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A Bourbonnais woman was charged with retail theft April 6 after attempting to steal five packages of ribs and fleeing from a Mokena store.

Amber Zummallen, 26, of 1325 N. Arthur Burch, in Bourbonnais, was later located by police hiding under a semi-trailer at 11305 W. Lincoln Highway in Mokena. The suspect allegedly tried to steal several packages of ribs, and after being apprehended by police, stated she had stole 10 packages of bacon approximately one week prior from the same location.

April 6

Danny Ciamprone

Frank Fleischer takes a seat in EggCetera Cafe across from State Senator Michael Hastings (D-19), surrounded by Village officials.

It is early summer 2013, roughly one month after Fleischer is sworn is as mayor of the Village of Mokena.

It is a friendly chat in one of Mokena’s staple restaurants, but it is also one of the first discussions that would lead to Fleischer’s “signature project.”

Flash forward roughly one year later.

Rebecca Susmarski

Laura Quinlan’s dreams are about to become reality.

The New Lenox mother of four’s Simply Rose Boutique, located off 191st Street in Mokena, will host a grand opening on May 3-4, marking the culmination of a half-year’s worth of work Quinlan hopes will result in a sophisticated shopping experience customers of all ages will find worthy of revisiting time and time again.

“I am so excited,” a beaming Quinlan said during a recent interview. “This is a dream come true for me; a bucket list item, you know. 

A 42-year-old Mokena man died Saturday, Aug. 9, after falling off his bike and hitting his head on a Will County Forest Preserve trail.

Vaidas Varpucanskis was riding his bike down a hill shortly before 11 a.m. on the Hickory Creek Junction Trail in Frankfort Township when he tried to swerve out of the way to avoid another bicyclist, said Lt. Tracy Chapman of the Will County Forest Preserve Police.

Chapman said the other bicyclist on the trail went to pass a jogger and said, “On your left,” as he went by.

Rebecca Susmarski

Downtown Mokena could soon get the injection of life Village officials and business owners have long sought for the area.

A developer is considering constructing a 64-unit, mixed-use residential and commercial building near the intersection of Wolf Road and McGovney Street at the site where the Therafin Corporation, a manufacturer of wheelchair parts, had operated before shuttering its doors years ago, said Nancy Putman, a realty broker with Olivieri Real Estate, LLC and the property’s listing agent.

Will O'Brien

A social program that intermingles special needs students with junior high students has encouraged acceptance and kindness more than even the program’s creators anticipated. 

Rachel’s Buddies, which commenced this year at Mokena Junior High School, combines MJHS eighth-graders with a total of seven students from Lincoln-Way Area Special Education District 843. Every week, the 843 “buddies” come to the junior high to play games or sports, make crafts and participate in other activities with their MJHS friends. 

Danny Ciamprone

Residents of the Prairie Ridge subdivision will have developed park space to enjoy after the Mokena Community Park District was awarded a $400,000 grant to develop the space through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Numerous amenities will be added to the 5.7-acre plot, which is located southwest of the intersection of Wolf Road and Lincoln Highway.

Will O'Brien

Many adults look back on childhood as a period in their lives without worry or care, but on May 22, one school taught its students that one can never plan for the future too early. 

About 200 eighth-graders at Mokena Junior High School attended the school’s inaugural Reality Store event in the gymnasium. Designed to give students a taste of life as an adult, the event featured 14 local businesses and organizations, including The Cancer Support Center, First Midwest Bank, AT&T and Carol’s Travel Service. 

Danny Ciamprone

On June 14, the 11 and younger Mokena Blast girls’ softball team made it to the championship game in the Naperville Father’s Day tournament.

The team took second place in the 12 and under bracket – one division up – with a final score of 2-1.

The team includes Kathryn Ponton, Ashlyn Agnich, Ashley Carter, Morgan Dapkus, Laila Summers, Abbie Caskey, Hayley Wlodarski, Megan Smith, Eliza Rex and Madelyn Del Cotto. 

The team is coached by Ed Wlodarski, with assistant coach Mike Dapkus and manager Mike Agnich.

Rebecca Susmarski

Hometown hero 

Photo by Jean Lachat/22nd Century Media

Yellow ribbons adorn trees in front of Ken and Danielle Newbauer’s home on Marjorie Parkway in Mokena. Ken, a former infantry member, said he wanted to show support for his neighbors, the family of Aaron Toppen, who was killed in Afghanistan while on active duty with the U.S. Army.

Mokena-gram producer Jean Lachat blogs at spiritofthesoulphotography.wordpress.com

Rebecca Susmarski

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