VIRGINIA KLAPHEKE 2014 KyCRA DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
Long-time KyCRA member Virginia Klapheke was there at the beginning of the Kentucky Court Reporters Association – the second time around.
Virginia worked as a legal secretary for the firm of Middleton, Seelbach, Wolford, Willis & Cochran in Louisville from 1957 to 1971. In 1969, while working full-time and raising four active children ranging in age from 10 to 16, she took a court reporting stenography correspondence course. Virginia loved the steno machine, but she decided the correspondence course was not the best way to go to school. Instead, she bought Berry Horne and Philadelphia Clinic theory books and tapes, from which she made up lesson plans, with emphasis on vocabulary, phrasing, long vowels, and speed-building tapes.
Estelle Reynolds, a reporter in Louisville at the time, helped Virginia during these theory and speed-building years. “Estelle allowed me to take her notes home to read them and mark with a paper clip anything I came to that I could not 'read,'” Virginia remembers. “She was an excellent writer and she had used the Berry Horne theory, so it was very helpful to me.” Virginia also recalls, “As Estelle often told me, 'They don't care if you suck it up with a vacuum sweeper, as long as you can read it back.'”
Also during the time she was studying theory, Virginia joined the National Shorthand Reporters Association (now NCRA). “I read the Journal cover-to-cover every month and always enjoyed the notes of speed champions.”
In 1971, Jefferson Circuit Court was in need of another reporter in criminal court. Some of the reporters in circuit court knew about Virginia working on her steno theory and speed and encouraged her to take the criminal court position, promising to help her along in her new role. Virginia accepted their offer.
When Virginia started working as a reporter, she discovered there was no active state court reporters association. The original Kentucky Shorthand Reporters Association had been inactive for some years previous to 1971. Virginia felt there needed to be a professional state association. She enlisted the help of fellow reporters Lois Brock and Jim Yoder, and using a list of officials given to them by the State of Kentucky, the three started spreading the word about reactivating KSRA. KSRA had its first reorganization meeting in 1971 or 1972. Virginia became the new KSRA's first president.
During her time as president, KSRA was able to get the statutory page rate erased from the Kentucky Revised Statutes. The statutory rates had been in place for a number of years and were stated as 60 cents per page for the original and 30 cents per page for copies of court transcripts. Virginia remembers several times when the association attempted to get a state certification bill passed, but never with any success.
Virginia was appointed by Governor Julian Carroll to the first Kentucky State Crime Commission. She attended a number of their meetings, keeping watch for anything affecting official reporters.
In 1978 Virginia left the court system and began a freelance firm, General Reporting Services, with Mary Lou Trautwein and Pauline Langsdon. For the first 14 years their office was in the National City Tower; then they moved to the Kentucky Home Life Building until their firm dissolved in approximately 1995. Virginia moved her office to her home and started working under the name Digital Media. Her son Paul started as a videographer with General Reporting and went on to reporting school and also studied under the tutelage of Virginia. He is now a reporter with Digital Media.
As any good reporter knows, you must have a hobby to keep your mind and body healthy. During the time she was studying steno and working full-time and raising a family, Virginia sang in a barbershop chorus that competed annually in a regional competition. The chorus advanced to the international level one year and competed in Honolulu
As a young girl, Virginia enjoyed roller-skating. She concentrated more on roller-skating in her adult life and competed in artistic roller-skating, both figures and dance, all over the country. It was a sure bet that if Virginia wasn't at a KCRA convention, it just so happened that the convention was scheduled for the same weekend as a skating competition. She has competed in artistic roller-skating at the national level four times.
In 2012 Virginia's husband, Rudy, became ill, and Virginia spent most of her time caring for him until his passing this past March. She still advises Paul in his reporting business, Klapheke Reporting Services, but she says her professional standing is now “reporter emeritus.”
Virginia has been a continuous member of KyCRA since she revived it in 1971. KyCRA honored Virginia by presenting her with the Distinguished Service Award at the convention at General Butler State Park on September 13. After the award ceremony, Virginia commented, “Looking out into the audience at all the new young ambitious reporters, I think it is safe to say we are in good hands and can look forward to many more years of sharing information. The way the record is made, transmitted and used has certainly gone through many changes, but we are still the 'keeper of the record.'”