Alva Sizemore started as a volunteer firefighter in the town of Elon nearly 30 years ago. After three decades of service, from volunteer to his current role as fire chief, Sizemore will retire at the end of November.

“I always have that fear that when you say something out loud, it will actually happen,” town manager Rich Roedner said. “But Alva Sizemore, our fire chief, has turned in his notice of retirement.”

According to Roedner, Sizemore started in Elon as a volunteer firefighter back when the town only had a volunteer fire company. Since then, Sizemore has seen Elon create its own professional department with full time staff, as well as acquire a new fire station and new fire trucks.

“He’s been a part of some major changes here,” Roedner said. “His guidance and steady hand is really going to be missed.”

The town of Elon Board of Aldermen held an agenda session on Oct. 4. The board focused on ongoing COVID-19 sick leave and vaccination incentive policies for surrounding counties. The board  also discussed plans to refurbish Elon University’s baseball field and develop a community space downtown — in addition to welcoming a new Elon town police officer.

COVID-19 Policies

According to Roedner, the board has collected information from roughly 37 municipalities, counties and other public agencies on COVID-19 employee sick leave and vaccine incentive policies. Since surrounding entities are not required to maintain a uniform policy, Roedner said some employers have extended their available COVID-19 sick leave time while others do not offer any extra. With no extra time provided, employees would have to use their own sick time if they were to contract COVID-19. 

While Roedner said more communities have implemented COVID-19 vaccination incentives, there have not been any additional inquiries to observe the incentives’ effectiveness. Roedner said these incentives can range anywhere from hundreds of dollars in gift cards to extra vacation days at work. 

The board received guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in September stating that employers of 100 or more must either mandate the vaccine or mandate weekly COVID-19 testing. 

Because there are many different kinds of employees, including part-time, full-time, on-site, elected officials and volunteers, many organizations could qualify for upholding this requirement and not be aware. The board is waiting to hear final guidance from OSHA before proceeding with any mandates. 

The board is also waiting on guidance from the federal government before utilizing American Rescue Plan money. According to Congress, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is aimed to provide additional relief due to the continued impact of COVID-19 on “the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals and businesses.”

Community projects

The board will be voting to officiate plans next week for development on Elon University’s campus. The proposal aims to demolish the old batting cages and build new ones in their place — along with a two-story baseball club house. 

The development would take place northeast of the intersection of N. Williamson Avenue and Phoenix Drive — between the existing baseball field and parking lot. Staff  approved a demolition permit submitted to Alamance County for the removal of the existing batting cage.

Although still in the planning stages, the board is deliberating plans for a new downtown center located in the area next to Pandora’s Pies. Alderman Mark Greene said that these plans are a welcomed addition because it would be beneficial to have a place where the community knows activities and events will take place.

New Elon police officer

Steve Alderin, the newest member of the Elon Police Department, was sworn in at 5 p.m. on Oct. 4. According to Roedner, Alderin came from Burlington with about three years of road experience prior to coming to Elon. Alderin will start on the road this Wednesday as a field training officer.

The next Board of Aldermen regular meeting will take place on Tue, Oct. 12.