The Daily Moth 6-19-2019

Trump raises $24.8 million after kicking off 2020 campaign in Orlando; Indian magician dies from river escape stunt; UN says Saudi crown prince liable for killing of Khashoggi; Dutch prosecutor charges 4 men for 2014 plane crash in Ukraine; Signs of climate change; Deaf student gets honored as one of the U.S. Presidential Scholars for 2019; Michigan School for the Deaf community members express concerns at town hall

[Transcript] Hello, welcome to The Daily Moth! It is Wednesday, June 19. Ready for news?


Trump raises $24.8 million after kicking off 2020 campaign in Orlando

President Trump’s 2020 campaign raised $24.8 million in less than 24 hours after officially launching his re-election bid in a rally in Orlando, Florida.

AP News said that Trump’s team already reported $48.7 million in cash at the end of March. This means Trump 2020 already is and will be a very powerful machine with a significant head start ahead of the field of Democratic opponents with fundraising.

Trump’s campaign rally was at a 20,000 seat stadium, the Amway Center. The Orlando Sentinel said it was “near capacity.”

Trump’s wife, children, and the Vice President Mike Pence and his wife were there.

Trump said he won in 2016 because people believed that a nation must take care of its own citizens first. He was proud of passing a criminal justice bill and healthcare reforms for veterans, passing tax cuts, pointed out that the economy is doing great, and said they are keeping their promises to the American people.

His new campaign slogan is “Keep America Great.”

Trump criticized Hillary Clinton by saying her email investigation was biased in favor of her, criticized Democratic congressional investigations, the Mueller investigation, and the concept of socialism.

Next week 20 Democrats will debate in Miami. Election Day will be on November 3, 2020, which is 502 days away.


Indian magician dies from river escape stunt

A magician and stuntman from India, Chanchal Lahiri, died after attempting a Houdini-inspired stunt where he was lowered in the Hooghly River tied up with steel chains and rope. The stunt was on Sunday night and his body was found Monday night.

He was 40 years old. Before he went into the water, he told a crowd that if “he can open it up then it will be magic, but if he can’t it will be tragic.”

He did not come up from the water. After 30 minutes, spectators, his team, and his family searched for him along the river. Police found his body the next day two kilometers away.


UN says Saudi crown prince liable for killing of Khashoggi; Dutch prosecutor charges 4 men for 2014 plane crash in Ukraine

Here are two world news briefs.

The first — an official UN report on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi said Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be investigated because there is credible evidence that he is liable for the killing.

The UN called the killing an “execution” and said it was an international crime.

The report said based on audio recordings, it appears Khashoggi was killed by an injection of a sedative and suffocated with a plastic bag after he refused to cooperate with Saudi authorities at a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

A Saudi official said the UN report was “nothing new” and had “baseless allegations.”

The second news — an international investigative team led by the Netherlands’ chief prosecutor announced they have charged four men with murder for causing the crash of Malaysia Airlines Fight 17 as it flew over Ukraine during their civil war in 2014. Investigators say it was hit by a Russian-made missile. 298 people died.

Three of the men are former top Russian intelligence officials and the fourth person is a Ukrainian citizen who have worked with Russian-backed separatist units.

Russian officials said the charges are unfounded.


Signs of climate change

Here are three news that are also signs of climate change.

The first — a thin and weak polar bear was found walking in city streets in Norilsk, Russia, which was the first time this has happened in 40 years. Polar bears normally live and hunt hundreds of miles north of the city. The bear was described as hungry and very weak.

Local officials will try to catch the bear and airlift it back north. Fox News reported that environmentalists say wild animals are suffering from shrinking hunting grounds due to receding Arctic ice because temperatures are warmer than normal.

The second news — last week a Danish scientist took a picture of a sled dog team that looked like it was walking on water. This was in Greenland. The scientist said the area is usually icy and covered with snow, but now it has water above it from melting ice sheets.

Greenland has reported record levels of ice melts.

The third news — a team of scientists from the University of Alaska Fairbanks said they have, from a plane, observed permafrost in the Canadian Arctic thawing 70 years earlier than predicted. They said an area that was normally frozen has turned into an area of small ponds with vegetation growing.

Scientists warn that thawing permafrost could release gases that trap heat, which would create a feedback loop that will contribute to rising temperatures.


Deaf student gets honored as one of the U.S. Presidential Scholars for 2019

Megan Clements, a deaf senior at Rigby High School in Idaho, was selected as one of the finalists for the United States Presidential Scholar award. This is one of the highest honors that a high school student can receive. She will be one of the 161 selected students across the nation who will visit the White House on June 23rd.

The Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 to recognize and honor some of our country’s distinguished graduating high school seniors. The Presidential Scholars Program is a recognition program, no scholarship is given. Students who are chosen will have a free trip to Washington, D.C., presented a medallion at a ceremony by the White House, and get to meet important people, including the President. Applications are by invitation only. The student has to send in five essays, a letter of recommendation, their transcript, and SAT/ACT scores.

Clements, a 4.0 GPA student, is also the first person to be selected from her district. She is this year’s class valedictorian. She was the first person to create an American Sign Language club at Rigby High School.

The Daily Moth reached out to her for an interview.

(Interview begins)


Well, the essay prompt said that I had to pick something that was of significance about myself. I’d have to pick a feature and explain my pick. This was a very vague question, right?

Not that simple, so I picked pole vaulting. Pole vaulting (PV). I really enjoyed trying to figure out how this could be connected. I eventually thought of this comparative essay between pole vaulting and living with my deafness.

I tried to show that in pole vaulting, if you just see a person holding the pole and they’re trying to run with the pole. It looks awkward and slow when they’re trying to run. It seems that the pole is really difficult to carry, and it looks kinda silly while you’re doing it, right? But if you take a step back and look at the full picture, the pole is not the problem. It’s meant to help them jump much higher than they would without the pole. With the pole, you can go to great heights. I compared that to my deafness and how people’s first reaction is sympathy, you know? Like it’s so hard and it feels really bad, but really helped me learn and understand who I am as a person. So I compared these two.


I first got an email then they sent me a letter. That’s when it became real.


An official letter, right. And how did you feel when you got that email and letter? What did that make you feel?


I felt…I got really excited and…at first, I opened the email and I read it. It said, “Thank you for submitting your application…”, my first thought was, “Aw nooo!”


I didn’t get it. I was being rejected; you know?!


Yes and that’s the first sentence you see, gosh!


Denied! Then it said, “Congratulations!”

What, congratulations?! Then I read the rest of the letter. “Oh!”. It seems I spoke too soon. It was really funny.


You must’ve been excited.


Yeah and I told my mom. She was so excited, and she was saying that she couldn’t believe it. I was like, “Ah I see, thanks mom!”

But no, it’s all good. We were really excited, and I told…well, I just told my family. My mom and dad and they were really excited.


So cool. So, you’re visiting Washington, D.C. next week. I’m curious about how you feel about meeting President Donald Trump. You’re meeting him, right? How do you feel about that?


I feel…pretty excited. Originally, I wasn’t sure if I was going to actually meet the president himself or, like, would I just go into the White House and take a look around? But now, I know I’ll be meeting him in person so I’m pretty excited. I think it’ll be fun, you know, taking a picture with him and everything, right? But I’m really excited to meet the other students too. Just meeting them and seeing who they are. Yeah, it’s really... I’m able to bring my interpreter from high school, my own interpreter.


Oh, how nice!


That’s really nice! I’d already know this person that’s interpreting for me. We understand each other’s signing styles.


I’m just curious about your plans following graduation. What are your plans moving forward?


Well, the current plan is I will start school at Utah State University in Fall 2019. This fall, in August I think, and I want to major in Biology. And I want to focus on genetics.




It’s pretty cool.

So, I’m starting this fall and after I get my Bachelor’s degree, I want to become a Physician’s Assistant (PA). So, I think after 6-7 years total of school, I’ll start with my work, I guess.

[End interview]

In 2013, Colin Lualdi from The Learning Center in Massachusetts, was honored as one of the 141 senior finalists for the U.S. Presidential Scholar Program.

In an article written by the Idaho State Journal, Clements’ principal Bryan Lords mentioned that she is a go-getter and a hard worker, and that’s what he loves about her.

To our knowledge, Clements is the 2nd deaf person to receive this award. Congratulations to you and The Daily Moth wishes you the best for your future endeavors.


Michigan School for the Deaf community members express concerns at town hall

Last night there were about 200 people from the Deaf community in Michigan who attended a town hall hosted by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and the Office of Special Education (OSE) to express their concerns and frustrations with the Michigan School for the Deaf’s process of hiring a principal and on the school’s signing policy.

There was a protest on Thursday led by students with parents and activists attending. Their main complaint was that the campus manager, Charles Thomas, was not proficient in sign language and was not transparent in his communication with students or parents. The Daily Moth did a report on the protests.

Yesterday morning, before the evening town hall, the OSE announced that they have appointed Angela Horne, a special education teacher, to be an interim, WOC (Working Out of Class) principal.

MSD alumni Jenny Berrigan posted screenshots of the announcement from the OSE, who pointed out that Horne has an Associate’s Degree in Sign Language Interpreting.

Several Deaf community members expressed frustration on social media that Horne is not as qualified or as proficient in ASL as Rex Vernon, who student leaders said was the best choice and is a CODA.

Deaf Michigan resident Kriston Pumphrey attended the town hall and provided some images and video to “The Daily Moth.”


[Video of a full-house audience with several people talking onstage]

[Slideshow with the words, “Preparation: Community Input. A community meeting will be held to seek input on the following questions: 1. What personal characteristics, professional background and experiences would you hope the new principal will possess? 2. From your perspective, what would attract a quality educator to seek the principal position at the MSD?]

[Female MSD community member speaking with interpreter translating: You’ve failed to give my son, our children with a proper education under the IDEA. Parents here are demanding, not requesting, we are now demanding ASLPI Level 5 or above.]

[Female MSD community member #2 signing: October 2018, it was announced that the campus manager was hired. Were parents informed? Were you informed? Audience: No!]

The Daily Moth did an interview with two parents to ask them about last night’s town hall and what their main concerns were.


Hello, can you two introduce your names and what role you’ve been playing in this?


My name is Heather Golob. *Signs name*

I’m a parent of 3 deaf children, with the fourth on the way this fall.


I’m Sarah Houston and I’m a parent of a 10-year-old boy enrolled at Michigan School for the Deaf (MSD).


Can you two explain what are the main concerns that the parents in the deaf community shared at last night’s town hall?


One of the main concerns is their language policy. For our school, their expectation is that all of their staff and teachers to sign at ASL Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) level 4 to 5 in order to better meet our children’s sign language communication needs so they’re not losing that critical information. And none of them are taking these ASLPIs.


Angela Horne (AH) is not a proficient ASL signer. She’s only been working at MSD for 3 years.


That’s it.


That’s not a lot of time compared with other principal candidate options, like Rex Vernon who has 10 years of valuable experience plus he’s got that Children of Deaf Adults (CODA) connection. I don’t understand why that was not the pick?

I want real concrete change within the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) system itself. I’ve asked and said they need deaf representatives in there!

There’s no “if, ands, ors and buts”.


We need to put a person who truly knows what’s the best for our deaf children because they will always be involved, it’s rooted in their culture, and I’m not necessarily only talking about deaf people. There are some who would prefer a deaf person in that role, yes, my priority is sign language. It’s so important that they are able to have that effective language reciprocity with my child for the deaf community. They want to see real progress with the educational delivery and that will be done with sign language.


Michigan Department of Education (MDE) hosted the town hall and just yesterday morning, they announced that they had picked Angela Horne, just before the town hall. Do either of you feel like they should’ve waited until after the town hall? How did you feel about that timeline set for you where you had the protest, picking the principal and now the town hall?


My thought was…

What happened when the parents asked Charles Thomas (CT) last April or May, around there, asking if he would have a meeting with all of us parents. He never answered our messages. So why are you waiting and avoiding these students until June. When it took 4 students to go outside and protest for you to finally say something?! Now you immediately set up the town hall, and it wasn’t until right before the meeting, they made the announcement in the same day, in the morning. How did that make me feel? What the hell?!

And I’m not surprised that they picked Angela Horne. We knew this would happen.


For me, it shows they simply don’t care. They do not care about what we and the deaf community want. They run on their own system. They pick people who will side with them in order to try to change the philosophy, the bilingual philosophy at Michigan School for the Deaf (MSD). It’s my belief that they’re trying to lessen the emphasis on ASL or they’re just not going to put any focus on sign language in terms of learning and education.


Now, what’s the next important, well, it’s summer now and they’ve already hired Angela Horne as the interim principal. Can you explain what your plans are moving forward?


After what just happened yesterday, I’ve had a lot of thoughts about what our next move would be. I expect them to finally listen and that’s the only one damn thing I want and it’s for them to listen to us! That’s all! And they need to ask us about what we need to meet our kid’s education needs. That’s the only damn thing that we need! That’s all.


I want to take the time to make sure they heard us by taking action. How? First, Angel needs to resign and if she does not then we’re going to have to persist and keep pushing until the first demand has been met. We do have a qualified, competent and culturally appropriate person who can take on that role. Just do it. Doing this would show us that you do hear us. You understand us. If this doesn’t happen then we’ll just have to continue the fight.

Alex: Thank you for your time.

Scott Koenigsknecht, as known as K13, who is the Deputy Superintendent of the MDE, was at the town hall and seated on a table onstage.

The Michigan Deaf Association shared a video of Mary Klein telling him that he has 13 cousins who are MSD alumni. The crowd broke out in cheers and applause.

[Video clip] Mary: Did you know that you have 13 cousins that are MSD alumni? Did you know that?

(Crowd cheering)

Mary: I have a family tree here for you to look at.

Koenigsknecht told NBC 25 News that he understood the community’s concerns, saying “there were a few times when the presenters signed and didn’t speak, and me not knowing sign, I was deprived of the language. So I can certainly see and understand where they are coming from.”

Stevie Gemmill Naeyaert, a MSD alumni, recently publicly called for the resignation of the MSD campus manager Thomas and the interim principal Horne.

So, we can see that it’s a very tense situation between MDE administrators, the Michigan School for the Deaf administrators, and members of the MSD community.

MDA Video of Mary Klein:

Stevie’s Resignation Demand:


That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!


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