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updated: 9/6/2011 10:08 AM

National attention foisted on Glen Ellyn

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In the past week, it's been all about Glen Ellyn.

OK, maybe a little bit about Wheaton.

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Oh, let's throw Carol Stream in there, too.

Consider all that transpired:

• Classes began at College of DuPage -- without an arrest or punch thrown that we're aware of.

• We reported that Money magazine listed Glen Ellyn as the 54th-best small town to live in -- one of only two communities in DuPage County to make the list among those with populations between 8,500 and 50,000.

• Excitement abounds at Glenbard West High School as the Hilltoppers today take on longtime rivals Wheaton Warrenville South in a nationally televised football game.

• A meeting of the Glen Ellyn Plan Commission occurred.

That meeting drew hundreds of observers who filled the board room and an overflow meeting room at village hall. Even then, some people had to stand for the biggest controversy this side of the battle between the village and COD on who ought to be inspecting the campus buildings.

Before the plan commission is a proposal to install lights at Glenbard West's Memorial Field, where numerous sporting teams play but not the football team, which plays on the similarly unlighted Duchon Field. So Friday Night Lights, in a football sense, appears to be a long, long way off.

The argument against putting up lights goes something like this: The school is in a quiet, exclusively residential area; allowing Friday night games will create all sorts of light, noise and traffic pollution. Foes of the lights are so vehement about this they formed a group called Our Field, Our Town and were prepared to trot out their experts to testify on land use, zoning and architecture. But the Thursday night meeting already had reached the three-hour mark. The lights foes will get their chance on Sept. 8. Even if the plan commission reaches a decision then, it will be only an advisory one. The matter ultimately will be decided by the village board.

Meanwhile, not under the lights but the glare of the ESPN cameras, Glenbard West faces the daunting task of trying to beat juggernaut Wheaton Warrenville South, which wins state championships like you and I change socks. The Hilltoppers have been eliminated from the playoffs the past two years by South, seeking a state championship three-peat.

So, perhaps only one key question remains: If lights are installed at Glenbard West, will Glen Ellyn's Money magazine ranking go up or down -- and will the village pass neighboring Carol Stream, which surprised a few around here by securing a spot on the list (49th) that put it ahead of Glen Ellyn. Think how Carol Stream might have fared without all the flooding.

And the reason for all the harmony on the COD campus? For one, the two sides agreed in court that the new and remodeled campus buildings could open on time. (Left unsettled, and no doubt the topic of further litigation, is the matter of who should be doing inspections, approving permits and so forth. As the municipality whose soil the buildings reside on, Glen Ellyn says that's its responsibility; COD says it abides by the rules of the Illinois Community College Board.)

And while this spat has drawn some particularly bad blood between the village and the school (and vehement letters to the editor) it's a bit of a tempest in a teapot.

On the first day of classes at COD, reporter Christopher Placek stopped by to gauge the mood of the campus. Pretty darned good, students looking for parking space, where to find their classes, the usual stuff. But several were asked about the building inspection dispute.

Not one had heard of it.

jdavis@dailyherald.com

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