Four Elmhurst Candidates Endorsed, Named “Skunk Fighters”

posted Mar 29, 2011, 2:38 PM by Jake Parrillo   [ updated Apr 5, 2011, 7:25 AM ] - A Community Group Endorses Alderman Candidates

With just 6 days until Election Day and the peak of skunk season around the corner, - a grassroots organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of Elmhurst residents everywhere released their list of endorsements for the Elmhurst City Council Election slated for Tuesday, April 5, 2011.  

“While there are certainly more critical issues facing our City in the coming year like a balanced budget, traffic congestion, crime and economic development, dealing with the skunk problem is one thing that all of Elmhurst can agree on,” claimed Founder Jake Parrillo.  “This election holds the key to helping residents solve the skunk issue.  These endorsed candidates have presented strong and creative plans to address this quality of life issue.  Elmhurst residents should consider these candidates to be the “Skunk Fighters and vote to elect all four to the City Council.” Endorsed Candidates for Elmhurst City Council - 2011 Election
Ward One:  John Raniere
Ward Three:  Dannee Polomsky
Ward Four:  Mark D. Anglewicz
Ward Six:  No Endorsement
Ward Seven:  Dean O'Brien

Based on a answers from a questionnaire that candidates submitted, Elmhurst Stinks formed an Endorsement Board made up of a diverse set of Elmhurst residents from broad cross-section of neighborhoods.  Conducted with rigorous non-biased standards, the Board voted to endorse in four contested races, while holding an endorsement in the Sixth WardThese endorsements signify to the voters across the city that these candidates are best equipped to handle an issue that everyone can agree on:  Elmhurst needs to do something about the skunk problem.

Along with these endorsements, is proposing a creative approach for the city to bring back animal control - while controlling costs.  Similar to how some cities like the City of Chicago approach sidewalk repairs, ElmhurstStinks is looking for an Alderman in the City of Elmhurst to propose a 50/50 share plan for skunk removal.  Funded between the individual homeowner and the local government, along with having the program administered by City Hall, believes that such a plan would not overburden the city while partially solving the problem.  

About  Founded in 2010, Elmhurst Stinks is a group of concerned citizens of Elmhurst Illinois who have had enough with the skunk problem in our town.  We organized to demonstrate to the City that collectively our voice on improving the quality of life in Elmhurst needs to be heard.  As of today, more than 600 skunks sightings have been “submitted” to the site from all four corners of the City of Elmhurst.  

Elmhurst is a wonderful place to live and work.  Members of Elmhurst Stinks wouldn't change a thing - except for getting rid of the skunks!

Elmhurst Patch: Deluxe Accommodations at the Skunk Hotel

posted Mar 20, 2011, 9:35 AM by Jake Parrillo


Elmhurst resident wages ongoing war against these indigenous creatures.

By Paul Marcotte | Email the author | March 19, 2011

In early February, after the Great Blizzard of 2011, little paw prints appeared in the snow on our front porch.

There was a collective sigh from the family: “Oh, no!”

A day or two later, the snow prints were accompanied by a strong whiff of skunk odor which permeated the first floor and basement of our home. Next to a downspout, a new hole under the porch was evidence that a skunk had burrowed its way under the porch. On the opposite side of the porch, there was a second small hole near the steps.

This was not the first time we had experience with skunks. A few summers ago, after our yellow labrador was sprayed in the face, we hired a skunk removal company, which captured several skunks near our front porch. Sparky had also been sprayed several years before, but we didn’t know where that skunk resided.

Following the previous expenditure of several hundred dollars for skunk removal, we attached a wire mesh sheet to the porch, dug down and out from the porch, covering the wire mesh with dirt, so that a metal mesh barrier would forever prevent skunks from returning to our skunk hotel. We were highly motivated to prevent skunks from returning as our guests. It all seemed to work until this winter.

For several weeks after the first skunk sighting this winter, I was engaged in a daily, futile battle. It called to mind images of Bill Murray doing battle with the gopher in "Caddy Shack," or an adult trying to figure out if he is smarter than a fifth-grader.

One evening, after seeing a skunk heading out across the front yard, I saw my chance and created a new barrier of rocks, stone and a large box extending out several feet from the hole near the downspout; at the same time large stone, wire mesh and plastic was placed to cover the hole near the stairs.

For a few nights in a row, there would be a whiff of odeur de skunk as the angry varmint tried to return. The next morning there was evidence of skunk burrowing across the entire porch barriers, but the castle defenses had kept him out.

Each night, the skunk would burrow, and the next morning more rocks, stone, plastic and mesh were added to the barriers. However, it was a makeshift defense because the ground was still frozen and covered with snow. The front yard started to look like a junk yard, as new barriers were erected each day.

One early evening after hearing what sounded like cat cries, I walked onto the porch and saw two skunks rolling around in the middle of Fairfield Avenue engaged in amorous activity. When the couple was finished, both skunks sauntered towards the porch seeking to return to the skunk hotel by separate entrances. I realized that the problem was bigger than a single skunk.

During the day, more bricks, rocks and plastic were added in attempts to fortify the castle defenses. During the night the skunks would burrow their way back. The skunks would stop their burrowing if spotted, but nonplussed, they would return a short time later to continue with their digging after humans went indoors.

Finally, after the skunks successfully burrowed 3 feet under a large box and below the porch, I called the city of Elmhurst. The person on the other end of the phone said the city couldn’t help, but gave the name of a recommended animal removal company.

The morning after the live trap was set against the porch, the first skunk was caught. Shortly before dawn, two skunks frolicked in the front yard near the trap, while a third tried to free its trapped colleague. At daylight, the three free skunks scattered across the neighborhood, leaving the captured skunk to be removed later that morning.

Just before dawn on day two, two skunks tried to burrow in under opposite ends of the porch, and a short time later a second skunk was caught in a trap.

On day three, skunk number three was caught.

On day four, skunk number four was caught.

A few days later, skunk number five was caught.

A few evenings later, skunk number six walked across our porch.  

Skunk number six currently remains free. It’s been about a week since skunk number six was first sighted, and he appears to have no interest in getting caught. We still haven’t received a final bill for the current skunk removals.

I understand that the city of Elmhurst is under a budget crunch, and may not have a lot of resources it can dedicate to skunk removal. However, the Illinois Department of Health notes that skunks are a common carrier of rabies in Illinois.

There are public health issues involved with a skunk infestation, so the city may want to reconsider whether it chooses to place the entire burden on homeowners to remove skunks from neighborhoods.

Our home is only about block from the mayor’s house. If our uninvited skunk guests could read, I would place a sign near our porch pointing towards the mayor’s house stating: “Deluxe accommodations, only a short walk from here.”

EDITORIAL: Skunks in the City

posted Feb 26, 2010, 6:12 AM by Jake Parrillo

Elmhurst Press

Posted Oct 01, 2009 @ 12:14 PM
Elmhurst, IL —

Messing with Mother Nature can sometimes really stink.

Elmhurst residents have for many years lived side-by-side with unwelcome neighbors, and the air should now be cleared. Sharing land with these four-legged creatures is incredibly foul.

The locals have appealed to the city for help in ridding the area of these skunks, but some folks are sure something reeks. They’re having trouble getting traps from the city, and that has put them in a real funk.

Community leaders have been put on alert: Residents demand a fresh start. The skunks that have invaded their property must leave to make life for humans more sweet.

City officials want to remove the stench of opposition by being more cooperative with residents.

Traps will be more readily available, leaving some residents to believe they can finally smell success.

A small victory for residents, perhaps, but there’s no doubt the skunks would find this deal quite rank. They occupied this land first, and their removal conveys the definite scent of betrayal.

Why do humans in this city have their noses all out of joint? How have they come to take such a malodorous view of their furry neighbors?

Rather than maintaining a rancid relationship with the skunks, we should embrace this aspect of the community’s heritage. Elmhurst was, in fact, fondly known as “Skunk Hollow” back in the day. Now that’s sprinkling some fragrance on the situation.

Wildlife is precious and should be highly valued, not perceived in any kind of a noxious manner. Respecting animals in their natural habitat helps keep our ecological system from going stale.

So, let’s cherish the aroma of communing with nature in a way that benefits both humans and creatures. Let’s not allow our hearts to grow musty. Let’s give our skunk neighbors the living space they deserve, and then let’s stand back to take a whiff of true ecological harmony.

Elmhurst man fined $25 for trapping and killing skunk

posted Feb 26, 2010, 6:09 AM by Jake Parrillo

Chicago Tribune

When Gerald Harsen walks at night with a flashlight, his Elmhurst neighborhood “comes alive with eyes looking back at you,” he said.

Many of those eyes belong to skunks. Too many of them, he believes.

“I grew up on a farm and I’ve always had the opinion there are certain critters I should not have to live with,” he said.

So, recently Harsen did something about it. He set a trap in his backyard, luring skunks with peanut butter and bread. On the morning of Sept. 30, Harsen caught one, grabbed his pellet gun and shot it dead. Then he…

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