VHP event hosted by ICRA in the news

JCR logoOn May 1, The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa, posted an article showcasing a Veterans History Project event hosted by members of the Iowa Court Reporters Association and the 2nd Judicial District.

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ICRA seeks veterans to share their stories

JCR logoThe Iowa Court Reporters Association has invited veterans to share their stories for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project via an article posted on dailyiowegian.com on April 12. ICRA plans to hold the VHP Day during its annual convention in June.

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Court reporting students host Veterans History Project

The Newton Daily Njcr-publications_high-resews posted an article on Nov. 11 about a Veterans History Project event held at the Des Moines Area (Iowa) Community College that was hosted by students from its court reporting program. Members from the Iowa Court Reporters Association interviewed 12 veterans during the event in honor of Veterans Day.

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Announcing the winners of the JCR Awards

The JCR Awards were created as a way to highlight the innovative and forward-thinking practices of NCRA members and to recognize how court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers are leading the profession.

These individuals and organizations are being recognized as being the best-in-class for the noted categories.

Wendy Evangelista, Claudia Booton, Judy Stevens, Rachel Fox and Chandra Monis.

From left to right: Wendy Evangelista, Claudia Booton (sitting), Judy Stevens, Rachel Fox, and Chandra Monis.

Leadership and team-building

Judy Stevens, RPR, CMRS, CPE

Lakewood, Colo.

Judy Stevens, who owns Stevens-Koenig Reporting, was nominated by several reporters and staff members, who shared stories of her leadership and drive. “I’m one of four reporters who are tag-teaming an unusual trial case. Judy’s help in guiding me through what is outside of my comfort zone is quite reassuring,” wrote Becky Collings, RPR. “I recently passed the Colorado Realtime Certification test, and Judy is getting me ready to start that next journey of my career.” Several of the nominations also spoke about the meetings, often held at her home, where reporters can get together to socialize and ex- change steno briefs. Stevens has also brought in realtime trainers or motivational speakers for her staff and reporters for these gatherings, which have built a strong support network for everyone.

Debbie Weaver receiving the 2015 Spirit of Justice Award

Debbie Weaver receiving the 2015 Spirit of Justice Award

Community outreach

Midwest Litigation Services

St. Louis, Mo.

Debbie Weaver of Midwest Litigation Services has been actively involved in supporting equal access to justice through a number of pro bono organizations in St. Louis. One of the organizations the company supports is Let’s Start, a program dedicated to assisting women and their children in the transition from prison life to society. The company supports this group by volunteering at annual fundraisers and supplying packed lunches for a bus ride to take the children to the local prison to visit their mothers. In addition, the company has participated with the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis in Read Across America, a literacy program; Motion for Kids, a party thrown for children who have parents affected by the criminal justice system; and other events.

White Coat Captioning screen from !!Con  2015.

White Coat Captioning screen from !!Con 2015.

Service in a nonlegal setting

White Coat Captioning

Saint Albans, Vt.

White Coat Captioning has been expanding its business to captioning several technical conferences, including a last-minute conference where the company replaced a group that was providing “nonsensical captions.” “People were very unhappy with the captions,” wrote Mirabai

Knight, RDR, CRR, CRC, who nominated the company (for which she works). Knight said that the company was able to completely turn around the comments. “As soon as we came on board, the entire social media reception to the captioning had completely changed. People started talking about how helpful the captions were and how impressed they were with the quality and accuracy of the captions, even saying that they wanted captioning at all their conferences in the future! It was a total reversal of the previous reception.”

Knight went on to explain that the company has been focused on the conference captioning work because it hopes to change the status quo, where the only way to get captioning was for a person who was deaf or hard of hearing to invoke their ADA rights. “One in seven people has hearing loss,” notes Knight, “so in an audience of 100 people, at least 14 will benefit from captioning.” White Coat Captioning seeks to make captioned conferences the new standard for conferences.

Christine Phipps caught in a relaxed moment during the workday.

Christine Phipps caught in a relaxed moment during the workday.

Individual member

Christine Phipps, RDR

North Palm Beach, Fla.

Categories recognized: Leadership and team-building, marketing and customer service, use of technology, community outreach

Dedicated. Hard-working. Determined. Tech- savvy. These are the words used to describe Christine Phipps by those who nominated her. “Christine Phipps is the type of person who will go out of her way,” wrote Jacqueline Andujar in her nomination. It was what inspired Andujar to go into business with Phipps, back when the company was run out of a bedroom in Phipps’ house. “Christine’s main goal is always to make her clients happy. She takes the time to listen and care.”

“Her passion is so contagious!” wrote Sherry Laurino in her nomination of Phipps. Laurino went on to say that it was Phipps who inspired her own entrepreneurial skills. “No one has more passion and love for court reporting and is committed to the growth and longevity of this industry,” Laurino said.

When she is preparing to meet a new client and show what her company has to offer, Phipps will go above and beyond to make sure the client understands and is satisfied. Even with other reporters, Phipps takes the time to update them with anything new and explains it. In addition, she has taken the time to write several articles on technology for the profession to make sure that everyone is aware of the latest trends and news.

“She is dedicated to teaching while not forgetting where she came from,” wrote Laurino. One of Phipps’ passions has been to help students of the profession and new profession. She led a charge to provide a number of students with memberships to NCRA in 2015 with posts about “Paying it forward” to the next generation, as well as donating several of the memberships herself.

“As her employee now, I have nothing but admiration and respect for her. She has been nothing but supportive, respectful, loyal, open-minded, and just an amazing person to work for,” said Andujar.

Honorable mentions

The Varallo Group

Worcester, Mass.

Categories recognized: Leadership and team-building

During 2015, the Varallo Group offered its employees a fitness program, which gave them the opportunity to establish health goals and meet and work with a personal trainer. The program was a huge success and produced immediate results that were clearly measurable, including weight loss and decreased absenteeism. An added benefit was that the employees grew closer through their shared experiences; for example, several employees ran together in their first-ever 5k race.

Cuyahoga Community College

Cuyahoga, Ohio

Categories recognized: Use of technology

The nomination for Cuyahoga Community College noted its use of technology to enhance students’ academic success, realtime writing achievement, and program satisfaction. From attending an introductory webinar before deciding to sign up for the program to its Blackboard Learning Management System, from using computer-compatible steno machines from the first day of class to accessing drills through Realtime Coach, the court reporting and captioning program uses technology to increase student satisfaction and eventual success.

Paradigm Reporting & Captioning

Minneapolis, Minn.

Categories recognized: Community outreach

Paradigm Reporting & Captioning donates to many local organizations, particularly legal associations and nonprofits that support the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. The Paradigm CART Captioning division provides many hours of pro bono services, including, in September, the captioning for the local Walk4Hearing that benefited the Hearing Loss Association of America. In addition, the company assembled 22 walkers to participate as “Team Paradigm.”

Caption First

Monument, Colo.

Categories recognized: Service in a nonlegal setting

Caption First, a company that offers remote and on-site captioning in a secure environment, established a call center that would offer stenographic relay services to people with hearing loss. The company used this as both a way to hire new stenographic professionals to hone their skills and a way to demonstrate stenographic skills to a broad audience. “It was a ‘court reporting continuum’ as it allowed new folks to work and provided relief to those who are winding down and don’t want to produce transcripts,” wrote Lesia Mervin, RMR, CRR, in her nomination. “And it, of course, highlighted realtime skills — always realtime skills.”

Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Ohio

Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Ohio

Schools: Leadership and team-building

Kelly Moranz, CRI

Cleveland, Ohio

At the Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Ohio, Kelly Moranz spearheaded a mentoring program among all of the students, as well as with professionals. In addition, Moranz has supported the students in creating a new Captioning & Court Reporting Club. The club organized a Write-A-Thon (where all students had sponsors donate money as they wrote for five hours) and a bake sale. As Kristina Carmody wrote in her nomination, Moranz “generously donated and contributed time, money, and service to our fundraiser and even stayed the entire time and helped sell the baked goods while we wrote.”

Moranz is also in charge of recruiting new students for the program. Among the places that the school presents is a program called Women in Transition, which addresses women changing occupations or getting second careers later in life.

Dr. Mary Entz, Provost, DMACC-Newton holds a press conference to announce new court reporting program

Dr. Mary Entz, Provost, DMACC-Newton holds a press conference to announce new court reporting program

Special collaboration

DMACC and the Iowa Court Reporters Association

When Iowa court reporters received the news that AIB College of Business, which had been in place since the 1930s, would phase out the court reporting and captioning programs, the Iowa Court Reporters Association (ICRA) immediately went to work. The ICRA Board of Directors engaged Cathy Penniston, RPR, CRI, to investigate the matter, compile a report on successful court reporting schools throughout the country, and suggest a school in Iowa that could teach court reporting.

Penniston recommended contacting Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), a well-established Iowa community college, to determine if it could create a court reporting program. When Stephanie Early, RDR, ICRA’s president at the time, and Bill Wimmer, its legislative representative, approached the school’s officials, they assured the school that ICRA was fully committed to assisting with the implementation of a court reporting program at DMACC.

DMACC's 2015 incoming theory students

DMACC’s 2015 incoming theory students

The DMACC school was interested in the concept and contacted other community colleges that offered court reporting programs. They also gathered more information about the curriculum and endorsements that would be needed to put such a program in place. In February 2014, the DMACC Board of Directors and the Iowa Department of Education approved the court reporting program. Then, in March, the DMACC Newton campus hosted a press conference to make the announcement about the new program: “DMACC has been working with the Iowa Court Reporters Association for more than a year to develop the curriculum, hire the faculty, and work out other details related to starting a new program.”

In 2014, Dr. Patricia Ziegler, CRI, CPE, was hired as a professor and program chair for DMACC’s new court reporting program, and in September of that year, eight students began classes at the Newton campus.

Through 2014-15, Iowa court reporters and AIB’s former vice president of admissions actively promoted the new program. More than 300 visits were made to Iowa high schools, career fairs, libraries, mock trials, and the Iowa State Fair. Through the Adopt-a- County project, Iowa court reporters marketed the profession and this new program in 26 of 99 Iowa counties. In addition, ICRA sponsored a student scholarship, and individual ICRA members mentored individual students. And in September 2015, a new class of 27 students enrolled.

The program is a success story stemming from the commitment and dedication of many, from the Iowa Court Reporters Association to the new DMACC court reporting program staff. As Penniston wrote in her nomination, “Because of the efforts of the Iowa Court Reporters Association and the hard work of everyone involved, court reporting education is alive and well in Iowa!”

Next JCR Awards

Pearl Harbor survivor’s story captured at Iowa VHP event

On Nov. 6, the Iowa Court Reporters Association and the Des Moines Area Community College’s court reporting program joined forces to host their second annual Veterans History Project event and transcribed the stories of 13 dedicated WWII veterans. One of the veterans interviewed was Leland Lester, who shared his story about surviving the bombing at Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, Lester passed away just one week after he participated in the event.

“I’m so glad that he was able to tell us his story,” said Pam Burkle, RPR, an official court reporter from Marshalltown, Iowa, who also serves as ICRA’s vice president. “He was such a war hero … surviving the bombing at Pearl Harbor.”

The National Court Reporters Foundation, NCRA’s philanthropic arm, has partnered with the Library of Congress to help collect transcripts for the VHP through its Oral Histories Program. Transcripts collected through the VHP are transcribed and provided to the Library of Congress where they are preserved for future use.

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Iowa veterans participate in Veterans History Project

The Newton Daily News published an article on Nov. 10 about a Veterans History Project event hosted by the Iowa Court Reporters Association and the Des Moines Area Community College that captured the war stories of 16 Iowans, in honor of Veterans Day.

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NCRA members push to reach 3,500 VHP interviews for Veterans Day

Across the nation, NCRA members will mark Veterans Day by hosting Veterans History Project events, using the Nov. 11 holiday as the springboard to help the National Court Reporters Foundation reach its goal of 3,500 transcribed interviews with American war veterans. The transcripts are part of the Library’s VHP program and are available for the public to read.

“NCRA members recognize the importance of celebrating the nation’s military members and their families and are honored to be able to help preserve their stories through the Library of Congress VHP program,” said Irene Cahill, director of research and NCRF programs.

“We encourage all NCRA members to help with this important effort especially by interviewing any veterans they know, especially those who served in World War II and Korea. Veterans Day serves as a fitting time to honor our country’s veterans by helping to preserve their histories,” Cahill added.

A number of state associations have reported that they have organized VHP events within their communities and in some cases have even partnered with their state bar association or local court reporting schools.

Members of the Oregon Court Reporters Association, for example, have partnered with the Oregon State Bar’s Military and Veterans Law Section to host a VHP event Sat., Nov. 8, at locations in Portland, Salem, Eugene, Medford, and Bend. Read more.

In Iowa, the tradition of recording crucial, historical stories of American war veterans will continue on Nov. 7 when the Iowa Court Reporters Association and the Des Moines Area Community College School of Court Reporting jointly host a VHP day at the school’s Newton campus. More than two dozen reporters have already volunteered to conduct and transcribe interviews with veterans. For its part, the school will host a luncheon and awards ceremony for veterans, family members, and volunteers. There will also be guest speakers and videos of veterans’ trips to Washington, D.C., through the Honor Flight program. Read more.

Across the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaii Court Reporters and Captioners Association will hold a VHP event on Nov. 15. In addition to veterans’ interviews, the event will also feature presentations by representatives from the First Circuit Court Veterans Treatment Court, the Act Resilient program, the Humane Society, and a service dog named Athena who serves as a Joy Ambassador for the society. Read more.

“As long as there are veterans, there are stories” is the theme touted by the Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters Association, which is sponsoring a VHP event on Nov. 7, along with the Ingham County Department of Veterans Affairs and the Ingham County Circuit Court. Read more.

The Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association will jointly host a VHP day on Wed., Nov. 5, at Orleans Technical Institute in Philadelphia. The event will mark the first time that PRCR and OTI have hosted a VHP event. Organizers are working with a local district judge to help recruit veterans to share their stories and have set a goal of collecting at least eight interviews. Students from OTI will also be on site to practice their own writing skills as well as participate in a luncheon with the volunteer court reporters to discuss issues related to the profession. Read more.

NCRF has partnered with the Library of Congress for more than 10 years to help generate transcripts of interviews with American war veterans for the Oral Histories Program. Professional court reporters can earn 0.25 Professional Development Credit for each transcript they complete and can earn up to a maximum of 1.0 PDC during each three-year certification period. In addition, qualifying court reporting students can earn a complimentary 2015 student membership in NCRA by transcribing interviews through the Foundation’s Student Initiatives Program.

ICRA partners with DMACC-Newton to host Veterans History Project

In honor of Veterans Day, the Iowa Court Reporters Association and the Des Moines Area Community College will jointly host a VHP Day on Nov. 7 at the school’s Newton, Iowa, campus, which houses the new court reporting program. The event will include more than two dozen court reporters who will serve as interviewers and transcribers. DMACC students, faculty, and staff members will also volunteer to interact with the veterans. Pam Burkle, RPR, who serves on ICRA’s Board of Directors, and Dr. Patti Ziegler, court reporting director at DMACC, were recently interviewed about the event by local radio station KCOB in Newton.

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Des Moines Area Community College to launch two-year court reporting program

The Des Moines Area Community College in Newton, Iowa, has announced that in conjunction with the Iowa Court Reporters Association, it will begin offering a two-year court reporting program starting in Fall 2014. According to school officials, the program will be the only one of its kind offered in the state. ICRA is holding their spring seminar in Newton on March 29 and will feature an afternoon session at DMACC’s campus. The session will include a tour and a question and answer session to introduce current reporters and potential students to the program and its facilities. For more information, contact DMACC at 641-791-3622 or ICRA at info@iacra.org.

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Twelve court reporter positions filled in Iowa

On July 1, the Iowa state courts sought to fill 12 court reporter positions across the state. The 12 court reporting positions had been eliminated in 2009 due to budgetary constraints, and when Iowa’s budget was finally able to more fully fund the courts, the state court system chose to hire additional qualified reporters. All 12 positions have been filled, reports Sarah Hyatt, RPR, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, current president of the Iowa Court Reporters Association.

“We were certainly ecstatic that all of the vacancies across the state were able to be filled shortly after the ad being posted,” Hyatt says. “The Iowa Supreme Court and Iowa Court Reporters Association understand what a vital role court reporters hold in our judicial system. We expect additional openings to become available in the future as additional reporters retire, and we anticipate those positions will also be filled as quickly with skilled stenographic reporters.”