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Radiologic Technology students get a Thumbs Up by Albany Herald


August 24, 2009 - Thumbs Up! - (Albany Herald) In a time when a large number of children think "writing" to someone must include the use of either a computer e-mail system or a cell phone keypad, it is refreshing to learn about Ja'Meka Johnson. Last May, as a fourth-grade student at Turner Elementary School, Johnson decided she wanted to write a (real) letter to Michelle Obama. Johnson penned the letter, with no editing from adults, and only asked help in securing the address to the White House and postage. Just as school was starting back and Johnson began a new year as a fifth-grader, the first lady wrote her back. Excited is too small a word to describe this young lady when she realized what had arrived in the mail. Johnson shared the letter with her school and anyone else willing to listen - including The Albany Herald and its readers. For that, we thank you. Ja'Meka says she plans to write to Michelle Obama again and invite her to visit Turner Elementary. With the determination and faith this young lady exhibits ... well, it just could happen.

What makes a truck a fire truck? The best answer is money. When not saving lives, extinguishing fires and training, the Lee County Fire Department is in the business of saving money. Under the leadership of Fire Chief James Howell and Assistant Fire Chief Paul Branch, there are projects ongoing to update, convert and generally improve the equipment and vehicles used by the department. In addition to installing specialized equipment needed on the vehicles, the department's personnel also modify truck upholstery, do plumbing work, fabricate and weld metalwork and wire both regulation and emergency lighting systems. When the most recent project is completed, the savings to the county (and its taxpayers) is expected to be in the neighborhood of a whopping $70,000.

It is rare indeed to read about any person, business or non-profit being "debt-free", especially as everyone struggles against the tides of recession. But, the Food Bank of Southwest Georgia, once in the red as deeply as $60,000, can proudly make that claim. The debt was partly erased by improving accountability and management, but it was the community support that made the real difference. President and CEO Brett Kirkland says that people may be more selective about donations, but they have not quit giving and responded well to a direct mail campaign. The Food Bank has also wisely utilized available grants. This nonprofit organization distributed more than 5 million pounds of food in 20 counties last fiscal year. Kudos, one and all!

The 15th annual Committee of 100 Celebration was held recently for Girls Inc. of Albany. In keeping with this year's theme, "Dear World," girls were asked to write a letter to the world, some of which were shared as part of the event's program. The guest speaker was Ruth Knox, president of Wesleyan College. Both the girls and the speaker were no doubt great parts of the program, but it is the 100 women who serve as role models day in and day out in this community that the celebration was all about. These women have careers, families, churches, civic organizations and more - all requiring much of their time. The fact that Girls Inc. is counted equally important tells the story of their dedication. Knox had plenty to say about the future of young girls, but perhaps it was this statement that said it best: "Passionate, educated and responsible girls can change the world."

As long as pass rates continue to improve on any given test, the powers that be are usually fairly content. Albany Technical College expects more. The rates of passing for radiology technology students have gone this way: 2006 - 64 percent, 2007 - 80 percent, 2008 - 91 percent ... not bad, not bad at all. But it gets better. The entire 2009 Radiologic Technology class passed the National Certification Exam given by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) on the first attempt. Impressive!


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