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Mary Ellen Klas, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Mary Ellen Klas

Mary Ellen Klas is capital bureau chief for the Miami Herald and co-bureau chief of the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau. She is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and a graduate of the University of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn. Before she became bureau chief for the Herald in 2004, Mary Ellen was Tallahassee bureau chief for Florida Trend magazine and also served as a senior writer for the Palm Beach Post. She was bureau chief for the Palm Beach Post from 1990-94, after which she worked part time for 10 years while her daughters were young. She is married to John Kennedy, senior writer for the Palm Beach Post's Tallahassee bureau. They have two daughters.

Phone: 850-222-3095

Email: meklas@miamiherald.com

Twitter: @MaryEllenKlas

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  1. Clinton loves Florida but convention speaker line-up includes only one FL Dem

    Blog

    Hillary Clinton underscores the importance of the Florida vote tomorrow, arriving for a two-day tour of Orlando, Tampa and Miami where she is even expected to introduce her vice presidential choice.

    On the eve of the visit Thursday, the campaign released its first line-up of 62 speakers for the four-day convention in Philadelphia next week. How important is Florida? Only one Florida Democrat is worthy of a speaking spot according to the list: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. ...

  2. State asks court if it can change birth certificate of transgender teen

    Human Interest

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Health has asked a judge to decide whether a state law that allows it to change the gender on a birth certificate applies in the case of a transgender teenager from Broward County who received court approval to change both his name and gender.

    "This particular request presents an unprecedented issue for the department," wrote DOH lawyer Nichole Geary in a petition filed Tuesday in the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Leon County....

  3. Rep. Jose Oliva, having just sold his family cigar company, sits out GOP convention

    Blog

    At least one Florida Republican rising star wasn’t planning to be in attendance when the GOP convention opened its national convention in Cleveland on Monday.

    State Rep. Jose Oliva, the Miami Lakes Republican who is designated to be Florida House speaker in 2018, gave up his delegate spot and is heading to Nicaragua this week to tend to his tobacco company.

    “I’m not going to Cleveland,” said the CEO of Miami-based Oliva Cigar of the expected coronation of Donald Trump as Republican nominee. “At this point it’s just a formality and I’m not much for ceremony.”...

  4. Hawaii rejects Florida utility's buyout offer after concerns about costs, clean energy

    Energy

    NextEra Energy, the parent company of Florida Power & Light, Florida's largest electric utility, canceled its $2.63 billion bid to purchase Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. on Monday after the deal was rejected last week by Hawaiian state regulators.

    NextEra will pay Hawaiian Electric a $90 million breakup fee and as much as $5 million for expenses related to the nearly two-year review that led to the failed takeover, the companies said Monday in a joint statement....

  5. Rising Florida GOP leader skips convention, lukewarm on Trump

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — At least one Florida Republican rising star wasn't planning to be in attendance when the GOP convention opened its national convention in Cleveland on Monday.

    State Rep. Jose Oliva, the Miami Lakes Republican who is designated to be Florida House speaker in 2018, gave up his delegate spot and is heading to Nicaragua this week to tend to his tobacco company.

    "I'm not going to Cleveland," said the CEO of Miami-based Oliva Cigar of the expected coronation of Donald Trump as Republican nominee. "At this point it's just a formality and I'm not much for ceremony."...

    Rep. Jose Oliva, R-Miami
  6. League steps in to help communities bring solar power to the Sunshine State

    Blog

    Saying they face a “David and Goliath” fight against Florida’s utility giants in trying to bring rooftop solar energy collection to the Sunshine State, the League of Women Voters on Thursday announced the creation of a new organization that will form “solar co-ops” around the state to obtain bulk discounts for community-based solar installations.

    The group, FL SUN, is a non-profit established to solicit competitive bids from local installers and provide individualized proposals for groups of homeowners that reflect the group discounts....

  7. Value of Sugar's hold on Tallahassee: $57.8 million

    Blog

    Fifteen years after Jeb Bush and Bill Clinton reached a landmark accord to revive the Everglades, billions of dollars have been spent but not much marsh has been restored, and the River of Grass continues to cycle through the same familiar struggles.

    Disastrous algae blooms foul coastal estuaries. Seagrass die-offs plague Florida Bay. High water threatens the Lake Okeechobee dike. Everglades marshes drown under too much water or wither under too little. All the ecological crises of this summer are just deja vu all over again....

  8. Maria Sachs says aide used her credit cards to rack up more than $100,000 in fraudulent charges

    Blog

    The year-end thank you note to State Sen. Maria Sachs from her former legislative aide read: "Thank you for everything you do for me. I hope this leads us to victory.'' Matthew Damsky then attached a fortune from his Christmas fortune cookie.

    Six months later, Damsky 28, was accusing Sachs, a 68-year-old Democrat from Delray Beach, of sexually harassing him by dressing in front of him in the office. And she was fighting back by making public what she had previously kept low key: charges that he had fraudulently racked up an estimated $100,000 on her and her family's credit cards without her knowledge and falsifying Senate expense reports. ...

  9. Sugar's decades-long hold over Florida Everglades came with a price

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE

    Fifteen years after Jeb Bush and Bill Clinton reached a landmark accord to revive the Everglades, billions of dollars have been spent but not much marsh has been restored, and the River of Grass continues to cycle through the same familiar struggles.

    Disastrous algae blooms foul coastal estuaries. Seagrass die-offs plague Florida Bay. High water threatens the Lake Okeechobee dike. Everglades marshes drown under too much water or wither under too little. All the ecological crises of this summer are just déjà vu, all over again....

    Adams Ranch, a candidate for protection within the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area.  (CARLTON WARD JR. / CarltonWard.com | Special to the Times)
  10. Florida's death penalty, gambling laws frozen for summer

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Supreme Court went on summer vacation Thursday and put on ice rulings resolving two of the most controversial issues to come before the court this year: the death penalty and expansion of slot machines. 

    The court issued final rulings for its 2015-16 term which ended June 30, including a clarification of its decision overturning the state's workers' compensation law, but it left unresolved the constitutionality of the state's death penalty and the question of whether a 2010 state gaming law allows counties to expand slot machines without legislative approval....

  11. Court takes summer break, putting rulings on death penalty and gambling on ice

    Blog

    The Florida Supreme Court released its final round of rulings for the summer Thursday and issued a rare clarification of its workers compensation decision of last month, but it also put left unresolved two of the most controversial issues to come before the court this year: the death penalty and expansion of slot machines.

    The court postponed rulings on the constitutionality of the state's death penalty, leaving the state's procedure and the 388 inmates on death row in limbo for potentially several more months....

  12. PSC stops FPL nuke fee charges for a year after construction is halted

    Blog

    The Florida Public Service Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved a request from Florida Power & Light to take a one-year break from charging customers in advance for planning and construction of its proposed new nuclear power plant. 

    The decision is expected to save customers $22 million in nuclear cost recovery fees that regulators typically approve to allow  the company FPL to charge customers for planning and construction of the company's proposed nuclear units at its Turkey Point site on Biscayne Bay. Since 2008, FPL has charged customers $282 million in advance for the construction, under the advanced nuclear cost recovery fee it helped to push through the Legislature in 2006....

  13. Afraid of a more riots and casualties, corrections officers want special session

    Blog

    Calling Florida prisons “a ticking time bomb,” members of the union representing state corrections officers called on Gov. Rick Scott and lawmakers on Wednesday to convene an emergency legislative session to address the state’s prison crisis.

    One recent riot, several inmate uprisings, and widespread attacks on officers and inmates have alarmed members of Teamsters 2011, the union representing the state’s 2,000 corrections and probation officers....

  14. Faced with algae nightmare, Scott proposes septic tank replacement plan

    Blog

    Faced with an environmental disaster now attracting international headlines, Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday announced he will seek "additional funding" in his budget next year aimed at replacing leaking septic tanks that are believed to be one of the sources of the polluted run-off causing the outbreak of blue-green algae coating the coastlines of Martin and St. Lucie counties.  ...

  15. Who's operating renewable energy in Florida? 0.11 percent of all customers

    Blog

    Only one tenth of one percent of all Florida utility customers owned a renewable generating system in 2015, according to new data released Tuesday by the Florida Public Service Commission.

    That number -- .11 percent -- while modest, is something to brag about -- according to a news release by the Florida Public Service Commission released on Tuesday. The commission touts the fact that of the 7.9 million utility customers in Florida, 11,626 of them operated customer-owned renewable energy systems -- a 36 percent increase over the 8,571 users in 2014. Those users include customers like Whole Foods,  Florida Museum of Natural History, Ace Hardware, and IKEA which have installed their own solar photovoltaic panels....