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.

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.

Sandburg Principal Reflects on Return of ‘Primitive’ Parent-Teacher Conferences in 2017-18


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Nearly a week after announcing the return of Parent-Teacher Conferences to Sandburg Middle School for the 2017-18 school year, principal Linda Fehrenbacher told reporters seated at a corner table in the school’s cafeteria Monday afternoon that a splinter cell of meddling parents who are against innovation and forward-thinking – and lack faith in the presentation skills of their own flesh and blood – created too much of a distraction for the school to continue with “Student-Led Conferences”, which debuted at Sandburg last fall.

“Apparently, moms and dads prefer ‘one-on-one’ time with teachers, which is a rather outdated form of communication,” said Fehrenbacher, commandeering the funnel cake dessert from each of the reporter’s lunch trays while explaining how some parents made it very clear that they are opposed to the inherent benefits of Student-Led Conferences, like accountability, responsibility, and ownership. “During the Student-Led Conferences, students created Power Point presentations to self-evaluate their progress and to set goals for themselves. There isn’t a teacher in the world that can give more relevant feedback than that.”

Arguing that Student-Led Conferences showed parents what kind of “learner” their child is with informative slide shows detailing school supply needs and color-coded maps illustrating the hierarchy of cafeteria and bus seating, Fehrenbacher noted that she first attempted to compromise with overzealous parents who started a petition earlier this year and began showing up at school board meetings.

“My proposal was to keep the student-led conferences and add an optional ‘drop-in time’ for parents to stand in line and have a decent chance to see one of the teacher before the session ends,” continued Fehrenbacher, paraphrasing her gracious offer emailed to Sandburg parents last month in the critically-acclaimed “Message from the Principal” newsletter. “But that wasn’t good enough for them.”

Reached by telephone for his reaction to the return of Parent-Teacher Conferences at Sandburg, Elmhurst Unit District 205 superintendent David Moyer stated that Fehrenbacher has his endorsement to reinstate Student-Led conferences whenever she feels like pushing parents into the 21st Century.

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.

Elmhurst Nursing Home Resident: ‘Fight is Not Over’ for Fremont Avenue Access

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Indiscreetly dipping a previously-used Lipton tea bag into a 16-ounce fiber-based cup full of piping hot water, Elmhurst Extended Care Center O.G. Phyllis Royal told reporters sharing a booth with her at the York Street Arby’s on Wednesday afternoon that “the fight is not over” for she and the other long-term care residents, who are disappointed that the city’s Zoning and Planning Commission rejected a conditional use permit last week for building expansion at the nursing home that would have included an additional parking lot just south of the existing facility, with access from the residential street of Fremont Avenue.

“I don’t care about a bigger building with larger rooms,” said Royal, squeezing a fourth packet of Horsey Sauce on top of her Jr Bacon Cheddar Melt. “I want the parking lot and a way to get in and out of that place on the down-low.”

Citing a strict care center curfew of 10:00 p.m. on weekdays and 11:00 p.m. on weekends, Royal said that she and her posse want to avoid detection when returning after midnight from excursions to Gold Strike Bingo in Melrose Park or a local drinking establishment she referred to as “Galway’s”.

“Nobody needs to know when we’re coming or going,” said Royal, who added that she had also planned to leave her Crown Victoria in the new parking lot so that she can “get the hell out of Dodge” whenever her son-in-law unexpectedly showed up for a visit.  “I keep a ‘go bag’ in my car at all times with a few hundred dollars and an open-ended Amtrak ticket for those types of situations.”

While the nursing home’s requests for a zoning change and property consolidation passed fairly easily, the commissioners rejected the amended conditional use permit based on a concern that the proposed parking lot and its access from Fremont would damage the residential nature of the neighborhood.  Royal dismissed the feelings of Fremont residents as “jibberish” and promised that the city hasn’t heard the last from her and fellow care center residents.

The proposal now moves on to the City Council’s Development, Planning and Zoning Committee, who are expected to uphold the decision by the commission when they take up the issue of the nursing home facility at its April 10 or April 24 meeting.

City Dyes Salt Creek in Honor of Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Mayor Steve Morley – with the help of Elmhurst City Council members and Park District officials – temporarily changed the color of Salt Creek’s water to an emerald green this morning in honor of today’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, pouring 15 pounds of an eco-friendly vegetable-based dye into the creek.

The process took place at the Elmhurst Salt Creek County Forest Preserve, just north of St. Charles Road and west of Route 83, where flour sifters were used to pour the powdery substance into the water. A small motorboat piloted by Mayor Morley helped spread the dye, and within an hour, nearly the entire Elmhurst segment of Salt Creek had turned green.

The creek color will return to its natural murky-brown by Sunday morning.

Filming Begins in Elmhurst for New ‘Million Dollar Listing’ Reality TV Series


by Dave Noble, Entertainment Editor

ELMHURST – Move over New York, Miami and San Francisco! The city of Elmhurst is ready to be featured in the next series spin-off from the hit Bravo cable television reality show “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles”. Set to air this fall, shooting for “Million Dollar Listing Elmhurst” began earlier this month. The series chronicles the professional and personal lives of local real estate agents and the whirlwind adventures of selling high-end residential properties in Elmhurst.

“There’s a lot of competitiveness in the real estate market here, and some juicy storylines,” said series producer Ralph Gunner, who selected Elmhurst as the location for the fourth spin-off of Million Dollar Listing based on its rising million-dollar home sales and the propensity of Elmhurst homebuyers to tear down perfectly good houses and replace them with “McMansions” that often occupy up 95% of the lot size. “By the time we’re done filming this spring, we’ll have enough material for two or three seasons of shows.”

One of the agents featured on the series is Schiller Real Estate’s Mike Sparrow, known for being the man who not only sold the most expensive house ever listed in Elmhurst, but managed to unload a famously difficult property that had been on the market for more than ten years.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to close the deal,” said Sparrow, who in the opening episode slips one client a pair of free tickets to an Elmhurst College men’s basketball game and is later shown closing a deal with another client during the Turtle Racing Finals at The Club Shot & Beer. “If I have to wine and dine a client to make the deal, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

The series also features some of the home buyers, who are typically a husband and wife from Chicago with two kids, a disposable income and an urge to live in the Bank Robbery and Lost Dog Capital of the Western Suburbs. Agent Suzanne Phelps of Berkshire Hathaway is featured in an episode trying to meet the eccentric wishes of one couple who will only look at homes that are less than six months old and have a direct view of Wilder Mansion, The Prairie Path or Salt Creek.

“Most families looking at million-dollar listings just want an outdoor fireplace, an in-ground pool and a couple of media rooms,” said a frustrated Phelps in a scene filmed outside of Ace Hardware, where the 30-year veteran of the Elmhurst real estate market came up empty in her search for a water feature of any kind that would have been used to depict Salt Creek for her clients. “But I seem to get all the most difficult buyers.”

Local viewers will recognize various parts of Elmhurst that serve as a picturesque backdrop throughout the series, including the town’s majestic parking garages, empty downtown storefronts, and the quarry.