(Utah) Deaf center wants to avoid cutbacks

14 01 2009
News from Salt Lake Tribune
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Second home » Patrons and staff say plenty of people rely on the facility.

Some families with deaf relatives come to the Robert G. Sanderson Community Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for sporting events and to play cards. Many want counseling or help with applying for services. And others who are hearing, come to learn sign language.

“This is like a second home for me,” Jennifer Byrnes said through an interpreter.

The center already has suffered a 12.5 percent budget cut; supporters hope to staunch those losses.

To that end, more than 100 people attended the “Save the Deaf Center Rally” and pot luck Wednesday. Folks wrote letters to state lawmakers in support of the only Utah agency that provides deaf services.

The six-hour event was sponsored by the Utah Association for the Deaf as a result of news that Utah lawmakers are going to have to make major budget cuts, organizers said.

The center’s $2.2 million budget depends solely on state funding under the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation, said Center Director Marilyn Call.

UAD leaders said they understand that cuts have to be made to social services, but they just want lawmakers to consider how valuable the center is to the deaf and hearing communities.

“We’re just trying to minimize the impact,” said Trenton Marsh, UAD’s board chairman who works at the center.

So far, the center has laid off two full-time employees and about 10 part-timers. But as of Wednesday,

Copyright 2009 Salt Lake Tribune