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.


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.

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.

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”.

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”.

City: Marketing Approach Vital to Zoning Firearm Sales in Elmhurst

by Dave Noble, City News Editor 
ELMHURST – On the heels of a sound City Council victory last November that shot down a proposal by evil forces attempting to lift the local ban on video gambling and taint the purity of its city, the Elmhurst Zoning and Planning Commission conceded defeat during a special public hearing on Thursday to Second Amendment “radicals” figuratively holding them at gunpoint for a decision on where permitted or conditional use zoning of firearm sales in Elmhurst will be allowed.  Currently, the city’s code does not address firearm sales.

AcknowledgIng their failure to protect Elmhurst from a clandestine cell of gun lobbyists threatening to bring lawsuits against the city if the code isn’t amended to allow firearm sales, the zoning commission vowed “to take lemons and make lemonade” and turn their attention to choosing the zoning district for firearms sales that will benefit Elmhurst the most.

“I believe we will have several opportunities to take advantage of this market niche with local gun sales,” said Zoning and Planning Chairman Darrell Whistler, addressing commission members and attendees at Thursday’s hearing.   “Maybe we could fill some of the empty storefronts on the ground level of the Addison Street parking garage.”

While some members of the zoning commission favored this location, others made a case for the more visible and eye-catching empty store front at the northwest corner of York and First Street.

“It’s like a block away from the Elmhurst Police Department,” said zoning commission member Lisa Nichols.  “No one would dare get a gun and shoot it when the police department is right there.”

Attendees at the hearing took time to bring up other issues to consider during the public comment portion of the hearing, like whether The Elmhurst Express Trolley should stop at the future gun shop before or after the tour of local bank robbery locations, the potential tax dollars for the city every time a Glock pistol is sold in town, and the effects to the Elmhurst economy once the national media finds out about permitted gun sales and removes Elmhurst from future consideration of favorable “Top Ten” list publications.

The Zoning and Planning Commission is continuing to gather more information and feedback from the public before writing a recommendation for zoning firearm sales.

Ask an Elmhurst Historian

Lifelong resident and local historian Marge Beamer answers questions from readers about the history of Elmhurst.



Q:  My grandfather told me that the cops in Elmhurst have been conducting “safety checks” for decades.  Is he right?
  He sure is!  Elmhurst was one of the first police departments in the country to conduct safety checks as a waste of police resources.  This 1966 photo of York at Schiller Street in downtown Elmhurst shows a police officer looking for impaired drivers and jaywalkers on a Saturday morning.



Q:  I read somewhere that Hamburger Heaven used to be called something else.  What was it called?
“Hamburger Purgatory” opened in May of 1948.  After dismal sales during the first two years of business, the name was changed in 1950 to “Hamburger Heaven”.  Out of spite, the owners repositioned the layout of the building, forcing customers to place food orders while standing just a few feet away from the curb of North Avenue.



Q:  Was there ever a time when residents were pleased with the shopping choices in downtown Elmhurst?

 Not really.  Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, downtown Elmhurst was a thriving business area and had almost no empty storefronts.  A variety of clothing and department stores helped make Elmhurst a well-rounded shopping experience.  But as the median income of residents increased dramatically during the 1980’s, people demanded more banks to deposit all of their money and more dessert shops to spend their disposable income.



Q:  It seems that Elmhurst schools are always facing budget problems.  Has this always been the case?
  Yes!  Back in 1895, students from the Churchville Schoolhouse actually taught each other after budget cuts forced the district to eliminate 75% of the teachers in Elmhurst schools.



Q:  I made a lot of new friends when I moved to Spring Road in Elmhurst back in 2006 by hosting a St. Patrick’s Day Parade viewing party in my front yard.  What can you tell me about the history of this awesome event?
  The parade was never received well by the people of Elmhurst until the early 2000’s, when the city began turning a blind eye toward spectator alcohol consumption.  In fact, the parade was often held on the last Saturday in February in the 1990’s (as shown in this 1998 photo) just to get it out of the way.



Q:  When did the York Theatre open?
  The original York Theatre opened in 1924, and the price of an adult admission back then was only $6.00!



Q:  Was Salt Creek always as scuzzy and disease-infested as it is today?
:  Indeed it was!  These cattle from a 1920 photograph of Salt Creek died just minutes after drinking the water from the creek.

5 Fun Things To Do in Elmhurst This Weekend

by Dave Noble, The Elmhurst Funion Weekender
ELMHURST – Unseasonably warm temperatures this weekend should make it easy to get out there and do something fun in Elmhurst!  Here are five suggestions for fun things to do around town.

Save a spot on Spring Road for the Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Expect a warm reception from the homeowner and neighbors when you stake claim to one of the best viewing locations on Spring Road by leaving lawn chairs and other spot-saving items in the front yard of someone’s house.  With two weeks of unknown weather conditions before the parade on March 5th, it’s best to use a tarp and chain everything to a nearby fire hydrant or mailbox.

  • Date/Time: Now through Sunday evening
  • Location: 600 block of S. Spring Road
  • Ages: Any
  • Cost: Free!


Assist the Elmhurst Police Department issue parking tickets 

Ride along with a real-life parking enforcement officer and learn the tricks of the trade during the Elmhurst Police Department’s Parking Citation Volunteer Program this Saturday and Sunday.  You’ll cruise the downtown streets and parking garages of Elmhurst at speeds of up to 10 m.p.h., run license plate numbers and listen in as violators use profanity and plead for a warning.

  • Date/Time: Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (register online)
  • Location: The Elmhurst Police Department
  • Ages: 18 and older
  • Cost: Free! (Volunteers must clear all personal parking and traffic tickets before taking part)


Attend an Elmhurst College lecture on the misconceptions of Coyotes and other wildlife spotted in town

Elmhurst College Department of Animal Science Professor Victor Ferguson shares his experience and knowledge from over 40 years of observing wildlife – both mythical and real – and sheds light on some of the misunderstood creatures spotted around Elmhurst, like coyotes and ligers.

  • Date/Time: Friday at 7:00 p.m.
  • Location: Frick Center Founders Lounge, Elmhurst College
  • Age: Any
  • Cost: $8 ($6 for Elmhurst College Students with ID)


Clean up the dog poop in your backyard

“Doo” the right thing for your pet, your children and your neighbors by grabbing a pooper scooper and removing the landmines of dog waste that have accumulated in your backyard this winter.

  • Date/Time: Friday, Saturday or Sunday during daylight hours
  • Location: Your backyard
  • Ages: 8 and older (recommended)
  • Cost: Free!


Walk, Run or Ride on the Prairie Path

Ruin your best running shoes and get splashed by other trail users while hitting the trail for some exercise.

  • Date/Time: Friday, Saturday and Sunday during daylight hours
  • Location: The Illinois Prairie Path
  • Ages: Open
  • Cost: Free

6 Fun Things To Do in Elmhurst This Weekend

by Dave Noble, The Funion Weekender
ELMHURST – Don’t let the cold weather stop you from enjoying all that Elmhurst has to offer. Check out these six ideas for fun things to do around town this weekend.

Go Camping in the Elmhurst Quarry 

The Elmhurst-Chicago Stone Co. invites families for an overnight adventure in Elmhurst’s iconic reservoir. Brave the winter chill by descending 200 feet down the east lobe and setting up camp for an evening filled with stories, songs and rock-climbing lessons, followed by an 8 p.m. showing of “Big Hero 6” against the north wall.

  • Date/Time: Saturday from 5 p.m. through Sunday at 9 a.m.
  • Location: Elmhurst Quarry (east lobe)
  • Ages: Any (children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost: $8 Resident, $12 Non-resident


Visit the “Game of Thrones” Winter Renaissance Fair at Wilder Parkimage

Wilder Park is transformed into a fairgrounds depicting famous settings from the hit HBO drama Game of Thrones. Meet all of your favorite characters and enjoy recreated scenes including every wedding from the show’s first five seasons. Family photos with White Walkers are $15 each.

  • Dates/Times: Friday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Location: Wilder Park
  • Ages: 11 and over
  • Cost: Free!


Train to be a “John” for Elmhurst Police Department sting operationsimage

Citizens looking to make a difference in their community are encouraged to register for this educational two-hour program that will teach you the skills needed to participate as a “John” in real Elmhurst Police Department prostitution stings.

  • Date/Time: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Location: Elmhurst Police Department
  • Ages: Adults 21 and over
  • Cost: $25 registration fee


Crash a wedding reception at Wilder Mansionimage

Enjoy a night of free food and drinks along with a DJ and dancing during one of two wedding receptions scheduled this weekend at Elmhurst’s premiere event location.

  • Dates/Times: Friday from 7 p.m. to midnight (Rizzo/Vandercamp reception) and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Rotecki/O’Day reception)
  • Location: Wilder Mansion
  • Ages: 21 and over
  • Cost: Free!


See “The Rocks of Salt Creek” exhibit at the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Artimage

Common types of stones and pebbles found in and around Salt Creek are on display in the form of mosaics and cameos depicting famous Elmhurst residents and events.

  • Dates/Times: Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Location: Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art
  • Ages: Open to all
  • Cost:$5 Adults, $4 Senior Citizens, $3 Children


Volunteer for Presidents Day decorating in City Centreimage

The City of Elmhurst and Elmhurst City Centre are looking for volunteers to decorate the downtown area in honor of Presidents Day next month. Ornamentation of the area includes erecting a 75-foot adaptation of the Washington Monument in the plaza, hanging American flag-themed windsocks from light poles, and creating clay busts of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln for staking into planters around prominent downtown locations.

  • Date/Time: Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until approximately 6:00 p.m.
  • Location: Elmhurst City Centre (meet by the fountain)
  • Ages: Open to all
  • Cost: Free!