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.

The state has pushed back execution dates for a dozen condemned killers.

Ronald Phillips was set to die on January 21, but his execution has been pushed back almost a year, to January 12, 2017. His is the first of 12 execution dates to be delayed.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says in a statement that it continues to try to find legal ways to get the supply of drugs it needs. Other states with lethal injections are having similar problems finding the drugs they use. 

Kasich for America / Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Gov. John Kasich delivered his first major policy speech since the launch of his campaign for the Republican nomination for president.


Kasich told supporters in New Hampshire Thursday that he’ll balance the federal budget within eight years in a plan that includes tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy.


Lawmakers scrapped Gov. Kasich's proposal that would have given schools less money.
User: Thoth188 / Flickr/Creative Commons

Anti-abortion activists are pushing for two state proposals that would defund Planned Parenthood.

The House version of the proposal to take state funds from Planned Parenthood had its first hearing last week, where joint sponsor Bill Patmon of Cleveland said it ensures that state money won’t be used to perform elective abortions or that the state will contract with entities that do. 

“Planned Parenthood is not mentioned anywhere in this," he said. "If the shoe fits, however, please wear it.”

Sister Simone Campbell speaks during an event in Columbus.
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

A group of politically active nuns is headed to Washington DC. They plan to see Pope Francis and to spread a message they say he’ll appreciate.

Nuns on the Bus stopped by the Statehouse in Columbus to talk about climate change and clean energy, which Pope Francis dealt with in a recent letter to church leaders.

Sister Simone Campbell is a founder of the group, and she says environmental issues reflect the world’s problems.


Two commission-based sales reps are asking the Ohio Supreme Court to decide whether a constitutional amendment okayed by voters in 2006 required that they be paid minimum wage. The eventual ruling could have a big impact on businesses and employees throughout Ohio.

The lawsuit started with one of those free coupon magazines that come in the mail or in a plastic bag delivered to your doorstep. For this particular coupon book, JB Dollar Stretcher, most of the hundred or so employees of the company were outside sales representatives who were paid on commission.

Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau

For the first time, Ohio’s law enforcement agencies now have a set of minimum standards for the use of deadly force and for recruitment and hiring, but the panel that set those standards says there’s a lot more work ahead.

The development of the standards is the first milestone for a panel that was proposed last year, after the police shot and killed 22-year-old John Crawford in the Beavercreek Wal-Mart outside Dayton, and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in a park in Cleveland.

A Republican group is coming to Ohio this week, just days after a conservative group’s national conference left.

The national Republican political action committee GOPAC will host its state legislative leaders’ summit in Columbus this week, bringing in state senate presidents, house speakers, and elected leaders from around the country.

The federal government is warning Ohio not to try to bring in drugs from other countries to carry out executions.

Ohio temporarily stopped executions and switched back to the single drug sodium thiopental for future ones after the January 2014 death of Dennis McGuire, who was injected with a two drug combination and appeared to gasp and choke during his execution, the longest on record in Ohio. Sodium thiopental is in short supply in the country, so last year the state applied for a license to import it.

naturegurl 78 / Flickr

  The state has recorded its first West Nile virus death of the year, a 91-year-old man from Williams County in northwest Ohio. Melanie Amato with the Ohio Department of Health said there was a single West Nile fatality last year as well, so this death is not entirely unexpected.

“It usually happens late August, early September due to the summer conditions,” Amato said. “We had a really wet beginning of the summer and it’s turned to dry conditions, which breed mosquitoes really easily.”

Former Ohio Governor, Ted Strickland
Wikimedia Commons

The conservative policy group Americans For Prosperity (AFP) will hold its annual summit in Columbus this weekend, and it’s getting a jump on the fall 2016 US Senate race with a big TV ad buy.

AFP, backed by the conservative Koch brothers, is spending more than a million dollars on TV ads targeting the Democrat who’s leading in the polls, former Gov. Ted Strickland.