by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Residents and business owners expressing feelings of “disgrace” and “embarrassment” during a Metra Station Workshop held at City Hall Wednesday night pleaded with local officials to disguise the increasingly “repulsive” views of Elmhurst that thousands of commuters see on a daily basis and requested an array of alluring and exotic upgrades to the city’s train station and surrounding elements to promote local shopping and incite jealousy from members of other communities.
In what was deemed as the “start to the planning and design process” for identifying potential upgrades to the depot building, platforms, and other features of the station, attendees at the workshop often focused more on what riders see from the train rather than what the 2,300 weekday boarders experience.
“We need a way to hide the mammoth Addison Street parking garage and anything else that looks like it was built in the last 30 years,” said lifelong Elmhurst resident Meredith Bruno, who stated that she last used the train in 1981 to attend a Blue Öyster Cult concert at the old Chicago Amphitheater. “I think they should throw a giant tarp over the parking garage so people will instead notice our long-standing core businesses like Ace Hardware and 7-Eleven.”
The number of retail vacancies seen by train riders – particularly the boarded-up storefront at the northwest corner of First and York streets – was another discussion point at the workshop. Representatives on hand from the professional design team CDM Smith listened to the concerns of residents and suggested a temporary “We Sell Guns!” sign for the high-visibility location to highlight a distinct Elmhurst shopping advantage.
Proposals to improve the train depot included turning “Pilot Pete’s Coffee and Treats” into a hookah lounge to attract more hipsters and Uber drivers to the area, and ambitious plans to expand the walkway underneath the train tracks into a dimly-lit maze with numerous dead ends and spaces for people to rest in privacy.
“I’m for anything that takes away from the humiliation I feel when I board the train each morning,” said Elmhurst resident and frequent Metra user Tim Miller. “I can tell that people are looking at me and thinking ‘You live here?’.”
by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Overcoming inexperience, a mid-race injury to its best rider, and the disdain of their peers and other community members, a team of recent York High School graduates racing under the name “The Cutters” edged Team Lambda Chi Alpha of Elmhurst College Friday night to win the 4th Annual Elmhurst Cycling Classic.
Captained by Dave Stoller – who rode all but three laps and is the only rider from the team who had any previous racing experience – The Cutters came back to win after Stoller was injured in a crash that forced teammates “Mike”, “Cyril” and “Moocher” unwillingly into the race. With his feet taped to the pedals of the bicycle, Stoller reentered the contest and passed Lambda Chi Alpha’s Evan Murphy on Prospect Avenue within 100 yards of the finish line, winning the final race of the Cycling Classic, which took place in front of hundreds of cheering spectators around Elmhurst College and Wilder Park.
“This is a great day for all the Elmhurst kids who don’t have the money to attend college,” said Ray Stoller, who owns a local used car lot and is the proud father of Dave Stoller. “They call these kids ‘Cutters’ because instead of going to college, they’ll probably go to work cutting limestone in the Elmhurst Quarry, like a lot of their fathers did. But today they’re champions!”
The daylong Cycling Classic began at 11:00 a.m. Friday with races in serveral categories, including the innagural “City Aldermen Big Wheel 500” and the “Family Fun Bike Parade”, where families were encouraged to decorate themselves or their bikes for a fun ride around the actual race course.
by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Describing recent accusations as both “blasphemous” and “fabricated”, Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley told reporters following him through Wilder Park at 3:00 a.m. Wednesday morning that his interest in the new and wildly popular augmented reality game Pokémon Go is merely a “hobby” and not an addiction, despite contrary reports from multiple sources within City Hall and from other local “Team Red” members of the Pokémon gaming community.
“This is just something I’ve been playing around with for fun,” said Morley, who was assigned around-the-clock security detail earlier this week after he was lured to a Pokéstop at a vacant lot on the south side of Chicago late Saturday night and was then spotted by a nearby resident the next morning climbing a fence near the Elmhurst Quarry in pursuit of a “Snorlax”. “There’s no reason for anyone to worry about me at all.”
While Morley downplayed the danger and potential miscommunication that can happen when he tells strangers unfamiliar with the game that he’s looking for “candy” and “stardust” in order to “power up”, the mayor admitted that he’s invested a “fair amount” of his free time playing Pokémon Go and that he has spent more than $100 on in-app purchases of Pokécoins since downloading the game last Friday.
“I’m not even sure if he’ll be at Monday’s city council meeting,” said one Elmhurst alderman, who asked for his identity to be kept anonymous. “He keeps saying that he has to go out and collect ‘Razz Berries’ and ‘Master Balls’ next week.”
Fellow game players expressed irritation and jealousy over the attention Morley is receiving.
“He’s only on Level 7,” said 16-year-old local resident Justin Kenny, who witnessed the mayor battling a “gym” while standing in the middle of the Elmhurst City Centre fountain Tuesday afternoon. “And then before he got out, he made these two dudes following him around climb into the fountain and pick up a bunch of pennies and nickels.”
Several members of the city council said they plan to approach the mayor this weekend to confront him with their concerns.
Your Neighbors and Your Neighborhoods
by Dave Noble
ELMHURST – Gas price text alerts, “Fizzfreez” frozen drinks, and a 1.2” thick glass-clad polycarbonate bullet-resistant window between you and the cashier are among the thrilling features of the new Thorntons gas station at York and Lake Street that has Elmhurst residents eagerly anticipating its opening, scheduled for 6:00 a.m. on Friday, July 15th. Built on the property formally occupied by Steven’s Steakhouse and easily accessible from I290, Thorntons expects to attract both local customers and foreigners 24 hours per day with its 30-foot pylon sign and luminaire LED canopy lights glowing over the gas pumps, convenience store, and surrounding residential neighborhood.
“We’re really excited to open a location in Elmhurst,” said Thorntons senior manager of development Jode Ballard, leading a handful of reporters on a tour of the facility Thursday afternoon. “And we feel honored to be a part of the North York Corridor project.” Approved by the Elmhurst City Council for a conditional permit in September, Thorntons will serve as the visible point of entry into town that the city has been looking for, and will reconnect the area to the architectural style in downtown Elmhurst.
“This isn’t just a place to fill your flex-fuel vehicle with our signature E85 gasoline,” continued Ballard, using a straw to pulverize a frozen chunk of blue raspberry-flavored slushy at the bottom of a 32 oz. cup. “We have donuts, sandwiches, and a ‘Free-quency’ rewards program that will keep customers coming back.”
Elmhurst residents who live directly behind Thorntons are looking forward to the supplementary benefits from having a new cornerstone business so close to their homes.
“I’m going to have a giant spotlight shining over my backyard and through my bedroom windows every night,” boasted North Addison Avenue resident Mike Dvorak, noting that he will no longer need to use his swing-arm wall lamp to read in bed, and that he will soon have the option of mowing his lawn at 3:00 a.m. “But the best part of living so close to the gas station is that after it gets robbed, I’ll definitely be able to point out my house when they show one of those overhead helicopter shots on the news.”
by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Scurrying to unburden themselves as quickly as possible from a bonanza of more than one million dollars, and challenged to dredge up a pool of “rock star” candidates presumed to still be jobless in July and simply waiting for the right opportunity to come along, Elmhurst District 205 begins the interview process this week to hire and place up to 12 full-time equivalent instructional coaches within all of its school buildings by the start of the 2016-17 school year.
Spearheaded by Superintendent Dr. David Moyer and the ghost of Assistant Superintendent of Learning and Teaching Michelle Fitzgerald, the maniacal strategy to expunge an unanticipated additional payment from the state of Illinois by spending it on instructional coaches was approved by the Board of Education last month in a 6-1 vote and includes converting existing technology coaches into IC’s and promoting internal candidates. Fitzgerald, who was summoned by the wizardly Dr. Moyer to eliminate the puzzling extra payment as if it was blood money, delivered an impassioned speech to members during the June 14th board meeting, selling them on the expanded role of instructional coaches in District 205, what it will take for them to succeed, and what her role will be in preparing them for the upcoming school year.
“Instructional coaching is all about building relationships,” said Fitzgerald, who promptly resigned two weeks later for a new job in Florida. “I’ll be there every step of the way to make sure it succeeds.”
Fitzgerald is actually back in Elmhurst this week to help with the interview process of hiring instructional coaches and is looking forward to “having a good laugh” with board members who put their “necks on the line” by believing she would follow through with her commitment to go on a week-long retreat this summer with the new IC’s and to lead the program during the school year with various forms of follow-up.
“It’s not too late to find rock stars for these jobs,” said Fitzgerald in a telephone interview last week from the Saddlebrook Spa in Tampa, noting that “promising” resumes from two custodians within the district and another from Conrad Fischer lunch lady Mrs. Briggs were received shortly after she posted an ad on Craigslist for instructional coaches. “The job requirements are tough, but I’m confident that there are still strong candidates out there. You never know where you’ll find the right person.”
District 205 will begin interviewing for Fitzgerald’s replacement during the week of July 11th.
A copy of the District 205 Craigslist posting is below.
Middle School Task Force Pleased with Survey Results
Superintendent Defends Grade Level Centers Amid Parent Concerns