Paul Basile

Paul Basile has been the editor of Fra Noi for a quarter of a century. Over that period, he and his dedicated family of staff members and correspondents have transformed a quaint little community newspaper into a gorgeous glossy magazine that is read and admired across the nation. They also maintain a cluster of national and local websites and are helping other major metropolitan areas launch their own versions of Fra Noi.

Remembering Renato Turano

Born of humble origins, Renato Turano attained dizzying professional, civic and political heights while remaining unfailingly modest, generous and kind. A wave of sorrow swept across the Chicago-area Italian-American community in early December as news spread of the passing of Renato Turano. One of our most beloved and respected leaders, Turano built a legacy of generosity, service and leadership that may never see its equal. A co-creator with his brothers of one of the largest artisan bread manufacturers in the nation, Turano made history in 2006 when he became the first American citizen to serve in the Italian Senate. Those …

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JCCIA rallies libraries around the tricolore

The Italian tricolors were proudly flown at nine Chicago-area libraries throughout the month of October thanks to the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans. The initiative was spearheaded by Cav. Uff. Lyn Scolaro, JCCIA third vice president and education committee chair. Italian books, decorations, photos, toys and other realia were among the items on display at the public libraries in Addison, Bartlett, Bloomingdale, Elk Grove Village, Elmwood Park, Melrose Park and Wood Dale as well as the libraries at Washington Irving School in Oak Park and Resurrection College Prep High School in Chicago. The following individuals and organizations donated funds …

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Thankful, joyful and resolute

To edit Fra Noi is to live in a time warp in which months fold in upon each other, and the present and future blur. As I write this column for the January issue, Thanksgiving is two days away, Christmas decorations are about to emerge from their boxes in the basement and the New Year seems like a distant dream. In the midst of this befuddling cocktail of holiday spirits, it’s hard to know which tone to strike. Should I be thankful? Joyful? Resolute? One thing is certain, though: When I think of our advertisers, it’s easy to feel all …

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Rockford group honors its hometown heroes

The Greater Rockford Italian American Association held its annual Hall of Fame banquet on Oct. 9 at the Venetian Club. Inductees to Rockford’s Italian Hall of Fame are nominated by the community and selected annually by GRIAA’s Hall of Fame and Special Recognition Committee. Mike Doyle was the 2021 Italian Hall of Fame inductee. A longtime author, Rockford Register Star sportswriter and high school journalism teacher, Doyle has written two books on the deadly Belvidere tornado of 1967 and has edited and co-authored many other books and publications. He is the editor of GRIAA’s publication, Pappagallo, and is a principal …

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Triumph of the spirit

This year’s Columbus Day celebration in Chicago might not have been the biggest ever, but it certainly was the most remarkable. Absolutely everything conspired against it, from the slow pace of city approval to forecasts of rain and fears of protests that kept some on the sidelines. But permits were finally issued; a promotional blitz ensued; and floats, cars, bands and other marching units were rallied in weeks instead of months. On Oct. 11, a lone bus arrived at Casa Italia along with a gray dawn to shepherd the intrepid to morning Mass at Our Lady of Pompeii Shrine. Fr. …

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Going to bat big time for Columbus

The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations has launched a major initiative on behalf of Christopher Columbus. The four-pronged campaign reached the readerships of two of the nation’s premier dailies, nearly 10,000 media outlets, the halls of Congress and the memberships of hundreds of Italian-American organizations. Dubbed “The Columbus Project,” the campaign was kicked off with a full-page ad placed in the Sept. 27 editions of The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. The ad highlights the importance of Columbus to the Italian-American community, touts his accomplishments, counters contentions he was a genocidal slave trader and calls …

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JCCIA’s Italian Unity Day Rally a huge success

(The following story was provided by the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans) July 25 was the one-year-and-one-day anniversary of the removal of the Christopher Columbus statues by the City of Chicago. It was also the day Chicago’s Italian-American community turned out in droves to show unity and strength at the JCCIA’s “Pack the Park Italian Unity Day Rally.” “After all that has been going on with the Columbus issue and the disrespect our community has been shown, we thought a day where the politicians and the press could see just how numerous and strong our community really is would …

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National leader Basil Russo

A fierce advocate on behalf of his heritage for decades, Basil Russo has undertaken the Garibaldian task of uniting the community on a national level. Basil Russo was watching the ballgame on TV with his immigrant grandfather when Cleveland Indians slugger Rocky Colavito hit his record-tying fourth consecutive home run against the Baltimore Orioles on June 10, 1959. Russo was only 12 at the time, but that moment is forever etched in his memory. “My ‘nonnu’ was a tough, old Sicilian who rarely showed much emotion, but there he was with tears of joy running down his face,” Russo recalls. …

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Consul General Thomas Botzios

With a notable diplomatic pedigree and multinational roots, Thomas Botzios brings a global perspective to his role as the Midwest’s new Italian consul general. If anyone was born to be a diplomat, it’s Thomas Botzios. The Midwest’s new Italian consul general pursued the same career path as his father and uncle, Elias and Christos Botzios, both of whom served in the Greek diplomatic corps, and was raised to view the profession as a noble one. “My father always told me that being a consul is not only a matter of diplomacy, it’s a matter of service, to be of help …

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NIAF President Robert Allegrini

A dedicated community leader and standout public relations professional with deep Chicago roots, Robert Allegrini has been tapped to helm one of the nation’s preeminent Italian-American organizations. Like many Italian-American offspring of the Greatest Generation, Robert Allegrini had to find his way back to his roots. His mother was born in Italy, as were both of his paternal grandparents. But Allegrini’s father was a decorated veteran of World War II and a patriotic American who downplayed his ethnicity both at home and in public. He went off script at a key point in his son’s life, though, and that made …

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