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Playing bluegrass music isn’t just a hobby for Mokena resident Patrick Otto — it’s a lifestyle. 

Otto, who teaches at Down Home Guitars in Frankfort, recently brought his passion to the Frankfort Bluegrass Festival the weekend of July 12-13, where he played onstage with Eric Lambert & Friends. Otto has played bluegrass for more than two decades, and throughout the year he plays festivals around the Midwest with a variety of performers. 

Rebecca Susmarski

Two men stole about 100 cellphones and $500 during an armed robbery Friday, Oct. 10, at the T-Mobile store in Mokena, according to police reports.

At about 8:45 p.m., police were dispatched to the store at 11316 W. Lincoln Highway, in which witnesses stated the two men entered the store. 

The first suspect entered and said he needed help with his phone as he approached the counter, according to reports. As he did so, a second suspect entered the store and stood off to the side.

Danny Ciamprone

July 28

• Jacob Kittl, 22, of Oak Lawn, was arrested at 11:30 p.m. and charged with DUI alcohol, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, improper lane usage and driving without headlights after police spotted him drifting to the right with no lights on in the 19600 block of La Grange Road in Mokena. His court date is Sept. 2 in Joliet.

July 26

Rebecca Susmarski

Mokena resident David Kropp has something in common with his vibrant yellow home on Third Street: both have witnessed tumultuous periods in American history, as well as the growth of Mokena. 

Kropp grew up in the house during the Great Depression and returned in 2007, after spending decades away from Mokena. During that time, Kropp served in the military, owned a successful landscape architectural business and traveled all over the world. 

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 Planning Commission recommended that Live Fire Gun Shop & Club come to Mokena at an Aug. 14 meeting of the commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals. 

The eight commission members present — commissioner Mark Seliga was absent — unanimously agreed to recommend that the business receive a special use permit from the Mokena Village Board of Trustees. 

The Village Board will revisit the permit request at its Sept. 15 work session. 

Rebecca Susmarski

When it comes to the Fourth of July parade, Mokena officials have it down pat.

“We have the parade organization down to a science, which is why it runs so smoothly,” said Cindy Gamboa, a Mokena Chamber of Commerce member who grew up in the village and has coordinated the event for the last 18 years. “We have a dedicated crew of volunteers, generous corporate sponsors and there is excellent coordination among Village officials and departments that helps pull it all together.”

Rebecca Susmarski

The Food & Wine Fest has been a tradition in the Village of Mokena for the past 10 years, and while some changes will be made for this year’s event, the outlook for good times appear undaunted.

Dennis Buxbaum, president of the Mokena Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Food & Wine Fest, said one of the changes this year will be the timing of certain events within the festival.

Danny Ciamprone

July 14

• Sergio Juarez, 37, of Orland Park, was arrested and charged with DUI alcohol, having no valid driver’s license, operating an uninsured motor vehicle and improper lane usage after police saw the suspect drifting in the lane at 12:22 a.m. in the 19600 block of La Grange Road in Mokena. His court date is Aug. 13 in Joliet.

Rebecca Susmarski

Welcome back.

It’s the middle of the day and you have a hankering for a corned beef or pastrami sandwich on marble rye and you’re in beautiful Mokena, Illinois. Driving to downtown Chicago for your deli fix isn’t an option. What to do, what to do?

If you’re in Mokena or the Lincoln-Way area, then the answer is quite simple. Drop in at D’Marie’s Deli,  19031 Old LaGrange Road (right next to Stoney Point Grill) and place your order with owners Gil and Christina Rimsnider.

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