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As a tax paying citizen of Mokena, I want to be informed of the Village’s issues, so I attend park district meetings on a regular basis.

I have found that I am one of the very few who attend. As a result, I would like to inform the citizens of some information about the park district referendum soon to be decided on Nov. 4.

Danny Ciamprone

A proposal to bring a Panda Express to the Mokena Marketplace was well received by the Mokena Village Board of Trustees Monday, Feb. 16, during a Village worksession.

Panda Express is seeking a special use permit for a proposed 3,000-square-foot fast casual restaurant with one drive-through lane at 11255 Lincoln Highway in Mokena. 

Alan Zordan, director of community and economic development for the Village of Mokena, said the board first took a look at the concept plan for Panda Express in April 2014, but the board did not feel the designs were well suited to the area. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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