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posted: 6/11/2010 12:01 AM

Batavia woman helping AIDS relief

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What makes Batavia a great place to live? I think it's the amazing people who live here, especially those who do so much for others.

Kirsten Pufahl, a recent graduate of Illinois Wesleyan, was so impacted by a trip to Africa during her college years that she is now trying to raise funds fight AIDS in Africa.

How is she doing it? She's joining students from Stanford and other universities across the country to bike across America. She leaves June 14 from California and ends the trip in Boston in August.

The energetic young lady is a track star but has been spending her days since graduation training for the 100-mile per day trip. She will be camping and staying with host families along the way. You can follow her progress at

Maybe Kirsten will run into Paul Carpenter along the way. Paul is a professor of Kinesiology and Physical Education at Northern Illinois University. Carpenter was featured in a previous column for his commute on his bicycle 365 a days a year from Batavia to Northern. He plans to participate in the Race Across America.

Paul left June 9 from Oceanside, Ca., and will finish the race in 8-12 days later in Annapolis, Md. You can follow his progress at

Reaching the heights: Mike Schmidt is raising money by climbing mountains this summer.

Taking pledges to climb Mt. Shasta this summer, the father of two will be climbing to benefit inner city youth. All proceeds will enable these kids to enjoy hiking, kayaking and other out door activities. For more information, log on to

Helping orphans: Becky and Ron Hubbard are returning to Africa this summer to work at an orphanage for physically disabled children.

The Batavia couple raised thousands of dollars to purchase much needed medicine for the children there. Ron has also been active in our local Special Olympics program.

Good luck to all these Batavians with their endeavors this summer.

Swedish delights: On another note, Ona's is now open and I had the opportunity to have lunch there last week.

Pam and Dan Foelske have opened the delightful little Swedish cafe behind Gammon Corners on Batavia Avenue. The menu not only features Swedish recipes of Leona Berg but also popular sandwiches and pastries. Leona Berg's recipes were featured back in the 1940s at the Colonial House, which was located kitty-corner from the present location.

The restaurant is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. On Sundays they will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and serve one meal only; that will change week to week.

I had the Swedish sampler plate and not only did it taste great, but the price is right.

The official grand opening is June 20 when they will serve a complete Swedish dinner including Dan's own lingonberry sauce which he makes from lingonberries he has shipped in from Newfoundland.

The Foelskes have preserved a bit of history not only by featuring Leona's recipes but also by incorporating the history of Gammon Corner into their menu. How great it is that they want to preserve the history of our town in their business.

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