Allen Edelist, FAPR, RPR (Ret.)

Allen Edelist on his ascension to the presidency of the California Court Reporters Association in 1993

Allen Edelist on his ascension to the presidency of the California Court Reporters Association in 1993

The court reporting profession lost an icon last week: Allen Edelist, FAPR, RPR (Ret.), passed away on May 16, 2018, at the age of 67. Allen was a generous, loyal, and true colleague and friend who dedicated a great deal of his time to the advancement of the court reporting profession. He was an avid fan of the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Kings, and he had season tickets for many years and hated to miss a game! And, of course, those who knew him were well aware of his “groupie side,” following the rock band Procol Harum all over the world to see them perform! Allen was also a long-term trustee of the Los Angeles School of Law and Paralegal Studies and a member and supporter of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles

Allen’s career in court reporting began in the early 1970s when he enrolled at Clark Court Reporting College in Santa Monica, Calif. He passed the California CSR exam in 1978 and opened his deposition agency, A. Edelist Deposition Services, soon after in 1979. His greatest accomplishment as an agency owner was his devotion to mentoring students and reporters, new and seasoned, throughout his 40 years in the field.

Allen never missed an opportunity to get involved in court reporting association work as evidenced by time served as a board member and multiple officer positions of both Los Angeles General Shorthand Reporters Association and California Court Reporters Association (CCRA), ultimately serving as president October 1993-1994. He was an active member of the National Court Reporters Association for over 40 years, attending most annual conventions as well as firm owners’ retreats. Needless to say, he was extremely generous monetarily and spent an inordinate amount of time helping to produce legislation, continuing education, and public relations programs through these organizations. Allen received many awards throughout his extensive career highlighted by CCRA’s Distinguished Service Award and becoming a Fellow of NCRA.

As a leader and visionary in the court reporting arena, Allen continually strived to advance the profession as evidenced in the following excerpt taken from his CCRA presidential speech on October 9, 1993:

By virtue of the technological presentation we make, we are a unique breed. We are on the cutting edge of information management. The presentation of the spoken word that can be transmitted immediately through a computer and projected onto a screen or printed in braille, integrating the ingredients of litigation support, telecommunications, scanning of documents into the records and CD-ROM text is the future and the future is now.

In the 1970s, we were not unlike Orville and Wilbur Wright. We started by building a base for a product we could offer. Through rapid advancements by the computer industry, as well as futuristic thinking by our CAT vendors, we have continued to grow, now as realtime reporters. We can further our advancement by committing to a program of continuing education that will enable us to converse fluently as computer-literate reporters.

RIP, Allen. You have been an inspiration to many both personally and professionally. Your close friends and colleagues will miss you and your impact on what you once coined “this incredible profession.”

Michele Oken, RPR, CMRS (Ret.)
Sherman Oaks, Calif.

NCRA headquarters hosts TAC Committee meeting

Members of NCRA’s Test Advisory Committee (TAC) met at the Association’s headquarters in Reston, Va., April 6-8 to vet and approve skills exams for the RPR, RMR, CRR, and CRC. They wrote exams from 8:30-5:30 Friday and Saturday and 9-1 on Sunday, before taking time to view area cherry trees and their blossoms, which were in full bloom.

A total of 87 tests were submitted for review by the Skills Committee and TAC over the weekend, resulting in 71 tests being written and 62 being approved.

Test Advisory Committee

The Skills Test Writing Committee writes content for the RPR, RMR, CRR, and CRC exams, while TAC writes and selects the skills tests for the same certifications. TAC also sets the standards for the RPR and RDR Written Knowledge Tests.

Members of TAC who wrote perfect tests were also recognized at the meeting with a Shirley Award. The award was named for Shirley Hall, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, CRI, CPE, an official court reporter from Pittsburgh Pa., and a former TAC member, who commonly wrote perfect tests. Tests are considered perfect when the word count and syllabic density are flawless, and they are written smoothly by the test taker.

Wade Garner receives Shirley Award from Chris Willette

The following members were recognized with a Shirley Award at the April meeting:

  • TAC Co-chair Wade S. Garner, RPR, CPE, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Anne M. Bowline RMR, CRR, Casper, Wyo., a member of the Skills Content Writing Committee
  • Russell Page, Jr., Washington, D.C., a member of the Skills Content Writing Committee
  • Lisa Reed Wiesman, RDR, CRR, CRC, Fairfield, Ohio, a member of the Skills Content Writing Committee

Other members from TAC who attended the April meeting were:

  • Co-chair Diane L. Sonntag, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, CPE, Oro Valley, Ariz.
  • Robin Cooksey, RMR, Houston, Texas
  • Holly Kapacinskas, RPR, CRR, Debary, Fla.
  • Donna J. Karoscik, RDR, CRR, CRC, Pickerington, Ohio
  • Deborah A. Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Karyn D. Menck, RDR, CRR, CRC, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Janice Plomp, RDR, CRR, CRC, CRI, St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
  • Kelli Ann Willis, RPR, CRR, Miami, Fla.
  • NCRA President Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, Wausau, Wis., who serves as TAC’s Board liaison.
  • TAC member Rhonda Hall Breuwet, RDR, CRR, Lakeland, Fla., was unable to attend.

NCRA member retires after 44 years

The May 3 Dispatch-Post published an article about the retirement of NCRA member Joan Yemiola, RMR, an official court reporter from Lexington, N.C.

Read more.

Stenograph acquires YesLaw

Stenograph, based in Elmhurst, Ill., announced in a press release issued May 1, that it has acquired YesLaw, a division of YesVideo, based in Santa Clara, Calif. NCRA member Brian Clune, CLVS is vice president of YesLaw.

Read more.

What does punctuality mean to court reporters?

A recent blog posted by NCRA member Colleen Jilio-Ryan, a firm owner from Tustin, Calif., offers some key reasons why punctuality comes with the job of court reporting.

Read more.

NCRA member shows off realtime skills during high school courthouse visit

A story posted by the Tacoma [Wash.] Weekly on March 27 noted that NCRA member Kim O’Neill, an official court reporter from Tacoma, demonstrated her realtime skills to local high school students visiting the courthouse.

Read more.

NCRA member captions for Arizona Storytellers

An article posted March 20 by azcentral.com explains how NCRA member Karla Martin, RPR, from Phoenix, Ariz., captions for the Arizona Storytellers Project.

Read more.

“It’s about grunting again”: An official stenographer dishes on transcribing tennis players

Deadspin posted an interview on March 20 with NCRA member Linda Christensen, RMR, CRR, CRC, from Phoenix, Ariz., about her work producing official transcripts for tennis tournaments.

Read more.

Schools and students across the country celebrate Court Reporting & Captioning Week

Atlantic Technical College

Schools and students from across the country participated in NCRA’s student speed contest last month. The contest, which was part of NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week celebration, garnered widespread involvement, with 182 students competing from all over the country. All students, from all court reporting schools, at any speed level, were invited to participate. All told, 17 court reporting programs had students compete in the contest. “My speedbuilding class quite enjoyed writing the student speed contest,” said Barbara Ladderud, a teacher at Green River College in Auburn, Wash. “Thank you for putting this together as a fun way to promote Court Reporting and Captioning Week.”

Cuyahoga Community College

For this speed test, students had the choice of taking a Literary or a Q&A test consisting of five minutes of dictation. Test takers took the test at a speed level they were working on or had just passed and must have achieved 96 percent or higher accuracy to be eligible to win a prize. Because the contest was open to students at all levels, schools were able to have many or all of their students involved. ”Thank you very much for this opportunity,” said Joanne McKenzie, a teacher at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton, Alberta. “We made it a requirement for all students to participate.” The tests, which were written by Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, CRC, a member of NCRA’s Student/Teacher Committee, were intended to push the students. Kay Reindl, CRI, an instructor for Humphreys University in Stockton, Calif., reported that, although “these were pretty challenging tests….most attempted the tests at their targeted speed.”

Of the 182 students who competed in the contest, 42 passed the test. “My students didn’t get 96 percent on either test,” reported LaTherese Cooke, a teacher at South Suburban College in Oak Forest, Ill., “but they gave it their best.” Three of those who past were chosen at random to receive first, second, and third place prizes. First prize, or the gold medal, was awarded to Kelsie Alford of Green River College. Second prize, the silver medal, went to Julie Drew of Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, and third prize, bronze, was awarded to Samantha Marshak of Realtime Center for Learning, Inc. in Garden City, N.Y.

Des Moines Area Community College

Teachers and students alike were enthusiastic about the experience. “What fun we had! Thank you for the great idea and enthusiasm it generated during Court Reporting and Captioning Week,” said Joan Rikansrud, a teacher at Green River College. “Thank you again for including us in your contest and for all that you do!” echoed Carrie Ravenscroft, Cypress College in Cypress, Calif.

NCRA would like to showcase the hard work that students and schools are doing to promote the court reporting and captioning professions. Below are the names of all the students who participated in this year’s contest. Students marked with an asterisk passed the test with 96 percent accuracy or higher.

Arlington Career Institute
Grand Prairie, Texas
Allie Handlon
Deborah Quarles
Emelia Mullen
Jazzmen Garcia
Jennifer Ferenz
Rosalind Dennis
Sunshine Nance

Atlantic Technical College
Coconut Creek, Fla.
Alison Dituro
Ashley McCormick*
Carolina Rivas
Courtney Carpentier
Jenna Xarhoulakos
Lindsey Polin*
Samantha Kutner
Shawn Condon

Brown College of Court Reporting
Atlanta, Ga.
Amanda Bilbrey*
Amanda Bilbrey*
Andrew Shin
Brianna Shelton*
Connor Tatham
Crystal Foster*
Josie Thompson
Nicole Willoughby*
Nicole Willoughby*
Shannon Miles *

 

College of Court Reporting
Valparaiso, Ind.
Angela Viray
Ashly Richter
Brian Nelson
Desssalyn Kimbrough
Jennifer Hall
Kate Hargis
Kolby Garrison
Lori Ingram
Macy Thompson*
Megan Bowman  
Shaylene Mofle*

 

Cuyahoga Community College
Parma, Ohio
Devon Sneve
Kristina Carmody 
Teresa Nero
Vanessa Feistel

 

Cypress College
Cypress, Calif.
Eun Young (Joyce) Kim

 

Des Moines Area Community College
Newton, Iowa
Liz Ostrem*
Lonnie Appleby*
Sarah Muff*

 

Downey Adult School
Downey, Calif.
Jennie Ramos
Jenny Yi

 

Green River College
Auburn, Wash.
Abby Markson
Alexandria Fleming*
Doug Armstrong
Evelyn Jaimez
Heather Game*
Justin Choi*
Kari Derr
Kelsie Alford*
Lindsey Gruntorad
Michelle Overby
Sara Baxter*
Sarah Webb*
Sierra Zanghi*
Spencer Holesinsky*
Svetlana Golub

 

Hardeman School of Court Reporting
& Captioning (online)
Amy Plaxton*
Angela Cakridas
Brooke Taylor*
Casey Veinotte
Chelsea Morris*
Kaitlin McGowan*
Nick Mulvoy *

 

Humphreys University
Stockton, Calif.
Araceli Nava
Brittny Boya
Emma Pesusic
Kate Mendoza
Leslie Orr
Ngia Her
Sarah Glover

 

Lakeshore Technical College
Cleveland, Wis.
Abigail Fowler
Calisa Barta
Catherine Ray
Chad Hirsch
Megan Baeten*
Meredith Seymour
Michelle Miller
Nicole Whelihan
Stacie Pomrening

 

Macomb Community College
Clinton Township, Mich.
Alexa Lupenec
Cheryl Demanski*
Robert Ludwig
Tonia Miller

 

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Abby Robinson
Amanda Hebb
Ariana McCalla*
Ashley De Marco
Bradley Morrison*
Brent Hannam*
Carly Fenske
Christine Rees
Dakota Chartrand
Dayna Canning
Diego Jiles
Dina Vasylevsky
Dyana Pewarchuk
Eileen Johnson
Ester Horvath
Jada Babiuk
Jalene Hutseal
Jameca Nguyen
Jayne Yuill
Jillian Pumphrey
Julie Drew*
Kayla Hotte
Kelcy Sherbank*
Kim Nguyen
Kristina Zeller
Laura Collis
Laura Driscoll
Linsey Eby
Lora Zabiran*
Martina MacFarlane*
McKaya Baril*
Meagan Gibson
Megan Galloway
Melinda Heinrichs
Michelle Gulka
Michelle Klatt*
Michelle Stevens
Nancy Phong
Netannys Turner-Wiens
Nicole Leddy
Presley Thomson
Sarah Pfau
Shauna Lagore
Stephanie Jabbour*
Stephanie Marocco
Yazda Khaled

 

Plaza College
Forest Hills, N.Y.
Brittany O’Brien
Christina Valentin
Connie Hwang
Dominique Burke
Elisabeth Dempsey
Elizabeth Keating
Ferrina Johnson
Floriana Krifca
Gabrella Tutino
Hazel Elardo Asca
Jerrica Nieves
Justin Centeno
Justine Torres
Kayla Jacobs
Kimberlee Clifford
Lakesha Dubose
Letitia Caceres
Maia Morgan
Melissa Colon
Paradise Rosario
Pashen Hutton
Patricia Alexander
Radhika Rampersand
Ramona Perez
Raven McCants
Rebecca Pierre-Louis
Ruby Mitchell*
Sophian deFrance
Tambra Whitfield
Violeta Marashaj
Yvonne Panigel

 

Realtime Center for Learning, Inc.
Garden City, N.Y.
Antonia May*
Debbie Babino
Gabrielle Carletti
Joe Altieri
Lisa Previti
Samantha Marshak*

 

South Suburban College
Oak Forest, Ill.
Amanda Castaldo
Candace Bradley
Cascidy Bandyk
Casey Toomey
Elizabeth Crossin
Hannah Flynn
Jennifer Blum
Kelsey Mikos
Lilly Martlink
Marla Peteet
Valencia Reed

 

Cascio retires after more than four decades of court reporting

The Daily American posted an article on March 5 about the career of NCRA member Donna S. Cascio, FAPR, RDR, CMRS, from Somerset, Pa., who recently retired after four decades working as an official court reporter.

The following article is reprinted with permission of The Daily American.

After more than four decades as a court reporter, Somerset resident Donna Cascio maintains high regard for the position.

She retired Friday after a distinguished career full of accolades.

“It is unheard of today for someone to remain in the same job for four decades,” she said with a smile and a straight-forward look as she sat in a jury room surrounded by party favors and congratulations signs that were put there by her colleagues.

She ran her hand over the curved bangs of her layered bob as she sat writing out a list for her final day. Cascio was wearing her professional uniform, her petite figure outlined by a dark skirt and jacket and muted colored blouse.

During the interview, several of her colleagues popped in to say a few words.

“I feel very honored and appreciated the fuss that has been made over me,” she said. “I did not ask for it. I did not expect it, but I do appreciate it.”

Court reporting has suited her well.

“It fits my personality as a professional. The profession of court reporting demands that,” she said.

She ticked off some of the traits needed that she sees in herself.

She has a great sense of right and wrong and ethical conduct, she said.

“That is what being a court reporter in the courtroom is all about,” she added.

“I’m an impartial person in the courtroom, an extension of the court. It is my job to maintain an accurate record of what happens in the courtroom to protect people’s rights, because the court record made by a court reporter is the record that goes to appeal in higher court and proves whether people were given their rights.”

Working at the Somerset County Courthouse has enabled her “to see the picture from beginning to end.”

People who are trained in court reporting have many avenues today, from close-captioning for television, owning a freelance court reporting business, or internet work where they can be called to record important business matters.

One of Cascio’s friends works for the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. Another friend also retired Friday from his job as an official reporter in the (U.S.) House of Representatives.

“So the skill set possessed by court reporters today can take you many places,” she said.

She provided a quote about the profession: “Court reporting is a profession that puts the world at your fingertips,” she said with a grin.

Then Cascio highlighted one avenue for court reporters she supports wholeheartedly, Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), also known as live-event captioning.

“A trained reporter will go with a computer into a classroom for the hearing-impaired student and provide the verbatim lecture of the professor in college and enable hearing-impaired people to expand their knowledge, get a great education and have a degree,” she said.

She believes in education.

“I came from a family, my mother had an eighth-grade education only, and I was the first one of my family of five girls to pursue higher education and I chose court reporting,” she said.

She took enough courses at Conemaugh Township Area High School to finish college in one year instead of the required two years.

While she was in school in Pittsburgh, her father saw an ad for a court reporter in Somerset County and called her. Then-President Judge Charles Coffroth interviewed her for the job. It was a Saturday, she remembered.

She was 19 when she started on Feb. 5, 1973, as a part of the justice system in Somerset County.

She said she has never looked back without a gracious smile.

There have been highs and lows over the 45 years, she admitted.

A low time was in the mid-1980s when a local official, who was part of the justice system, misused his authoritative powers and hurt people under his protection. He was later sentenced, she said.

A high time was witnessing how county residents helped each other during the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

She said she enjoyed working with people at the courthouse and helping others.

“That is what we do every day,” Cascio said. “And we work together to do that. The help I’ve been provided by all the offices has been outstanding.”

Her career has opened the door to meet other people in her profession. Being on the board of directors for both state and national associations allowed her to make friendships that she has maintained.

Cascio was a past president of the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association. She was a member of the National Court Reporters Association, and in 2014, she earned the National Court Reporters Association registered diplomate reporter certification, the highest credential available to stenographic court reporters. In the same year, Cascio was named as one of seven fellows countrywide in the Academy of Professional Reporters, a professional distinction conferred upon an individual with outstanding qualifications and experience in the field of shorthand reporting. They are nominated for membership by their peers.

On her final day she was set to “entertain her colleagues” who wanted to be part of her farewell.

Now she plans to become more engrossed in her watercolor art, do a little gardening, enjoy cooking and learn to balance her life with everything she wants to do as a busy retiree. She said she is thrilled that she and her husband, John Cascio, a retired judge, can attend their children’s big moments in their careers and personal lives. Their daughter lives and works in New York City, their son is in Washington, D.C.

Life is about a good balance, she said.