Trumbull County's newest board member Mark Alberini is no stranger to the local political scene.
In fact, politics and public service were part of his upbringing - he is the son of former Howland trustee and Trumbull County Democratic Party leader Fred Alberini, who the younger Alberini says fostered an environment of civic mindedness for his children growing up.
''At the dinner table, you kind of got interested between the potatoes and the corn,'' said Alberini, 50, an account executive at CorVel Corporation.
Mark Alberini unsuccessfully ran for Howland trustee in the early 1990s and he served on the Trumbull County Board of Developmental Disabilities for about a decade, some of that time as the board's chairman.
He also is a Democrat central committee member in Howland and member of the party's executive committee.
Mark Alberini, appointed to the board on Monday by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, is filling the unexpired term (and big shoes) of another former party chairman, Christ Michelakis, who died in September at the age of 73.
''I'm honored to be filling out the rest of the term of Christ Michelakis,'' Alberini said.
The term expires in 2014.
Ohio Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro, will be receiving a big honor from the National Italian American Foundation next weekend at the organization's 36th anniversary awards gala in the nation's capital.
The 33-year-old Democrat is receiving the NIAF Youth Leadership Award.
It's being presented to the lawmaker by former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, who Cafaro interned for in 1997-98 while she was in graduate school at Georgetown University.
''I cannot tell you how honored I am he is willing to step forward and be part of this presentation. That truly in and of itself is truly an honor,'' Cafaro said.
The NIAF award also has a special place in Cafaro's heart - her grandfather, William, received the Humanitarian Award for lifetime achievement in 1996. ''For me, there is a special sentimental connection,'' she said.
And then there's this connection: The ceremony at the Washington Hilton is where Cafaro, a high school freshman two decades ago, represented Panama for the Model United Nations, her first extra-curricular government-related activity.
Cafaro represents Trumbull and Ashtabula counties.
Honorees joining Cafaro are Claudio Bozzo, president of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (USA) Inc.; Dion DiMucci, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer; Frank J. Guarini, former congressman and NIAF chairman emeritus; Frank G. Mancuso Sr., former chairman and CEO of the Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Emma Marcegaglia, president of Confindustria; Paolo Scudieri, CEO of Adler Plastic S.p.A.; and Santo Versace, president of Gianni Versace S.p.A. and chairman of the Board of Fondazione Operation Smile Italia Onlus.