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Over the shoulder and a few hundred yards away from Bruce Johnson stood the site of what will soon be filled with construction crews going to work on the first indoor shooting range in the Village of Mokena.

“It’s just going to be a state of the art, modern facility,” Johnson said with admiration as he gazed out the window of the RBT Development office building in Mokena. “That’s 88th Avenue and [the facility] is going to be straight back to where that white box is.”

Rebecca Susmarski

St. Mary’s Catholic School in Mokena recently welcomed its newly elected student council members.

The newly elected members were inducted after the school Mass on Wednesday, Oct. 1, in the church. 

The seven student leaders on the executive board for the 2014-2015 year are McKenna Bandyk of Mokena, executive assistant; Sarah Noone of Mokena, treasurer; Alexandria Perns of Mokena, vice president; Maura Murphy of Mokena, president; Emma Canniff of Mokena, secretary; Athan Bastas of Mokena and John Morrison of Mokena, bookstore managers. 

Rebecca Susmarski

A 42-year-old Mokena man died Saturday, Aug. 9, after falling off his bike and hitting his head on a Will County Forest Preserve trail.

Vaidas Varpucanskis was riding his bike down a hill shortly before 11 a.m. on the Hickory Creek Junction Trail in Frankfort Township when he tried to swerve out of the way to avoid another bicyclist, said Lt. Tracy Chapman of the Will County Forest Preserve Police.

Chapman said the other bicyclist on the trail went to pass a jogger and said, “On your left,” as he went by.

Rebecca Susmarski

Toppen 

PFC Aaron S. Toppen, 19, of Mokena, died June 9 while serving his country in Afghanistan. He is survived by his mother, Pamela (nee Winter) Toppen; two sisters, Amy Toppen and Amanda (Jerry) Gralewski; and niece, Taylor. He was the grandson of Betty Winter; boyfriend of Jacqueline Rozek; nephew of Jack Winter, Barb (Stephen) White and Jeff (Nina) Winter; and a dear cousin, neighbor and friend to many. Services were held at Parkview Christian Church. Interment St. John’s Cemetery. Funeral arrangements by the Vandenberg Funeral Home.

Rebecca Susmarski
Central Command confirms friendly fire

Nearly three months after an operation in Afghanistan resulted in the deaths of five U.S. soldiers — including Lincoln-Way East graduate and Mokena resident Pvt. Aaron Toppen — the United States Central Command released documents confirming it was a friendly fire accident.

Danielle Tabor

Downtown Mokena could soon get the injection of life Village officials and business owners have long sought for the area.

A developer is considering constructing a 64-unit, mixed-use residential and commercial building near the intersection of Wolf Road and McGovney Street at the site where the Therafin Corporation, a manufacturer of wheelchair parts, had operated before shuttering its doors years ago, said Nancy Putman, a realty broker with Olivieri Real Estate, LLC and the property’s listing agent.

Will O'Brien

Laura Quinlan’s dreams are about to become reality.

The New Lenox mother of four’s Simply Rose Boutique, located off 191st Street in Mokena, will host a grand opening on May 3-4, marking the culmination of a half-year’s worth of work Quinlan hopes will result in a sophisticated shopping experience customers of all ages will find worthy of revisiting time and time again.

“I am so excited,” a beaming Quinlan said during a recent interview. “This is a dream come true for me; a bucket list item, you know. 

Hometown hero 

Photo by Jean Lachat/22nd Century Media

Yellow ribbons adorn trees in front of Ken and Danielle Newbauer’s home on Marjorie Parkway in Mokena. Ken, a former infantry member, said he wanted to show support for his neighbors, the family of Aaron Toppen, who was killed in Afghanistan while on active duty with the U.S. Army.

Mokena-gram producer Jean Lachat blogs at spiritofthesoulphotography.wordpress.com

Rebecca Susmarski

June 14, 2014 was Flag Day.  It was also the perfect day to hold a fundraiser to benefit vets.

On the heals of the tragedy that befell resident Pvt. Aaron Toppen, Mokena resident Nicki Serbin came up with the idea to hold a fundraiser at the Mokena VFW Post 725 to raise money for The Wounded Warrior Project and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (I.A.V.A.)  Titled “Serve Our Vets,” Serbin asked Americans to join the cause to support those vets.

Rebecca Susmarski

A proposed special use permit for a medical marijuana dispensary in Mokena was generally well received by trustees during a Village board work session meeting on Monday, Sept. 15.

Greenhouse Group LLC. is requesting the special use permit for a medical marijuana dispensary for the property at 9930 W. 190th St. in Mokena – a 5,100 square foot tenant condo space in the Mokena Crossings Business Park.

Danny Ciamprone

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