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updated: 6/28/2014 5:09 PM

Refusing to take the money and ride

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  • There was no chance columnist Dave Heun was getting on the Freak Out ride at Swedish Days last week in Geneva.

      There was no chance columnist Dave Heun was getting on the Freak Out ride at Swedish Days last week in Geneva.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer


Maybe you saw this mechanism of nausea during the Swedish Days carnival in Geneva. It was called Freak Out.

For those who are familiar with amusement rides, this thing might best be described as a Tower of Terror on massive spokes.

My wife offered me $100 to get on the ride, knowing that in the entire 35 years she has known me, I have steered clear of any rides that would remotely make me feel ill.

This would be a far more entertaining entry in "Talk of the Town" if I were about to tell you I took her up on it, survived the ride and collected the $100.

I did not.

I figured that $100 would not cover the ambulance ride to the emergency room, let alone the week or so in a hospital bed it might take for me to recover.

I don't do amusement park rides because of past experiences as a youngster that ended the same way.

Tilt-a-Whirl? Result: Sick.

Wild Mouse roller coast (remember that one?). Result: Sick.

Some silly ride at Santa's Village in which you are in a hot-air balloon sort of thing, just twirling around in a circle. Result: Sick.

Add in the fact that I likely ate corn dogs or cotton candy beforehand, and you can imagine the toxic mixture that I left on the carnival midway.

Of course, I am too old to even consider these silly rides any more. But my phobia of amusement park rides really centers on the standard rides, not the creative theme park options at Disney or Universal. Those don't seem to bother me, probably because you don't go upside down or spin around for cheap thrills.

Still, don't expect to see me screaming at the top of my lungs on the Goliath roller coaster at Six Flags Great America any time soon.

Likely result? Sick.

A final pizza message: By not living on the east side of Geneva, my opportunities to go to Orlando's Pizza were rare. It's been several years since my last visit, but I remember the pizza was quite good.

More frequently, I noticed what the restaurant's tall sign at 821 E. State St. had to say. It was offering congratulations to a Geneva High School team, or a get well to a local citizen who was injured or ill, or something supporting a community event or festival.

It wasn't a happy day when seeing the most recent sign "Thank You for 40 Years."

We've had enough stories about longtime businesses shutting down because of the economy or that it was "just time" for an owner to retire. I'm not sure what owner Bill Johnson had in mind, but it is pretty apparent Geneva has at least 10 or more pizza options than Orlando's had to deal with for much of its tenure.

More choices, a weaker economy, owning a place for 25 years or more. These are difficult ingredients for a pizza joint.

Fun at Hawks Hollow: Here's an idea for young kids and their parents or grandparents. Check out Hawks Hollow nature play area at Peck Farm Park in Geneva.

We saw plenty of families enjoying this interesting setup during a recent walk around Peck Farm.

Hawks Hollow represents a good play area for a kid to learn something while getting away from dumb video games and DVDs.

Good times indeed: It appears these are very good times for John "Johnny" Remitz -- in life and in the swimming pool.

Johnny was mentioned in this column earlier this month for the work he was doing as a host at Wok 'n Fire restaurant in St. Charles. The restaurant hired Johnny, who has Down syndrome and was having some trouble in interviews and landing a position.

He recently participated in the Illinois Special Olympics in Bloomington for the first time and brought home two gold medals in swimming.

Apparently, his work on the backstroke and freestyle has paid off, as he won both events.

Yes, some good times for this 2011 St. Charles North graduate.

Patriotic running: The Great Western Trail will be busy the morning of July 4 when runners gather to participate in the Great Western Freedom 4 Run & Walk to benefit the Lazarus House homeless shelter.

It sounds like a good way to get your exercise in before spending the day at barbecues and fireworks displays. Those interested can preregister until Tuesday at or contact Marcy Speare at (630) 248-3091.

Or sign up the day of the race before 7:30 a.m. at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve on Dean Street in St. Charles.

Feeling special: It's great to see that Tri-City football players and local students will again spend time with autistic children in the Lisle-based Giant Steps program during Tri-City's football day from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday at the fields on Peck Road and Campton Hills Drive.

The autistic children will go through football drills and other activities during the event, which Giant Steps director of development Lisa Cummings Ewers says makes the kids in her program "feel special and more like a typical kid."

River runs deep: Stories about rescue crews helping animals or people stuck on the Fox River shouldn't surprise anyone right now.

All of this rain had the river moving along at a pretty good clip last week. I saw a fisherman wading out near Island Park in Geneva and it looked like a clip from the "Niagara Falls" movie. He was bobbing and weaving while trying to keep his footing.

Be careful in or near the river.

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