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Bike ride to raise money for Parkinson's research
By Dave Heun | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 6/6/2010 12:02 AM

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Rene Boer was excited when he heard about recent medical research finding that rigorous exercise was of great benefit in delaying the effects of Parkinson's disease.

Boer was already an enthusiastic cyclist, as well as being friends with Paul Ruby of Geneva - the Herrington Inn general manager who was diagnosed with Parkinson's a few years ago.

"I called Paul right away and I told him that this was a way to do something different and link cycling to a fundraiser for his Parkinson's research foundation," said Boer, who lives in Pingree Grove.

Thus was born the Sub 5 Century Challenge, a 100-mile bike ride from the New Hampshire High School at Route 20 and Big Timber Road to the town of Stillman Valley and back that will be held Sept. 12.

"The medical research stemmed from a physician who had a cyclist friend who was diagnosed with Parkinson's, and he noticed that his symptoms were lessened after they rode together on a tandem bike," Boer said. "They did some more research, with tandem riding with the patient on the back seat, biking for 60 minutes, and there was great benefit."

Boer said the event will be limited to 500 riders who are interested in riding a fast 100 miles.

"They have to be comfortable in groups, they should be competitive and they have to understand that it's about raising money for a worthy cause," Boer added.

Each rider can enter for a $50 registration fee, but must also pledge to secure another $150 donation toward the foundation.

"All of the money, from registration and donation pledges, will go to the foundation," Boer said.

Registration deadline for the event is Aug. 31 and is taken on the event website at

The business score card: Even though the closing of a store or restaurant really stands out these days because you generally chalk it up as another victim of the Great Recession, it isn't all doom and gloom out there in the business world.

But you do need a score card to keep track of what is coming and going, what's new, or what's expanding.

A quick look at a portion of Geneva's retail landscape illustrates the phenomenon.

For instance, did you know that 610 Home is a new business at 610 S. First St., but About Home has moved to a unit at 426 S. Third St., and Bears Gone Wild has also moved into a unit at that same address?

Cradles & All has moved to 205 W. State St., and the Denim Loft is at 206 W. State St.

I've mentioned before that El Molcajete, a Mexican restaurant, is taking the spot formerly occupied by RJ's at 113 W. State St., and also that Fresh and Delicious is a new restaurant operating out of the former Le Berry Bistro location at 227 S. Third St.

Morrison Gallery is a new business at 223 W. State St., and most residents have noticed that the US Bank now occupies the spot at 808 W. State St. that was formerly Park National.

Janeen Home Interiors has relocated to 215 W. State St. and the Walter Gould Barber and Beauty Shop is coming soon to 11 N. First.

I think you get the idea. We were getting far too used to seeing empty storefronts and being surprised by the closings of longtime businesses. So it's good to know there are some positive changes occurring at the same time.

Those 1980s in college: You only go through those collegiate years as a 20-something once in a lifetime. Throw a little romance on top of it, and chances are a Hollywood screenwriter will turn it into a sophomoric movie.

Bev Nickelson of Batavia was more inclined to think of it as the premise for a good book, using that formula to publish her debut romantic novel, "Three Daves," wrote under her pen name of Nicki Elson.

Nickelson said the book has been popular in book clubs because it is set in the 1980s and "is hitting the age group of those who are in book clubs now and kind of came of age during the 1980s."

Omnific Publishing describes "Three Daves" as "an angst-ridden romp through a 1980s college campus through the eyes of a young girl dating three very different Daves."

"The story is not autobiographical, but it is from my knowledge of experiences in college in the 1980s," said Nickelson, a 1989 graduate of Eastern Illinois. "I have never been able to find those experiences again, and I figured I better write this book now, or I am never going to do it."

Nickelson considers her book "a quick, fun read" that is perfect for the summer.

"For me, having the book to hold in my hand is one thing, and it's really cool," Nickelson said. "But I have so many friends and family who will read it, and it is great when they like it as much as I thought they would."

Information about the book is available at, and copies are available at Limestone Coffee and Tea in downtown Batavia.

Culinary heaven: I was definitely out of my league in terms of culinary expertise, but I appreciated the recent invitation from Hyatt pastry Chef Alain Roby of Geneva to attend a Celebrity Chef Tour dinner in Chicago.

It was an interesting night, starting with my Metra train being delayed for 40 minutes because of a "switching problem," which I suppose could cover many different dilemmas. And then it was raining downtown and cabs were difficult to hail. But once I got to Willis Tower, the night turned into a culinary heaven.

Some of the best chefs in the country were at work, and Chef Roby's chocolate timbale, orange sponge custard and raspberry blueberry summer pudding were perfect finishers.

Chef Roby's name pops up fairly often in the Tri-Cities region. His recipes are in cookbooks that raise funds for local organizations, and he's made appearances during several area events. He's currently involved in providing sugar cocktails for attendees at Wednesday night's production of the musical comedy "Sugar," based on the film "Some Like it Hot," at the Drury Lane Theater in Oak Brook, where he will also sign copies of his dessert cookbook.

It's great to see him keep local ties solid, considering he is world famous for his chocolate creations, and has appeared on Martha Stewart and other well-known TV shows and specials.