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  • 15 Oct 2022 11:03 AM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    A couple weeks ago, I was setting up my equipment for a deposition that was set to start shortly.  The witness and her attorney were already in the room, and, as I’m sure you’ve all experienced, she took interest in my equipment.  “So, you can type really fast?” she asked.  I explained to her that, yes, I can write at 225 words per minute.  She told me she can type at about 60 words per minute, and I said that’s probably about what I can type on a keyboard, but the steno machine allows for much greater speed.  She then said, “Wait, you were serious about 225 words per minute!?”  I laughed and explained that all stenographers have to write at this speed to keep up with the spoken word, and I described the three different legs we have to pass for the speed portion of the RPR.  At this point, the attorney interjected and said, “Really?  I didn’t know that.”

    This interaction underscored for me what I think we all know.  While the court reporting community, both voice and steno, emphasizes certification and obtaining greater and greater credentials, large segments of the legal community are still unaware of the standards that underpin what it means to be a competent professional in our field.  I know that our association and others have tried to educate attorneys about our profession, but there is still work to be done.  After all, in my opinion, it’s our skill, knowledge and dedication to continuing education that separates us from the other options encroaching on our field today.

    When I became president in March of this year, one of the principal goals for my presidency was adding greater value for members of the VCRA.  To this end, we recently announced that VCRA Day will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2022.  VCRA Day is a celebration of our association and its members and will consist of a webinar with informative speakers in the morning and unique socials held all over the Commonwealth in the afternoon.  Best of all, this event is free for all VCRA members and students!  That means 0.25 NCRA- and NVRA-approved CEUs available for free to every member.  I hope you all decide to attend the webinar, and I hope you’ll consider attending one of the socials as well.  It will be great to get together with friends and colleagues once again!

    I can’t stress enough how important each of you are to the continued success of VCRA and its mission to advocate for court reporters within the Commonwealth of Virginia.  As president and also having been a member of NCSA (National Congress of State Associations) for a number of years, I have heard firsthand the struggle that many state associations are having adding and retaining members.  I have even heard about associations at risk of dissolving due to lack of interest.  We’re fortunate to have an active member base willing to step up, volunteer for outreach efforts and serve on the VCRA Board and committees.  But we can’t rest on our laurels.  We have to work every day to increase our numbers, and member benefits like VCRA Day play a huge role in accomplishing that.  You can help the cause by sharing our posts on Facebook and other social media platforms.  It only takes a second, but it helps a lot!

    VCRA will be an exhibitor at the upcoming Virginia School Counselor Association conference in Hampton on October 19th through 21st.  This three-day event pulls in counselors from all grade levels plus administrators, social workers and others.  We are happy to be returning to this event, as it’s a great opportunity to showcase court reporting to the people advising students and other career seekers in Virginia.  Thank you to all the volunteers helping with this event!

    VCRA’s Mario A. Rodriguez Education Day is scheduled for March 18th, 2023, at a new venue, the Kelly Education Center at the beautiful Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, Virginia.  We’ll have more details in the coming months.  Please save the date!

    I hope you enjoy the cool fall weather in our beautiful Commonwealth and have a wonderful holiday season.

    Christopher D. Reho, RPR, CCR

    VCRA President

  • 15 Aug 2022 10:33 PM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    Summer is finally here, and you know what that means!  Yes, working on pages while on vacation (kidding, of course)!  I hope you’ve all had a great summer so far.  While the members of the VCRA Board have all been enjoying summertime with their friends and family, we have also been working for the benefit of all reporters in the Commonwealth.

    I have a bit of personal joy to share before we get down to business.  On the morning of July 25th, my wife and I welcomed our first child, Isaac.  There are a couple photos of our handsome boy later in the newsletter.  It has been a simultaneously joyous and hectic time for me, getting the hang of fatherhood while also working and fulfilling my duties as President of VCRA.  There are far too many friends in the court reporting field to thank individually, but truly thank you all for the encouragement and support and for coming together to celebrate the arrival of Isaac!

    One of the goals I set out for my presidency was expanding our numbers.  As the saying goes, there is strength in numbers, so having a robust membership is key to VCRA’s continued success.  Reviewing our current member rolls shows an obvious area for improvement: voice writers.  VCRA loves our voice writers, but we have struggled to convince them to join us.  To that end, the VCRA Board voted in June to create the Voice Writers Committee.  This committee, headed by Linda Kia and Monica Anderson, our two voice writer board members, will help bring a voice for voice writers within the VCRA (pardon the pun).  The Voice Writers Committee will help advocate for voice writers in the Commonwealth of Virginia and also encourage them to join our ranks.

    Another significant step occurred in June when Board Member Kristina Tan attended the NASA (National Alliance of State Associations) Leadership Training during the 2022 NVRA Convention in Memphis, Tennessee.  For those unfamiliar, NVRA’s NASA is similar to NCRA’s NCSA, giving the states a voice within the national association.  You can read more about Kristina’s experience in her article in this newsletter; it sounds like it was a wonderfully welcoming event and hopefully the start of VCRA playing a bigger role in the NVRA.  Kristina, along with Monica Anderson, will serve as NASA rep for the next year.

    NCRA’s annual convention was held recently in Orlando, Florida, and Virginia was well-represented.  Tasiana Basdekis, who was recently appointed as one of Virginia’s two NCSA representatives, attended the NCSA meeting, and you can learn more about her experience in her article in this newsletter.  Our own Carol Naughton, former President of the VCRA, has served as NCSA Chair for the past year and will serve for one more year.  NCSA has done amazing work this year – most notably convincing NCRA to modify their test retention policy.  Tasiana and Vice President Cynthia Bragg will serve as Virginia’s NCSA reps for the next year.

    As has already been announced on Facebook and via email, VCRA Board Member Michele Eddy’s five-week challenge begins August 15th.  She is challenging us all to exercise our body and mind.  Find more details in her article below.  We all know how hard it is to focus on our health in our unpredictable and demanding profession, so hopefully this challenge can bring some balance to our lives.  I will be participating because, with a newborn, I need all the balance I can get!

    VCRA continues to be your advocate in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and I thank you so much for your continued support.  I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your summer.  Let’s hope for modest temperatures and low humidity… and some free time to enjoy it!

    Christopher D. Reho, RPR, CCR

    VCRA President

  • 10 Aug 2022 5:13 PM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    Life is like a bicycle. You won't fall off unless you stop pedaling.

    It is all about balance. CHALLENGE your limits. But always remember life is not a race, but a journey.

    Starting August 15, I hope you will take this journey and challenge with me. The challenge is, every week, 5 days a week, for 5 weeks, come up with 5 new Briefs a day and cycle 5 miles a day, 5 Days a Week, for 5 WEEKS - or 2 New Briefs a day, 2 Miles of Walking a day, 5 days a week for 5 WEEKS.

    Everyone who takes this challenge and posts their results every day for 5 WEEKS, I will make a $50 donation on your behalf to the American Heart Association. Yes, I'll donate $50 on your behalf and will challenge you to match my gift.

    Let's challenge ourselves and give back as we do! Look for more details in our August Newsletter and on Facebook.SEE YOU ON AUGUST 15 on Facebook.  We will post our progress 5 DAYS a WEEK for 5 WEEKS!

    Michele Eddy, RPR, CRR, CRI, CCR
  • 24 May 2022 2:18 PM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    After years of delay and anticipation, I am pleased to say our “Roaring 20’s” convention at the beautiful Virginian Hotel in Lynchburg was a tremendous success!  The court reporting community in the Commonwealth of Virginia were finally able to come together and celebrate our profession, and what a celebration it was!

    Festivities began with VCRA’s first ever speed and realtime contest.  I want to commend all the brave reporters who took this challenge!  Michele Eddy and Juan Garcia proctored the tests, consisting of realtime Q&A at 225 wpm and a speed contest at 280 wpm.  In the end, Gwenda Applegate won the realtime contest with 96.56 percent accuracy.  Tori Pittman took the speed contest with 99.25 percent accuracy.  Congratulations to you both!

    Following the speed contest, Kristina Tan kicked of the informative weekend with a fun showcase of gadgets and tech tips to make our day run just a little bit smoother.  After that, it was time for our long-awaited (seriously, some members bought their costumes two years ago!) Speak Easy Welcome Reception.  While we’ve all made the best of our virtual socials and educational events over the past couple years, it was so refreshing to finally be face to face with all our friends and colleagues from across the Commonwealth.

    Saturday and Sunday continued the trend of good food and great speakers.  My head is still spinning a little bit from Mark Kislingbury’s incredible four-hour presentation!  I hope everyone has been able to incorporate some of what he showed us.  Jim DeCrescenzo followed up with a thought-provoking presentation about ASR and what it means for our profession.  He also spoke about Project Steno and bringing young people into court reporting.  Michele Eddy and NCRA President Debbie Dibble capped off an amazing weekend on Sunday with powerful and informative speeches.  Michele gave a look into realtime, comparing the available options and providing her expert insight.  And Debbie had us all laughing at her anecdotes as she encouraged us to stay motivated and keep working hard.

    Pulling off a convention like this is a team effort, and I want to commend all the board members who made this weekend possible – some of whom have already left the board, given the extended delay.  I’d also like to thank Donna Linton for two dedicated years as president of the VCRA.  I extend a special congratulations to Leslie Etheredge, recipient of this year’s Tayloe Award and now officially enjoying the title of “past president.”  Leslie and Donna led the VCRA through a truly unique and challenging period, and you both did a great job!

    Court Reporting & Captioning Week was February 5th through 12th this year, and VCRA went all-out!  In addition to receiving a proclamation from the Governor for yet another year, the VCRA produced a short, informative video entitled "What on Earth does this say?" promoting greater appreciation of our profession.  The video can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/OH-K3cnXOJw.  We also held the We LOVE Our Members Online Social, a fun-filled hour of games and prize giveaways.  Finally, the VCRA took out ad space in Virginia Lawyers Weekly directing readers to our website with information about CRCW and the video we produced.

    Earlier this year, the VCRA established a new 501(c)(3) called the Virginia Court Reporters Foundation (VCRF).  This new organization, while independent, will work alongside the VCRA and provide greater flexibility to fundraise and advance educational efforts for verbatim reporting in Virginia.  As a first act, the VCRF held an online silent auction during VCRA’s convention in Lynchburg to benefit the Carolyn M. O'Connor Education Fund (COEF).  The online auction was a huge success, bringing in over $1,400.  Thank you to all the donors and bidders!

    This is going to be a great year for the VCRA.  We will focus on increasing our numbers and adding value to your membership.  And as always, the VCRA will be a zealous advocate for court reporters in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  VCRA is an organization that consistently punches above its weight, and it’s thanks to the dedicated people that serve on its board and committees.

    Finally, on a personal note, I want to thank you all for trusting me to lead this organization for the next year.  It’s truly an honor. 

    Christopher D. Reho, RPR, CCR

    VCRA President

  • 3 Apr 2022 5:28 PM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    The VCRA's long-awaited 2022 convention in Lynchburg, Virginia, was held on March 25-27, and we want to thank each and every attendee, speaker, board members and everyone else who helped make the weekend a success!  It was so wonderful to once again meet face to face with our amazing court reporting community here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  

    Congratulations to our award winners.  Leslie Etheredge received the Tayloe Award in recognition of all that she has done for court reporting in Virginia.  And the Carolyn O'Connor Education Fund Scholarship went to Loretta Berrigan, who is a student at Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, PA. (Go, Steelers!)

    Congratulations also to the winners of VCRA's first ever speed and realtime contests.  Tori Pittman took the speed contest, 99.14% accuracy at 280 wpm!  And Gwenda Applegate was the realtime contest winner!  

    A special thank you also to Debbie Dibble, NCRA's president, who helped swear in our 2022-2023 Board of Directors and gave a fantastic motivational presentation.  We love you, Debbie!

  • 22 Mar 2022 12:03 PM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    The VIRGINIA COURT REPORTERS FOUNDATION auction, being hosted this year by the Virginia Court Reporters Association, is now online on BetterWorld! Head to the link below to bid on great items.   The auction is open to attendees and non-attendees of our convention in Lynchburg. If necessary, items will be shipped to non-attendees; however, certain items will be pickup only due to size or shipping cost.

    Click here to view the auction

    Bidding runs from now until March 26, 2022, 4:30 P.M. EDT.

    Donations are tax-deductible.

    All donations and auction proceeds will be directed to the Virginia Court Reporters Foundation to fund the Carolyn M. O'Connor Education Fund.

  • 5 Feb 2022 9:00 AM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    Court Reporting & Captioning Week is a weeklong event that highlights the many aspects of court reporting and captioning that make it a viable profession, including good salaries, flexibility, interesting venues and the increasing demand for more reporters and captioners to meet the growing number of employment opportunities available in the field. The event sends a message about the important and vital role human court reporters and captioners play in providing the most accurate mode of capturing the spoken word and turning it into text.

    "What on Earth does this say?"

    Members of the VCRA offer insight and friendly advice to attorneys in recognition of Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

    Governor's Proclamation

    For yet another year, the VCRA obtained official recognition for Court Reporting & Captioning Week from the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Click here to view the proclamation on virginia.gov.

    Zoom Backgrounds

    Tell the world (or at least the people in your Zoom deps) about Court Reporting & Captioning Week with custom Zoom backgrounds! Follow the guide below to add these backgrounds to Zoom.

    1. Right-click the image
    2. Click "Save Image As..." (Wording can vary depending on browser)
    3. Follow the guide on this page to add a virtual background to Zoom.

  • 18 Jan 2022 10:21 AM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    It is very hard to believe that this will be my last president’s message to you. Thinking back over the last two years, I became your president just as COVID restrictions were upon us. We have all been through a lot together from getting our electronic notary license, trying to figure out the PPP, learning or strengthening our remote talents, to attending virtual seminars and conventions, to playing games remotely at our socials, to getting back out there in person and learning how to be hybrid. We have had great moments of success. We have all worked together, sharing information, uplifting each other. I couldn’t have asked for two better boards and members to work with and for.

    As many of you know, this was not my first rodeo with board service, or even being president. Back in the late ‘90s and early 2000s I served. When I was approached by Carol Naughton in 2017 to see if I could help be on the board of directors, there was a spot to be filled, I thought, well, okay, sure. It would be nice to help out. My daughter was going to school down where most of the meetings were, so I’d get to have an excuse to see her. I had no idea at the first board meeting when they said the secretary couldn’t come, could someone take the minutes, and I’m raising my hand, “I always loved taking the minutes. I’ll take the minutes,” that I was going to become “the secretary.”

    My focus over the last two years has been about building relationships through our paralegal and lawyer liaison committee. The committee chair, Michele Eddy, and members Kim Riberick, Sindie Bragg, Matt Ridge, and Linda Kia have done fabulous work with attending paralegal conventions, reaching out to the different chapters to ask what reporters can do for them and letting them know what helps us do the best job we can for them. On December 3rd we thought it prudent to attend the Virginia Attorneys Defense Association Young Lawyers Boot Camp. There VCRA was able to get the word out about our CCRs and how we also, like them, earn continuing education credits; let them know about VCRA’s Pro Bono Program; and shared with them NCRA’s How to Make the Record. What better way to help us by helping them know how it makes a better record when they speak one at a time, not read too fast from documents, and the like.

    Also my focus has been the notary license under which we are commissioned. I still am going to collaborate with the legislative committee on trying to get us under the Courts of Justice. The notary rules are just too structured for a notary performing actual notarizations of documents and not towards giving the oath/affirmation for testimony. We have Court Reporting & Captioning Week coming up February 6, 2022. By now you would have received an email asking if you could help out with a two-minute video for us to share information to the legal community and the public about our profession. I hope you have participated and will have fun doing it. We are planning a one-hour virtual social and having a giveaway every 15 minutes during Court Reporting & Captioning Week. Keep an eye out on social media and email blasts for the date and time as well as a new screen background to commemorate the celebration of our profession.

    We all are really looking forward to seeing you in person March 25-27, 2022, at the Virginian in Lynchburg. It is going to be amazing to see each other face to face. And though I will see many of you there, I know some I will not. I want to have my last message be to encourage you all to be involved whether on the board or on a committee. I cannot tell you how rewarding board service has been. Yes, sometimes there can be disagreements on how to best proceed with, let’s say, a bylaw change, or perhaps what speakers our members would like to see at a virtual convention, and there are busier times than others for what work needs to be done. What outweighs all of that is the friendships made and what we learn from each other. While the pandemic hit, I decided to finally get my notary signing agent certification and supplemented the lack of income by doing notary signings. I found out board member Rachel had been doing notary signing for years, and I called upon her when I first got started with my questions and flubs, and she always was there and patiently helped me. Then there was sharing remote work in covering our calendars when we got busy. There are a lot of laughs when collaborating on fundraising and door prizes. There is sharing in sad news of the passing of a family member, a beloved pet, the need for a medication run when you’re too sick to get it yourself, sharing in happy news of an expectant parent or grandparent, celebration of a college graduation, shipping off a tripod to someone in need. Personally, I know I have had several board members and members pick up where I left off because I could not. That is the bond that lasts forever.

    We have a highly active state association that we are all a part of. You have a board that is working on things as of this writing that are going to help our association as well as the legal community and consumers of court reporting services when Christopher Reho becomes president.

    I profusely thank all the board members I’ve worked with the last two years; the sponsors and those that have donated over the last two years that keep our association’s education opportunities supported; and I thank the members for your kindness and patience during unparalleled times.

    Donna Linton, RDR,CCR,CLR

    VCRA President

  • 18 Oct 2021 5:56 AM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    Welcome cool breezes and colorful landscapes. I hope you all enjoyed your summer. From what I have heard around the state, it sure has been a busy one workwise.

    In the President’s Message in the Summer newsletter, I informed members of my writing to Fairfax Circuit Court Chief Judge Penney S. Azcarate along with the sheriff’s department requesting they reconsider giving ID badges to VCRA members for entry into the building. I received a genuinely nice letter back in August from Chief Judge Azcarate starting off with her expression of great appreciation for the work all the court reporters do at the courthouse and gratitude for our commitment and patience in and outside the courtroom as being exemplary. Though it is not the outcome I wanted -- we were declined the ability to receive ID cards. She explained she did meet with the Courthouse Security Committee to discuss the matter. She acknowledged that other jurisdictions have different rules, but with 35 courtrooms and over 1,000 people a day entering the building, and with growing security issues, they just would not be issuing IDs to those other than court employees and “licensed” attorneys. If anyone has a medical issue, you can notify the sheriff’s department upon entry and special procedures will be deployed to get you through security.

    You know how we have struggled with the rules of giving the oath remotely; how what the Secretary of the Commonwealth Notary rules do not really mesh with how, say, the Clerk of the Court administers the oath? It apparently is no different for lawyers. I have had a few conversations concerning whether a witness has a right to read their deposition transcript if it has been given de bene esse (for trial), and even if it was video just for discovery. Rule 4:7(A)(f) unequivocally states Rule 4:5(3) - governing deposition submission to the witness for changes - does not apply to audio-visual depositions. I was told by more than one attorney that The Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia thus clearly dictate errata sheet changes to audio-visual depositions is a nullity and may not be used at the trial of a matter or for any purpose. And yet another attorney shared that he had argued this to the Supreme Court on appeal, and they overruled. So moving forward, you can only do what all parties agree to at the time of closing out the deposition regarding this, and if there is no agreement, include the errata sheet with your transcript and let counsel do their thing: fight it out later, if they deem necessary.

    When you are president of a state association, you get put onto NCRA’s Leader Board, which is an email system that you are included on important information from NCRA and other state leaders. Presidents and vice presidents can collaborate on ideas for speakers at conventions, sharing scholarship information, what new laws are being implemented in your state, and how to get members more involved in their association, to name a few. I was surprised to find out for 20 years Vermont has not had an association. I had not noticed because there are a few reporters that still collaborate with attorneys, paralegals, lawmakers and make it look effortless and like they have a full-blown association. We are so lucky in Virginia to have as many reporters as we do be together as one family in their association, VCRA. We are lucky to have as many agencies as we do that are supportive with their sponsorship, and to have the associate members show an interest in our profession. The board does a lot, and we are always open to hearing what else you might like to see from your state association.

    A common theme that has come into my email is what are we going to do about how busy we are and filling the demand for reporters. I know a lot of reporters cannot or will not go out in person. I know a lot of reporters have their own preference for whether they like to go to court or do not want to drive too far. Some would like to wind down and spend more time with family. I get it. What we need to do, together, is get more people into the profession. I am asking now every member to contact one high school. Just one. If everyone does this, at least 160 schools will have been contacted. Reach out and tell a guidance counselor what you do and tell them you would like to give their contact information to a program.

    Give Michele Eddy, VCRA’s Education chair, at micheleeddy@gmail.com their name and email, and we will put them in touch with Project Steno. They will take it from there. Are you a voice writer? Great. Make that call, get their name and number, and Michele will direct them to NVRA. They have information for courses.

    The Lawyer and Paralegal Liaison Committee has been in touch with a couple of the paralegal chapters across the Commonwealth to discuss having joint webinars, socials, and even a 5k race. This year’s National Paralegal Day is October 23. Be sure to reach out and acknowledge a paralegal or two that day.

    We are really looking forward to seeing you in person March 25-27, 2022, at the Virginian in Lynchburg. We are so overdue for some real face time.

    I hope you all have an enjoyable holiday season with your family and friends.

    Donna Linton, RMR,CCR,CLR

    VCRA President

  • 9 Sep 2021 3:51 PM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    Did you know that the Virginia Court Reporters Association has a scholarship fund?  We do!  And we are looking for our next recipient(s) of the Carolyn M. O’Connor Education Fund Scholarship, with an award of up to $1,000.

    If you are a student who is actively engaged in the study of court reporting, either enrolled in a traditional school setting or attending an online program, and you have completed at least 1 semester of court reporting school, along with passing at least 1 test at a minimum of 160 words per minute, then YOU should apply!

    Instructors, please encourage your students who qualify to apply!  The deadline for application submission is JANUARY 10, 2022.  The recipient(s) of the award will be notified by FEBRUARY 15, 2022, along with being invited as our guest to our 2022 Convention being held March 25th – 27th in beautiful Lynchburg, Virginia, where they will be recognized and receive their award, along with a 1-year membership to VCRA.

    You can download the application by contacting Rachel Cramer at coef@vcra.net or from our website www.vcra.net.

    Questions?  Please feel free reach out via social media, email, or telephone!

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