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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

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. 

The Mokena Fire Protection District (MFPD) responded to a residential structure fire at about 3:53 a.m. Friday, July 18 in the 1900 block of Anna Street.

Three minutes after notification, fire crews arrived on the scene and determined the fire originated in the basement of the home where the fire was contained, according to a news release from MFPD.

The home was unoccupied at the time of the fire and no one was injured. An estimate on damage caused was not available at this time.

Danielle Tabor

Mary Lou Cioffi remembers exactly what her son Nick did when a drunk driver hit their car two years ago.

“The one thing I remember as I sat in the car ... a jacket was taken and put over me, because I heard Nick say, ‘put that over her, I don’t want her to go into shock,’” said Mary Lou, of Mokena. “He used his first aid training.”

Rebecca Susmarski

Pictured is an early evening shot of the Ebert Farm Service grain elevator on Front Street. Chester D. Ebert, who ran Ebert Farm Service for almost 40 years, died in mid-April at the age of 95. Photo by Jean Lachat/22nd Century Media

Editor’s Note: Mokena-gram is a new feature that will appear in The Messenger’s Life & Arts section each week (see a full explanation on Page 19). Professional photographer, Mokena resident and frequent Messenger contributor Jean Lachat is the woman behind Mokena-gram’s lens.

Residents of the Prairie Ridge subdivision will have developed park space to enjoy after the Mokena Community Park District was awarded a $400,000 grant to develop the space through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Numerous amenities will be added to the 5.7-acre plot, which is located southwest of the intersection of Wolf Road and Lincoln Highway.

Will O'Brien

Mokena resident Pvt Aaron Toppen was tragically killed in the line of duty.  Arriving back to the United States the week of June 9, 2014,  local florist and owner of An English Garden on Front St.,  Kim McAuliffe decided to support the Toppen family by inundating the community with free yellow ribbon for residents trees.

Advertising only on Facebook, McAuliffe blew through over 5,000 yards of yellow ribbons simply by word of mouth in two days between June 12 and 14.

Rebecca Susmarski

A Mokena firefighter was hospitalized and later released Monday, June 2, after responding to a residential fire in the 10000 block of Cambridge Drive in Mokena, said Mokena Fire Protection District Chief Howard Stephens. 

The firefighter, taken to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, “is doing OK at this point,” Stephens said. 

Around 5:52 p.m. the fire districts of Mokena and Frankfort were dispatched and upon arriving found a kitchen fire inside one unit of a four-unit townhouse complex, Stephens said. 

Will O'Brien

The Mokena teachers’ union expressed “extreme disappointment” with the current progress of contract negotiations during a July 14 meeting of the Mokena Elementary School District 159 Board of Education. 

About 30 members of the Mokena Teachers Association (MTA) filled the spectators’ seats as MTA co-president Cathy Lark spoke for the union in front of the six board members present (member Patrick Markham was absent). The MTA currently has more than 100 members.

Lark said contract negotiations began in early 2014. 

Rebecca Susmarski

Pictured is the sun setting over Main Park’s Field 2 on Saturday, May 24, during the Mokena Blast’s Memorial Day weekend softball tournament. The three-day competition featured 38 teams who played 91 games. 

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

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