Community News

Chicago law firm makes mark on national ratings

Super Lawyers magazine has named 13 attorneys at Chicago-based Romanucci & Blandin to its 2024 Top 100 Super Lawyers, Illinois Super Lawyers and Illinois Rising Stars. Among them are several Italian-American attorneys, among them founding partner Antonio Romanucci, who ranked among the top 10 on the Illinois list. Super Lawyers relies on peer selection and review, third-party research, and professional achievement to curate its lists. Candidates are eligible as Rising Stars if they are 40 or younger or have been in practice for 10 years or less. Only 5% of attorneys in Illinois earned the Super Lawyer title and only …

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Global paesani gather in ancestral home for special day

The gravitational pull of their shared DNA was irresistible. On Dec. 29, 2023, the inhabitants of Alessandria del Carretto convened with their paesani in America in this ancient Calabrian mountain town for their first-ever Heritage Day. The two groups organized the gathering to celebrate the enduring bond between them. The day’s festivities, which were videotaped for American viewers, began at the municipal library, where attendees were shown a display of photographs. Among them were images of the town’s American descendants wearing T-shirts printed with their names and family connections. The display also included a photo of Mayor Domenico Vuodo with …

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IAPC honors worthy trio

The Italian American Political Coalition presented Judge Celia G. Gamrath with its William Paca Award, Richard Caifano with its Lifetime Achievement Award and Richard Catezone with its Public Service Leadership Award at its annual Heritage Celebration on March 7 at Elmcrest Banquets in Elmwood Park. The following profiles were provided by the organization. Richard Caifano Lifetime Achievement Award Richard Caifano has been a leader in the legal profession and Italian-American community for nearly six decades. An attorney in private practice since 1965, he focuses on civil and criminal litigation at the trial and appellate levels. Rich was a trial instructor …

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Holy Week to reign at Mt. Carmel, Pompeii

Holy Week is central to the spiritual lives of Italians on both sides of the Atlantic. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish and Shrine and the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii will play their parts from Palm Sunday (March 24) to Easter Sunday (March 31). OUR LADY OF MT. CARMEL (Melrose Park) will celebrate Mass with the distribution of palms at 7:45 a.m. and noon in English and at 10:30 a.m. in Italian on Palm Sunday; Mass of the Last Supper in English and Italian and the washing of feet at 6 p.m. and adoration of the Altar of …

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Salvi’s baseball prowess earns a NIASHF nod

Chicago attorney Patrick A. Salvi was honored as Sportsman of the Year at the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony and gala in December. A founder and managing equity partner at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, Salvi also is the CEO of Salvi Sports. A lifetime baseball aficionado, Salvi bought the Gary SouthShore RailCats in 2008, owning and operating it until 2022. Under his leadership, the minor league baseball team won four division championships, had 30 players signed to MLB organizations and won the 2013 American Association Championship. Salvi later expanded his baseball holdings with the purchase of …

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North Shore couple underwrites park renaming

Highland Park’s Cloverdale Park was recently renamed Fontana-Pasquesi Park and dedicated to the many immigrants from the province of Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy who settled in the northern suburb in the early 1900s and contributed significantly to the town’s history. Modena is one of Highland Park’s sister cities. The name change and dedication are the result of a donation by North Shore residents Larry and Maria (Fontana) Pasquesi, who trace their roots to both Highland Park and Modena.  

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Mishawaka stands by Columbus

More than 300 people gathered in Mishawaka, Indiana, on Oct. 8 to celebrate Columbus Day and Italian Heritage Month. A 1 p.m. ceremony at the Columbus statue in the city’s Central Park featured presentations by Mayor Dave Wood, Elkhart County Judge Mike Christofeno and St. Joseph County Assessor Rosemary Mandrici as well as representatives of local clubs from St. Joseph and Elkhart counties. Festivities continued with an Italian buffet luncheon at the DiLoreto Club, with food provided by local Italian restaurants. The event was sponsored by the DiLoreto Society, DeAmicis Italian Club, Italian American Heritage Society of Notre Dame/Michiana, Italian …

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SADIA to host second annual Carnevale

The Sons and Daughters of Italy in America will host its second annual Carnevale di Venezia from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 4 at Empress Banquets in Addison. Dubbed “La Commedia dell’Arte,” this year’s celebration will feature antipasto and dessert buffets; a family-style spaghettata; live entertainment, including acrobats and costumed performers; dancing; and more. Tickets are $75 and sponsorships are available. Reservations are required by Jan. 27. (

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Will County paesani form new group

It may come as a surprise to Italian Americans living in the northern half of the Chicago area, but the far southwest suburbs boast substantial communities of paesani as well. “Mokena’s population is the highest and Homer Glen has a large one as well,” reports longtime local elected official Steve Balich. “Joliet and Crest Hill have good-sized populations, too, and so does Lockport and a couple of the neighboring suburbs.” Balich and others formed the Will County Italian American Association last summer to rally their compatriots around each other and their culture. “We started the group to support our heritage …

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Service animal memorial has Italian connection

Eight dogs and three horses that gave their lives while serving alongside Chicago police officers were recently honored in a new memorial. Local sculptor Jessica LoPresti designed and sculpted the piece along with fellow artist Oscar Leon. The work was created at the Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt Amrany in Highwood, Illinois. “Our intention was to create a meaningful and moving tribute dedicated to the K9 and equine units of the Chicago Police Department that highlights the bond between the animals and their human partners, and to honor their service and sacrifice,” says LoPresti, a Chicago-area resident and DePaul University graduate. …

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