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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

Plans to build a Panda Express near the intersection of Wolf Road and Lincoln Highway are headed back to the drawing board after Village trustees strongly objected to blueprints of the project presented by an architecture firm on Monday, April 21, during a work session at Village Hall.

“I think it would be a disservice to the residents and businesses in the area to put in a business like that,” Trustee George Metanias said. “It needs to match what’s around, which is nothing like this. I cannot and will not support a plan like this.”

Will O'Brien


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.


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

Tired, unoccupied and under utilized, it was growing more unlikely each day that the Therafin building in Mokena would see a proper use in the near future.

“It was almost to the point where [the building] had fallen into a state of disrepair and was also just so old and tired that in a lot of cases it didn’t meet the proper codes for certain uses,” said Mokena Village Administrator John Downs.

Danny Ciamprone

A 30-year-old Manhattan man who allegedly had sexual relations with a 16-year-old Mokena girl was apprehended by Mokena police Aug. 14 and transported to Will County Jail.

Ryan C. Benck, of 24644 Route 52, in Manhattan, was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse and indecent solicitation of a child at his residence after the teen’s parents notified the Mokena Police Department, said Mokena police chief Steven Vaccaro.

Vaccaro said the suspect allegedly met the girl through an “app.” 

Danny Ciamprone

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

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

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

Two men were both charged with possession of a controlled substance, sale or possession of hypodermic syringes or needles and possession of drug equipment July 20 at 19137 S. Wolf Road, in Mokena, after police responded to reports of subjects acting suspiciously.

Danny Ciamprone