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The Lincoln-Way East girls track and field team is truly that: a team. Now, the Griffins are also something else — back-to-back Illinois High School Association Class 3A state champions.

Behind a number of record-breaking performances, East placed in the Top 8 in seven different events and cruised to a 72-point, championship-winning total Saturday, May 24, at O’Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

Journalists, analysts and pundits across the U.S. have consistently referred to Illinois as one of the worst-run states in America, and Mokena residents are paying for it. The value of homes in Mokena is depressed because more people are leaving the state than coming in, especially at higher incomes. The great emigration is driving the supply of homes up in Mokena and the demand for homes down. Corporations are also fleeing as Illinois now has the fourth highest corporate tax rate in the country, taking their well-paying jobs with them.

Danny Ciamprone

Lincoln-Way East Athletic Boosters will host its annual Breakfast with Santa from 7-11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 6.

Children will be able to visit Santa and have their pictures taken. Jean Lachat Photography will be on-hand for photos. Tickets will be $5 per person with 3 years old and under free with a paid adult.

Breakfast includes pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, milk, juice or coffee.

Danny Ciamprone

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 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

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

Some may see the road Rick Tustin took to his new job at Grace Fellowship Church an act of fate — or even, the hand of God. 

Tustin, a Manhattan resident and father of three, accepted the interim position of lead pastor at the church after former lead pastor John Morlan departed on June 15 to preach in Colorado. Tustin left a tenured position at Hillcrest High School, where he taught for 12 years, to take the job. 

Danny Ciamprone

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

Volleyball and basketball enthusiasts can rejoice as the Mokena Village Board unanimously approved an indoor sports facility addition at Velocity All Sports during its regular board meeting Monday, Aug. 25.

The special use permit request from Velocity All Sports, located at 9120 W. 191st St., allows the business to operate a 50,000 square foot indoor volleyball and basketball facility on the property.

Danny Ciamprone

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