Luglio 2024

Page 1

Office: 10001 Stonell Drive


Member of FUSIE (Federazione Italiana Stampa Unitaria all’Estero)

Louis, Missouri 63123

NIAF Statement on the Passing of Actor and Entertainer Tony Lo Bianco

Attribute to: Bob Carlucci, NIAF Chairman

“It is with great sadness that the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) mourns the loss of my dear friend, Tony Lo Bianco. A proud Italian American, Tony was not only an accomplished actor but a fervent advocate for celebrating and promoting our rich culture and heritage.

For decades, Tony dedicated himself to the NIAF mission, sharing his passion for all things Italian on stage and screen while also serving as a goodwill ambassador for our community. He frequently lent his talents to our events and initiatives, captivating audiences with his cinematic portrayals of iconic Italian Americans. NIAF recently honored Tony’s lifetime achievements in entertainment at our 2023 New York Gala.

Tony was best known for his roles in “The French Connection,” “Jesus of Nazareth,” “Law & Order” and most recently his film with fellow Italian American Ray Romano, “Somewhere in Queens.” His love for his roots ran deep, as evidenced by his creation of the live theatrical production ‘The Little Flower’ about New York City’s first Italian American mayor, Fiorello H. La Guardia.

A proud patriot, Tony was also involved in many charitable organizations

throughout his life, including the United Service Organizations (USO), Building Homes for Heroes, The Wounded Warrior Project, among others.

On behalf of the NIAF Board of Directors, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Tony’s beloved wife Alyse, his family, friends and fans around the world. His spirit, generosity and advocacy for our community will be dearly missed. We have lost not only a talented actor, but a proud Italian American who celebrated our culture with every role.”

About NIAF

NIAF is a non-profit organization based in the United States that promotes the Italian culture and heritage. Founded in 1975, NIAF has been a leading advocate for Italian Americans, preserving their legacy and promoting their contributions to the United States.

Coalition of Oldest and Largest

Italian American Organizations

On May 31, the Italian American Leadership Forum (IALF), led by the oldest and largest Italian American organizations in the U.S. and representing more than 18 million Americans of Italian heritage, took proactive steps to mitigate harmful stereotypes of the Italian American community.

The IALF’s five founding organizations sent a letter to AMC Networks CEO Kristin Dolan on Friday, May 31, requesting the entertainment company include the following disclaimer before airing any of “The Godfather” films, or similar films depicting racial or cultural stereotypes:

“The stereotypes and cultural clichés depicted in this work of fiction may be viewed as offensive and should not be considered an accurate reflection of any particular race or ethnicity. Viewer discretion is advised.”

In the letter, the IALF expressed appreciation for AMC’s willingness to provide disclaimers ahead of films such as “Goodfellas,” but suggested an alternative text, which more accurately addresses the potential impact of cultural stereotypes featured in similar films.

The IALF, while appreciating the artistic value of the Godfather films, requested the disclaimer to remind viewers that the fictional plot represents a very small segment of the Italian American population. The IALF stressed, however, that the disclaimer can be applied widely to



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La Festa at St. Ambrose Catholic Church

The Hill, St. Louis, MO May 5, 2024

Official Photographer
John and Dominique DiGregorio
Bart and Linda Saracino with their grandchildren, Eddie and Annie
Marissa and Giovanni DiGregorio
Gus Torregrossa, Joe DeGregorio, Andy Crouppen, Terry Crouppen and grandchildren
Toni and Chris

Continued from page 1

Michael G. Polo, Chair of the Italian American Leadership Forum and National President of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, stated, “This is a moment for the Italian American community to come together and address harmful stereotypes. It’s important for viewers to recognize that these films portray a fictional and limited view of Italian American life. Our request aims to ensure that the rich diversity of Italian American culture is accurately represented.”

The founding organizations of IALF include:

The Columbus Citizens Foundation

The National Italian American Foundation

The National Organization of Italian American Women

UNICO National & UNICO Foundation

Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America: Supreme Lodge, Commission for Social Justice and Sons of Italy Foundation Leaders of said organizations met on Friday, May 24 and Wednesday, May 29 to finalize the letter, which was officially sent on Friday, May 31.

USA TODAY Names Silver Dollar City #1 Theme Park

The City repeats as winner over Disney, Universal, SeaWorld and others

Silver Dollar City will keep the title #1 Theme Park in America, winning this year’s USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for a second consecutive year. The City took the top spot in a competitive field of 20 nominees including Disney, Universal and SeaWorld properties. Nominees were chosen by industry experts and then voted on by fans during a rigorous, four-week voting period.

“We are so thankful for our loyal, enthusiastic fans who visit us and vote for us,” said Brad Thomas, president of the Silver Dollar City Company. “Our guests could travel to other states and other parks but choose to spend their family time making memories with us here in the Ozarks. Our Citizens strive to create unforgettable fun for folks. Their hospitality provides families an escape from daily routines and the opportunity to grow closer together as they experience our record-breaking rides, oneof-a-kind shows, award-winning festivals, homemade food and authentic culture in this breathtaking mountain setting.”

Silver Dollar City also received a second national nod in USA TODAY’s annual readers’ poll. The Rivertown Ramblers ranked #2 for Best Theme Park Entertainment. The toe-tappin’ show takes audiences on a joyful journey jam-packed with the sounds of Dixieland Jazz with a unique twist.

family coaster in the Heartland. Designated the “Home of American Craftsmanship” by U.S. Congress, The City also boasts a colony of more than 100 resident craftsmen demonstrating blacksmithing, glassblowing, pottery, furniture making and more, utilizing crafting methods of yesteryear.

Silver Dollar City kicked off its Bluegrass & BBQ Festival on May 2, followed by the Ozark Mountain Summer Celebration from June 8 to August 4. Other family-friendly festivals throughout the year include a scare-free Harvest Festival with tens of thousands of illuminated pumpkins spanning the streets during Pumpkins In The City. The park really glows in November and December for An Old Time Christmas, 6-time winner of USA TODAY’s 10Best “Best Theme Park Holiday Event” with more than 6.5 million lights lining nearly every board of every building.

An operating calendar, along with more information, can be found at or by downloading the free Silver Dollar City app on any mobile device.

St. Louis Burger Week Returns July 22-28

Enjoy seven days of $8 burgers all around STL

St. Louis Burger Week returns in a conquest to bring savory burgers to salivating mouths in the STL area with $8 burger deals all week long.

During July 22-28, 2024, enjoy seven days of $8 burgers, now with even more options! Meat-lovers to vegetarians alike can unite for an entire week of delicious burgers to devour, while supporting local restaurants. Enjoy a nice, cold Schlafly Beer, the official beer sponsor of Burger Week, to wash down those delicious burgers.

The St. Louis Burger Week app returns this year to make the burger journey even more fun! Eat Burgers. Earn Points. Win Prizes.

The more points earned, the more opportunities to win prizes, and become the envy of all your friends.

Two ways to win:

1. Check in at 5 or more locations during the week and be automatically entered to win a Grand Prize of $250 in participating restaurant gift cards! Ordering a Schlafly Beer helps to earn more points.

2. Earn points for dining out and enjoying a Schlafly Beer. The top user with the highest number of points will be entered to win a Grand Prize of $250 in participating restaurant gift cards.


Alpha Brewing, August The Mansion, Beffa’s Bar & Restaurant, Bootleggin’ BBQ, Cardinals Nation, Carnivore STL, Copper Fire, Crafted., DB’s Sports Bar, DB’s Safe House, Drake’s, Dukes in Souland, Fieldhouse, Hi Pointe Drive-In, Iowa Buffet, Krueger’s Bar, Mac’s Local Eats, Mike’s Grill + Tap, Nick’s Pub, Olympia Kebob House & Taverna, Otts Tavern, Piccadilly at The Manhattan, PJ’s Tavern, Press, Seamus McDaniel’s, Sharpshooters Pit & Grill, Shortleaf Brewing, Suwallers Bar & Grill, The Blue Duck, The Brown Bag Bistro, The Over/Under Bar & Grill, The Parkmoor Drive-In, The Stellar Hog, Three Kings Public House, Village Bar, White Cottage, Yolklore, and more to be announced. Restaurants subject to change.

For more information about St. Louis Burger Week, and to view participating restaurants menus, visit burgerweekstlouis. com

Event Info:

July 22-28, $8 burgers, Schlafly Beer deals

Age: This is an all ages event. Some locations may be 21+

St. Louis Burger Week App: Check in at four or more restaurants to be entered for a grand prize drawing

Social media promotion: Follow @StLouisBurgerWeek on Instagram

Menus and details available at

RSVP to the Facebook event for updates

Media contact: Chanell Karr,

St. Louis Baseball Stars Honored in Italy

What do Yogi Berra, Joe Garagiola, Frank Crespi and Jim Pisoni have in common?

Submitted by Barbara Klein

The four baseball legends have been immortalized on a mural in Cuggiono, Italy! All four were born during the period 1918 to 1929 on “The Hill”, the Italian-American neighborhood of St. Louis, to parents who had emigrated from western Lombardy.

Silver Dollar City is an internationally awarded, 1880s theme park just outside Branson, Missouri. The Ozark Mountains provide a beautiful backdrop for the park’s 40 rides and attractions, including the allnew Fire In The Hole — the largest indoor

With just a few swipes, app users will be able to find the burger of their dreams. And unlike other apps, St. Louis Burger Week delivers a match every time! Users can view the full list of participating restaurants, mark their favorite specialty burgers, view a map of restaurant locations, and more – all in the palm of your hand. The app will allow users to check-in to earn points, participate in contests and receive real-time restaurant updates. Download the Official Burger Week App.

Continued on page 6 other films featuring offensive stereotypes.

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, thousands of residents of Cuggiono and nearby towns, such as Inveruno, Malvaglio and Buscate, immigrated to the United States with St. Louis being one of their primary destinations.

The idea to honor the four baseball stars was initiated by Oreste Magni, president of the Ecoistituto della Valle del Ticino, a non-profit promoting cultural, social and ecological initiatives in the Ticino River Valley. Magni, who also designed the mural, explained, “Looking at the past and at one’s roots helps to better understand



Gus Torregrossa

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Thank you


Submit an obituary to by July 12, 2024 for the August issue.

A Special Note:

Happy 4th of July!

Carina Marino

and the Il Pensiero staff

Continued from page 5

Larry and granddaughter Lindsay, along with Frank Crespi’s brother Richard, and Richard’s children, Tom, Sue, Jane and Julie, virtually attended the ceremonies on Sunday, June 16, fittingly Father’s Day in the USA.

Lindsay Berra, executive producer of the documentary about her grandfather, “It Ain’t Over” (2022), stated “My grandfather was very proud of his Italian heritage and the athletic accomplishments of the guys with whom he grew up on The Hill. It is very important to me to keep his legacy alive, as both a great baseball player and a great human being. I love that this mural will introduce him and his accomplishments to generations of Italians and I’m so grateful to Cuggiono for including him.”

The town sports four other murals and plans to add more murals highlighting local culture and their connection to the USA, including honoring the 1950 US World Cup Soccer Team that included several St. Louis residents.

Cuggiono is located 14 miles south of Milan’s Malpensa airport. On your next trip to Italy, stop by Cuggiono to see the murals dedicated to four legends of our great American pastime!

A Sicilian Native Living in St. Louis

Meet Carmen Puglisi, an Italian native currently living and working right here in St. Louis, Missouri. Carmen moved here in September 2023 to join the Missouri Botanical Garden, where she works as a curator and scientist. Carmen left Catania (Sicily), where she grew up, nearly 20 years ago, although she says you wouldn’t be able to tell based on her strong Italian accent, and lived in Edinburgh, London, and Singapore before moving to Missouri. We recently got the opportunity to connect with Carmen about her move to St. Louis and what this city has come to mean to her over the last 10 months.

“St. Louis came into my life as the location where I could turn my dream job into something even bigger and better, but more importantly, I want St. Louis to be the place I call home for many years to come or even forever,” Carmen said when asked what St. Louis means to her. She admits the city didn’t have the best reputation in her mind, so she was pleasantly surprised when she visited and discovered a warm, welcoming city with a wonderful sense of community.

Continued on page 7 our present. At the end of the 19th century, thousands of inhabitants around Cuggiono migrated to the Americas, with many settling in St. Louis. Integration was difficult but through sports, especially baseball, some children of our emigrants became champions.”

The mural is composed of six photographic panels—one each of the honored baseball stars in a batting stance during their playing years, bordered by two present-day photographs of The Hill, one of the “The Italian Immigrants” statue by Rudolph Torrini, which stands outside St. Ambrose Church, and the second of a typical home on The Hill. The mural stretches sixty feet in length on a wall bordering a small park between Via San Rocco and Via Manzoni.

The ceremonies for the unveiling of the mural were presided over by Mayor Giovanni Cucchetti. Several of the descendants and relatives of the honored baseball players, including Yogi Berra’s son

Carmen says some of her favorite,

Mayor Giovanni Cucchetti at the dedication photo courtesy of Paolo Contini

Baked Mediterranean Artichoke Dip

an Il Pensiero favorite


2 cans of artichokes

1 cup of mayonnaise

1 cup of Parmesan cheese


Chop up artichokes and add the ingredients and mix together. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with your choice of cracker.

Continued from page 6

more practical, things about the city are the low traffic, greenery, and low-rise buildings that make it very livable. “I was surprised by the cultural scene in the city,” said Carmen. “SLAM (St. Louis Art Museum), in particular, blew me away, and there is always a show or concert somewhere in town.” Something else she greatly appreciates that others might not realize is that St. Louis hosts many prominent research institutes and a large community of top biologists. Carmen adds, “I know it doesn’t sound exciting, but this is a big deal because much of what is discovered in St. Louis has global resonance.”

Although she has been here for almost a year, Carmen says she hasn’t been

able to do much sightseeing in and around the city but is excited to start checking things off her bucket list. “Everything is still on my bucket list, theaters in particular. I especially look forward to exploring the outdoors. For a work trip, I traveled past some state parks and woodlands out west. It was peak time for the autumn foliage; it was simply glorious, and I can’t wait to return there to enjoy long walks in nature.”

We’re excited to share more from our interview with Carmen. Make sure to grab next month’s issue to keep reading!

March 10, 2024

photos by Linda Lombardo Marino
photos by Colleen Dundon




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