President’s Corner

Hello our deaf community members,

This is the very first quarterly bulletin from Utah Association of the Deaf. It used to be shared monthly but with evolving technologies we’ve decided to change it to quarterly. As the president of UAD, I’m very excited about our upcoming changes and activities. 🙂

Three main things happened in the last three months that I would like to share with you. The first one is about the Deaf Grassroot Movement (DGM). One of the DGM leaders wrote an article about this which you can read later in this Bulletin.

Second thing was the UAD General Assembly meeting on May 7th. There was some voting on the bylaws and I’ve highlighted some of the main changes here:

• UAD Biennial Conference will always be hosted in SLC every four years starting with 2017, 2021, 2025 and so on. The alternating biennial conference can be hosted anywhere in Utah every four years starting with 2015, 2019, 2023 and so on.

• UAD membership price is now $10 a year! It doesn’t matter if you’re a senior, or student or a married couple, it’ll just be $10 per person per year. We’ve made this change to help simplify and streamline things and hopefully more people will consider becoming members. Remember, more members of UAD, that means we have more voices and will become a stronger community.

• The yearly membership will now end exactly 1 year from the day you firstbecame a member. It’ll no longer expire on June 30th. This will help reduce the headache for our treasurer so he won’t have to constantly figure out how much refund to give back to that individual. Exciting news about this- we have a new system of auto renewing your membership yearly! That means you don’t have to worry about whether your membership is still active or has expired since you will get notified about renewing your membership. This means it’ll be less timeconsuming and we can use our time better to focus on current pressing issues.

Those are the three main changes that are happening based on the UAD by-laws. We hope you’re happy about it too! If you’re interested in becoming a member – please go to the following link –

The third main thing was the yard sale on May 14th. It was a hot day! Whew! Turns out it was totally worth it because we fundraised nearly $2,000! WOW! That is a record breaker! Thank you, everyone, who donated things and volunteers who helped out.

We have some exciting events coming up!

TONIGHT – July 1st- Guess what? Mozzeria, a well-known DEAF-OWNED pizza restaurant in San Francisco, now have a pizza truck and they’ll be in town tonight! Come out and eat some delicious pizzas at Sanderson Community Center between 5 pm and 9 pm. They’ll be donating 10% of their profits to Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf (SLCAD). So please consider coming out tonight for some fun and support the community.

Two biggest nationwide/international events are taking place this month! DeafNation World Expo in Las Vegas will be during July 5-8th ( and National Association of the Deaf (NAD) Conference will take place in Phoenix, AZ during July 5-9th ( I’ll be going to the NAD Conference so if you’ll be there too, make sure to find me and say hi. 🙂

Some of you may be wondering about the Friendship Day at the Lagoon. After some discussion among the UAD board members based on past feedback, we’ve decided to try something new. This day has been moved from July to September 17th. More information on that to come later so please keep checking in with us about this.

We have a wonderful workshop coming up in August and we would like to invite YOU to join this. Deafhood 101 is an in-depth workshop which will take place August 18-21st. Here’s the description from their website – “The 20-hour course is based on Paddy Ladd’s powerful book, “Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood.” The course will change how you see yourself personally and as a service provider. Become a change agent by realizing new ways of thinking and acting within your Deaf community and improving your relationship with the world better.” If you’re interested or want more information, check out the flyer near the end of the Bulletin. There’s a limit of 15 spots for the workshop due to how the workshop is run so please register ASAP!

Lastly but not the least, it is with a sad heart that we want to let you know Gabrielle Humlicek, our UAD secretary, will be leaving the UAD board. She’ll be starting a new chapter at Gallaudet University this fall. We wish her the best and hope to see her back in Utah someday. We’re now back on the hunt for two new board members. Are you interested?? Please email me!

It is going to be a hot summer (it already is) so please make sure you drink plenty of water and stay cool. Hope to see you all at various events and workshops this summer. 🙂

Stephen Persinger
UAD President

Rattles ‘n’ Powder

April 2, 2016 – Paxton Patrick, son of Courtney Mortensen and Patrick Pathamavanu of Las Vegas.  Grandparents are Kevin and Sandy Mortensen of Salt Lake City, and great grandparents of Dave and Shanna Mortensen of Murray.  Paxton makes it twelve great grandchildren for Dave and Shanna.

Wedding Bells

May 17, 2016 – Cristal Bluhm to Vern Steele, wedded at a tropical site, Fiji.  They make their home in Ogden.

June 18, 2016 – Kellie Mortensen to Daren Worwood, united for time and all eternity in the Manti LDS Temple. A reception was held in their honor in Salt Lake City before the wedding and in Ferron afterwards.  Kellie teaches music in a Monticello school while Darren teaches speech on a Southeast reservation.  Kellie is a daughter of Kevin and Sandy Mortensen of Salt Lake City and a granddaughter of Dave and Shanna Mortensen of Murray.

To a Higher Glory

March 13, 2016 – Darlene Zimmer passed away in Belgrade, MT. She had artistic talents, especially sketching, crafting and crocheting. Her husband, Conrad Zimmer, passed away November 11, 2011, and she is survived by her ex-husband, Gary Askerlund, also of Belgrade.  A memorial service was held in the Belgrade LDS church.

April 7, 2016 – Keith Nelson, 81, passed away peacefully in his sleep after a battle with returning pancreatic cancer. He worked for the Standard Examiner newspaper in Ogden. He enjoyed working with wood and was always a “do it yourselfer” when it came to projects around the home.  He could read a book on how to do something and turn around and do it. Keith loved fishing and photography, recognized at events with a camera in his hand. He is survived by his wife Jean Nelson of 55 years. Services and burial took place in Ogden.

June 1, 2016 – Gerald Smith, 48, passed away in Renton, Washington. Gerald was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and was raised in Raymond, Alberta, Canada. He worked for several years at Sorenson in several departments – tech support, field help desk then customer service.  He last worked August 2010. He resided in Draper for a time, before eventually settling in the Renton area. Services were held in Renton, WA.

June 1, 2016 – George Wilding died at the age of 82. He was well known in the deaf sports world. George’s passion was sports. He became an All-American basketball player, a licensed referee and umpire, a successful coach, a bowling champion, a sponsor of sports teams through his printing business. Through the American Athletic Association of the Deaf (AAAD), he was the guiding force in the establishment of the first men’s and then women’s national softball tournaments. George was a legendary storyteller and renowned for his sense of humor. A memorial service was held in Ogden, with burial of his ashes next to his first wife in the Sugar City, ID cemetery, He is survived by Ruth Ann Wilding of Silver Springs, MD.

The UAD Bulletin welcomes news of new babies, weddings, deaths and notable events in this space. Contact Valerie Kinney at or 801-784-6962 and give her all the details.

USDB Update

Michelle Tanner

The 2015-16 school year has come to an end and summer has begun.  Although the summer months are typically more relaxing for students and teachers, the administration is hard as work closing out the school year and preparing for the upcoming school year.

The last month of school in Ogden, we completed the installation of entirely new playgrounds for the deaf and blind schools.  (See images below)

KBS Playground 2 KBS Playground 1 KBS Playground 3And, we are not stopping there.  We are currently gathering bids and estimates for renovating the cottages.  This renovation will update the cottages by making them more inviting and home like.  We are hoping to begin these renovations in July.  There are other areas of the Ogden campus that will be updated throughout the summer as well.

In Salt Lake City we are hard at work on several projects.  We continue to make progress on the new education facility.  The construction company reports they have encountered only minor delays, but are on schedule to complete the new building by mid-August. Here are some recent pictures of the construction.

Aeral of New BldgExterior New Bldg 1Interior Playground

We intend on having a ribbon cutting in September.  When we have a confirmed date, we will invite all to see the completed structure.  This will be a state of the art building that incorporates the concepts of ‘Deaf Space.’  We can’t wait to show you!

Also on the Salt Lake Campus, JMS will be receiving a facelift as well.  We recently completed a redesign of the teacher workroom.  Now the room is more functional and spacious for the teacher’s needs.  New exterior doors will be added to JMS to align with the security system of the new building.  The front of the building will be redesigned to become a personalized learning space for the middle school students.  In this area, teachers will devote their time to personalizing instruction for each student by accomplishing State standards and personal IEP goals.  But, the most noticeable difference will be the JMS auditorium.  This area will be completely updated with new carpet, paint, curtains, sound baffles, large screens for viewing presenters and new audio/visual equipment.  Finally, the HVAC system will be updated to regulate the temperature better in the building.

In the Southern Provo area we are in the beginning stages of looking for land for a new facility.  Once land is purchased, we will be designing a new USDB school to service students in this area.  It is our hope to present this design to the building board and legislature during the next legislative session for funding.

During the summer USDB provides a myriad of summer camps.  This year is not different.  We are pleased to be able to offer these camps through enrichment funds provided by Land Grant income.  We have already completed several camps in Ogden, Salt Lake and Orem; as well as our annual PIP camp for young families.  There are still more wonderful camps to follow this summer.

Summer is also the time that we say goodbye to some familiar faces and select some new faces.  We are continuing to fill a few open positions for the upcoming school year.  If you have any friends that are quality educators, we would like to encourage them to apply for our remaining positions.  We offer fantastic benefits and our teacher salaries are in the top five of the entire state of Utah.  We draw some of the best teachers in the field of deaf education and we love the passion our teachers demonstrate.  If you or anyone you know is interested in teaching at USDB, we encourage them to send a letter of interest and resume to

I am also pleased to report that USDB has significantly raised the pay for our educational interpreters and we have a few openings.  If you know of a quality interpreter interested in applying, these positions are posted at

Thank you for all your support of USD!  The Utah Schools for the Deaf couldn’t succeed without the attention of a wonderful Deaf Community!

Utah’s 2016 Deaf Grassroots Movement

Sandy Scott

Driving toward the State Capitol in Salt Lake City on April 30th for the very first time, thoughts were racing through my head about how gorgeous and majestic the mountains surrounding its building look. After walking all the way to the Capitol from the parking space where I parked my car, on the right side were other Deaf people.  We introduced each other. On the right side of the building, I spotted a number of people who were standing and signing on the top steps. We waved to each other, then introduced ourselves to one another.

Back in September 2015, my two friends, who were my former students, and I agreed that we had to show our support for the Deaf Grassroots Movement (DGM) rally in Washington, D.C. What made me decide to participate in the rally was the experience I had when I applied for teaching jobs at public schools. The administrators at those public schools only wanted teachers who could teach speech through audio based communication. Some of those schools have more than an hundred Deaf pupils who never were exposed to our visual language – ASL and Deaf role models. The thought of those students with no access to good quality education and ASL really hit me.

Participating in the DGM rally in D.C. was a wonderful experience for everyone. Sharing our real life experiences with raw feelings such as frustration, pain and sadness bonded us. We created posters with our statements about demanding equal access to good quality education, communication and employment opportunities. Marching around the White House several times really inspired us to spread the word about our major concerns for our human rights and for Deaf children’s rights. Some attendees were dressed in flamboyant costumes. One woman dressed herself as Rosie the Riveter. There were some presenters who came to share mutual passion for our cause, told their real life stories, chanted with us, and even marched with us.

After relocating to Utah, I asked myself if there was anyone in Utah who was involved in setting up a DGM rally in Salt Lake City. I asked around to see if anyone knew anything about the movement. One person suggested that I check with Utah Association of the Deaf. I made contact with Stephen Persinger who is the current UAD president. Stephen was very approachable and responsive when we first met each other via video phone. He explained that UAD officers were not allowed to lead a DGM rally but they would show up at the rally to show their support. I was referred to Joleen Poe who wanted to make the DGM rally a reality. After we gathered necessary information to set up a rally, we learned that the legislative members always meet at the Capitol during the fall and winter seasons, not during the spring seasons. May 4th (Wednesday) was the date when every DGM group from all the states planned to host a rally at their State Capitol. We knew that getting people to show up at the rally on a weekday would be a problem because some people have to work and would not be able to attend. April 30th on a Saturday was the day we felt would allow more people to attend the event with this last minute announcement. Sure enough, there were about 25 people including UAD officers who were at the rally.

Creating posters, sharing our stories, and editing a video about our rally were just perfect ways to show our support for the Deaf Grassroots Movement rallies that were held throughout the country. We posted pictures and a video on Facebook to show our support for this wonderful cause. Countless people have watched our video and have said they were impressed with how we organized our rally. Kudos goes to each one of you who participated in the DGM rally.

Is it over? No, we will continue to fight for our human rights and for Deaf children’s access to good quality education. LEAD-K and Nyle DiMarco’s Foundation are the newest organizations advocating for Deaf children and their language rights – ASL and English. Advocacy, collaboration, and unity are the keys to success. Let’s stay in the DGM spirit and keep fighting!

2016 LDS Alaska Cruise

Valerie Kinney

On the Norwegian Pearl, an Alaska cruise was hosted by the MyDeafCruise travel agency for 70 deaf people, with an additional 21 hearing spouses and CODAs. The travelers came from ten different states.

The Pearl took off from Seattle on May 29 and stopped at Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, Alaska, and at Victoria, BC, Canada before returning to Seattle June 5.

There was plenty to do. There were a lot of choices for entertainments and activities on the ship. There were 14 Interpreters, most of them LDS.  Family comedy shows, magic shows, and other entertainment was featured each day. There was a full day of going to Glacier Bay. They were able to see several glaciers and also icebergs. It was amazing and beautiful.

There were two nights of group dining together. Other nights they could eat anywhere as there is many restaurants dining options.

They had choices of excursions for which they purchased tickets. Some did helicopter rides, also dog sledding, and riding a railroad train through Canada. Last but not the least, a lumberjack competition show. They also did some shopping at the ports.

Roger Wilkins is the president of the travel agency MyDeafCruise, of which he has worked for four years, in addition to nine years with Best Price Break.

image3IMG_1019image1IMG_1265IMG_1264Mozzeria TruckDeafhood 101_1sego lily mad hatter#3



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