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On July 4, 2016, Laura Manikas and her eldest daughter, Stephanie, went on a three-mile trail run together. By the end of the month, Laura could barely walk. The lifelong Lockport and Homer Glen resident found a small lump on her upper hip, which grew rapidly. A biopsy revealed Laura had an an extremely rare cancer called soft tissue sarcoma. She died March 11.
Erin Redmond

Zachary Lammers, 27, was found dead in the early morning hours of Monday, Aug. 4, after falling from a residential 56th floor balcony on the 200 block of North Columbus Drive in Chicago.

Officer Ana Pacheco, of the Chicago Police Department, said Lammers was found dead at the scene of the fall at 2:55 a.m. 

The Cook County Medical Examiners Office conducted an autopsy Tuesday, Aug. 5, and concluded that the cause of death was “multiple injuries and fall from height.” The incident was ruled as accidental.

Lauren Finkler

There is a new “big ranch” in town, and it is ready to live up to its large name.

The owners of Big R, a well-known farm and ranch store chain in central Illinois and northern Indiana, decided to open the chain’s first Chicagoland location in Homer Glen. The store was scheduled to officially open Wednesday, May 6.

Amanda Jarzynski

The butterflies gradually began to kick in for Dan Donegan for the first time in years.


Sitting on a couch in the dressing room at the House of Blues in Chicago on Aug. 21, the guitarist of the band Disturbed would shortly take the stage with his group. With the band having been on hiatus for four years before that night, Donegan, a Homer Glen resident, knew their first show back would be something special.

Amanda Jarzynski
A third-grader from Homer Community Consolidated School District 33C died Sept. 6, according to a letter sent to parents Sept. 7 by Superintendent Kara Coglianese. The student, who was a third-grader at Shilling School, reportedly died at home “suddenly” and was not named by the district.
Bill Jones

An autopsy performed by the Will County Coroner’s Office Sunday, June 1, determined that a 23-year-old Lockport resident died due to “thermal injury” following a motor vehicle incident in which his car left the roadway, struck a fixed object and caught fire.

The deceased is identified as Andrew Mazza. Mazza was declared dead at 8:55 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, according to the Will County Coroner’s Office. The incident occurred on Bell Road, just north of Martingale Lane.

Michael Gilbert

Homer Glen resident Elizabeth Vernon says she’ll always try something at least once.

It’s just one reason why the 19-year-old agreed to compete in the 2015 Miss Illinois USA pageant Aug. 30 in Skokie, much to the surprise of her family and friends. 

“At first they kind of laughed because I was always the kid that was goofing off and just being like a comedian,” she said. “I was always a tomboy, I never wore dresses until like high school. Everyone is like, ‘What the heck are you doing? You’re crazy.’”

Meredith Dobes

An unidentified male died Saturday, May 31, after he was involved in a fiery crash in Homer Glen, according to a statement released by the Will County Coroners Office.
Authorities said the man, whose name is being withheld pending positive identification, was driving on Bell Road, just north of Martingale Lane in Homer Glen when his vehicle left the roadway and struck a fixed object causing the vehicle to catch fire.
The man was pronounced dead at 8:55 p.m. on May 31, according to the Will County Coroners Office.
An autopsy was scheduled for Sunday, June 1.

Michael Gilbert
A 56-year-old man and 54-year-old woman in Homer Glen were killed in an apparent murder-suicide while their children were home, according to a preliminary report from the Will County Sheriff’s Office.
Thomas Czaja

A fire that consumed both mulch and logs the evening of Monday, May 18, at Homer Tree Service in Lockport created traffic concerns, but no injuries were reported, and the blaze did not spread to any nearby structures, according to Northwest Homer Fire Protection District Deputy Chief Todd Fonfara.

The district got a call around 7 p.m. from a truck driver passing by Homer Tree Service, 16464 143rd St. in Lockport, about a fire at the business, Fonfara said. When crews arrived, the fire had spread from a mulch pile to a log pile, according to Fonfara.

Danielle Tabor

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