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Author Archives: Fra Noi

Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.

Panino’s pizzaiuolo shines in Spain

The culinary coach of the U.S. Pizza Team took second place in a pizza championship held on Oct. 8 in Granada, Spain, while four other USPT members finished in the top 10. Gino Rago of Panino’s Pizza in Chicago took home second place in the Pizza Classica division, with Michael LaMarca (Master Pizza, Cleveland, Ohio), Jason Samosky (Samosky’s Homestyle Pizzeria, Valley City, Ohio) and Dave Sommers (Mad Mushroom, West Lafayette, Indiana) placing fourth, seventh and 10th respectively. Thirty-two competitors from around the world participated in the fourth annual Pizza por Pasión, organized by Antonia Ricciardi, president of the Università di ...

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Jim & Pete’s achieves patio perfection

“Outdoor” dining in the dead of winter? It shouldn’t be possible, but Jim & Pete’s has pulled it off. The iconic Elmwood Park eatery recently earned Outdoor Patio of the Year accolades after it bought a nearby building, demolished it and built a heated 1,000-square-foot addition that features a motorized, louvered roof and drop-shade windows that, at a touch of a button, can make the room comfortable in almost any weather. “This isn’t putting a tent up around a patio or unrolling canvas to block the rain; this is a completely convertible room,” says Jim Michael Bucchianeri, who co-owns the ...

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Maggiano’s honors philanthropic former exec

Chicago native Gianna Farago Tetrick recently was inducted into the Maggiano’s Hall of Fame for her philanthropic work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The non-profit organization that grants wishes to children with critical illnesses celebrated its 15th year partnering with the restaurant for the Eat-A-Dish campaign. Spearheaded by Farago Tetrick during her time as marketing director and carried on by the Maggiano staff since her departure, the program has raised more than $8 million dollars to date, granting more than 1,100 wishes to children receiving treatment throughout the nation. Farago Tetrick, who says her desire to give back is driven by ...

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Amy Mazzolin earns prestigious Kelly Award

Catholic Charities has bestowed one of its most prestigious awards upon Fra Noi President Amy Mazzolin. The retired banker and noted philanthropist was presented with the Dennis F. Kelly Award at the venerable organization’s 99th annual board of directors meeting on Oct. 17 at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago. Named after a revered past president of the organization, the award is given each year to a member of the board who exhibits outstanding service to the mission of Catholic Charities. A board member since 1989, Mazzolin has long supported the organization’s many efforts on behalf of veterans. Among them ...

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D’Amico combats valor thieves

Those who lie about serving in the armed forces in an effort to receive material benefits would face criminal charges under a new proposal co-sponsored by State Rep. John D’Amico. “Our military heroes make great personal sacrifices to protect our freedoms,” D’Amico said. “This proposal would ensure that the military men and women who put their lives on the line have access to the benefits they deserve, not some imposter.” Under the measure, fines would be leveed against anyone who obtains money, property or other benefits by falsely representing him or herself as an active-duty service member or veteran.

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JCCIA presents media awards

The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans presented ABC7 Vice President and News Director Jennifer Graves with its prestigious Dante Award at its annual media luncheon. The honor is bestowed each year on a member of the media who lives up to Dante Alighieri’s call to be no timid friend to truth. A member of the ABC7 team since 1992 and its news director since 2001, Graves has earned numerous journalism awards. She has been a major contributor to the station’s cutting-edge technological advances, including the recent installation of ABC7’s state-of-the art news set; an all-digital newsroom; high-definition news; and ...

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Arcolians go to bat for UIC dentistry school

The Arcolian Dental Arts Society gave generously to the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry at its holiday party at the Park Ridge Country Club on Dec. 1. Society President Dr. Frank Maggio and President-Elect Dr. Russell Spinazze (pictured, left and right) presented Dean Clark Stanford with a $2,000 donation to the college’s Group Practice Clinic Renovation Fund. The gift will help introduce new technology into the Group Practice Clinics. “We supported the school not only because we realize it needs financial help at this time, but more importantly, because the future of the profession is being created ...

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IAET honors Onesti, Nicotera at standout gala

    The Italian American Executives of Transportation held their 2015 Dinner Dance at Alta Villa Banquets on Nov. 22, 2015. Despite the snow, more than 600 were in attendance, making it once again one of the largest dinner dances of the year. The IAET honored Ron Onesti, president of Onesti Entertainment, as Man of the Year. A titan in the Italian American community and entertainment industry, Ron generously donates his time and talents locally while entertaining audiences across the country. Lou “Sonny” Nicotera was honored as Humanitarian of the Year. Sonny is one of the finest gentlemen you will ...

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Angelo Castanza Jr. elected president of CIAO

Angelo Castanza Jr. took over as president of the Calabresi in America Organization at CIAO’s annual installation dinner in November. Castanza was brought into the organization in 2001 by the indefatigable Joe Bruno. Once involved, he was hooked. “It is the one place other than my family where I feel I completely belong,” he explains. Castanza has risen through the ranks of CIAO officers over the last several years, and has served on the board of directors, advisory board and golf outing committee. He has played the part of Santa at the organization’s Christmas party since 2003. “I see my ...

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MADD honors Rep. D’Amico

In recognition of his work to strengthen DUI laws, state Rep. John D’Amico received the Legislator of the Year Award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), an organization dedicated to saving lives and preventing drunk driving fatalities. “Too many innocent lives across the nation have been taken by the careless decisions of drunk drivers,” D’Amico says. “As a legislator, I want to make sure Illinois enforces measures to help keep our families safe on the road and from having to endure the pain of losing a loved one from reckless driving.” D’Amico partnered with the Secretary of State’s office to ...

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