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.

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.

The Ohio Supreme Court says JobsOhio can’t be compelled to produce certain documents by the state’s public records law, because state legislators specifically exempted most of JobsOhio's records from that law.

The Columbus lawyer who filed the complaint was hoping that it would result in the Ohio Supreme Court making a final ruling on the constitutionality of JobsOhio.  Victoria Ullman also worked on another suit filed by a coalition of liberal and conservative groups led by Progress Ohio. She’s a bit disappointed, but not discouraged.

Gov. John Kasich still holds a lead over Democratic opponent Ed FitzGerald in next year's race for governor, but that lead appears to be shrinking. The latest Quinnipiac poll has Kasich at 44% to FitzGerald’s 37%, which compares to 47% to 33% in Quinnipiac’s June survey. Peter Brown conducts the poll, and says while Kasich’s lead from the June poll has been cut in half, it’s still good news for the incumbent governor.

State officials gathered in Lima Monday afternoon to celebrate the signing of a resolution directed at their colleagues in Washington. The balanced budget amendment resolution demands Congress pass such a requirement or allow the state to call a Constitutional convention. Gov. John Kasich has pushed for the resolution, and says it’s a bipartisan issue.

The Constitutional Modernization Commission, a panel of lawmakers and private citizens that will be asked to recommend changes to Ohio’s Constitution, is looking at the way the lines for legislative districts are drawn.

Secretary of State Jon Husted says that plan should be bipartisan and transparent to create districts that are compact and competitive. And that means lots of campaigning, political ads and robocalls.

“In the end, we’ll have more democracy. And more democracy is likely more expensive,” says Husted.

As the weather gets colder, there are more than a few Ohioans who are right now planning their annual extended stays in Florida or other warm climates. But there's a complicated case in the Ohio Supreme Court which hopes to answer the question where a person who has two homes actually lives.

In Ohio on Friday, a hearing in federal court could decide whether that state will become the first to use a particular cocktail of deadly drugs to execute an inmate. It's the latest chapter in what's become a troubled history of capital punishment in that state.

While Texas is far and away the busiest state in the nation for executions, Ohio is just seven spots behind it. It has carried out 52 executions since 1999 and three so far this year, with another one scheduled in two weeks. And that one, the execution of Ronald Phillips, could use a new drug cocktail.

Though Ohioans have been casting ballots early for years, the weekend before election day has been a disputed time. And though this is an off year election, that’s no different this year.

Many counties won’t be allowing in-person voting the weekend before the election. Democrats including party chair Rep. Chris Redfern say a ruling in a lawsuit from last year requires in person voting this weekend.

“It’s time for Secretary Husted to tell the counties that are not following state and federal law,” says Redfern.

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