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      Valley residents worried about cuts to DeafLink program

      Jennifer Powell TMs hands are her key to the world.

      Each and every day she uses them to communicate with people all over Texas.

      Part of that communication is through the accessible hazard alert system.

      These accessible alerts provide information related to ~threats of life or property TM on a 24/7 basis.

      When these alerts land into Powell TMs hands she immediately starts the phone tree.

      "It's called the buddy system Powell said. I spread the information to everyone in the deaf community---that's how this system works."

      But as of January 31st that service, administered by the Texas Division of Emergency Management, was cut off.

      I was shocked and very disappointed, Powell said.

      The Governor TMs office claimed not enough people were signed up for the alert system.

      They said only four people in the Rio Grande Valley were taking part in the program.

      Powell said there is far more people than that who rely on this service"just over 2,000 people from Roma to Brownsville.

      "I'm disappointed that the governor was not aware that a few people signed up but they represent the deaf community," Powell said.

      Powell said, while many cities offer a text messaging alert system and there is close captioning on the television, it is not much help.

      She said many people who are deaf cannot read or write past a third grade level.

      "They don't understand what the captioning says, Powell said. If the interpreter isn't on the television then they will not be aware."

      Powell said if they are not aware then they are put in a potentially deadly situation.