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.

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Now that a marijuana legalization issue is set to appear on the fall ballot, groups that oppose the measure are wasting no time in starting their campaigns against it.

The official campaign against the ResponsibleOhio issue launches Monday, with groups opposed to the issue sharing their concerns about the 10 official growing sites owned by investors that are part of the constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana in Ohio.

Ohio Secretary of State

More groups are jumping on the redistricting reform bandwagon, in advance of a vote this fall on a plan to create a bipartisan commission to draw state lawmakers’ districts.

Supporters of the redistricting plan now include the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, which says it’s an “accountable approach” for “effective reform and fair districts”. And the liberal group Nuns on the Bus says it’s joined up too.

Sister Carren Herring in Cincinnati says too many people on the margins are disenfranchised by a gerrymandered map that favors people with power and influence. 

Members of the advisory board will need to create a use-of-force database for officers statewide.

An advisory panel on police and community relations has developed drafts of standards on use of deadly force and on law enforcement recruitment and hiring. The drafts say police would be permitted to use deadly force only when officers are defending themselves or other people from serious injury or death.

A panel that advises judges in Ohio is warning them that they can’t refuse to marry same-sex couples.

The Board of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court of Ohio is telling judges who perform civil marriage ceremonies that they can’t ethically refuse same-sex couples who want to marry, and that they also can’t decline to perform all marriage ceremonies to avoid the issue. 

The final cast for the Republicans’ first presidential debate Aug. 6 should be known Tuesday. 

Last week Kasich downplayed any concerns that he may or may not have about making that first debate in his home state.

“I don’t appraise my chances on that,” Kasich said. “You all know that. We’ll see what happens.”

Fox News said it will select the 10 candidates who will participate based on their average in the five most recent national polls. But Ohio Republican Party Chair Matt Borges is confident Kasich will make the cut.  

Ohio two political party leaders spar over the state's biggest issues.
User: DonkeyHotey / Flickr/Creative Commons

Last week Gov. John Kasich announced he’s running for president. Next week the top 10 Republican candidates will debate in Cleveland. These two big political events are keeping the state’s two major political parties busy.

It’s easy to understand why Ohio Republican Party Chair Matt Borges is looking forward to the debate: two new polls suggest that Gov. Kasich will make the cut. But Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper said he’s excited about the debate too, and the opportunity it will bring his party to talk about Kasich.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

The 162nd Ohio State Fair opens Wednesday in a ceremony presided over by Gov. John Kasich, back from his first tour as an official candidate for president. 

Midway rides have been under construction for a week, and last minute preps go on up until the fair opens. In other parts of the 360-acre fairgrounds, livestock shows are underway as more animals and their exhibitors are coming in. Food vendors are setting up – this year featuring something called deep fried cake balls.

piggy bank money pension cash
dfunk / Openclipart

A new study from an economically conservative think tank ranks Ohio 7th nationally in overall fiscal health – but it also put Ohio’s five pension systems second to last in the nation.

The study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University calculated the unfunded liabilities of the state’s pension systems as if they were bonds.

Lawmakers and Gov. John Kasich lauded the state budget for its tax cuts for small business owners. But it may actually include a tax increase.

The budget changes the current sliding tax rate scale for small businesses to a flat tax. And there’s a difference in the amount of income that can be deducted by small businesses between the two budget years. All that translates to a tax increase for the first budget year for business owners making up to $250,000.

Gov. John Kasich vetoed 44 items in the new state budget, and one of them related to the sometimes difficult online tests that taxpayers getting refunds had to fill out to prove their identities.

The tax department and legislators got thousands of complaints that the online identity tests were asking for old information that was hard to recall – such as past addresses and details about now-adult children. So lawmakers proposed the required information be no more than five years old.