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They’re back.

Nearly every player from last season’s Lincoln-Way East boys volleyball team is set to return in 2014, which has coach Kris Fiore feeling positive heading into the season.

“Plus, we are adding a pretty talented junior class,” Fiore said. “Almost all of our upperclassmen played club over the winter, and many of them spent a good deal of time in the weight room getting ready for the season.”

As the Lincoln-Way East wrestling team looks toward the regional tournament this weekend, coach Tyrone Byrd sees the Griffins doing something good — having fun.

East placed sixth at the SouthWest Suburban Conference meet Saturday, Jan. 17, at Joliet Central. The good news, however, is just one of the teams that finished ahead of the Griffins will be in the same Class 3A regional, to be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, at Lincoln-Way Central.

Danny Ciamprone

Emily Richter, Arbury Hills School third-grader

What is one essential you must have when studying?

I like it quiet so I don’t get distracted.

What do you like to do when not in school or studying? 

I like drawing, coloring and art.

What is your dream job and why? 

I want to be a veterinarian because I get to help animals and pet them.

Rebecca Susmarski

I've been thinking a lot lately about fundamentals. The things we could do as a village with technology to improve our everyday lives. Things that, once they existed, would be as natural as air. And I think I’ve come up with a pretty good short list.

As we close the book on 2014 we are looking back at our accomplishments and looking forward to a new year and a new chapter.  

From education to entertainment, the Mokena Community Public Library District offered materials and programs for all in 2014. A new website was created,, where you can find 24/7 access to a variety of reference resources, as well as information about the library.

Danny Ciamprone

Smokey and Meadow

Gerri Brewer

Mokena resident

My daughter and her husband just adopted Smokey and Meadow from a shelter in Montana. They are 1.5-years-old. They are brother and sister and are very affectionate. They love to give kisses all the time.

Rebecca Susmarski

The ambitious nature of Lincoln-Way East’s 2014 spring musical wasn’t exactly by design, but director Matthew Granger knew the talent level of the students.

“We wanted to do a musical that had some familiarity, and we also wanted to give more people the opportunity to showcase their skills,” said Granger, a week before opening night of East’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.”

Audience members who attended the Lincoln-Way North fall production this past weekend were in for a surprise — and then some.

Lincoln-Way North presented “The Man in Seat 24 (The Uninvited Guest)” — an interactive play by Martin Collin — during three shows. The first was Thursday, Oct. 30; the second Saturday, Nov. 1; and a final matinee Sunday, Nov. 2. All three shows were performed at the Lincoln-Way North Fine Arts Center, 19900 Harlem Ave. in Frankfort.

Rebecca Susmarski

While the Orland Park area has its fair share of Middle Eastern restaurants, and while the storefront at 9328 W. 159th St. has already seen two come and go, Faye Alowisi said she thinks the area has still been missing something when it comes to Middle Eastern cuisine — authenticity.

Which is why she and her husband, Amjad, decided last November to pick up the ball and try to bring something real to the site that previously housed Pita Oven and The Nile Restaurant by opening The Shish Kabob House.

Local Elvis tribute artist Dave Thomas has sung on “Good Morning America,” at shows in front of 5,000 people, and for 14 years while traveling the Midwest and promoting Six Flags Great America with his act.
Being The King has been good for the 54-year-old Frankfort Square resident.
The decades of travel and accolades haven’t gotten to Thomas’ head, though. He’s all about the performance, no matter the audience or venue.

Will O'Brien