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It’s not every day a rabbit pals around with a lion, but that’s exactly what happened Saturday, April 12, at Main Park, much to the delight of several hundred local boys and girls.

The Easter Bunny and Rory, the mascot of Lions Clubs International, mixed it up with some good-natured pantomime and posed for photos with tots of all ages at the Lions Club of Mokena’s annual Easter egg hunt.

Will O'Brien

May 5

• At 2:23 a.m. in the 12400 block of Steamboat Springs Drive, Louis A. Manzella, 22, of the 700 block of Amber Road, New Lenox, was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana, possession of drug equipment and driving with expired registration. Police allegedly found 6.7 grams of marijuana inside Manzella’s vehicle along with a digital scale, grinder device, smoking pipe and $462 cash. He was released pending a June 11 court date.

May 3

Will O'Brien

For the 16th straight year, the Mokena Community Park District will host Woofstock, providing local pets and their owners an opportunity to strut their stuff with competition prizes — not to mention bragging rights — on the line.

The annual celebration of all things animal will return to Main Park on Sunday, May 18, with registration starting at 1 p.m. and activities commencing a half hour later. Admission is free, and the event is open to all animals.

As I’ve said before, Mokena has a lot going for it.

Small-town charm, great parks, food, schools and more. These qualities, while obviously a plus for residents, also make my job of delivering local news quite a bit more fun, as well.

I’m pretty sure I’ve paid such compliments before, but repeating niceties never hurts.

Will O'Brien


Bernard N. Hoogstra, 94, of Mokena. He was the fiancé of Phyllis Knieze. He is survived by his children, Bernard (Teri) and Harriet Hoogstra; his grandchildren, Karen (Kristafer) Adelman, Jonathan, and Tracy; and two great-grandchildren. Bernard was a WWlI Army Air Corp veteran. Services were held at the Vandenberg Funeral Home. Interment Chapel Hill Gardens South. 


Welcome back.

Awhile back, I was contacted by a reader who suggested that I take a look at this week’s subject material. The fact that it’s a little “out there” made me somewhat curious to research it in detail. You can make your own decision about its newsworthiness. I’m going to lean on the old cliche that “I’m just the messenger.”

Kudos to all of you that have already guessed that the letters “U,” “F” and “O” are part of this tale. Ever see a UFO over Mokena? If your answer is yes, then apparently you’re not alone.

Rebecca Susmarski

Olivia Rydzewski first became interested in horses in second grade, when she spotted a riding program description in a Frankfort Square Park District brochure.
“She’s been in love ever since,” Liz Rydzewski, Olivia’s mother, said of her daughter.
The Lincoln-Way North freshman and Tinley Park resident was among dozens of Nova Quarter Horses, Inc. students to participate in the Mokena riding stable’s Spring Fling showcase on the weekend of March 29-30.

Will O'Brien

Aug. 4

• Kelly Conway, 34, of Frankfort, was arrested at 3:14 p.m. and charged with resisting/obstructing a peace officer, and having an in-state warrant. Shawn Roe, 35, of Frankfort, was arrested and charged with having a suspended/revoked license, resisting a peace officer and having an in-state warrant after police observed Roe driving on a suspended license with Conway as the passenger in the 19600 block of Wolf Road. 

Aug. 1

Rebecca Susmarski

The Joliet Slammers baseball team recently announced it has hired MK Orthopaedics, a physicians group with an office in Mokena, as its team physicians.

Dr. Ryan Pizinger of MK will be lead physician.

The doctors of MK Orthopaedics will work closely with the Slammers head athletic trainer Andrew Gates. MK also has offices in Joliet and Bolingbrook.

For more information, call (815) 741-6900.

It is with a certain degree of bittersweet emotion I am announcing my resignation as Editor of The Mokena Messenger.

My last day with the paper was Friday, June 13, (not unlucky, I hope). This edition is the last one my fast-typing, phone-dialing hands will touch.

In May 2012, I moved to Chicago a starry-eyed Wisconsin boy not far removed from college, hoping one day I’d know the pleasures of not only living but also working in the city, so that’s what I’m going to do.

Rebecca Susmarski