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 interim president of Ohio State University says he has work to do to push the OSU brand across the country internationally, but he says he doesn’t feel damage control is part of that. Joe Alutto is taking over for Gordon Gee, who retired earlier this summer after a controversy over a series of headline-making verbal gaffes. Alutto says he doesn’t think he has to repair any burned bridges as he moves into Gee’s office.

The state is changing the signs on its unemployment centers and putting in a new requirement for Ohioans who are out of work – that number is now at 413,000.

The new effort requires the state’s county unemployment centers to be branded under a single identity. Dave Reines is the executive director of Employment Connections, which will soon become Ohio Means Jobs Cuyahoga County.

“It seems to me that the, there’s some benefit to have some consistency across the state,” says Reines.

After months of touting that Ohio’s would be the first Statehouse in the country to have a Holocaust memorial, it won’t. Iowa has already broken ground on a similar memorial, and will dedicate it in October – while construction on Ohio’s memorial hasn’t even started. Joyce Garver Keller is the executive director of Ohio Jewish Communities, which represents Ohio’s eight Jewish federations in Ohio. She says she told Gov. John Kasich that Ohio’s Statehouse would be the first with a Holocaust memorial when he first proposed it in 2011, in the end it really doesn’t matter which state is.

The southwestern Ohio community of Wilmington is a little closer to recovering the thousands of jobs lost with the departure of DHL a few years ago.

The announcement of 140 new jobs and 50 retained jobs at Cole Taylor Mortgage, an investment of $3.4 million, is good news, says Gov. John Kasich, even though the company could be sold to a private equity firm.

“Small banks have a tendency to be bought, and sometimes you never know how it’s, what’s going to happen whenever final decisions are made,” says Kasich.

The state put a record level of savings in its so-called rainy day fund, which the governor says is an amazing bounce-back from nearly noting in the account two years ago.

With a transfer into the rainy day fund of $995 million, Gov. John Kasich says the account is now full, with a record-high balance of $1.48 billion.  Richard Vedder is a distinguished professor of economics at Ohio University and a conservative.

A panel of lawmakers and specially-selected Ohioans charged with recommending changes to the state constitution started a series of hearings this week.

Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio

After months of discussion and debate and several days of lingering questions, the state has a new two-year, $62 billion budget. The signing came with just hours to go before the new fiscal year.

The budget includes a gradual income tax cut over three years for everyone, a 50 percent income tax cut for small businesses, an increase in the state sales tax along with an expansion to digital downloads and magazine subscriptions, and some property tax changes. Gov. John Kasich said he was pleased with it, though it didn’t include his proposed Medicaid expansion.

After several long months and a very long day, the state budget is nearly finished. It includes income tax cuts of 8.5% the first year, 9% the second and 10% the third, with a 50% cut for small businesses, along with an increase in the state sales tax to 5.75% and some property tax changes. Republican Ron Amstutz chaired the conference committee.

“This is a very good package that’s being recommended to you,” said Amstutz.

Lawmakers took the first steps to outlaw the cameras that several Ohio cities have set up to catch drivers who speed and run red lights. The bill goes to the House floor without the support of a key Republican.

The committee working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the state budget now has updated estimates on tax revenues and Medicaid. Those numbers were higher than estimates, but they came with a caution.

The Office of Budget and Management estimates $709 million more in tax revenues above the original forecast, but budget director Tim Keen says after payments to the federal government for unemployment benefits, transfers to the rainy day fund and other issues are paid, there will only be about $397 million extra to do more tax cuts or spending.

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