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  • 15 Mar 2021 7:37 AM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    Greetings VCRA voting members,

    We hope you are planning to join us on Saturday, March 20, 2021, for our Virtual Spring Education Day.  Due to COVID restrictions, we currently are prohibited from gathering together indoors in groups larger than 10; and, therefore, it once again will be necessary that our election of officers and directors will need to be held electronically to allow our new Board of Directors to begin serving the membership of VCRA and fulfilling their duties and responsibilities.  Our current Bylaws do not have a provision for electronic voting and require that at least 20 voting members be present at a meeting where elections are held.

    In light of the current governmental ban prohibiting such gatherings due to COVID-19 restrictions, the VCRA Board of Directors is once again requesting our membership vote to suspend, for these special purposes only, Article IX, Section 3(b) and Section 4 of the Bylaws. Our complete Bylaws may be located at VCRA.net, but the pertinent sections regarding the election read as follows:

    Section 3 – Voting
    b) Voting of the membership by proxy on any issue, or for officers and directors, shall be permitted when such action is authorized by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the Board of Directors and such proxy is delivered with the notice of the meeting and shall be permissible by mail, e-mail, or fax.

    Section 4 – Quorum of Professional Members
    At the annual business meeting or any meeting of this Association, twenty-five percent (25%) of voting members present, in person or by proxy, constitute a quorum, provided that no fewer than twenty (20) voting members are physically present. The action of a majority of the voting members at a meeting at which a quorum is present shall constitute the action of the voting members.

    If you would like to submit any write-in candidates to be considered for election on the board, please send an e-mail to Liz Phillips at vcraexecutivedirector@gmail.com by March 17, 2021.

    The complete ballot with instructions will be available beginning on March 18, 2021, and there will be a 36-hour window in which to cast your vote. 

    Announcement of voting results will be posted by Saturday, March 20, 2021.

    Please see the introduction to the incoming officers and directors below.

    With warm regards,

    The Virginia Court Reporters Association Board of Directors

  • 7 Mar 2021 10:17 AM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    Buy more raffle tickets on the VCRA Store online

    If you've already registered or if you are unable to attend our Education Day, you can now purchase raffle tickets on the VCRA Store on VCRA.net!  You do not need to be present at the time of the drawings to win, and one ticket enters you into drawings for all the prizes.  This is one of the largest raffles we've ever held, so buy those tickets!

    Click here to buy raffle tickets

    More prizes added to the Spring Education Day raffle

    If the seven amazing prizes in our Spring Education Day raffle weren't enough encouragement to buy a ticket (or 10), we are adding two more awesome items, bringing the total to nine.  One ticket enters you into drawings for all of them!

    Martel Zoom Court Reporter Teleconference and Audiosync Kit - Compatible with all CAT programs One on One Help with Support!

    ($199.99 value)
    Donated by Martel

    Choice of Saverna Leather Tote (various colors) or Canvas Messenger Bag

    ($53.00 to $107.00 value)

    Donated by Andrea Paige

    Got questions for Stenograph?

    Stenograph representative Andrea Paige will be available to answer those questions in the Zoom chat during our Virtual Spring Education Day lunch break!

  • 7 Mar 2021 10:07 AM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    Court Reporting & Captioning Week was a huge success this year.  The VCRA received recognition from the Governor and on the floor of the Virginia House by Delegate David Reid.  We held Tech Talk Tuesday to answer members' tech questions, gave out daily prizes and more. 

    The NCRA held a drawing for all states who received official proclamations for one free registration to NCRA’s 2021 Conference & Expo happening July 29-Aug. 1 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and we won

  • 10 Feb 2021 9:49 PM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    Governor's Proclamation

    Today, the VCRA received the Governor's proclamation in recognition of Court Reporting & Captioning Week in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    Recognition on the House Floor

    Thank you to Delegate David Reid for recognizing Court Reporting & Captioning Week on the House floor!

  • 2 Feb 2021 10:06 AM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    Court Reporting & Captioning Week is coming!

    Court Reporting & Captioning Week is February 6th through 13th, and the VCRA has a huge week planned!  From tech talks to Zoom backgrounds, we have something for everyone!

    Tech Talk Tuesday

    Join us in celebrating Court Reporting & Captioning Week as Kristina and Juan are hosting a Tech Talk Tuesday for VCRA members on Tuesday, February 9, 6:30-8:00 p.m.  Come hang out or pop in and ask any burning questions about technology, or share some of your favorite gizmos, tips, and experience!  Any and all levels of nerdiness or non-nerdiness are welcome for this social event. Hope to see you there!

    Note: This is a social event. CEUs will not be awarded.


    Prize Giveaways

    Stay tuned for daily prize giveaways throughout the week!

    Governor's Proclamation

    VCRA Vice President, Lori McCoin Jones, applied for the Governor's Proclamation, in honor of Court Reporting & Captioning Week, which we are told is in the works, and their office acknowledges they are behind in processing proclamations.

    Roanoke Valley Paralegal Association Education Conference

    The Lawyer and Paralegal Liaison Committee along with Juan Ortega are working on a video to show at the Roanoke Valley Paralegal Association Education Conference on February 15.

    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.

    PNG Format (High quality, large file size)

    JPG Format (Good quality, small file size)

  • 18 Jan 2021 12:14 AM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    Happy 2021 to you!  I started writing this message on New Year’s Day.  As I sat, watched, and listened to Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Ryan Seacrest, I pondered the video footage of 2019’s year-end celebration in comparison.  We had no idea back on December 31, 2019, what awaited us.  I for one sure was looking forward to VCRA’s Roaring 2020 convention and getting a lot of wear out of my flapper dress during the year.  It was to be the year of celebration and excitement.  And it turned out to be a year of learning a lot of new things and FAST.  The phrase “new normal” was in our daily speech.  We all have had to overcome a lot of challenges, but we did it, and we still will continue to do it because there is no other option.

    And now I pick up writing on Saturday the 9th.  What a week it’s been.  I’ve talked to a few reporters this week who have shared that though they are enjoying being remote, they are mentally exhausted from all the screen time, the sad news coming from our nation’s Capitol, the COVID numbers rising, tired of feeling isolated, tired of not being able to go where they want and when they want, tired of the mask.  

    As your president, I’ll admit:  Personally, I’ve had my days of feeling over-whelmed and tired of not being able to be with family and friends freely.  As your president, I’ll admit:  It’s exciting to work with the board and plan events and keep us moving forward in positive momentum.

    The board has planned our first Virtual Spring Education Day for March 20, and at the request of the members, not having it be all day.  You can find details in the newsletter.  We’re going to have some fantastically useful items up for raffle as well.  We will be holding our annual election of board members electronically the week of March 14 and announcing results on Education Day.  We are also working on presenting other virtual opportunities throughout the year with another half day and software-specific training.   With COVID still among us and slow rollout of vaccine, it’s just best to accept that this is the safest alternative for earning CEUs and being together.   We’re hoping, fingers crossed, we can have an in-person social in September.

    We have quite a few things planned for Court Reporting & Captioning Week, which is February 6 through 13.  We’re going to “kick” it off with a Super Bowl Half Time raffle.  Be watchful of your emails for how you can participate in this week of recognition of you!

    We’ve noticed a lot of discussion about recording the video at attorneys’ request.  Reporters are an impartial party doing their reporting job and it’s always best to direct counsel to hiring a professional videographer for quality and usable video, especially to be synched.  In today’s Town Hall, NCRA President Phipps said they are working on a best-practices guideline for that.

    We want to give a shout out to the reporters working on the Hill January 6th.  You worked until the wee hours the following morning with what looked like nerves of steel.  Professionalism for us all to work by.

    At first glance, things may not appear to be what they really are.  I was shocked to find out I misread this.  Why did I misread this?  Was it the photograph I was more fixated on?  Was it my jumping to conclusions of just seeing the first couple of words with the photograph as to what the full message was about?   And why did I do that?  What did you first read it as?

    We all can admit we have done it.  We probably are surprised when we get an errata sheet back that we missed that word, glossed over that word.   It could have been just a bad day or we just need to slow our brains down, take a break, go back to it before sending out.

    We all have our own opinions and feelings.  That’s what makes us unique.  We all have our own paces with which we work or how we perform tasks.  This year, let’s make it a goal, a resolution, to have empathy and   respect for  each reporter's preferences for remote versus in person, good days versus bad days, likes and dislikes.  

    We have each other and a great profession.  It’s a gift.  Let’s hold onto that as we move forward through 2021.

    Donna Linton, RMR,CCR,CLR
    VCRA President

  • 14 Oct 2020 9:05 PM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    For a COVID year, your board has been busier than any other year. I have to say again how blessed I feel to have such a dedicated, energetic, enthusiastic group to work with for this association. We have had to have more emergency pop-up meetings than ever in VCRA’s history. We have come across, as many professions have come across, the necessity to add new policies to conform to the new circumstances we are living in.

    We were disappointed to have to postpone our convention at Lynchburg again due to COVID. Based on the questionnaire and feedback, even if registrants weren’t worried about COVID, they would find wearing a mask for that many hours uncomfortable and it just wouldn’t be as fun if we had to maintain such distance. The Virginian was amazing to work with and we’re happy to say we’re keeping the date March 2022 in place with them and Mark Kislingbury. We would have loved to make it for 2021, but due to what we’re hearing with when Jepson Hall would take reservations again, when movie theatres would be playing long-awaited movies, when courts will have trials, when other associations are still planning virtual conventions into mid-2021, we felt it safest to lock in a realistic date.

    BUT...we have moved quickly to put together a one-day virtual convention on Saturday, November 14, that will include our beloved 50/50, some fantastic door prizes, and a social for registrants at the end of the day. By now you have received the information. We just can’t get enough tech advice and Kristina Tan and Michele Eddy will have their latest and greatest tips. We also will have John Stirrup there to help us feel comfortable going to our representatives with issues that concern us and how to establish a relationship with our representatives. We’ll also get a recap on the efforts for the last bill and have open Q&A. And we’ll have national award-winning health journalist Pilar Gerasimo to talk about our circadian rhythms and more. You won’t want to miss it.

    Speaking of pushing things out because of COVID, we have followed guidelines for the retention of our notes for seven years on civil matters. You may want to just hold onto them two or so years longer because of trials being pushed off. I’ve had trials scheduled to go March 2021 and being told they’ll get back to me for a date in 2023. Yes, 2023. So I thought, gosh, I started depositions in that case in 2014. We’re just going to need a little bit more cloud storage.

    We have had so many of our members turn to us for assistance in getting answers to questions that we are happy to give or get the answers to if we don’t already know it.

    As mentioned in the summer issue, we tried to get answers to questions that, yes, still keep coming up about where the reporter needs to be to swear in the witness, do you need to ask to see their ID, do you need to record the ID and oath. Christopher Reho, your membership chair, and I met with two associates of the Supreme Court of Virginia via WebEx to express the concerns members have brought before us. I particularly brought up security concerns about asking for ID in front of other participants on camera, keeping that recording, storing that recording, and why is it a judge or a clerk, even in person, never asks to see the ID of a witness before they’re sworn in? Shouldn’t we be governed by the same rules? The Secretary of the Commonwealth has stated it sounds like our duties should fall under the court system, yet we’re directed back to the Secretary of the Commonwealth by the Supreme Court. The Commonwealth Electronic Notary Handbook says we have to ask for their ID. We gave examples of how other states are giving Supreme Court mandates regarding

    the court reporters’ duties, this would forego having to follow the Electronic Notary Handbook, which really seems to be geared more towards signing agents. We discussed the questions we commonly get: Does it have to be a Virginia case and you can swear a witness in that is located in another state? Does the reporter have to be in Virginia to administer the oath? We were directed by the Supreme Court back to legal counsel (trust me, we’ve done that), to continue to reach out to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office, and Statute Va. Code Va. Code 47.1-6.1. Do I have a plan C for getting us clarity? You betcha.

    National Paralegal Day is October 23. Reach out to a paralegal and let them know you appreciate them. VCRA has reached out to the various paralegal associations throughout the Commonwealth during Virginia’s Paralegal Week. We have come up with some of their input of what they would like to see from reporters and we have shared with them what reporters would like. It also encourages them to utilize reporting services from our member CCRs.

    I, for one, am happy not to be sweating…sweating from summer and sweating from worry. We do have a convention! And the fall leaves are beautiful. Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday, November 14.

    Donna Linton, RMR,CCR,CLR

    VCRA President

  • 1 Oct 2020 1:07 PM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    The VCRA is very excited to announce the relaunch of our VCRA Voluntary Certified Court Reporter Program. As you are likely aware, the CCR, which is administered by the Virginia Court Reporters Association, is the only state-based certification for court reporters in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We have endeavored to update the program to better reflect our changing industry and provide new avenues for obtaining CEUs.

    While we have made changes, the core requirements for the CCR remain the same. To qualify, one must be a member of the VCRA in good standing and abide by all rules, policies, and procedures of the program and the VCRA. Once approved, the member must obtain 2.0 CEUs each three-year cycle.

    Our relaunched CCR program now provides greater flexibility for obtaining and applying CEUs. As always, CEUs can be obtained by attending NCRA-, NVRA- and VCRA-sponsored events. Now, CEUs can also be obtained for providing pro bono services, attending college courses and serving on a VCRA board or committee. Additionally, if you exceed 2.0 CEUs in a given three-year cycle, a portion of those CEUs may be carried over into the new cycle.

    Along with this relaunch, the VCRA plans to aggressively promote the CCR to the Virginia legal community. We want attorneys and paralegals to know that, if they hire a CCR, they are in good hands. To this end, the VCRA has created a new logo for the CCR designation. Reporters who have their CCR are free to use this logo in marketing and all other communications.

    We know many of you have proudly displayed your CCR designation on your business card for years, and we hope the changes we have implemented will further advance this program. If you’re a Professional member without a CCR designation, we hope you’ll consider applying. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the CCR Committee at ccr@vcra.net.

    With warm regards,

    The Virginia Court Reporters Association Board of Directors

  • 11 Sep 2020 2:11 PM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    Dear VCRA members, sponsors, vendors, speakers and friends,

    After careful consideration of the comments from members and the widespread health risks posed by COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our 2020 Convention scheduled for October 22-24 in Lynchburg, VA. Due to the circumstances, all registration fees will be fully refunded and checks will be mailed to all registrants. The hotel has been very gracious in working with us throughout this difficult time. We ask that you cancel your room reservation as soon as possible to allow the hotel to open those rooms up for other reservations, if possible. The number for The Virginian Hotel is 434-329-3200.

    Please know that this decision was not taken lightly. Having the opportunity to interact with our members in person is our favorite time of the year. However, the ongoing pandemic has made the logistics of holding a large in-person event paired with health risks while traveling for our members increasingly difficult. Most importantly, the health, comfort and safety of our members, speakers and vendors are our highest priority.

    VCRA is working on a virtual program to offer CEUs for this November, and details will follow soon. We appreciate your patience as we strive to work through the logistics of the cancellation and finalizing an enjoyable and educational virtual experience for you.

    VCRA Board of Directors

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