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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

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

Frank Fleischer takes a seat in EggCetera Cafe across from State Senator Michael Hastings (D-19), surrounded by Village officials.

It is early summer 2013, roughly one month after Fleischer is sworn is as mayor of the Village of Mokena.

It is a friendly chat in one of Mokena’s staple restaurants, but it is also one of the first discussions that would lead to Fleischer’s “signature project.”

Flash forward roughly one year later.

Rebecca Susmarski

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

On June 14, the 11 and younger Mokena Blast girls’ softball team made it to the championship game in the Naperville Father’s Day tournament.

The team took second place in the 12 and under bracket – one division up – with a final score of 2-1.

The team includes Kathryn Ponton, Ashlyn Agnich, Ashley Carter, Morgan Dapkus, Laila Summers, Abbie Caskey, Hayley Wlodarski, Megan Smith, Eliza Rex and Madelyn Del Cotto. 

The team is coached by Ed Wlodarski, with assistant coach Mike Dapkus and manager Mike Agnich.

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

Momentum is heading in more than the right direction for the Mokena Marketplace, which as of Monday, Oct. 27, will officially welcome a new occupant to the Village in an area currently ripe with business and development.

Rebecca Susmarski

Aidan Byrne, Mokena Elementary first-grader 

Byrne was chosen as this week’s Standout Student for his academic excellence.

What is one essential you must have when studying and why?

I like it quiet when I am studying because I get easily distracted.

What do you like to do when not in school or studying?

I like to play sports like soccer, baseball and football. I also like to play on my iPad or video games.

Rebecca Susmarski

Oct. 21

• Steven Higgins, 55, of 19403 S. Wolf Road in Orland Park, was charged with driving on a suspended/revoked driver’s license and speeding at Wolf Road and Boyer Court in Mokena after police reported the driver to be traveling at a high rate of speed.

Danny Ciamprone

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