Last Week's Meeting

If you’ve watched enough crime stories on TV, you may think you have a pretty good idea of what a prosecutor’s office does. They prosecute criminals, and put them in jail, right? Well, you’re only partially correct, according to Gina DeGenova, Mahoning County’s new interim prosecutor. (In fact, she is so new that she was sworn into office just hours before she spoke at our club’s lunch meeting!)
Not only does the Mahoning County prosecutor have a criminal division, which prosecutes felony and misdemeanor cases, it also has a civil division which provides legal counsel in areas of contracts, litigations, civil rights, property, zoning, public records, open meetings, employment, and labor. 
The prosecutor’s office represents elected officials and township trustees at no cost, with the exception of Boardman Township. Since they operate under home rule, the county office cannot represent them. The office also reviews levies to ensure monies are collected and appropriated correctly.
Atty. DeGenova feels strongly that the public should be aware of what the prosecutor’s office does and feels it should provide initiatives and programs for citizens so they don’t end up in the criminal justice system. A victim services division apprises victims of crime about their perpetrator’s trial dates and parole hearings. The division is composed of two staff who provide information and support to crime victims and witnesses as their cases proceed through the judicial process. Victim’s rights laws are also known as Marsy’s Law after Marsy Nicholas, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Marsy’s Law was enacted by voters in November 2017 as an amendment to Ohio’s Constitution. 
In September 2021, a special needs registry was created to equip first responders with the skills necessary to identify residents who may be in need of special assistance in times of emergency or during an interaction with law enforcement or first responders. An online profile can be created in the 911 system by individuals, caretakers, loved ones, or representatives, and when the dispatcher pulls up the profile, they can relay this information to police or fire personnel on the spot. There are currently 70 individuals in the system.
The prosecutor’s office held a donation drive in October during Domestic Abuse Month. Spearheaded by a young woman from South Range High School, the drive collected more than 3,000 items and $1,000 last year. This year, because of her efforts, Poland, Salem, Canfield joined South Range to provide over 10,000 items and more than $1,000 for women at Sojourner House, Christina House, and Beatitude House. 
Future plans include the creation of self-defense classes, made possible by grant funding, so men and women can learn how to protect themselves. The office would also like to obtain a victim support dog, and already has a service provider who will train the dog at no cost, along with donations of dog food. The dog, of course, would be a rescue from a local facility.
Finally, along with the Mahoning County Sheriff, the prosecutor’s office developed a senior services calendar that provides monthly tips, a list of fun holidays, program highlights, and phone and contact information for organizations that provide services to seniors. The calendar will be distributed in January of 2023.
Of course, the burning question on the minds of some YoRo members was if Atty. DeGenova will run for the office of Mahoning County Prosecutor when her interim term is up. You heard it here first – the answer was an unequivocal yes!

Thank you from Harding!
Showing their appreciation for Operation Warm and their new coats, students from Harding Elementary wrote and illustrated thank you notes to Youngstown Rotarians. The heartfelt thank yous reminded us why we do what we do – it’s community service at its best. 

Fireside Chat Photos