In keeping with a tradition dating back many, many years, Helper's Italian-American lodge, Stella D'America, has scheduled the annual Columbus Day dinner this Sunday, Oct.11. The event will take place in the Helper civic auditorium Sunday afternoon.
Stella D'America, which translates to Star of America, is one of the oldest fraternal organizations in the state of Utah. Organized in Castle Gate in 1898 by immigrant coal miners as a mutual aid and social outlet, the lodge was transferred to Helper in 1902 as a result of a miner's strike at that time.
The Helper lodge is an affiliate of the Columbian Federation of Italian-American Societies. The federation was founded in Chicago, Ill. on Columbus Day, 1893 and counts member lodges throughout the United States.
A delegation from Salt Lake City's Italian-American Civic League promises to be in attendance at the Sunday event to plan a joint effort to secure the passage by the Utah State legislature of a resolution designating the month of October each year as Italian American Heritage Month. The president of the Salt Lake organization is Michael Ori who has a long list of ties to Carbon County.
President Jimmy Carter, during his administration, proclaimed October as Italian-American Heritage Month and sought similar action from the various states. Utah is one of several states that has not followed suit.
A resolution seeking this designation is being prepared to be introduced in the forthcoming legislative session in January. State Representative Christine Watkins of Price offers her support for the resolution, planning to introduce it and support its passage next year.