Karen Kasler (Ohio Public Radio)

Karen Kasler is a lifelong Ohioan with a passion for broadcast reporting. She left her hometown of Lancaster for Otterbein College. As News Director at WCBE in Columbus in the 90s, she covered a variety of events, including the local impact of the Gulf War, the financial problems of the Columbus Public Schools and the trouble-ridden Ameriflora exhibition in 1992.

Karen was selected as a Fellow in the Kiplinger Master's Program for Mid-Career Journalists at The Ohio State University in 1994. After a brief stint at WBNS-TV in Columbus, she moved to Cleveland and became the afternoon drive anchor and assignment editor for WTAM-AM. Karen followed the demolition and rebuilding of Cleveland Browns Stadium, produced award-winning series on identity theft and the Y2K panic, covered the Republican National Convention in 2000 and the blackout of 2003, and reported annually from the Cleveland National Air Show each year, often going upside down in an aerobatic plane to do it. In 1999, she was a media witness to the execution of Wilford Berry, at the time the first man put to death since Ohio re-instated capital punishment. Karen frequently reported for ABC Radio News, and also co-produced an award-winning nationally-distributed documentary on the one-year anniversary of September 11, 2001, which featured her interview with Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge from the West Wing of the White House.

Since returning to Columbus, she's covered major elections and the controversies surrounding them, the "Coingate" scandal and the resignation of former Attorney General Marc Dann. She's also produced features on "green" business, STEM education, campaign ads, the elimination of the state's anti-smoking agency and a demolition derby involving farm equipment.

Each year she anchors the Bureau's live coverage of the governor's State of the State. She was a panelist for the gubernatorial and the US Senate debates in 2006 and the Attorney General's race in 2008, and has also been interviewed by NPR, by the BBC and by Brian Williams for NBC's "Nightly News".

Karen has been honored by the Association of Capitol Editors and Reporters, the Cleveland Press Club/Society of Professional Journalists, the Ohio Educational Telecommunications Commission, and holds a National Headliner Award. She's won several awards from the Ohio AP, and is a four-time winner of the AP's Best Broadcast Writing award. She was nominated for an Emmy in 2006 for hosting "The State of Ohio". She's currently the president-elect of the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters.

Karen joined the Bureau in March 2004. She’s reported for NPR, Marketplace and the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, and is a frequent guest on ONN’s “Capitol Square” , WVIZ’s “Ideas” and WOSU-TV’s “Columbus on the Record”.

Karen is also an adjunct professor at Capital University in Columbus. Karen, her husband and their son Jack live on Columbus' northeast side.

Brian Bull / WCPN/ideastream

State lawmakers could vote this month on a bill that would ban cities from requiring contractors to hire a certain number of local workers for big construction projects.

Supporters of a ban on local hiring quotas say that they reduce the number of companies that bid on projects, give an advantage to out-of-state companies, and drive up the costs of projects. Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) has been fighting the bill.

Office of Governor John Kasich

As expected, Governor John Kasich didn’t do well among the Republican presidential candidates in the Iowa caucuses. He finished tied for seventh place with Carly Fiorina, both with just under 2% of the vote. 

Kasich had focused his campaign on New Hampshire, figuring he could perform better with face-to-face campaigning in a smaller state with fewer extremely conservative voters.But University of Cincinnati political science professor David Niven says he has his work cut out for him.

Karen Kasler

There were more than 200 people identified as potential human trafficking victims in Ohio last year – nearly all of them female, and more than a quarter of them under 18. Those are the latest stats from a report presented to the state's task force on human trafficking. 

The number of potential victims is up slightly over last year’s report. But officials say there’s a detail that explains that.

“It absolutely is the case that increased awareness yields more people being helped, ” said Ohio's human trafficking coordinator Elizabeth Ranade-Janis. 

artbymags / Flickr Creative Commons

The state’s elections chief says he needs lawmakers to approve an online voter registration process, but a Democrat who might run for his position says she disagrees.

 

Superintendent Richard Ross and others at Tuesday's school board meeting.
Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau

A three-member panel appointed by the outgoing state school superintendent has come up with 22 ideas on how to reform Ohio’s troubled charter schools and improve public perception of the schools.

The panel recommended charter schools be evaluated on similar criteria as public schools, and that grades for online and dropout recovery charter schools be included in reviews. The state’s charter school chief resigned this summer after coming under fire for not including failing grades for some schools in evaluations.  

ResponsibleOhio this week kicked off an RV tour of the state to promote its marijuana legalization initiative.
Jo Ingles / Ohio Public Radio

The backers of last month’s marijuana legalization issue spent a lot of money on a campaign that voters overwhelmingly rejected. 

Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau

State lawmakers went home for the holidays after approving bills creating regulations for ride sharing services, banning questions about criminal convictions on public sector job applications, and restoring a sales tax exemption for rare coins and bullion. But not included in the list is the controversial bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

Ohio kids playing soccer in 2012.
Wrightbrosfan / Flickr/Creative Commons

School districts around the state have been charging fees for kids in sports, music and theater programs and other activities for years. But some state officials are now raising questions about whether “pay to play” fees are playing fair. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports.

Joe Halbach / Flickr Creative Commons

Cops around the country are asking the NFL to allow off-duty and retired police officers, deputies and other law enforcement officers to carry guns in stadiums. Jay McDonald with the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio has sent a letter to the management of the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns, asking them to rescind a two-year old policy that prevents off-duty and retired cops from carrying weapons into games.

Republican presidential contender Donald Trump is threatening to sue his fellow candidate, Republican Gov. John Kasich.  The Kasich super PAC New Day for America says it got a letter from Donald Trump’s lawyers, threatening legal action over a new ad that begins, "On the job training for president does not work."

 

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