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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

What began as a service requirement for one high schooler has resulted in an annual lesson in giving for multiple children. 

The annual caroling and gift-giving event took place on Dec. 20 at the Catholic Charities Daybreak Center in Joliet. John Narcissi, a Mokena resident and graduate of St. Mary’s, originally started the event three years ago as a service project and provided a free acoustic guitar concert at the event this year. 

Rebecca Susmarski

John Mihalos’ new restaurant would have made his grandmother proud.

Mihalos, an Orland Park resident, opened Just Shrimp in November, and the restaurant serves only the freshest seafood — shrimp, catfish and other wild-caught products arrive by truck daily — coated in a light, crispy batter and infused with spices that evoke Cajun flavors.

Danny Ciamprone

Mokena woman charged in massage parlor scam

A Mokena woman was charged with violating the Massage License Act for performing massages without a proper license in Palos Heights after an ongoing investigation from police.

Rebecca Susmarski

After months of discussion, research, public forums and spreading the word about the need for upgrades at two Mokena Community Park District facilities, park commissioners have approved a resolution to place a $6 million property tax neutral bond issue on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot.

One of those facilities is The Oaks Recreation & Fitness Center, which needs to be expanded to accommodate growing demand, and the other concerns improvements to Yunker Farm Park. 

Rebecca Susmarski

A Frankfort man was charged with possession of a controlled substance after police observed the suspect ducking in-and-out between vehicles in Mokena.

Aaron Fister, 20, of 10650 Williamsburg Trail, in Frankfort, was apprehended April 1 at 19546 S. 116th Ave. in Mokena. After police investigated the scene, the suspect said he was waiting “for friends to get home.” Police then conducted a pat down when a bottle of pills without a label was discovered.

Police said the suspect indicated he did not have a prescription with him.

Rebecca Susmarski

A Mokena firefighter was hospitalized and later released Monday, June 2, after responding to a residential fire in the 10000 block of Cambridge Drive in Mokena, said Mokena Fire Protection District Chief Howard Stephens. 

The firefighter, taken to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, “is doing OK at this point,” Stephens said. 

Around 5:52 p.m. the fire districts of Mokena and Frankfort were dispatched and upon arriving found a kitchen fire inside one unit of a four-unit townhouse complex, Stephens said. 

Will O'Brien

Sept. 23

• Phillip Smith, 29, of 601 E. 87th Place in Chicago, and Jeffrey Mason, 29, of 621 E. 87th Place in Chicago, were each charged with credit card theft, forgery and possession of cannabis at 20002 S. Wolf Road in Mokena after police responded to a reported credit card fraud with a description of two suspects purchasing gift cards with fraudulent credit cards, police said. The cannabis weighed 3.8 grams, police said.

Danny Ciamprone

The early morning rain on Wednesday, June 11, stopped just in time for the Mokena Chamber of Commerce to host its annual golf outing at Sanctuary Golf Course in New Lenox. 

 More than 80 golfers divided into about 21 teams of four were expected to participate in the event. The outing ran under a Las Vegas theme this year — that is, “What happens at the Mokena Chamber golf outing stays at the Mokena Chamber golf outing.” 

Rebecca Susmarski

There might not be quite as much history attached to it as other well-known Mokena landmarks, but soon a recognizable building will pass from our midst.

It’s no St. John’s Church, not as storied as Little’s Al’s and one could even say it’s not much to look at. 

Nevertheless, the old Therafin building at 19747 Wolf Road has a story that should be told. Beneath the weatherworn, gray cladding on the old structure is a tale of bustling post-war Mokena when business was booming along the Rock Island tracks. 

Danny Ciamprone