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Community Profiles

Elmwood Park Police Chief Frank Fagiano

Frank Fagiano, chief of the Elmwood Park Police Department, has been on the job since 1993. He has solved many crimes, and brought countless criminals to justice. But when asked if any of those crimes stand out in his mind, the answer comes easily. Fagiano instantly recalls a particular crime in 1998, when he was a detective. A young woman was working at a Burger King by herself when a man wearing a mask came into the fast food restaurant, robbed it, and then sexually abused her. Fagiano and another detective found her, handcuffed and distraught. “Within five hours of the ...

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Harness race owners Tony and Michael Somone

The general public recognizes thoroughbred racing because of the big-name Triple Crown races: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. But the Somone brothers, Tony and Michael, instead gravitated to harness racing as teens. They grew up close to Maywood Park, which with its sister track in Crete, Balmoral Park, is a hub of Illinois standardbred harness racing. “When I was about 16, I went to the harness races with my friends,” recalls Michael, assistant vice president at Amalgamated Bank of Chicago. (He’s also been vice president of the Italian-American Labor Council for the past eight years.) “They (his older ...

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Elevator expert Robert Capuani

Growing up the son of Italian immigrant parents in the Taylor Street area, Robert Capuani learned a lesson that prepared him for a lifetime of success: “My father always told me, ‘No one’s going to give you anything for nothing,” and that you’ve got to work hard to set and achieve every goal.” As director of the Elevator Safety Division for the Illinois fire marshal, you could say Capuani has taken a steady ride to the top floor of his profession. He started the state’s program in 2006 and today, “We’re responsible for 34,000 elevators in the whole state outside ...

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Theater scion Drew DeSantis

From a young age, Drew DeSantis, (grandson of the late Anthony DeSantis, founder of Drury Lane dinner theatre) recalls helping his grandfather update the Rolodex, clean banquet chairs and peel carrots in the theater kitchen. It was good, honest work that prepared him to follow the family dream, and prepare it for a robust future. Having recently graduating from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business with a masters degree, DeSantis serves as the CFO of Drury Lane, where he’s helped produce more than 41 productions. It’s still a family affair; his brother Kyle is Drury Lane’s CEO. And ...

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Operatic financial advisor Frank De Vincentis

By day, Frank De Vincentis works as a financial advisor. But De Vincentis also has a hobby — and a passion — he hopes to share with others through charity: opera singing. De Vincentis credits his High School best friend for his love for opera and introducing him to the Golden Age of singing. De Vincentis recalls performing from a young age in musical theatre and was later introduced to his best friend’s father and vocal coach: Carl Lawrenz. “I owe a lot of my love of classical musical to Carl.” states De Vincentis, who graduated from DePaul University in ...

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Eldercare expert Joy Loverde

When Joy Loverde was just 14 years old, she volunteered to help out at a nursing home on Thanksgiving morning. Coming as she did from a loving Italian family, she was shocked by what she saw. “I couldn’t understand why seven people were sitting in the dark with no one around them, when I was going home to a large, wonderful Italian fest,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘Something is terribly wrong here. How could this happen?’” Many years later, Loverde would keep that moment in mind and heart when she wrote “The Complete Eldercare Planner: Where to Start, Questions to ...

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Crusading Chef Bruno Abate

When the ultra-picky Michelin Guide passed judgment on Tocco in funky Wicker Park, they began with a flattering question: “Are we in Milan or Wicker Park?” And just a year prior, Tocco won an OpenTable Diners’ Choice Award in 2013. But for all the bragging he could do about his restaurant, owner/chef Bruno Abate has something else he wants to discuss. Just before the dinner rush — in a mod dining room with white, ski-slope chairs — Abate projects a video on the wall that shows him talking to nearly 40 inmates at Cook County Jail. Rather than prison blues ...

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Rising vocal star Gianna Capra

Melrose Park is a town with deep Italian roots, and Gianna Capra draws from those roots daily as she reaches for the stars. A lifetime resident of the near western suburb, Capra plays an integral part in the business, spiritual and cultural life of her community. By day, she is a familiar face at Pan American Bank, where she serves as teller. And each Sunday, she is a beloved voice at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, where she performs as a soloist at Mass. A classically trained soprano, Capra has been singing at church since she was 12 years ...

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Ridgewood graduate Cettina Nardulli

Persistence and focus are the keys that open up the doors to success. Eighteen-year-old Cettina Nardulli has unlocked those doors, and a bright future lies ahead of her. Nardulli graduated with honors from Ridgewood High School in Norridge on May 27, having blossomed into a capable young lady. During her high school career, Nardulli managed to juggle participation on the pompom squad and soccer team with a leadership role as class council president and still earned a GPA of more than 4.5 along with an honorable mention on the 2013-2014 Illinois High School Association’s All-State Academic Team. “My parents are ...

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Youth sports advocate Anthony Isabelli

He’s the manager of digital marketing for the adult division of U.S. Soccer. He also is the U.S. Midwest regional trustee with the Italian National Olympic Committee. And he’s well-known in the Chicago-area Italian-American community as the founder and president of Sportivo Academy, a non-profit organization that provides introductory sports development programs primarily for Italian-American youths in the area. Isabelli says Sportivo, which he founded in 2008, “uses the universal passion for sports in a way to bring local Italian-American youth, coaches and mentors together to not only develop athletic and personal skills, but to help develop Italian cultural awareness ...

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