Winter Storm No Match for Resilient Elmhurst Residents

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Stocked up on enough provisions to survive for months without leaving home yet determined to escape the feeling of being trapped inside of their multi-million-dollar mansions, Elmhurst residents collectively shrugged their shoulders on Friday and ventured out into the middle of a winter storm that buried the town in nearly a foot of snow over a 24-hour period.

Whether it was to walk their dogs, catch the Metra train to downtown Chicago or make their 6:00 a.m. spin class at FITT/RX, residents bundled up in their heaviest REI-purchased winter gear and went about their daily routines without thinking twice about the hazardous conditions brought on by the snow that began Thursday evening and continued through Friday.

“Regardless of the weather, ‘Cubby’ here wants to go for a walk and will have to take a few dumps throughout the day,” said Elmhurst resident Eric Miles on Friday morning, kicking some snow over a small pile of feces left moments ago by his Boston Terrier on the anonymously-snowplowed sidewalk of 900 S. Hawthorne St. “Elmhurst always comes together as a community to get through times like this. So, we’ll be alright.”

Despite the change of routine for some people brought on by the closing of schools and the cancellation of carjackings and home invasions, residents adapted to everything that came with the heaviest snowfall in Elmhurst since 2015 and challenged themselves against the elements through means such as jogging down the unplowed Prairie Path and driving through town without any effort whatsoever to remove the fallen snow from their vehicle.

“I simply snow-skitched over to Starbucks for a latte,” said S. Kenilworth resident Mindy Riesling early Friday afternoon, sharing the warmth of a trash can fire with a handful of other Elmhurst residents inside the abandoned construction site across the street from City Centre, where Plass Appliances once stood. “People who live around here adapt well to the conditions.”

While some businesses were closed because of the winter storm, places like Portillo’s, the York Theatre and Doti Liquors were packed throughout the day and into the evening. Residents also took advantage of the opportunity to go sledding at Crestview Park and Eldridge Park. The sled hill at Berens Park remained closed, however, after it cracked into two pieces last month during a stretch of sub-zero temperatures.

This story will be updated throughout the weekend, as Elmhurst is expected to get more snow on both Saturday and Sunday.

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WGN-TV Seeks Permission to Keep News Chopper in Elmhurst for Ease of Covering Local Crime

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Live footage of police chasing suspects through residential neighborhoods, aerial views of current crime scene investigations, and a guaranteed local traffic report during the morning and evening television news programs are among the potential benefits for residents if the City of Elmhurst grants a request from WGN-TV to keep its news helicopter somewhere in town for the convenience of reporting on the massive crime wave that continues to plague the once-peaceful suburb of Chicago.

Known for million-dollar homes, nail salons, and the reluctance of its residents to utilize basic crime-prevention measures, Elmhurst has been the recent target for criminals who prey upon cities with multiple escape routes and unlocked doors. After dispatching their news helicopter from downtown Chicago to Elmhurst dozens of times over the last year, WGN-TV approached the mayor’s office last week with a request to park the chopper atop the Addison St. parking garage or in the City Centre Plaza so that a news team can be quickly dispatched to cover breaking stories.

In exchange for a space to take off, land, and store the helicopter, WGN-TV has offered to report on Elmhurst traffic during its Monday through Friday morning and evening television news programs. Drive times for Spring Rd., York St., and St. Charles Rd. are expected to be included in the coverage.

According to Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley, the city is leaning toward signing off on the request from WGN-TV.

“The could be a tremendous opportunity for Elmhurst and its residents,” said Morley, who has reportedly asked WGN-TV if the city’s slogan “Close to Everything, Unlike Anything” could appear at the bottom of all live videos aired from above Elmhurst. “I think people would enjoy watching more footage of our police force in action. And if they’re like me, they would also like to know how traffic is moving along St. Charles Rd. from York St. to Route 83 during rush hour.”

While some members of City Hall have approached the mayor with concerns over a helicopter flying over Elmhurst on a regular basis to report on unfavorable stories like bank robberies, burglaries and carjackings, Morley believes that the positives of having a news crew capturing crimes in progress far outweigh the negatives.

“I believe that any publicity is good publicity,” continued Morley, who downplayed a recent report that Elmhurst has been added to the list of “Shithole Cities” whose residents are no longer welcome in the Village of Hinsdale. “We still have a great community, and unfortunately, haters are always going to hate.”

The City of Elmhurst is expected to finalize the deal with WGN-TV later this week.

Breaking: Elmhurst Police Department Cancels Controversial ‘Boo-tiful Saturday’ Activities


Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Bowing to enormous pressure from the community and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, the Elmhurst Police Department this morning announced the cancellation of today’s activities for children that were to take place at the station as part of Elmhurst City Centre’s “Boo-tiful Saturday”.

After receiving negative feedback from Elmhurst residents with regard to the inappropriateness of a “meet and greet” with incarcerated individuals from the community and an overnight program for children 8 years and older called “The Scared Straight Adventure”, Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth told reporters that being forced to cancel both activities is “unfortunate”.

“This would have been a great opportunity to teach kids that being a criminal is not cool,” said Ruth, who added that common pranks like “Ding Dong Ditch” and peeing in the Millennium Fountain outside of City Hall are “gateway crimes” that often lead to more serious offenses. “But we heard from a lot of parents this week who were worried about certain aspects of our planned activities.”

While some parents expressed concern over their children running into a friend of the family during the “meet and greet”, others pointed out that picking up their kids late Sunday morning from “The Scared Straight Adventure” would cause them to miss soccer practice. However, not everyone was pleased with the police department’s late announcement.

“My kids were really excited about participating,” said Elmhurst resident George Callahan, waiting in line outside the York Theatre with his three sons for a free 9:30 a.m. showing of The Exorcist. “Ace Hardware is letting people carve up scarecrows with a chain saw, so what’s the big deal?”

At press time, Ruth said the department will still be offering adults the opportunity to be shot by a Taser gun in the police department’s parking lot.

Elmhurst Residents Lay Siege Upon Kohl’s with Myriad of Amazon Returns


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Osetra Russian caviar, hissing pet cockroaches, and a “Cat Dressed as Rambo Riding a Fire-Breathing Unicorn Mouse Pad” were among the unique and infinite number of items taken in during the first week at the new Amazon Returns Service desk located inside of Kohl’s as Elmhurst residents descended upon the department store with their unusual and unwanted online purchases.

Caught off guard by what has become an “endless” line of customers returning products they ordered from Amazon.com, employees from both Amazon and Kohl’s are scrambling to find solutions for making Amazon’s return service run smoother while ensuring that regular Kohl’s customers and shoplifters are not inconvenienced by an estimated increase of 500 customers in the store each day.

“There has been a constant line for returning things since the day we opened, and there are people walking all around the store with boxes of items they wish to return,” said Amazon service manager Mark Janikowski, who also oversees the “Amazon Boutique” adjacent to the returns desk where customers can purchase voice-activated personal assistants and government listening devices like Amazon Echo and Amazon Dot. “I can’t see how anyone could have imagined that combining Amazon and Kohl’s in Elmhurst would have this type of fallout.”

Introduced at the Elmhurst Crossing store last week and at a handful of other locations around Chicagoland and in Los Angeles, the service allows customers to return items purchased from Amazon.com free of charge. For many Elmhurst residents, the convenience of returning merchandise at a place where they frequently shop anyway is a “win-win”.

“I’m really excited about this new service because I’m here all of the time anyway,” said Elmhurst resident Meagan Cromwell, waiting in line to return two pairs of Christian Loubouton Crystal Platform boots after intentionally ordering sizes of 6, 6 1/2, and 7 from Amazon.com for the convenience of trying them all on at home. “I just wish they allowed Amazon Prime members like myself to move up to the front of the line.”

While the Amazon Returns Service has had to enforce their “no return” policy numerous times thus far on items such as wine, fresh flowers, and flammable liquids, customers have been allowed to return almost anything else they purchased from Amazon.com regardless of whether or not they still have the original packing materials.

“They’re certainly trying to make it easy for returning things,” said Elmhurst resident Blake Stone, waiting outside of Kohl’s in one of the designated parking spots for Amazon customers after deploying his 12-year-old son to run inside and see how long the line is before unstrapping the 394 gallon hot tub from atop his Range Rover. “But I just don’t like long lines. So if there’s more than four people waiting, then I’m probably just going to donate this to Goodwill.”

Officials from Amazon and Kohl’s have vowed to solve all of the issues involved with having a “store within a store” as quickly as possible.

Villa Park Announces New Ad Campaign Aimed at Attracting Elmhurst Spending Dollars


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

VILLA PARK – Capitalizing on the prestige of being ranked #28 for “Best Places to Live in the United States” by Money Magazine last month and eager to exploit a declining interest to “shop local” by their neighbors to the east, the Village Board of Villa Park approved a $50,000 budget last week for a new ad campaign titled “Villa Park is Money!” aimed in part at luring Elmhurst residents and their prolific spending habits across Route 83.

“We want to show Elmhurst that Villa Park has more to offer than Walmart and head shops,” said Village President Al Bulthuis, who rejected “Say ‘Yes’ to Villa Park” and “Park Your Ass in Villa Park” from the Economic Development Committee before selecting the new slogan that will be included in print and social media ads and on billboards near each portal separating the two towns. “If (Elmhurst residents) aren’t happy with their own options for local goods and services, then why not entice them to spend their money here in Villa Park?”

Acknowledging that radio advertising in out-of-state markets like St. Louis, Des Moines and Indianapolis has failed to garner a measurable number of visitors over the last few years, Bulthuis admitted that previous attempts to promote Villa Park as a destination spot by highlighting local businesses like The Dollar Tree and Brer Rabbitt Motel was “probably” a mistake.

“Not many people are going to travel more than 200 miles or so to visit Villa Park,” continued Bulthuis, who stated that the new ad campaign will instead feature local businesses that sell what Elmhurst residents are known to squander their money on. “They have a well-known love for food and alcohol, and we have plenty of options for them to choose from.”

One of the local businesses scheduled to be included on billboards is Mike’s Meat Market at 32 S. Villa Ave., a family-owned butcher shop praised for the quality of their gourmet meats, poultry, and fish. Long-time cashier Lindsay Weber said that targeting Elmhurst residents to increase business is a great idea, despite the distraction created by those who already shop there.

“We don’t get too many people from Elmhurst, but the ones who do shop here stand out like a sore thumb,” said Weber, who noted that people who ask numerous questions about the origin of products, display highly-visible defensive mannerisms, or have a look of disorientation if spoken to by another customer are usually from Elmhurst. “They have cash to burn though, so I’m pretty sure we’ll see more of them once Mike’s Meat Market is featured in the ads.”

In response to the new ad campaign, the City of Elmhurst has approved a 2% duty on all imports from Villa Park and will authorize border patrol agents along Route 83 to search vehicles and to document foreign purchases brought into the city.

Other Villa Park News Stories:

Comparison Study: Elmhurst Farmers Market vs. Villa Park French Market

Villa Park Head Shops ‘Fired Up’ for Black Friday Deals

Superintendent Agrees to Hire Additional Teacher After Exploring All Options for Reneging on Class-Size Promise

 

District 205 Superintendent Dr. David Moyer

Dr. Moyer Cancels Jackson Elementary Parent Meeting
Amid Fear of ‘Uncivil Discourse’ from Deranged Parents

by Dave Noble, City News Editor 

ELMHURST – Unnecessarily shouldering the blame for something no one could have predicted, District 205 Superintendent David Moyer told reporters Monday morning that all options to back out of a promise he made earlier this year have been exhausted and that he is regrettably left with no choice but to recommend the addition of a fourth section of third grade at Jackson Elementary School after a family with an 8-year-old child had the audacity of moving to Elmhurst six weeks into the new school year.

Burdened by his heroic pledge to hire another teacher if any third-grade classroom reached 30 students at the elementary school for underprivileged Elmhurst children, Moyer apologized for not producing a viable excuse for reneging on the verbal commitment he made in May to a room full of Jackson parents.

“At this point, it looks like we’ll have to bring in another teacher,” said Moyer, who stated that hiring a classroom assistant, creating one “mega-class” of third graders and rooming all of them in the school’s gym, or simply cancelling third grade at Jackson were some of the alternative solutions he considered before authorizing a job post aimed at attracting the very best of viable candidates still looking for a 2017-18 teaching gig. “Regrettably, I didn’t see any indication that this would be an issue.”

Following the school district’s vision statement to create a highly-collaborative and relationship-driven culture, the superintendent called for a meeting Monday night between the parents of third graders at Jackson and the school’s principal for the purpose of discussing possible alternatives for living up to his word. But Moyer was forced to cancel the meeting once it became clear that parents were incapable of engaging in civil discourse.

“There were too many people questioning whether or not we would reach this likely outcome,” said Moyer, referring to the reaction of parents who started a petition to ensure that Jackson’s current third grade class sizes of 29, 29 and 30 students would be broken into four sections. “Any time you have parents who are this involved with their children, it potentially puts me and my staff in the awkward position of being held accountable for our words and our actions.”

The school board is expected to approve the hiring of a new teacher when they next meet on October 10th.

Angry Elmhurst Residents Utilize Freedom of Speech to Stop York High School from Teaching Freedom of Speech


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Duly vilified for endorsing an exploration of constitutionally-protected rights, York Community High School principal Erin DeLuga announced Wednesday that the school will refrain from conducting school exercises in the future that open up a dialogue, encourage freedom of expression or raise important questions regarding First Amendment rights after the re-creation of a controversial American flag display at the school sparked strong criticism from parents, military veterans, and other members of the Elmhurst community.

An examination of real cases surrounding freedom of speech designed to engage sophomore students was set up at the school on Tuesday and included the re-creation of Dread Scott’s “What is the proper way to display the U.S. Flag?” art exhibit by placing a United States flag on the floor of the school’s library. Once a photograph of the display was published on social media, members of the community quickly rallied to expose the school’s unconscionable act of teaching students how to think instead of what to think.

“I contacted the media last night to let them know what they did to the flag,” said York High School parent Bill Lofton, who aborted a “lengthy” discussion initiated by his daughter Tuesday evening about the flag and the First Amendment in order to email the Chicago Tribune, WGN and Mancow Muller about the flag display. “I’m taking her out of York High School immediately.”

Lofton was among the majority of people interviewed near the York High School campus and around Elmhurst who were angry about the school’s flag display.

“It’s really heart-breaking to hear about the disrespect they showed toward the flag,” said Elmhurst resident and former U.S. Army Sergeant Larry Melvin, enjoying the “Blue Plate Special” of Homestyle Pot Roast with potatoes, carrots and gravy at the Elmhurst American Legion on Wednesday afternoon. “I didn’t risk my life fighting in Vietnam to watch someone place a flag on the ground, bend a knee during the National Anthem or wear Stars and Stripes Speedos with a picture of an American Eagle over their pecker.” 

While most people interviewed were understandably focused on the display of the flag, many residents were just as angry about other exhibits in the social exercise that were diabolically designed to make students feel uncomfortable and encourage discussion.

“I’m mostly upset about the flag display, but they were also playing Negro music about killing police officers, and they had a sign accusing our Lord of smoking the devil’s lettuce,” said resident Claire Stevens, referring to one station at the exhibit where a song titled “Cop Killer” by rap artist Ice-T was played and another station that featured a banner with “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” written on it. “This isn’t what education is all about.”

Principal DeLuga stated that a beach towel will be used in place of the flag if the same exhibit is put on display next year, which will “hopefully” stifle any reactions or feedback from students.

Preparations Continue for Sold-Out Elmhurst Quarry Tours


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Standing in the same area where NASA purportedly filmed astronauts “landing on the moon” nearly 50 years ago, stormwater management committee chairman Jim Zay told reporters gathered at the bottom of the Elmhurst Quarry’s east lobe Friday afternoon that safety measures and security precautions are still being finalized as the flood control facility prepares to open later this month for a day of tours.

A signed waiver from visitors and the implementation of a “buddy system” are just two of the ways that DuPage County and the Elmhurst History Museum are working together to protect classified areas of the massive reservoir and to assure ticket-holders for the sold-out quarry tours on September 30th that they will return unharmed. Zay acknowledged that 28 people were unaccounted for at the conclusion of the last set of quarry tours in 2015.

“We’ve made several changes this year to improve safety,” said Zay, who assumes that most of those who went missing two years ago were persuaded to join a colony of former Elmhurst residents who have been voluntarily living in an uncharted section of the quarry since the early 1990’s. “But with more than 500 visitors booked this time, getting back with 100% of them is asking a lot.”

After parachuting to the bottom of the 200-foot east lobe, tour visitors will be required to wear hard hats for protection from falling debris and trash that is occasionally thrown over the perimeter fence from vehicles driving along the high rock wall that supports West Ave. DuPage County Archeologist Sam Weaver will discuss the latest fossils uncovered in the quarry, while Zay himself will explain how the facility is used to manage stormwater. Visitors will also get their first look at a recently-completed monument dedicated to former York High School cross-country Joe Newton and local rock band The Orwells.

A 15-pound souvenir rock will be given to each person on the tour before they climb their way out of the quarry, along with a coupon for 15% off their next purchase of 100 pounds or more of wet cement.

Elmhurst Acquires Oakbrook Terrace Tower in Landmark Deal

Photo by Ron Raspatello

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Stating that the price was “too good to pass up”, City Manager Jim Grabowski told reporters oohing and aahing in the five-story lobby of the newly-relocated Oakbrook Terrace Tower Thursday morning that the City of Elmhurst has purchased the 418-foot skyscraper for $75 million. The building was delivered to its new home at the southwest corner of Second and Addison Streets overnight, replacing the Kovach Eye Institute that previously stood at the same location.

“This is a game-changer for Elmhurst,” said Grabowski, who noted that residents will see a slight increase in their property taxes over the next 20 years or so to help offset the cost of the 31-story building that is in violation of several municipal codes. “I think once people drive through downtown Elmhurst and notice it for the first time, they’re going to be pleasantly surprised at how well it fits in with its surroundings.”

In addition to an anticipated tax base increase that will come once all 773,000 square feet of office space is filled with tenants, Grabowski stated that the purchase of the octagonal building constructed of emerald green and silver reflective glass is also intended to force O’Hare International Airport to redirect overnight take-offs and landings to neighboring communities that merit the noise more than Elmhurst does.

“We’ll get several uses out of the tower,” continued Grawbowski, who boasted that lighting schemes will occasionally be implemented in the building at night to celebrate state championships and publicize local DUI roadside checks. “And think of the marketing opportunities, now that we have the largest building in Illinois outside the city limits of Chicago.” 

Built in 1987, the tower became available after Oakbrook Terrace voted to sell the building and resurrect Dispensa’s Kiddie Kingdom, which occupied the space from 1975-1984 and was notably pressured to close after a disastrous decision to change the price of rides in 1986 from “six for a dollar” to “five for a dollar”. 

Grabowski stated that he has already received numerous inquiries from businesses about leasing space in the tower.

“Bank of American, Chase, and Citibank have all expressed interest in putting offices in the building,” continued Grabowski, who added that Chipotle has already secured space on the 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th floors. “Once we add a few levels to the Addison parking garage, other businesses will be kicking down our doors trying to get space in here.”

While the deal with Oakbrook Terrace to purchase the tower went relatively smooth, delivery and installation of the building caused some damage to homes, businesses and traffic signals along Butterfield Rd. and York St. and has resulted in the closing of the Robert T. Palmer Dr. underpass until further notice. In a separate press release, the city announced that the Kovach Eye Institute has been temporarily moved to an open area of Wilder Park until a permanent location for the building can be found.

Residents Enroll in Local Concealed Carry Classes to ‘Make Elmhurst Great Again’


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – For some people, it’s about becoming a crime-stopper and rescuing fellow residents from would-be assailants who prey upon the community at events like “Neighborhood Roll Call” and “Touch A Truck”. For others, it’s because they fear that the nation’s volatile political climate will continue to cause civil unrest. But for every one of the Elmhurst citizens who have enrolled in upcoming Concealed Carry License classes at The Knights of Columbus, it’s about restoring the reputation of their once-great community.

With the help of Illinois Concealed Carry LLC, more Elmhurst residents will soon be packing heat. Classes scheduled next weekend and in October at The Knights of Columbus include instructional training in a classroom setting followed by target qualification tests on the sidewalk in front of the 537 N. York St. council location. The first 16-hour course scheduled for September 23rd and 24th sold out within an hour after registration opened, an indication that Elmhurst residents are fed up the local pawn shop hold-ups and muggings at The Elmhurst Farmer’s Market that they read about in the police blotter each week.

Many residents who already have a concealed carry license blame the city and the Elmhurst Park District for holding events that attract people from outside of Elmhurst.

“These kite fests and concerts draw people from all over the place,” said angry local resident and aspiring vigilante Harry Mitchell, who noted that he personally identified more than 200 people at City Centre’s recent Rock the Block party who were “obviously” not from Elmhurst. “I almost drew my weapon on Saturday night when some stranger holding a baby asked me where the public restrooms were located.”

While patriotic do-gooders like Mitchell are already pitching in to protect fellow civilians, others who have not yet obtained their Illinois CCL are looking forward to contributing as well.

“I’m tired of all the crime, and I want to do my share to stop it,” said local resident and F.O.I.D. card holder Frank Jacobsen, who has vowed to bring his revolver while riding the Explore Elmhurst Trolley every Friday and Saturday next summer to prevent any attempts at a hijacking. “We need to make Elmhurst great again.”

After months of continued city turmoil highlighted by the closing of two local pizza restaurants and a near-riot at Crestview Park during the “North Elmhurst Lives Matter” rally in June, Elmhurst has plummeted in the latest “Best Illinois Cities to Live In” rankings. Residents hope that arming themselves with a deadly weapon while going about their daily business will restore Elmhurst to its proper position in the rankings behind Hinsdale.