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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

With three months until the April 7 Consolidated Election, three challengers have emerged to run for a spot on the Mokena Village Board of Trustees.

The challengers include Joseph E. Budzyn, Marietta Kafka Glass and Debbie Fox. Seeking reelection on the board are incumbents Don Labriola, Debbie Engler and Jim Richmond.

Rebecca Susmarski

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

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