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October 13, 2011 Issue

New technology now available
More tests needed, coroner says
Paul Bryan turns in his resignation as county administrator
Former resident honored on POW/MIA Day

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New technology now available

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Georgia Health Sciences University in July became the first health system in Georgia – and one of only a few in the nation – to screen patients for breast cancer using 3D breast tomosynthesis. Also known as 3D mammography, this technology promises to improve cancer detection and reduce false-positive results, GHSU stated in a press release.

GHSU, formerly the Medical College of Georgia, said the technology was approved by the FDA in February.

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It produces a three-dimensional image of the breast, providing a clearer view of breast tissue and improves images by digitally combining multiple X-rays to reduce distortion created by tissue overlap or density, the release states.

“As a result, we’re able to pinpoint the size, shape and exact location of a lump or tumor. The image is not flattened like a standard mammogram. 3D mammography provides better visualization, easier and earlier detection and fewer callbacks, which translates into less anxiety for our patients,” said Dr. James Craft, a Breast Imager and Assistant Professor of Radiology at GHSU.

“Conventional 2D mammography captures the breast in one exposure, resulting in a flat picture in which features can be hidden. Tomosynthesis takes images from multiple angles and uses computer processing to build these slices into a 3D image that a radiologist can manipulate. It’s like looking into a ball versus looking at a circle,” the press release states.

Tomosynthesis also screens the entire breast, not just the problem area. This is significant because 15 percent of women with a cancer in their breast also have another cancer in the same or other breast. Women have also reported a more comfortable screening process with 3D, the release states.

“The quality of images with 2D digital systems is excellent, but the ability to peel away layers with tomosynthesis is a tremendous advance in diagnostics. The 3D imaging is likely to become the new gold standard in breast cancer screening,” Craft said.

Kelly Bedenbaugh, lead mammographer at the Breast Health Center at GHSU, said tomosynthesis, like mammography, can be used on anyone.

“And we use it on all of our patients, screening and diagnostic,” she said in an interview this week.

Although men also get breast cancer, Bedenbaugh said they don’t get screening mammograms.

“But, if they’re feeling a mass or if they’re having problems with their breasts, they can get mammograms,” she said.

Bedenbaugh said the center sees about 15 to 20 men a year.

“Most men, of those we see, have gynecomastia,” she said. “It’s just an enlargement in the breast in males.

“That can be caused by certain medications and health conditions. Some of the main causes of gynecomastia are blood pressure medicine, marijuana use and a hormone imbalance. Although gynecomastia is what we typically see and that is not cancer, men do get breast cancer, just at a very low rate compared to women.”

Dr. Norman Thomson, a radiologist at the center, said a challenge in imaging for a long time has been how to make clearer, more precise images.

Tomosynthesis is a lot better, he said.

“This helps with two big challenges in mammography,” Thomson said. “One of our constant issues is we perform a mammography and we see a dense shadow.”

Thomson said this may mean additional mammograms for the patient.

Tomosynthesis offers a way to look at the image of the breast that allows the doctor to see the shadow is from normal overlapping breast tissues, he said.

“It’s not perfect; but, it’s an improvement. We’re still very early in the experience,” he said, referring to the machine age generation one.

“But, I’m really looking forward to what happens with generations two and three,” he said.

Thomson said that while organizations have been promoting early detection and screening for women, there’s been virtual silence in terms of male screening.

“They should self exam and if they feel something, they should go to their doctor and get it checked out,” he said.

Thomson said baseline mammograms should be taken between the ages of 35 and 40. He recommends earlier screening for those with a history of breast cancer in the family.

For example, for a woman whose mother was diagnosed at 41, the daughter should start screening at 31, he said.

Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among women, exceeded only by lung cancer. Statistics show that one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime in her lifetime. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 97 percent. For more information about the Breast Health Center at GHSU, call 706-721-9729.




More tests needed, coroner says

Morris News Service

Warren County Coroner Paul Lowe said Friday that more tests are needed in the death investigation of Jennifer Wells, 36, of Gibson.

Police say Wells was shot the previous week by her ex-husband at Happy Valley Store south of Thomson on Wrens Highway in McDuffie County. Her body was then dragged several miles and left in Warren County.

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Ricky Wells, 43, and Tina Ann Wells, 40, are being held in the McDuffie County jail, and charged with murder. They are not related.

“Preliminary findings showed traumatic injuries including gunshot injuries,” Lowe said Friday. More tests will be conducted and more details made available, he said.

Earlier in the week, Lowe said it “does appear that she was first shot and then dragged.

“This is a very complex case, not just cut and dried, and we’re having to work around some issues,” Lowe said.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Atlanta conducted the autopsy, and the body was released to Curtis Funeral Home in Thomson, where a funeral was held Saturday. Burial was in Reedy Creek Baptist Church Cemetery.

Police agencies and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have offered few details related to the crime.

Records show that in June 2009, Jennifer Lynn Wells, as she was known then, obtained a temporary protective order against Wells while her divorce petition was pending.

“I have heard Ricky state that he needed to shoot ex-wife,” she wrote in her petition.

The divorce became final July 10, 2009. That decree ordered him to pay $500 a month in child support.




Paul Bryan turns in his resignation as county administrator

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Jefferson County Administrator Paul Bryan gave the county’s board of commissioners a six-month notice during a work session Wednesday, Oct. 5.

Bryan participated as usual in the work session, which covered a variety of issues. At the end of the meeting, he discussed the calendar with commissioners and then said, “I am notifying you of my resignation the first of April. If you find someone between the first of January and the first of April, I will leave.”

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He thanked the commissioners for their support and said the county faces challenges in the future.

“We’ve got some good, trained people,” he said.

William Rabun, the commission chairman, said, “I appreciate the job you’ve done for the county.”

In an interview later that day, Rabun reflected on Bryan’s service to the county.

“Paul’s been real conservative,” Rabun said. “Right now, with the mill dropping down like it did it’s tough.

“Since I was elected, we raised the millage one year; and, we dropped it back the next year. Paul was instrumental. He’s pretty well said we’ve got to have this amount of money. He told us this year if we pass this budget, it’s going to be tough,” Rabun said.

The chairman said one example of the difficulties with the budget this year is the county’s liability insurance had to be paid earlier than usual; and, that is more than $300,000.

An issue discussed during the work session involved work at Thomas Street.

“EPD would have fined us; but, we’d already started work. It was either that or $25,000 a day fine,” Rabun said.

Prior to working as Jefferson County’s administrator, Bryan had been a county administrator for White County for three years and a county manager in Screven County for five years. He has other managerial experience as well as an MBA with a management concentration. Bryan is also an Army veteran and left military service as a sergeant with the military police.

He started his current job as Jefferson County’s administrator in March 2003.

Rabun said he and the other commissioners have discussed the next step but haven’t made any preparations.

“If it goes a little past April, Paul said he would stay longer,” Rabun said, adding Bryan has also offered to leave earlier than April if a replacement is hired before then.

“He’s done a good job as an administrator,” Rabun said.

“He was easy to work with. He was frugal with the money, real conservative on what we did. He had a lot of good ideas.”

Rabun said during the time Bryan’s been the administrator, the county has added two new cells to the landfill, constructed the gym and completed construction of the Sandersville Technical College building.

“He was real instrumental in that,” Rabun said. “Dr. Hobbs started that. He was the chairman when they started on that project. We finished it up. Paul did the inspection on the building.”

Rabun said the commissioners haven’t really talked about Bryan’s replacement.

“We’re going to depend on Paul a lot for what we do. I know what we need. I’ve talked with Mark Davis (auditor, with Jones, Jones and Davis) about what we need,” Rabun said, referring to the county’s auditor, Mark Davis of Jones, Jones and Davis.

Rabun said within the next month, the commissioners should have decided who will be on the interview panel.

“I would like to see somebody with a little bit of experience,” he said.

“They need a master’s degree. If we hired someone who didn’t have one, that would probably be one of the requirements that he or she would have to work towards one,” Rabun said.

“Paul not only has been our administrator, Paul has been a friend,” said Commissioner Tommy New in an interview.

“I hate to see him go. It’s going to be an ordeal trying to replace him. Basically, Paul and I got along real well. We worked together, especially on the landfill,” he said.

“Basically we understood each other. It was a good fit. It was a good relationship. He had a background in the prison; and, I’ve been involved with the prison camp for many years,” New said, referring to Bryan’s experience as a correctional officer, deputy warden and prison warden.

“We understood how much the prison camp meant to the county,” New said.

“We basically both wanted what was best for the employees of the county, to get them what they needed. Paul is just a good friend; and, I thought he’d be there as long I was going to be there. But everything changes; and, we’ll miss him,” he said.

Commissioner Gonice Davis said, “It’s been great working with Mr. Paul; and, I doubt we’ll find a replacement with that much experience.”

Gonice Davis said the commissioners will need to find someone with experience to replace Bryan.

“He’s been very good for our county,” Gonice Davis said.

The commissioner said when Bryan first started the county had not had an administrator with the experience Bryan had.

“It was a change. It was a delight working with Mr. Paul. He brought unity in different offices. That was one of the greatest things he did.

“He saved us money, too. He made his own salary the first year. So that was great. He hasn’t asked us for raises. He worked for us and didn’t ask for nothing. Mr. Paul worked like a man who really wanted a job.

“It’s going to be hard to replace Mr. Paul. He’s been good. No problems or anything. He’s been delightful,” he said.

Commissioner Wayne Davis said he’s enjoyed working with Bryan.

“He’s got quite a bit of knowledge as far as an administrator. It’s going to be a little difficult to start with to get someone with the knowledge and experience he has,” he said.

Bryan said initially he wants to relax for a few weeks, to “lay back,” he said.

“Then, I want to travel to Colorado, Utah and Washington, D.C., to further my genealogy studies,” he said. “Then I’ll work on my honey-do list.”

Bryan said that there is not a retirement option from the county for him. He gave the county six months’ notice to provide time for them to find a replacement or, as he said, “to search for the candidate with the right mix.”

The challenges he sees ahead for the county are the same as those for the state and federal government.

“Jobs, jobs, jobs,” he said. “The continuation and maintenance of existing services at the same or greater level with reduced revenue.

“Everybody needs to remember when the federal government pushes the states for more revenue, the states push local government. Local government has nowhere to push.”

Bryan said the strength of Jefferson County lies with its people.

“The citizens in the community have a strong desire to create a strong community that our children and grandchildren will want to come back to,” he said.

“Paul has been a great inspiration to me,” said Commissioner Johnny Davis. “He’s always been sincere, honest and he’s provided great guidance to me in my short political career.”

The commissioner said Bryan would provide advice regarding certain laws that restrict what local government officials could do.

“I ask things; and, he says, ‘Commissioner Davis, the law won’t allow us to do that.’ So he’s kept me informed about things like that.

“I’ve often said he knows everybody.”

Johnny Davis related an incident where the two were attending a conference in Virginia with people from all parts of the world; and, Bryan knew many of the people who were there.

“So he has a great network,” Johnny Davis said.

“He will be missed,” he said. “He will really be missed.”



Former resident honored on POW/MIA Day

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Andrew Radford, a 27-year-old staff sergeant with the U.S. Marine Corps, spent two days in September as part of a multi-service group to recognize American prisoners of war and those missing in action.

POW.MIA Recognition Day is held every year on the third Friday in September, he said. This year, that day fell on Sept. 16.

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He and representatives from the other branches of service made a trip to New York City where they participated in a ceremony on the baseball field at the New York Mets vs. the Washington, D.C., Nationals on Thursday, Sept. 15. On Sept. 16, they were part of an event held at the New York Stock Exchange.

“My trip went well; and, it was a great experience,” he said. “The trip is planned through the Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel Office.”

Radford, who is originally from Wadley, said the Mets held a ceremony with them on the baseball field.

“We took pictures with one of the Mets’ coaches and other staff,” he said.

“After the ceremony, we went to our seats to watch and enjoy the baseball game. We had great seats. We sat eight rows behind the Mets’ dugout,” Radford said.

On the Friday, they were invited to the New York Stock Exchange.

“We received a VIP tour that most people never get to see,” he said.

“We were able to see where all the trading happens. We were able to get on the stage where the opening and closing of the stock market happens,” Radford said.

The Marine said when they got on the stage, everyone stopped what they were doing.

“(They) gathered below us to clap and thank us for all that we do,” he said. “It was an amazing experience.”

Radford said, “Overall, it was a once in a lifetime experience.”

Hattie Johnson, head of the Marine Corps POW/MIA section, said that each year they try to select a different Marine to represent the Marine Corps at this event.

“Each year we just try to select someone different to give them the opportunity to do that. He’s a sharp Marine,” she said of Radford who works in the same department.

Johnson, herself a retired Marine now working with the Marines in a civilian capacity, said part of what they do is identify the remains of Marines and notify next of kin.

About a year ago, we recovered a Marine who was lost in September 1918, during WW I in the Battle of St. Mihiel in France. His remains were recovered in 2009. He was identified in March 2010. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery 23 June, 2010,” she said.

That Marine was identified as First Sgt. George Humphrey, she said.

Johnson said French nationals out hunting for war artifacts came upon Humphrey’s grave.

“He was buried by fellow Marines,” she said.

“The French who found him notified authorities who in turn notified the Joint POW Accounting Command. A Marine seargeant who was with him when he died wrote a letter to Humphrey’s brother; and, he stated they didn’t have time to remove anything from his body so they buried him as he was and they quickly left the area.

"The letter is dated Oct. 2, 1919. He had everything on him. He had his dog tags. He had his pistol belt on, I mean, everything. Even had a newspaper article on his person,” she said.

Johnson said the Marine Corps has a contracted genealogist who helps locate next of kin. In this case, she was able to locate a maternal cousin, Johnson said.

“She lives right here in D.C.”

Johnson said Humphrey was under the command of John Pershing, who was already a general at the time; and George S. Patton, who was a colonel at the time.

“It’s probably the most rewarding part of the job, that I can give closure to the family,” she said.

Radford is the son of Darlene and Alvin Radford of Wadley. He and his first wife, Natashia Vogel, nee Evans, have one child, a 7-year-old son named Elijah Radford. Radford is currently stationed in Quantico, Va., and lives with his current wife, Diana.

For more information about the DPMO, please visit their website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.






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