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To the southeast of Rome lies the town of Amaseno – a small farming community in Italy with a population of about 4,000.

It’s also a place where three women can trace their roots from, and what serves as the focal point for a passion that has developed through generations of families.

“We grew up together in the same town and have known each other since we were little kids,” said Anna Panici as she helped get dinner ready Wednesday, Feb. 4, at Scrementi’s Italian Grill in Mokena.

Danny Ciamprone

On the surface, “Made in Mokena” may appear like an ordinary cookbook with recipes ranging from appetizers to desserts, but the substance of the newly released hard cover is made up of the like-minded will of residents and a community looking to support an educational cause.

Danny Ciamprone

Laura Quinlan’s dreams are about to become reality.

The New Lenox mother of four’s Simply Rose Boutique, located off 191st Street in Mokena, will host a grand opening on May 3-4, marking the culmination of a half-year’s worth of work Quinlan hopes will result in a sophisticated shopping experience customers of all ages will find worthy of revisiting time and time again.

“I am so excited,” a beaming Quinlan said during a recent interview. “This is a dream come true for me; a bucket list item, you know. 

A Bourbonnais woman was charged with retail theft April 6 after attempting to steal five packages of ribs and fleeing from a Mokena store.

Amber Zummallen, 26, of 1325 N. Arthur Burch, in Bourbonnais, was later located by police hiding under a semi-trailer at 11305 W. Lincoln Highway in Mokena. The suspect allegedly tried to steal several packages of ribs, and after being apprehended by police, stated she had stole 10 packages of bacon approximately one week prior from the same location.

April 6

Danny Ciamprone

It’s called “With-A-Switch” because Chris Vroman and his brother Kevin can fix pretty much any electronic device out there. In fact, what Mario and Luigi are to the gaming world, the Vromans are just the same to the technology revolution.

There are some things though even the owners of one of the only electronic repair stores in Mokena can’t overcome, and why come Aug. 1, “With-A-Switch” will be relocated from Front Street.

But let’s back up to April 1, 2013 – April Fool’s Day – the same day the brothers acquired the store front. 

Rebecca Susmarski

The Mokena Messenger sat down in an exclusive interview April 26 with Superintendent R. Scott Tingley and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Tim Reilly to talk about the district’s past, present and future in regards to finances, the closure of Lincoln-Way North and the transition process, and the district's transparency and reputation.

The following is a Q&A transcript of the interview.

At what stage is the transition process?

Amanda Jarzynski

A residential structure fire the morning of Aug. 31 “significantly” damaged a two-story home in an unincorporated area near the northwest border of Mokena, according to a press release issued the same day by the New Lenox Fire Protection District.

Firefighters reportedly were dispatched at 2:16 a.m. Aug. 31 with a report of a structure fire in the 13000 block of W. 184th Place — a Mokena mailing area that falls under unincorporated New Lenox Township.

Danielle Tabor
It is difficult to stay positive in the face of overwhelming adversity. After a while, most people feel like calling it quits and giving up the big fight. For Mokena resident, Jim Giglio, there is no such thing as giving up when it comes to his three-year fight against Stage 4 lung cancer and brain tumors. He said he finds his strength through being a father to his two sons, Chris and Kyle.
Amanda Jarzynski

With Frisbees floating lazily around Mokena’s Main Park Friday, July 4, the 60-member, red-shirted Encore Concert Band tuned its instruments.

“This is the part of our Fourth of July celebration that I have come to like best,” said Bea Johannsen, a Mokena resident, as she set down her wooden picnic basket and spread a checkered, red-and-white blanket on the grass. “When my kids were young, the parade was always the highlight. But now that I’m up in age, I like things a little more relaxed, like this concert.”

Rebecca Susmarski

Since last summer, Mokena has mourned the loss of its hometown hero, Pvt. Aaron Toppen, but with a plethora of community support, fundraisers and special events, his spirit will remain strong in a community that still wears blue with pride, and admires the yellow ribbons tied along Townline Road, later named Aaron Toppen Memorial Drive, in his honor.

Danny Ciamprone

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