Greg Allen

As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and human interest features. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.

Allen was a key part of NPR's coverage of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, providing some of the first reports on the disaster. He was on the frontlines of NPR's coverage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, arriving in New Orleans before the storm hit and filing on the chaos and flooding that hit the city as the levees broke. Allen's reporting played an important role in NPR's coverage of the aftermath and the rebuilding of New Orleans, as well as in coverage of the BP oil spill which brought new hardships to the Gulf coast.

As NPR's only correspondent in Florida, Allen covered the dizzying boom and bust of the state's real estate market, the state's important role in the 2008 presidential election and has produced stories highlighting the state's unique culture and natural beauty, from Miami's Little Havana to the Everglades.

Allen has spent more than three decades in radio news, the first ten as a reporter in Ohio and Philadelphia and the last as an editor, producer and reporter at NPR.

Before moving into reporting, Allen served as the executive producer of NPR's national daily live call-in show, Talk of the Nation. As executive producer he handled the day-to-day operations of the program as well as developed and produced remote broadcasts with live audiences and special breaking news coverage. He was with Talk of the Nation from 2000 to 2002.

Prior to that position, Allen spent three years as a senior editor for NPR's Morning Edition, developing stories and interviews, shaping the program's editorial direction, and supervising the program's staff. In 1993, he started a four year stint as an editor with Morning Edition just after working as Morning Edition's swing editor, providing editorial and production supervision in the early morning hours. Allen also worked for a time as the editor of NPR's National Desk.

Before coming to NPR, Allen was a reporter with NPR member station WHYY-FM in Philadelphia from 1987 to 1990.

His radio career includes serving as the producer of Freedom's Doors Media Project — five radio documentaries on immigration in American cities that was distributed through NPR's Horizons series — frequent freelance work with NPR, Monitor Radio, Voice of America, and WHYY-FM, and work as a reporter/producer of NPR member station WYSO-FM in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Allen graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977, with a B.A. cum laude. As a student and after graduation, Allen worked at WXPN-FM, the public radio station on campus, as a host and producer for a weekly folk music program that included interviews, features, live and recorded music.

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Around the Nation
3:27 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Legal Battle Looms Over Florida Congressional Districts

Florida's state capitol. A redistricting plan crafted by the Republican-controlled Legislature in Tallahassee was partially thrown out by a state judge.
iStockPhoto

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 1:18 pm

With the midterm election a little more than three months away, a legal battle in Florida has cast uncertainty over the state's upcoming congressional races.

A state judge ruled this month that maps for two of Florida's 27 congressional districts violated the state constitution. He ordered the Legislature to redraw the maps.

The question now is when.

Like most states, Florida redrew the maps for its congressional districts after the 2010 census. Some states appoint special commissions to do the job, but in Florida, redistricting is done by the state Legislature.

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Around the Nation
2:21 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Fate Of Decades-Old Cigar Factory Dangles By A Phrase

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 5:23 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUSIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Tampa was once known as Cigar City. Today, there's just one cigar factory left. The J.C. Newman Company makes cigars in Tampa the way it has for more than 80 years on machines made in the 1930s. Now, as NPR's Greg Allen reports, the company's owners and employees are worried new federal regulations may put them out of business.

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Code Switch
1:09 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Miami Stores Enjoy Thriving Business From Cuban Shoppers

Serafin Blanco's discounted clothing store in Hialeah advertises its cheap deals. Cuban customers take their purchases back to Cuba to give to relatives or to sell, Blanco says.
Greg Allen NPR

On the map, it's right next to Miami. But culturally speaking, Hialeah, Fla., is just as close to Havana. And now, more than ever, Cubans are flocking to Hialeah to shop, taking advantage of the relaxed travel restrictions.

"There are more Cubans here than any place besides Cuba," says Serafin Blanco, who owns a discount clothing store there.

Through these shopping expeditions, Cuba's emerging entrepreneurs can buy goods their customers need and can't find in their country — legally skirting the 50-year-old trade embargo.

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Around the Nation
3:01 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Goods Sold In Cuban Shops Often Come From Florida Stores

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 7:51 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In recent weeks we've been reporting on changes in Cuba. One is Cuba's small but growing private sector. The government is letting entrepreneurs open their own businesses, which leaves many trying to find the goods their customers want. The U.S. trade embargo means you can't just order from a distributor in Florida. But Cubans can still get U.S. goods. NPR's Greg Allen visited stores in the Miami suburb of Hialeah.

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: On the map, it's right next to Miami. But culturally speaking, Hialeah is just as close to Havana.

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Around the Nation
3:31 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Florida County Goes To Court Over 'Acid Fracking' Near Everglades

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 5:20 pm

In southwest Florida, county officials are fighting the state over a new oil drilling process that's known by many different names: acidification, acidizing, acid stimulation and acid fracking.

Collier County has charged that state regulators have been lax in their oversight of the drilling, jeopardizing public health and the environment.

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Latin America
4:58 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Travel Freedom Raises Questions About U.S. Policies Toward Cuba

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 10:47 am

After being away for decades, many members of the first generation of Cuban-American exiles are returning to their native land. But there are still many uneasy with the relaxed travel restrictions.

NPR Story
1:26 am
Tue June 24, 2014

With Cash And Fat Fryers, Americans Feed Cuba's Growing Free Market

A man stands in line at Miami International airport to board a charter flight to Havana, Cuba. Travelers often fly to Cuba from the U.S. with piles of goods, despite a decades-long trade embargo.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 10:38 am

Every day, you can see signs of a subtle change in relations between Cuba and the U.S. at Miami International Airport.

More Cubans than ever before are coming to the U.S. to visit, and the number of Cuban-Americans traveling back to the island is also at record levels. With all the visitors, money and goods are now traveling to the island from the United States.

It's a legal loophole in the 50-year-old trade embargo — one that's having a real impact on Cuba's economy, and allowing Cuban-Americans to become investors in Cuba's emerging private sector.

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Around the Nation
3:33 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Florida's New Regional Rail Service Raises Residents' Concerns

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 5:26 am

Florida East Coast Railway plans to start construction on an passenger line linking Miami with Orlando. Residents in towns through which the train passes worry about the impact on their communities

Shots - Health News
3:24 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Entrepreneurs Buzzing Over Medical Marijuana In Florida

One of three marijuana plants growing in the backyard of a 65-year-old retiree from Pompano Beach, Fla. He grows and smokes his own "happy grass" to alleviate pain.
Carline Jean MCT/Landov

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 7:05 am

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia now have laws allowing for some form of medical marijuana.

Florida appears poised to join the club. Polls show that voters there are likely to approve a November ballot measure legalizing marijuana for medical use.

If it passes, regulations that would set up a market for medical marijuana in Florida are still at least a year away. But cannabis entrepreneurs from around the country are already setting up shop in the state.

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Around the Nation
3:40 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Orlando Steps Up To Make Its Streets More Pedestrian-Friendly

Florida is home to the country's four most dangerous large metro areas for pedestrians, according to a new national study. Orlando tops the list, followed by Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami, pictured above.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 4:39 pm

Semoran Boulevard in Orlando, lined with gas stations, strip malls and bus stops, is a good example of what's wrong with the roads in this busy Florida city.

It's the most dangerous street in a city that ranks No. 1 in the nation for pedestrian accidents, according to a recent national study. There have been 28 crashes involving pedestrians — and six deaths — on this stretch of road over the past seven years.

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Around the Nation
3:04 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

An Underwater Race To Transplant Miami's Rare Corals

Close-up of a star coral rescued by Coral Morphologic from a reef in Miami's shipping channel.
Courtesy of Coral Morphologic

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 5:18 pm

A lab just off Florida's Miami River has become the base for an unusual lifesaving operation.

A group of scientists there is on an urgent mission to save as many corals as it can before the marine creatures are destroyed as part of an underwater excavation of Miami's shipping channel. The channel — set to be dredged and deepened on Saturday — is home to a thriving coral reef.

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Around the Nation
3:28 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Koch Foundation Criticized Again For Influencing Florida State

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 5:52 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Florida, there are questions about whether a conservative political group has too much influence at a public college. Florida State University rewrote its agreement with the Charles Koch Foundation after some on campus complained that the relationship undermined the school's academic integrity. But critics say it still gives donors with their own agendas too much influence in the classroom. NPR's Greg Allen reports.

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Politics
2:00 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Meet The Front-Runners In The Crowded GOP Senate Primary

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 12:48 pm

Seven Republicans are competing for the nomination to Georgia's open Senate seat. All are conservative, but the primary on May 20 will be a test of how well the Tea Party is doing. At least three of the candidates carry the Tea Party mantle. Some party leaders worry that if one of the more extreme conservatives gets the nomination, it could clear the way for a win by a moderate Democrat in the general election.

Law
2:02 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

States Swap One Drug For Another, And Botched Executions Follow

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 4:35 pm

Oklahoma's botched execution of Clayton Lockett is prompting other states to question their use of the drug midazolam in lethal injections. The Lockett execution is fueling new calls to re-examine how states put inmates to death.

News
2:21 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Amid New Details Of Botched Execution, A Timeline Of Final Hours

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 9:17 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Oklahoma has released new details about the botched execution this week of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett. It took 43 minutes for Lockett to die, and his death came from a heart attack after the execution was halted. In a moment, we'll hear about how lethal injection became the standard method of execution in the U.S. First, here's NPR's Greg Allen with the latest on Oklahoma's investigation into what went wrong.

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Movies
1:15 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Tampa Hosts Bollywood's Biggest Stars At Annual Awards Show

Bollywood star Anil Kapoor (right) engages the mayor of Tampa Bob Buckhorn in a dance during a press conference for the 15th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 10:04 am

India's Bollywood film industry is known for romantic, over-the-top musicals that increasingly are reaching a world-wide audience. To highlight the international appeal, the industry holds its annual awards ceremony every year outside of India.

This year, Bollywood, its glittering stars and its legions of fans, have come to Tampa, Fla. It's the first time the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards have ever been held in the U.S.

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Environment
2:05 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Forced To Put Its Nets Away, One Fla. Town Clams Up — Literally

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 5:26 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Many commercial fishermen in Florida faced a tough decision 20 years ago: retire or find another way to make a living. That reality set in after voters passed a constitutional amendment intended to prevent overfishing. It banned the use of gill nets in state waters. Gill nets are large nets that are suspended vertically in the water. NPR's Greg Allen went to an island where former fishermen have found new careers since the ban.

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Around the Nation
3:17 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Florida's Freshwater Springs Attract Vacationers

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 5:20 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right. If I say Florida and Spring Break, you might be conjuring images of beaches, cocktails, theme parks. Well, some of our reporters have been sending suggestions for more off-the-beaten-path destinations and NPR's Greg Allen takes us to Florida and the state's fresh waters springs.

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History
3:25 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Developer To Preserve Ancient Tequesta Village In Heart Of Miami

A series of postholes sit on a site that some call a major archeological find, once home to a Tequesta village. A developer wants to build on the site, but agreed to preserve the village.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 3:24 am

In downtown Miami, amidst the office buildings, shops and high-rise condos, visitors will soon be able to see a site historians are calling Miami's birthplace.

The spot where the Miami River meets Biscayne Bay used to be home to the Tequesta tribe, which is where Spanish explorers who first arrived in Florida in the early 1500s encountered them. Today, that spot is the heart of downtown Miami.

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Politics
3:27 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

After Setbacks, Florida Governor Courts Latino Support

Florida Gov. Rick Scott recognizes a visitor in the gallery during his March 4 State of the State speech at the Capitol in Tallahassee.
Phil Sears AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 5:58 pm

In Florida, where Republican Gov. Rick Scott is running for re-election, he's got a few things going for him. The state's economy has rebounded from the recession and he's on track to raise at least $100 million for his reelection bid.

But Scott's campaign has recently run into trouble with an important group of voters — Hispanics.

Latinos make up just 14 percent of Florida's electorate. But, as a bloc of voters, they have the power to swing elections statewide.

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Sports
2:52 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Greyhound Racing May Be Headed For The Finish Line

Greyhound racing has been on a downward trend for decades.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

On a weekday afternoon at the Mardi Gras Casino near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., most guests are inside at the relatively new card tables and slot machines. Outside, at the 5 p.m. post time, only about a dozen people are in the grandstand.

This is what they're waiting for: The handlers lead out the greyhounds. The dogs are loaded into their starting boxes. Then eight greyhounds run in the first of 18 races.

Greyhound racing, a sport in decline, is still hanging on, mostly in Florida. But a bill gathering steam in the Legislature may hasten its demise.

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Around the Nation
2:16 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Bringing A 'Million Orchids' To Florida's Trees

The dollar orchid (Prosthechea boothiana) is among the native species soon to be planted in South Florida trees.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 5:28 pm

Researchers at a South Florida botanic garden want to return the state's orchids to their former glory.

When railroads first came to Florida in the late 1800s, the plants were among the first resources exploited. Millions of orchids were plucked and sent north as potted plants. Now, after more than a century of logging and harvesting, it's rare to find them growing in the wild here.

But if researchers at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden succeed with their Million Orchid Project, the flowers will soon bloom amid the hustle and bustle of city life.

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Environment
4:02 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Oil Industry Gets An Earful As It Eyes Florida's Everglades

Drilling companies have new interest in southern Florida's Big Cypress preserve. The prospect of large-scale operations and possibly fracking worries environmentalists and residents.
Sue Cocking MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 4:35 pm

As oil production goes, Florida isn't much of a player. The state produced less than 2 million barrels last year, which is how much oil Texas pumps from its wells each day.

That's about to change as the revolution in oil drilling technology comes to Florida.

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Politics
3:10 am
Wed March 12, 2014

In Closely Watched Congressional Election, GOP Wins In Florida

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 5:32 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A special election for a congressional seat on Florida suggests trouble ahead for Democratic candidates who backed Obamacare in swing districts. Republican David Jolly claimed victory last night in a congressional district that includes part of St. Petersburg, beating a strong Democratic candidate, Alex Sink. As NPR's Greg Allen reports, the results aren't encouraging for Democrats looking ahead to the fall midterm elections.

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Business
12:58 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Big Investors Boosting Home Prices, And Not Everyone's Pleased

ReBOUND Residential in Florida has bought multiple properties like this one, a formerly bank-owned home in Sunrise, Fla., as investment properties. The houses are now bringing steady returns as rentals.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 8:20 am

It's taken several years, but in many parts of the country, home prices are nearly back to where they were at the peak. In places like Florida, where the housing recession hit hard, home prices rose last year by one-fifth or more.

A major factor in the price rise is hedge funds, private equity firms and other large investors. They've moved aggressively into the residential market over the past two years, buying tens of thousands of distressed properties, often at bargain prices.

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Politics
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Democrats Eye Long-Time GOP Seat In Florida Special Election

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is a midterm election year, and the jockeying for position and the mud-slinging have already begun ahead of the November vote. The calendar is much shorter in one district in Florida. Voters there go to the polls next month in a special election that some pundits see as a good preview for the fall.

The election is to fill a seat held for more than 40 years by one congressman, Republican Bill Young. NPR's Greg Allen reports that Democrats have their best chance of winning this seat in decades.

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All Tech Considered
3:50 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Technology Tracks Crews Through The Fog Of Wildfire

Crews work a controlled burn in Geneva, Fla., in December. The state's forest service has rolled out a system to track equipment during fires, and hopes it can eventually be used to pinpoint firefighters, too.
Joshua C. Cruey Courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 7:04 pm

For crews fighting wildfires, the ability to get accurate information quickly is crucial. A breakdown in communication was one factor in a fire that killed 19 firefighters in Arizona last year, and in the deaths of two Florida firefighters in Arizona in 2011.

Florida officials hope to address some of those communication problems with a new tracking system designed to keep tabs on crews in the field.

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Around the Nation
3:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Another Florida Case Puts 'Stand Your Ground' Back In Court

Michael Dunn (right), who faces first-degree murder charges in the death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, stands with his attorney Cory Strolla (left) at Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday.
Bob Mack Florida Times-Union/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:55 pm

They're events that took just several minutes, but in a courtroom in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday, prosecutors and the defense laid out different versions of how Michael Dunn, who is white, came to shoot and kill Jordan Davis, a black teen.

It was in 2012, the day after Thanksgiving, that Davis, 17, and three friends stopped at a gas station and convenience store in Jacksonville. They were in an SUV and were playing their music — loud.

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Sports
3:16 am
Thu February 6, 2014

David Beckham Wants Miami To Embrace Soccer

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:59 am

Soccer star David Beckham is bringing a Major League Soccer team to Miami. He made the announcement on Wednesday in downtown Miami, not far from a site he and his partners are looking at for a stadium. Miami, however, is a city where Major League Soccer has tried — and failed-- before.

Law
3:01 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Murder Trial Reminiscent Of Zimmerman Case To Begin In Florida

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:43 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. A trial begins today in a case that once again puts a spotlight on Florida's Stand Your Ground self-defense law. That's the law that allows people to use deadly force to defend themselves without first trying to retreat. The law came to national attention a couple of years ago when a Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman fatally shot an unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

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