Local restaurant owners among new citizens

Posted April 02, 2010, at 12:25 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine – Seventeen men and women from a dozen different countries became U.S. citizens Friday in a naturalization ceremony at U.S. District Court.

The owners of a local eatery were two of the immigrants who gave up their allegiance to “any foreign prince, potentate or sovereignty” and promised to uphold the U.S. Constitution and defend their new country against its enemies, foreign and domestic.

Nikollaq Turlla, 40, and his, wife, Elisaveta Turlla, 33, both of Bangor posed for pictures with federal court officers after the brief ceremony. The couple has owned and operated Angelo’s Pizzeria, 499 Hammond St., in Bangor since moving to the city from their native Albania in 2000.

“I think after we saw what this country means, we are more than happy and ready to become Americans, to be part of this county,” Nikollaq Turlla said when asked why he decided to become a citizen. “We came here 10 years ago and didn’t speak much English, but received so much love and support from the community.”

The Rev. Bob Carlson, a well-known local minister and regular customer of the Turllas, attended the ceremony so he could congratulate them. Carlson said the couple very quietly does a great deal of good for their adopted community.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock conducted the ceremony with his colleagues U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Louis Kornreich.

In congratulating the 17 on their new status as citizens, Kravchuk reminded them that in addition to being able to vote, they would have the privilege of serving on juries.

“I hope to you back here as jurors, not at litigants or defendants,” she said.