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We’re excited about Elvis with the Philly Pops, a local chef’s TV appearance and much more


By Barbara Ann Zippi

Italian American Frank Giordano, president and CEO of the Philly Pops showed his amazing energy at a recent meeting at Grande Caffe L’Aquila on Chestnut Street, where owner Riccardo Longo continues to present the foods of the Abruzzo region. Giordano is kicking off Philly Pops 2016-17 season with “ELVIS: The King’s Songbook.” From the halls of the Kimmel Center to Pop Up Concerts, Giordano loves to bring music to the masses.

On campus since 1973, Rosalie Mirenda, president of Neumann University, announced her upcoming retirement. Under her leadership, the university has turned into a cultural, educational and spiritual hub in the hills of Delaware County. Bravo to Rosalie and hubby on all the exciting adventures ahead in this new chapter of life.

A truly globetrotting family with and without their three daughters, Greg and Andrea De Fabio are celebrating the third anniversary of Vinyl Revival on Lansdowne Ave. in Lansdowne, Pa. Ciao Bella continues the Italian Classic Cinema, the second Friday of the month this fall.

Remember Palumbo’s? We’re wishing a speedy recovery to this South Philly landmark’s orchestra leader Carmen
Dee, who witnessed firsthand the entertainers among them, Frank Sinatra, Sergio Franchi, Louis Prima, Louis Armstrong, the Clooney Sisters, Jimmy Durante, Al Martino and more.

Publisher Rob Martinelli visits the set of “Ciao Bella.”

Publisher Rob Martinelli visits the set of “Ciao Bella.”

How exciting to see Collngswood, N.J., Kitchen Consigliere Chef Angelo Lutz’s signature eggplant parmesan featured on Food Network’s “Guilty Pleasures.” Lutz is a reformed member of Joey Merlino’s South Philadelphia associates. Looks like Merlino isn’t so reformed and is keeping George Anastasia busy reporting on BigTrial.net.

Friends John and Beverly Wik shared news of their historic David Finney Inn building for sale with a liquor license in Delaware. I can smell Italian cuisine featured in this destination restaurant and inn. In 2013, New Castle became the hub of the only National Park in Delaware. Check out the development potential, ideal for a young or retired couple looking to be part of the country’s newest historic district, call the Wiks for details (302) 383-9923.

Meeting Italian Americans in the military continues to amaze me. Attending the West Point Society luncheon at the Chart House in Philadelphia at the invitation of Vietnam veteran and Irishman Joe Griffies was something I avoided for awhile. When I grew up, Italian/Irish was a mixed marriage. Joe and Colleen, his lovely wife, from Cape May County, N.J., have a great marriage and Joe’s dedication to all veterans is amazing with his weekly Welcome Home Veterans Radio WIBG (1020 AM, 101.3 FM) live from Ocean City.

Last season, an introduction to retired Capt. Louis Cavaliere from The Chapel of the Four Chaplains at the Philly Navy Yard has led to many adventures. A limoncello master, Capt. Lou wants to invite everyone to the Donors Appreciation Picnic on Sept. 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Grounds of the Chapel. Cavalieri also hosted 17-year-old Anthony Delle Grotti, a senior at Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, N.J. Delle Grotti is committed to achieving a federal service academy appointment. Son of Dr. Vince and Rosemarie Delle Grotti, the family name originates from the regions of Umbria, Lazio, and Reggio, Calabria. Griffies also re-introduced me to former Congressman Curt Weldon’s executive Robert Carullo. Now executive director of SMART, Strengthening the Mid-Atlantic Region for Tomorrow, Carullo works with veterans and Italians. We’re sure to be hearing lots ahead from him. 

Griffies also advocates on his live radio program spreading the work of the Delaware County Veterans Memorial in Newtown Square. Italian Americans have been a major influence on Army Veteran and DCVMA president Guy Fizzano, founding member Linda Mattia Houldin and board member Nicole deBotton Robinson. Stop out at the Memorial on Sept. 14 at 11:30 a.m. to hear a press briefing on the third annual Freedom Medal Gala & Honorees, Nov. 17 at Springfield Country Club. Among many deserving honorees Italian Americans are well represented. They include: June Howard Micozzi, Air Force, Upper Darby; Sam Malandra, Army, West Chester; Samuel J. Coco, Army Air Corps, Newtown Square, and Bob Spano, Marine Corps, Broomall.

Friends assemble at the West Point Society luncheon at the Chart House in Philadelphia.

Friends assemble at the West Point Society luncheon at the Chart House in Philadelphia.

Ciao Bella’s September premiere season on Radnor Studio TV21 and YouTube finally captures a rare interview with this newspaper’s publisher, Rob Martinelli, to air on Sept. 4 and 5. Martinelli’s father and brothers are major multi-state publishing giants who are dedicated to capturing Italian-American culture, heritage and news. If you haven’t subscribed yet, e-mail iahsubscriptions@todaymediainc.com or call (302) 656-1809. 

Other guests share great ways to build family memories for Tweens to Seniors. The West Chester Railroad, a tourist railroad along the beautiful Chester Creek Valley in southeastern Pennsylvania, offers a variety of nostalgic 90-minute train trips. This hidden gem, founded by Joe Giacchino, is a passion he shares with wife Ann and many volunteers, among them, conductor Frank Moscatelli, a physics professor at Swarthmore College. Nurturing young and old, Joe is hands-on amid oil and grease. Thanks to brother Larry of Carman Auto Group and family for preserving its Italian heritage and culture and American’s early modes of historic transportation. Check out their web site www.westchesterrr.net

Hank Cisco, Norristown’s Ambassador, stops by to remind us how important it is to Save Columbus Day and introduces our TV audience to Al Zane, CEO of Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown. Ever expanding with new exhibits this fall, Zane will expand the park/zoo to include caring for the Christopher Columbus Monument on Harding Boulevard in Elmwood Park.

At 92, this makes Cisco happy that the monument’s future is in good hands with Zane and Cisco’s buddy’s son, JP Mascaro III. Join us for ceremonies mid-day Monday, Oct. 10.

Until next month, ciao bella!

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