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Office of Rural Education and Innovation named for Butch Mosely
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ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Education’s new office to support rural schools and districts will now be known as the Dr. David “Butch” Mosely Office of Rural Education and Innovation, State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced.

Dr. David C. Mosely – known as “Butch” to his friends and colleagues – was a lifelong educator who served Georgia’s students as a coach, teacher, administrator, and superintendent in school districts across the state. He passed away following an illness in early October.

A native of Climax, Mosely served as superintendent in seven Georgia school districts and was named Superintendent of the Year in 1999 by the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders. He went on to serve for more than two years as a member of the State Board of Education, a position he used to advocate for students, teachers and public education.

“Dr. Butch Mosely was grounded in common sense, his core was rural Georgia, and he always had the heart of an educator,” Woods said.

“He was a loyal friend to public education and is deeply missed. We are honored to rename the Office of Rural Education and Innovation as a lasting memory of his integrity, insight, and advocacy of rural students, teachers and schools.”

Woods was joined by Mosely’s daughter, son-in-law, and grandson at the Georgia School Superintendents Association’s fall conference today to announce the naming of the Mosely Office of Rural Education and Innovation.

Established in July 2021, the Office of Rural Education and Innovation works to address educational needs in rural schools and districts and provide a continued, cabinet-level voice for the needs of rural Georgia in K-12 education policy.

Phoebe nurse/breast cancer patient pushes wellness care ahead of women’s health clinic
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ALBANY — During the busy year-plus of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital workers have worked long hours. Some have even have delayed care for themselves because they were busy caring for others.

For one Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital nurse, keeping her annual mammogram appointment this year was important, and may have vastly improved her chance for successful treatment.

Anza Richardson got her diagnosis — breast cancer — in April. Richardson, nurse manager of the hospital’s surgical unit, has had abnormal mammogram results in the past that turned out not to be cancer, but this time was different.

“This year, when it was abnormal and I had to have a biopsy, I thought it would be like those other times,” she said. “I tell people that is the most disappointing diagnosis you can get.

“We did catch it very, very early. They did tell me if I had delayed or didn’t have a mammogram ... waiting six months it could have been Stage 2 or 3.”

Richardson, who said some of her colleagues have put off health exams due to their hectic schedules during the pandemic, will be on hand on Saturday for a drive-through women’s health clinic. Several other nurses currently are undergoing treatment for breast cancer along with Richardson, who is undergoing chemotherapy treatments that will be followed with radiation therapy.

The 8 a.m.-noon event at Albany State University’s West Campus, with the theme “Hear Her Roar,” will this year feature a live broadcast on local radio station V101.7 with a DJ.

“The participants will be able to tune in and get all of the breast cancer education and other women’s wellness information as well,” Keisa Mansfield, manager of clinical research at Phoebe, said. “Even after they leave they can still listen to the live remote.”

Attendees can stay in their car to receive goodies from volunteers in Halloween dress that includes T-shirts and a bag of fresh produce from Flint River Fresh as well as a flu vaccination. In addition to Flint River Fresh, Phoebe’s partners for the effort include Peach State Health and Albany State.

This will be the second year the women’s health fair will be a drive-thru event due to COVID. Last year’s fair brought 315 women, and organizers are hoping for a similar turnout on Saturday.

“It’s going to be really fun,” Mansfield said. “I know the volunteers always have a good time. They love doing it.”

For Richardson, the message is for women to care for themselves by doing monthly checks for lumps and having regular exams. Catching breast cancer early improves women’s chances of survival and can lessen the severity of the treatment regimen.

“I think that’s the important thing to me,” she said. “There are so many women, especially in health care, who put off things to care for others. There are so many women who put off their mammograms. This is something we have to do.

“The earlier the diagnosis, the better outcome you will have and the treatment will be better for you.”

Ward II candidate Jalen Johnson emphasizes D.C. connections, public safety background
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Editor’s Note: Fourth in a series of articles about the nine candidates running for the Ward II, Ward III and Ward V seats on the Albany City Commission in the Nov. 2 municipal election.

ALBANY — When Jalen Johnson wanted to participate in band in high school, it wasn’t just a walk in the sports park; the teen worked a job to afford his equipment.

“I graduated from Dougherty (High School),” he said. “I was a drum major in the band. All four years of high school I worked in the movie theater. That was the only way I could afford to be in the marching band.”

Now the 22-year-old Johnson is seeking to go to work for the residents of Ward II as a candidate for the Albany City Commission. He is one of three candidates, along with former commission member Bobby Coleman and Adam Inyang, seeking the seat held by Commissioner Matt Fuller, who is not seeking a second term.

After graduating from Valdosta State University with a degree in criminal justice, Johnson worked as a legislative aide for several U.S. representatives. He is currently director of grassroots advocacy for the Georgia Charter School Association.

The first in his family to attend college, Johnson said his criminal justice background will help him address the issue of crime.

“I’m the grandson of a police officer,” he said. “That’s kind of where I got my interest in law enforcement and police. We have a high crime rate in Albany. I wanted to represent my community and make a positive impact. I’m strong for public safety, period.”

As is the case across the country, the Albany Police Department is dealing with a severe shortage of officers, confirmed by a recent study conducted for the city showing the need for more patrol officers.

“I think staffing can be addressed, with a salary commensurate with the job,” Johnson said. “People say more police won’t be the answer, but I can assure you less officers is not the answer either.”

The issue of crime also has an impact on the city’s economy, the candidate said.

“I’ve talked to investors and business owners,” Johnson noted. “The first thing someone does when they look to locate to a place, they look at the crime rate.”

Another important issue for Johnson is improving broadband access, including rural broadband and connectivity to those who do not have service and better service for those who experience frequent interruptions.

The candidate said he thinks his experience in Washington and the contacts he made during that time can benefit the city in bringing more competition and options for residents.

“Why is Mediacom the only option for some people?” he said. “That’s where the vision of leadership, that community leadership, is important. (Other) companies don’t want to come to our community because when you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. We need connections outside of the city of Albany to put us at the table.”

Those connections also will help in addressing the high poverty in the city and bringing better jobs that will help end the cycle of poverty, he said.

“I really want to make my connections extend to Albany,” Johnson said. “As a former congressional aide, I will work with members of Congress.”

The incumbent Fuller, who is looking to move out of the ward and has said he wants to spend more time with his children, has endorsed Johnson as his replacement.

“I know Matt,” Johnson said. “He looked at the field once he decided he needed to spend more time with his family. He’s familiar with my background. I’ve worked in D.C. He knows my character, and he believes I’m the best (candidate).

“As a city commissioner, I will engage with my fellow commissioners, the public and public safety officers to get things done in Albany.”

Ta’riyah H., West Town Elementary School