Filming Begins in Elmhurst for New ‘Million Dollar Listing’ Reality TV Series

by Dave Noble, Entertainment Editor

ELMHURST – Move over New York, Miami and San Francisco! The city of Elmhurst is ready to be featured in the next series spin-off from the hit Bravo cable television reality show “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles”. Set to air this fall, shooting for “Million Dollar Listing Elmhurst” began earlier this month. The series chronicles the professional and personal lives of local real estate agents and the whirlwind adventures of selling high-end residential properties in Elmhurst.

“There’s a lot of competitiveness in the real estate market here, and some juicy storylines,” said series producer Ralph Gunner, who selected Elmhurst as the location for the fourth spin-off of Million Dollar Listing based on its rising million-dollar home sales and the propensity of Elmhurst homebuyers to tear down perfectly good houses and replace them with “McMansions” that often occupy up 95% of the lot size. “By the time we’re done filming this spring, we’ll have enough material for two or three seasons of shows.”

One of the agents featured on the series is Schiller Real Estate’s Mike Sparrow, known for being the man who not only sold the most expensive house ever listed in Elmhurst, but managed to unload a famously difficult property that had been on the market for more than ten years.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to close the deal,” said Sparrow, who in the opening episode slips one client a pair of free tickets to an Elmhurst College men’s basketball game and is later shown closing a deal with another client during the Turtle Racing Finals at The Club Shot & Beer. “If I have to wine and dine a client to make the deal, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

The series also features some of the home buyers, who are typically a husband and wife from Chicago with two kids, a disposable income and an urge to live in the Bank Robbery and Lost Dog Capital of the Western Suburbs. Agent Suzanne Phelps of Berkshire Hathaway is featured in an episode trying to meet the eccentric wishes of one couple who will only look at homes that are less than six months old and have a direct view of Wilder Mansion, The Prairie Path or Salt Creek.

“Most families looking at million-dollar listings just want an outdoor fireplace, an in-ground pool and a couple of media rooms,” said a frustrated Phelps in a scene filmed outside of Ace Hardware, where the 30-year veteran of the Elmhurst real estate market came up empty in her search for a water feature of any kind that would have been used to depict Salt Creek for her clients. “But I seem to get all the most difficult buyers.”

Local viewers will recognize various parts of Elmhurst that serve as a picturesque backdrop throughout the series, including the town’s majestic parking garages, empty downtown storefronts, and the quarry.  

Elmhurst Crumbles Under the Weight of ‘Spring Fever’

by Dave Noble, City News Editor 
ELMHURST – Record-breaking weather unleashed by Mother Nature this weekend upon the unsuspecting and unprepared residents of Elmhurst wreaked havoc throughout town on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as citizens and businesses struggled with unseasonably warm temperatures, bright sunshine, and a city-wide epidemic of “Spring Fever” in the middle of February.

Hundreds of potential customers were reportedly left feeling hungry and frustrated at Hamburger Heaven on Friday afternoon, as window replacement activity outside the legendary food stand known for burgers, root beer, and speeding 80,000-pound semi-trailer trucks whizzing by within arm’s length of the pick-up window inadvertently gave passersby the impression that it was open for business.

On the city’s west side, resident Brenda Rose told reporters on Saturday that she was still recovering from a terrifying event at her home that took place earlier that morning, where she struggled for more than 20 minutes to locate her son’s lightweight North Face Mack Mays Full Zip Hoodie, which was lost in a sea of winter North Face Triclimate jackets, North Face Himalayan parkas and North Face Thermoball vests hanging in his walk-in closet. Rose was further distraught after learning that two of her three children had already stepped in dog feces within ten minutes of playing in the family’s River Glen Avenue backyard.

Along the Prairie Path, drivers and path users reported a temporary loss of vision on both Saturday and Sunday as bicyclists, walkers, and joggers blinded each other throughout the day with their winter-white legs. Victims were treated with water and shade and were later released to continue their activities.

On Sunday evening, Bryan Street homeowner Tony Guidry summed up the mayhem in Elmhurst caused by three consecutive days of sunshine and temperatures in the mid-60’s.

“I was really looking forward to shooting the puck around with my kids this weekend,” said Guidry, who also owns the property next to his house, where he built a 125-foot by 50-foot hockey rink back in December that is clearly not a membrane structure nor a potential contributor to flooding and is surely covered by his homeowners insurance policy. “I didn’t build this thing for my kids to play soccer in the month of February.  So we’re all praying that Elmhurst can return to normal weather before people lose their minds.”

According to the National Weather Service, the high temperature in Elmhurst is expected to be 66 degrees both Monday and Tuesday.

Elmhurst “Have-Nots” Endure Elements, Each Other to Sign Up for YMCA After-School Program

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Hundreds of local parents inexplicably living in something called a “two-income household” and unable to afford a nanny or to rely on a single breadwinner for their family braved the frigid temperature, the constant rumbling of nearby freight trains, and the company of fellow Elmhurst residents by standing in line for hours outside the First Street YMCA Saturday morning for the opportunity to register their kids for a prized after-school program offered by the local community center that transports children from their school to the “Y” every day and allows parents to pick them up as late as 6:00 p.m.

With space for the 2017-2018 school year program limited by the maximum occupancy of one bus per District 205 school and further reduced by a grandfather clause that allows early registration for current program members, parents began lining up outside the First Street YMCA around midnight for the 6:00 a.m. registration start and were challenged to stay awake, to keep warm, and to interact on friendly terms with other Elmhurst residents competing for same program spots and whose demeanor ranged from “slaphappy” to “irritated”.

“I’ve been out here since about 2:00 a.m.,” said Emerson Elementary dad Max Knight, angrily clutching a Shell gas station large “regular” coffee diluted with an off-brand sugar substitute and a powdered non-dairy creamer while standing in front of the warming flames of a burning Elmhurst Park District garbage can, placed on the sidewalk about 20 feet from the front door of the YMCA. “If we don’t get into this program, then my wife will probably have to quit her job so she can pick up our daughter from school every day. And then there goes our trip to the Wisconsin Dells this summer.”

While the stress weighed heavily on the minds of many parents waiting to find out if their children would get into the swanky after-school program noted for turning meagerly-athletic children into adequate swimmers, skaters, and mixed-martial arts competitors, others clearly embraced the comradery of waiting outside in the cold with their fellow residents.

“I’ve had three shots of Fireball, so I’m feeling pretty warm inside,” said Jackson Elementary mom Sandy Meyer, referring to the popular cinnamon-flavored whiskey often compared to the flavor of Red Hots candy soaked in water and associated with a complex history of bad decisions by those who have over-consumed the spirit. “It’s just so nice to share this nice experience with other nice people, and to share a drink or two.”

YMCA front desk clerk Brian Smoltz – scheduled to open the doors for registration at precisely 6:00 a.m. and instructed to “get the hell out of the way” after he does so – was concerned that some parents would display unhappiness or frustration if their kids weren’t able to get into the Y’s after-school program.

“I’m not the ‘bad guy’ here,” said Smoltz, wearing swim trunks, a tank top and flip-flops while staring out the YMCA windows at a large crowd of drowsy, shivering zombies waiting to complete the registration process and go back home to bed. “So if they can’t get into the program, it’s not my fault. Maybe these people should have thought about child care first before moving to Elmhurst.”