Starting a new year 2016!!! Happy New Year to all of you.

Hello, Happy New year to all of you. I would like to say that 2015 was an interesting years. Why?

During 2015, I stepped down from my job. I start having many interesting meetings with many different people. We discussed about what to do about our people’s future. I also analyzed myself, because I wanted some kind of self improvement. Many more has happened. I am currently excited about this.
The reason for making this video blog is because I want to let everyone know that I will focus on three important roles. Those will be my only roles. I might be participating with other roles as member or something related. However, I will serve 3 major roles in year of 2016.

The first roll will be We The Deaf People (WTDP). It will have some arms among 3 organizations. This will focus on Deaf people’s rights. I believe it is now the time to fight for Deaf people’s civil rights. It has been a long overdue to our Deaf people of our rights. For this role, I will be working with an excellent people.

The second role will be focusing on my Spiritual Foundation. Mainly, focusing on building a relationship with the Spirit. It will be called ASL Christians. That group will have Bible Studies and discussions about spiritual foundations. I personally believe that spiritual foundation is important. Not everyone will enjoy this relationship. But, it is important if a group work together supporting eachother.
The third role will be FerretRex. What is this? I used to be a computer consultant in past working with computers, software, and networking. Until I became an advocate, I thought I could handle both Advocate and Computers. I realized that advocating was a lot of work. I decided to put my advocating priority as my main focus as I decided to push out the computer work. That went on until now, when I stepped down from my advocacy job. I did not know what to do about this. As a result, I decided to continue FerretRex to show who is Dean. I will share some things I learned or that I know. For this role, I will share poems and different information.

I am looking forward to what 2016 will bring all of us. I am excited about this. At the same time, I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year.

(End of video)
What? Christmas is finished. That is enough. Go home now. Wait until next year’s December. Ok? Can you please go away?

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Save Deaf Life Magazine…

Each magazine is $5, and the offer is $30 a year is half off from the regular price of $60. A good deal! The Save Deaf Life Team is a group of subscribers who are volunteering their time to fight to continue Deaf Life Magazine. Have you subscribed yet? It’s a Deaf owned. Yes all staff are Deaf. All stories are in Deaf prospective. The writing is awesome for hearing people who want to learn Deaf culture and community. Please subscribe today, to keep the magazine going. Please sign up today at:

Please watch video blog below made by Dean DeRusso and Ken Elks:

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Join We The Deaf People and/or State Chapters for a new rising Deaf organization

Please share this video blog below with Dean DeRusso and Ken Elks. Please ask people to join We The Deaf People (WTDP) ( or the State Chapters under the national organization such as We The Deaf People – New York Chapter ( or Virginia Chapter (, join one of these three new group soon.

These groups will welcoming Deaf and hearing allies to join this new Political Action, Watchdog and limited lobbying group. Other states are in process and coming soon. Like the pages and hope you enjoy this video!

Thank you in advanced for sharing and looking forward to the future of making changes for the Deaf!

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FerretRex Video Blog: Still Alive and Breathing…

Hi everyone, I’m still alive and doing well! smile emoticon

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Action Alert: Sign up for the New York Disability Vote Network!

Have A Say In Albany – Join the NY Disability Vote Network

It’s time we are heard

Logo for the New York Disability Vote Network

As we enjoy the holiday season, we’re gearing up for another year of advocacy to ensure that people with disabilities live in the most integrated setting possible. 

Is it almost 2015, already?

It sure is!  The state legislature is back in session on January 7th.  We’ll have the Governor’s State of the State Address soon after, followed by the state budget process. 

We need your help in getting ready to push for funding to make sure that people with disabilities stay in their homes and it’s very simple…

Join the New York Disability Vote Network!

It’s easy, it’s free, and it will help create a voter bloc that will show legislators that there are people with disabilities who vote and are watching what they do.

NYDVN is a non-partisan effort to bring people with disabilities and their allies together, not to throw money around Albany, but to make our voices heard and our votes count. 

We don’t care who wins the elections as long as they work to help people with disabilities.

Sign up at:

To learn more about the NYDVN:

Sign up, tell a friend and share this on your social media.

Thank you,

Dean DeRusso
Deaf Systems Advocate
Regional Center for Independent Living (RCIL)

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Action Alert: Call Your Senators & Stop the ABLE Act!

Call Your Senators & Stop the ABLE Act!
We cannot pit people with disabilities against each other!

Click the link below to get talking points and your Senators’ phone numbers
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act is a bill that was supposed to help people with disabilities, but in reality it harms the Disability Community. The ABLE Act was intended to allow people with disabilities to save money, tax free, for future expenses for independent living. However, recent amendments to the bill made the ABLE Act unacceptable because it steals services from poor people with disabilities to give to the rich and it imposes age restrictions.

There are two major problems with this bill:

1. It caps eligibility by age. Only people who have acquired their disability before age 27 would be eligible. There has been no logical explanation for this arbitrary number and the Disability Community does not accept leaving anyone with a disability behind.

2. It includes budget cuts to vital services for people with disabilities. One group of people with disabilities should not have to sacrifice such services in order for another group of people with disabilities to have what they need to survive.  Things that would be cut if this version of the ABLE Act passes include:

  • Specific oral medication that many dialysis patients with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) take would not be covered by Medicaid until 2024.  People will die because of this.
  • Vacuum Erection Systems (VES) would no longer be covered by Medicare.  This seems trivial, but it is assistive devices such as this that allow some people with disabilities the opportunity to have a family – the same right able-bodied people enjoy.

This harmful bill passed through the House of Representatives on Thursday so now we are turning to our Senators to stop this from becoming law.

Time is of the essence as this bill, S. 313, could be voted on at any time and with the same, last-minute changes.  Last week, we e-mailed, now we call.

Call your Senators to let them know that they should NOT vote for S. 313 when it comes up for a vote!  There is no time to lose!

Click the link below to get talking points and your Senators’ phone numbers.

Thank you,

Dean DeRusso
Deaf Systems Advocate
Regional Center for Independent Living (RCIL)

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Protect the Rights of People with Disabilities – Help Support RCIL in ROC the Day!

While this email is going out, Center for Disaiblty Rights (CDR)/RCIL are both in Albany, New York with roughly 50 advocates to protect the rights of people with disabilities living independently in the community. We are here to address the urgent need for New York State to fully fund attendant overtime rates starting January 1st, when the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) companionship rule changes goes into effect.

This rule change requires attendants be paid for travel time and are adequately paid overtime, but what the change does not include is the additional Medicaid funding necessary to cover these cost increases! If New York State does not establish and implement a mechanism to cover these costs, this change will force CDR and so many other service providers to cut attendant hours; not only harming the attendants affected, but also putting countless people with disabilities at risk of institutionalization!

This issue, like so many others, is an example of the important advocacy work that we do to protects the rights of people with disabilities living independently in home and community-based settings. Our work continues every day.

As CDR/RCIL address this issue here in Albany today, we are asking all of you to consider a donation to RCIL in support of our on-going advocacy efforts, various programs and services, and our mission.

CDR/RCIL are both currently participating in United Way’s 24-hour online giving campaign – ROC the Day. You can simply log onto until 11:59 pm tonight to donate. The size of your donation does not matter; I am asking that you donate any amount that you can afford. Every donation helps!

If you are unable to make a donation, you can still help! Please share this email with friends and family to help support RCIL’s mission.

THANK YOU for your support and Happy Holidays! 

Thank you,

Dean DeRusso
Deaf Systems Advocate
Regional Center for Independent Living (RCIL)

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Tell the DOJ that Open-Captioned Movies Must Be Considered

Tell the DOJ that Open Captioned Movies Must be Considered

More Info

Off-Screen Captioing is Separate and Unequal
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is asking the public to provide comments about their definition of Public Accommodation in movie theaters related to captioning and audio description.  We are urging everyone to call for rules supporting open-captioned movies to be displayed on movie screens when a Deaf or hard of hearing individual requests it in order to give equal access to all movie goers.

Right now movie theaters are not required to provide on screen captioning and DOJ has been avoiding any discussion of on screen captioning. Currently individuals who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing must request a pair of “captioning glasses” at the movie theater in order to watch a movie.

This means that instead of buying a ticket and going into a movie, people with hearing disabilities must buy a ticket, then go to a counter and ask for permission to use a pair of “captioning glasses” just so they can understand the movie, hope there are captioning glasses available, show their ID, then enter the theater and put on the captioning glasses that many find to be uncomfortable, and often do not work.

Any hearing person can go to the movie of their choice at any time. Hearing people do not have to ask for permission to use uncomfortable and unreliable devices just to understand the movie, nor do they have to show ID.

Off-screen captioning devices do not give Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals equal access and the DOJ must not allow for this kind of discrimination.

Most Deaf and hard of hearing individuals prefer on-screen captioning.  Furthermore, one survey shows that many hearing people do not mind captioning, some even prefer captioning! Tell the DOJ that they need to put on-screen open captioning as priority of rulemaking discussions.

Contact the DOJ and tell them that open-captioned movies should be available by request for every movie at all times.  Along with your story, feel free to use any of the following talking points:

  • Analog movie screens should be using Digital Captioning Projectors (DCP) to display captions on their screens.  Digital movie screens already have a built-in device that will display captioning by simply pushing a button. The cost for DCP is the same as buying one off-screen captioning device.  At the same time, having captions on digital movie screens are free.
  • Off-screen devices, such as captioning glasses identify people with disabilities, which is inappropriate and unequal.
  • People who need captioned movies who already use vision-correcting glasses would have to wear two pairs of glasses at the same time.  Those who go to 3D movies would literally have to wear three pairs of glasses at the same time.  Does this make sense?
  • Going to the movies is a traditional activity one does on a date.  Having to utilize off-screen captioning devices is awkward and unfair.

Currently, the DOJ is not even considering on-screen captioning. 

We need to send comments to the DOJ to push for stronger rules to support open-captioned movies to be displayed on movie screens when anyone requests it in order to give equal access to all movie goers.  On-screen captioning provides us with a truly integrated movie theater so that everyone can have the same positive experiences.

You can send your comment to the DOJ at the link below:!documentDetail;D=DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0001

(the Comment Now button is to the right)

Share this notice on your favorite social media outlet!

Thank you,

Dean DeRusso
Deaf Systems Advocate
Regional Center for Independent Living (RCIL)

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Special Sneak Peek – Mockingjay Movie

Special Sneak Peek

CaptionCall invites you and a guest to a special sneak peak of both our new mobile solution and the upcoming blockbuster Mockingjay! Celebrate CaptionCall on the iPad with a captioned movie and treats – on us! Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 6:00pm. Henrietta Stadium 18, 525 Marketplace Drive, Rochester, NY 14623. RSVP to or 801-293-6569

For a preview of the movie can be found at the below link:

Thank you,

Dean DeRusso
Deaf Systems Advocate
Regional Center for Independent Living (RCIL)

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We need to Urge the U.S. Congress to Delay
the FLSA Companionship Changes


We need to Urge New York State to Pay for the FLSA Companionship Changes if they are NOT Delayed!


 Step 1: Read this Alert
Step 2: Call US Congressmen to urge them to DELAY the FLSA Companionship Changes
Step 3: Call Governor Cuomo to urge him to PAY for the FLSA Companionship Changes if they are NOT delayed.


On October 1, 2013, the US Department of Labor (DOL) published changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that require state Medicaid programs to pay time-and-a-half for overtime and travel time. These rules go into effect on January 1, 2015, but DOL didn’t release important guidance until the summer of 2014. By then, most states already established their budgets, and without time for states to develop and fund plans to comply with the rule, they will simply cap the hours attendants can work to avoid overtime and potentially cut services to consumers receiving HCBS services.

Disability advocates urged DOL to give us more time to secure state funding to pay for the overtime and travel time. To do that, the changes to the Companionship Exemption need to be delayed for at least 18 months, to give advocates and states the time they needed to create an appropriate plan to comply with the changes without harming people with disabilities and attendants!

DOL stated it will not allow states & advocates reasonable time to change policies and procedures by putting in place a common sense delay of these changes. It now falls to the New York State to make sure that it uses every mechanism available to adequately fund the changes while people try to adjust.



Senator Lamar Alexander (R –TN) at 202-224-4944
Senator Tom Harkin (D – IA) at 202-224-3254
US Representative John Kline (R – MN) at 202-225-2271
US Representative George Miller (D- CA) at 202-225-2095


Changing the Fair Labor Standards Act was supposed to improve the lives of people with disabilities, and attendants, but implementing these rule changes without giving states time to fund them is doing the exact opposite. Please publicly support the rights of people with disabilities and the attendants who make our independence possible. WE NEED LEGISLATION TO DELAY THESE RULES FOR AT LEAST 18 MONTHS. Without your help, attendants who currently work more than 40 hours will have their hours capped and lose vital income, and the shortage of attendants will escalate into a crisis and people with disabilities will be forced into institutions.



Governor Cuomo at (518) 474-8390.


Consumer Directed Personal Assistance allow people with disabilities to stay in their own homes. Help protect the rights of people with disabilities to stay in their own homes and protect their attendants’ paychecks! I need you to take emergency action to prevent a crisis in continuity of care as a result of the changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Use programs authorized in the budget to provide enough money to pay workers for their overtime.  

Take the time and call the U.S. Congressmen AND the Governor’s office. This could be the difference between your home and a nursing home.

Thank you,Dean DeRusso
Deaf Systems Advocate
Regional Center for Independent Living (RCIL)
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