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Tag Archives: Paul Basile

Rewriting the antidefamation script

  At a moment in our history when conflict is rampant and emotions are running high, Chicago-area Italian Americans are charting a decidedly different course. They’re building coalitions, employing quiet diplomacy and reaching out across the divide to build support for their causes. The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans has been at the forefront of this strategic sea change, beginning with a more inclusive approach to the Columbus Day Parade. Historically a celebration of Italian pride, the parade has become increasingly multicultural, with last year’s event boasting nearly a dozen floats representing a variety of African, Hispanic, Asian and ...

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Special deliveries

The reputation of the once-vaunted U.S. Postal Service has taken its share of hits in recent decades. Who doesn’t have stories about damaged or mis-delivered letters, or long lines at the local post office?  As a magazine editor, I have my own tales of woe that include having to replace more than a dozen copies a month that mysteriously disappear into the system, or waiting for weeks to receive notifications that required my immediate attention. It’s easy to wonder what ever happened to those valiant couriers who braved rain, snow, heat and gloom to swiftly complete their appointed rounds. If ...

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Finding joy

Joy can seem as hard to come by nowadays as hand sanitizer, but at least there’s good news when it comes to joy. You don’t have to wait for a restock at Target. The supply is limitless if you know where to look. If you’re lucky enough to be sheltering in place with someone you care about, you can begin your quest with a great big hug. Studies show that an embrace of 20 seconds or more releases a flood of hormones that elevate your mood and promote relaxation and happiness. There have been hugs aplenty at our house since ...

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Renato Bacci to preside over veterans museum

Retired Army Col. Renato Bacci has been elected by the board of directors to helm the Italian American Veterans Museum. Joining him as officers are retired Navy Commander Joseph Troiani as first vice president, retired Army Maj. Lorenzo Fiorentino as second vice president, Army veteran Mark DiSanto third vice president, Steve Corbo as treasurer, Eugene Giudice as parliamentarian and Paul Basile as corporate secretary and executive vice president. The officers were installed by community leader Joanne Spata. During his 30-year military career, Bacci served as an infantry, armor, and civil affairs officer, with tours of duty in Bosnia, Croatia, Germany, ...

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We’ve endured far worse

I can’t recall the last time a film was as simultaneously popular and polarizing as “Green Book.” The story about the unlikely friendship that blossoms between a casually racist Italian-American bouncer and an elitist African-American concert pianist during a road trip through the South in 1962 was a fan favorite, earning $322 million at the worldwide box office. It also cleaned up during awards season, netting Oscars as well as Golden Globes for best picture, supporting actor and original screenplay. But the cinematic rendition of the real-life sojourn taken by Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga and Don Shirley attracted as much ...

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A GREAT way to see Italy

Nowadays, there are as many ways to tour Italy as there are cities to visit and sights to see. You can travel with a companion, charting your own course and booking everything yourself, or you can sign up for a large-group tour that takes you by the hand and attends to every detail. And then there are the countless small-group options dedicated to exploring the country’s many facets and out-of-the-way places. When my wife and I decided to celebrate our 35th anniversary in Italy, we invited my family along for the ride. From that tiny seed a truly magical adventure ...

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The NEA got it right!

I write in response to André Dimino’s article “Hey, NEA! No Way!” about the NEA’s resolution concerning Columbus Day. First, let me establish my bona fides to address this issue. My father, maternal grandfather and maternal great-grandparents were all born in Italy — every drop of my blood traces back to Italy. So, I am as Italian as one can be. I am also a teacher of 26 years experience, and for the last 18 years, I’ve been a dues-paying, rank-and-file member of the National Education Association. In fact, for 17 of those 18 years, I’ve held some kind of ...

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In praise of volunteers

“Money makes the world go ’round,” or so they say. But in the world I live in, volunteerism is every bit as precious as cold, hard cash. At Fra Noi, we have Dan Serafini, a retired financial systems programmer who emailed me out of the blue one day with an offer of help. He came along just as Mary DeSanto was stepping down as our longtime mailing manager, and Dan now assembles our monthly renewal notices, with lunch as his only material reward. The Italian American Veterans Museum is run by an all-volunteer board that’s rich in both talent and ...

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Veterans museum accepts donation of bronze plaque

A major piece of local military history is now on display at the Italian American Veterans Museum in Stone Park thanks to the dedication and generosity of the Far South Side Italian-American community. A massive bronze plaque honoring scores of World War II veterans was donated to the museum at a ceremony in late October at Carlo Lorenzetti’s in Chicago hosted by the Spaghetti-Os. There to accept the donation were IAVM board members Paul Basile, Steve Corbo and Mark DiSanto. The plaque was commissioned by Società Filarmonica Bella Italia and contains the names of 125 mostly Italian-American veterans. It had ...

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Some very Italian resolutions

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. I’m always looking to improve myself, and the leap from one year to the next is as good a springboard as any to spread my wings and at least try to soar. In the past, my to-do list has centered mostly on taking better care of myself — exercising, eating better, learning to relax — with my resolve typically melting well before the spring thaw. With the clock winding down on 2018, I was on the hunt for a new sort of resolution — the kind ...

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