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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

The Summit Hill School District 161 Board of Education unanimously named Michael Ruffalo as the new principal of Dr. Julian Rogus School on Wednesday, April 30, during a special meeting. 

Ruffalo currently serves as principal of Hilda Walker Intermediate School, and he will replace Kathryn Klein as principal at Rogus for the 2014-2015 school year. In early April, the  board approved Klein as the district’s director of curriculum for the forthcoming school year. 

Will O'Brien

Bridie Doyle, Mokena Elementary School first-grader

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

One thing I must have when studying is peace and quiet because I can’t focus if it’s loud.  

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

I like to ride horses at Fitzjoy Farm.

What is your dream job and why?

Will O'Brien

The Mokena Village Board of Trustees approved a host of business and infrastructure-related development items during its March 24 meeting.
The board first gave final approval to an indoor go-kart facility and indoor motor vehicles sales center. A special use permit was granted to Autobahn Indoor Speedway, whose team is aiming to have a 65,000-square-foot, two-track indoor raceway operating at 9120 W. 191st St. by summer.

Will O'Brien

It’s been a special season for the Lincoln-Way East boys tennis team. The Griffins hope it’s a special postseason, as well.

East wrapped up the regular season portion of the season last week by traveling to Sandburg Thursday, May 8, and coming away with a 6-1 victory to close out an undefeated SouthWest Suburban Conference season.

With their 21st consecutive dual meet win, the Griffins went undefeated in SWSC play for the second straight season. Along the way, they won 53 of 56 conference matches.

Growing and selling medical marijuana in Mokena won’t be easy.

The Village Board made sure of that Monday, April 28, when during a regular meeting it approved zoning ordinance revisions designed to ensure those looking to operate a cultivation or distribution facility here would undergo multiple rounds of review before getting permission to open.

Under the revisions, operating a medical marijuana business would require a special use permit.

Will O'Brien

When the conditions are just right, one can see layers of mist roll across the fields of Yunker Farm on LaPorte Road. The traditional gabled farmhouse and the big red barn atop its craggy foundation emerge from the dew to greet one like an old friend. 

What was once but one of many farmsteads dotting the landscape, Yunker Farm is now the last within our village. It is such an everyday part of our local fabric, that it’s easy to overlook the farm’s heritage, one that is so tightly connected with our community.

New Lenox resident Robert Lawruk had a strategy for surviving cancer. 

“You have to keep your mind active,” said Lawruk, who was treated for both prostate and lung cancer in 2008. “I worked a regular job all the way through it. I think if I sat home and dwelled upon it, it might have affected me more. But I went to work and had other things to think about than cancer.” 

Rebecca Susmarski

Ownership of the 55-acre shopping plaza where a Meijer superstore is under construction is set to change hands.
A deal between the parcel’s original developer, Mokena Retail Associates, and Inland Venture Corporation, a publicly traded trust with 161 properties nationwide, could be squared away within the next 30 to 45 days, said Alan Zordan, the Village’s director of economic and community development.
The property, known as Mokena Marketplace, is located at the southwest corner of Lincoln Highway and Wolf Road.

Will O'Brien

Mike Jansto doesn’t mind the fact his dog outweighs him by more than 30 pounds.

He’s proud of it, and his “bigger the better” attitude paid off Sunday, May 18, when Kaash, Jansto’s 2-year-old, 162-pound Great Dane, was named Largest Pet during the Mokena Community Park District’s Woofstock event at Main Park.

“He’s a big dog, but will probably not get much bigger,” the Homer Glen resident said before elaborating on Kaash’s favorite meal — half a rotisserie chicken mixed with a bowlful of dry dog food.

Will O'Brien