The Green New Deal

Modified at  1:01 PST

The Green New Deal is a resolution that* aims to create millions of “good, high-wage jobs while striving for net zero greenhouse gas emissions.” (The Hill) it is spearheaded by one of the newer members of congress, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY). For those that are interested, it was posted by NPR on Thursday morning. Senator Ed Markey is also expected to submit something similar to Senate.

Some of the consequences of climate change remaining unchecked was listed in the bill. One of the things The Green New Deal bill states is that there is will be 500 billion dollars in lost annual economic output for the United States . The bill states that global greenhouse gas emission from human sources must be reduced in between 40-60 percent by 2030 and must be at zero by 2050.  Some questions still remain, what will this “New Green Deal” do? It is basically a 10 year mobilization project that emphasizes unionized labor and emissions reduction.



The more conservative, free market-focused Institute for Energy Research tweeted on Thursday, “There’s one more clue to clinch it for the naïve reader, to realize that the #GreenNewDeal really isn’t merely a technical solution to the problem of negative externalities: The word ‘nuclear’ doesn’t appear once in the entire draft legislation.” Megan Geuss

But are all democratic on board with this “Green New Deal”? On Thursday morning, Pelosi said, “I haven’t seen it, but I do know that it’s enthusiastic and we welcome all the enthusiasms that are out there.” People may say that’s welcoming but is this her way of saying that Cortez has a pipe dream and nothing more, after all she did say it was a “green dream”.

The main skepticism that democrats generally have is the ability to slash carbon emissions that quickly. 10 years as a goal for carbon free electricity doesn’t seem realistic to Senator Angus King (I-ME) Even Ernest Moniz who was Barack Obama’s energy secretary says having 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 is unrealistic.

NPR shared that there are more than 50 lawmakers that are co-sponsoring the Green new Deal resolution.  Their political editor, Domenico Montanaro read the bill and said that there is no real specific statements in the Green New Deal on how to get climate change under control. The other thing that people are going to be concerned about is how this affects their pocketbook. Even Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez did not have any real good idea of how to pay for this bill other than taxes and deficit spending which is something that Democrats have been critical about towards Republicans.

John Barrasso (R-WY) said, “As Democrats take a hard left turn, this radical proposal would take our growing economy off the cliff and our nation into bankruptcy. It’s the first step down a dark path to socialism.” which clearly highlighted the idea that the proposal has zero chance of gaining support in the Republican-controlled Senate.  (Anna Edgerton, Ari Natter and Bloomberg)

Is this another deal that will never see light of the day? There is a Clean Air Act in 1970 which had initially not designed to address climate change and it is believed by Center for Climate Change and Energy Solutions that the most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the worst consequence of climate change is a comprehensive market-based approach. This would place a cost on carbon and despise support from businesses and environmental communities, there have been no other debate since the failure of cap-and-trade legislation in 2009.

Climate Change and Energy Solutions has a few suggestions on how congress can address climate change issues which includes: Incentivizing carbon capture, use, and storage, advancing nuclear energy, improving energy efficiency, modernizing infrastructure, maintaining America’s scientific edge, building community resilience, and obtaining international support. How does this list of suggestions compare to the Green New Deal?

*DSTidbit News incorrectly labeled this as a piece of legislation which has been corrected to reflect that it is NOT a piece of legislation but rather a resolution.


Texas School for the Deaf Girls Basketball Team Winning Streak


The Texas school for the Deaf  Girls Varsity head coach, Brian Sipek and his assistant coaches, Ashley Elliott and Sean Moore have developed and trained an outstanding team that have played a total of thirty games this season.  The latest win was against Veritas with a score of 63-14 which brought their record to a total of thirty wins and zero losses.

Their final game this season will be against Reicher Catholic tonight, February 7, 2019 at Seeger Gym. If they are able to win the final game, they will have completed their season undefeated. Reicher Catholic is a 4A school that went into the playoffs last year and boasts a 17-13 record. This season, Texas School for the Deaf  (TSD) has played Reicher Catholic and won so tonight is Reicher Catholic’s chance to gun for revenge against undefeated TSD.

They began their season playing in and winning the Bestpack Tournament. The next tournament they won was the FEAST Patriots Invitational tournament which they also won with a score of 45-37.

Playing against Louisiana and Arkansas, they won the Leopards Classic Tournament in December and went on to win the New Year Eve Shootout Tournament.

Winning the Clerc Classic XIX Championship brought their record to 26-0. Texas School for the Deaf was to defeat three schools including California School for the Deaf, Fremont (CSD – F), Arizona School for the Deaf and Maryland School for the Deaf. 

At the beginning of the season in December, USA Today dubbed Indiana School for the Deaf as the Dream Team when their winning streak was 8-0, what does that make Texas School for the Deaf?

After their regular season, they are expecting to possibly play in the area playoffs, regional playoffs and then the final four.





Aspen Camp Faces Struggles as Zero Staff Remain


Ryan Commerson, board president of Aspen Camp announced today that they lost their two remaining staff members sometime over the past couple of months. This is shortly following the loss of their executive director at the beginning of the fall season.

On November 27, 2018, Snowmass Sun, a local news site announced that Aspen Camp was facing financial troubles with the IRS

“According to a federal tax lien filed in August of 2018, Aspen Camp for the Deaf owes more than $145,000 in payroll taxes from September 2014 through 2016.” (Erica Robbie) and with further investigation, information has been found to support this statement on the assessor’s website for Pitkin County in Colorado where Aspen Camp is located.


This announcement came to a shock to the community when no information had been revealed until this article was published.

“Aspen Camp for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is suspending its operations for a year and closing the doors to its Old Snowmass campus in an effort to focus on a “reinvention,” the 51-year-old nonprofit announced today.” Erica Robbie

Since November, they’ve requested assistance from the community several times. Even after ending of 2017 with $700 thousand dollars in assets they still had to reach out to the community for finding assistance over the weekend when the camp had pipes burst causing damage to campus. $5,000 is needed for down payment for repairs and they are also asking for more money to do additional repairs needed such as asbestos removal among other things.

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Ryan also announced in this video that they are aiming to fundraise $300,000 to start up camp again which they hope to have happen by 2020.

Aspen Camp has been one of the premiere camps for deaf children for over 50 years. With a long and rich history, many people are hoping that this is not the end of the road. There are many issues however Ryan continues to be optimistic and share news about Vanguard which is an attempt at discovering new ideas including the exploration of hack schooling. The community is questioning whether Ryan and his board can find a way to save Aspen Camp and bring it back to the heights of its glory days.

“Since opening its doors in 1967, the camp has welcomed more than 21,000 deaf people from 47 states and 12 countries,” camp director Lesa Thomas told the Snowmass Sun in an interview in July of 2017.

Central High School Bomb Threats may be over with arrest of Mizella Robinson

Updated at 2:23 PST

If you tuned in for DSTidbit News LIVE video interview with Chris and Mindy Bjarkman and their son, Jacob, the news of Central High School Bomb threats is not new. Jacob Bjarkman was forced to stand in a football field for 3 hours on Monday, the first day of five days of threats in the rain. This was while the school was being searched for bombs.

Mizella M. Robinson, has caused a lot of trouble for herself and her future. Motive behind her threats is unknown but she was caught today, March 23, 2018 after five days of threats and six total bomb threats.

Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis announced the arrest Friday of a suspect in six bomb threats this week at Central High School.

Student Mizella M. Robinson, 17, has been charged with multiple counts in the case, Nienhuis said “This was a single individual using a single device,” he said.  She admitted to making the threats.

Deputies were at the school repeatedly from Monday through Thursday to investigate the threats, but found nothing, according to Nienhuis.

As Jacob said, “This is stupid, a waste of time!” He was very upset that he was missing out on his education because somebody wanted to play a prank and as Sheriff Al Nienhuis said, “It was a 100 percent hoax, We didn’t find anything at all that was a fake bomb, let alone a real bomb.”

While Chris and Mindy Bjarkman are among the parents that are sick and tired of these things happening especially this past week, they are also relieved that this is over and Jacob can go back to school!

Mindy mentioned on Facebook, “Jacob is ready to go back to school. He misses his friends. I think everybody can breathe now. It really impacted our community greatly.”

Parents and residents of the area were informed of this update live via television prior to the publication on TBO! 


This is from the live video by Hernando Sheriff Office on Facebook

Sheriff Al Nienhuis and Dr. Lori Romano give an update on an arrest made in the recent bomb threats at Central High School.

Mizella Robinson, B/F DOB/12-27-2000, was arrested on 6 counts of False Report of a Bomb, 6 counts Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Communications Device, 5 counts of Misuse of E-911 and 6 counts of Disruption of a School Function.

Note: DSTidbit News is still working on the transcript for the live video chat and it will be available shortly! Thank you for your patience.

We demand Accommodations not Implantations! #DeafInPrison

HEARD (Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of Deaf) is not a stranger to the prison system, for they have been fighting since 2011 to identify and remove barriers that prevent deaf and disabled people from participating in and having equal access to the judicial system.

There have been several different campaigns that HEARD has rallied for in the past (most are ongoing) but their latest has to do with the appalling desire of Federal BOP (Bureau of Prisons) to attempt to implant prisoners rather than providing reasonable accommodations such as interpreters and they have called you to action.

There are three different cases that have been brought to HEARD’s attention. One individual had untreated viral meningitis along with an ossified cochlea which means their hearing will never be restored. Ossification of the cochlea has caused the formation of new bone material by cells called osteoblasts. With this happening, a cochlear implant may or may not be ideal for an individual with an ossified cochlea however in this particular case, the prisoner has other issues such as vertigo and because of the type of ossification, did not benefit from the cochlear implant.

HEARD highlights this particular case as an example of BOP’s failure to provide adequate healthcare for individuals in its care.

The first case shared may have had an adequate basis for a cochlear implant however the other two gentlemen who were approached about getting cochlear implants were individuals that are culturally deaf and do not use any language other than American Sign Language to communicate.

HEARD stated in their BOP Ideas for action that BOP has constantly avoided providing basic accommodation requests such as interpreters, and access to community resources such as Deaf Interpreters, they have failed their due diligence of obtaining a way for their individuals to communicate “effectively” which is against their rights as an individual.

This means that the two culturally deaf individuals can not provide  informed consent for these cochlear implant surgeries.

HEARD has suggested 4 possible Ideas for Action. The more you do, the better!

Contact Minnesota Legislation and Congresspersons, contact the Bureau of Prisons,  Contact the Mayo Clinic, and/or contact the Department of Justice. Addresses and ways to contact people at each of these locations is included in their call for action! Check them out and get involved.

Call to Action has been posted in both English and American Sign Language. If you would like to read the call of action, or watch the video in American Sign Language, be sure to check them out!

HEARD also has a Facebook page where ongoing information will be shared. Don’t forget to use the Hashtags #DeafInPrison, and #accommodationNOTimplantation when sharing these stories or talking about the topic on Facebook and any other social Media.

Austin Bombing Timeline Ending with Demise of Suspect

Parcel Service employees and Travis County residents have been terrified for the past three weeks because there have been parcels blowing up since March 2, 2018.

Timeline of Bombings:

Explosion 1: March 2, 2018 Killed Anthony Stephan House

Device blew up in front of his home on his front porch in Austin, Tx. It was initially investigated as a suspicious death however it was later ruled as a homicide.

Explosion 2: March 12, 2018 killed Draylen Mason (17 years old) and injured his mother.

The package had been brought inside the home and the police only had a couple of hours after this bombing before they reported a third bombing.

Explosion 3: March 12, 2018 no deaths were reported but at least one elderly lady was injured.

Explosion 4: March 18, 2018 around 8:30 PM Two men in their 20’s suffered non-life threatening injuries in the blast.

This explosion was suspected to have been triggered by a trip wire and one of the men ended up with nails in his leg.

“If this explosion was the result of a bomb using trip wire technology, that is showing a different level of skill above that we were already concerned that this suspect or suspects may possess,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on March 19.

Explosion 5: March 20, 2018 at a FedEx ground distribution facility in Schertz, Texas, injuring one person.

Schertz Police Lt. Manny Casas told Fox San Antonio a medium-sized package, which was heading to Austin, was on the conveyor belt when it exploded. A female employee was treated for a “possible sound injury” and was released.

Final Explosion: On March 21 in the early AM, police apprehended the suspect and the 24-year-old male Mark Anthony Conditt, blew himself up as SWAT team closed into suspected serial bomber.


However it has been advised by the FBI that it is very possible that packages are still out there and have asked that the public report any suspicious packages. For our community, watching this video by Travis County Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to see what to watch out for!


EHDI Annual Meeting March 18-20, 2018 Faced with Obstacles from Community

EHDI (EARLY HEARING DETECTION & INTERVENTION)  17th annual meeting happened this week in Denver Colorado. Today is the last day of the “annual meeting” As stated on their website, they state that the conference/meeting has “built a strong reputation for bringing together a wide variety of attendees”

Their attendees are mostly individuals that work in state and federal level “early hearing detection and intervention”

Their goal is to “enhance the implementation of comprehensive state-based early hearing detection and intervention” and here are a few other things that they expect individuals from the conference to learn about prior to their departure:

“Interpret and describe current research and research methods related to EHDI.

Examine cultural competence of providers and assess their ability to work with children who are deaf or hard of hearing, their families, and communities.

Discuss the importance of enhancing and creating new and ongoing working relationships among federal agencies, non-profit organizations, state health departments and educational agencies, advocacy groups, families, and professionals.”

Sheri Farinha has written an open letter to Karl White in response to EHDI’s declining LEAD-K workshop from inclusion in the upcoming 2018 EHDI Conference.

According to their Facebook page, “The Lead-K Campaign is a civil right movement to end the nationwide epidemic of language deprivation by promoting language equality, American Sign Language (ASL) and English, as a basic human right for all Deaf babies, LEADING to a new generation of Deaf children who are Kindergarten-ready.”

They have reported that there is an epidemic of language deprived deaf children who have been denied ASL and it is an ongoing and growing epidemic. Children who are not exposed to language have irreparable impact on their education and development.

With EHDI and The Lead-K Campaign focused on bettering children lives through different means, one may think the conference would embrace Lead-K Campaign involvement however they have denied their involvement not once, but twice. Sheri has stated in her open letter that people reviewing workshops submissions made some unprofessional and biased statements towards the workshop they asked to include this year. English Transcript of Video Available Here 

In response to many things but including the exclusion of The Lead-K Campaign and to EHDI being in Denver this year, there was a rally in front of the conference by “Transform EHDI NOW” on March 17, 2018. Their description reads: “Marches, activities, and an educational conference transform E.H.D.I to “Early Healthy Deaf Identity”

An introductionary video on the Transform EHDI NOW website shares a few thoughts with the viewer about what the campaign is working towards.

Great Mills High School Shooting in St Mary County Maryland

Published 8:45 PST
Edited 9:00 PST

On March 20, 2018 Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County, Maryland there was a report of three individuals injured in a shooting. Students have been on lock-down but were being released to a reunification center at another local high school as of 11:30 EST.

Baltimore Field office of the FBI have agents on the ground investigating the incident. During the incident, there was a student, Jonathan Freese, on the phone with CNN reporting that the police were doing a school-wide clearance.

Freese also reported that the school had done a couple drills in case of an incident like this one however he never expected for something like this to happen.

“I didn’t really expect for this to happen. I do always feel safe, though, because they always have police at the school,” he said.

The shooter is one of the individuals injured in the shooting however there are no fatalities. He had injured two students prior to an armed school resources officer pulling his gun on the shooter and wounding the shooter in the arm.

The St. Mary’s County sheriff, Tim Cameron, confirmed that the shooter had shot a female student also wounding a male student in the hallway prior to exchanging shots with the resources officer who appeared in time to prevent any further injuries.

The principal, Jake Heibel told parents  a couple weeks ago that school officials had investigated threats of a possible shooting. The officials had, in the end determined they were “not substantiated.” It is not clear whether that incident involved the gunman who opened fire this morning.

According to CNN’s research, there have been 16 confirmed school shootings this year in the United States prior to today.

“Less than a WEEK ago Great Mills High School students walked out with us to protest gun violence… now they’re experiencing it for themselves,” said Jaclyn Corin, a student fighting for gun reform. “The state of our country is disgusting – I’m so sorry, Great Mills.”

Great Mills High School has an enrollment of just over 1,500 students, about 56% of them minority students. The school has a four-year graduation rate of 91%, according to the school’s 2015-16 improvement plan


The female student is in critical condition, the male student is in stable condition and the shooter, a male, has died, the sheriff said.

According to the MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, the female student is 16, and the other wounded male student is 14.

Illinois School for the Deaf Death

The death of a female student at Illinois School for the Deaf on March 16, 2018, has the community heartbroken however in the midst of their heartbreak people are questioning what made Janie end her life.

“The seventeen-year-old girl was found in her dorm room at 7 am and was pronounced dead thirty minutes later,” Coroner Jeff Lair said Friday.

Janie Strange’s sister Jordan posted on the Illinois School for the Deaf Alumni Association Facebook page making a formal statement about her sister’s death.

29342476_10208961351831543_3288862531078062080_n“This doesn’t feel real, and I really wish it wasn’t. I feel sick to my stomach but I want to let the world know rather than let rumors swirl. A lot of people know that my sister has struggled with depression since my dad died in 2014, and unfortunately, she decided to end that struggle in a devastating and irreversible way today. My beautiful baby sister died today at the age of 17. There is no love like the love of a sister, and Janie I will miss you and love you every day for the rest of my life.” Jordan Strange

People in the community have started up speculations on what led to her decision to take her own life. Is it that Illinois School for the Deaf has encouraged and continued to enforce an audism based environment that causes students to feel oppressed at school or do they have a rape culture which Janie had experienced firsthand? Schools for the Deaf have a long-standing history of sexual assault at schools by staff members and other students.

What is the main issue that Illinois School for the Deaf has to look at and eradicate? Again these are only speculations that have been expressed by community members and not the opinion of DSTidbits.

As Jordan mentioned above, her little sister was depressed because of her father’s death so it very well could be that she did not kill herself because of anything that the school did, however, it is important not to sweep possible issues under the rug.

At the end of the day, the final question is: did the school do everything possible to help prevent this from happening. Does the school for the deaf’s overnight staff follow the standard protocol of checking rooms on a regular basis (Texas School for the Deaf reports a 15-minute interval between rounds)? Do they have steps to recognize signs of depression and mental health counseling options for students? In the end, the school for the deaf will decide if they want to figure out what they need to do to prevent this from happening again. Keep in mind, the police have already stated that there was no suspected foul play in her death so the school may feel no obligation to investigate allegations put forth by the community.

If you are thinking about ending your life or know of somebody that is considering suicide contact crisis text line. Sharing this information might save a life.

DSTidbits would like to express our condolences to the family.

Equality for Sign Language throughout the World


The fight for each country’s primary sign language(s) to be recognized by the government is a long-standing battle that many countries have won throughout Europe. In 2016, two countries have been closing in on the victory of getting their language(s) recognized as an official language. This is an exciting milestone for those that have worked for years to get to this point in time.


Equality for Sign Language is a milestone that many countries either dream of or cherish as part of their culture. Canada is coming upon that milestone thanks to the Canadian Association of the Deaf/L’Association des Sourds du Canada. They are spearheading this effort to get sign languages recognized in Canada and participating in the federal accessibility consultation sessions. Frank Folino the President of CAD, James Roots, Executive Director  of CAD; and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities attended the reception for International Day of Persons with Disabilities. They have been  the key players behind the hard work in making this possible.  

In Employment and Social Development Canada, they took the time to look at some model countries that have notable legislatures about sign language including but not limited to New Zealand, Sweden, Finland, and Scotland. This review was to help the government determine exactly how they would be enacting their federal laws. The interesting thing about Canada’s efforts in getting their sign language recognized is that it is not about just one type of sign language but two:  ASL and LSQ.

Back in 2010, a UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities was ratified by Canada. This declaration had called for countries to provide services in the country’s sign language and implement it as an official language. Canada’s goal is to have this legislation in place by the end of 2017 or early 2018.

Canada is also behind in human rights for those that are deaf and hard of hearing. Just on Thursday, December 1; Disabilities Minister Carla Quatrough announced that the cumbersome process that is currently in place for human rights complaints will no longer be mandatory and the government is working to provide an an optional part of the UN declaration that would allow Canadians with disabilities to file a human rights complaint with the United Nations and let the international body launch investigations into systemic issues in Canada.

“We have heard loud and clear from people across the country that there has to be some kind of teeth to this, that there has to be some kind of enforcement mechanism. It has to be aspirational for sure, but it also has to set some kind of expectation whether it be in the form of standards or guidelines.” Disabilities Minister Carla Qualtrough.


As of July of 2016, Europe is way ahead of the game. Only Italy and Luxembourg were left to recognize sign language as an official language in their country (LIS is the sign language of Italy) and so the Italian deaf community came up with the Hashtag #ITALIALOVELIS to spread awareness of the request for their language to be recognized and to help communication barriers to be torn down. This ideally would promote integration of the deaf and hearing world because of the need for LIS to encourage the fostering of their capabilities to learn Italian.

Present Chairman of the Healthcare Commission, Fabio Rolfe, the Lombard Senator Laura Bignami, MEP Angelo Ciocca (in liaison from Brussels) experts and representatives deaf national Board met to discuss the promotion of the language and on the many critical issues yet to be resolved. In particular, we talked about accessibility in the health world, at school and in the workplace.
Recognized in Europe as early as 1988, supported by UNESCO, today in Italy the Lis is used by 43,000 people, including 5,000 in Lombardy.
“The conference – explains Carolina Toia – is the result of a fruitful collaboration between the Lombardy Region and the National Authority for the protection and assistance of the Deaf (ENS), which led to the first draft of the bill for the promotion of LIS and then to its approval in the regional Council. The LIS is a real language, with precise grammar, syntax and its own morphology, and as such should be recognized and promoted. ” (Que Brianza)
The Pirelli has already approved a regional law on Lis, the Italian Sign Language. But to keep attention focused on the subject in recent days has organized a meeting with experts and national authority representatives deaf.