Sources say don't be surprised if the Central Ohio cookie queen, Cheryl Krueger, plays a big role in John Kasich's administration. The founder of Cheryl's Cookies and the newly elected governor are said to be tight. (Both have Westerville ties; she developed the company there and he lives in the suburb.) Krueger showed her support during Kasich's campaign by contributing $22,695.56.

More big Kasich supporters are folks affiliated with Plaskolite, located on Joyce Avenue and a leading manufacturer of acrylic sheet. Thirteen people who listed Plaskolite as an employer made 19 contributions totaling $156,245.56, according to the most recent campaign finance reports.

One name that didn't turn up on Kasich's list of contributors was the city's most powerful Titan, Les Wexner. His wife, Abigail, donated more than $21,000 to Kasich's opponent, Gov. Ted Strickland, while the founder of Limited Brands, normally a huge GOP contributor, uncharacteristically stayed on the sidelines-unless, in this age of anonymous donations, his money found its way to support Kasich via other means. (By comparison, when Kasich mounted a presidential campaign more than a decade ago, Wexner gave him $7,000 and the company's PAC chipped in another $8,150 in 1997.)

Dispatch editor Ben Marrison surprised Insider in early November when he said he hasn't ruled out naming a new metro columnist to replace Mike Harden. "We are trying to weigh how to best use the staff we have and how would we best serve readers," Marrison said. The Dispatch hasn't had much luck in finding a local news columnist (other than Harden) who really connected with readers in recent years. (Remember Barbara Carmen, Steve Stephens and Ann Fisher?) Harden, who started at the paper in 1983, outlasted them all, producing two columns a week for the metro section right up until his death in October.

Liza Kessler, one of Central Ohio's top lawyers, is contemplating something unusual for an attorney of her standing. The partner in charge of the Columbus office of Jones Day-and the daughter of developer Jack Kessler-might soon find herself taking the bar exam in Florida. To best represent one of her firm's biggest clients, the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, which is facing a slew of lawsuits in Florida, Kessler is considering whether to take the grueling test in Florida, which, unlike other states, puts strict limits on out-of-state lawyers.

Ohio State president Gordon Gee has tapped Alex Fischer, the CEO of the powerful Columbus Partnership, to serve as an unpaid member of his cabinet. As a special advisor on economic development issues, Fischer sits in on top-level meetings with Gee and his staff. The unusual arrangement gives Gee a voice from outside the university to rely on as he makes key decisions. It also fits into the mission of the Partnership, which is chaired by Limited Brands founder Les Wexner, who also leads the OSU board of trustees. The Partnership and other local organizations-including the Columbus Chamber, the city of Columbus and TechColumbus-want to leverage the university as part of the ambitious Columbus2020 economic development initiative. "This is just another way to continue to look for opportunities to get the university engaged in all the things that we're doing in the community," Fischer says.