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After losing her 20-year-old sister to cancer six years ago, Carlee Koerner entered a “very dark place” emotionally — until someone pulled her back into the light. 

“Rachelle really took me and shook me up a little bit and said, ‘You’re missing life. You’re letting everything pass you by,’” Koerner said. “[She] helped me find my own ‘street of dreams‘ — my own path in life.”

Rebecca Susmarski

When a little boy at AutoZone stared at Michael Assefa’s prosthetic running blade recently, Assefa responded by lifting the blade and saying “It’s cool, isn’t it? Just like Iron Man!”

The positive response is characteristic of the 21-year-old Lincoln-Way East alum. Assefa lost the lower part of his left leg in an accident, but during the past three years, has risen to become one of 31 representatives from the United States in the International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports World Games.  

An event that failed to earn Village Board approval last summer has been given the green light its second go around.

The Mokena Downtown Merchants Association is set to host a Feast of St. Mary Mount Carmel on Sunday, July 20, in the Front Street commuter lot.

Will O'Brien

The Mokena couple who died in a house fire Wednesday, June 11, has been identified.

Edwin L. Pauls, 81, and Arline R. Pauls, 80, both of Mokena, were pronounced dead at 4:48 a.m. Wednesday, June 11, in the 9400 block of Magnolia Drive in Frankfort Township, according to the Will County Coroner's Office.

Autopsies were performed June 11, and initial indications are that both experienced smoke inhalation. The final cause and manner of death are pending the outcome of autopsy, toxicological, police and fire reports, according to the coroner's office.

Danielle Tabor

After months of review from both the State and local levels, a medical marijuana facility will be coming to Mokena – one of only three that will come to fruition in all of Will County.

On April 27, the Mokena Village Board of Trustees unanimously approved the special use permit to Greenhouse Group LLC for a 5,100-square-foot medical marijuana facility to be located at 9930 W. 190th St., Unit H, located in the Mokena Crossings.

Trustee Don Labriola was absent from the meeting.

Rebecca Susmarski

After 8-year-old Bella Rodrigues lost her lower right leg to surgery, a therapy dog named Max came to her assistance — but if he could talk, he might say the young girl helped him just as much. 

Rodrigues, a Mokena resident, has been attending therapy with Max since the late winter of 2014 at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. Rodrigues regained much of her strength and learned to use her prosthetic leg by walking Max down the hospital’s halls, playing catch with him and performing other activities. 

Danny Ciamprone
Press conference scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Mokena native Aaron Toppen, a Lincoln-Way East graduate, was among five American troops killed by friendly fire Monday, June 9, during a security operation in southern Afghanistan, a family friend said.

Toppen was 19.

“It’s very tragic,” said Jennie Swartz, the family friend who spoke to The Mokena Messenger by phone Tuesday, June 10.

Danielle Tabor

Aaron Toppen grew up dreaming of serving his country.

Though he and family members knew his enlisting would come with an unavoidable degree of risk, they held firm and united — a tight-knit group — in supporting his ambition, keeping close from the time he was a tot to a teen.

Rebecca Susmarski

Mokena teen who allegedly resisted police arrested again

A Mokena 19-year-old who police subdued with a stun gun during an alleged altercation in early April was arrested again Sunday, April 27, this time allegedly with 368 Xanax pills and marijuana in his possession.

Robert M. Hollingsworth, 19, of the 11400 block of Abbey Road, was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver, possession of marijuana, underage drinking and driving on the wrong side of the road. 

Will O'Brien

A Mokena man was charged with five counts of child pornography and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

Daniel J. Foiles, 37, of 19548 Walnut St., in Mokena, was charged May 1 after being taken into custody April 30, according to the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office.

A search warrant was served on the suspect’s home where computers were seized. Cocaine was also discovered in the home weighing 0.5 grams, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office.

Danny Ciamprone

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