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Casa instructor Giovanna “Jackie” Dimetros

It only seems like Casa Italia’s popular language and cuisine instructor, Giovanna “Jackie” Dimetros, is leading a double life. Some people know her as Giovanna and others as Jackie, she has inexplicably English and Greek surnames, and people aren’t certain whether she’s a cooking or Italian teacher or both. But she is in fact one delightful Italian-born Chicagoan who integrates all these identities. The story begins during World War II. An American Army officer, Major Jack Spears, a Chicago native stationed in Tuscany, fell in love with his future wife Miranda in the town of Livorno. After they married, they ...

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Undefeated featherweight Gio Mioletti

Giovanni “Gio” Mioletti won a unanimous decision on April 28 at the UIC Pavilion, beating formerly undefeated William Hernandez in a battle of undefeated featherweights. It was his toughest test to date and, according to his trainer and head coach, John Nocita, “He did everything he had to do to beat a very tough opponent.” Mioletti, from suburban Woodridge, was excited to be fighting in front of his hometown fans. “I was really looking forward to this bout because I knew I’d have family and friends in attendance,” he says. The win moves Mioletti’s record to 7-0, and Nocita thinks ...

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Activist storyteller Tori Hagerty

A trip to Ghana in the summer of 2011 was a wakeup call for Tori Hagerty, serving as a catalyst for a project that now encompasses hundreds of interviews, two books and a nonprofit foundation that aids the orphanage where she volunteered for a month-and-a-half. “It changed my entire worldview and made me appreciate all the luxury that we have here in America,” Hagerty says of her trip. It also inspired her to combine a longstanding passion for storytelling with her desire to make the world a better place. While volunteering in Ghana in 2011, Hagerty met Amara, a young ...

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Linguistic entrepreneur Gianluca Butticè

When Gianluca Butticè moved from his native Sicily to the U.S., he faced the challenges of learning English and American culture. Surmounting that learning curve inspired him to make the journey easier for others. So after spending the past several years teaching Italian, he is branching out into offering tours of Italy that encompass language and culture in a mutually enhancing way. “I know the doors that are opened when you learn a new language,” he says, explaining that traveling, learning the culture of a country and learning the language can all reinforce each other. Butticè, 41, believes everything he ...

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Celebrity chef Paul Sorvino

Paul Sorvino is a true Renaissance man. Best known for his acting in film and television, he also is an accomplished sculptor and opera singer, as well as a writer and businessman. And now, he is the author along with his wife Dee Dee of a new cookbook that may be the beginning of his re-emergence into the food industry. In Sorvino’s mind, it’s just another outlet for him as an artist and as an Italian American. “Cooking is an art. The way we do it it’s an art. It’s an art and the results are almost immediate,” Sorvino says. ...

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Addison Trail instructor Judie Vitiritti-Lynch

At a recent awards banquet, Judie Vitiritti-Lynch was so engaged in talking to her former students that she didn’t hear the emcee announce her name. A colleague prompted her to walk up to the podium, because she had won the Italian Consulate in Chicago’s first-ever Midwest Award for Leadership in the Teaching of the Italian Language and Culture. “I was stunned, because I was up against some very good people, and everyone was so deserving,” recalls Vitiritti-Lynch, who became Addison Trail High School’s first Italian language teacher in the early 1990s and pioneered the program. In her first year, she ...

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Boxing judge Mauro DiFiore

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing one of professional boxing’s most respected stars outside of the ring. From Chicago, the only Italian-American professional boxing judge in the state of Illinois, always in the neutral corner, is Mauro DiFiore. DiFiore never steps into the ring and he must always maintain strict neutrality. His skills and 50 years of boxing experience have made him one of the most sought after professional boxing judges in the world. His reputation as one of the best has brought him to a level few ever attain. The globetrotting DiFiore has judged championship matches all over the world. He ...

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Youth sports advocate Anthony Isabelli

Sportivo Management Group founder Anthony H. Isabelli has parlayed a deep appreciation for his Italian heritage into a new role that he hopes will allow more Italian Americans to examine their own roots. In December, he was appointed to the position of United States Foreign Committee president for the Association of Sport, Culture and Leisure (ASCI), an Italian organization headquartered in Rome. This new post will allow Isabelli to further his mission of encouraging cultural exchanges between America and Italy by creating opportunities for young athletes from both countries to compete against each other. In an official statement, Isabelli expressed ...

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CIACO to honor Lou Scaramuzzo

The Chicagoland Italian American Charitable Organization will honor Louis Scaramuzzo as Humanitarian of the Year on April 29 at Medinah Shrine Center in Addison. To make reservations, visit www.ciaco.org or call 630-400-9908. The Chicagoland Italian American Charitable Organization is proud to honor Louis Scaramuzzo as our 2017 Humanitarian of the Year. A top performer in the luxury automobile market for three decades, Lou pours his heart and soul into every aspect of his life. With paternal grandparents Louis and Immaculata Scaramuzzo hailing from Caserta near Naples, and maternal grandparents Carmelo and Rosina Termine emigrating from Marsala in Sicily, Lou’s Italian ...

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Oak Park Police Chief Anthony Ambrose

Anthony Ambrose is having a busy year. Months after accepting the post of chief of police at the Oak Park Police Department in August, a place he’s called home since his patrol days in 1984, he was elected president of the Columbian Club of Chicago. “Everything is kind of happening all at the same time,” he laughs, “but it’s a chance to give back to the community.” “Community” is a word Ambrose returns to often. He has held eight positions over 33 years at the OPPD prior to his ascent to the top spot, but it’s his time as community ...

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