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A number of Mokena-area students recently got rides to school not from their parents but rather members of the Mokena Fire Protection District.

Instead of cruising in a minivan, the students commuted in fire district vehicles.

First up were Mokena School District 159 brother-sister duo Noah and Katie Ivicic, who received their ride on Wednesday, May 7. The siblings were given the special opportunity after winning an auction at the school district’s Fall Fling fundraising event.

Will O'Brien

On Saturday, Feb. 15, Summit Hill Junior High School band members participated in the Illinois Grade School Music Association Solo/Ensemble Contest at Liberty Junior High School in New Lenox. The band members competed in 49 different events, including solos, duets, quartets and quintets. The Summit Hill students received 45 first-division ratings. 

Six students received perfect scores from judges for their solos. They were: seventh-graders Brianna Toman, Sean Fisher, Julia Maylone and Suvidhi Shah and eighth-graders Tommy Brady and Tyler Win.

A 40-year-old Frankfort man was charged with DUI.

James Martin, of 21785 Bluebird Lane, in Frankfort, was reportedly found asleep behind the wheel of his vehicle Jan. 16 at 9610 W. 191st St. in Mokena after police were notified of a possible intoxicated driver in the area.

Upon speaking with the driver, police said they detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle. The driver also failed the field sobriety tests, police said.

Jan. 19

Danny Ciamprone

Cary Rogde and Nick James know an awful lot about ammo pouches and field jackets for two guys who never served.

The Mokena 23-year-olds are the history fanatics behind Military Heritage Displays, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the legacy of 20th century soldiers.

The Summit Hill District 161 Board of Education approved hiring a new principal of Arbury Hills School at a Wednesday, May 14 meeting, but not without debate.

Board Vice President Rich Marron voted “no” following a seconded motion to approve the employment of John Snipes as the new principal of the elementary school. The other five board members voted “aye” on the motion. (Member Jennifer Werner was absent.) 

Prior to the vote, Marron made a statement. 

Will O'Brien

It was a proud day for the Lincoln-Way North athletic department, family and friends as they gathered Wednesday, Feb. 4, to celebrate with eight student-athletes who signed letters of intent at a National Signing Day ceremony.

The students were honored by North officials during an event held in Phoenix Hall. Students who signed on to continue their athletic careers in college were: Emmanuel Pilatos, Kyle Pijarowski, Nina Tholl, Jake Abramowicz, Ryan Arthur, Ben Bajic, Adam Sylvester and Jake Chudzik.

Rebecca Susmarski

It was hard to choose a winner of the Mokena Messenger's 2014 Halloween costume contest. Above are some of the great runner-up entries we received, and some other great costumes from around Mokena. 

To see the winner of the Messenger's 2014 costume contest, click here. 

Rebecca Susmarski

Sophia Bonoma, Mokena Junior High School sixth-grader

Will O'Brien

Your mouth deserves a summer vacation, too.

With a bounty of fresh produce available, many local restaurants are featuring a variety of seasonal specials. Several of those special menus contain at least one salad, and for good reason.

Our staff recently set out in pursuit of the perfect seasonal salad and the dishes’ respective flavors took us to Italy, France and beyond — all without breaking the bank.

Stuffed pineapple

Rebecca Susmarski

It is out with the old and in with the new at Elwood Alehouse — including the restaurant’s name.

Owner Victoria Keller entirely rebranded and revamped her restaurant, which used to be known as Build-A-Bun, and which borders Frankfort’s Breidert Green Park.

It reopened as Elwood Alehouse in March, still full of welcoming community spirit but with a repurposed, vintage flair.

The restaurant went from offering counter service to being entirely table service, offering more events and adding items to the menu.

James Sanchez