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.


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.

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.

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

More Eggs, Less Parental Involvement Expected at Wilder Park Egg Hunt 

by Dave Noble, Your Neighbors and Your Neighborhoods Staff Writer

ELMHURST – Eager to please children and parents slighted by an insufficient number of Easter Eggs filled with candy at previous egg hunts, the Elmhurst Park District has “guaranteed” that at least one in seven children participating in this year’s annual event will find an egg during the mad scramble scheduled to take place at Wilder Park on Saturday, March 26th at 10 a.m.

“(Administrative Assistant) Betty Jacobson is going over to Costco next week to buy one of those jumbo bags of candy,” said Park District Executive Director Jim Rogers, who admitted that he usually purchases a few packages of Skittles and M&Ms at 7-Eleven to fill 40-50 plastic eggs for the hunt.   “I imagine we’ll have about 100 eggs out there this year.”

Adults entering the ring and assisting children during the egg hunt has also been addressed by the Park District this year, as parents will be required to wear human leashes affixed to nearby trees.

The Egg Hunt is followed by “Doggie EGGstravaganza” at 10:30 a.m. and “Unrestrained Exotic Pets” at 11:00 a.m.

‘Selfish’ Homeowners Force City to Scar Elmhurst with Stormwater Detention at York Commons 

by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Leaning cautiously against a poorly-supported section of chain link fence that forms a perimeter around the recently-ravaged York Commons Park, Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Kennedy told reporters Tuesday morning that self-centered Crescent Avenue homeowners who frequently experience flooding are to blame for the “horrendous” sight of tree removal and digging underway at York Street and Cayuga Avenue that will culminate into a loathsome 11-acre detention pond, part of the controversial York Commons Stormwater Improvement Project that was approved by the Elmhurst City Council last Monday.

Scheduled for completion over the winter, the $2.1 million plan to create flood storage in the open portion of York Commons Park is intended to reduce the risk of flooding in three southwest sections of Elmhurst, including 38 homes along Crescent Avenue. Selfish and boisterous homeowners in that area were the primary reason why Elmhurst was forced to address the flooding. Kennedy was clearly emotional as he issued an apology to the majority of Elmhurst residents unaffected by flooding that must somehow weather the inconvenience of stormwater improvements going on throughout the city that are not benefiting them directly.

“We realize that this is an unpopular decision with most of our beloved citizens,” said Kennedy, clutching a portion of the galvanized aluminum fencing lacking a top rail and pole caps while surveying the land that once held no less than 15 trees and included an area most-commonly used for fireman at the adjacent Fire Station 2 to test hoses and scare teenagers entering and exiting the skate park with blasts of water from across the open field. “This black eye we’ve created is going to ruin the fire department’s open house next month, by the way.”

While a small minority of Elmhurst residents who experience flooding were thankful for the decision by Elmhurst to move forward with the project despite the resistance of more important citizens, others never affected by flooding were concerned with the appearance of a giant hole in the ground that will undoubtedly grow dandelions during the summer and will result in multiple traffic halts on York Street as ducks try to reach standing water that will build following heavy rain.

“I don’t want to see this every time I pass York Commons,” said resident and ‘stormwater anything’ opponent Jim Lucas, who stated that he drives past there ‘at least twice’ each month. “So what if they get a few feet of water here and there. Doesn’t everyone in town refurbish their basement every couple of years anyway?”

Other non-flooding homeowners expressed apprehension over the clear site line into the skate park and Smalley Pool that has been temporarily created after the trees were removed at the beginning of the project.

“It’s all visible from the road now,” said resident Mary Kuch, noting that non-Elmhurst residents who pose ‘numerous’ threats will clearly see the swimming pool and the skate park from York Street. “If they’re just coming into town to rob a bank or burglarize a home, that’s one thing. But I don’t want them swimming in our pool or performing Ollie’s on our half pipes.”

The York Commons Stormwater Improvement Project was finalized after the city entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the Elmhurst Park District to provide the 11 acres for stormwater detention. The negotiation process between the city and the park district was “Easy peasy”, according to Kennedy.

Top Elmhurst News Stories for August, 2016

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Here is a brief review of the top stories in Elmhurst for the month of August.


Elmhurst City Centre Announces 2017 ‘Cicadas on Parade’ Public Art Exhibit  

August 1, 2016

Following well-received public art exhibits of painted fiberglass cars and bicycles from previous years and this summer’s flower statues located in planters and on the sidewalks around the downtown shopping area, Elmhurst City Centre announced plans Monday to “swarm” the town in 2017 with decorative cicada sculptures ranging from 2 1/2 to 5 feet in length.

More than 300 pieces resembling the Magicicada cassinii, Magicicada septendecim, and Magicicada septendecula species will be placed throughout the downtown shopping area, including on the exterior walls of City Hall and the York Theater, and in the stairwells of the Addison St. and Schiller Parkway parking garages. An auction of the cicada artwork will take place following the exhibit, with all of the money to be donated to different local charities.



Local Dad Emasculated at Elmhurst Park District’s ‘Kite Fest’

August 6, 2016

Noting his general incompetence when it comes to putting together anything other than a school lunchbox meal, local dad Pete Newhouse told reporters that his inability to assemble and fly a kite during the Elmhurst Park District Kite Fest at Berens Park on Saturday left him feeling “less than manly” in front of his wife and two sons.

“I can’t get this stupid thing to fly,” said Newhouse, who admitted that he was too embarrassed to ask for additional help after he became confused by “contradictory” written instructions on the kite pieces provided by the park district and the verbal cues from staff members, on hand to help parents and children build the frame and attach the sail. “And they didn’t give us a kite tail. How are you supposed to fly a kite without a tail?”

At press time, Newhouse was seen resting on grass about one quarter of the way up the park’s sledding hill next to the kite while his wife and children began building another one on their own.



Jefferson Elementary Cancels ‘Darkwing’ Theatrical, Tweaks Halloween Activities Amid Bat Anxiety  

August 26, 2016

Sorrowful in tone and needlessly wearing a bright yellow hazmat suit, principal Jeff Winckler told reporters gathered near the monkey bars of the Jefferson Elementary School playground during recess on Tuesday that in light of the lingering bat anxiety still impacting both students and teachers, the school has cancelled their theatrical adaptation of “Darkwing”, a fantasy novel set 65 million years ago about a group of bats who defend their island from deadly predators and a flesh-rotting virus.

“We’ve decided to eliminate any references to bats and all other flying creatures from all of our programs and events this year,” said Winckler, somewhat inaudible through the facepiece respirators of the chemical resistant suit that he has been wearing since the school found two bats in a multipurpose room last Wednesday, the day before the scheduled start of the school year. Jefferson Elementary began school on Monday, after crews did a deep-cleaning of the entire building. “This includes a ban on Batman, Tinker Bell and all other winged or flying creature costumes at Halloween, as well. We don’t want any reminders of this horrific incident.”



Elmhurst Residents Struggle with Complex Auto Theft Prevention Tips Issued by Police Department  

August 29, 2016

Worried, frustrated, and just looking for some clear advice, local residents voiced their displeasure on Monday with an alert issued by the Elmhurst Police Department that included a “maze” of elaborate step-by-step instructions to prevent auto theft.

“What does it mean that ‘burglars often look for unlocked car doors’?” asked Elmhurst resident Lori Nowak. “At one point they’re telling us to lock the car doors and don’t leave the keys in the car. But then they also want us to remove valuable items. It doesn’t say which one you’re supposed to do first.”

Residents also demanded a further explanation of the vague statement “Burglarizing an unlocked vehicle is much more appealing to criminals”.

More Eggs, Less Parental Involvement Expected at Wilder Park Egg Hunt 

by Dave Noble, Your Neighbors and Your Neighborhoods Staff Writer

ELMHURST – Eager to please children and parents slighted by an insufficient number of Easter Eggs filled with candy at previous egg hunts, the Elmhurst Park District has “guaranteed” that at least one in seven children participating in this year’s annual event will find an egg during the mad scramble scheduled to take place at Wilder Park on Saturday, March 26th at 10 a.m.

“(Administrative Assistant) Betty Jacobson is going over to Costco next week to buy one of those jumbo bags of candy,” said Park District Executive Director Jim Rogers, who admitted that he usually purchases a few packages of Skittles and M&Ms at 7-Eleven to fill 40-50 plastic eggs for the hunt.   “I imagine we’ll have about 100 eggs out there this year.”

Adults entering the ring and assisting children during the egg hunt has also been addressed by the Park District this year, as parents will be required to wear human leashes affixed to nearby trees.

The Egg Hunt is followed by “Doggie EGGstravaganza” at 10:30 a.m. and “Unrestrained Exotic Pets” at 11:00 a.m.

City Groundhog Day Celebration Marred by Rain, Hysteria

by Dave Noble, City News Editor 

ELMHURST – Steady rain and a near-stampede of frightened school children tainted the city’s first Groundhog Day celebration at Berens Park yesterday morning, causing Park District officials to scramble for an explanation as to why they dressed a 6’ 6” employee in a handmade costume described by one teacher as “a giant zombie rat”.

Screaming could be heard among Edison Elementary School first, second and third graders who – along with several adults in attendance – went running toward the parking lot after they and other spectators were introduced to “Elmhurst Ernie”, the official mascot for festivities co-organized by the Park District and the City of Elmhurst.

“His outfit was pretty scary,” said second grade teacher Mrs. Armstrong, describing a ‘Chewbacca-looking’ rodent with two giant teeth.   “He climbed out of a hole in the field and was gnawing toward all of us.  It will take hours of crisis counseling with the kids to erase this experience from their memories.”

Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley offered apologies and regret for not personally signing off on the costume, which was sewn together by Park District staff members.

“This isn’t the way we wanted our first crack at a Groundhog Day observance to go,” said Morley.   “But by all accounts, Ernie didn’t see his shadow.  So the good news is that spring is on the way.”

Remaining activities for the morning program were cancelled following the incident.

Park District Will Drop Shut-Off Valve Issue If City Purchases Hub Party Packages, Donates Parking Passes

imageby Dave Noble, City News Editor 
ELMHURST – Miffed by the city’s refusal to bear the expense for a $100,000 custom shut-off valve as part of a proposed stormwater detention system on York Commons, the Elmhurst Park District has now submitted a set of non-negotiable demands in lieu of the valve that must be agreed upon by the city before construction of a basin at the site begins.

According to Park Board member Maggie Rubio, new stipulations emailed to Elmhurst aldermen late Wednesday night require the city to purchase three “Batting Cage & Mini Golf” birthday party packages from the Hub at Berens Park, donate 25 parking permits for prizes in the yearly Easter Egg Hunt at Wilder Park, and pay for the design and construction of a 4,500 seat ice hockey arena around the Eldridge Park Lagoon.

“We still think the shut-off valve is necessary,” said Rubio, who refuses to believe contradictory findings from both city and Park District consultants, as well as MIT Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Moshe E. Ben-Akiva. “But it looks like the city isn’t going to budge. So we are moving forward with some other creative and spiteful ways to hurt the taxpayer.”

While the City Council has yet to officially comment on the Park District’s new terms, a source inside City Hall reported that at least two aldermen had already called “dibs” on the birthday party packages. Initial reactions to the other provisions are unknown.