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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

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

What began as one Mokena resident’s response to a tragedy blossomed into a positive effort against poverty in schools. 

Retired teacher Dick Flesher and current teacher Dawn Oler operate a nonprofit called Schools Count Corp. out of their Mokena home. The organization provides a variety of items and services for schools in need throughout the Chicago area and even out-of-state. 

Danny Ciamprone

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

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.

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

Jack Sarsfield has done and seen a great deal in his 89 years on earth.

 Throughout decades of studying, working, teaching and being a kind, memorable friend to many, the Mokena resident has enjoyed one constant that still stirs his blood: creating art.

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

Dec. 3

• Thomas Leonard II, 32, of 11510 Francis Road in Mokena, was charged with speeding, driving without lights, failure to signal and attempting to elude a peace officer in the 11200 block of Front Street in Mokena after police reportedly observed the vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed.

Dec. 2

Danny Ciamprone

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

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