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updated: 6/29/2013 6:29 PM

Fundraiser aims to keep Geneva woman's memory alive

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  • In this group photo, Emma Mebane of Geneva is third from the right, and the picture was taken before the group went to a Country Thunder concert in 2009. Emma died in her sleep July 8, 2011, at age 19. Her family is hosting a mini-golf event next week in her memory.

    In this group photo, Emma Mebane of Geneva is third from the right, and the picture was taken before the group went to a Country Thunder concert in 2009. Emma died in her sleep July 8, 2011, at age 19. Her family is hosting a mini-golf event next week in her memory.
    Courtesy of the Mebane family


Family and friends of Emma Mebane continue their efforts to keep the young Geneva girl's memory alive, this time with a mini-golf event Sunday, July 7, at Wheeler Park's Stone Creek course.

Only a year out of high school, Emma died in her sleep on July 8, 2011, from no known cause. She was 19.

"Emma was 100 percent Genevan," her father, Rod Mebane, said. "She was born at Delnor Hospital and did all of the things that kids in Geneva do, so she developed a wide circle of friends over the years.

"Her sudden death impacted a bunch of folks," Mebane added.

The family organized and sponsored a fun run at Peck Farm last year on the anniversary of Emma's death.

"It turned out to be a great venue for reconnecting, especially among Emma's cohort, who will be college seniors this fall," Mebane said.

To keep Emma's spirit alive among her circle of friends, the family has rented the pavilion near the Stone Creek course in organizing the Emma Memorial Mini-Golf Invitational.

Basically, friends of Emma can come for some free food, to play mini-golf, disc golf, tennis or simply enjoy the walking trails at the park between 4 and 8 p.m. next Sunday.

"It's just a continuation of a young tradition of remembering Emma by doing something fun with friends and family," Mebane said.

Healthy and tasty: If you tend to eat anything you want whenever you want, you're likely not concerned about a healthy diet. But don't let the words organic or health food scare you off from trying Smuzi in Geneva.

I finally found some time to visit Jamie Vargo's Smuzi juice bar at 511 S. Third St., in the storefront occupied by Kernel Fabyan's before that popcorn shop relocated to State Street.

The Choc-O-holic smoothie and chocolate-covered bananas lured me in, and they were excellent. My wife was raving about the black bean salsa salad, and we both loved the grape leaves stuffed with onion and rice. For good measure, I tried a "protein ball" made of hemp protein, Brazilian nuts, almonds, cashews and cranberries. Much to my delight, in addition to being good for you, this stuff was delicious.

Food for health boost: The outdoor rooftop deck along the first-base line at the Kane County Cougars' Fifth Third Bank Ballpark provides the fundraising setting for an organization devoted to providing healthy meals for people fighting diseases.

That's where the Fox Valley Food for Health will hold an event at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 17, during a Cougars game. The evening will include a parking pass, the ballgame, food and an invitation to buy raffle tickets or bid on silent auction items.

Tickets are $50 for adults and $40 for kids ages 3 to 10. The organization, in which Geneva High School students and other volunteers prepare meals for patients fighting cancer and other diseases, will sell tickets to the event until July 10. Ticket requests should be sent to

A star's touch for autism: For those of you who have been possibly out of touch with the news, or this column or general gossip on the street for the past year or so, this might interest you: Yes, TV star and model Jenny McCarthy lives in Geneva.

She'll be hosting a VIP dinner and auction fundraiser July 27 at the Herrington Inn for her nonprofit Generation Rescue to benefit children with autism and their families.

McCarthy is president of Generation Rescue and has been involved since her son, Evan, was diagnosed with autism.

About 40 tickets to the event were still available last week, but you'd want to check in with Jennifer Piazza at the Herrington to learn more at

Ekwabet's party today: If you want to hear an interesting community tale, then you'll want to take in sculptor Guy Bellaver's presentation of "The Making of Ekwabet" at 2 p.m. Sunday at the St. Charles Arts Council's "Next Gallery" at 228 W. Main St.

Ekwabet is the large Potawatomi Indian statute created 25 years ago that looks over the Fox River near the St. Charles police station.

Parking is available in lots around the Municipal Center for the presentation at the gallery, on the northeast corner of Main and Third streets.

Still happy fans?: When walking along the trail in Fabyan Forest Preserve last week, something struck me as unusual after two couples, most likely in their late 60s or early 70s, walked past us only a few minutes apart.

In each case, the man was wearing a Cubs hat. And in each case, he was smiling and offered a cordial, "Hello."

I turned to my wife and said, "That was really odd."

And she said, "What, that they both had Cubs hats on?"

And I answered, "No. It was that both were wearing Cubs hats and actually still smiling."

A prairie view: The prairie at Wheeler Park in Geneva gives us an idea of what most of the state of Illinois probably looked like 300 years ago. The look and color changes every other week or so it seems.

It's been quite nice the past few weeks. Apparently, prairies don't mind quite a bit of rain.

Those patriotic Cougars: This is why you have to love having a minor-league baseball franchise in the Tri-Cities area.

Fifth Third Bank and the Kane County Cougars are inviting all military veterans and active-duty military personnel and their families to the free military appreciation night at the ballpark Saturday, July 6, when the Cougars take on the Quad Cities Bandits.

Military personnel can get tickets for the 6:30 p.m. game starting at 5:30 p.m. by simply by showing their military ID at the park's box office.

All sorts of military-themed activities are planned, in addition to a fireworks display.

Finally progressing: It would be hard to fathom that anyone would think the city of St. Charles hasn't bent over backward to make things work for Cliff McIlvaine and his never-ending building project at his home on Prairie Street.

That's the remodeling project that started sometime in the 1970s and stayed in pretty much a state of disarray ever since. To give this some perspective, the first week I ever worked at the newspaper in St. Charles in 1978, after a year in Elburn, another reporter told me the new mayor in St. Charles, a fellow named Fred Norris, was trying to figure out how to get McIlvaine to finish his project.

At that time, the word was that Cliff had actually started making himself a bomb shelter. Somehow, that doesn't seem accurate. The need for a bomb shelter has a sense of urgency attached to it.

There was never any urgency in this project.

But I'm glad the city and McIlvaine came to an agreement to let the city finish the project.

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