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Combonis to honor Rose Mary Ranallo

The Comboni Mission Center will honor Rose Mary Ranallo on Nov. 25 at Porretta’s Banquets in Chicago. Ranallo is the chief financial officer and manager of her family businesses, NS Builders and Arno Decorating. A resident of Schaumburg, she grew up in Chicago and Elk Grove Village with her two sisters, Josephine and Lisa, and her parents, Gina and Natale Sclafani, who immigrated to the United States from Sicily. A past treasurer and president of the Women’s Division of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, she has chaired the division’s Italian Heritage Ball and Cotillion as well as its ...

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Capriati re-imagines Italian radio

After 25 years of hosting an Italian radio show in Chicago, Pasquale “Pat” Capriati was ready to shake things up a little. Capriati, who also performs with the Chicago-area Italian band Diamanti, decided to double the length of his show, Domenica Insieme, from one hour to two, add John Conenna as co-host and sprinkle more English-language conversation into the mix. The show airs Sundays from 9 to 11 a.m. on WCKG 1530 AM radio. “John was a guest on the show, and I told him he had an open invitation to come back,” Capriati says. “He’s been coming every week for the ...

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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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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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Singer Cory Bolletino

Growing up blind and with a variety of medical conditions, 27-year-old Cory Bolletino of Mount Prospect attended mainly special needs schools, and occasionally had to sit out of school for medical reasons. He didn’t have much of a chance to make childhood friends, he says, so his world centered around his mother Veronica, father Rick, and music. “The way I used to relax was through music. Music was my best friend,” says Bolletino. “It will always be my best friend.” He has spent years listening to singers like Andrea Bocelli, Julio Iglesias, Marco Antonio Solis and Camilo Sesto, and likes ...

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Dominic Mautone celebrates 100th Birthday

Dominic (Nay) Mautone celebrated his 100th birthday on Sept. 23. He was born in 1917 in Chicago to Raphael and Antoinette (Trotta) Mautone, and baptized at Guardian Angel Church. His Mom and Dad owned a building on Forker Street and the family lived upstairs. On the ground floor was the Ralph Mautone Grocery Store, where his mother and father worked. In addition to Italian, his mother spoke Yiddish to accommodate the Jewish customers. After selling the store, Ralphael and Antoinette bought a building at 912 S. Ashland Boulevard between Taylor and Polk streets. Dominic was one of eight siblings. In order ...

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DePaul taps Benedetto for key post

Dr. Corinne Benedetto has been named interim dean of DePaul University’s School for New Learning. Benedetto joined the School for New Learning in 1998, previously serving as associate dean for operations and enrollment management and as associate dean of undergraduate programs. Last academic year, she also served as a member of the Office of the Provost’s SNL & Adult Learning Task Force. “As a task force member, Corinne played a key role in developing pathways to address the ongoing evolution of adult higher education and how DePaul can continue to lead in this competitive field,” DePaul Provost Marten denBoer says. ...

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Fiasche family spreads the word about nduja

In only three years, Antonio “Tony” Fiasche has led the effort to pluck nduja, a spreadable salume, from the obscurity of a small Calabrian town and make it something of a sensation in the gourmet world. The Wall Street Journal and foodie magazines have been salivating over it, and chefs worldwide are inventing ways to use it in pizza, vinaigrette, aioli, arrabiata, marinara, hollandaise and more. The skyrocketing acclaim of Fiasche’s company, Nduja Artisans, has engendered plans to open a gourmet deli just west of the Loop in the near future. But like many success stories, Fiasche’s began decades earlier. ...

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Retail activists Joe and Melissa Basilone

Not long after moving from Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood to Portage Park in the Far Northwest Side of the city in 2007, Joe and Melissa Basilone found themselves constantly returning to their old neighborhood for things to do. “We didn’t realize when we moved that there was nothing to do. The neighborhood has beautiful homes and is a great area, but there was nothing to do,” Basilone said. “We always found ourselves getting in the car and driving to our old neighborhood. Finally, I said ‘There is something wrong with this.’ It took us a few years to realize that ...

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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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