City Approves Elmhurst ‘Code of Conduct’ Handbook for All New Residents

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by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – With the intention of explaining the local etiquettes, social norms and expected behavior of living in the tight-knit community, the Elmhurst City Council last week unanimously approved a 36-page “Code of Conduct” handbook that will be distributed to all new residents, starting this fall.

“Appropriate Attire for Shopping at the Elmhurst Farmer’s Market”, “When and Where You Should Lock Your Car Doors”, and “Gaining Your Neighborhood’s Approval Before Making Exterior Changes to Your Home” are among the topics in the handbook, which begins with a brief history of Elmhurst and details the common struggles of newcomers to fit in.  All incoming residents will be required to read the handbook and pass a written test on the material before moving to town.

“We want people to start off on the right foot when they move here,” said Elmhurst Communications Manager Kassondra Schref, who developed the lengthy handbook after a recent study of current and future construction in downtown Elmhurst revealed that the city’s population will increase by 50% over the next ten years.  “The Code of Conduct handbook will help families cope with living here and assist them in gaining acceptance from members of the community.”

Schref noted that the handbook will also provide new residents with the proper protocol for addressing any problems they have with living in Elmhurst.

“Before calling the city with a complaint, we prefer residents to raise the issue in local social media outlets, where their peers will evaluate its validity,” said Schref, who added that the handbook includes a section on “Elmhurst hacks” contributed by lifelong residents.  “This is where new residents can find information on the police department’s typical DUI checkpoint locations, which neighborhoods have the best trash to pick through during ‘Spring Clean Up Week’, and other tips.”

The Elmhurst City Council also approved construction of a “tent city” in Eldridge Park that will serve as temporary housing for the children of new residents who fail the Code of Conduct test.

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Mayor Morley’s Self-Portrait Collection Steals the Show at ‘Art in Wilder Park’

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Universally praised by art critics from the Elmhurst Artists’ Guild, The York High School student newspaper and Hobby Lobby, Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley’s expansive collection of self-portraits on display this weekend at the 22nd Annual “Art in Wilder Park” drew large crowds and overshadowed the works of more than 125 other artists.

A whopping total of 48 pieces portraying the mayor – comprised mostly of paintings, abstract line drawings, and sculptures created using raw materials sourced from Salt Creek and the Elmhurst Quarry – covered numerous artistic styles and were quickly purchased for $250 to $14,000 apiece. A renaissance piece titled “Mona Morley” Morley donated to the Elmhurst Art Museum and a screen print titled “Morley Monroe” purchased by The Elmhurst Park District were among the critics’ favorite pieces.

“I see a man-child crying out for love – an innocent orphan in the post-modern world,” said Elmhurst Artists’ Guild President Cassie Swierenga, staring at an oil painting of the mayor posing in a wide-collared leisure suit. “He disgusts me. Yet, I can’t look away”.

Held on Saturday and Sunday outside of Wilder Mansion, “Art in Wilder Park” drew thousands of thrifty Elmhurst residents eager to “bargain with gypsies”. The outdoor event featured live music, food vendors and children’s activities.

Artists from throughout the Midwest who took part in the event were reportedly in “stable” condition Sunday evening after being exposed to Elmhurst for two full days.

Trader Joe’s Announces They Will Never Open a Location in Elmhurst

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by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Stating that the courtship from both residents and City Hall has grown “tiresome” and that the town fails to meet both the social and economic standards required by his company, Trader Joe’s Chief Executive Officer Dan Bane issued a press release Tuesday morning stating that the “fresh format” grocery store will never open a location in Elmhurst.

The announcement sent shockwaves throughout the community and was met with disappointment by the Elmhurst Economic Development Commission, who was convinced that Trader Joe’s would eventually open a new location in the mid-sized suburban town that already has a Whole Foods, a Mariano’s, two Jewels, and a population of fault-finding grocery shoppers.

“They’ve made it very clear with this statement that they don’t want to open a grocery store here,” said Assistant City Manager Mike Kopp, who noted that he has reached out to Trader Joe’s executives on “dozens” of occasions over the last year or so to gauge their interest in various properties that are available in Elmhurst. “I just called them last week to see if they wanted to take a look at the old location of Rainbow Restaurant. There’s not much parking on the site, but there are a couple of parking garages within a few blocks.”

Elmhurst residents were devastated by the news.

“I had my heart set on Trader Joe’s opening in Elmhurst,” said resident Julia Formari, eating a $15 egg salad sandwich and a drinking a $7 organic juice at the Whole Foods café on Route 83. “Frankly, I’m not satisfied with Whole Foods’ selection of organically grown, environmental-friendly products with no genetically-modified ingredients.”

The decision to eliminate Elmhurst as a potential future location was an easy decision for Trader Joe’s, according to Bane.

“There are dozens of reasons why we would never open a store in Elmhurst,” said Bane, who declined to comment on a rumor that the Economic Development Commission offered to amend some zoning ordinances for Trader Joe’s to open a 25,000 square foot store adjacent to “The Hub” at Berens Park. “The residents are very picky, and they have a reputation for asking a million questions about the origin of products. On top of that, Elmhurst is a revolving door of businesses that open and close.”

Bane added that he is close to completing two separate deals that will bring Trader Joe’s grocery stores to both Bensenville and Schiller Park.

Hundreds of Elmhurst ‘Puppets’ Participate in Student Walkout Designed to Take Away Your Guns

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Following an obvious agenda set forth by their parents and the United States government to strip away the Second Amendment right of every red-blooded American to bear arms and “shoot shit”, hundreds of mind-controlled students at York High School and Bryan Middle School obediently took part in a national student walkout Wednesday morning by leaving their classrooms at 10:00 a.m. local time in protest of an isolated incident that took place last month in Parkland, Florida.

Herded like sheep through the hallways and outside of their schools, most students interviewed during the education-depriving 17-minute walkout were suspiciously consistent with their feelings about gun control and why they chose to take part in the “student-led” walkout.

“Civilians should not have access to automatic weapons,” said York High School junior Brandon Jenkins, who denied being a crisis actor despite his unnatural display of poise and confidence while talking about school shootings that have purportedly occurred around the country over the last two decades. “We’re not old enough to vote, so today we’re trying to send a message and show our feelings about gun violence in American schools.”

The student walkout required a strong police presence at both schools and was covered by several media outlets that were conveniently on hand to cover the story. While the students were happy to take a short break from their studies to blindly follow their peers, many of the teachers were frustrated by the interruption to the school day.

“This is a waste of time,” said York High School chemistry teacher Nancy Williams, who has been teaching at York for 35 years and remembers a similar walkout in 1989 when the school removed the student smoking section adjacent to the baseball field. “I don’t understand what these kids are trying to prove.”

Classes resumed at both schools around 10:20 a.m.

Breaking: Elmhurst Police Department Cancels Controversial ‘Boo-tiful Saturday’ Activities


Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Bowing to enormous pressure from the community and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, the Elmhurst Police Department this morning announced the cancellation of today’s activities for children that were to take place at the station as part of Elmhurst City Centre’s “Boo-tiful Saturday”.

After receiving negative feedback from Elmhurst residents with regard to the inappropriateness of a “meet and greet” with incarcerated individuals from the community and an overnight program for children 8 years and older called “The Scared Straight Adventure”, Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth told reporters that being forced to cancel both activities is “unfortunate”.

“This would have been a great opportunity to teach kids that being a criminal is not cool,” said Ruth, who added that common pranks like “Ding Dong Ditch” and peeing in the Millennium Fountain outside of City Hall are “gateway crimes” that often lead to more serious offenses. “But we heard from a lot of parents this week who were worried about certain aspects of our planned activities.”

While some parents expressed concern over their children running into a friend of the family during the “meet and greet”, others pointed out that picking up their kids late Sunday morning from “The Scared Straight Adventure” would cause them to miss soccer practice. However, not everyone was pleased with the police department’s late announcement.

“My kids were really excited about participating,” said Elmhurst resident George Callahan, waiting in line outside the York Theatre with his three sons for a free 9:30 a.m. showing of The Exorcist. “Ace Hardware is letting people carve up scarecrows with a chain saw, so what’s the big deal?”

At press time, Ruth said the department will still be offering adults the opportunity to be shot by a Taser gun in the police department’s parking lot.

Elmhurst Residents Lay Siege Upon Kohl’s with Myriad of Amazon Returns


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Osetra Russian caviar, hissing pet cockroaches, and a “Cat Dressed as Rambo Riding a Fire-Breathing Unicorn Mouse Pad” were among the unique and infinite number of items taken in during the first week at the new Amazon Returns Service desk located inside of Kohl’s as Elmhurst residents descended upon the department store with their unusual and unwanted online purchases.

Caught off guard by what has become an “endless” line of customers returning products they ordered from Amazon.com, employees from both Amazon and Kohl’s are scrambling to find solutions for making Amazon’s return service run smoother while ensuring that regular Kohl’s customers and shoplifters are not inconvenienced by an estimated increase of 500 customers in the store each day.

“There has been a constant line for returning things since the day we opened, and there are people walking all around the store with boxes of items they wish to return,” said Amazon service manager Mark Janikowski, who also oversees the “Amazon Boutique” adjacent to the returns desk where customers can purchase voice-activated personal assistants and government listening devices like Amazon Echo and Amazon Dot. “I can’t see how anyone could have imagined that combining Amazon and Kohl’s in Elmhurst would have this type of fallout.”

Introduced at the Elmhurst Crossing store last week and at a handful of other locations around Chicagoland and in Los Angeles, the service allows customers to return items purchased from Amazon.com free of charge. For many Elmhurst residents, the convenience of returning merchandise at a place where they frequently shop anyway is a “win-win”.

“I’m really excited about this new service because I’m here all of the time anyway,” said Elmhurst resident Meagan Cromwell, waiting in line to return two pairs of Christian Loubouton Crystal Platform boots after intentionally ordering sizes of 6, 6 1/2, and 7 from Amazon.com for the convenience of trying them all on at home. “I just wish they allowed Amazon Prime members like myself to move up to the front of the line.”

While the Amazon Returns Service has had to enforce their “no return” policy numerous times thus far on items such as wine, fresh flowers, and flammable liquids, customers have been allowed to return almost anything else they purchased from Amazon.com regardless of whether or not they still have the original packing materials.

“They’re certainly trying to make it easy for returning things,” said Elmhurst resident Blake Stone, waiting outside of Kohl’s in one of the designated parking spots for Amazon customers after deploying his 12-year-old son to run inside and see how long the line is before unstrapping the 394 gallon hot tub from atop his Range Rover. “But I just don’t like long lines. So if there’s more than four people waiting, then I’m probably just going to donate this to Goodwill.”

Officials from Amazon and Kohl’s have vowed to solve all of the issues involved with having a “store within a store” as quickly as possible.

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

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.