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Farmers markets, outdoor movies, trips to the pool, festivals, parades, cruise nights and fireworks. There is no shortage of activities when it comes to summer in the southwest suburbs. And 22nd Century Media has 101 ideas for readers to get out and enjoy their communities this summer. We provided 50 ideas in print and now have 51 more online. Enjoy!

1. One Fish, Two Fish ... Time to Find All the Fish

Will O'Brien

A proposal to bring a Panda Express to the Mokena Marketplace was well received by the Mokena Village Board of Trustees Monday, Feb. 16, during a Village worksession.

Panda Express is seeking a special use permit for a proposed 3,000-square-foot fast casual restaurant with one drive-through lane at 11255 Lincoln Highway in Mokena. 

Alan Zordan, director of community and economic development for the Village of Mokena, said the board first took a look at the concept plan for Panda Express in April 2014, but the board did not feel the designs were well suited to the area. 

Rebecca Susmarski

The call of the wild beats in us all. 

For some, it is a subtle tapping that is satisfied after a hike through the woods. For others, the drumming is constant enough to compel daily outdoor activity. And then there are still others, like Mokena native Jill Castiglia, who cannot ignore the thunderous internal beat. 

That call forces action.

Danny Ciamprone

A Mokena man was charged with retail theft June 2 at 20005 S. Wolf Road in Mokena after attempting to steal a 750 mL bottle of vodka and conceal the bottle in the front of his pants.

David Bachar, 33, of 9403 W. Ash Ave., in Mokena, was charged after a complainant observed the suspect try to conceal the bottle and then attempt to proceed passed the last point of sale before being detained, police said. Police were then called and the subject was charged with retail theft.

May 29

Danny Ciamprone

Since finishing high school, a group of Mokena and Frankfort natives have gone on to excel at Olivet Nazarene University both on and off the softball diamond.

Cheryl Sendzik, Caitlin Santefort, Hannah Gardner and Megan Butler all made big contributions to the Tigers’ 49-5-1 season, conference championship and NAIA World Series appearance, said longtime Olivet Coach Ritchie Richardson.

“The year itself has been fantastic, and these girls are a big reason why,” he said. 

Rebecca Susmarski

After more than three decades of operating Mr. Benny’s Steak and Lobster House at its Matteson location, the Leonardo family has decided to close its doors and focus solely on the Mokena restaurant.

“It’s time for me to hang up my spurs,” said Benny Leonardo, co-owner of both full service restaurants in the southwest suburbs.

Leonardo has been in the restaurant business for almost 50 years total, having operated the Matteson location for 38 years before opening the restaurant in Mokena, located at 19200 Everett Lane.

Danny Ciamprone

Five years ago, Chris Pignotti’s son wanted to get involved with lacrosse, specifically, the Lincoln-Way Lacrosse Club youth team.

Wanting to help out, Pignotti started coaching in a league that at the time did not have a youth program for children under the age of 11, as the game was still gaining traction in popularity.

Danny Ciamprone

Carollo

Lauren Katherine Carollo, 17, of Mokena, died suddenly May 22. She was the daughter of Randy and Ginger Lee (nee Lyons) Carollo; granddaughter of Dolly and step-granddaughter of Beverly; and niece of Kathy (Kenny) Schwartz, Peggy Beke, Peter, Bobby (Lisa), David (Ronda) and Johnny (Lynn) Carollo, Dawn (Bill) Morrison, Tammy (Paul) Litchenberg and Thomas and Frank Lyons. She had 14 cousins. Services were held at Vandenberg Funeral Home. Interment private.

Curtis

With Frisbees floating lazily around Mokena’s Main Park Friday, July 4, the 60-member, red-shirted Encore Concert Band tuned its instruments.

“This is the part of our Fourth of July celebration that I have come to like best,” said Bea Johannsen, a Mokena resident, as she set down her wooden picnic basket and spread a checkered, red-and-white blanket on the grass. “When my kids were young, the parade was always the highlight. But now that I’m up in age, I like things a little more relaxed, like this concert.”

Rebecca Susmarski

To the southeast of Rome lies the town of Amaseno – a small farming community in Italy with a population of about 4,000.

It’s also a place where three women can trace their roots from, and what serves as the focal point for a passion that has developed through generations of families.

“We grew up together in the same town and have known each other since we were little kids,” said Anna Panici as she helped get dinner ready Wednesday, Feb. 4, at Scrementi’s Italian Grill in Mokena.

Danny Ciamprone

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