Nominations for NCRA Board of Directors sought

Serving on the NCRA Board of Directors is an excellent opportunity to use your leadership skills to help advance the premier organization that continues to empower the court reporting and captioning professions. As a Director, you will serve with others as fiduciaries to steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies as well as by making sure NCRA has adequate resources to advance its mission.

Declare your candidacy or submit recommendations to boardnominations@ncra.org by Jan. 18, 2019. As a courtesy, please contact your candidate directly prior to submitting his or her name.

A Web-based, no-obligation orientation will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 9, for anyone interested in seeking future Board service. This briefing will help you gain a better understanding of the process and expectations of serving on the Board. To sign-up for the Webinar, please click here.

It’s a giving time of the year!  Make a difference!

By Sandy Bunch VanderPol

Sandy Bunch VanderPol

When you love something, you want to support it all the time, even if it takes a lot of effort and time. This is how I feel about our profession and the National Court Reporters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of NCRA.  As a Trustee on the NCRF, I have the privilege to serve all of you, as members of NCRA. It is indeed a privilege.

As a freelance reporter and an independent contractor, it has always been in my heart to support the profession I so love. I do this by volunteering my time and by supporting the profession with my financial contributions, and I have benefited greatly from doing this. Financial generosity is an important element in the success of any organization that supports the philanthropic efforts of that organization, and your financial support is necessary to the success of the charitable work of the NCRF.

I would ask all of you to please take a moment to consider making a charitable contribution to NCRF. There is no amount too small or too large. Your contribution will be spent wisely in supporting the many programs of NCRF. Make a difference! The feeling of giving – what a feeling it is!

Thank you in advance for your support. I appreciate it. Oh, and I forgot to mention, your contribution is tax deductible. And if you contribute $1,000, you will be an “NCRF Angel,” which can benefit you through networking and a number of public relations and marketing opportunities.

 

Sandy Bunch VanderPol, FAPR, RMR, CRR, of Lotus, Calif., is an NCRF Trustee and longtime NCRF Angel. Visit www.bit.ly/NCRFYEA to donate to NCRF to support your profession.

Guest speaker opportunity at a community college

NCRA member Penny Wile, RMR, CRR, owner of Penny Wile Court Reporting in Norfolk, Va., has been a court reporter for more than 30 years. Recently she showcased the court reporting and captioning profession to students in a paralegal course taught at her local community college.

By Penny Wile

Penny Wile talks to paralegal students

Approximately three months ago I took the deposition of a risk management specialist for a national chain of stores. It was a run-of-the-mill 30(b)(6) document production deposition stemming from an accident that resulted in a personal injury claim being filed. Plaintiff and defense appeared via video-teleconference, and the witness and I were together at the deposition site.

The deposition took most of the day, and during breaks the witness asked me questions about court reporting. We chatted about my profession and hers. Not only is she a risk management specialist, but she teaches a paralegal course locally, at Tidewater Community College on Thursday evenings.

At the conclusion of the deposition she asked if I would be interested in speaking to her class about court reporting. I eagerly agreed! Anytime I can attempt to recruit others to join the profession, I am happy to help.

We set several dates for me to appear, but there were delays. (Note to self: Don’t plan speaking engagements during hurricane season!)

I reached out to NCRA and asked if they could provide tools for me to use in my talk. I quickly received literature to download and print. The next day I received a box of print media and goodies for the class. I purchased some clear bags with handles and filled them with important information about court reporting:  History, training, career rewards and challenges, in addition to the goodies.

On Nov. 29, I spoke to the classroom of paralegal students. The students were eager to learn about the reporting profession. I started with a once-upon-a-time story of how I entered the profession. It’s not a glamorous story but one that should be told. They appeared to appreciate how I entered the profession. These students work during the day, have family obligations, and attend college at night. They are real people with busy lives trying to receive an education. They asked me many questions and seemed to be engaged. I spoke to them about my work abroad, some of the more rewarding assignments I have covered in my career, some of the unusual assignments I have covered, and gave them court reporting 101 in two hours .

Penny Wile sets up her machine for paralegal students

Two students in particular were very interested in training with the NCRA A to ZTM Program.  They were excited they could “try out” reporting and see if it would be a good fit for them. I provided my contact information and told them I would be happy to help them if they pursued training in the profession.

When my talk wrapped up, I couldn’t believe I had spoken for two hours! I have been invited back to be a guest speaker for the upcoming semester, and I look forward to the opportunity to inform and encourage others to enter the field of court reporting.

You can also read Career Days are great ways to promote the profession.

For more information about career day resources that are available from NCRA, contact pr@ncra.org, or visit the 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Resource page.

Career days are great ways to promote the profession

With 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week on the horizon, many NCRA members are planning to mark the event by participating in a career day at a local middle or high school where they can show off their steno skills and introduce students to the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning.

The JCR Weekly reached out to NCRA members Ann Hall, RPR, an official court reporter from Monterey, Calif., and Jason Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter from Fort Collins, Colo., who each recently participated in local school career days, to find out more about their experiences.

Ann Hall

In early November, Hall participated in a college/employment fair day at Seaside High School in Seaside, Calif., where she introduced the court reporting profession to students from all four of the grades. Hall said she was asked to participate by a counselor from the school, and she noted that the last time she had attended a career event was some 12 years ago.

“It was great to work with young people and hopefully get some of them interested in court reporting,” she said, adding that she would definitely do it again if asked. “Thanks to the package I received from NCRA, I had many NCRA magazines available, some ‘swag’ from various vendors, and information about court reporting in general.”

Among the many questions students asked her were: How does the machine work? What’s it like to be in court?  What do you do when people talk over one another? And among the responses, Hall heard: “Cool!  I’ve never seen a machine like that before.”

Hall added that she learned about the court reporting profession from a family friend who worked as a reporter, and it was he who encouraged her to pursue the career.

Jason Meadors

Meanwhile, in Colorado, Meadors said he showcased the court reporting and captioning professions to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders at the Broomfield Heights Middle School in Broomfield, Colo., upon the request of an associate.

Meadors said the students’ questions were great, and the experience gave him hope for the generation to come, because they were bright, inquisitive, and polite. The experience also gave him an appreciation for the need for NCRA members to get their story out to younger people.

“They wanted to know what type of training was involved, how much education, how much work per week, if travel was involved, what kind of people I ran across, what were my most and least favorite aspects of the job, if I got perks for airline miles – I don’t remember them all, but the questions were very perceptive,” he said.

“They thought the machine and realtime display was pretty cool. They thought the traveling I do was pretty cool,” added Meadors, who noted that he has done other career day events which, unlike this one that rotated students through one classroom, were set up similar to a vendor hall.

Meadors, who said he would certainly participate in a career event again, advises others who decide to attend one to go prepared with a presentation they want to give, but be agile, because the format they choose might not be the format that’s best for the setting.

“For instance, I had a PowerPoint prepared, but I ditched it. I was prepared to scatter realtime screens throughout the classroom, but that wouldn’t have worked as well either. Instead, I answered their scads of questions, I told the most entertaining but honest stories I could, and they gathered around while I did a realtime display,” he said.

“We really do have a fascinating profession. I gave my presentation in tandem with a lady who had the title of ‘project manager,’ and she kept complaining privately to me that she just sounded boring compared to the work we do,” he noted.

Meadors said he first learned about the court reporting career while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he was assigned to legal services clerk class right out of boot camp.

“The highest graduates of that class went to the court reporter class. It was stenomask training. I placed high there, found out I loved the work, and went to steno school upon my honorable discharge from the Marines,” he added.

NCRA member Penny Wile, RMR, CRR, owner of Penny Wile Court Reporting in Norfolk, Va., has been a court reporter for more than 30 years. Recently she also showcased the court reporting and captioning profession, but this time, to students in a paralegal course taught at her local community college. Read Penny Wile’s story.

For more information about career day resources that are available from NCRA, contact pr@ncra.org, or visit the 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Resource page.

 

 

NCRA member aids in animal rescues during California wildfires

Sherri Kuebler and her horse Taylor

When the Woolsey fire northwest of Los Angeles, Calif., burned nearly 97,000 acres before it was finally contained, it left in its wake not only a trail of devastation and heartbreaking loss of life but also stories of courageous volunteerism. NCRA member Sherri  L. Kuebler, RPR, a retired freelance court reporter from Chino Hills, Calif., was one such volunteer.

According to Kuebler, the ranch manager where she, her husband, and several of their friends board their horses, was contacted by a rescue group asking for volunteers with horse trailers to pick up various livestock in the Calabasas area where the Woolsey fire was headed.

“We had four horse trailers and approximately 12 volunteers who drove approximately 70 miles to a staging area where we coordinated with the Lost Hills Sheriff Department who escorted us into the danger zone and to one particular address where the owner was not able to get his animals out,” said Kuebler, a court reporter for 19 years who recently retired from her assignment to a felony trial courtroom at the North Justice Center in Fullerton.

“At this particular address, we rescued pigs, horses, peacocks, roosters, hens, guinea pigs and huge 400-pound turtles. We picked up two sheep who were running loose on the streets, and another homeowner just handed her horse to my ranch owner and said: ‘Please take her’,” she added.

Loading the scared animals into their slant-load horse trailers was pretty difficult, said Kuebler. “There were no cages to take from the property and these huge pigs were not cooperating. We finally got them into modified cages and trash cans on wheels and loaded them that way.

Kuebler said the volunteers were only able to make one trip due to the emerging fire and heavy smoke, but all the animals they did save were brought back to the ranch where they keep their horses. There, she said, some of the boarders bought cages and food for the rescues to help make them as comfortable as possible because they were very scared.

“Our ranch owners were kind enough to allow these rescues to stay as long as needed until they were reunited with their owners. Thank goodness all of them survived and have all been delivered back to their owners,” she said.

Kuebler, who can be contacted at sherrikuebler@verizon.net, said that donations to help support rescues such as the Woolsey fire one can be made directly to the El Rodeo Equestrian Center at 4449 Carbon Canyon Road, Brea, CA 92823.

How can you get involved?

JOIN NCRA with a student membership. Become a member to get discounts on testing, convention registration, study guides, and more.

CONTRIBUTE to Up-to-Speed by submitting articles, study tips, questions for reporters and instructors, and suggestions.

LEARN about upcoming scholarship and grant opportunities.

Meet NCRA’s 2018-2019 Student/Teacher Committee

Up-to-Speed introduces you to the members of the Student/Teacher Committee. These are the students, instructors, and reporters who have volunteered to develop student seminars and the teacher workshops at convention, get out the word about Court Reporting & Captioning Week, and contribute to this newsletter. Meet the members:

Todd Robie

Todd Robie – Student, Cuyahoga Community College, Parma, Ohio

“I am glad to be joining the Student/Teacher Committee this year. Many working reporters and captioners have been generous to me in sharing insights and their advice which has provided me with a strong boost of encouragement and with helpful information as I have started out in my training. I am hopeful that we as a committee can provide a similar boost, by serving as a bridge between those who are working daily in the profession and the students and instructors who are focused on the training of future professionals. I came to the field, as many do, after working for a number of years, and I also hope we as a committee can provide resources for those trying to balance work and family commitments with the demands of being a student reporter.”

Shaunise Day

Shaunise Day – Student, West Valley College, Oakland, Calif.

“I am on this committee because serving is part of my purpose in life. I’m a firm believer in planting seeds where you want them to grow, and you will reap what you sow. My purpose for serving on this committee is to be the voice and represent on behalf of all students in this profession. For me, it was important to be a part of creating content that all students could benefit from. After bonding with so many future court reporters and captioners this past convention year in New Orleans, La., no matter how far up the steno ladder I climb, I vow to always give back and support the students.”

Michelle Myott

Michelle Myott – Student, South Coast College, Cypress, Calif.

“I am a student in Southern California. I am serving on this committee as a way to meet new people and get more involved. This is the second year that I have been on this committee, and I already have learned so much. I had the chance to be involved in the planning of the student seminars and actually helped present one of them. It really helps keep me motivated as I meet so many new students and other reporters.”

Kay Moody

Kay Moody, MCRI, CPE – Instructor, College of Court Reporting, Valparaiso, Ind.

“I’m privileged to serve on this committee. I’ve been involved in court reporting education for over 40 years and love it! After getting my education degrees, I taught high school English and home economics but decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do the rest of my life; therefore, I enrolled in court reporting school. When I finished at Chicago College of Commerce, I was asked to teach for a lady in Northwest Indiana; but that school was not accredited and abruptly was closed down by the state. My students encouraged me to open my own school, and I found my life’s passion: ever-evolving court reporting education. Over the years, I’ve served on numerous education committees and love working with students!”

Deborah Kriegshauser

Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, CRC – Reporter, St. Louis, Mo.

“I am a federal official stationed in St. Louis, Mo., and have been here since 2002. Prior to that I freelanced for 22 years, dabbling in a couple of captioning assignments as well as CART reporting for a student and State of Illinois meetings for the deaf and hard of hearing community. I also taught court reporting for two years at a local community college. I have been involved with many, many state and national association committees and boards. I am elated to be a part of this committee as my true love is working with the students and encouraging them to succeed to become working reporters. I graduated from the Midstate College court reporting program in Peoria, Ill., in 1980.”

Amie First

Amie First, RDR, CRR, CRC, CPE – CART Captioner, Orlando, Fla.

“I serve because I love this profession. It’s been an exciting and challenging career. We all can learn so much from each other — who understands a court reporter better than a fellow court reporter?”

 

 

Phoebe Moorhead

Phoebe Moorhead, RPR, CRR – Reporter, Ogden, Utah

“I serve on NCRA committees because of the experience it brings. I can take my NCRA committee experience and apply it to the local committees I serve on. I’m currently president of the Utah Court Reporters Association, and the strategies I learn from NCRA committees are invaluable.”

 

 

Lori Rapozo

Lori Rapozo, RPR, CRI – Instructor, Auburn, Wash.

“Serving on this committee is another way to give back to the profession and help students achieve their professional goals. I have served on many other NCRA committees going way back. I began my freelance court reporting career in 1980 and then began teaching along with reporting at the end of the 1980s. I became a full-time court reporting instructor at Green River College, here in Auburn, in 1991. I truly enjoy helping students reach their dreams of becoming a court reporter/captioner.”

Len Sperling

Len Sperling, CRI – Instructor, Edmonton, AB, Canada

“I am currently the chair of the Captioning and Court Reporting program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and have been a faculty member for over 20 years. Before joining NAIT, I was a freelance reporter working mainly in the areas of pretrial and quasi-judicial proceedings. I have sat on numerous NCRA committees over the years and have presented at various conventions and workshops on court reporting education. I obtained an MBA in 2011.”

Cindy Isaacsen

Cindy Isaacsen, RPR, Board Liaison, Shawnee, Kan.

“I went to court reporting school from 1985 to 1988 in Abilene, Texas. I then moved to Tennessee and worked as a freelancer, then moved to Germany and worked for a firm in Frankfurt. I returned to the states and lived in Louisiana where I did freelance and then landed an official position, which I had for seven years. I then moved to Kansas, working freelance and currently as an official. I taught a year at a new court reporting school here in Kansas. I attend as many career days as I can possibly fit in. I love this committee as schools and students are of paramount importance to our future.”

 

Here are three ways to get involved in NCRA.

Become an expert advocate and leader for your profession

The 2019 NCRA Leadership and Legislative Boot Camp promises to provide attendees with an experience like no other when it comes to learning firsthand the power of advocacy and the influence good leadership can achieve.

The 2019 event is being held May 5-7 and will include two full days of training, exploration, and hands-on activities designed to give everyone who attends the takeaways necessary to become successful advocates and leaders in the profession at the local, state, and national level. Training will end with role-playing and mock interviews to help prepare attendees for the final day of the event, which culminates with visits with Washington, D.C., lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The site of the 2019 event is the Embassy Suites by Hilton, in historic Alexandria Old Town, Va., just outside of Washington, D.C. Anyone in the court reporting, captioning, or legal videography professions wanting to grow and hone their advocacy and leadership skills should make plans to attend the 2019 NCRA Leadership and Legislative Boot Camp.

Watch the JCR Weekly and JCR magazine for more details and information about registration for this one-of-a-kind event.

NCRA members honor U.S. veterans with VHP event

Kerry Ward, far right, liaison specialist for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP), reads postcards sent home by U.S. Veteran Don Shearer, who was a German prisoner of war during World War II. Shearer’s wife, Martha, shared his story and artifacts for the Ginger Cove VHP.

Kerry Ward (far right) of the LOC VHP, reads postcards sent home by U.S. Veteran Don Shearer, who was a German prisoner of war during World War II. Shearer’s wife, Martha, shared his story and artifacts.

On Nov. 10, the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF), in conjunction with the Library of Congress (LOC), collected the oral histories of 10 U.S. veterans who served in various wars during a Veterans History Project (VHP) event held at the Ginger Cove Retirement Community in Annapolis, Md., in honor of Veterans Day. The stories were from veterans who served during World War I, World War II, and the Cold and Korean wars.

“I was so touched by the stories of our veterans. I had no idea the depth to which they had suffered during the war, and I was so surprised at their willingness and even the need to talk about it,” said Diana Smith, director of resident services at Ginger Cove. “I would definitely undertake this project again in the future. I feel quite blessed to have had this opportunity.”

Michelle Houston, a captioner from Brandywine, Md., transcribes the war stories of U.S. Veteran Patrick O’Keefe, as told to volunteer interviewer Pat Mosunec during the VHP event held at the Ginger Cove Retirement Community in Annapolis, Md.

Michelle Houston, a captioner from Brandywine, Md., transcribes the war stories of U.S. Veteran Patrick O’Keefe, who served in World War II.

Since 2003, members of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) who volunteer their services have worked with NCRF and the LOC to record and transcribe the moving stories of nearly 4,300 U.S. war veterans, building a lasting legacy of the diverse group of men and women who have served our nation during times of war. The interviews are then submitted to the LOC, where they are archived for later use by scholars, students, and future generations.

The interviews have been taken during special VHP days held around the country and hosted by state and local court reporting associations, firms, and individuals. Nationally, NCRF has hosted a number of VHP events that have captured the unique and compelling stories of veterans, including several Purple Heart recipients and from veterans of World War I and those since then. NCRF has also hosted three Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project events that used volunteer captioners to enable veterans with varying degrees of hearing loss to be interviewed so their experiences could be chronicled. The Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project was supported by a grant from the American Society of Association Executives.

At the Ginger Cove event, the stories of the following veterans were collected:

  • James Andreatta – Cold War
  • Frances Bombara – WWI (shared by his daughter)
  • Sam Gustaves – WWII
  • John Henderson – WWII
  • Paul Herring – WWII
  • John Kenny – WWII
  • John Kuebelbeck – WWI
  • Patrick O’Keefe – WWII
  • Don Shearer – WWII and German prisoner of war (with an additional WWI collection donated by his niece)
  • Mary Jo Sherron – Korean War (interviewed by her daughter)
NCRA Board of Director member Steve Clark, a captioner from Washington, D.C., captures the story of U.S. Veteran John Henderson, who served in WWII. Ginger Cove resident Nick Mosunec is the volunteer interviewer.

NCRA Board of Director member Steve Clark, a captioner from Washington, D.C., captures the story of U.S. Veteran John Henderson, who served in World War II.

Kerry Ward, liaison specialist with the LOC VHP, interviewed Martha Shearer, the wife of Don Shearer who served in WWII and was a German POW. Mrs. Shearer spoke on behalf of her husband who was also in attendance but suffers from Parkinson’s disease. Ward was clearly moved by the many photos and letters shared by the Shearers, especially reading the postcards sent by Don from the German prison camp where he was held to his mother back home. Ward noted that these were especially valuable to be included in the VHP archive collection.

Ginger Cove resident Tess Zarba, who is 92 years old, shared her father’s story of service in WWI with interviewer JoAnne Luciano. “It was really interesting to hear about what service was like for our soldiers back then and to see the photos and letters and other items Tess shared with me about her father’s service to our country. I learned so much,” noted Luciano.

NCRA members who volunteered to transcribe the oral histories at the event included:

  • NCRA Director Steve Clark, CRC, a captioner from Washington, D.C.
  • Cindy Davis, RPR, an official court reporter from Annapolis, Md.
  • Bev Early, a captioner from Washington, D.C.
  • Tonia Harris, RPR, an official court reporter from Washington, D.C.
  • Michelle Houston, RPR, a captioner from Brandywine, Md.
  • Julia LaCava, RPR, CRR, CRC, an official court reporter and captioner from Alexandria, Va.
  • Linda Lindsey, a freelance court reporter from Preston, Md.
  • Maellen Pittman, RDR, CRI, CLVS, a CART captioner from Baltimore, Md.
  • Christine Slezosky, RPR, CRC, a CART captioner from Chambersburg, Pa.
Cindy Davis, an official court reporter from Annapolis, Md., transcribes volunteer Martha Wooldridge’s interview with U.S. Veteran John Kenny, who served in World War II, during the recent NCRF and Library of Congress Veterans History Project event held at the Ginger Cove Retirement Community in Annapolis.

Cindy Davis, an official court reporter from Annapolis, Md., transcribes an interview with U.S. Veteran John Kenny, who served in World War II.

“I am inspired by the veterans themselves. I have an uncle that landed on Omaha Beach. Unfortunately, he never talked about it, and I never got a chance to ask him if he’d be willing to share his story for this project,” said Davis, who transcribed the interview of WWII veteran John Kenny. “This time the event was held at Ginger Cove Retirement Community right in my own backyard. How could I say no?”

Davis, who has transcribed previous interviews from recordings for the VHP said that she would encourage all court reporters and captioners to participate in a VHP event because their stories are fascinating and important to preserve.

Volunteer interviewer JoAnne Luciano talks with U.S. Veteran James Andreatta, who served during the Cold War, as Christine Slezosky, a captioner from Chambersburg, Pa., transcribes his story, during a VHP event held at the Ginger Cove Retirement Community in Annapolis, Md.

An interview with U.S. Veteran James Andreatta, who served during the Cold War, was transcribed by Christine Slezosky, a captioner from Chambersburg, Pa.

“Every day we lose more of our veterans. Who better to record their stories than a court reporter? The most gratifying part is just knowing I contributed,” she added.

“These stories need to be told and listened to, especially by the next generation,” said Martha Wooldridge, who conducted the interview with Kenny. “These veterans won’t be around very long to share their experiences and I think it was important for all to hear them and to pass them on.”

Learn more about NCRF and the Veterans History Project.

Veterans History Project, stenographers work to collect stories

Radio station WTOP in Washington, D.C., posted an article about NCRA’s and NCRF’s involvement with the Veterans History Project program.

Read more.

Listen to radio story.