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After 8-year-old Bella Rodrigues lost her lower right leg to surgery, a therapy dog named Max came to her assistance — but if he could talk, he might say the young girl helped him just as much. 

Rodrigues, a Mokena resident, has been attending therapy with Max since the late winter of 2014 at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. Rodrigues regained much of her strength and learned to use her prosthetic leg by walking Max down the hospital’s halls, playing catch with him and performing other activities. 

Danny Ciamprone

For the past three weeks, people have been seen walking around on sidewalks or even streets with their heads buried in their phones. They seem to be walking around aimlessly. These are not tech-crazy millennials, but rather Pokémon hunters. 

The new game “Pokémon Go” has built up unbelievable popularity since being released earlier this month. The game is so popular that one local organization has taken notice. 

Amanda Jarzynski

Children’s author and mother of two, Amy Logan, has made it her personal mission to empower children and spread kindness not only through her written words, but with her actions every day.

Danny Ciamprone

Two Mokena men were charged with retail theft Aug. 31 after police initiated a search warrant in regard to alleged theft involving the Village of Mokena’s water supply.

Rory Cook, 45, of 19521 Blyth Way, in Mokena, and Robert Cook, 66, of 20018 Pinegrove Drive, in Mokena, were charged with retail theft at their respective residencies after police reportedly initiated a search warrant.

Danny Ciamprone

Ladies and gentleman of Mokena, start your engines. Indoor go-karts could be coming to town.
Developers at Autobahn Indoor Speedway want a two-track, 65,000-square-foot racing business up and running inside the Ligo building at 9100 W. 191st St. by June or July.
The plan was first publicly detailed Monday, Jan. 20, during a Village Board work session.

Will O'Brien

The Will County Sheriff’s Office arrested two 15-year-old male students of Lincoln-Way East High School after they allegedly created a “hoax” threat of “shooting up and blowing up the school” the evening of Oct. 27, according to the Will County Sheriff’s Office.

According to a news release issued Oct. 28 by the sheriff’s office, the students were picked up at the school around noon and brought to the Sheriff’s Investigation Division for questioning.

Danielle Tabor

Aaron Toppen grew up dreaming of serving his country.

Though he and family members knew his enlisting would come with an unavoidable degree of risk, they held firm and united — a tight-knit group — in supporting his ambition, keeping close from the time he was a tot to a teen.

Rebecca Susmarski

Roughly 25 boxes line the outside walls of a garage filled with assorted documents, as Jeff Dencek and Mark Mistretta work in mechanical rhythm, dumping the paper into large trash receptacles.

“This is called a purge,” said Dencek, co-owner of Shark Shredding in Mokena. “We’ll do a bunch of boxes for a purge.”

It was a cold Friday morning Feb. 12, as Dencek and Mistretta were on their first stop of the day at a Frankfort residency on Steeple Chase Drive helping to destroy assorted documents.

Danny Ciamprone
Press conference scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Mokena native Aaron Toppen, a Lincoln-Way East graduate, was among five American troops killed by friendly fire Monday, June 9, during a security operation in southern Afghanistan, a family friend said.

Toppen was 19.

“It’s very tragic,” said Jennie Swartz, the family friend who spoke to The Mokena Messenger by phone Tuesday, June 10.

Danielle Tabor

Pam Toppen takes a seat in a Starbucks cafe next to her daughter, Amanda Gralewski, as she smiles and enthusiastically introduces her baby granddaughter, a certain bitter sweetness though as it was roughly a year ago that Toppen found out about her while having to plan to funeral.

A little while later, she shows off her dog tags with her late son’s military photo proudly imprinted – something she never leaves her home without.

Rebecca Susmarski