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They walked. They ran. They “kicked cancer’s butt.”

And under a cloudless sky Friday, June 13, cancer survivors, caregivers and volunteers descended upon the outdoor track at Lincoln-Way East High School in Frankfort to participate in the annual Relay for Life of Frankfort Mokena. 

More than 450 people participated, and the fundraiser brought in an estimated $131,000 this year, according to event organizers.

Rebecca Susmarski

Hometown Advantage members learned how to recreate a refreshing summer salad with one of the summer season’s hottest ingredients — heirloom tomatoes — Wednesday, Aug. 13, at Dancing Marlin in Frankfort.

Led by Dancing Marlin managing partner Ed Nemec, members learned how to make a charred heirloom tomato salad, which Nemec said may appear on the restaurant’s fall menu.

Rebecca Susmarski

There is but one week left to submit a photo that represents and honors the man who helped shape you and win one glorious prize in the process.

The deadline for The Mokena Messenger’s annual Father’s Day Contest — noon Thursday, June 11 — is quickly approaching, so we’re putting out a final call to residents to simply submit the best photo you have of your dad, preferably with you in it, as well.

The only real guideline we have for the contest is that the photo best captures what makes your dad special.

Rebecca Susmarski

Sometimes saying nothing can carry the heaviest weight – just a symbolic group coming together for a cause, reflection and paying the love forward.

“Nothing crazy, but I really want this night to be eye-opening for the communities and be hard hitting,” said Ryan Hesslau of Mokena. “People are going to walk away with a very positive message and a better outlook on life.”

Rebecca Susmarski

Tinley Park High School Athletic Director Michael Mongan has been charged with DUI by the Oak Lawn Police Department.

Mongan, 46, of the 9800 block of Lawndale Avenue in Evergreen Park, was stopped by an Oak Lawn patrol officer for several traffic violations around 1 a.m. June 10, according to Oak Lawn Police Chief Michael Murray. Mongan was seen allegedly erratically driving a Honda Pilot in the eastbound lanes in the 4500 block of 95th Street.

Danny Ciamprone

Hi everyone, my name is James Sanchez, and I am the new assistant editor for The Mokena Messenger. 

I am a journalism graduate from Columbia College Chicago who was born and raised in Willowbrook. As much as receiving a college degree is a rewarding life achievement, landing this position – my first full-time job in a profession I love out of college – is the most gratifying moment in my life, thus far. 

Danny Ciamprone

In the midst of more than 16,000 meals being packed in just two hours, phrases like “980 Rockin’ Haiti” and “One, two, we’re through at Peru” could be heard throughout the Feed My Starving Children facility in Schaumburg.

“They make it really fun and you get to see the number of meals that you’re packing and boxing up,” said Deborah Harvey, co-leader of Troop 980 in Mokena. “It’s amazing that it’s only a two hour shift.”

Danny Ciamprone

In a game that wound up having as many storylines as it did scoring drives, perhaps the most important was what Lincoln-Way East football coach Rob Zvonar emotionally delivered minutes after a 20-7 loss to Mount Carmel Saturday, Nov. 15, in the quarterfinals of the Class 7A playoffs.

Rebecca Susmarski

Visitors exit one of the barns set up for hundreds of guests in attendance Saturday, Aug. 15, at this year’s annual Farm & Barn Festival hosted by the Mokena Community Park District, which featured original farming equipment and historical photos on display.

Jean Lachat is a Mokena photographer. Her blog can be found at

Danny Ciamprone

Having planted about 700 new parkway trees last autumn as part of the community’s emerald ash borer management program, the Village of Mokena is now offering tips for the care of those trees to ensure their long-term health.

A one-page list of tree care guidelines has been developed, and is now available at A hard copy may be obtained by calling Village Hall at (708) 479-3900.

Will O'Brien