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.

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Elmhurst Social Media Manager Under Scrutiny for Timing of CodeRED Alert

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Carefully cropping a photo of Mayor Steve Morley’s head onto an image of King Kong swatting at low-flying airplanes from atop the Addison St. parking garage, City of Elmhurst Social Media Manager Kenny Grant told reporters squeezed into his cubicle at City Hall Wednesday morning that he believes his job is in jeopardy after he delayed posting a CodeRED Alert to residents about a local manhunt for an “armed and dangerous” suspect during the early hours of Tuesday morning.

“The shit hit the fan right away,” said Grant, referring to an onslaught of criticism from residents who wanted to know why they were not immediately notified about the capture of two robbery suspects and the pursuit and subsequent capture of a third suspect in Elmhurst following a single-car crash off of North Ave. around 1:30 a.m. “It was certainly a judgement call. But I figured everyone was sleeping at the time, and I didn’t want to cause panic.”

Visibly distraught while reviewing the disparaging social media comments regarding his decision to wait until 5:30 a.m. before utilizing the city’s CodeRED system intended for emergency situations and important community concerns like bio-terrorism alerts, boil water notices and the opening of a new yoga studio in town, Grant pointed out that #firekennygrant was currently trending on Twitter, and that a Facebook Page created under a similar name had already garnered 27 Likes.

“They didn’t tell me I’d have to make a big decision like this when I got the job,” continued Grant, a 2013 York High School graduate who noted that he was given “carte blanche” to issue a CodeRED Alert any time and the authority to use the city’s Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat accounts for posting news, announcements and creative memes appropriate for all ages. “Up until now, the hardest part of my job was finding the appropriate emoji to accompany each CodeRED Alert.”

At press time, Grant was seen scurrying into City Manager Jim Grabowski’s office with doughnuts and an idea for a Facebook Event for residents who wish to attend Wednesday’s scheduled natural gas release by Nicor.

Local Mom Credits Pro-Life Demonstrators for Impromptu Family Discussion About Abortion


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Expressing gratitude and relief, Elmhurst resident and mother of three Lucy Davenport told reporters that pro-life demonstrators helped her initiate an impromptu and “long overdue” discussion about abortion with her children, Logan (age 9), Teresa (age 7), and Samantha (age 5) after the four of them were treated to the sight of graphic images featuring aborted fetuses while driving through Elmhurst on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m a little embarrassed to say that, until today, I hadn’t discussed abortion with the kids,” said Davenport, who was taking her children out for lunch when they neared the decimated retail district of Elmhurst at St. Charles Rd. and Route 83 and encountered members of the Pro-Life Action League performing an unannounced public service with poster-sized pictures of unborn babies highlighted by undeveloped body and facial features. “Deep down, I knew I had waited too long to describe the process to my kids of how the cervix gets stretched open and the pregnancy tissue is sucked from her uterus. I’m just thankful that these good Samaritans from Pro-Life were here today to nudge me into having that conversation.”

Armed with the unique ability to hold up a sign and the deft touch required when approaching vehicles with a trifold brochure debunking the myth that victims of rape and incest need an abortion, the demonstrators were participating in the Pro-Life Action League’s “Face the Truth Tour”, which covers various parts of Chicago and its suburbs during the month of July, including Saturday’s stops in Westmont, Villa Park and Elmhurst.

“It just made sense to go ahead and talk about rape and incest with the kids as well after my son started reading the brochure,” continued Davenport, who conceded that the signs and literature made her children hysterical, which was compounded further after pulling into Smashburger down the street and learning that the quick-serve restaurant had closed for good. “They’ll stop crying in a few hours, I’m pretty sure. And within a few months, the nightmares over what they saw today will trickle off.”  

At press time, an inspired Davenport was en route to the Elmhurst Public Library with the hopes of borrowing Schindler’s List for her family to watch that night, followed by an in-depth conversation about the Holocaust.

Elmhurst Man Eager to ‘Light Up the Neighborhood’ on the Fourth of July

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Phantom Reloadable Mortars, Crackling Octopus Rockets and a grand finale featuring an assortment of experimental and homemade pyrotechnics will “light up the neighborhood” for more than three hours this Fourth of July when an Elmhurst man celebrates Independence Day with his own annual fireworks display, scheduled to begin at 11:00 p.m. Tuesday night in front of his home on the northeast side of town. 

Complimented by huge explosions, blinding smoke bombs and a Spotify playlist blaring heavy metal music, the man’s fireworks show is expected to be seen and heard throughout north Elmhurst and in parts of Bensenville, Schiller Park, Franklin Park and Northlake.

“I know that fireworks are illegal in Illinois,” said the man, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “But it’s the anniversary of when our founding fathers declared their independence from the Native Americans. So I’m going to celebrate it the way I want to celebrate it.”

Because his home is tucked deep into the subdivision east of York St. on the city’s north side, the man is not worried about the police showing up when he begins his show with a flurry of commercial-use pyrotechnics and military-grade explosives that are to be ignited on the flattest section of his gravel driveway.

“I haven’t been bothered by the cops in the past,” boasted the man, who sees his fireworks show as a community service. “But then again, I’ve never launched a dozen Silver Sonic Warheads from my garage roof in the past, either.”

Insisting that he always keeps spectators at least ten feet away from the discharge site of aerial spinners and canister smoke bombs and that he forbids children under the age of six from using his Roman candles to play tag, the man stressed that safety is one of his four or five greatest concerns when setting off fireworks, particularly those that the man has modified by adding a powder mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal and sulfur that he learned how to make by watching a You Tube video.

“To be honest, there aren’t too many people around anymore when I put on my show,” said the man, who has noticed an increase over the years of neighbors on his block who either go out of town on the Fourth of July or elect to stay at a local hotel overnight. “We haven’t had a major incident in a couple years now, so why don’t they want to check out my kick-ass fireworks?”

The man has scheduled an event preview on July 3rd, when he will light a few 1600-count strips of Wolfpack Firecrackers around midnight and attempt to reignite some “duds” he saved from last year’s fireworks show.

4 Fun Things To Do in Elmhurst This Weekend:  June 23rd – 25th

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Summer is here and it’s time to enjoy everything Elmhurst has to offer! Here are 4 fun things for you to do around town this weekend.

Play the Role of a “Royal Family” at Smalley Swimming Pool


Enter your new kingdom with bravado and entitlement, commandeer prime seating under a giant umbrella, and empower your children to wreak havoc throughout the land. You and your family are the rulers of Norman P. Smalley Pool in York Commons Park. Your queen will enjoy uninterrupted iPhone usage from her makeshift castle of a half-dozen saved lawn chairs, while your king performs a variety of awkward and inappropriate behaviors throughout the afternoon.

  • Dates/Times:  Friday 12-7 p.m., Saturday, 12-7 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Location: 665 S. York St.
  • Cost/Fee:  Tot (2 and under) = Free, Youth (3-15 yrs.) = $7.00 resident/$9.00 non-resident, Adult (16-64 yrs.) = $8.00 resident/$11.00 non-resident, Senior (65 yrs.+) = $6.00 resident/$9.00 non-resident.

Enjoy After-Hours Skin Flicks on the “Explore Elmhurst Trolley”


Couples and lonely individuals who take pleasure in watching erotic films with strangers are encouraged to jump on the Explore Elmhurst Trolley this weekend to view a full feature presentation from the “After Dark” adult series on Cinemax.  The movies begin at 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night.  

  • Dates/Times:  Friday and Saturday from 10:30 p.m. – 12 a.m.
  • Location:  See trolley stops here.
  • Cost: Free!
  • Trolley riders after 10:30 p.m. must be at least 21 years of age.

Find a Lost Dog


An average of 46 dogs are reported lost in Elmhurst each day. While most of them are later found in a separate wing of the owner’s home, the rest of these canines are roaming throughout town, waiting for you to become a hero by finding them and returning them to their owners. Through the use of social media and a vast network of Elmhurst animal lovers, the average lost dog is reunited with their owner in less than 60 minutes.

  • Time/Location:  Friday-Sunday during daylight hours
  • Location:  Residential streets and parks
  • Cost:  Free!

Go Snorkeling in Salt Creek


The Elmhurst Park District wants you to grab your fins, your face mask, and your Go Pro for an exciting dive into the murky depths of Salt Creek! You’ll encounter many of the common creatures found in and around the creek, like tadpoles, scuds and mosquito larvae. Participants are required to bring their own snorkeling equipment, including harpoons and spears.

  • Date/Time:  Saturday, June 24th at 10:00 a.m.
  • Location:  Canoe launch at Eldridge Park
  • Cost/Fee:  $12 residents/$17 non-residents

Local Property Gurus Bestow Invaluable Advice to Elmhurst Homebuyers


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Calling themselves humanitarians who only want what is best for Elmhurst, self-appointed representatives of citizens who are “worried sick” about the number of teardowns occurring throughout town told reporters on Monday that they are generously donating their time and astute wisdom to homebuyers who intend to knock down an existing house and build a new one in its place.

Blessed with the ability to tell others what to do with their purchased property and intent on preserving “historic” homes despite their need for updated wiring, plumbing, roofing, drainage and insulation, these do-gooders are stepping forward to advise property owners on the virtues of restoring the existing home.   

“Our history is being erased with all these teardowns,” said emissary and lifelong Elmhurst resident Dick Potter, who follows every local real estate transaction and contacts the buyers of older homes to find out what they intend to do with the property. “Everyone thinks they need multiple bathrooms and central air conditioning. Wouldn’t they rather forfeit some of those luxuries in favor of pleasing strangers who like to see the older homes?”

For resident and chief busybody Meredith Polly, intervening is a natural reaction when homebuyers pass up the opportunity to pour more money into an older house than what it is actually worth.   

“I know firsthand what it’s like to invest a lot of money into an existing home,” said Polly, who last year spent $400,000 to have a moat built around her south Elmhurst home and then reclaimed an old drawbridge from northern Spain to maintain the symmetry to other properties in her neighborhood. “I think the problem begins with the seller. They should only sell their home to a buyer who plans on fixing it up.”

Elmhurst Police Issue Final Warning to ‘The Knife Sharpener Man’


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Stating that neighborhood sidewalks are not the place for using machetes, daggers and mortuary swords, Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth told reporters gathered in the 600 block of S. Parkside Ave. on Wednesday that his department has ordered “The Knife Sharpener Man” to cease and desist from performing tricks and exhibitions for residents that involve any type of sharp instrument. The man Ruth was referring to is blade-edger Tony Del Ciello, who appears regularly around Elmhurst neighborhoods each summer and charges a small fee to sharpen things like kitchen knives, garden shears, and lawnmower blades.

“We received eight phone calls this week from people who said ‘The Knife Sharpener Man’ sliced off their mailbox with a Samurai sword,” said Ruth, “And this morning we caught him over at The Farmer’s Market throwing switchblades at apples atop people’s heads. We’re just trying to keep the city safe.”

While the residents of Elmhurst embrace the 73-year-old Italian from Oak Park and his ability to flatten the tire of a moving vehicle with a ninja throwing star, Ruth wants Del Ciello to limit his services to knife sharpening and refrain from performing stunts like “The William Tell” and “The Devil’s Door” while conducting his business in town. Elmhurst residents think Chief Ruth is getting a little too worked-up over nothing.

“My five-year-old son got his first butterfly knife from Mr. Del Ciello the other day,” boasted S. Washington St. homeowner Mary Hilliard. “And I learned how to shape a toothbrush into a shank. I want to marry ‘The Knife Sharpener Man’, not have him arrested!”

Using the shoulder of the Eisenhower Expressway, Del Ciello pushes his large green and red cart from Oak Park to Elmhurst each day and enters neighborhoods ringing a gong to announce his arrival and using a crossbow to fire arrows at doorbells. Some residents have formed a personal relationship with Del Ciello over the years.

“He’s like an Italian version of ‘The Most Interesting Man’,” said Kirk St. resident Tammy Braxton, who has been sleeping on her front lawn for the past three nights in anticipation of Del Ciello’s unknown arrival. “We hired ‘The Knife Sharpener Man’ for my daughter’s birthday party a couple years ago, and now Tony and I follow each other on Instagram. So I know he’s going to come down my block sooner or later.”

The Elmhurst Police Department urges residents to call 9-1-1 if they see Del Ciello performing any knife stunts outside of “The Five Finger Filet”, which Ruth said “is fine”.

Elmhurst eChat Highlights: May 8th – 14th

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Reports of lost dogs, suspicious activities, and “porch pick-up” no-shows were prevalent in the four preeminent eGroups of Elmhurst last week.  And there was a sharp increase in undergarment resales, intercontinental vacation advice, and requests for information alternatively available by searching Google.  But the most glaring ommission from the local Facebook groups – where members earn undeclared income and openly question the allegiance of fellow citizens – was the daily coverage of local car-jackings and gas station robberies.

Here’s a look at the top stories from Elmhurst, IL News and Comment, Elmhurst Area eParents, Elmhurst ETalk, and Elmhurst, IL Moms for the week of May 8th to May 14th:

Elmhurst, IL News and Comment

Group members were treated to a spirited 416-comment debate Tuesday afternoon on issues ranging from empty downtown storefronts to President Donald Trump’s immigration policy after a question was posed regarding the bus schedule for Churchville Middle School.  In a separate thread over the weekend, resident John Simms was officially recognized as the most qualified person to explain property taxes after establishing that his family’s Elmhurst lineage could be traced back to 1865. Administrators deleted 24 group member posts last week, down from the previous week’s whopping total of 79.

Elmhurst Area eParents

Approximately 500 transactions took place in the local buy, sell, and swap mega-group last week, netting peddlers a combined $1,643.  Administrators reported steady sales in gently-used baby bibs and nursing bras, and a slight increase in humanitarian acts by group members offering free swing-sets and tree houses to whoever has the tools, the manpower, and five or six hours to remove the eyesore from the homeowner’s backyard.

Elmhurst ETalk

Strangers knocked on the door of 66 ETalk members last week, according to statistics obtained from the local Facebook group recognized as the leading source for information pertaining to the wrongdoings of other residents.   Almost half of those reports were later rescinded, however, after homeowners realized that they had ordered a pizza approximately 45 minutes earlier.  Under the category of “Looking for Recommendations”, group members failed to arrive at a unanimous decision multiple times throughout the week, as 18 hairdressers, 25 electricians, and 34 pediatricians were declared “the best” in Elmhurst.

Elmhurst, IL Moms

The multi-purpose Facebook group was plagued with member posts containing coded language and acronyms like “iso”, “mil” and “sahm” last week, and administrators continued to ignore the shady exchanges of nontransferable Kohl’s coupons between group members.  Despite this corruption, 155 children were reunited with their lost toys and stuffed animals found by group members at Wilder Park over the weekend, and dozens of parents hired a nanny through the group with the hope that their children will become fluent in at least two foreign languages by the end of summer.

Local Man Submits to Underpass After Exhaustive Search for Fastest Way Home


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Inching his way south along Robert T. Palmer Dr. toward York St., local resident and Metra commuter Doug Trout told reporters crammed into the backseat of his Audi S5 Sportback on Tuesday that after an exhaustive search to find the fastest route home from one of the city’s 17 parking garages, he has officially surrendered to the Palmer underpass, joining the long and slow-moving line of SUV’s and luxury sedans headed toward south Elmhurst each weekday between the hours of 5-7 p.m.

“I hate using the Robert Palmer underpass,” said Trout, referring to the curved downtown Elmhurst roadway that runs under First St. and the train tracks and is named after the British singer-songwriter known for his 1980’s hits like “Addicted to Love” and “Simply Irresistible”. “But I’ve been burned too many times by using other ways home.”

Like thousands of Elmhurstonites who ride the Metra each day and all live within one square mile of each other on the city’s south side, Trout has tested every railroad crossing and side street in his struggle to find the quickest drive home, including unconventional paths like Route 83 and Taft Ave. in Berkeley.

“I’ve been ticketed about 5-6 times in Berkeley,” continued Trout, noting the town’s 30 m.p.h. speed limit on St. Charles Rd. that is strictly enforced against outsiders. “That’s also the reason I stopped getting Chinese take-out from Moon Temple.”

Local crossings of the Union Pacific West rail line and the inconvenience of driving through residential neighborhoods riddled with stop signs and pedestrians have also led Trout to using the underpass.

“I don’t know why so many people are outside just walking around or on their bikes,” said Trout, who added that the residents who live immediately east and west of York St. should be quarantined during rush hour. “Don’t they see that there are a bunch of cars doing 40 (m.p.h.) down their street? What are these people thinking?”

At press time, Trout told reporters “Hold on tight. I’m going to try something,” as he turned east on Adelia St.

Elmhurst 7-Elevens Brace for Onslaught of ‘420’ Customers


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Fully staffed and prepared to serve a staggering number of candy bars, Slurpees and anything spinning on hot metal rollers behind the glass counter, employees of local 7-Elevens are expecting a huge spike in sales today as an estimated 10,000 Elmhurst residents will partake in the counterculture holiday “420”.

Often referred to as “Weed Day” and observed on April 20th each year, 420 is when people are invited to celebrate the cannabis culture by smoking marijuana. With only three 7-Eleven stores in Elmhurst, those who participate in the event will have limited options to satisfy their strong urge for snacks (or “munchies”) that coincides with smoking marijuana.

“We’ll be busy all day and all night,” said Spring Rd. 7-Eleven clerk Bobby Aguirre on Wednesday morning, stocking an auxiliary snack aisle with packages of Twinkies and 7-Select brand beef jerky. “It’s like ‘Black Friday’ for convenience stores, except nothing is on sale, and no one is in a big hurry.”

At the First St. 7-Eleven, Assistant Overnight Manager Sanjay Thompson is also preparing for a record-breaking day in sales, despite being located a half block from the Elmhurst Police Station.

“We’ll probably sell about 700 Slurpees throughout the day,” said Thompson, referring to the slushy frozen carbonated beverage that comes in a variety of tantalizing flavors like Pineapple Lime and Sour Patch Watermelon, and is one of the most desired beverages for those who are under the influence of marijuana, along with Red Bull and Tang. “People like to mix the flavors together, so I’ll probably be over there cleaning up spills throughout my shift.”

Over at the York St. 7-Eleven, franchise owner Frank Strada has scheduled an unprecedented second counter clerk from 4:00 p.m. Thursday until 3:00 a.m. Friday, and will have to work the registers himself for part of the day.

“Everybody who works here requested the day off,” said Strada, who noted that eye drops and disposable lighters will account for most of the non-consumable purchases at his store today. “But when you’re selling about 50 Taquitos per hour, you need a second person behind the counter.”

Other businesses in town that expect to see an increase in the number of customers for 420 include pizza restaurants and the Bob James Magic and Curiosities Shop.