
(The fourth form, referred to as SI, is likely to be
secreted.) With the help of two imaging
techniques that use antibodies to label a targeted
protein, the team found that the distribution of
protocadherin-15 along the stereocilium varies by
form, with the CD3 form stationed only at the tips
of the stereocilia in mature hair cells, while the
CD1 form is found along the lengths of the
stereocilia in mature cells, but not at the tips. In
contrast, the CD2 form is expressed along the
lengths of stereocilia during hair cell
development, but is not present in mature hair

Finally, the team found that a chemical known to
break tip links – called BAPTA – had no effect on
the CD1 and CD2 forms of protocadherin-15 but
destroyed the CD3 form. Likewise, just as tip links
are known to reappear roughly four hours after
the chemical is removed, the CD3 form returned
within four to 24 hours upon removal of the

Based on these findings, the researchers
conclude that, not only is protocadherin-15 now
identified as the tip-link antigen, but it is
distributed in a specific way in relation to the tip-
link complex. They propose that the CD3 form of
protocadherin-15, located at the tip of the shorter
stereocilium, may link directly or indirectly to the
CD1 form on the adjacent, taller stereocilium. This
scenario could help explain how tip links that are
broken in real-life situations, such as from
excessive exposure to loud noise, could cause
temporary hearing loss until the link re-
establishes itself and hearing is restored.

In future studies, the scientists plan to delve more
deeply into the role that protocadherin-15 plays in
the tip-link complex and whether it interacts with
other components in the formation of the tip link.
They also hope to determine how tip links can be
stimulated to re-form, once broken.

          New Free Service for the Blind
               by Laura Thomas
                 (via Jill Gaus)

There is a wonderful free service for blind people,
and all you need is a telephone line and a fax
machine. You can fax any document, whether it's
a handwritten letter, or a recipe, whatever, and a
volunteer will call you back and read it to you.
You can either go to the website, or you can call a
toll-free number to hear the website's information.

IMPORTANT: When faxing, the first page must be
a cover page that contains your first name, plus a
voice callback number. It is a free service but
donations are accepted.

Each of the words in the web address has the
initial letter capitalized, even the word "To". The
web address is:

The audio version of the website is: (877) 333-

To fax a document, it's the same number, except
the final digit is an 8: (877) 333-8848.

This is wonderful for those who do not have an
Optacon or a scanner, or for those documents
that simply cannot be read with an Optacon or a
scanner. This service is only available in the US
because the volunteers call back at their own

(Editor’s note: this article may be beneficial to
those Deafblind who can hear well with their
hearing aids or cochlear implants, and may wish
to try this out.)

               Mark Your Calendar!


SHI-M=DB Open Board Meeting/Socials –
scheduled for Saturday, 10 May 2008;
Friday/Saturday, 8/9 August, 2008 at DBW; and
Saturday, 6 December 2008. In order to attend
any of these events, please be sure to RSVP a
month in advance for each event to Jill Gaus at or 517.764.6178 V/TTY/VP.

DBW 2008 – 7 – 10 August 2008

               Topics in Next Issue

All members of the SHI-M=DB readership are
welcome to submit any articles that may be of
interest to the Deafblind community, locally or
nationally. Even articles that are Deaf/Hard-of-
Hearing-related, blind-related, or citizen-related
are welcome as well. To submit, please send an
email to Mike Reese, Editor, at

very hard to raise funds for the organization, and
a huge expense is the printing costs of the
newsletter issues. If you have e-mail access, it
would help to greatly reduce such a cost to have
as many members receive the newsletter issues
via e-mail distribution. To participate in the e-mail
distribution list, please send an e-mail to Mike
Reese. Thank you so much for your
understanding and cooperation!

American Association for the Deaf-Blind (AADB)
8630 Fenton Road
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3803
TTY: 301.495.4402 Voice: 301.495.4403
Fax: 301.495.4404       Email: AADB-

Michigan Assistive Technology Exchange
(AT Xchange)

Helen Keller National Centre (HKNC)
Contact: Laura J. Thomas – Regional
485 Avenue of the Cities
Suite #5
East Moline, IL 61244-4040
309.755.0018 (Voice/TTY/VP)
309.755.0025 (Fax)
Catherine Papish, Admin. Asst –

Michigan Commission for the Blind
DeafBlind Unit
P.O. Box 30652
Lansing, MI 48909
Dee Robertson
Cindy Caldwell
800.292.4200 (Voice) 888.864.1212 (TTY )
517.335.5140 (Fax)

To add a Deafblind-, blind-, or deaf/hard-of-
hearing-related resource to this list, please
submit all pertinent information, including a
brief summary of what the resource is about,
to Mike Reese, Editor, at Thank you!
SHI-M=DB             Free Matter for the
3123 Catalpa Drive   Blind
Jackson, MI 49203

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