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West Virginia Commission for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing
F. Ray Power Building, West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services
Doug Godfrey called the meeting to order at 1:37pm in Cafeteria Room A of the F. Ray Power Building at the Division of Rehabilitation Services in Institute, West Virginia.
II. Approval of the Minutes
Gary Vandevander moved that the minutes be approved as read, with the amendment of Dee Braley’s name added to the list of absent Commission members. Mike Sullivan seconded the motion. The minutes were unanimously approved as amended.
III. Statewide Interpreter Coordinator’s Report
Kara Russell updated the board on issues and activity at the Commission’s office in Romney. Activity has been steady, with an average of 150-200 constituent telephone calls each month. Kara tries to always have someone in the office when she is not there, but lately has had trouble with the administrative assistant keeping her work hours as scheduled. She appreciates Doug’s weekly calls to check in on the office activity.
MIS will be ordering new computers and a network printer. The laptops have not been checked. The Commission has two laptop projectors, purchased in 2000 and 2002. The office needs a new audio loop; Barbara King will check into the cost of this equipment. Kara was not able to compile a complete list of office needs and requests between the receipt of minutes and the meeting.
Her major projects over the next few weeks will be Educational Interpreter testing and updating the directory. With the testing schedule, Kara will be traveling 3-4 days each week until June 12. She has already tested 20 of the 86 school system interpreters. Results of the testing are sent to Annette Carey and the cost of testing is covered by the Department of Education. Kara will lead an Educational Interpreter training on August 11-13 in Clarksburg, funded by a grant from Gallaudet.
Dr. Abraham asked about the use of DeafTalk in hospitals, the monitor system that allows immediate access to an interpreter for deaf hospitalized patients. Kara noted that a hospital in Wheeling is already using this service, as well as Saint Mary’s Hospital in Huntington. Charleston Area Medical Center has expressed interest.
Kara has sent out an inquiry to TTY Loan recipients to survey phone use and maintenance needs. Many amplified phones have been returned and need to be serviced to fix operational errors. Florida has a similar program and Kara will contact them to compare program operation, methods and success.
Barbara King asked about problems at Mildred Mitchell Bateman Hospital. Kara told the board that deaf hospital patients had contacted her to be their advocate. Patients were being pressured to sign paperwork without having an interpreter present. Kara offered to assess the situation and make a recommendation. After an interaction with a hospital administrator, Kara sent an email to Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Paul L. Nusbaum. The hospital requested Kara evaluate the 8 interpreters on staff and found 3 qualified to interpret. When contacted by the newspaper for comment, Kara initially referred the reporter to John Law, Director of Communications for the Department. The second time the newspaper called, Kara again directed the reporter to John Law, and explained to the reporter that interpreter shortages are a nationwide problem and not specific only to West Virginia.
III. Old Business: BayFirst, WVAD Conference
Doug presented the board with minutes from the Technical Committee’s meeting on April 30. After reviewing records provided by BayFirst, the committee recommends paying BayFirst $19,980 for 108 hours of work. Shana will compose a letter to BayFirst with this proposal, as instructed by Department of Health and Human Resources legal counsel. Doug will keep board members updated on the BayFirst process.
Jimmy Harrison announced there were no changes to date. The board will discuss their display for the Conference at the June meeting.
IV. Executive Session
Pierre Sevigny moved the board adjourn to Executive Session. Jimmy Harrison seconded. The vote was unanimous and visitors were excused at 2:57 p.m.
At 3:55 p.m., Jimmy moved the Commission adjourn from executive session. Pierre seconded and the vote was unanimous.
IV. Discussion and Announcements
April Hottle expressed interest in the Commission’s task force and deaf education. Barbara King explained that the task force was not designed to address issues at the local level, but to develop objectives and areas of concern in order to advance West Virginia’s progress with issues such as education and technology. The task force mission was to help strengthen the role and direction of the Commission and staff. Doug noted that there are many areas of concern and that the Commission must network with other agencies to meet needs. The Department of Education and Special Education are relied upon for deaf education; the Commission is limited in the activities it can lead. Barbara suggested sharing concerns with other advocacy groups and Pat Moss suggested the Commission increase publicity of its resources.
Board members are interested in posting an application for board membership on the website. Emily will pull the West Virginia Code section that addresses board composition and bring to the next meeting for further discussion.
Doug attended the "Deafywood" performance at Fairmont State College in April and expressed his approval for the Commission’s support of the event. He noted that the children’s performance should be highly recommended for consideration at future WVSD events for students.
Jimmy Harrison announced his resignation from the board, effective following Executive Director interviews in May. Jimmy has served the board since 1993.
Barbara King requested all future presentations to the board be accompanied by a written summary sheet.
The next Commission meeting will be held at the Commission’s conference room at the Capitol Complex on June 26 at 1 p.m. Pierre moved that the meeting be adjourned and Jimmy seconded. The vote passed unanimously and the meeting concluded at 4:04 p.m.