UPDATE: Parliamentary review of voting tally results in additional changes to Bylaws

NCRA members voted on 12 amendments to the Constitution & Bylaws following the Annual Business Meeting on Aug. 2, 2018, which occurred in conjunction with the NCRA Convention & Expo in New Orleans, La.  A question arose on the NCRA state leaders listserve on how abstention votes were counted in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised Edition, so a parliamentary review was requested.  Upon parliamentary confirmation of the rule/method for counting abstention votes, all amendments except Amendment 11, the name change, are now deemed to have passed.  Going forward, NCRA has put in place a policy to have voting results verified by our parliamentarian before being announced to our membership.

Per our Constitution & Bylaws, Article IX, Section 5b, “The latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall be the official parliamentary guide for all business sessions when they are not in conflict with this Constitution and Bylaws or rules adopted by the Association during the annual business meeting or by the Board of Directors.”  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, Page 415, “ignore blank ballots and other ballots that indicate no preference, treating them as abstentions” and “all ballots that indicate a preference – provided they have been cast by persons entitled to vote – are taken into account in determining the number of votes cast for purposes of computing.”

To pass, Bylaws amendments must receive at least two-thirds (66.7%) affirmation by the Voting Members who are voting by electronic mail or other authorized means of electronic transmission. The numbers below reflect the percentages voting for each amendment:

NumberNamePass/FailedPercentage Voted For
1Voting for Officers and Board of DirectorsPassed (previously reported as failed)71.9%
2Voting on Bylaws AmendmentsPassed82.0%
3Clarification of electoral processPassed83.6%
4Elections when more than two candidates are running for the same positionPassed81.5%
5Number of Directors on the BoardPassed (previously reported as failed)71.4%
6Clarification of the timing of terms of officePassed84.8%
7Elimination of requirement to include a consumer or public member as part of the Council of the Academy of Court Reporters (CAPR)Passed (previously reported as failed)72.9%
8Clarification of electronic mail votingPassed83.5%
9Removal of reference of electronic voting in a business meetingPassed (previously reported as failed)71.4%
10Definition of Voting MembersPassed84.7%
11Name changeFailed47.3%
12Meeting referencePassed92.3%

During the Annual Business Meeting, Keith Lemons and Yolanda Walton were elected by majority vote to fill unoccupied spaces on the Board of Directors resulting from the promotion of two Directors to Officer positions on the Board.

The Constitution & Bylaws permits all eligible NCRA voting members to vote through electronic means on Bylaws amendments and contested Board of Directors elections. The Bylaws amendments ranged from minor, including cleaning up some repetitive language, to more substantial, such as streamlining the voting procedures for amendments and elections. Eligible voting members participated through a private, secure link during the 12-hour voting period. View all voting results.

Hennigan honored with NCRA 2018 CASE Award of Excellence

Chris Willette and Robyn M. Hennigan

NCRA member Robyn M. Hennigan, RPR, CRI, an instructor at Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio, was named 2018 Educator of the Year during a special awards luncheon at NCRA’s Convention & Expo held Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La.

NCRA’s CASE (Council on Approved Student Education) Award of Excellence recognizes the important role student education plays in the court reporting profession and honors educators for their dedication and outstanding achievement and leadership. Recipients are nominated by an NCRA member.

“Receiving the CASE Award of Excellence sincerely touches my heart and brings me great joy because it means that my work has positively enriched the lives of others, helping them to succeed; and for that, I am eternally grateful,” Hennigan said. “Professionally, I feel this award certainly reaches the pinnacle; and I hope to remain at this peak for quite some time, always striving for excellence to help others achieve greatness.”

Hennigan, who holds the nationally-recognized professional certification of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) and Certified Reporting Instructor (CRI), has been in the court reporting profession for 29 years and has served as the director and only full-time faculty member in Clark State’s court reporting program for the past 16 years. She recently worked in conjunction with the faculty at Stark State College in North Canton, Ohio, to create a shared degree program between the two schools. She also owns and operates a scoping and proofreading business serving the reporting profession.

At the national level, Hennigan has served as a member of NCRA’s Board of Directors. For the past 12 years, she has also served as a test grader for NCRA and has attended the Association’s Legislative Boot Camp and many of NCRA’s educational events, including the Annual Convention & Expo. She currently serves on several of NCRA’s committees.

Hennigan is also a member of the Ohio Court Reporters Association (OCRA) and she is a past member of its Board of Directors. In 2010, she was recognized by the state association as its Outstanding Associate Member.

Hennigan and her husband, Eric, have two children and four grandchildren.

2018 Speed Contest Results


Place   Percentage
1 Sherry Bryant, RMR, CRR 97.94%
2 Patricia Nilsen, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI 97.18%
3 Karen Tyler, RDR, CRR, CRC 97.10%



Place   Errors Percentage
1 Sherry Bryant 5 99.545%
2 Traci Mertens, RDR, CRR, CRC 6 99.455%
3 Dee Boenau, RMR, CRR, CRC 12 98.909%
4 Julianne LaBadia, RDR, CRR, CRC 14 98.727%
5 Patricia Nilsen 17 98.455%
6 John Wissenbach, RDR, CRR, CRC 20 98.182%
7 Kathy Cortopassi, RMR, CRR, CRC 24 97.818%
8 Karen Tyler 26 97.636%
9 Allison Hall, RMR, CRR 31 97.182%
10 Donna Urlaub, RMR, CRR 34 96.909%
11 Ronald Cook, RDR, CRR, CRC 36 96.727%
11 Kathryn Thomas, RDR, CRR, CRC 36 96.727%
12 Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, RDR, CRR, CRC 39 96.455%
13 Chase Frazier, RMR, CRR, CRC 46 95.818%
13 Rich Germosen, RMR, CRR 46 95.818%
14 Sabrina Lewis, RDR, CRR 53 95.182%
15 Darlene Fuller, RMR, CRR 54 95.091%
15 Sheri Smargon, RDR, CRR, CRC 54 95.091%



Place   Errors Percentage
1 Julianne LaBadia 12 98.957%
2 Sherry Bryant 14 98.783%
3 John Wissenbach 18 98.435%
4 Karen Tyler 22 98.087%
4 Doug Zweizig, RDR, CRR 22 98.087%
5 Patricia Nilsen 28 97.565%
6 Dee Boenau 30 97.391%
7 Traci Mertens 35 96.957%
8 Donna Urlaub 43 96.261%
9 Kathy Cortopassi 55 95.217%



Place   Errors Percentage
1 Karen Tyler 62 95.571%
2 Sherry Bryant 63 95.500%
2 Patricia Nilsen 63 95.500%
3 Rich Germosen 66 95.286%

* Contest results are preliminary.

2018 Realtime Contest Results


Place   Percentage
1 Mark Kislingbury, RDR, CRR 99.245%
2 Doug Zweizig, RDR, CRR 98.933%
3 Julianne LaBadia, RDR, CRR, CRC 98.522%
4 Sherry Bryant, RMR, CRR 98.372%
5 Dee Boenau, RDR, CRR, CRC 98.045%
6 Ron Cook, RDR, CRR, CRC 97.872%
7 Lance Boardman, RPR, CRR 97.678%
8 Sheri Smargon, RDR, CRR, CRC 97.395%
9 John Wissenbach, RDR, CRR, CRC 96.572%
10 Patrick Mahon, RMR, CRR 95.850%
11 Donna Karoscik, RDR, CRR, CRC 95.745%



Place   Errors Percentage
1 Dee Boenau 8 99.200%
1 Mark Kislingbury 8 99.200%
1 Douglas Zweizig 8 99.200%
2 Ron Cook 15 98.500%
3 Chase Frazier, RMR, CRR, CRC 18 98.200%
3 Julianne LaBadia 18 98.200%
4 Sherry Bryant 21 97.900%
5 John Wissenbach 25 97.500%
6 Karla Ray, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI 28 97.200%
7 Sheri Smargon 29 97.100%
8 Lance Boardman 34 96.600%
9 Donna Karoscik 38 96.200%
10 Patrick Mahon, RMR, CRR 43 95.700%



Place   Errors Percentage
1 Mark Kislingbury 8 99.289%
2 Sherry Bryant 13 98.844%
2 Julianne LaBadia 13 98.844%
3 Lance Boardman 14 98.756%
4 Doug Zweizig 15 98.667%
5 Patricia Nilsen, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI 23 97.956%
6 Sheri Smargon 26 97.689%
7 Ron Cook 31 97.244%
8 Dee Boenau 35 96.889%
9 Laura Landerman, RMR, CRR 40 96.444%
9 Donna Urlaub, RMR, CRR 40 96.444%
10 Melanie Wilkins, RMR, CRR 42 96.267%
11 Kathy Cortopassi, RMR, CRR, CRC 44 96.089%
11 Rich Germosen, RMR, CRR 44 96.089%
12 Patrick Mahon 45 96.000%
13 Katy Zamora, RMR, CRR 47 95.822%
14 John Wissenbach 49 95.644%
15 Traci Mertens, RDR, CRR, CRC 50 95.556%
16 Donna Karoscik 53 95.289%
17 Elizabeth Frazier, RMR, CRR, CRC 54 95.200%
18 Kathryn Thomas, RDR, CRR, CRC 56 95.022%
19 Allison Hall, RMR, CRR 57 95.000%
19 Kathryn Sweeney, RMR, CRR 57 95.000%

* Contest results are preliminary.

NCRA 2018-2019 Officers Installed at Annual Convention & Expo in New Orleans

NCRA’s 2018-2019 officers and Board of Directors were installed during the premier session held Aug. 3 during the Association’s 2018 Convention & Expo taking place Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La.

The newly elected officers include:

  • President: Sue A. Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, Springfield, Ohio
  • President-elect: Roy (Max) M. Curry, Jr., RPR, CRI, Franklin, Tenn.
  • Vice President: Christine Phipps, RPR, North Palm Beach, Fla.
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Debra A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, Salt Lake City, Utah

In addition, four new members of NCRA’s Board of Directors were also installed to serve three-year terms during the event. They include:

  • Stephen H. Clark, CRC, Washington, D.C.
  • Cindy L. Isaacsen, RPR, Shawnee, Kan.
  • Karyn D. Menck, RDR, CRR, CRC, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Cathy Penniston, RPR, CRI, Ottumwa, Iowa

Keith Lemons

Yolanda Walton

Also installed to serve a one-year term were:

  • Keith Lemons, FAPR, RPR, CRR, a freelance court reporter from Brentwood, Tenn.
  • Yolanda Walton, RPR, an official court reporter from Norwalk, Ohio



Returning directors include:

  • Kristin M. Anderson, RPR, San Antonio, Tex.
  • Meredith A. Bonn, RPR, Webster, N.Y.
  • Tonya J. Kaiser Dunn, RPR, CMRS, Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • NCRA Immediate Past President Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, Wausau, Wis.

Read more.

Heywood Waga Honored with NCRA 2018 Distinguished Service Award

Woody Waga receives 2018 Distinguished Service Award

NCRA bestowed its highest honor, the 2018 Distinguished Service Award (DSA), on Heywood (Woody) Waga, a retired court reporter from Montclair, N.J., on Aug. 3, during the Association’s annual Convention & Expo taking place Aug. 2-5, in New Orleans, La.

The NCRA DSA recognizes the distinguished work and service by an individual member for the benefit of the court reporting profession, including service to NCRA as a member, a committee member, a director, or an officer of the association. Other displays of distinguished work include contributing to the JCR, or service at the state or local court reporters association, or in the field of public relations or public affairs. Award winners are nominated by their peers and are recognized at NCRA’s Convention & Expo.

Read more.

Watch for information about voting tomorrow

On Thursday, Aug. 2, all eligible voting NCRA members will have the ability to vote online for the proposed bylaw amendments.

The online vote will start within two hours of the end of the Annual Business Meeting and will be open for 12 hours. The Annual Business Meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. CT (9:30 a.m. ET).

When voting begins, an email will be sent to all eligible voting members for whom NCRA has a valid address. Members will be sent a link to a secure voting website. The email gives detailed instructions on how to log in to the system to cast a vote.

Members can vote on their phones, their tablets, or their computers.

Retired NCRA Member’s Photography Continues to Earn Recognition

H. Allen Benowitz in Morocco

Retired NCRA member H. Allen Benowitz, FAPR, RMR, a court reporter who has turned his eye for detail into a second career as a professional cultural photographer, recently had two of his pieces selected for publication in the Art & Beyond Magazine Summer 2018 edition. His work has been recognized internationally and has earned him numerous awards and honors.

Benowitz, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., graduated from the Interboro Institute of Business in Manhattan. A self-taught photographer who splits his time between Miami, Fla., and his log home in Burnsville, N.C., Benowitz worked as a court reporter for 49 years before retiring and focusing on his photography full-time.

The JCR Weekly reached out to him to find out more about his life, his travels, his work, and what motivates him.

JCR | How long did you work in the court reporting profession and in what area?
HAB | I was a court reporter for 49 years, initially as a hearing reporter in New York City, then referred by Bill Cohen and recruited as a Circuit Court Deputy Official and freelance reporter by Jack W. Mallicoat in Miami, Fla., at 19 years of age. As an evolution from the accomplishments of my professional court reporting, legal videography, and videoconferencing career, the camera became a natural segue to photography, awakening an earlier interest from childhood. My eye transcended from the camera in the courtroom, to the street, and to the world. So, you can say court reporting provided an opportunity for my exit plan at retirement from court reporting to my photography career. There’s a reason for the expression “starving artist,” and that’s because they get attached to their work. My marketing and sales experience for my firm came in handy and prepared me for my next career. The ability to preserve my photographic art allows me to maintain my attachment to the images I have created.

JCR | How long have you been involved in photography?
HAB | Seriously, since the early 1990s; I had my first exhibition in 2003. My numerous international court reporting and video depo assignments provided many opportunities to capture a variety of cultural and architectural images, as well as people of the world as subjects in their natural habitat. After deposition assignments concluded, the attorneys would return to the states, and I would take usually four days on my own to trek, explore, and photograph villages, etc.

After retirement from the profession in 2009, I took it to another level: I incorporated as a business and have exhibited more than 50 times since, resulting in buyers becoming collectors of my work. I am always flattered when people personally and professionally hang my work in their homes and offices.

JCR | What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
HAB | Landscape, nature, wildlife, people, architecture, and adventure travel.

H. Allen Benowitz with Cigar Lady I

JCR | What is so rewarding about it?
HAB | Through my eyes, I enjoy capturing images, particularly of people, around the globe, in their occupations, their personal lives, their hardships, and their trials and tribulations, to demonstrate how fortunate we are, in America, in not taking our freedoms for granted, and to appreciate our ancestors, who sacrificed greatly to bring their families to the U.S., affording endless opportunities not otherwise available. I receive a visceral pleasure in capturing unique moments and sharing them with others. Being self-taught, initially with 35mm film, I did not bracket, taking only one photo of an image and journaling exposure settings, thus able to learn from my mistakes; I only take a picture if there is passion behind the shutter. Being recognized for my work, appreciated by others, is my gratification. My most recent rewarding experience is when Marquis Who’s Who chose me as their featured artist for an upcoming international publication.

JCR | What an honor to have your work picked to be published by Art & Beyond Magazine. How did that come to happen, and what were your feelings when you received the news?
HAB | I was invited by Art & Beyond Magazine to participate in a worldwide photography competition, submitting five photographs by theme, for jurying; two were selected. Of thousands participating, 11 artists and fine art photographers were selected. I am humbled and feel fortunate to be among this talented group.

More about Benowitz and his work:

  • WLRN’s ArtStreet Project featured Benowitz on PBS. The biographical “Look Into the Lens of Photographer H. Allen Benowitz” Interview featured photographs from Cuba, Morocco, India, and other parts of the world
  • His highly acclaimed photo “Behind the Wall” received national recognition at Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation’s Holocaust Remembrance Project Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C.
  • Judges’ Award at the UM Lowe Art Museum’s Beaux Arts Festival
  • Honorable mention, International Kodak Contest
  • An award winner B/W photography, One Ear Society
  • Repeat finalist in the International Color Awards Photo Competition
  • Won the American Institute of Architects competition
  • His “Cigar Lady I” was displayed at the Musee du Louvre in Paris July 2015
  • Featured in the ARTnews, Coastal Elegance & Wealth, International Contemporary Artist art book, Art & Beyond, SW The Magazine, The Laurel of Asheville, and Art Business News magazines
  • Named one of Art Business News’ Top Emerging Artists for 2014
  • Received six winning awards in the 9th Annual 2016 International Color Awards Competition
  • Recently published: National Geographic “Your Shot.”

Benowitz’s work may be viewed online at H-AllenArt.com.

Follow the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo online

Whether you are on-site or holding down the home front during the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo, Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La., be sure to follow along with all that’s happening at special sessions, networking events, the Expo floor, and more by checking in with the JCR.com, Facebook, and Twitter.

Throughout the Convention, NCRA will be posting updates on the JCR.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter using #NCRA18. Follow along for important information for attendees as well as breaking news for members who are keeping up with the action from home. Everyone is encouraged to join the conversation and share their stories from New Orleans.

For those attending the Convention, the official app will also keep you up-to-date on the latest happenings. The app is available in the Apple app store and on Google Play.

Online registration closes in 5 days, price increase for walk-ins

Time is running out to register for the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo being held Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La., at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Online registration closes on July 23. After July 23, you will have to register on-site, and fees increase by $100.

Several workshops and contests are in high demand for this year’s Convention. Only a few open spots remain. Register today! Don’t miss out!

  • Punctuation Workshop is sold out at 100 spots.  We’ve expanded the room and can add 25 more spots; but once those are sold, we will not be able to add any more seats.
  • Realtime Contest:  Currently only 7 spots left (no room to expand and no on-site registration)
  • Speed Contest:  Currently only 10 spots left (no room to expand and no on-site registration)
  • CRR Boot Camp:  15 spots left (no room to expand)
  • CRC Workshop/Exam:  Only 20 spots left

The Keynote speaker for this year’s event is Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré (U.S. Army, Ret.), a 37-year veteran of active service who served as the commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, during which time he became known as the “Category 5 General” for his striking leadership style in coordinating military relief efforts in post-hurricane New Orleans.

In addition to sharing insights into his leadership skills with attendees at the premier session, Honoré will write his military story in a special Veterans History Project event. Honoré will be interviewed on stage by NCRA member Michael Miller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, a freelance court reporter from Houston, Texas. Accompanying Miller on stage will be NCRA member Daniel Griffin, RPR, a freelance reporter from Phoenix, Ariz., who will transcribe Honoré’s story. Once completed, Honoré’s story will be preserved at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., as part of its VHP program.

This year’s all-inclusive schedule is sure to appeal to anyone in the court reporting, captioning, and legal video professions, and in the educational arena.

Other schedule highlights include workshops, business sessions, and Learning Zones that will offer attendees added opportunities to mingle and network, the National Speed and Realtime Contests, and the Member Recognition Gala. Throughout the Convention, attendees can earn up to 2.3 CEUs. And be sure to stop by the National Court Reporters Foundation booth to enter a raffle to win a one-of-a-kind Luminex steno machine.

Don’t miss this last chance to save on registration fees. Register for the 2018 NCRA Annual Convention & Expo at NCRA.org/Convention.