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“More happiness.”

That was the term that Lincoln-Way North girls’ volleyball senior middle hitter Valen Manns used last week.

She had good reason too, as she helped lead the Phoenix to the championship of the summer league playoffs on Thursday, July 31, at Palos Courts in Palos Heights.  

Rebecca Susmarski

Athletics and extracurricular clubs play an important part in school life, but on Thursday, April 2, 181 students at St. Mary Catholic School brought in a piece of their lives outside of school to class. 

The first- through seventh-graders participated in the school’s 13th annual Special Interest Fair, which allows students to bring in items they collect, build or create as a hobby in their free time. The students packed the school’s gym, cafe, atrium and hallway with items ranging from the recreational to the educational. 

Rebecca Susmarski

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

Two slates and a total of six candidates – including three incumbents – are vying for three spots on the Mokena Village Board of Trustees.

The Mokena Messenger interviewed each candidate in advance of the April 7 Consolidated Election.

Candidate questionnaires were conducted by phone and appear in the order the names will appear on the April ballots, which is based on a lottery system in Will County.

 * Denotes incumbent

Name: Deborah Engler*

• Age: 57 

Danny Ciamprone

With three months until the April 7 Consolidated Election, three challengers have emerged to run for a spot on the Mokena Village Board of Trustees.

The challengers include Joseph E. Budzyn, Marietta Kafka Glass and Debbie Fox. Seeking reelection on the board are incumbents Don Labriola, Debbie Engler and Jim Richmond.

Rebecca Susmarski

The Mokena Messenger is rolling out another new weekly feature, this one highlighting the handiwork of professional photographer Jean Lachat, who lives and operates a studio in Mokena.

Not long ago, the publication added two columnists: Jay Margalus, the author of Front Street Tech (weekly); and Robin Melvin, writer of Robin’s Nest (monthly). 

Now, we’re adding some exciting visuals to the mix.

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

Plans to develop a pair of subdivisions in Mokena are moving ahead.
A development known as Ginger Creek, featuring 38 upscale lots on 38 acres along the 19300 block of Townline Road, could soon get final approval from the Village Board, said Alan Zordan, Mokena’s director of economic and community development.
Ginger Creek is being developed by Huguelet Homes, a firm with a longstanding presence in the local area and track record of successful developments. Huguelet Homes representatives have stated they’d like to break ground by spring, Zordan
said.

Will O'Brien

Even though it may be time to put down the gardening gear with fall weather in full swing, that hasn’t stopped a pair of flower pots from taking home this year’s championship as winners of The Mokena Messenger’s Halloween costume contest.

Leah and Kara Zaker of Mokena won this year’s contest with their flower pot costumes, which showed off creativity, originality and, above all else, embodied the Halloween spirit.

There were several great entries this year, and all submissions may be viewed on Page 27 of this issue.

Rebecca Susmarski

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