The lab's first paper, demonstrating the first laser cooling of the radium ion, was published in PRL. This has opened the door for us to make many first basic measurements of the ion and begin using the system for advanced applications and science. This paper also marks our lab's first precision measurement: we measured the branching fractions of the excited P1/2 state decays to the S1/2 ground state and the D3/2 metastable state. We are looking forward to exploring the element's promise for quantum metrology and understanding basic symmetries of nature.