Report: St. Patrick’s Day Parade Ban on Hoverboards Affects More Than One-Third of Entries


by Dave Noble, City News Editor 
ELMHURST – A decision made yesterday by the Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee to ban hoverboards in this year’s procession means that as a many as 30 of the scheduled 80 entries must revise their routines and performances by excluding the self-balancing scooters, according to a parade official with knowledge of the ruling.

While no one from the committee would go on record with the actual number of entries that indicated the intent to use hoverboards, those who are effected by the ban weren’t afraid to express their frustration at the timing of the news, announced less than two weeks ahead of the parade.

“This is a travesty,” said Antioch Brass Quintet trombonist Gary Mullin, who’s group was preparing to play songs like “Loch Lemond” and “An Irish Lullaby” while riding hoverboards.   “They were really the focal point of our performance.”

Mullin wasn’t the only parade entrant caught off-guard by the announcement, as members from the American Legion, the Firefighters Highland Guard and the Elmhurst City Council confirmed that they, too, were planning to use hoverboards this year.

“I’m really disappointed,” said council member Lucille Patterson, who added that it took her months of practice in the City Hall parking lot to become proficient at riding one of the 12 hoverboards purchased by the city.  “We wanted to give spectators something they’ll remember us by.  Hopefully, (the committee) won’t also ban ‘Kiss Me, I’m an Alderman’ buttons.”

While the majority of participants intending to use hoverboards expressed anger at the decision, Chiefs Hockey Club coach Miles Porter took the news in stride.

“The kids on the team will just wear rollerblades instead,” said Porter. “As long as they can still carry torches in the parade, we really don’t mind.”

This year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade takes place at 12 p.m on Saturday, March 5th.

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5 Fun Things To Do in Elmhurst This Weekend

by Dave Noble, The Elmhurst Funion Weekender
ELMHURST – Unseasonably warm temperatures this weekend should make it easy to get out there and do something fun in Elmhurst!  Here are five suggestions for fun things to do around town.

Save a spot on Spring Road for the Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Expect a warm reception from the homeowner and neighbors when you stake claim to one of the best viewing locations on Spring Road by leaving lawn chairs and other spot-saving items in the front yard of someone’s house.  With two weeks of unknown weather conditions before the parade on March 5th, it’s best to use a tarp and chain everything to a nearby fire hydrant or mailbox.

  • Date/Time: Now through Sunday evening
  • Location: 600 block of S. Spring Road
  • Ages: Any
  • Cost: Free!

 

Assist the Elmhurst Police Department issue parking tickets 

Ride along with a real-life parking enforcement officer and learn the tricks of the trade during the Elmhurst Police Department’s Parking Citation Volunteer Program this Saturday and Sunday.  You’ll cruise the downtown streets and parking garages of Elmhurst at speeds of up to 10 m.p.h., run license plate numbers and listen in as violators use profanity and plead for a warning.

  • Date/Time: Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (register online)
  • Location: The Elmhurst Police Department
  • Ages: 18 and older
  • Cost: Free! (Volunteers must clear all personal parking and traffic tickets before taking part)

 

Attend an Elmhurst College lecture on the misconceptions of Coyotes and other wildlife spotted in town


Elmhurst College Department of Animal Science Professor Victor Ferguson shares his experience and knowledge from over 40 years of observing wildlife – both mythical and real – and sheds light on some of the misunderstood creatures spotted around Elmhurst, like coyotes and ligers.

  • Date/Time: Friday at 7:00 p.m.
  • Location: Frick Center Founders Lounge, Elmhurst College
  • Age: Any
  • Cost: $8 ($6 for Elmhurst College Students with ID)

 

Clean up the dog poop in your backyard


“Doo” the right thing for your pet, your children and your neighbors by grabbing a pooper scooper and removing the landmines of dog waste that have accumulated in your backyard this winter.

  • Date/Time: Friday, Saturday or Sunday during daylight hours
  • Location: Your backyard
  • Ages: 8 and older (recommended)
  • Cost: Free!

 

Walk, Run or Ride on the Prairie Path


Ruin your best running shoes and get splashed by other trail users while hitting the trail for some exercise.

  • Date/Time: Friday, Saturday and Sunday during daylight hours
  • Location: The Illinois Prairie Path
  • Ages: Open
  • Cost: Free

New Details Emerge from Proposed ‘Downtown Plan’

  
by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Information from various sources indicates that a climate-controlled glass dome, a monorail system and an open-air museum at Wilder Park dedicated to former mayors and city officials are among the recommendations that will be presented next week by planning consultants Houseal Lavigne at a public hearing for the proposed Elmhurst Downtown Plan.

“Elmhurst is ready for a dome,” said community leader Beverly Wilcox, who is scheduled to speak at the City Hall meeting on February 25th.  “We want to see a lot of diversity in the types of businesses and entertainment opportunities in the downtown area.  But having the city blocked off from neighboring towns will ensure that Elmhurst doesn’t become too diverse.”

While details for the proposed monorail are not yet clear, sources say that the consultants hired by the city have already targeted “Yogaland” and “Candyland” as two existing destinations for riders.  An additional downtown station between Gem Comics and the Elmhurst Model Railroad Club called “Yesterdayland” is also being considered.

“Think of all the marketing and merchandising opportunities we would have with a monorail,” said one Elmhurst alderman, speaking on the condition of anonymity.  “We could hire someone like Morgan Freeman to do pre-recorded announcements along the way, and we could sell souvenir shirts and hats at all the stations.”  

Houseal Lavigne did not return a call Tuesday evening seeking comments on the reports.

Memorable Moments from the Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade

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Part One in a series on the Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade

by Dave Noble, Special Assignment
ELMHURST – We begin our series on the Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade with a look back at some of the more memorable moments in the 20 year history of the event.  This year’s parade takes place on Saturday, March 5th at 12:00 p.m.

Memorable Moments

1997
The Elmhurst Fire Department hosts their first and only “Parade Day Blood Drive”.

1999
Organizers restore order and make last-minute adjustments to the parade lineup after members of two different tae kwon do studios square off 15 minutes before the start of the parade.

2003
Illinois Governor and parade Grand Marshall George Ryan is handcuffed and arrested while marching with city and state officials.  Federal officers allow Ryan to finish the parade route and join him for a beer at the Silverado parking lot tent before taking him into custody.

2007
“Scores” of Stone Park is asked to withdrawal before the start of the parade after officials reviewing the strip club’s entry discover eight-foot poles, a small cage and an inflatable swimming pool filled with Jell-O on the platform of the float.

2008
A remote-controlled float entered by Al’s Hobby Shop and operated wirelessly by store manager Luke Stapleton circles uncontrollably at the corner of Spring Road and Crescent Avenue, delaying the rest of the parade for approximately 35 minutes.

2011
The Elmhurst Police Department collects an extra $15,000 from parking tickets by hanging additional “Do Not Park” signs on nearby streets 30 minutes after the start of the parade.

2012
Rules regarding the distribution of candy and novelty items are changed after multiple complaints from Spring Road residents that slap shots of Snickers bars from Chiefs Hockey Club marchers were breaking living room windows and causing other damage to homes along the parade route.

2015
Parade officials place a limit of four local banks allowed in the parade, decreasing the overall number of parade participants by 30% from the previous year.

North Side Business Demolitions Sadden, Anger Local Resident

by Dave Noble, Your Neighbors and Your Neighborhoods Beat Writer

ELMHURST – Expressing frustration while wiping away tears, local resident and community activist Rory Lester warned a group of reporters Wednesday that recent demolition projects on the north side of Elmhurst are a signal that “the end is near for this great part of town” and vowed to do “whatever it takes” to stop business revitalization in his neighborhood.

“We had a perfectly good hotel until they leveled it last year,” said Lester, who lives a few blocks east of York Street.  “And now they’re about to knock down Steven’s Steakhouse.  Are we going to lose our laundromat next?  Our drive-thru cigarette hut?  Are they gonna bulldoze the goddamn self-serve car wash?”

The 62-year-old Elmhurst native has led several causes in recent years to bring back iconic north side businesses, including a GoFundMe.com campaign to purchase Steven’s, and an ill-advised petition aimed at reopening Yorky’s fast food restaurant.

“We were well on our way to buying the steakhouse,” said Lester, who claims that fund pledges to the account topped $900.  In a separate petition drive last year to protest the closing of Yorky’s, Lester collected 33 signatures before learning that the restaurant was only shut down temporarily for remodeling.

While he admits to being irritated by changes of any kind to the north side of Elmhurst, nothing strikes a more personal chord for Lester than the 2013 closure and subsequent demolition of The Waverton Hotel.

“Some of the best hookers in the suburbs operated out of there,” lamented Lester, who added that he and prostitutes frequently enjoyed the hotel’s Mayan Adventure Indoor Waterpark before engaging in sexual acts.   “I can still hook up with girls at the Extended Stay, but they don’t have a waterpark there.   Or a bar.”

Wow House!  Elmhurst Home Includes Moat, Oratory

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Solar, 21 Sleeping Chambers, 8 ½ Garderobes in this Unique Find

by Dave Noble, Real Estate Section

ELMHURST – Step across the drawbridge and through the gatehouse of this 41,000 square foot late Medieval-style home featuring a solar, 21 sleeping chambers, 8 ½ garderobes and a fireplace in nearly every room.  Earth and stone flooring throughout, the ground level features The Great Hall, overlooked by a minstrel’s gallery.

The full finished basement has flaming wall sconces and hosts a massive kitchen with amenities such as a central hearth, iron cauldrons and running water.  The large undercroft is perfect for storage.  A dungeon and oubliette complete the downstairs.  Upstairs, lords and ladies chambers include an updated boudoir.  Children will enjoy the courtyard’s livestock stable, blacksmith shop, and archery range.

Poised prominently in one of Elmhurst’s premiere neighborhoods and enveloped by beautiful homes and grand trees.  Walking distance from Hawthorne/ICCP Schools, Metra train, restaurants, library and Wilder Park.   For more information on this property, contact Mike Sparrow of Schiller Real Estate at #630-834-4374.

  • Address: 294 S. Cottage Hill Ave., Elmhurst, IL 60126
  • Cost: $17,499,000
  • Sleeping Chambers: 21
  • Garderobes: 8.5
  • Square Feet: 41,000

Comparison Study: Shopping Local vs. Shopping at Oakbrook Center

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by Dave Noble, The Elmhurst Funion Weekender

Elmhurst City Centre and local business owners urge you to “shop local”.  But just a few miles away, the Oakbrook Center shopping mall offers retail options that are sometimes hard to resist, even for Elmhurst residents who want to support local businesses.  So where should you shop?  The Elmhurst Funion Weekender answers that question by breaking down the advantages of Shopping Local vs. Shopping at Oakbrook Center.

Acceptable attire

SHOPPING LOCAL: Yoga pants and a North Face jacket
SHOPPING AT OAKBROOK CENTER: Something you see in Marie Claire magazine
ADVANTAGE: Shopping Local

 

Empty storefronts have signs that read

SHOPPING LOCAL: “Call for leasing information”
SHOPPING AT OAKBROOK CENTER: “We only netted $475,000 last year, so they made us leave”
ADVANTAGE: Shopping at Oakbrook Center

 

Biggest parking perk

SHOPPING LOCAL: New customer parking initiative means you can leave your car anywhere on the street while shopping
SHOPPING AT OAKBROOK CENTER: Valet at several locations around the mall
ADVANTAGE: Shopping Local, because you don’t have to leave a tip

 

Penalty for shoplifting

SHOPPING LOCAL: Arrested and publicly humiliated when your name appears in the Elmhurst Patch
SHOPPING AT OAKBROOK CENTER: Arrested, but hailed by friends and family for “sticking it to the man”
ADVANTAGE: Shopping at Oakbrook Center

 

Advertising Slogan

SHOPPING LOCAL: “She skipped the mall and loved it!”
SHOPPING AT OAKBROOK CENTER: “She skipped a car payment and loved it!”
ADVANTAGE: Push

 

Possibility of spending your entire paycheck

SHOPPING LOCAL: Low, unless you’re buying a fur
SHOPPING AT OAKBROOK CENTER: High, unless you’re only shopping at Sears
ADVANTAGE: Shopping Local

 

Shopping bag store names that lift your ego

SHOPPING LOCAL: The Fruitful Yield, Cig-Not, Shell Gas Station
SHOPPING AT OAKBROOK CENTER: Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor
ADVANTAGE: Shopping at Oakbrook Center

 

Number of magic shops

SHOPPING LOCAL: 1
SHOPPING AT OAKBROOK CENTER: 0
ADVANTAGE: Shopping Local, because she will enjoy opening a big box of “101 Mind-Blowing Magic Tricks” more than she will enjoy opening a little blue box from Tiffany & Co.

 

Distance from the hospital in case of emergency

SHOPPING LOCAL: 2.5 miles
SHOPPING AT OAKBROOK CENTER: 2.5 miles
ADVANTAGE: Push

 

Noteworthy shopping event

SHOPPING LOCAL: “Girlfriends Getaway”
SHOPPING AT OAKBROOK CENTER: “Smash and Grab Sundays”
ADVANTAGE: Shopping at Oakbrook Center

 

Something your kids will enjoy

SHOPPING LOCAL: Throwing pennies into the City Centre Plaza fountain
SHOPPING AT OAKBROOK CENTER: Watching your credit card get declined
ADVANTAGE: Shopping Local

There you have it!  Shopping Local edges Shopping at Oakbrook Center by a nose.  So skip the mall and shop in Elmhurst this weekend!

City Groundhog Day Celebration Marred by Rain, Hysteria

by Dave Noble, City News Editor 

ELMHURST – Steady rain and a near-stampede of frightened school children tainted the city’s first Groundhog Day celebration at Berens Park yesterday morning, causing Park District officials to scramble for an explanation as to why they dressed a 6’ 6” employee in a handmade costume described by one teacher as “a giant zombie rat”.

Screaming could be heard among Edison Elementary School first, second and third graders who – along with several adults in attendance – went running toward the parking lot after they and other spectators were introduced to “Elmhurst Ernie”, the official mascot for festivities co-organized by the Park District and the City of Elmhurst.

“His outfit was pretty scary,” said second grade teacher Mrs. Armstrong, describing a ‘Chewbacca-looking’ rodent with two giant teeth.   “He climbed out of a hole in the field and was gnawing toward all of us.  It will take hours of crisis counseling with the kids to erase this experience from their memories.”

Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley offered apologies and regret for not personally signing off on the costume, which was sewn together by Park District staff members.

“This isn’t the way we wanted our first crack at a Groundhog Day observance to go,” said Morley.   “But by all accounts, Ernie didn’t see his shadow.  So the good news is that spring is on the way.”

Remaining activities for the morning program were cancelled following the incident.

Local Mom Flustered by 224 Replies to Her ‘Best Pizza in Town’ eCommunity Question

by Dave Noble, eCommunity News
ELMHURST – After her poll question “Where’s the best pizza in town?” generated an astounding 224 total comments in just over an hour of being cross-posted in two local Facebook eGroups Sunday evening, frustrated Elmhurst resident Debbie Womack stunned family members by slamming her laptop to the floor, driving to 7-Eleven and purchasing three boxes of Hot Pockets for her family’s dinner.

“There was so much feedback on my post, I couldn’t decipher any more information,” said Womack by telephone Monday morning.  “I was getting irritated because at first, a lot of people in the group were saying that Mama Maria’s was the best.  Then, there were like seven comments in a row telling us to order from Roberto’s.  I started keeping tally marks next to all the names being mentioned and notating the more detailed testimonials.  When the number reached 14 or 15 different places, the pressure to find the best pizza in town became too unbearable.”

Husband Tom Womack stated that he wasn’t as confounded by all the responses from his wife’s posts in Elmhurst Area eParents and Elmhurst, IL Moms.

“We just moved to Elmhurst last month, so it was a great idea to reach out and get advice from people who live here,” said Tom.  “But the debate was over in my mind once someone suggested Pizza Palace.  You simply can’t go wrong with a name like that.”

Transcripts from the two Facebook threads reveal that each of the 35 restaurants serving pizza in Elmhurst were named at least twice.