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In the News: Meet Nic Zapko. Her face and hands explain Gov. Tim Walz’s words to the deaf.

Pioneer Press

6/6/2020 9:54:40 PM

MNCDHH's executive director was quoted on this story about Nic Zapko, deaf interpreter, "Meet Nic Zapko. Her face and hands explain Gov. Tim Walz’s words to the deaf."

Approximately one in five Minnesotans is deaf or hard of hearing, said Darlene Zangara, executive director of the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, Deaf Blind and Hard of Hearing.

Zapko is “one of the top-notch interpreters in Minnesota,” said Zangara, who is deaf. “Her ASL language skills are incredible. She is so clear that many non-signers have said that they understand her.”

Among Zapko’s fans is Zangara’s 78-year-old mother, Carol Stremmel, who also is deaf.

“She is awesome — so easy to understand,” Stremmel said. “It’s less stressful than trying to read captions. Captions don’t always help me because the English words are not in my vocabulary.”

Because of Zapko, Stremmel is now “able to follow the news,” Zangara said. “She has more confidence, and she has more interest in knowing what is going on than she ever had in the past. It amazes me because she typically had relied on me for information, but now she watches all of the updates and the press conferences. It’s great to see that.”

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