Archive for May, 2011

Nellie Willhite – South Dakota’s First Deaf Woman Pilot

Nellie Willhite standing in front of an airplane

I am discovering so many famous deaf women in history which is a very exciting experience for me. This time, I am going to share with the readers about the First Woman Pilot in South Dakota.

From http://www.augie. edu/CWS/ telegram.html: “Nellie Zabel Willhite was South Dakota’s first woman pilot. Born in 1892, she became deaf two years later after contracting measles. She began flying at the age of 35 after her father gave her $200 for a flight course conducted by Dakota Airlines, Inc., of Sioux Falls. She also became a charter member of the Ninety-nine Club, named after the nation’s ninety-nine women pilots at its founding in 1929. Famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart served as president.”

It was strange because I often went to a restaurant called, “Ninety-nine” in northwest suburban Chicago. The scenery was always beautiful and inspiring while we ate our gourmet meals, we watched the planes landing or taking off at a small local airport. Now, I understand why it is named.

Anyway, Nellie Willhite was a pioneer and she earned the first pilot’s license by a deaf woman. She also made a living as a pilot.  

Nellie WillhiteHow could a deaf person fly a plane when she could not hear when something went wrong with the plane? She said, “Even though I could barely hear the engine roar, I could tell right away if anything was wrong – just from the vibrations.” I agree with her 100%. For instance, when my kitchen disposal made strange noises, I could feel the unusual vibration. I had to text my neighbor to come down to check it out immediately. 

If you readers know more about Nellie Willhite, please share with us. Thank you.

By Doreen Solar, ECNV Deaf Peer Counselor


May 26, 2011 at 3:17 pm 2 comments

Free Employment Workshop

SkillSource Group - Northern Virginia Workforce GroupYou are applying for jobs but getting no response?
Want to ace your interview?
Develop networking skills?

Come join us for a free Employment Workshop

May 25th 10:15am-12:30pm

Space is limited please call to reserve your spot at 703-787-4974

Or sign in person at
Lake Anne SkillSource
11484 Washington Plaza West, Suite 110
Reston VA 20190

  • Resume Development, Interviewing and Networking skills
  • Learn what hiring managers are looking for in a resume
  • Learn what the employer looks for in a interview
  • Develop interview skills
  • Practice interviewing with employment coaches
  • How to develop a network and get the most out it

Bring your resume

May 24, 2011 at 3:25 pm Leave a comment

Free Federal Job Search Workshop

The Obama Administration is hiring for over 600,000 positions over the next three years. Would you like to be selected for one of these positions?

Learn from a former GS-15 HR Manager from the Office of Personnel Management about the Federal application process and understand how to create Federal application materials that will set you apart from the competition.

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Date/ Time / Location:
Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
1:30 pm to 3:30 pm
South County SkillSource Center
8350 Richmond Highway, Suite 327
Alexandria, VA 22309

Directions: (703) 704-6286

May 23, 2011 at 5:16 pm Leave a comment

White House Monthly Disability Call

telephoneIn order to help keep you more informed, we are hosting monthly calls to update you on various disability issues as well as to introduce you to persons who work on disability issues in the Federal government. 

Our next call will be Thursday, May 26 at 3:00 PM Eastern

I would encourage you to call in about five minutes early due to the large volume of callers. 

If you received this email as a forward but would like to be added to the White House Disability Group email distribution list, please visit our website at and fill out the contact us form in the disabilities section. 

This month’s call will feature: 

Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood 
Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Department of Education, Russlynn Ali 
Director of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Department of Labor, Patricia Shiu  

The call also will include updates on civil rights, health care, and fiscal/budget issues. 

We strongly urge and ask that you distribute this email broadly to your networks and listservs so that everyone has an opportunity to learn of this valuable information. 

The conference call information is below.

Dial in for listeners: (800) 230-1085
Title: White House Disability Call (use instead of code)
Date of Call: 05/26/2011
Start Time: 3:00 PM Eastern (dial in 5 minutes early)

This call is off the record and not for press purposes. 

For live captioning, at the start time of the event, please login by clicking on the link below. Please only use this feature if you are deaf or hard of hearing.

Again, please distribute widely.

Credit to the White House Disability Group

May 23, 2011 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

Washington Post: Electrical Simulation Helps Paralyzed Man

David BurdsDear Mr. Stein,

In response to your article, Paralyzed Man Helped By Implants, as an active 66 year old man who sustained a spinal cord injury (C-6/7 quadriplegic) 34 years ago, I certainly hope there will be a cure for many people with spinal cord injuries.

Meanwhile, I ask you and other journalists to refrain from language like “After Rob Summers was struck by a hit-and-run driver in 2006 and left paralyzed from the chest down, he faced the grim prospect of spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair.” Yes, it’s grim for someone to realize that he or she may not walk but it does not mean that one will “…spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair.” That does make the picture grim.

Also, “Summers, an Oregon State University championship pitcher before he was struck, remains mostly bound to his wheelchair.” Please. He is not bound to his wheelchair. He is a wheelchair user and as a “user” is liberated to freely come and go and become a very active and productive member of society in a world that has become much more accessible in the last 30 years.

Below find a picture of my friend John Hudson as it appeared in his obituary in the Washington Post, Dec. 23, 2009.

John Hudson

John R. Hudson used this image of himself to scold journalists who used the phrase “wheelchair-bound,” suggesting “wheelchair users.”

Photo Credit: Family Photo
Related Article: Quadriplegic advocated for services for disabled

By David Burds, ECNV Executive Director

May 20, 2011 at 6:50 pm Leave a comment

Celebrate Communication Fair

Do you know where I am? I am at George Mason University for Celebrate Communication!

I have my booth including my exhibit, brochures, newsletters, from last January and last month and business cards.

Many people are here. There are many booths everywhere here. They provide a lot of different information and resources.

Many people came to my booth, but mostly for our candies! It was almost gone and I had 1 hour and 45 minutes left. Maybe, the candies will be gone by then.

Check out our pictures from the event on ECNV’s facebook!

“Now in its 8th year, Celebrate Communication is the premier event for deaf and hard of hearing people, their families and friends in the metro area.  With over 50 exhibitors, you can discover a wealth of information all in one place!  See the latest about hearing aids and cochlear implants, hot new technologies, government services, great resources, support groups and more. Test equipment, talk to professionals, and learn strategies that help improve communication.  Step into the Lions Club Mobile Van for a hearing or vision screening test.  Artists and crafters, activities for children, door prizes and a snack bar help make this a fun day for the whole family.  This event is hosted by the Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons and the Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities.”

By Doreen Solar, ECNV Deaf Peer Counselor

May 20, 2011 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Alleging Disability-Based Housing Discrimination Act Nine Apartment Complexes In Three States

Department of Justice logoDepartment of Justice

TUESDAY, May 19, 2011

Civil Rights Division
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Alleging Disability-Based Housing Discrimination Act Nine Apartment Complexes In Three States

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against the owners, developers and design professionals involved in the design and construction of nine multi-family housing complexes in Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee. The nine complexes comprise more than 2,000 apartments with more than 800 ground-floor units that are required by the Fair Housing Act to contain accessible features. Eight of the complexes contain leasing offices that are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to contain accessible features.

The complaint names The Bryan Company; Bryan Construction Company Inc.; Steve Bryan; Mid-South Houston Partners; Mid-South Development LLC (aka MSD LLC); The Vineyards Apartments LLC; Equity Properties LLC (formerly known as Windsor Lake Apartment LP); Cypress Lake Development LLC; Stephen G. Hill; Pickering Firm Inc. (aka Pickering Inc.); Larry Singleton (dba Singleton Hollomon Architects); H D Lang and Associates Inc.; Richard A. Barron, Architect; Shows Dearman & Waits Inc.; Timothy R. Burge, PA (dba Professional Associates Inc.); Canizaro Cawthon Davis (formerly known as Canizaro Trigiani Architects); Smith Engineering & Surveying Inc. (aka Smith Engineering Firm Inc., aka S.E.C.O. Inc., dba Smith Engineering Co. Inc.); Evans-Graves Engineers; and J.V. Burkes & Associates Inc. as the parties responsible for violating these laws. The complaint also names eleven current owners as necessary parties in whose absence complete relief cannot be afforded.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, alleges that the nine properties are inaccessible to persons with disabilities because they, for example, lack accessible pedestrian routes; lack accessible parking; have steep cross and running slopes; have doors that are not sufficiently wide enough to allow passage by persons in wheelchairs; have insufficient accessible routes into and through the units; have light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in inaccessible locations; and/or have kitchens and bathrooms that are inaccessible to persons in wheelchairs. Further, the complaint alleges that the leasing offices are inaccessible to persons with disabilities because, for example, they lack accessible pedestrian approach routes, lack compliant parking spaces, have inaccessible counters, and/or have inaccessible door hardware.

“The Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act include provisions to ensure that persons with disabilities have opportunities to find and live comfortably in multifamily housing across the nation,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The department will continue its vigorous pursuit of equal housing opportunities for all people, including those with disabilities.”

“The design and construction of multi-family apartment complexes must comply with the Fair Housing laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said John M. Dowdy, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. “My office remains vigilant in its efforts to eradicate discrimination and to ensure that persons with disabilities have legally accessible accommodations in which to live. We will remain steadfast in making sure that developers, owners, architects and civil engineers design and develop apartments and other buildings which comply with these laws.”

The suit seeks a court order declaring that the defendants’ actions violate the Fair Housing Act and the ADA, prohibiting the defendants from engaging in future discrimination in the design and construction of multi-family housing; requiring the defendants to bring the covered multi-family dwellings, and public and common use areas into compliance with fair housing laws; and awarding monetary damages to persons harmed by the defendants’ discriminatory housing practices.

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. Title III of the ADA requires, among other things, that public accommodations comply with specific requirements related to architectural standards to ensure accessible public and common use areas. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, email the Justice Department at, or contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.

May 19, 2011 at 10:47 pm Leave a comment

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