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.

Office of Governor John Kasich

Gov. John Kasich gave his fourth State of the State speech last night in Medina, and as perhaps fitting for an election year, it was unlike any other he’s delivered.

It was his shortest State of the State speech to-date at just over an hour in length. But the most surprising part of the evening wasn’t political; it was Kasich’s presentation of the three Cleveland women who were held captive for over a decade by Ariel Castro. It was the first time the trio has been seen together publically since their escape.  Kasich honored them with the 2014 Ohio Courage Medals.

school bus snow day
Flickr Creative Commons User ElDave

Many school districts will likely have to lengthen their calendars this year, but state lawmakers have voted to give them a bit of a break. The Ohio House voted on a bill Wednesday that allows four calamity days that don’t have to be made up, but teachers have a different deal.

 

It appears that Ed FitzGerald will have an opponent in the Democratic primary for governor: Larry Ealy, a candidate many people expected wouldn't qualify for the ballot and most have never heard of. The 51-year-old Trotwood resident describes himself as a civil rights advocate who says he’s been helping people in his community deal with legal issues. 

It’s official: the five Republicans and five Democrats who have been talked about for the five executive offices on the fall ballot have filed their paperwork, so the campaigns will soon begin in earnest.

The marquee race is of course Republican John Kasich against Democrat Ed FitzGerald for governor. Democratic strategist Sandy Theis says the fact that Kasich has raised five dollars for every dollar FitzGerald has campaign cash doesn’t mean much at this point.

“God, no, it’s not over," says Theis. "It’s very, very early. The incumbent always has a fundraising advantage.”

Reaction is still coming to last week’s problematic and controversial execution, one of the longest ones on record in Ohio. And the troubles that Ohio has had in carrying out executions has led one lawmaker to propose adding to the audience of those witnessing the lethal injection process.

A convicted killer from western Ohio became the first person ever to be executed with a two-drug mix that the state of Ohio adopted as its execution method late last year.

The execution of 53 year old Dennis McGuire began with him telling his family he loved them and thanking the family of his victim, Joy Stewart, for a letter they sent him. Columbus Dispatch reporter Alan Johnson says McGuire closed his eyes, and then seemed to have trouble breathing.

The second full year of operation for the state’s public-private economic development organization was nearly as rocky as its first one. Gov. John Kasich has made it clear many times that he stands behind his keystone creation JobsOhio.  At his final public speech in December, he called it “the most important economic development tool in America.” 

“JobsOhio went through some political nonsense, and that – we’ve kind of cleared the brush on that, I guess they’ve kind of given up on that. And now this organization is starting to grow.”

Now that the Ohio Supreme Court has made a decision on Medicaid expansion, it appears it’s here to stay - at least for now.  After the Medicaid expansion vote before the Controlling Board in October, the lawsuit was filed and then was fast-tracked to get a ruling by the end of the year so there were no oral arguments before the justices. Four of them agreed that the Controlling Board had the authority to approve spending $2.5 billion federal dollars on Medicaid expansion. The other three dissenting justices wanted to dismiss the case.

Sen. Eric Kearney has stepped down from next year’s Democratic ticket after continuing criticism over hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid back taxes.

Sen. Kearney of Cincinnati told Ann Thompson with WVXU that he was stepping aside as Ed FitzGerald’s running mate, because he didn’t want to be a distraction to the campaign.

“I don’t want our business, the Cincinnati Herald, to be the focus of the campaign – rather, I want issues, so that’s why I made the decision,” said Kearney.

A group critical of JobsOhio says the California native brought in to be its first president may have used that position to set himself up for a big payday later.

The liberal group Progress Ohio has been trying to find out about the deals Mark Kvamme has been striking with his firm Drive Capital since leaving JobsOhio. Progress Ohio’s Brian Rothenberg says based on a similar proposed deal with one of the state’s pension funds, Kvamme could net $9 million in fees, half a million in expenses and 20% of future profits from The Ohio State University’s investment in his company.

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