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Editorial: Build on Omaha ties, establish sister city connection with Carlentini, Sicily

Editorial: Build on Omaha ties, establish sister city connection with Carlentini, Sicily

071321-owh-new-cavalieri-p1 (copy)

Los Angeles-based actor, writer and director Michael Cavalieri greets Omahans on a visit to drum up interest in an effort to establish a sister city connection with Carlentini, Italy. As part of his visit, Cavalieri, right, showed his new movie, “Ritornato.” It’s based on his journey to his grandfather’s Sicilian homeland.

The warm welcome Omaha’s Italian community recently gave Los Angeles-based actor Michael Cavalieri showed Omaha at its best and has opened up an important opportunity for our city.

Cavalieri explores his rich Italian roots in his new movie “Ritornato,” which in Italian means “Return.” In his visit here, he discovered the open-hearted friendliness in Omaha’s Little Italy as well as the longstanding, heartfelt connections here to the Sicilian town of Carlentini.

“I was blown away,” said Cavalieri. “We’re the same in what we feel. I’m so blessed to be here and to represent, in some way, the Sicilian culture.”

His visit has given new momentum to the effort to establish a sister city relationship with Carlentini. Creating that formal connection — which involves cultural exchanges — makes eminent sense. Carlentini is the main area from which most of Omaha’s Italian families came, and present-day Omahans maintain strong connections to the Sicilian town.

Omaha should follow up energetically to build on that connection. Carlentini would make an outstanding sister city for us.

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