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AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT
For Professionals in Electronic /
Digital Court Technology
Volume 13, Number 3 — Summer 2008
. . .
- Your Association
AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT
15th Annual Conference
Recap / Highlights
AAERT's 2008 Conference was held in beautiful (but hot in June!)
San Antonio, at the El Tropicano Riverwalk. From the moment we
stepped into the lobby, we were greeted "Texas-style" — and in a big
way. Texas members of the Conference
Committee were there to give us AAERT briefcases stuffed with
goodies. Then we were off to either take in some
sights, catch up with old friends, make new ones, or just rest before
Sunday evening's Welcome Reception.
Left to right, "The Welcoming Texans":
Mark Stoddard, Mary Henry, Laurel Stoddard, Joe Schafer.
Monday began with a continental breakfast, followed by an
address by Texas judge and long-term friend of E-Reporting,
Delaney. He not only welcomed us to San Antonio, but described how
he became aware of E-Reporting when first elected to the Texas
Breakout sessions followed, so transcribers could choose between a
Word or a WordPerfect practicum. Karon
Etienne of Washington, D.C., led the Word-users group, and our own
Randel Raison of Houston conducted the
WordPerfect session. Both provided valuable hands-on training.
You don't realize how hungry you get using all those brain cells! So,
on to a Lunch-and-Learn hosted by FTR, Ltd. Craig
Casey explained and demonstrated FTR's newest product,
FTR GoldTM 5.1, while we enjoyed a buffet luncheon.
Craig Casey of FTR, Ltd.
Oh, but no rest for the weary! On to Jonathan
Leibensperger and his PowerPoint presentation, "Financial
Strategies." Jonathan explained how to identify and achieve
financial goals by developing and implementing
specific, yet flexible financial planning.
Jonathan was immediately followed by AAERT member Anne
Pelini, who explored "Practical Financial Advice: Increase Your
Financial Literacy and Net Worth." Anne gave us great tips on how to
save money, not just by putting X dollars into a savings account,
but by making wise decisions about what and when to make purchases, such as
a used car instead of a brand new one. She also helped us understand
the importance of being aware of your current financial status.
What would an AAERT conference be like without Neil
Griffin of Australia and Andrew
Brown of Hong Kong, speaking to us about "E-Reporting Around the
World"? What an interesting pair! AAERT is very fortunate that
they could take time to come to our Conference to discuss the
state of E-Reporting in different parts of the world. They
actually had to leave early to fly on to London for business.
Left to right:
Gail Malm Armstrong, CERT, and
Speaking of flying, right after Neil and Andrew spoke, we really settled in
for some serious business of our own. AAERT held its Annual
Association Meeting and board election. At the same time, updates were given by various
Click here to view our 2008 - 2009 Board of
Directors and officers.
On Monday evening, conference attendees were treated to a lovely reception
hosted by Veri-Core. Bill Taylor and
Lisa Dees demonstrated their
latest release, the Veri-Scribe II Digital Recording Suite. Guests
at the reception were given a free version of this new system to try it out
Bill Taylor and
Lisa Dees of Veri-Core.
To conclude the first full day of Conference activities, all were invited
to the Hospitality Suite hosted by AAERT's Board of Directors, where we
had a chance to socialize and network with old and new-found
friends — a relaxing way to end a full and busy day.
Tuesday morning came all too quickly! To the continental breakfast
we go for a much-needed cup (or two) of coffee. The first session of
the day was a three-member panel — Laurel
Stoddard, Kim McCright, and
Bill Wagner — entitled "Problems and
Issues in Transcription." They led a relaxed, yet
animated discussion with the audience to outline various
awkward situations we encounter while transcribing. Alternative
solutions were found for many of these dilemmas. This type of session
never grows old — something new and unfamiliar is always popping up.
"Practical Ergonomics and You" — sound a little boring? If you
were not with us, you should have been. Petti
Redding, a practicing occupational therapist, had us doing exercises
in our chairs, to show us how we should be sitting, why we should be
sitting that way — and she also showed samples of very inexpensive
ways to improve our physical well-being. She had us laughing at
ourselves while we tried to do some of the things she was demonstrating,
but that's only because we've been doing things so wrong for so
long! Thank you, Petti, for trying to straighten us
out — quite literally.
Steve Jansen of Gregory K.
Smith and Associates.
Steve Jansen and Greg
Smith presented an informative session on "Liabilities and
Insurances." Their brokerage is a full-service firm which provides
a variety of insurance policies, investment plans, and tax and financial
NOTE: AAERT has approved a new membership benefit, with Steve as
adviser, so we can obtain affordable disability / professional
Click here for further information.
The last, but certainly not the least, educational session of the
conference was "Internet Safety Issues: Driving Defensively on the
Information Superhighway," presented by Richard
Ballard. Like many of us, Richard is a parent, so came to learn
quickly how unsafe the internet can be. He shared a number of cases
with us — nightmares, actually — and explained how parents can
avoid them. Of particular value were tips on which e-mail programs
to use, what information to never place on the internet, plus suggestions on
which spyware to choose, and even how to "wash" our e-mail. Although
this was the final Conference session, Richard held our attention
The agenda concluded with Tuesday evening's traditional banquet and
awards presentation. As we entered the hall, we couldn't help
noticing how beautifully decorated it was. We sat down to a delicious
meal surrounded by people who know from experience that audio-capture of
the spoken word can produce unequaled verbatim records. I can only
describe it as a "warm feeling."
Judge John Delaney.
Judge Delaney spoke after dinner and
encouraged us to stay the course, as one might say. He commended
our professionalism in the face of continued opposition so often
encountered from some quarters of our industry. Sticking to the
truth, calmly pointing out both the pros and cons inherent in all
the reporting alternatives, places us squarely on the high ground.
Thank you, judge — it's always refreshing and invigorating to receive
AAERT's 2008 Awards
Left to right:
Laurel Stoddard, CET, Transcriber of the Year;
AAERT President Margaret Ann Morgan, CERT;
Neal Gross, CER, Reporter of the Year.
AAERT's 2008 achievement awards were presented at the banquet.
Congratulations to both recipients!
Our Reporter of the Year is
Neal Gross, CER. Neal has been a long-time member of AAERT and
has done a lot of behind-the-scenes work for the Association.
Our Transcriber of the Year is
Laurel Stoddard, CET. One of Laurel's valuable
talents lies in words, and she is a true master of the English language.
And thus ended AAERT's 15th Annual Conference.
So, until next June in Indianapolis . . .
Sherry Simmons, CER
AAERT Executive Director
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I feel like the new proud owner (or renter) of an old house. This house
was built with the energy and determination of incredibly bright and
committed individuals. Thanks to their efforts, it is a house with a
firm foundation. Walls were erected where needed and it was expertly
Over the years some talented individuals lived in the house. Individuals,
like Steve Townsend, [the late] Sunny Peer, Janet Harris, Mary Ann
Lutz, Gillian Lawrence, Connie Rill, Jim Bowen — to name a few.
These individuals added on to the house and made many improvements.
The house I am speaking of is the house of AAERT. I am humbled and
honored to be a resident in this house. I hope to add to or enhance the
structure. I have some lofty goals. With the help of a competent
Board of Directors and amazing membership, I hope to see some of those
goals become reality.
I sincerely appreciate being given the opportunity to work for you and
represent you as president of AAERT. The AAERT board is motivated to
do some "house" work this year.
The next couple of months will be a period of transition. I had the
good luck to follow Gillian Lawrence and Janet Harris as presidents. They
are both very committed to this industry, and they left the AAERT house
in good order. Gillian Lawrence will be helping me transition to president. I am
appreciative of her guidance and patience.
Gail Malm Armstrong was elected vice-president. Gail is a calming force on
the board. She has experience in reporting and transcribing, both
privately and in the courts. She has a grace and determination that will
lead AAERT into the future. Gail is also the conference coordinator for
the 2009 conference in Indiana.
An incredibly daunting task is being undertaken by Sherry Simmons. Sherry
is assuming the responsibilities of executive director as Bill Wagner
transitions into retirement. Sherry is learning everything she can about
the business of AAERT from Bill Wagner and Karl Fuss. It is a huge task.
If you have ever talked with Bill, you know why Jan Harris refers
to him as our own "personal professor." Sherry has a lot to learn and
she is perfect for the job.
Randel Raison is new to the board this year. Randel received the
Transcriber of the Year award last year and is a board member this
year. Does that tell you anything about Randel's ambition? With
his energy and creativity, it will be an exciting year.
Karen Bergstrom is also new to the board this year. She was our
2005 Transcriber of the Year. Karen takes this responsibility very
seriously and she is a great asset to us at AAERT.
We have the benefit of experience from the remaining board members
Gillian Lawrence, Kim McCright, and Luis Gomez to continue guiding us in
the right direction.
So as you can see, I don't do this job alone. We are a working board.
We work for you, the membership of AAERT. We will do our best to make
AAERT "the .WAV of the future."
With all of that said, the following are some areas we hope to address
in the coming months:
At a recent meeting, someone remarked to me that digital reporting is
on the verge of exploding. I believe he is right. With some advance
work and preparation, we can ride that .WAV into the future. I hope
AAERT can count on your help.
- Promote E-Reporting for what it really
is — an accurate, verifiable method to capture and preserve the record.
- Create more formalized committees: an advisory
board to help AAERT continue to grow; government relations to address
proposed legislative changes that create barriers for E-Reporting;
membership to address our ever increasing membership; certification to
continue to maintain credibility.
- Correct misinformation about E-Reporting that is
frequently reported by other associations.
- Continue to promote E-Reporting through advertising in trade
journals and exhibiting at industry-related conferences.
Margaret Ann Morgan, CERT
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New Association addresses
Our e-mail and office addresses have
changed. Be sure to update your records to show:
2900 Fairhope Road
Wilmington, Delaware 19810-1624
Sherry Simmons, Executive Director
Sherry Simmons, CER (Delaware), became AAERT's
Executive Director on July 1st. Sherry joined the Association in 1996
and was first elected to the Board in 2004.
Now retired from Delaware's Court of Common Pleas, she has had a long career
in reporting and court administration, and brings both organizational skills
and enthusiasm to the position.
Sherry attended Temple University in Philadelphia, where
she obtained her certificate in stenographic reporting.
She joined the Court of Common Pleas in
1977, and rose through the ranks to become the Court's Chief Court
Reporter, eventually coming to use the FTR digital recording system as
the method of capturing the record. Sherry is a strong believer in
and supporter of AAERT's mission.
She and her husband, Chick, live in Wilmington.
For Association business, contact Sherry at 800.233.5306 (Eastern
by e-mail at
or by mail at AAERT's office address, above.
— an original AAERT board member, passes . . .
Sunny was one of AAERT's initial seven Directors, serving from
March 1994 to June 1996. She passed away on July 8th after a long illness.
She received her B.A. in English from the University of New Mexico and
later used her love of language and word-play to develop a career as a
court reporter. Sunny began taking Capitol Hill hearings in 1976 and
later founded On The Record Reporting, a well-respected firm covering
federal hearings throughout the country.
An in memoriam contribution has been made to AAERT's Continuing
Steve Townsend (Arizona), one of our co-founders, wrote to
"I do not think we should understate Sunny's contribution to the
industry and specifically to AAERT. It may be that only those of us
involved at the very beginning understand her contribution. As an
original incorporator, I can tell you that Sunny's knowledge,
professionalism, communication skills, and calming
presence made a huge and very positive difference in those early
days. Most people would not realize how emotional some of those
early meetings were. Connie Rill was a significant driving
force, and this organization would not exist without her vision and
energy — but it could have blown apart in a month if Sunny was not
there to keep things calm and professional.
"She always had my highest respect, and I will miss her. Our industry
has lost a true hero."
Wisconsin recognizes digital court reporting
In late June, the Wisconsin judiciary's Making the Record Committee concluded
an extensive study of court reporting methods, and on July 1 the
Supreme Court issued guidelines and a position description to introduce the
category of Digital Court Reporter.
Of interest is the statement that the Court would "[p]refer
candidates who have successfully completed the AAERT's certification
program for digital court reporters and transcribers (CERT) or other
equivalent certification as approved by the Director of State Courts."
This progressive and enlightened step was taken after a pilot project with
FTR systems proved highly successful. So if you are thinking about a
great place to live and work, consider Wisconsin! The digital reporting
industry is growing nicely here.
To read the full text of the Director of State Courts' memo in PDF
format, click here:
Wisconsin Digital Court Reporters.
An example of job openings which will become available can be viewed at
— requirements and fees
As announced earlier, fees for AAERT certification testing
are now set at $100.00 per examination,
reporter or transcriber, to accommodate rising administrative costs.
This allows a $50.00 fee for those needing to
re-test for only the written or practical portion of an examination.
At the same time, to allow qualified members to progress quickly to
certification — (as required by job descriptions in some
jurisdictions) — the Board has recodified the current eligibility
AAERT members in good standing may apply for testing, who:
- are eligible for notary public
commissions in their states,
- have a high school diploma or equivalent,
- have one year of experience in
reporting or transcribing.
NOTE: A member with less than one year of experience may sit
for examinations if referred by an AAERT-certified member or a current
employer.* A referral must be signed and submitted in writing to
the Certification Committee along with the test application form and
* For purposes of this referral procedure only, the Committee expands the
standard definition of "employer" to include
those who administer reporting or transcribing contracts, and who wish
to recommend a qualified associate or subcontractor.
Direct questions to Steve Simon, CERT, Certification Committee
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The Nature of Words
I have a store of words that I learned from my grandparents, words
so archaic that I seldom utter them aloud. Recently it occurred to me
that as we are rapidly losing the generation of folks born in the early
20th century, sharing some of those words would be a good thing.
I have known that antecedents of mine came to Texas by way of North
Carolina after alighting in this country, and my grandfather's use of the
word siggodlin bore witness to that fact. Webster's
Unabridged doesn't even have the word, though the synonym antigodlin
is still listed. Whenever we'd drive by an old house in the country
that was about to lean off its foundation, it would be declared to be
sigodlin. Both of these apparently come to us by way of the British
use of goggle, meaning to tremble or shake, from the Middle
English gogelen, to look aside. Something sigodlin
is shaking to the side. Other of granddaddy's terms for things askew
or out of kilter were cattywampus and whopperjawed.
Askew comes to us by way of skew, from the Middle English
skewen, to slip away or swerve, by way of the Middle Dutch
schuwen, to get out of the way.
One of my grandmother's favorite exclamations was "Well, I swan." This
usage goes all the way back to the Midlands in England; swan is
short for "I shall warrant."
Living languages evolve, so old words and phrases are constantly
replaced by new ones. But it's nice, nonetheless, to be aware of our
rich linguistic heritage. As Churchill put
it, ". . . short words are the best, and the
old words . . . are best of all."
Laurel H. Stoddard, CET.
On The Record Reporting & Transcription, Inc.
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Free on-line training for transcribers
August 29, 11 a.m.
for transcribers? Isn't the Player series also for anyone who
wishes to listen to FTR and other standard digital audio recordings,
like judges, attorneys, or paralegals?
TheRecord PlayerTM 5.1 is FTR's brand-new, versatile, audio / video
so everyone interested in digital audio is welcome to participate
in this free on-line webinar to learn all about it.
The webinar will demonstrate what it can do, and how you can use it most
August 29 at 11:00 a.m. (MST*)
Note: FTR's home state, Arizona,
does not observe daylight saving time,
so its 11:00 a.m. Mountain equals 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
About an hour.
So how do I sign up?
Click here to register:
August 29th's Player Webinar
View the entire schedule of FTR webinars at
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A member's review of
Electronic reporters and transcribers are always on the go, and many times
are away from the main computer that operates their work life.
A product called "LogMeIn" has been available for quite some time. LogMeIn
is a complete and secure solution to remote control access to your data,
and the best part about it: it's free!
In the "dark ages" when I didn't know about LogMeIn, I was carrying a
USB Travel Drive which contained various templates, audio, billing
information — anything I needed to have with me to operate business as
usual. The days of synchronizing data from the Travel Drive back to
where the information should be are now a thing of the past, thanks to
this free product!
The fact that it's free to use for multiple remote PCs, or with reasonable
monthly plans if you need more — five computers for $20 per month or
$200 per year — makes this remote-access program instantly
appealing. The program differs from its competitors in that the
application runs in your Web browser. If you're running Firefox,
it asks to install a plug-in and then opens an emulator of the remote PC
in a new window. If you have a lot of tabs open, LogMeIn will slow
down your browsing and possibly your CPU clock speed a bit.
The control window gives you some standard options such as Ctrl-Alt-Del
(which kills the connection) and changing the view settings, as well as
tabbed access to adjust the connection setting. The 256-bit SSL
encryption and dual passwords — one for the program and one for the
remote PC's log-in — are welcome protections that keep your
You must upgrade to take advantage of the file transfer and synchronization
abilities, but creative users should be able to find ways around that
restriction for small files. Still, for the functionality and the
price, LogMeIn is an excellent program.
LogMeIn is the perfect way to stay in touch with your data from a laptop,
PDA, or even a cell phone with a large enough screen, and the only
required element is access to the Internet. LogMeIn works anywhere
there is a Internet connection, and that includes a cruise ship.
Imagine conducting business from the middle of the ocean!
LogMeIn offers a paid version, but in most cases the free version will do
everything you need to do to stay securely connected to your data when
you are away from your office. The system is available for download
and it will install and be operational in minutes.
Randel Raison, CET**D
All Professionals Litigation Support Team, Inc.
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A member's review of
I'd like to report on a free service that has aided my business
immensely, one that I see as a definite benefit for us all. It's
called Skype, downloadable from
I find it extremely easy to use, and it allows multi-tasking with
great efficiency. We not only use it for calls, inter-office
correspondence, and video conferences, but for file transfers as well.
Skype is our preferred alternative when e-mail just won't get it done, or
even instead of e-mail. Also, it is a great alternative to a regular
phone, since Skype-to-Skype calls are FREE. You can call regular
phones, even cell phones, and send text messages for low rates as well.
Skype proves its worth in the workplace by easily allowing companies to
communicate with each other.
Those concerned with privacy issues, in view of recent revelations
that our top three telecom providers (AT&T, Verizon, and
BellSouth) have released subscribers'
records to government agencies in order to create a database for data-mining
into people's phoning habits, will
appreciate that internet-based calls with programs such as Skype
bypass those entities.
Skype is similar to AOL or any other instant-messaging software you may
already be familiar with, but with many more options. First off, it
keeps a chat log for each of your contacts. It also includes
features such as:
- an online number
- text messaging
- call forwarding
- video calling
- call transfer
- money transfer
- international access
— and, in my experience, much, much more.
Think about it, then try it. You might just like it. :)
Luis M. Gomez, CCV
Absolute Video, Inc.
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A continuing reminder: Pengad offers a significant
AAERT members receive Pengad's
lowest catalog pricing on most
court reporting supplies, regardless of quantity.
This means we do not have to buy in bulk to save.
Just identify yourself as an AAERT member when ordering, and you
automatically receive this consideration on your purchases of
- Transcript covers
- Laser supplies
- Data accessories
- Stock forms
- Mailing supplies
- Index tabs, and much more.
800 631-6989 — fax
800 631-2329 —
Note: Promotional items, billheads /
invoices, business cards, flat or raised print stationery,
and printed mailing envelopes are not included in this benefit.
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New Insurance Benefits Now Available for Members
Dear AAERT Members:
Greg Smith and Associates is a full-service insurance brokerage and
financial planning company. We have been working with AAERT's
officers to add additional membership benefits, and to increase the
value of the association to its members. We are proud to present
the first two benefits we have arranged.
We have secured the following discounted insurance programs, which we
believe will help you immediately:
is offered through
Philadelphia Insurance Companies, specialists in Professional
Liability insurance for a variety of professions. They are offering
AAERT members a 10% discount on Professional Liability policies.
These policies can also be packaged with General Liability, and the
discount can be applied to both.
Disability and Business Overhead Expense
Feel free to call me at
(520) 615-6385 to discuss the various risks these plans can
protect you against, or to obtain a proposal. Thanks.
We have secured three discounted disability policies to fit any need
or situation from three blue-chip insurance carriers. These
carriers will be offering discounts of up to 15% on these policies.
Greg Smith and Associates
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2008 - 2009 Board of Directors and Officers
The Board, left to right:
Gillian Lawrence, CERT, (Florida),
Kim McCright, CET**D, (Arizona),
Randel Raison, CET**D, (Texas),
Sherry Simmons, CER, (Delaware),
Margaret Ann Morgan, CERT, (Minnesota),
Gail Malm Armstrong, CERT, (Indiana),
Luis Gomez, CCV, (Florida),
Karen Bergstrom, CERT, (Florida),
AAERT's Board election on June 23rd in San Antonio resulted in two new
faces among the Directors:
Bergstrom, CERT (Florida),
and Randel Raison, CET**D (Texas).
Our bylaws provide that the membership elects the Board, and then the
Directors meet to choose our executive officers: President,
Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Executive Director. Board
members serve three-year terms; however, our officers are appointed each
year at Conference. The Treasurer and Executive Director are not
required to be sitting members of the Board.
Our current officers are:
President Margaret Ann Morgan, CERT (Minnesota),
Vice-President Gail Malm Armstrong, CERT (Indiana),
Secretary Luis Gomez, CCV (Florida),
Executive Director Sherry Simmons, CER (Delaware), and
Treasurer Bill Wagner, CET (Washington).
Bill will serve through December, and in 2009
our Treasurer will be:
Jim Bowen, CER (New Jersey).
Two Board positions will be due for election at June 2009's Indianapolis
Conference — consider whether you would like to serve your fellow
members in this interesting and personally rewarding capacity.
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Newly Certified Members
June 2008 Conference Examinations
June 22nd saw certification testing conducted in San Antonio at
AAERT's 15th Annual Conference.
Congratulations and our very best wishes to these candidates who earned their
initial or upgraded certifications!
Shawna L. Anderson, CET**D
Anisa Aldene Beddow, CERT*D
Christopher Boone, CER**D
Jan Correggio, CER**D
Karman Dickerson, CER**D
Constance M. Hagar, CET**D
Laura R. Hinton, CERT*D
Stacie A. Jergenson, CERT*D
Stacy E. Noeth, CET**D
Kathy Rehling, CET**D
Georgianne Sarbaugh, CET**D
Terri Starkey, CET**D
Ilene M. Watson, CET**D
— New Mexico
A general discussion of the program and a current schedule is at
Steve Simon, CERT
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Nicole Catherine Banes, Wisconsin
Donna Lee Brown, Georgia
Regina Gayle Carver, Kentucky
Deborah A. Cook, New York
Amy Tate Filler, Arizona
Cheryl Renae Grundseth, Minnesota
Ginger Jabs, Virginia
Debby L. Johnson, Florida
Laurie A. Johnson, Florida
Roberta Katz, Massachusetts
Kimberly Lawrie, Florida
Vince Lipinski, New Mexico
Dennis Miracle, Florida
Jane Molaro, Virginia
Jennifer N. Murray, West Virginia
Wisetta Neill, Michigan
Jane Ann Pfitzinger, Wisconsin
Carol A. Richardson, Michigan
Georgianne Sarbaugh, Pennsylvania
Alisa Ann Shelton, Arizona
Richard Joseph Taormina, California
Ben Ungarsohn, New York
Suzanne Ventura, Pennsylvania
Penny Jo Warner, Arizona
Gerry A. Wolfson-Grande, Florida
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Contact the Editor
The Court Reporter is published by
The American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers, Inc.
All rights are reserved, whether in electronic or print modalities. © 2008.
Margaret Ann Morgan, CERT, President
AAERT / 2900 Fairhope Road / Wilmington, Delaware 19810-1624.
AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT