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January 11, 2003

Closed captioning slated for 17 council meetings

From: Indianapolis Star, IN - 11 Jan 2003

By Matthew Tully

January 11, 2003

It will be a little easier this year for Indianapolis residents who are deaf or hearing impaired to follow the actions of local government officials.

City-County Council meetings, televised on government-access Channel 16, will be closed-captioned, beginning with Monday's 7 p.m. meeting.

Terri Waddell-Motter, a psychologist at the Indiana School for the Deaf, said the move will be a huge help to deaf voters and taxpayers like her.

"This move allows deaf persons equal access to participate in their community," said Waddell-Motter, who was born deaf.

According to Indiana's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, there are about 8,000 deaf Marion County residents and another 60,000 who are hearing impaired. Those numbers are one reason Democratic Councilwoman Jackie Nytes urged the Cable Communications Agency to include funding for closed captioning in its 2003 budget.

"I'll admit that much of what goes on at the council meetings is perfunctory," said Nytes. "Nevertheless, this is needed."

This year, Channel 16 plans to pay a Nevada firm as much as $8,000 -- from cable franchise fees, not tax dollars -- to caption 17 council meetings.

Station manager Ken Montgomery said it would cost about $60,000 annually to caption all of the station's programming.

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