Elon community wants economy, uniting America addressed at Obama’s inauguration

Delores Foster, an Elon resident who runs Coming Attractions Hair Salon, owns a large farmhouse off of Route 87 North in Alamance County. Built out of the lumber that is scattered around and found on the farm, the large building once housed five families during the Great Depression when everyone had or was close to losing everything.

After her father died last January, Foster said she didn’t think twice about selling neither the property nor the farmhouse.

“Five families lived there because it’s huge,” Foster said. “We’ll always have a place to go, because we have a big farmhouse.”

While she never thought her family would have to consider using the farmhouse again, Foster is keeping her options open and is looking toward President-elect Barack Obama to implement changes before American socio-economic situations become so dire again.

So come this Jan. 20, Foster said there is one specific thing she wants Obama to address in his inauguration speech.

“A. Economy. B. Economy. C. Economy,” she said.

Though she deems health care, insurance and social security as important issues she also wants addressed, Foster said the economy is rooted deeply in everything surrounding American communities.

While she hasn’t personally felt the tug of the economy at Coming Attractions, she said she can see it around her and that while she has “no clue” how to go about fixing it, she does know it is a problem that has to be tackled together.

“To me, it doesn’t matter if you’re a democrat or a Republican. The most crucial thing the House of Representatives and the Senate can do right now is work together for the betterment of the economy and to help the middle class people,” Foster said. “I try to be optimistic. I don’t want to be on the right, I don’t want to be on the left. I want to be straight down the middle.”

While she agreed the economy is the most important issue facing Americans today, Elon University Political Science Professor Sharon Spray said she does not think Obama will address any specific topics during his speech.

“I think this is a time in which presidents can use an inauguration speech to try to give people hope, try to give them inspiration,” Spray said. “I think that [Obama] has an opportunity here to think about trying to bring people together and he’s going to have to do that because it was a campaign that sort of drew people apart.”

Though she suspects there will be an “monumental” turnout despite the way the event is being downplayed for security reasons, Spray said this is a great opportunity to do more than just unite Americans.

“He’s going to have to address — of course — the sort of the negative time we’re in, the problems that we have,” Spray said.

Elon resident and small business owner Delores Foster said she hopes the auto industry will not be bailed out and will be forced to go into bankruptcy. In doing so, they will have to restructure — similar to the airline industry — and in turn will be better off in the long run.
Elon resident and small business owner Delores Foster said she hopes the auto industry will not be bailed out and will be forced to go into bankruptcy. In doing so, they will have to restructure — similar to the airline industry — and in turn will be better off in the long run.

Foster said many of her clients speak to her about the negative times. One of her customs recently had her hours at a local grocery store cut from 40 to 25 per week, her spouse was recently laid off and they are trying to support a small child as well.

“That’s just one couple,” Foster said. “It’s not just one thing. It’s in every aspect of our lives. These are the facts.”

Elon University Senior Olivia Hubert-Allen, who is a political science major from North Carolina as well as the editor-in-chief of the school’s student newspaper, echoes Foster’s thoughts. She thinks Obama will address the economy, since the local and national community as a whole is troubled about this unstable time.

“It concerns people,” Hubert-Allen said. “The economic situation is top priority for people at this point. But the Iraq situation is also still lingering.”

Hubert-Allen said the paper is covering the event since this is such a dramatic time in American history.

“The Pendulum will try to record history by documenting as a student paper and bringing that side of the story of readers because this is a historical inauguration,” Hubert-Allen said. “I think they’ll be an enormous outturn, since Obama had so many really passionate supporters and I think they will make the journey and travel to be there on inauguration day.”

But even though many people are looking forward to what Obama has to say and how he plans to turn America around, Burlington resident Robert Hamilton, who works as a body and paint mechanic at Young’s Auto Body Shop on Haggard Avenue, said he doesn’t care what Obama has to say on Jan. 20.

“It doesn’t matter what he talks about, something’s always changing,” Hamilton said. “It doesn’t matter what he says anymore. He says too much.”

But that isn’t stopping people like Foster, who also didn’t vote for Obama, from trying to make a difference.

Even though she feels helpless in the economic situation, she is trying to do her part and make an impact on a local level. She donates to Loaves & Fishes, a local food pantry in Alamance County, on a monthly basis since they are out of food and she feels responsible for looking after her local citizens.

Also invested in working with local citizens, Elon University Senior Mary Bomoman, a communications major from Pennsylvania, helps tutor children around the area. She expects educational standards to be addressed, since she doesn’t believe the No Child Left Behind program is sufficient.

But while this is an important topic for Bomoman and her children’s future, she said the economy takes top reign.

“I’m now searching for a job and it’s really not a good time to be doing so,” she said. “I don’t expect him to do all of these amazing changes right away, I do expect it to be a process.”

Foster said though it may be a long process, she is impressed with the cabinet Obama has appointed so far and their level of experience and expertise. She hopes they give him wisdom.

“You can’t walk into this situation without supporting him,” Foster said. “His backup is the most important thing. We’ve all got to look at this thing head on and figure out what we can do during this time and how we can help other people.”

Click the links to read more about Obama’s stance on the economy, Iraq and healthcare.

Watch why Delores Foster, an Elon resident who runs Coming Attractions Hair Salon, is worried most about the middle class, their loss of homes, no where to turn and inability to pay taxes.

See what Elon University Political Science Professor Sharon Spray has to say about what she thinks will be the main points President-elect Barack Obama will emphasize during his inauguration speech on Jan. 20, 2009.

Family business ensures science comprehension

A staff member works on putting together a new kit the company is marketing. They currently offer more than 700 different science kits.
A staff member works on putting together a new kit the company is marketing. They currently offer more than 700 different science kits.

by Andie Diemer
Nov. 25, 2008

Eighty-one years ago Thomas Powell Jr., then a science professor at Elon College, would regularly collect natural specimens for his own use in the classroom. After picking up on the fact that other instructors were looking to do a similar thing, he noticed the niche of collecting and marketing these types of products to educators.

Today, Carolina Biological has been a dominate fixture on the Burlington scene. Employing around 450 central North Carolinians, the company creates curriculum science kits to assist teachers in their educational activities and endeavors, Product Safety Manager Keith Barker said.

Servicing a fair number of schools nationwide and internationally, the company supplies everything from balance kits for kindergarteners to gene kits for college students.

“We’re using a lot of living materials, like plants, insects and preserved materials,” Barker said. “We try to provide materials to help science educators do their job.”

Catering to various departments like physiology, math, geology, chemistry and physics, Barker works to ensure the company is aware of and complies with all federal and state regulations.

He works with a lot of companies and customers to answer questions and make sure the entire operation and each product works smoothly.

While the headquarters is located on York Road in Burlington, three additional warehouses — where the production actually takes place — have been located at the Rockcreek Center for the past nine years.

“This is where our fulfillment operation, kit making and purchasing takes place,” Barker said. “There are a lot of scientists and doctors on staff. There’s a variety of interesting people and all have diverse job responsibilities and diverse roles, but somehow it all fits together.”

Balancing Act

Tim Dallas, director of logistics, oversees the kit-making operations, which can range from large kits to outfit an entire classroom to single-person AP biology kits.

“We team up with the Smithsonian, who basically write books of experiments on topics of assignments,” Dallas said. “They work with us to turn the book into reality. We start with the books and build the kits around those.”

Carolina Biological performs field testing to ensure each purchase is complete and processing is safe and top of the line.

They offer 700 different titles of kits, most of which are different variations of similar products, Dallas said.

“It’s not uncommon for an entire state, county, school district, specific teacher to adopt these kits,” Dallas said.

He said the state of North Carolina recently purchased $5 million worth of Science and Technology for Children kits, which are used in North Carolina elementary schools.

Barker said students who learn through hands-on means, such as science kits, consistently outperform students who learn through textbooks on tests.

While many kits are ordered, it is not uncommon for Carolina Biological to sell hundreds of thousands of individual products, such as Petri dishes or test tubes, every year.

“We sell just about anything you can think of for science education from outfitting entire labs to individual microscope slides,” Dallas said.

The busiest times of the year are at the beginning of each semester, when orders flood the company for educational materials.

From Warehouse to Classroom

The warehouses receive the materials, store them — and as they are requested — bring them down, count, package, process and ship them.

While they serve specialties, such as certain cultures that can take weeks to grow, they also provide common, everyday things needed for science experiments such as plastic cups with hole punches in the bottom.

Dallas said the kits are unique because they come with every single component of an experiment, meaning teachers don’t have to track down small items like sharpies or paper clips.

They ship out brand new kits, as well as refills for bulky and often pricy kits. It is not uncommon for 50 or 100 kits to be ordered at one time, Dallas said.

A high tech conveyor and barcode system was completely installed in 2005, which drives the entire company. It automatically logs and calculates inventory, routes and spits specific materials off the belts that run throughout the entire warehouse.

It also creates algorithms to know when certain kits are in demand and to estimate how many need to be created.

Technology also plays a large role in the support department. It does everything from recording logs to increasing job performance to calculating calls to telling a support technician when the best time to take their lunch break is.

“It didn’t reduce jobs, but we are doing more now with the same amount of people,” Dallas said.

Barker said they strive for 100 percent on-time performance and are working to reduce their error rate.

Over the past two years, they have cut it by 45 percent.

It’s All In The Family

Barker said the entire staff is a great group of people that all care about each other.

“Many people have worked their whole lives, and their parents worked here too,” Dallas said. “I’ve been here for nine years and I’m still considered new. Most people have been here for 30, 40 or more years.”

Carolina Biological is still a family-owned business today and the family still plays a prominent role in the community, such as annually donating to United Way, Barker said.

“It’s a good, stable company that’s been here for 81 years, pays their taxes and provides employment,” Barker said. “We produce a product we’re rightfully proud of and we’re proud of our association with education.”

Mysterious illness sends two students to hospital

Andie Diemer
Oct. 1, 2008

For juniors Mike Milano and Dan Rickershauser, seeing their families during Elon’s annual family weekend wasn’t in the cards. But each was forced to reunite with their loved ones in a rigid scene: the hospital.

Both students were hospitalized last week with internal bleeding and released Sunday once they had recovered.

At press time the exact ailment had not be determined, but the students said their doctor, Robert Elliott, said he was 99 percent sure it was a food-borne illness, most likely food poisoning and bacteria-related.

“We had the same exact thing,” Milano said. “I had it a little bit worse, a little more progressed.”

Jana Lynn Patterson, assistant vice president of student life, said the administration was contacted Friday afternoon and told two students had been hospitalized, one on Wednesday and one on Friday.

“Given the severeness [sic] of the illness, they needed to survey our records to see if there was anything similar,” she said.

pattersonPatterson said Elon was also contacted by the health department to see if there was any connection.

“There is not any set pattern or anything,” Patterson said. “Any time you’re going to have that kind of connection, two students at one time in the hospital, then [the health department] feels like they’re going to need to follow through.”

While the health department consulted each student to determine a link between their cases, the only thing each had commonly eaten were a chicken sandwich and fries from Chick-fil-A Wednesday evening, Rickershauser said.

But he said the health department asked for every item consumed since Sept. 15, making it difficult to assist them.

Milano, who does not regularly dine on campus, said he still doesn’t know where it may have come from.

Since Sept. 23, seven people visited the health center with symptoms that could possibly mirror Milano and Rickershauser’s symptoms, Patterson said.

She said that it is not an atypical number and that none of the other cases were severe.

“There’s nothing right now where we’ve seen a bunch of people or any out of the ordinary numbers,” she said. “That may change.”

On Wednesday both Milano and Rickershauser started having stomach pains, among other symptoms such as vomiting.
Milano said the sharp, stabbing pains he experienced immediately denoted something was wrong. Thursday morning he skipped his morning class and visited the urgent care unit next to Alamance Regional Hospital.

From there he was immediately handed off to hospital specialists and was admitted into the hospital once the severity of his situation was recognized.

After visiting the Elon Health Center Thursday morning, Rickershauser was sent home with Dramamine, pepto bismol and instructions that should his situation worsen he needed to seek medical attention at the emergency room immediately.

He entered the ER later that evening and was treated for his symptoms but was then released. He wasn’t admitted to Alamance Regional until Friday after he met with a gastrointestinal specialist and was clearly not getting healthier.

Once both students were in the hospital, they were pumped with fluids, painkillers and antibiotics.

“I had internal bleeding,” Milano said. “My whole digestive track was bleeding out.”

Both patients underwent multiple tests including x-rays, CAT scans and blood cultures, among others.

“My chest x-ray showed that my colon and large intestine were inflamed and huge,” Rickershauser said.

He said he was told the diagnose is difficult to nail since the students were already being treated with antibiotics when he entered the hospital, which killed the bacteria.

Milano lost 13 pounds in 3 days since he wasn’t permitted to eat solid food and was fed items like ice cream and pudding.

“Anytime you have a student who’s sick we want the hospital to keep them a little longer because if they’re coming back to a dorm then they don’t get a lot of rest,” Patterson said. “I think everybody wants to be on the safe side about things.”

Both have checkups today and were told if they felt any pain before then to return to the ER since it could signal kidney failure.
Neither had experienced additional problems up until Tuesday.

Patterson said she spoke to each student on the phone Friday afternoon and that the Administrator on Call, Brian O’Shey, and University Physician Jim Hawkins visited the students Friday evening.

Elon Health Services also followed up with the other seven students that had similar symptoms to ensure they were healthy and collected additional information the Health Department may need, Patterson said.

None of the other seven cases investigated were serve enough to warrant hospitalization.

However, Patterson was notified Monday that another student was admitted this weekend for similar symptoms. It has been determined that they are not related to food consumption.

So far no changes by the administration, supervisors or health department have been made to ARMARK’s food service.

ARAMARK Resident District Manager Jeff Gazda said his employees work hard to ensure food safety on campus.

“Our top priority is to ensure that the food served at Elon is of the highest quality within the safest environment possible,” Gazda said. “We continuously train our managers and employees on proper techniques in food handling and food safety procedures.”

Patterson said in the case there would be a wide-spread issue similar to Milano and Rickershauser’s experience, Elon would work with the health department to notify the community.

Bailout bill, impact of taxes worry community

by Andie Diemer
Sept. 24, 2008

As talk heats up about a bill hitting the Congress floor later this week to create a $700 billion package to assist the U.S. economy, many local Elon citizens are concerned the decision will burden them through taxes.

Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, and other members of the Bush Administration are asking Congress to pass a plan that would assist the U.S. financial firms. It is likely to hit the floor this week.

Jerry Oakley, Elon resident and paint contractor, said the idea of the government intervening to help private businesses doesn’t sit right with him.

“First I thought it was kind of crazy for our government to step in there and do that,” Oakley said. “But they’re at that level, and that might not be the case.”

Oakley blames the investment bankers, who have large salaries and severance packages and sometimes work out of greed by telling people where to investment their money.

He wants them to find their own way out, since they are private entities.

“Nobody is going to bail me out if I’m in trouble,” he said.

The trickle-down impact the taxes may implement is something Elon University freshman Joanna Barratt think will likely happen.

She thinks there should be some aid, but not full assistance.

“With the debt of the federal government, it’s hard to say,” Barratt said. “There should be some help, but with the federal debt, it shouldn’t be a huge, huge amount.”

Elon University Economics Professor Jim Barbour said the American people have an unhealthy relationship with greed, credit and debt.

But he said a bailout will be best.

“It’s a lot like hunting flies with a cannon,” he said. “You’ll kill the flies but you also make a huge hole in the wall.”

While the price tag for the bailout ring ups to an average of $2,333 for every U.S. citizen, this may not be as big of a financial impact on them as they may think, he said.

“It might actually be a benefit,” he said. “We need to keep in mind that these assests aren’t going to be worth zero. The tax burden won’t be $700 billion.”

Watch Elon University freshman Joanna Barratt give her opinion on the bailout:

Holland House to jump the tracks next summer

by Andie Diemer
Sept. 16, 2008

He counted the number of times on his fingers. “One, two, three, four, five, six,” sociology professor Tom Arcaro said. In his 22 years at Elon, Arcaro has moved offices six times. But that number is about to climb to seven, when his current space in the Holland House is physically picked up and moved next to Johnston Hall on South Campus next summer.

“We knew all along it was moving when we started building the Academic Pavilions,” Arcaro said. “[Holland House] is in the footprint of the final building.”

Though there had been speculation for years, the news only officially broke last week.

Brad Moore, assistant director of construction management, said moving the building will provide additional office space on that part of campus and open up the view into the Academic Village from Haggard Avenue.

Senior Amanda Gross relaxes in front of Holland House before heading to her next class. The sociology building used to be to the right of the building before it was moved to accommodate the William Henry Belk Pavilion, which is currently there.
Senior Amanda Gross relaxes in front of Holland House before heading to her next class. The sociology building used to be to the right of the building before it was moved to accommodate the William Henry Belk Pavilion, which is currently there.

“A general contractor will work closely with a house mover and the railroad to move it from one site to the other,” he said.

While all of the plans are tentative and will not be finalized until the spring, Moore said there is currently no development plans for the existing site.

Currently, the Periclean Scholars department, leisure and sports management department, faculty and staff lounge and a few administrators from the admissions department are housed there.

Associate Provost Nancy Midgette, who is responsible for assigning departments and individuals to their buildings and offices, said she does not know where any of the current departments of Holland House will move to once the house is gone.

“The admissions piece will be moving into the Powell Building,” she said. “I don’t know exactly where we’re going to move the others. I’m going to do my best to have it sorted out before the truck gets here to move the house.”

The new location will serve as offices for the Alumni Relations team and the Alumni Center, Director of Alumni Relations Sallie Hutton said.
Moore said the move will also allow University Advancement to expand within Johnston Hall.

Because of department changes, the need for more or different space and new buildings being built, there is a constant shuffle around campus, Arcaro said.

“By their nature, college campuses are dynamic, living things,” Arcaro said. “Change is going to happen and you have to have trust in the people that steward the institution to make the right decision on how the growth and change occurs.”

But the entire house won’t make the trip.

“The back half is not going,” Arcaro said. “No more than half of the footprint that sits here now will be the footprint when it gets on the other side of campus. That’s partially because it would be bloody impossible to move the whole thing.”

The house, which once served as the president’s personal home, has experienced several additions since first being constructed. To ditch part of the house and go back to its original form is as logical a move as anything else, Arcaro said.

Arcaro said he had neutral feelings about the move since the change that usually happens at Elon has historically been for the better.

The McMichael Science Building now sits where a large Victorian house was knocked down.

“We had a lot of mashing of the teeth when it was being torn down,” he said.

But at the end of the day, no one will argue that McMichael is in the wrong place, Arcaro said.

“Certainly the history that goes into this house is worth preserving by moving it,” Arcaro said. “The institution of higher education is an organic entity that moves and changes and that’s the natural way of things.”

Hurricane Ike slams gas stations before Gulf Coast

by Andie Diemer

Sept. 12, 2008

On Friday evening it wasn’t the line out the door at the re-opening of Lighthouse Tavern that had everyone rushing in a panic. Instead, it was the dozens of cars patiently waiting to fill up their tanks at both the Elon and surrounding Burlington gas stations.

With Hurricane Ike expected to crash into the Gulf Coast later in the evening, many students, faculty members and community residents took their cars to the nearest gas station to fill up before gas prices sky rocketed.

This sign was posted at each pump at the Kangaroo Gas Station in Elon, N.C. While the station asked customers to limit themselves to 10 gallons, many did not
This sign was posted at each pump at the B.P. Kangaroo Gas Station in Elon, N.C. While the station asked customers to limit themselves to 10 gallons, many did not.

The Gulf Coast comprises one of the world’s largest concentration of oil refineries and many companies were shutting down Friday while their employees evacuated, according to MSNBC.com.

Gas prices rose by 11 cents on Thursday when Ike began to make a more direct approach towards the Texas area.

Junior Grace Trilling was one of the dozens of Elon students flocking to the B.P. Kangaroo gas station to fill her tank before Ike hit land Friday night or Saturday morning.

“I’m trying to get some cheap gas before it runs out,” she said. “The lines are crazy. We all came here.”

Trilling said she heard gas was supposed to hit $5 a gallon overnight and that other gas stations had already run out of fuel.

The Kangaroo was requesting that each purchase be kept to under 10 gallons in an effort to conserve enough gas for everyone. However, they did not put a physical cap on the limit.

English Professor Brian Crawford filled up at the same station as Trilling after seeing the price hike in surrounding gas stations.

Even though he is filling up today, he views this circumstance as a notion that the country needs to take a different path regarding energy sources.

“I think we should live closer to where we work. I think we should ride bikes,” Crawford said. “If the gas prices go up to $10 a gallon, maybe this country will decide to put in a real public transportation infrastructure.”

Gas prices rose at the B.P. Kangaroo from $3.59 on Friday to $3.99 on Saturday.

Video by Derek Noble.

Around 5 p.m. on Friday the line at the B.P. Kangaroo gas station in Elon, N.C. had long lines that required drivers to wait for about 10 minutes before they had access to the pump.

Elon University English Professor Brian Crawford made a dash for the pump after seeing the prices at other gas stations.

Elon University Junior Grace Trilling said people outside of Elon were coming to use the gas station. She heard that some gas stations in Burlington had already run out of gas due to the high demand.

Elon University Juniors Patrick McCabe [talking] and James Wesley Lynch [on cell phone] assist junior Grace Trilling with filling up her tank before filling up their own. McCabe said he was willing to pay up to $5 a gallon for gas, but that it would force him to drive his car “very rarely.”

Starbucks may be newest Moseley shake up

by Andie Diemer
Sept. 10, 2008

The Zone may soon be serving up more than SubLive, open mic and exam jam nights. In the latest move to makeover Moseley Center, the administration is considering constructing a Starbucks where The Zone is currently located.

If the Elon administration approves the project, a Starbucks may be appearing in The Zone in Moseley Center. The project, which would take between 22 and 24 weeks to complete from planning to opening, has already been tested in student focus groups. Photos by David Wells.
If the Elon administration approves the project, a Starbucks may be appearing in The Zone in Moseley Center. The project, which would take between 22 and 24 weeks to complete from planning to opening, has already been tested in student focus groups. Photos by David Wells.

Director of Auxiliary Services Vickie Somers said they are in the process of working with Starbucks, which has a very specific process to follow.

“We have met with their representatives so they could evaluate the space and they think a Starbucks would work well in the space,” she said.

The next steps require the university to provide information about the electrical, plumbing and mechanical setup of the room. Electronic drawings prepared by an architect that detail the space, called CAD drawings, have also been submitted.

“Starbucks will study these drawings and submit planning documents to Elon along with a cost to proceed with the project,” Somers said. “It is at this stage that Elon will decide whether or not to proceed with the project.”
If Elon approves the project it will take between 22 and 24 weeks to follow the design to completion.

“From information received from students in focus groups we were told a coffee shop in this location will be well received,” Somers said. “Starbucks is a well-known brand among our students but, if the cost is prohibitive, we will certainly consider other vendors.”

The Zone currently does not see much student traffic during the day.
The Zone currently does not see much student traffic during the day.

As with all new projects in dining services, sustainability is always taken highly into consideration, Somers said.

Local farmers help to establish the Elon Marketplace

by Andie Diemer

Sept. 4, 2008

From 2-5 p.m. every Thursday a farmer’s market is held next to the church on Williamson Ave. On Sept. 4 I talked to a couple of the “farmers” and some of their buyers to figure just why they are at a farmer’s market at Elon and not at a Food Lion.

Check out their responses:

The marketplace occurs in Elon every Thursday afternoon. Many students, as well as local residents, stop by to pick up local, organic food.

Elon resident, Zo, sells shirts and games she made herself at local street fairs. She likes the atmosphere of the marketplace, even though she never knows if she’ll sell anything or if she’ll sell everything.

Burlington resident, Fabian Lujan, uses his large backyard to create grow and create his products. These range from honey to fruit to handmade soap.

Bobby Kirk comes from his farm in Mebane to sell his produce. It is there that he grows all of his fruits and vegetables. He said that while he currently has a lot of repeat customs at the Elon Market, his business is doing better as the market gets more popular.

Resolution for library location remains undecided; more citizens asked for input before final plot is chosen

Resolution for library location remains undecided

More citizens asked for input before final plot is chosen

by Andie Diemer

September 3, 2008

After years of waiting, to be or not to be is no longer the question. Elon Mayor Jerry Tolley and the town board have already been given the green light on constructing the first public library in the Town of Elon, but just one problem troubles them: Where to start digging?

The city lobbied for a library 12 years ago but did not get approved, said Judy Cobb, director of Alamance County public libraries, said. The decision to construct now follows the approval of the Alamance County Board of Commissioners to build a new public library branch to serve western Alamance County.

Beth Schmidt Park and Comer Field, better known as Firehouse Field. Photos by David Wells.
The town board has narrowed down the location of Elon’s first library to two locations: Beth Schmidt Park and Comer Field, better known as Firehouse Field. Photos by David Wells.

Although this decision was made over a year ago, Aldermen Mark Greene said the planning process has been intense and has required a lot of community input.

“There’s been some feedback, but not widespread,” Greene said at a Sept. 2 Elon Town Hall meeting.

After careful research and feedback, the debate has been narrowed down to two potential locations: Beth Schmidt Park on Cook Road and Comer Field, better known as Firehouse Field, across from the fire station on Williamson Avenue.

The building program is funded by a planning grant from the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services in conjunction with the State Library of North Carolina, according to the Town of Elon’s Web site.

Alderman Davis Montgomery said a portion of the grant was set toward hiring Phillip Barton, a leading consultant for planning libraries in North Carolina.

In February residents were invited to two gatherings, directed by Barton, to discuss the final touches of the project such as potential locations and uses for the library. They were also encouraged to offer any additional input.

“We’re blessed with having the problem of having two excellent sites for this library,” Montgomery said. “We really, as best as we could, tried to look at all the various angles.”

The Board of Alderman postponed voting on the issue indefinitely.
The Board of Alderman postponed voting on the issue indefinitely.

Sheri James, an Elon resident and member of the appearance commission for Elon, said she is concerned about the university location. She said the roads are already experiencing excess traffic and she doesn’t want to concentrate everything downtown, especially since the town is growing more toward the north.

Also, the park would provide a quieter, more serene atmosphere, she said. But she just wants it done right.

“Apparently the citizens of Elon are going to be paying for a lot of stuff pretty soon,” James said. “I really want a library, but I don’t want to pay extra taxes.”

While a $500,000 private donation has already been made, the only other money set aside for the library is about $80,000 for books, according to Cobb.

The construction plans to ring up to about $200 a square foot, resulting in roughly a $3 million investment by the community. Though the burden of the price tag for the physical building would come from the citizens of Elon regardless of location, the cost of staffing and running the library would fall on the county.

Montgomery said his team researched recently built libraries around the area before looking into the possibilities and weighing the pros and cons of the two final sites.

The board and residents discussed parking situations, proximity to streets, design and architecture, pathways, traffic congestion, how it would fit in with the community and safety concerns for each plot of land.

“[Planned development in Comer Field] would have activity that would allow for a more vibrant downtown: restaurants, ice cream shops, drugstores,” Ken Mullen, Elon representative and assistant vice president for business and finance, said. “We thought a library would be an excellent addition to that. It would bring a lot of people to the area.”

This includes a range of citizens, from Boy Scout troops to Elon University students to seniors from Twin Lakes.

Montgomery said from the 50 or so e-mails he has received with citizen input, an overwhelming amount of citizens are in favor of the park location. He was hoping to hear from more people.

“I think people like the vision of the park and library side by side and the synergy that it ties together,” Montgomery said. “I would have liked to hear more about people talking about the park location. It would be interesting to do a town survey on that location.”

Alderman Ron Klepcyk expressed concern that widening the space by the park in order to construct the building would place the road closer to the playground and community center, which poses a safety issue.

“I think we need to have other conversations with Department of Transportation about those issues to guarantee safety,” Klepcyk said. “That’s really critical in this planning process.”

They also took the land-use plan of the town into consideration.

While Comer Field currently belongs to Elon University, Mullen said the school is eager to share the property.

Similar to the situation with the current fire station northeast of campus on Powerline Road, the university would “loan” the property to the Town of Elon, with a restriction on the deed or a written contract that states in the occasion of the library no longer existing the land would be returned to the university.

The library is also being built with expansion in mind, whether it’s up or out, Montgomery said.

The 13-acre university area, which has already been appraised, would need to be configured for a water and sewer system first, Mullen said. But he also said the university is very close, if not completely ready, to being the planning process.

“If you come to us and take us up on the offer, we’re ready to pretty much go,” he said. “You know how the university works. We’d put 100 percent of our efforts behind that and go as quickly as we could.”

He said when the planning for the field is complete it would take about two years from the time ground is broken to the time the ribbon is cut.

Mullen said regardless of the library being constructed or not, the university plans to develop the land soon.

Since the meeting was an agenda session no vote was taken. Tolley moved to pass putting the issue on the Sept. 9 agenda to be voted for. He wanted to allow time for more research.

“I don’t think that we feel we have all the information we need to make that decision,” Trolley said. “But we really enjoyed everybody’s input.”

Greene suggested sending out a survey with the pros and cons of each location attached to get a better idea of the citizens’ stances.

Cobb thinks the Beth Schmidt Park location will come out on top, but in her mind it’s all about just getting the library built.

“It was denied in the ‘90s,” Cobb said. “Folks have waited a long time for this library.”

Higher requirements for Dean’s List status

by Andie Diemer

Sept. 3, 2008

Those students who normally take home a Dean’s List status may need to work a little harder now to achieve that same standard every semester.

Last year the Academic Standing Committee altered the criteria for being named to the Dean’s List, which recognizes and encourages excellence in academic work. The change, which was applauded by Elon faculty, is set to go into affect starting this semester, according to Registrar Mark Albertson.

The list normally encompasses those students who had no grade below a B– and had a GPA of at least 3.4 in a minimum of 12 semester hours. The university has changed the standards to stay the same as far as receiving no grade below a B– in at least 12 semester hours, but have required students to have a 3.5 GPA.

“The Academic Standing Committee and faculty decided it was time to raise our honors distinction, since we felt that an honor should be an honor,” Albertson said. “We don’t change many rules or regulations that often.”

To be honored on the Dean's List students now have to a GPA of 3.5 with no grade below a B- while enrolled in at least 12 semester hours. Graphic by Miriam Williamson.
To be honored on the Dean’s List students now have to have at least a 3.5 GPA with no grade below a B- while enrolled in 12 semester hours. Graphic by Miriam Williamson.

The change follows 19 years of not altering the criteria to receive the distinction and the steady increase of a stronger student body.

The administration also felt it was necessary to raise the standard since the criteria for graduating Cum Laude was raised to a 3.5 GPA in 2003.

Albertson said this was an important transition since conceivably a person could make the Dean’s List every semester of their time at Elon, but still not be able to graduate with honors.

Last spring 39 percent of full time, undergraduate students made either the Dean’s or President’s List. Had the new regulation been instated then, only 33 percent of students would have qualified.

“We just felt we needed to raise it so getting on lists would carry some distinction to qualify,” Albertson said. “You want it to have a luster.”

After reviewing the policies in place at other peer institutions across the nation the administration knew a change was necessary since in a few years it was possible for about half of the student body to be qualifying for either the Dean’s or the President’s list.

While only about five percent of students would have been affected by the change last semester, Albertson is hoping the new standard will push more students to strive for it.

The change was voted for unanimously at a faculty meeting and no one spoke out against it, including the two students on the Academic Standing Committee, he said.

However, no changes have been made to achieving President’s List status, which requires no grade below an A– in a minimum of 12 semester hours.
Albertson said the percentage of students that fall within that honor has not been growing.

Classes passed on a Pass/Fail basis or classes with grades of “S,” “WD” or “W” are not included in Dean’s List or President’s List eligibility.