6 Fun Things To Do in Elmhurst This Weekend

by Dave Noble, The Funion Weekender
ELMHURST – Don’t let the cold weather stop you from enjoying all that Elmhurst has to offer. Check out these six ideas for fun things to do around town this weekend.

Go Camping in the Elmhurst Quarry 

The Elmhurst-Chicago Stone Co. invites families for an overnight adventure in Elmhurst’s iconic reservoir. Brave the winter chill by descending 200 feet down the east lobe and setting up camp for an evening filled with stories, songs and rock-climbing lessons, followed by an 8 p.m. showing of “Big Hero 6” against the north wall.

  • Date/Time: Saturday from 5 p.m. through Sunday at 9 a.m.
  • Location: Elmhurst Quarry (east lobe)
  • Ages: Any (children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost: $8 Resident, $12 Non-resident

 

Visit the “Game of Thrones” Winter Renaissance Fair at Wilder Parkimage

Wilder Park is transformed into a fairgrounds depicting famous settings from the hit HBO drama Game of Thrones. Meet all of your favorite characters and enjoy recreated scenes including every wedding from the show’s first five seasons. Family photos with White Walkers are $15 each.

  • Dates/Times: Friday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Location: Wilder Park
  • Ages: 11 and over
  • Cost: Free!

 

Train to be a “John” for Elmhurst Police Department sting operationsimage

Citizens looking to make a difference in their community are encouraged to register for this educational two-hour program that will teach you the skills needed to participate as a “John” in real Elmhurst Police Department prostitution stings.

  • Date/Time: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Location: Elmhurst Police Department
  • Ages: Adults 21 and over
  • Cost: $25 registration fee

 

Crash a wedding reception at Wilder Mansionimage

Enjoy a night of free food and drinks along with a DJ and dancing during one of two wedding receptions scheduled this weekend at Elmhurst’s premiere event location.

  • Dates/Times: Friday from 7 p.m. to midnight (Rizzo/Vandercamp reception) and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Rotecki/O’Day reception)
  • Location: Wilder Mansion
  • Ages: 21 and over
  • Cost: Free!

 

See “The Rocks of Salt Creek” exhibit at the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Artimage

Common types of stones and pebbles found in and around Salt Creek are on display in the form of mosaics and cameos depicting famous Elmhurst residents and events.

  • Dates/Times: Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Location: Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art
  • Ages: Open to all
  • Cost:$5 Adults, $4 Senior Citizens, $3 Children

 

Volunteer for Presidents Day decorating in City Centreimage

The City of Elmhurst and Elmhurst City Centre are looking for volunteers to decorate the downtown area in honor of Presidents Day next month. Ornamentation of the area includes erecting a 75-foot adaptation of the Washington Monument in the plaza, hanging American flag-themed windsocks from light poles, and creating clay busts of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln for staking into planters around prominent downtown locations.

  • Date/Time: Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until approximately 6:00 p.m.
  • Location: Elmhurst City Centre (meet by the fountain)
  • Ages: Open to all
  • Cost: Free!
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Park District Will Drop Shut-Off Valve Issue If City Purchases Hub Party Packages, Donates Parking Passes

imageby Dave Noble, City News Editor 
ELMHURST – Miffed by the city’s refusal to bear the expense for a $100,000 custom shut-off valve as part of a proposed stormwater detention system on York Commons, the Elmhurst Park District has now submitted a set of non-negotiable demands in lieu of the valve that must be agreed upon by the city before construction of a basin at the site begins.

According to Park Board member Maggie Rubio, new stipulations emailed to Elmhurst aldermen late Wednesday night require the city to purchase three “Batting Cage & Mini Golf” birthday party packages from the Hub at Berens Park, donate 25 parking permits for prizes in the yearly Easter Egg Hunt at Wilder Park, and pay for the design and construction of a 4,500 seat ice hockey arena around the Eldridge Park Lagoon.

“We still think the shut-off valve is necessary,” said Rubio, who refuses to believe contradictory findings from both city and Park District consultants, as well as MIT Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Moshe E. Ben-Akiva. “But it looks like the city isn’t going to budge. So we are moving forward with some other creative and spiteful ways to hurt the taxpayer.”

While the City Council has yet to officially comment on the Park District’s new terms, a source inside City Hall reported that at least two aldermen had already called “dibs” on the birthday party packages. Initial reactions to the other provisions are unknown.

New Flavored Gelatin Shop at Former Plass Appliance Building Could Make Elmhurst a ‘Dessert Destination’


by Dave Noble, Your Business is Our Business Beat Writer
ELMHURST – With teardown complete, and construction just underway, the developer for the space at the former Plass Appliance building has already leased the entire ground level of the future three-story building to a local entrepreneur who plans to open the city’s first flavored gelatin shop.

“This is exciting news,” said Visitors & Tourism Advisory Committee member Joan Zarumba. “We already have a ton of places around town to buy ice cream, frozen yogurt, candy and other dessert items. But there’s still a gap in the market for flavored gelatin. When it opens, I think we can start marketing Elmhurst as ‘Chicagoland’s Dessert Destination’.”

Despite the history of failed cake, candy, cookie and frozen dessert stores in Elmhurst, “The Jellow Fellow” owner Pete Kontos is confident that his business in the sprawling 8,000 square foot space will be around for decades to come. “Everyone loves gelatin. Children, teens, adults,” said Kontos, who plans to hire up to 30 full-time employees. “This is a can’t-miss concept.”

While still months away from opening, Kontos is already beginning to develop the menu. “We will have both lime and cherry,” boasted the Villa Park resident, who plans to come up with a few more flavors down the road. “Customers will be able to choose from a small cup, a large cup, or a kids cup. And for larger groups and catering, we’ll sell small, medium and large pans of gelatin.” Business hours will be from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day of the week. “I think a lot of Metra riders will stop in for some gelatin on their way to the train,” added Kontos.

The green and red flavored products will be made fresh daily in the store from a secret recipe developed by Kontos himself. No fruit or whipped toppings will be offered, as they “ruin the integrity of the gelatin.”

Tips for Success in Elmhurst eSales Groups

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by Dave Noble, Elmhurst Funion Weekender: Features, Profiles and Advice Columns for Elmhurst residents 

Making money off of old clothes, kids toys and household items on the Internet isn’t limited to nationally-recognized websites like eBay and Craigslist.  These days, thousands of people use Facebook groups created for selling and purchasing things from members of the same community.  Popular local groups include Elmhurst Area eParents, Elmhurst, IL Moms, and Elmhurst eDad Selling Stupid Stuff.

But what can you do to highlight your pieces and outshine the competition?  The Elmhurst Funion Weekender interviewed more than a dozen of our town’s bestselling and most-profitable eSellers to compile a list of tips and trade secrets that will help you unload your items faster and earn extra cash:

  • UTILIZE terms like “slight” and “minor” and phrases like “barely used” and “needs some TLC” to describe items with major damage.
  • ACCEPT private message offers from people willing to pay more than those who have commented “Interested” in your post.
  • CLAIM ignorance of group rules when bumping your post hourly or trying to sell something you found in your neighbor’s unlocked shed.
  • SHARE heartbreaking anecdotes about merchandise priced at $200 or above to represent sentimental value.
  • DISSUADE potential buyers from checking with their spouse before purchasing large pieces of furniture.
  • REMOVE pets, ashtrays and empty liquor bottles from the background when taking photos of things you are selling.
  • REFRAIN from reselling items for profit in the same group from which you purchased them.
  • OBTAIN the workplace address or church membership location of no-show buyers and arrive unannounced to finalize sales.

Source: Loophole in City Ban on Video Gambling Allows Elmhurst Trolley Service to Install Gaming Terminals for Passengers

by Dave Noble, City Editor

CITY HALL, ELMHURST – After city council members voted last November to uphold the local ban on video gambling, a Public Affairs & Safety Committee member claims to have found a loophole in the local ordinance that will allow gaming machines to be installed this summer aboard the town’s Explore Elmhurst Express trolley.

“(Aldermen) wouldn’t vote to allow gambling machines in bars and restaurants, but they can’t stop this idea,” stated the committee member, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “It might not help the VFW or the Elmhurst bars that are struggling, but it’s hard to beat a 100% municipal share for the city.”

Paid for by Elmhurst’s Convention and Tourism Fund, all revenue from video gambling on the trolley would presumably go straight into city coffers. While the committee member admitted there were a few bugs to work out, issues like machine maintenance, change dispensers and additional entertainment on the trolley for children would all be addressed before the terminals are installed.

“We need something that appeals to kids,” continued the source, who expects many adults with children to spend hours at a time gambling while traveling around town. “Maybe we can put in one of those ‘claw’ games where kids try to win a stuffed animal. Or Skee-Ball.”

Explore Elmhurst Express runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from July through September, with pick-up and drop-off locations at the City Centre, museums campus, and business districts on Spring Road and at York & Vallette.

Proposed ‘Playground for the Elderly’ Draws Mixed Reactions from Citizens

by Dave Noble, “Your Neighbors and Your Neighborhoods” Beat Writer

ELMHURST – Complaints from residents who live near Salt Creek Park have caused the Elmhurst Park District to reconsider a key component of the city’s first “Playground for the Elderly”, scheduled to begin construction in May. Those who have expressed concern are focusing on the plan to build three adjacent shuffleboard courts next to the playground.

“Shuffleboard is the type of activity that brings around a lot of people who don’t even live in Elmhurst” said Paul Grossman, who owns a house two blocks away from Salt Creek Park. “And with this particular location right off of Route 83, I have no doubt in my mind that it’s going to attract a lot of Oak Brook seniors.”

Grossman and about a dozen other Elmhurst residents voiced their displeasure during a recent park district open house, where plans were formally unveiled. Structures and equipment for the playground are to include several walking ramps reaching up to 18” off the ground, eco-friendly warm water foot baths and nearly three dozen benches.

“I’m all for the playground itself,” continued Grossman, “because most of people who use it would be off to Rainbow Restaurant or at home having supper by 4:00 p.m. But these shuffleboard players might be out there until who-knows-when. 6:30? 6:45?”

Park district officials were surprised by the reactions.

“I don’t understand why people are so worried about a few shuffleboard courts” said Board of Park Commissioners president Neil Foley. “I thought maybe we would hear some backlash on the weekend Bingo tournaments idea we’ve been kicking around, or the 41 handicapped parking spots. But this is ridiculous.”.

The next scheduled open house is for 7:00 p.m. on February 3rd at the Wagner Community Center, where the board will listen to more feedback from residents, followed by a vote on whether to amend the plans.

New 2016 Elmhurst Ordinances You Should Know About


by Dave Noble, City Editor

CITY HALL, ELMHURST – The following ordinances took effect January 1, 2016:

  1. Persons who enter local coffee shops without a smartphone, tablet or laptop must leave the property within five minutes of making their purchase.
  2. All new and updated playground facilities must include a basketball court, tennis court, jai alai court, and a half-pipe for skateboarding and snowboarding.
  3. In order to go trick-or-treating on Halloween, all children must show proof of residency within the city limits and obtain a permit through Elmhurst City Hall.
  4. Due to the success of City Centre’s yearly “Rock The Block” food and music fest, noise ordinances have been pushed back to 3:00 a.m. on weekends throughout Elmhurst.
  5. No more than five Chipotle’s can be in operation within city boundaries at any given time.
  6. Using sandwich boards on city sidewalks to promote a business is still illegal.
  7. Any gas station or convenience store that sells lottery tickets must always have at least two persons working a register at all times.
  8. Elmhurst residents who fail to use one of the city’s new parking garages at least six times in 2016 will be fined $250.00.
  9. All coyotes taken in as pets must complete an obedience class through the Elmhurst Park District.
  10. A thirty-cent toll will be required for Prairie Path walkers and bikers who wish to cross the bridge over Route 83 in either direction.

Elmhurst Department of Community Development Recommends Retail Business Grant for Extremist Groups Willing to Rent Empty Storefronts 


by Dave Noble, “Your Business is Our Business” Beat Writer
ELMHURST – In an effort to fill empty storefronts while diversifying the city’s economic growth, the Elmhurst Department of Community Development is suggesting a retail business grant for local and regional extremist groups interested in leasing space for meetings or as bases of operation. This was just one of the topics discussed during the Elmhurst Downtown Plan Open House and Presentation held earlier this month at City Hall.

Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce President and CEO John Quigley offered praise for the department’s innovative thinking.

“This is the kind of fresh idea we need around here,” said Quigley. “There are some over-saturated business types in Elmhurst, and an extremist group headquarters located around City Centre or in one of our other business districts has the chance to be a real anchor tenant for years to come.”

Community Development President Marsha Cook noted during the presentation that prospective groups included on the FBI’s list of domestic and foreign terrorist organizations would not be pursued.

“These are just small collections of harmless weirdos who all share a common interest,” said Cook, who also stated that she has conducted preliminary research on potential tenants. “Many of them don’t have an office or any other kind of place to assemble. They’re meeting up at playgrounds and shopping mall parking lots. We think this could be a real home run for Elmhurst.”
Cook declined to name specific organizations tabbed for recruitment.

Elmhurst Mayor Pushes for Helipad Atop City Hall

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by Dave Noble, City News Editor

CITY HALL, ELMHURST – Members were astonished during last Monday’s City Council meeting when Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley interrupted roll call and proclaimed his desire for a helicopter landing platform to be built on top of City Hall.

“Geographically, Elmhurst is a large town,” said Morley in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “Sometimes I have to drive to the north end for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, double-back to the VFW for another scheduled appearance, and then stop at the police department for my regular meeting with the police chief. I need a more efficient way to travel around the city.”

The Mayor also pointed to his fondness for Portillo’s beef sandwiches and personal dry cleaning pick-ups as a supporting reasons for the helipad.

“I’ll buy the helicopter with my own money,” said the Mayor. “I’ve seen a few on Craigslist, and they’re reasonably priced. My backyard is big enough to keep it at my house.”

Elmhurst resident Shirley McCloud, who lives on the same block as the mayor, stopped short of saying she is 100% behind the idea.

“I support anything that helps our mayor perform his job better,” said McCloud. “But there are a bunch of cable TV wires crossing over all of our backyards. And I will be pretty upset if I have to switch to Direct TV because of this.”

At least one alderman (who wishes to remain anonymous) voiced concern over the mayor’s thinking. “First of all, who’s going to fly the damn thing? I’ve seen him watching instructional guides on You Tube. But that’s all He know about flying a helicopter.”

Area Man Exhausted, Dizzy After Climbing Six Flights of Stairs in New Addison Street Parking Garage

 

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by Dave Noble, “Your Neighbors and Your Neighborhoods” Beat Writer

ELMHURST – Metra rider and Elmhurst resident Joe Woodson likes exercise. The 32-year-old volunteer fire fighter and former Navy Seal works out daily at the YMCA before riding the train to Chicago for work. But his recent decision to unnecessarily park on the very top of the new six level Addison street parking deck has him questioning his own health.

“There was plenty of parking available on the fourth level when I drove into the garage the other day,” said Woodson, who refuses to use elevators. “There was even one spot on the second level for compact cars that I could have easily fit my Durango into. So I had a couple of opportunities to avoid this.”

Woodson said going down the stairs was a lot easier, but he became fatigued once reaching the fifth level on the way up later in the day.

“I almost dialed 9-1-1 on my phone, but instead I called my doctor to schedule a check-up.”

Woodson made it to his vehicle safely after resting for a few minutes.

From the inception of the parking garage last year through its opening earlier this month, the parking garage has been a hot topic around Elmhurst.