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

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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.

Transients Decimate Elmhurst Beverage Supply as New Cook County Tax Hike Takes Effect 


by Dave Noble, City News Editor 
ELMHURST – Comparing it to the mayhem during the much-publicized Hostess Twinkie production stoppage in 2012, south Elmhurst Jewel-Osco manager Tony Garza told reporters smoking cigarettes near the Redbox kiosk outside of the building’s front entrance on Thursday that Cook County residents continue to diminish the sweetened beverage supply in his store since a new tax hike took effect last month, resulting in a scarcity of sugary drinks that experts say are a dietary staple for most Elmhurst residents.

The penny-per-ounce tax – which went into effect in Cook County on August 1st – has brought hundreds of migrants from across the county border on a daily basis to save money on things like soda, ready-to-drink coffees, and energy drinks. The increase to the city’s tax revenue has left many local residents angry.

“I’ve been hearing a lot of grief from the customers about our low stock on sodas and other drinks,” said Garza, who stated that the typical complaints he receives from shoppers include expired food items on the shelves and the tendency of his grocery baggers to smile too little or too much at the customers. “It seems that every Elmhurst resident, butler, nanny and personal shopper in the store stops me to complain.”

While most residents reported an increase in anxiety due to the short supply of things like Sunny D, Gatorade, and alcohol mixers, other locals who deprive their families of sugar have been mostly unaffected by the increased number of foreigners seen throughout Elmhurst since the tax hike took effect.

“I do all my grocery shopping at Whole Foods because I love my children more than most people do,” said Garrett, waiting in line at the downtown Elmhurst Starbucks to order a Venti White Chocolate Mocha. “So as long as they just come to Jewels and leave again, I really don’t care.” 

The Elmhurst City Council will discuss issuing temporary visas to soda shoppers from Cook County during their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

Elmhurst Residents Come to Grips with Announced Closing of Kmart


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Thirty years ago, Kmart was defined by high-fashion clothing and “Blue Light Specials”, the latter of which became generally recognized as the predecessor to the hysteria and bloodshed intertwined with Black Friday shopping. These days, the highly-respected retail giant is closing stores quicker than a downtown Elmhurst yogurt shop.

With the announcement last week that Sears Holdings will be closing the Elmhurst Kmart at 265 S. Illinois Route 83 – along with 27 other retail locations – Elmhurst residents were still struggling over the past few days with the realization that by mid-November, their only choice in town for one-stop shopping will no longer exist.

“I’m really going to miss this place,” said local resident Frank Lolich, rummaging through a collection of licensed Chicago Cubs graphic t-shirts and adjustable baseball caps equal in quality and appeal to similar items occasionally sold by gypsies on the corners of major roadways and outside of gas stations throughout town. “It’s the only place in Elmhurst where a single guy like me can buy underwear, a week’s worth of groceries and a kayak all in the same place.”

While experts predict that neighboring businesses like Kohl’s and Mattress Firm will absorb the daily retail theft from Kmart after it closes, other merchants in the Elmhurst Crossing shopping center were more concerned about the loss of an anchor tenant.

“Frankly, we wouldn’t have opened up in Elmhurst if it weren’t for Kmart already being here,” said Portillo’s Regional Manager Gene Sanderson, noting that his company’s market research indicates a direct correlation between consumers who use layaway and those who eat hot dogs. “We have some work cut out for us if we want to survive this.”

Many of the shoppers at Elmhurst Crossing were excited at what could replace Kmart, with the majority of those interviewed favoring a craft store with non-religious ownership, a high-end grocery store to compliment the existing high-end grocery store in the same shopping center, or any other type of business where local residents can squander their discretionary income.

“I would be elated if a craft store replaced Kmart,” said local resident Stephanie Kuntz, who claims that she could transform her basement into the “man cave” her husband has always dreamed about with a $75 budget and a large variety of metal wall hangings, artificial flowers and cotton fabrics to choose from. “But since I do a lot of my shopping on Sundays, I would prefer that it’s a Michaels rather than a Hobby Lobby.”

The city – working in conjunction with the management company of Elmhurst Crossing and Sears Holdings to identify a replacement tenant for the 110,000-square-foot site – has already initiated contact with officials from Zayre, Goldblatt’s, and Wieboldt’s to gauge their interest in coming to Elmhurst.

City of Elmhurst Offers Advice in Event of Nuclear Attack


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Standing at the doorway of a classified fallout shelter located 75 feet below the ground somewhere in Elmhurst, Mayor Steve Morley told still-blindfolded reporters on Wednesday that due to the current international political climate – coupled with escalating military threats from North Korea – the city has created an informational piece for Elmhurst residents, explaining what they should do in the event of a nuclear attack in Chicago.

“We don’t want to alarm anyone,” said Morley, leading reporters into the small room where his security detail will take him in the event of a nuclear attack or a surprise invasion from a neighboring town like Villa Park or Bensenville. “But if Chicago is indeed a target, then the city of Elmhurst and its great people must be prepared for a nuclear attack.”

While admitting that the level of destruction to Elmhurst would be difficult to predict, the mayor noted that residents should expect little to no damage to their summer cottages in Michigan.

The information below is listed on the City of Elmhurst website, and free copies are available at the City Centre office and in a brochure holder on the Explore Elmhurst Trolley.

 

From the City of Elmhurst

 

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF ELMHURST ISSUES WARNING OF IMPENDING NUCLEAR ATTACK:

  • Gather enough food, bottled water, K-Cups and liquor to last 48 hours.
  • Return all borrowed materials to the Elmhurst Public Library.
  • Use the City of Elmhurst website to settle any outstanding traffic tickets.
  • Place all of your City Centre gift cards and coupons in a safe and easy-to-access location, in case they become the medium of exchange for good and services in a post-apocalyptic Elmhurst.
  • Identify which of your fanatical friends on Facebook have likely built a bomb shelter already, and initiate contact.

 

IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE WHEN THE BLAST OCCURS:

  • Turn away and close and cover your eyes to prevent damage to your sight.
  • Find something to cover your mouth and nose, such as a scarf, handkerchief or other cloth.
  • If you are in downtown Elmhurst, move your vehicle from three-hour parking to the top level of any parking garage and pay the $2.00 daily fee.
  • If you are in a residential area, seek shelter in the nearest house or castle. Remove scarf, handkerchief or other cloth from your head when approaching so that you are not misidentified by the homeowner.

 

IF YOU ARE AT HOME WHEN THE BLAST OCCURS:

  • Proceed immediately to your basement media room or wine cellar.
  • Remain in your home or shelter for a minimum of 48 hours.
  • Send your housekeeper or nanny outside to verify that the air is radiation-free.

 

IF YOU SURVIVE A LIMITED NUCLEAR ATTACK:

  • Identify which downtown Elmhurst storefronts are non-vacant and suitable for looting by using your shirt sleeve to remove nuclear dust from the windows.
  • Check Elmhurst Area eParents and Elmhurst, IL Moms for drastically-reduced pricing on jet skis and recreational vehicles for sale.
  • Go to the District 205 website for information regarding potential school cancellations. 
  • Place all nuclear debris from your property into garbage bags no heavier than 50 pounds each, attach a yard waste sticker to each bag, and place the bags at your curb no later than 6:00 a.m. on your regular garbage pick-up day. Please note that your normal pick-up day might be delayed due to the nuclear attack.

Dozens Uninjured at City Hall Rally


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Dozens of participants were unscathed and numerous bystanders were left feeling unsatisfied at the lack of turmoil during a rally outside of City Hall on Sunday, the first large-scale demonstration of its kind on Elmhurst soil since the failed “March for North Elmhurst Sidewalks” in 1978.

Marred by poorly-constructed signage, novice marching skills and the absence of a memorable chant, approximately 40 local members of the progressive group Action for a Better Tomorrow (ABT) were left mostly unchallenged as they paid vigil to Charlottesville, VA, victims with a peaceful gathering that was highlighted by participants waving their handmade signs and imploring drivers to honk their car horns.  

“I wasn’t sure how people would react to us being here,” said organizer Lori Valentine, drinking a lukewarm root beer with an insufficient amount of ice that she purchased at Hamburger Heaven before the 5:00 p.m. start of the rally. “But people have been mostly supportive of what we are doing.”

On the heels of a smaller vigil held at the same location the night before, local ABT members covertly organized “Operation: Spontaneous Gathering” within their maximum security Facebook Group with the intent of showing that Elmhurst cares about the national tragedy that unfolded over the weekend.

“This is my first rally, and I’m a little disappointed at the lack of excitement out here,” said Elmhurst resident and rally participant Larry Sutter, holding a sign with “End Hate” scribbled below an Abt logo that is clearly a trademark infringement on the independent electronics and major appliance retailer in Glenview, Illinois. “I almost wore my Cubs helmet here tonight in case things started to get out of hand.”

While a police presence was limited to the appearance of one parking enforcement officer who drove by the scene and subsequently ticketed four vehicles in the City Hall parking lot for expired city stickers, things became tense for a short period of time when nearly all 57 residents of Elmhurst 255 Downtown Apartments wandered out of the building and walked down the street to see what was going on.

“That’s when I was hoping the action would start,” said Elmhurst Patch reporter Joe Carlton, who stated that the only other high point of the event was when he witnessed a rally participant with a damaged sign shout a profanity after walking over to West Suburban Office Products and realizing that the store was closed. “Overall, this is kind of boring. I think I’ll just run with the story about the liquor store robbery in Joliet for tomorrow’s Elmhurst edition.” 

At press time, customers and employees inside of Rainbow Restaurant were seen hiding on the floor in fear after rally participants began marching over to the diner for a late meal following the conclusion of the rally.

Park District Designates Land Purchase for ‘Elmhurst Animal Kingdom’


by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Donning a safari hat, an overly-starched khaki trail shirt, and a pair of rather-short khaki shorts, Elmhurst Park District Executive Director James Rogers told reporters trespassing inside a heavily-wooded area in unincorporated Yorkfield on Wednesday that the 3.4-acre former trailer park – once considered the “Gateway to Elmhurst” – will be transformed into an animal sanctuary where visitors can observe, interact with and learn about some of the common mammals that inconveniently inhabit Elmhurst and intrude upon the everyday lives of local residents.

The “Elmhurst Animal Kingdom” – scheduled to be completed by next summer – will feature bewildering creatures such as coyotes, foxes and skunks that are increasingly seen roaming throughout town after failing to adapt to the ever-changing environment of Elmhurst. Animals captured by residents or park district staff will be safely transported to the property at 0S761 Old York Road and released into the sanctuary, joining hundreds of their furry friends in a parcel of land recently purchased by the park district for only $500,000 more than what it was sold for six months earlier. After paying a general admission fee ($3 residents/$23 non-residents), visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the grounds in an open air safari train, or venture out on their own “into the wild” for a more intimate experience with some of the intimidating species that frighten and disrupt Elmhurst humans and their pets.

“This will be a destination spot for tourists, school field trips and wedding parties,” said Rogers, who believes that the dog-friendly sanctuary’s late hours (open daily from 11:00 a.m. until midnight) and open alcohol policy will attract visitors of all ages and coherences.” And at the same time, we’re ridding the town of these beasts that are slowly taking over Elmhurst.”

While numerous details such as thrill rides, concession stands and merchandising rights have yet to be resolved, Rogers stated that the park district’s first priority is to work with agencies such as The Illinois Department of Transportation, the Explore Elmhurst Trolley and Uber to figure out how an expected 5,000 daily visitors can get to and from the sanctuary.

“We’re hoping IDOT will allow vehicles and buses to park on the shoulder of Roosevelt Road for a few hours at a time,” continued Rogers, who has also contacted the Elmhurst Police Department about potential drop-offs and pick-ups on the York St. exit ramp near the southeast corner of the property.  “The last thing we want to do is disrupt the neighborhood.”

The designation for use of the land came after a public discussion on July 27th at the stately Butterfield Park Recreational Building, where a formidable group of two dozen residents suggested frivilous ideas such as a dog park, a playground or a sledding hill. “The dog park was a ‘no-go’ for sure,” said Rogers, who indicated that up to 75% of park district staff would resign from their position if they were required to maintain the grounds of a dog park.  “And none of the other ideas had any real pizzazz.”

The park district also plans to build a 2,500 square-foot laboratory on the property and hire a small team of scientists to perform genetic experiments on the animals.