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Fricano daughters offer NW suburbs signs of hope

They began popping up all over the Northwest suburbs like daffodils in the spring: lawn signs offering words of encouragement like “Smile,” “Hope,” “Believe,” “Trust in God” and “We’re all in this together.” First there were a handful, then a few dozen. At last count, there were more than 500, all created by a quartet of daughters looking to spread a little sunshine during these dark times. “My kids were all home from school, and everybody was a little bit down,” explains Itasca resident Peter Fricano Jr. “As they were making the signs, they started to feel really good as ...

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Ron Giordano lends a hand across the border and back

In the course of a 50-year career at Huntley-based H.S. Crocker, Ron Giordano has helped turn a money-losing plant into an award-winning operation. He is now CEO and president of a business that specializes in food packaging, producing items such as foil lids for yogurt containers and individual-dose pharmaceutical products. His remarkable career achievements are mirrored by his philanthropic drive. As a volunteer for the Chicagoland Radio Informational Service, he has read the news to the visually impaired, and as a member and past president of the Columbian Club of Chicago, he has organized fundraisers to assist more than 70 ...

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Literary symposium takes to the internet

IA Literati, a celebration of local Italian-American authors and books, will move to an online platform this year. Typically held in the Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia in Stone Park, the literary seminar will be presented via Zoom in two back-to-back sessions starting at 10 a.m. on June 13.  Participating authors include John Cavallone, Mary E. Matury Gibson, CJ Martello and Marcella Bernard, with Fra Noi Associate Editor Fred Gardaphe serving as the keynote speaker. This year’s seminar will be dedicated to the memory of poet, essayist and translator Joseph Tusiani. For details, email casalibrary@gmail.com.  

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Swiss guard stands watch over St. Peter’s at Casa

Thanks to a donation from local businessman Gino Bartucci, a member of the pope’s elite Swiss Guard now watches over the model of St. Peter’s Basilica at Casa Italia — or so it would seem. The model has been on display on the third floor of the Italian Cultural Center for decades, but the uniform was in storage until Bartucci donated a mannequin from his Harlem Avenue gift shop, La Bomboniera. A longtime supporter of the Casa, Bartucci previously donated a G. Armani ceramic presepio for display in the cultural center’s John Cadel Art Gallery.    

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Farella launches couture bridal fashion house

Cara Maria Farella opened a couture bridal fashion house last year and wasted no time bringing her work to the runway. The 27-year-old staged her first collection, Il Tesoro, in January at Chicago’s Kimpton Gray Hotel. The collection features rich fabrics embedded with gemstones, pearls, crystals and forged metals. Unusual for her industry, Farella not only designs her dresses but fabricates them on her own commercial production loom. Farella graduated from the Chicago Academy of the Arts High School and UK’s prestigious Central Saint Martins and Chelsea School of Art and Design.  

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Festa chronicler goes to bat for la banda

Back in the heyday of la festa, hundreds of Italian patron saint festivals graced America’s urban landscape each year, and many major metropolitan areas boasted at least one feast band. Most of those celebrations have disappeared, along with the bands that enlivened them, but the music will play on thanks to Marcantonio Pezzano. The veteran festa chronicler is assembling a trove of photos, oral histories and sheet music into a booklet, CD and archive preserving the Italian feast band tradition. To make a donation, click here.

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Serpico delivers banner results at Casa’s Golden Gala

With Jo Ann Serpico as its Woman of the Year, Casa Italia celebrated another hugely successful 50th anniversary gala. Friends from across the community flocked to Belvedere Banquets in Elk Grove Village on Feb. 8 to honor Serpico, and the program book was filled with words of praise. “There’s nobody who works as hard on as many fronts as you do,” Casa Chairman Angelo Castanza wrote. “You set the gold standard for community leadership that we all aspire to.” The admiration continued to flow during the presentations that evening. “Where would we be without our dear friend Jo Ann?” asked ...

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Columbian Club installs Mark M. Corrado as president

Retired CFO Mark M. Corrado stepped up to the presidency of the Columbian Club of Chicago at a black-tie optional installation dinner on Jan. 18 at the Medinah Country Club. Joining Corrado as 2020 officers are First Vice President Michael D. Russotto, Second Vice President John F. Curry, Third Vice President Victor M. Guerrieri, Secretary Carmen P. Forte Jr., Treasurer Christopher M. Derks and Sergeant at Arms Gerard Iannuzzelli. One-Year Directors for the coming year are Edoardo D. Izzi, Matthew Rubino, Jack Ross, Michael Quaid and Anthony L. Scola. Two-Year Directors are Joseph K. Marinacci, John D. Brescia, Vincent Maietta, ...

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Culture Center houses model of da Vinci catapult

The John Cadel Art Gallery in the Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia recently welcomed a model of a catapult that was designed by Leonardo da Vinci. Local artists and engineers Matthew McKee and Jonathon Boley built the catapult for exhibition at the third annual One Book, One Village series at the Arlington Heights Library in 2016. There is no record the catapult was built during da Vinci’s lifetime, but the design appeared in his notebooks. The model took 160 hours to build and is held together with dovetail joints and dowels. Casa Italia supporter and volunteer Frank Cesario purchased ...

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Let your Italian pride show!

If you’re stuck at home, why not have some good old-fashioned Italian fun and share it with Fra Noi? Send us photos or videos of you and your family celebrating your heritage while you’re sheltering in place. Making pasta by hand with the kids? Take a picture! Playing a game of tombola or scopa with your spouse? Make a video! Watching your grandkid create the next “Mona Lisa” at the dining room table? Don’t just stand there, capture the moment! Email your files to info@franoi.com by April 30. The best photos and videos will be posted on our Facebook page ...

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