October prize winner announced

Joyce Imrie, RPR, CRR, a freelance reporter in Portland, Ore., is the winner of the October membership renewal prize. Imrie will receive a $100 Pengad gift certificate.

She said she renewed her NCRA membership because she thinks it’s important to keep informed and support licensing organizations.

“It’s nice to read about other reporters’ experiences, good and bad, because you can always learn from them,” she said.

Imrie said she has enjoyed her career because she likes to meet new people, learn something new every day, and have variety in where and when she works.

“Obviously, that’s different these days,” Imrie said. “I’m finally using my office at home. It’s also been great financially as well. I’d recommend it to anyone, and I hope we get more youngsters started on the path. I’ve only got nine more months to go. It’s been 39 years and I can’t believe it.”

Retired NCRA member honored with patriotic mask

The Roswell Daily Record, Roswell, N.M., posted an article on Nov. 10 that featured NCRA member and U.S. Navy veteran Clarence Blair, a retired court reporter, who received a patriotic mask from the Roswell Women’s Club in honor of Veterans Day.

Read more.

Article notes growing demand for stenographers

NCRA member Mirabai Knight, RDR, CRR, a captioner from New York, N.Y., is quoted in an article that is second in a series of stories about the work of stenographers posted Oct. 30 by the Portland Monthly magazine.

Read more.

Group encourages members to ‘eat clean’

Have you gained a few pounds during the COVID-19 quarantine? A group from the Court Reporters Who Like to Exercise Facebook page started challenging its members in September to eat clean. The “Eat Clean, Bro” challenge has simple rules: Eat clean all week and allow yourself one or two cheat meals per week.

“I started the post on my regular Facebook page to generate interest,” said Rich Germosen, RDR, CRR, a freelance reporter in North Brunswick, N.J. “There was a gaggle of reporters that were interested in attempting to eat clean for the month of September. There are several success stories of stenographers dropping 7 to 10 or so pounds in September. I was going to end the challenge at the end of September but then had several requests to extend it into October. I personally dropped 6 pounds in September. We’re playing it by ear to see if we’ll continue this after October.” 

Jennifer Billstein-Miller, RMR, CRR, a freelancer reporter in Mantua, N.J., said she has lost a lot of weight over the last seven years after struggling with it her whole life.

“I have maintained the weight loss for quite some time, and then the pandemic hit,” Billstein-Miller said. “Not being able to leave the house or go to the gym got me back to my old ways of not exercising or caring about what I ate, and I started to gain weight. It mentally and physically stressed me out. It’s definitely easier to be motivated when you have help, so why not start a group of us to motivate each other!”

Billstein-Miller said changes she has made to eat clean include: no sugar, lowering carb intake, more protein, sticking to 1,500 calories a day, and intermittent fasting. She said the Facebook group encourages each other with posts about different ways to eat and healthy exercise.

Billstein-Miller said: “When you see someone eating healthy and exercising and hear about their weight loss and that they were able to achieve their goals, it helps me to want to do it as well!”

Similarly, Germosen said his eating habits had taken a turn for the worse.

“It’s extremely challenging eating right while you’re home just about 24/7,” he said.

Germosen said the idea for the challenge came up when he was talking to Billstein-Miller.

“She mentioned we should start the ‘no eating after 8 p.m.’ challenge that we’ve done several times on this Court Reporters Who Like to Exercise Facebook page,” he said. “Then the idea of clean eating popped into my head.”

Cassandra Ellis, RPR, a freelancer and CART Captioner in Silver Spring, Md., is also part of the challenge and said her eating habits had slipped during COVID. She said she has eliminated sugar, flour, and pasta.

“This particular group of reporters is all about building one another up and celebrating all success, no matter how small,” Ellis said. “If there’s been any questions on what might constitute clean, the group chimes in. A cheat meal is encouraged so there is no deprivation because the whole group encourages me to make the right choices every single meal and then celebrates the ‘fun’ cheat meal and says things like, ‘Time to get back to clean eating.’”

 Ellis said the virtual group support has been important.

“I’m not inclined to go out and join a group in person, so the online encouragement from people I know, like, and trust is really important to keep me on track,” she said. 

Traci Mertens, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance reporter and broadcast captioner in Belleville, Ill., said she started running in the spring when her gym closed, but her eating habits were awful.

“My diet is mostly low carb now, modified keto,” she said. “There are a lot of myths surrounding carb loading for runners. I feel much better without all the carbs, although I miss bread.  A lot.  I’m eating lots more green vegetables. I just got a Ninja Foodi, so that makes meal prep very simple.”

Mertens said the group holds each other accountable.

“Everyone has tough days, and it’s easy to slip back into bad habits. Seeing other people’s success stories helps a lot, especially now that we are much more isolated,” she said.

Germosen said he cut out all sweets, bread, rice, fast food, soda, and juice. 

“Every few days I’ll post on the exercise page asking how everyone’s doing,” Germosen said. “What’s working for you? What’s not working? It’s the weekend … let’s have that cheat meal and then get right back on it. Everyone is supportive of each other and we celebrate even the smallest of victories. Staying positive is big and helps most stay on track.”

Germosen said the challenge has made him more mindful of what he is putting into his body. The challenge has been extended by request until the end of October, and Germosen said he hopes by then everyone will have developed excellent clean eating habits.  

“As of Oct. 1, I had dropped 6 pounds,” he said. “I’m hoping to drop a couple more by Halloween.” 

Yolanda Walton, FAPR, RPR, an official reporter in Norwalk, Ohio, and an NCRA Director, was inspired to change her diet when she was told this summer she is at a higher risk for breast cancer because of her family history.

“One of the things that a friend told me to eliminate to help with that percentage was dairy and meat due to all the growth hormones that are given to the animals to make them bigger faster and to produce more milk,” Walton said. “I was trying to do it on my own, but then along came Rich Germosen’s challenge. I felt the accountability and the moral support would be helpful.”

She has eliminated sweets, white flour, cheese/dairy, and meat. 

“If I fall off the train, I at least try to limit the quantity that I eat and not make it a nonstop freefall,” she said. 

Walton said she has lost a few pounds, but more importantly is less tired and groggy.“I feel so much better mentally and physically!” she said.

Billstein-Miller said eating healthy and exercising are good for your mental and physical well-being. 

“It helps with stress, and most importantly, helps you to be a better court reporter,” she said. “If you feel good and look good, you perform your best!”

Winner chosen from September renewals

Heather Suarez, RPR

Heather Suarez, RPR, an official in Orlando, Fla., is a winner for renewing her NCRA membership early. Her name was chosen from everyone who renewed in September to win a $300 Amazon gift card.

She said she became and stayed a member of NCRA to “keep up on court reporting news, to attend conventions and network, and for maintaining certification.”

In high school, Suarez said she didn’t know what she wanted to do. She only knew she didn’t want to continue waitressing.

“I started to think about my favorite classes throughout grade school, and I remembered a sixth-grade typing class that I took,” she said. “The teacher was a real stickler! She would walk around the room and place a box over our hands if she caught us looking at them, turn our monitors off if she caught us looking at the monitor, and all of our tests were taken in the dark on typewriters. I loved it! Half joking, I began searching the Internet for ‘typing jobs,’ and that’s when I discovered court reporting. Although my search started out as a bit of a joke, I knew immediately that is what I wanted to do. I eventually found out that my cousin Beth is a court reporter — small world — and she answered my questions and gave pointers when I first started court reporting school.”

Creating new briefs and always striving to write faster and cleaner are things Suarez likes about court reporting. She added that working for the U.S. District Court makes her feel like her own boss since she is in charge of her own transcript production and records.

“This year was my court reporting 10-year anniversary, and it has been the best decision of my life,” Suarez said.

NCRA’s membership department has more prizes for people who renew early. If you haven’t renewed yet, don’t wait! Renew today!

Courtroom the place for this honor

The Pauls Valley Democrat, Pauls Valley, Okla., posted a feature article on Sept. 30 about the career of retiring official court reporter Lynnette Burr, who spent more than 40 years making the record.

Read more.

Video honors Cohen twins

A short video about court reporters and twins Arnold and Bill Cohen shares memories and tributes from several in the profession who have been inspired by the duo. The video was put together by court reporter Dominick Tursi, an official court reporter based in Central Islip, N.Y.  

See the video.

Lifetime retired NCRA member Robert William Stewart passes away

The Brownwood Bulletin, Brownwood, Texas, reported on Sept. 28 that lifetime retired NCRA member Robert William Stewart, RMR, passed away in Port Orange, Fla.

Read more.

Roberts has prize-winning photo for NCRA contest

Maxine Roberts, RDR

Maxine Roberts, RDR, an official in Akron, Ohio, is the winner of the NCRA Marketing Photo Contest. She told the JCR Weekly a little about the photo and how she feels about winning.

JCR | What gave you the idea to have pictures taken with your steno machine? 

MR | I’ve been a court reporter for more than 30 years and have never captured or seen a photo of myself while on the job. Of course, I’ve seen very brief snippets of myself from coverage of different cases on the local news stations, but I wanted to do something fun with it to create a memory for myself as I near retirement.

JCR | Do you have plans on how you want to use the photos?

MR | I will probably print and frame it for myself.

JCR | Why did you decide to enter this profession?

MR | I knew nothing about the court reporting profession when I decided to embark upon it. At the time I was working at a local hospital on a part-time basis while attending the university. Knowing neither was what I wanted to do, I took to the ads in the local paper and ran across an advertisement for the Academy of Court Reporting and decided to try my hand, or hands should I say. I’ve now been at it 35 years, and here I am today.

JCR | What did you think when you heard you won our contest? 

MR | I was completely surprised. Who knew a last-minute decision would produce a winning photo?

JCR | Anything else you would like to add?  

MR | I want to thank NCRA for choosing my photo and thank my photographer, Lonnie Griffin Photography, for taking care of me at the last minute.

NOTE: Roberts will also be featured as the NCRA member profiled in the October JCR.

NCRA Director in the news

The Loveland Reporter-Herald reported on Sept. 16 that Jason Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter and firm owner in Fort Collins, Colo., was elected last month to serve a three-year term as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Court Reporters Association.

Read more.