Archive for March 2011

Robin Ragsdale pleads guilty to felony hit-and-run charge

March 9, 2011

By David Hodges and Elizabeth Kantlehner

Robin Stanfield Ragsdale has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of a hit-and-run Wednesday afternoon.  The charges stem from a September 15, 2010 incident when  Ragsdale hit Elon student Toorialy Fazly and drove away.

Ragsdale in Alamance County Superior Court

Ragsdale was sentenced to 15-18 months in a state prison.

Ragsdale’s defense attorney, Kelly Fairman, said that her client was dealing with many mental health issues after the accident.

Ragsdale was previously charged with misdemeanor vehicular homicide in 2007.

She received treatment at Moses Cone hospital and was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. A psychiatrist who treated Ragsdale at the hospital gave details about her treatment and mental heath at today’s hearing.

Ragsdale struck Fazly while he was biking to class.  Ragsdale says she stopped and got out of her car to see if he was okay, then got back in her car and drove away.

Fazly was later life-flighted to Duke Medical where he received treatment for his injuries.

Ragsdale’s defense attorney argued that she should receive house arrest for a year so that she could continue to receive mental health care–including that after the accident, Ragsdale wanted to kill herself.

In addition to the time she will serve for the hit-and-run charge, Ragsdale will also serve 90 days in prison for a parole violation.

Behind the scenes of the strategic plan

March 9, 2011
by: Jacquie Adams 

The effects of Elon’s strategic plan, the Elon Commitment, are starting to show  on campus, but what goes into creating such an impactful change?
Twenty-three people vote on the plan, then a team of four plan, design, and oversee the construction of the buildings the strategic plans calls for. 

“I think its like the engineer on an old choo-choo train, the engine on a steam locomotive,” said Neil Bromilow, the Director of Planning, Design and Construction Management. “We have these big blocks of coal and somebody takes them and throws them in the boiler and makes steam out of them.”

Bromilow’s department is made up of three other people:  an architect, an interior designer and an administrative clerk.

When the strategic plan calls for a new facility to be built on campus, Bromilow’s department takes over. Every new facility the strategic plan calls for starts with a plan of how to achieve the desired outcome.

An architect sketches what the new facility should look like. Once the sketches are approved, the plan up for bid from contractors in the area and construction will soon start.

Planning can take up to a year before construction begins. The construction phase is likely will most likely last much longer than the planning phase.

“A typical job for us would take 18 months on average,” Bromilow said.

Even after construction begins, planning and organization is still needed to keep the project on track.

Circumstances constantly change, but the Bromilow said the desired product never does.

“You’re always trading off a need, a requirement, a desire and trying to get the middle ground where you say this is a quality product that will last long and fulfill the needs,” he said.

Rising Gas Prices A Concern During Fellows Weekend

March 9, 2011
By Monica Yantosh 

Campus was overtaken with out-of-state cars during the past weekend as prospective students from all over the nation came for fellows interviews. Gas prices were a major concern.

Nancy Vaughn and her daughter Courtney came to Elon to interview for a spot in a fellows program for the class of 2015.  They drove down from Maryland, more than 300 miles.

The Vaughn’s are becoming conscious of their driving habits and look for the best gas prices, even if there isn’t a huge difference in cost between stations.

“If there’s two stations, even if it’s a penny difference, I will go to the one with the penny or two difference,” Nancy said.

Melissa Donnel is the manager at the Brian Doby Shell station on Church Street.  She wants to remind drivers the gas stations are not at fault for the rising prices.

“It just depends on what they have to pay the gas price for, is how it calculates into our gas price,” Donnel said.

Donnel also said that so far, the high gas prices have not affected her business.

Fire breaks out in off-campus home

March 9, 2011

By Nick Ochsner and Jason Puckett

The Elon Fire Department responded to a fire alarm call at 208 Lee St. around 10:45 this morning.

Firefighters put out fire at 208 Lee Street

Callers reported a fire in their bathroom.

Firefighters on scene tell Phoenix14News that there was a small fire in the attic.  Crews cut a hole in the roof in the back of the house to help contain the fire.

Officials told the residents that the fire is contained and none of their property was damaged.

Faculty calls for tenure-review process to be re-examined

March 8, 2011
By Sophie Nielsen-Kolding 

The most recent tenure rejection of Lisa Peloquin, sociology and women’s gender studies, has left both faculty and students upset and questioning Elon’s practices of granting tenure.

Five Anthropology faculty members sent e-mails last week defending Peloquin and calling for the tenure-review process to be reevaluated to the entire faculty and staff last week.

Steven House, provost, makes the final recommendation to President Leo Lambert, but when it comes to process, he said he has to follow the guidelines of the faculty handbook

Part of the e-mail sent by five faculty last week says “what is not understandable is that Elon should sustain a tenure and promotion review system that allows the uniform judgments of departments.”

The e-mail expressed dissapointment that Peloquin was denied tenure and also questioned how those decisions are made.


Sandy’s receives fourth ALE violation, could face suspended ABC permit

March 7, 2011

By Nick Ochsner

An agent with the state’s Alcohol Law Enforcement agency cited Sandy’s Subs for a violation two weeks ago.

Special Agent in Charge Rodney Beckom told Phoenix14News that the citation was issued after an ALE agent saw a bartender serve alcohol to underage patrons.

Beckom also said that several patrons were criminally charged.  No names will be released until the report is officially filed with the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission.

This violation marks the fourth time ALE agents have cited Sandy’s for breaking the law.

Agnes Stevens, a spokeswoman for the ABC Commission, told Phoenix14News that the bar received two violations on January 24, 2009 for selling alcohol to minors and another violation for the same offense on April 2, 2010.

Stevens also said that under the ABC Commission’s guidelines, Sandy’s will face a suspension of their ABC permit if the ABC Commission finds them guilty of this most recent violation.


Jack Isenbarger: An inside look at the Elon Basketball star

March 7, 2011

By Joe Bruno

After a key three pointer in a SOCON matchup, one Elon fan felt the need to ask Jack Isenbarger to take his sister to prom.  The love doesn’t stop there.

Elon basketball fans have quickly fallen in love with the star’s presence on the court. Noelle Casimo, who calls herself Jack’s “biggest fan,” is impressed with his work ethic.

“He has a great eye for the court, he’s a team player, and he can complete any type of play or pass,” said Casimo.

But even a die-hard fan like Casimo was not aware of Jack’s hidden talent— playing the piano.

Jack teaches himself how to play the piano by ear.


Free tax help to students from an on-campus organization

March 6, 2011

By Brandon Marshall

For students who struggle to file their tax returns, Elon is offering a helpful option.

Members of a nonprofit international service organization for accounting and finance students called Beta Alpha Psi are offering their services to help students meet the April 15 deadline.

Jennifer Kirts, president of the organization, said the student volunteers are extremely committed in helping other students. The members must receive training, which consists of  a minimum of 10 hours of reading and testing in order to be IRS-certified tax preparers.

Before April 15 the students are co-sponsoring four free clinics at the Holly Hill Mall Wednesday, March 9 4-6 p.m., Saturday, March 12 10a.m.-2 p.m., Wednesday, March 30 4-6 p.m. and Saturday, April 2 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
with a volunteer income taxation assistance program called Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA).


Elon launches new Fellows program

March 6, 2011

by Elizabeth Kantlehner

Almost 600 potential fellows candidates arrived on campus Friday March 4, for the weekend to compete for 210 fellows positions.

Greg Zaiser, dean of admissions, and one of the co-chairs of fellows weekend, said fellows weekend is one of the most important times of year for the admissions department.

“I think that, in lots of ways, fellows weekend is almost like commencement for admissions, for the campus community, because some of the best and brightest students will be here,” he said.

This year Elon added a new fellows program that will allow 15 more students to be part of the elite group. The International Fellows Program is a program for incoming international freshman who want to make a difference on Elon’s campus.

The program also includes a substantial amount of financial aid, explains Cindy Barr, Zaiser’s co-chair of fellows weekend.


SGA Update: Budget for organizations tops half a million

March 4, 2011

Phoenix14News sent reporter Jason Puckett to Thursday’s SGA meeting. Here is a recap of what occurred:

Housing Selection: Resident Director of the Colonnades and Housing Operations Manager Tal Fish reminded senators of the upcoming deadlines in the Housing process. Fish also reviewed the upcoming demolition of  North area dorms and the opening of the new Colonnades living areas this fall.

Fish talked about a barely-mentioned “student-initiated themed housing”, which allows students to live with other students in a Danieley flat based off of chosen theme. These flats will be gender neutral, and each “theme group” will get a $500 spending budget for the year.

SGA Budget Hearing: After more than 60 meetings and 68 proposed budgets, the Budget Committee presented the finalized budget plan for approval. Funding almost every organization on campus and dealing with over a half-million dollars, the budget was approved with a vote of 31-0-0.

SGA Executive Treasurer Matt Campbell presented the budget and said they tried to give each group as much money as possible. Campbell also said that many organizations requested unusually large sums of money for special projects in the upcoming year. While SGA says they would love to support these projects, they don’t have the money necessary to do.

The committee used a set of standards to make sure every organization is measured on the same playing field and to avoid giving any one group an advantage. They also managed to avoid increasing student activity fees.

Special allocation: Executive Treasurer Matt Campbell also proposed a special allocation of money for the Service Learning Trip to the Dominican Republic. The proposal was approved by a vote of 28-0-2, and will grant the trip a $3350 grant towards the overall cost.

Campbell said that the trip was very costly, and the allocation would help students who already have a large tuition cost be able to attend.


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