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updated: 4/26/2014 6:29 PM

Barbecue fundraiser next month at Geneva golf course

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  • Mary Fremgen, left, presents Terri Pheanis with a plant in showing appreciation for Pheanis organizing the Backyard Barbecue fundraiser last year.

    Mary Fremgen, left, presents Terri Pheanis with a plant in showing appreciation for Pheanis organizing the Backyard Barbecue fundraiser last year.
    Courtesy of Fox Valley Food for Health


With chilly temperatures lingering, it's hard to fathom next month is National Barbecue Month. But the Fox Valley Food for Health organization intends to make the best of it again May 16 at Mill Creek Golf Course in Geneva.

The organization, which provides free healthy meals for cancer patients, used the barbecue theme last year to stage its first Backyard Barbecue fundraiser.

Fox Valley Food for Health has a great concept in getting high school culinary students to work with adult chefs to cook meals for patients who would benefit from organic, nutrient-rich food.

I have mentioned the organization in the past when registered dietitian Mary Fremgen and chef Susan Leigh first put their ideas to work.

Now they are seeking businesses and individuals to donate money, items or services for the fundraiser.

The event is also a time for guests to try the healthy meals, organizer Terri Pheanis said.

"Everyone loved the food last year, which included fish tacos, grilled chicken and very tasty salads and desserts," Pheanis said. "The menu this year will include more of our recipes."

If the weather is not fitting for an outdoor barbecue, attendees can enjoy the festivities inside the Mill Creek clubhouse, Pheanis said.

"Last year the weather was perfect, and many people sat out on the decks," she added.

Tickets for the event, open to those 21 and older, are $50. Call (630) 408-9522.

To date, the organization says it has prepared more than 4,700 meals for more than 70 clients.

Golf whisperer: Jim Wheeler once told me I was one of the first guys he called when he came to St. Charles in 1980 to become the golf pro at Pottawatomie Golf Course.

Why? He knew I was a fairly new sports editor and he wanted the newspaper to sponsor the men's city tournament.

"I figured if the paper was a sponsor it would be sure to cover the tournament well," Wheeler said, with his trademark Cheshire cat grin.

He was right. But more importantly, it started a 30-plus-years relationship we enjoyed, knowing we helped each other gain our footing in the Tri-Cities.

It's hard to believe we're saying goodbye to him after his heart apparently gave out on him last week at his home.

Like he did with literally thousands of other people, Jim tried to fix my golf swing. He knew I was a softball player and tried to convince me that the same basic swing would work on a different plane.

When he realized making me a decent golfer was a tall order, he always reminded me: "You're a good softball player."

I took it as a compliment, considering he took the time to walk over to Pottawatomie's softball diamond on occasion when he knew my team was playing. And the truth is, he did fix my golf swing to the point I enjoyed the game.

For about five years, my work schedule allowed me to play with friends on Friday mornings at Pottawatomie. Best of all, it was a time to chat with Jim and bug him about his St. Louis Cardinals.

I'll miss seeing him at any number of high school sports events in the area. Walking the course at the finals of the city tournament won't be quite the same without Jim cruising around in a golf cart and enjoying the annual event he took to new levels.

Went to the dogs: Still can't get used to the idea the former Cork 'n Fork restaurant site on the east side of St. Charles will become a dog-care facility.

Here's hoping Fydoland gets city council support and has success at 1317 E. Main St.

Owner Robin Massey has Fydoland locations in Elgin and Huntley that offer overnight boarding as well as all of the other services pets need and pet owners like -- grooming, indoor and outdoor exercise rooms, day-care services and pet care products.

Pizza for youths: The Kane County Juvenile Drug Court Advisory Board sent out fliers last week to promote a fundraising effort Monday at California Pizza Kitchen.

Those dining at the Geneva Commons restaurant will support the board's effort to help kids trying to straighten out their lives via the drug court.

California Pizza will donate 20 percent of each diner's bill toward the cause.

Bring the flier to the fundraiser. Others can call Lisa Blackwell at (630) 273-1092 for information.

Not just breakfast: You get stuck in a mode of thinking a restaurant is a breakfast joint, whether it is Colonial, Corfu or Gabby's Kitchen.

Lumes Pancake House in Batavia also falls into that category. I've had breakfast there, but never dinner.

I recently tried it for dinner and was quite pleased with my Dijon burger with bacon and caramelized onions.

Applause for Norm: Congratulations to Norm Huntley, who will be honored Friday at the St. Charles Country Club for his 45 years on the St. Charles library board.

The main library meeting room will become the "Norman C. Huntley Meeting Room."

I met Norm more than 30 years ago and, even at that time, thought this fellow must really love the library or he wouldn't have been on the board for so many years -- about 15 at that time.

He's a she: A reader informed me the item about Geneva High School teacher Chris Pawlak winning a grant from Farmers Insurance mistakenly cast Chris as a male.

The information from Farmers led me to believe Chris was a male. The name seemed familiar and, of course, it was because of Geneva Alderman Ray Pawlak.

Turns out, Chris married Ray Pawlak. And reader Debbi (Carney) Cork said I likely wrote about Pawlak when she was Chris Hope, an athlete at Batavia High in the late 1970s.

In any case, she is doing great things in her Geneva High School classroom.

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