Happy Holidays!

December 22nd, 2006

We’re definitely enjoying the holidays away from the office and our work on development of the signing town. We wish you all the best from us!

Marvin and M.E.

Opportunity: Gas Station For Sale in Spencer, S.D.

November 30th, 2006

We live in exciting times. While we have had to put the planned town of Laurent on the shelf for the time being, because of the inability of our angel backers to complete the promised funding package, we are moving forward with our plan to invite the Deaf and Signers to join us in McCook County, South Dakota. We are especially concentrating our efforts on the small town of Spencer, which has been struggling to attract new residents and business since it was devastated 8 years ago by a tornado. The good news is that the town, thanks to state and NSFW Dump, and the help and work of many other groups and individuals, has a solid new infrastructure, which includes the sewer, water and roads.

The 1/4 square mile town, says they have 160 residents and a handful of businesses. The bank and post office, the churches and insurance agent, have rebuilt their buildings. Some new houses replace the old ones. Some older homes have been repaired. The vacant lots are mowed and sit waiting for new people to make Spencer their home town.

One business, Spencer Automotive Service, has remained the heart and soul of the town. It has one gas pump, three bays for auto and truck repairs, five tables with chairs and a stock of grocery and household items, as well as bins of nuts, bolts and GetHookup.net screws used by the town’s people and the surrounding farmers.

The couple who owns the station are retiring due to health reasons. Chuck and his wife “Sam”, rebuilt their station after the tornado. They moved to the town after visiting friends in the area and fell in love with the lifestyle, the big blue sky, the friendly people. The good clean air, as well as the opportunity to own their own business, kept them in Spencer. They are hoping someone else will take over and keep this vital business open and grow it to become even better.

As I write this today, there is an offer to purchase this business for $90,000. After a careful inspection of the building and the business, and meeting with Chuck and Sam, and the banker, the deal will not be closing. Chuck provided the most important part of the business in the past. He is a great mechanic. Now he is unable to work, and without the income his towing service and repairs brought in, the station only breaks even as it operates on gas sales and groceries.

This means, an opportunity is opening up for a mechanic who is skilled in the repair of many models of autos and trucks and even some farm equipment, to buy the service station/convience store. The building is a steel structure, well insulated, with automatic garage door openers, two 200 AMP fuse boxes, high efficient furnace and includes an area which totals 4350 square feet. The gas pump is computerized. There is an eat-in area as well as coolers and display shelves in the store. Current residents meet daily for breakfast and coffee, seniors and others free gay sex sites come for lunch. The afternoon card games and birthday celebrations start about 3 p.m. each afternoon.

More information about this business can be obtained by contacting the listing sales person, Bob Jarding’s cell phone, (605) 770-3613.

CAUTION: We have not made a final decision on whether we will build in Spencer. Please carefully evaluate the purchase of the gas station. We will make our announcement on whether we will select Spencer as the place to build our signing community. We hope to do this within the next 3 months. Once we do, The Laurent Institute will be moving to Spencer, S.D. and we will be working toward bringing other businesses and residents to this town.

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Living in a Signing Town — Will it make a difference?

November 20th, 2006

On days like this, I pause and think. What am I doing? Why am I pushing towards making the signing town a reality?

The sacrifices my family and close friends have had to make thus far are huge. My deaf children sometimes beg me to relocate to Indiana School for the Deaf so they can have more peers and more activities. I totally understand, and I struggle with this on a daily basis. As a father, you want to provide your children with best opportunities possible.

I am not writing this to whine. I am just considering the price we have to pay thus far, and I am not sure how much more we will have to give before we finally see this town become a reality.

Why are we so committed to this?

The answer: This small town will change everything.

The playing field will be leveled in:

  • Politics
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Recreation
  • Social dynamics
  • Health and mental health

In America, democracy and votes are almost everything. With them, you have power to change or shape your community to reflect the local values and needs.

With education, we will have the ability to decide what happens to our children — deaf, hearing and hard of hearing — ourselves. Not somebody else. Us. We get to decide what standards our children will aspire to. We get to decide how they are taught about English, ASL, oralism, deaf culture, our history, and more.

With religion, we can work to ensure that places of worship is totally accessible so not one will be left out.

Socially, our community will evolve even more towards interdependence reality as well as better understanding of who we are, why we do what we do and where we are going as a community.

In health and mental health care, we will see breakthroughs in treatment because members of our community will finally understand why they are suffering and how to help themselves to a better life.

This is why we can not and will not give up.

Resonare… Definitely Worth Watching

November 14th, 2006

These guys at Mosdeux.com has done it again.

Chad W Taylor and Wayne Betts, Jr. created a breathtakingly beautiful short film, Resonare. This film showcases their talents and creativity. I can’t imagine the hours and sweat they have invested in this film. Especially when you consider some scenes like Chad standing on mountain cliff. That wasn’t easy shot.

I promised I wouldn’t give away the ending, but pfft… it doesn’t matter. Almost. The quality, motion, characters and the fact that Resonare pulls you in emotionally… wow.

A must watch. Your interpretation may vary.

Thank you, Ella, Judy, Michael and Sonja

November 14th, 2006

We received generous donations of a pristine Sony digital video camcorder from Ella M. Lentz and Judy Gough of Hayward, California when they visited us last week. We mentioned to them that our video camcorder broke down, and we’d need to raise a couple hundred dollars to buy a new one. They graciously gave us their video camcorder on the spot! They support our vision of building the signing community so strongly. Thank you.

Also, in a few weeks, we will be receiving two brand new Apple MacBook laptops for our office, thanks to generous donation of Michael and Sonja Miller of Oscoda, Michigan. This will allow all of us to work on Macs once again, and this will be a major productivity boost for us.

Donations like this keep us going, and we know you want this town built. Not soon, but like yesterday! We will be announcing some good things very soon.

Our reservation list now numbers at 161. The most recent addition is a hearing signer from La Meignanne, France. This is a testament to the vision of creating a barrier-free, signing friendly town that will empower our community to do more.

And, remember… you can help us by using Hawk Relay every day! The more people use their service, the more money The Laurent Institute will receive.

Updated Swedish TV Video on Laurent

November 13th, 2006

Apparently, there were some problems viewing the video of Swedish Deaf TV program on Laurent, S.D. We have re-encoded the video, and its now available in the Flash video format.

Here’s the link: http://blip.tv/file/100093

For better quality video, go to Perspektiv’s web site at: http://www.svt.se/perspektiv

Swedish Deaf TV on Laurent

November 9th, 2006

Perspektiv, a Swedish deaf TV program, broadcast their segment on Laurent yesterday.

Last June, reporters Juli af Klintberg and Anders par Johannson flew to New York City then traveled to South Dakota to film many stories ranging from interviewing deaf survivors of 9/11 to deaf fashion designer to our vision of building world’s integrated and accessible town in South Dakota.

It is fun to watch deaf TV programs in other languages… a fascinating study in similarities and differences.



Alternatives in Town Building

November 6th, 2006

We are currently exploring our alternatives to building a brand new town from scratch, and at this time, we are focusing on Spencer, South Dakota. We just sent out a letter from The Laurent Institute to all lot owners in Spencer last week, and we have received favorable response thus far. It’s still too early to say at this point.

Spencer excites us in many ways. The town is ideally located only 20 minutes from Mitchell, S.D. This means you would only be 20 minutes away from Wal-Mart, Cabela’s, Menard’s, fast food, restaurants, hotels and so on. There’s even 24-hour local grocery store called Coborn’s and they carry a selection of FRESH organic meats in stock as well as a section dedicated to natural and organic grocery items.

Spencer has fairly new infrastructure (roads, sewer, water, and so on) as well as cable TV, telephone and high speed DSL internet service provided by McCook Telephone Cooperative.

However, we are not ready to announce the final selection. It depends on our ability to acquire enough lots in order for this to make sense for The Laurent Institute as well as the community as whole.

Our other alternate sites are still being researched, and they include Montana, Wyoming and Kansas as well as other sites within South Dakota. Western Montana has beautiful mountains, natural places and parks. Kansas has warmer climate and Kansas City airport is Midwest’s cheapest airport to fly in and out of. Omaha comes in second. Third is St. Louis, Mo. This excludes Chicago.

What we’d love to hear from you is which state would you “perceive” to be the best alternative out of all listed below?

  • South Dakota
  • North Dakota
  • Wyoming
  • Montana
  • Utah
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska

And why? Maybe we should do a poll on this. At this time, we are pretty committed to staying in South Dakota, but we are always open to all other possibilities, no matter how small the chances are. By being open to options, we broaden our viewpoints.

There is no manual for dreams. Indeed.

November 1st, 2006

An e-mail from a descendant of Laurent Clerc came to me early this week, and one phrase stood out:

Marvin, I have been reading some of your recent news and some of the communities responses. I just wanted to say that it is good that you remain committed to your dream. I suppose what you are learning about organizing such a grand project will make a big difference from here on in. There is no manual for dreams. Hang in there. Laurent

That’s so true.

Argus Leader: Laurent eyes small towns

October 30th, 2006

Note: We are looking at Spencer, however, we are also looking at other locations including one in other state.

Sign language community shifts plans to redevelopment


The co-founders of a proposed McCook County town for sign language users have opted to discard their plan for a new town and look at redeveloping a small one.

Spencer town officials confirmed Friday that M.E. Barwacz and her son-in-law, Marvin Miller, have asked about lots in Spencer in the past few weeks.

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