Search Results for: gift basket

Baskets are filling up: Be a part of NCRA’s PAC fundraiser

A number of state court reporter associations have shown their support for NCRA’s PAC (Political Action Committee) by committing to donate a gift basket for this year’s PAC fundraiser, Gift Basket Extravaganza, being held at the Association’s 2018 Convention & Expo, Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La.

NCRA is asking all state associations to donate a gift basket that contains items that show the uniqueness of their state and their association’s pride in it! Each state that contributes a gift basket will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a free registration to the 2019 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp.

Among the state associations that have donated a basket for the fundraising event is the Florida Court Reporters Association (FCRA) and West Virginia Court Reporters Association (WVCRA).

“This year, NCRA is trying something new to raise money for its PAC. Having a PAC allows NCRA to donate to legislators who might be willing to help the Association and the court reporting cause or to donate against those who may hurt us.  It is a very important and necessary part of politics,” said Christy Aulls Bradshaw, RPR, a freelance reporter and firm owner from Ocala, Fla., and immediate past president of FCRA.

“FCRA is excited and very proud to be contributing a basket for this year’s conference in New Orleans in support of the NCRA PAC. We are hoping to have a basket full of some of Florida’s favorite things. And, we hope that other states or firms will consider donating a basket too,” added Bradshaw, who also noted that the basket raffle has been a top fundraiser her state association for several years.

Here’s how the gift basket works: Each state association that donates a gift basket has a chance to win a registration to the 2019 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp. Which state wins the NCRA Legislative Boot Camp registration is based on which basket is the biggest draw at Convention. Convention attendees who contribute to NCRA PAC in exchange for raffle tickets will vote by putting their raffle tickets in a bowl for the basket they want to win. If donors want your state’s basket, they will put their tickets in the bowl, and the winner of the basket will be chosen randomly. The basket that accumulates the highest number of tickets wins the 2019 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp registration.

NCRA’s PAC is an important way members can help shape how the court reporting and captioning professions are addressed at the federal level.

“With the 2018 midterm elections coming up, NCRA has an opportunity to cultivate new alliances in the federal government and to ensure that members of Congress who know the importance of court reporters and support the court reporting profession in the United States stay in office,” said NCRA Government Relations Manager Matthew Barusch.

If you have any questions about the 2018 NCRA PAC Gift Basket Extravaganza, contact Matthew Barusch at

PAC Your Baskets: NCRA PAC Fundraiser at 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo

Contributing to the NCRA PAC (Political Action Committee) is an important way you can shape how the court reporting and captioning professions are addressed at the federal level. That makes this year more important than ever. With the 2018 midterm elections coming up, NCRA has an opportunity to cultivate new alliances in the federal government and to ensure that members of Congress who know the importance of court reporters and support the court reporting profession in the United States stay in office.

To raise PAC funds to help our allies in Congress in 2018, NCRA PAC is holding a Gift Basket Extravaganza at this year’s 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo in New Orleans. We are asking our state associations to donate a gift basket to NCRA PAC. Ideally, a gift basket would showcase the uniqueness of your state and your association’s pride in it! Each state that contributes a gift basket will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a free registration to the 2019  NCRALegislative Boot Camp.

Here’s how it works: Each state association that donates a gift basket has a chance to win a registration to the 2019 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp. Which state wins the NCRA Legislative Boot Camp registration is based on which basket is the biggest draw at Convention. Convention attendees who contribute to NCRA PAC in exchange for raffle tickets will vote by putting their raffle tickets in a bowl for the basket they want to win. If donors want your state’s basket, they will put their tickets in the bowl, and the winner of the basket will be chosen randomly. The basket that accumulates the highest number of tickets wins the 2019 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp registration.

If you have any questions about the 2018 NCRA PAC Gift Basket Extravaganza, contact Matthew Barusch at

My happiest reporting job

The JCR asked members about the happy occasions they have reported, and several members were excited to share their tales of the adoptions, graduations, and other joyful occasions they have worked. One respondent noted that just writing up her story about the happy occasion she reported put her in a better mood, so keep these stories in mind when you need a mood booster – or keep a file of your own favorite jobs as a reminder.

man in graduation cap and gown Watching my first CART student graduate

I feel like my first CART student and I grew up together. The day he graduated from college was one of the proudest days of my life.

After a number of years as an agency court reporter, I was offered a long-term assignment (through that same agency) providing CART to an incoming college freshman. I had never provided CART; he had never experienced CART. He was the only student who was deaf and non-ASL attending the university. He had been mainstreamed during his K-12 schooling. Wow! You can imagine his reaction when he started reading my screen that first day and finally saw how much information he had been missing. We literally were together for five years straight, through successes and failures, good classes and bad. We built a strong bond as he learned to trust and rely on me for both classroom CART and also communication access during times when my steno machine was not set up. He learned to lip read me very well, and I could reiterate conversations as we walked to classes together. I also was one of the few people who could understand him when he used his voice, and I think that allowed him a lot of freedom to express himself without the embarrassment of being misunderstood. In essence, I watched him become a strong, independent adult.

When graduation time came, I felt like a part of the family. His parents treated me with affection and gratitude. I became quite choked up as I captioned his graduation ceremony. I was overjoyed with happiness as I reflected back on his struggles, successes, and the bright future that was awaiting him.

It’s been a number of years now, and I’ve seen many students I worked with graduate. These graduations are always a time to celebrate the successes of the students with whom I’ve had the privilege of being their CART captioner. But I shall never forget my first graduate!

Kris Wurgler, RPR

Cottage Grove, Wis.

parents with newly adopted childAdoption days at my courthouse

I am an official in a district court in Texas. I’ve been reporting around 23 years and have been in this court almost 18 of those years with one judge. We are strictly family law, hearing all of the child protective Services child abuse and neglect cases in Smith County, divorces, child custodies, attorney general child support enforcement cases, termination of parental rights, and just every really sad thing having to do with families and children.

But we also do several adoptions. We even do two Adoption Days in our court, one being National Adoption Day, which is huge affair with a party, clowns, balloons, lunch, cakes, picture slide shows, and large gift baskets for every child being adopted. These are the only good, positive cases we hear, and they bring much needed happiness and usually tears of joy to all of the court staff and participants.

Even for the regular (non-Adoption Day) adoptions in the courtroom, my judge has the entire cast of family and friends/supporters of the family come up in front of the bench with the family. After testimony is adduced to prove up the legal proceedings, the judge steps off of her elevated bench, comes around with the families, talks to the kid(s), holds the little ones (if they’re not bigger than her tiny frame), has everyone there form a large circle while holding hands, and then grants the adoption. She then kisses the kid(s) on the head, and everyone applauds. Then we go off of the record and have photo shoots with everyone present, then the family, and then the immediate family (with and without the judge).

My judge makes it very special for everyone, and it’s a joyous occasion. It’s quite an oasis in a very dry desert.

Kristy Crawford, RMR, CRR

Tyler, Texas

Early in my career I reported an adoption day on a Saturday. I had no children then and was really honored to be a part of that day, because I knew that everyone who took part sincerely wanted to be there. Little did I know that years later, my husband and I would embark on our own adoption journey.

A family law case I reported years ago did not start out happy but ended up that way. A troubled boy’s parents had basically given up on him. An employee at the boy’s school and her husband decided to take him in. After that he thrived, and the last I heard, he was going to college. The mother was supposed to be sending this couple child support, but she didn’t. That did not change this couple’s desire to make this boy a part of their family.

More recently I reported a case in which a young woman wanted to take over guardianship of a young boy. Her deceased mother had been the boy’s guardian. The woman and her boyfriend really stepped up to the plate to care for this boy who was not a family member.

Dina Lidis, RPR, CRR

Los Angeles, Calif.

I worked in a child-in-need-of-care court for approximately three years, and we participate in National Adoption Day. This exciting event is held in November every year, and we made so many forever families! Every event is filled, usually 10 or more families, adoptions of foster children, step children, closed adoptions, open adoptions. It’s so difficult to have a smile on your face, a tear in your eye, and try to write it all down. We would make a copy of the adoption proceedings and give it to the parents as a gift of their special day.

Also, I went to cover a court proceeding where the defendant could read the written word but couldn’t process the spoken word. So he would be able to look at my screen to see what the judge had said so he could appropriately answer. It was one of the most rewarding scenarios I’ve participated in. He could hear; he just couldn’t process it.

Cindy L. Isaacsen, RPR

Olathe, Kan

Given the nature of the business that occurs in the courtroom, very few instances are happy events. Years ago while working as an official court reporter, I had the pleasure of reporting each hearing when our nieces were adopted. The judge of the probate court at that time would take a photo of the child, or children, and their adoptive parent or parents with the use of a Polaroid camera. After many years on the bench, the judge had quite a photo album!

Of course, there are those occasions that just might tickle your funny bone; the lawyer during jury selection in a murder trial who states, “there may be graphic photos depicting the scene of the murder and the victim is usually dead”; the lawyer who comes before the bench with his suit coat firmly tucked in his pants following his return from the little boy’s room; the all-important name change so that the petitioner’s name would match the misspelled tattoo of his name his new bride had emblazoned on her person for him as a surprise; and the lawyer that was interrupted by his “client” during argument in a provisional relief hearing only to learn that she was not, in fact, his client.

All times, mind you, that the trained, professional court reporter remains composed with a stoic look on his or her face that would fool even the most practiced Texas Hold’em player.

Timothy B. St. Clair, RMR

Mishawaka, Ind.

lighthouse at sunsetA narrated tour of historic lighthouses

I once provided CART on a ferry boat for the Hearing Loss Association (HLA) of Rhode Island. It was a narrated tour of Rhode Island’s historic lighthouses on Narragansett Bay. Our group was on the second or third level of the ferry. There were windows on all sides to view the bay. I had someone help me secure my screen to the front wall so it wouldn’t tip over. I sat in a booth sideways looking in towards the aisle. My projector was on the table. I remember wishing for a smooth trip so my projector would not get knocked over.

The narrator gave a historical and humorous presentation of all ten lighthouses. The HLA participants read my screen and got to look out at the bay simultaneously. It was a gentle ride, a memorable tour, and I got to feel like a tourist in my own state.

I’ve also provided CART for more than 15 graduations for parents, relatives, and graduates from colleges (state and Ivy League), the Naval War College, and high schools. They’ve been in every venue you can think of: auditoriums, arenas, gyms, outdoors, and in churches. I’ve projected on large screens or HD televisions. And I’ve used just my laptop for one or two consumers.

My most memorable was in 2014 when I was providing CART for the first Deaf graduate of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. I had been working closely with him since 2006 as an undergrad at Brown. It was held at the First Unitarian Church of Providence. All the graduates were sitting in the pews as their families and loved ones looked on. I got to sit right in the pew. I even participated in rehearsal beforehand to make sure my laptop and writer would fit and that my equipment would not interfere with the flow of the graduates receiving their diplomas. I feel blessed that I got to be there front and center and celebrate this special milestone with him. He’s now at Yale in his second year of residency in internal medicine.

Jen Milette, RPR

Warwick, R.I.

Swearing in a judge

I had a friend who was appointed as a judge, and I volunteered to report that swearing-in ceremony. In our area, it is customary to have a swearing-in ceremony where the appointee is officially sworn in as a judge, and various friends and colleague speak about the new judge — some as a roast and some attesting to their character, ability, and so on. I was able to put in all the asides that we as reporters think about. That is, I put in parentheticals such as “rolling his eyes,” “whereupon Judge X blushed uncontrollably,” and “polite laughter at the bad joke.” You get the picture. It was quite fun, and my friend talked about how much fun he had reading it later with his family!

Pamela Cotten, RDR

Santa Ana, Calif.

Take Note: Year in review

The Take Note campaign, launched in September 2014 by NCRA to support the future of court reporting through national advertising and public relations outreach, closed out its first year with high success marks. According to an annual review provided by BowStern, the Florida-based public relations firms retained by NCRA to develop and run the campaign, more than 260,000 visitors checked out the crTakeNote website in its first year. In addition, nearly 6,500 leads were garnered through the site and shared with court reporting schools for follow up.

The campaign was developed based on an independently commissioned study of the court reporting profession by research firm Ducker Worldwide. The study found that while the current supply and demand for court reporters is balanced, between now and 2019, the need for working court reporters will translate to some 5,500 jobs available in the United States due in large part to today’s working professionals reaching retirement age.

Though the campaign was run on a nationwide scale, California, New York, Texas, and Illinois, those states determined by the Ducker report as having the greatest need for court reporters in the near future, were heavily targeted by BowStern throughout the campaign’s first year. According to the public relations firm, those specific efforts included media outreach and advertising. Leads were also generated from New Jersey, Florida, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Georgia, and Arizona.

During the campaign’s first year, BowStern also communicated with more than 3,500 of the generated leads via email and text campaigns to further promote the court reporting profession. Other efforts included paid media spots, Facebook ads, and Google adwords. Online banner ads promoting the profession were also placed on the employment website

“The Take Note campaign has proven to be a success. We are in a position to go into the marketplace with a strategy in play that is positive and offers an area of growth and innovation,” said NCRA Immediate Past President Sarah E Nageotte, RDR, CRR, CRC, an official court reporter from Jefferson, Ohio. Nageotte was serving as NCRA’s president when the Take Note campaign was first launched.

“In just a few short months following its launch, the campaign took off with positive media hits and countless interview opportunities for the NCRA Board of Directors and members alike,” Nageotte said.

“NCRA’s Take Note campaign has put our timeless profession into the spotlight that it deserves, through exposure in the Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, and the Nightly Business Report, as well as many other media sources in print, radio and online,” said NCRA President Steve Zinone, RPR, an official court reporter from Canadaigua, N.Y. “Also, a big thanks to Nigel Hayes, from the University of Wisconsin too, for putting our timeless profession in a positive light before millions of viewers during last year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.”

Through the use of edgy designs combined with strategic and targeted marketing efforts, BowStern created and employed messages that playfully suggested the roles and responsibilities of court reporters, as well as the numerous opportunities the career offers. Specifically, the campaign showcased several key career characteristics including job security, earning potential, flexibility of schedule, and the ability to help others.

The campaign also provided NCRA membership, state associations, and court reporting schools with a vast source of resources for use in promoting the profession to the public and to potential students. The resource center, found at, continues to provide sample social media posts and icons, template flyers and advertising graphics, how-to promotion guides, and much more. For schools and members alike, remains the campaign’s one-stop shop for support materials and more information.

The Take Note resources were also tapped to further promote the profession during NCRA’s 2015 Court Reporting & Captioning Week event. Many of the available resources were downloaded and used by members, state associations, and court reporting schools in efforts to mark the week-long event. Activities supported by these resources included open houses at schools and court reporting firms and participation in local and state career fairs and school counselor events.

“The 2016 National Court Reporting & Captioning Week will also be boosted as the Take Note campaign continues,” Nageotte said. “The hard work has been done for us: presentations prepared, materials created, avenues opened. It is now our turn to take the fruits of the hard work and get out there to our local high schools, community groups, through promotion in news and print media the true value and benefit to being a part of our honored, timeless, and awesome profession.”

Moving into 2016, BowStern will continue to work with NCRA staff to develop toolkits designed to aid schools in identifying and attracting students that have aptitudes ripe for the court reporting and captioning professions. Among the targeted populations segments will include high school students, college students who have determined to follow a different career path, career changers, and armed services veterans.

“I believe the Take Note campaign has given our profession the inspiration to share our stories. We work hard. We provide vital services to so many. We have sat quietly as the guardians of the record. We proudly have been the ears and communication bridge to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. We love our careers. And the Take Note campaign has allowed us to let everyone know who the stenographic court reporter and captioner is,” said Nageotte.

“Best of all, we have been able to let the world know we have jobs. A lot of them. We’re not a dying profession,” she continued. “Stenographic court reporting and captioning isn’t going away. NCRA and individual members are promoting the profession, targeting school counselors, parents, and, most importantly, potential students. The messages are working. They are interested. And the perception of our profession is shifting.”

NCSA launches state Take Note competition for big prizes

The National Committee of State Associations has issued a friendly challenge among state associations and individuals to spread the word about the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning for the chance to win complimentary registrations to NCRA events or vouchers for continuing education.

The challenge calls on all state associations to join forces with their members to participate in career fairs, provide realtime demonstrations at high schools and guidance counselor meetings, participate in the Veterans History Project, and help celebrate 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week being held Feb. 14-20.

“NCRA’s Take Note campaign offers an exceptional array of resources designed to help raise awareness about the court reporting and captioning profession,” said NCSA Chair Mary Burzynski, RPR, an official court reporter from Medford, Wis. “All states and members are encouraged to participate in this fun event and help showcase this wonderful profession.”

The competition, which officially launched Oct. 1, runs through Feb. 20, 2016. Anyone participating in a qualifying event during that time period can receive credit for it by documenting their efforts at the NCSA contest site. All entries will automatically be entered into the contest. There is no limit to the number of contest entries states can have.

“We encourage those participating in this effort to share with other states their ideas and activities that have worked well in helping to promote the profession,” Burzynski said. “In addition, those wanting to participate who might have additional questions can contact their regional representative directly or reach to for more information.”

Participants are also encouraged to post pictures of presentations on their state association’s website and social media pages, as well as tweet using the hashtag #crTakeNote. In addition, please contact NCRA’s Assistant Director of Communications Annemarie Roketenetz at with information about activities for possible inclusion in the JCR Weekly.

The prizes for the competition are tiered. Each entry into the raffle-type competition qualifies for the first, second, and third prizes. Each prize awarded is to be used at the state’s discretion, i.e. registrations for the president/delegate, raffle items/fundraising for future conventions, student gifts, etc. In addition, there is a grand prize for an individual reporter or captioner.

First prize includes two complimentary registrations to the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo, being held Aug. 4-7, in Chicago, Ill. Second prize includes two complimentary registrations to the 2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp being held March 20-23, in Washington, D.C. Participation prizes will also be awarded and will include two NCRA $50 vouchers/credits.

In addition, the individual reporter or captioner who participates in the greatest number of school, career day, guidance counselor convention presentations, VHP Days, and/or 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week events will win a grand prize of a complimentary registration to the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo.

“This is a win/win effort for both the profession and those who participate. The public is afforded a firsthand look at the importance of what we do while the winners of this competition will enjoy some really great prizes,” Burzynski said. 


Text for Tuition contest success

In April 2015, NCRA along with BowStern hosted a Text for Tuition contest as part of its Take Note campaign. The friendly competition pitted high school students against a court reporter at Orleans Technical College in Philadelphia, Pa., and drew the attention of the local CBS affiliate. Contest winner Ryan Hettle, a 16-year-old student, won the event and earned a $1,000 scholarship to court reporting school.

“This was a perfect fit for our program and perfect fit for the high school students to come in and witness what it’s like to write for a living,” said Bruce Wartman, the technology education director for Orleans Technical College. “They now have a greater appreciation for the necessity of proper punctuation, proper capitalization, and sentence structure, and basically the editing process when they’re creating a transcript.”

In addition, Wartman saw value in the competition for the court reporting students at Orleans Technical College as well. “For our students, it highlighted what they’re learning as a court reporter even more because they see how important it is in the real world; they see the importance of accuracy … Mistakes change the meaning,” Wartman said.

This scholarship contest was the first of its kind, but Wartman said the event could be replicated with the same success at other schools. “I think this could be repeated at other schools just to create greater awareness of the importance and the need for this field,” he said. “Young people text just as a natural form of communication. They’re not really thinking about, There could be a career option with this type of writing. Engaging the younger demographic is important because it opens up their minds to a career they may not even know exists.”

As a result of the contest’s success, BowStern has created a Text for Tuition webinar available to NCRA members, state associations, and court reporting schools that provides a step-by-step guide to hosting a similar event.

Take Note campaign earns awards

NCRA’s Take Note campaign has proven successful in winning awards as well, including the following recognitions:

  • The Florida Public Relations Association recognized the Take Note campaign with the Award of Distinction and the Judge’s Award in recognition of its raising the public’s awareness of the court reporting profession on a national level.
  • The Capital Chapter of the FPRA awarded NCRA’s Take Note campaign first in the public relations division of its annual Image Awards. The public relations award considers how a program has improved an organization’s image in the community, informed and educated the public about an issue, created a public image for an organization, and successfully worked to inform or influence target markets audiences through the use of the news.
  • The Take Note campaign placed first in all four areas of the division, also being recognized for helping to ensure that future court proceedings have the most accurate transcripts available, and for improving individual lives by reducing the amount of personal student debt, and national debt, by offering affordable education opportunities.
  • The campaign earned a 2015 Power of A Silver Award by the American Society of Association Executives for providing high school students and their parents and guidance counselors with education about the role of court reporters, as well as career benefits.

Video sponsored by NCRF launched to support Take Note campaign

Just in time for 2015 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, NCRA announced a new 30-second video to the cache of resources already available to support the Take Note campaign. The trendy and edgy animated video was funded by NCRF and is available for download at the and websites.

In addition to a generic version, a second version of the video allows schools to customize the last frame by inserting their name and location. The video was shared with hundreds of potential new court reporting students throughout the nation during Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

The video is still available for downloading at the Take Note website for use by NCRA members, state associations and others.