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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Code Switch
4:12 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

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 3:09 pm

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
7:20 am
Thu July 3, 2014

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

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 7:20 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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NPR Story
6:55 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 12:38 pm

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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Shots - Health News
8:22 am
Tue June 17, 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 9:05 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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Culture
9:35 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 12:04 pm

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
9:17 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Forced To Put Its Nets Away, Cedar Key Clams Up — Literally

Downtown Cedar Key
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Since Florida banned gill nets 20 years ago, University of Florida researchers have helped Cedar Key replace commercial fishing with aquaculture. The area's now among the most productive clam farming regions in the U.S.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Politics
6:06 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 7:58 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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Environment
5:55 pm
Thu March 27, 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 7:28 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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Business
8:59 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 10:20 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
11:20 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Democrats Eye Long-Time GOP Seat In Florida Special Election

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 11:03 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
10:04 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 9:04 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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Law & Order
8:25 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 7:55 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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Culture
9:21 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Artist Transforms Guns To Make Music — Literally

Mexican artist Pedro Reyes received 6,700 weapons from the Mexican government, from which he sculpted instruments.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 12:14 pm

Pedro Reyes says being Mexican is like living in an apartment where an upstairs neighbor has a leaking swimming pool.

"Just what is leaking," says Reyes, "is hundreds of thousands of guns."

He wants people to think about the availability of guns in the United States, and the impact that has in Mexico.

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Code Switch
7:03 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Poll Findings: On Cuban-Americans And The Elusive 'American Dream'

Cuban immigrants are handed forms to fill out by an immigration and naturalization official in Miami on Dec. 3, 1984, so they can become permanent residents of the United States.
AP

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 9:11 am

Among Latinos, no group may have achieved the American dream as fully as Cuban-Americans.

Since arriving here, as a community, they've prospered. Surveys show they graduate from college at greater rates and have higher levels of homeownership than most other Latino groups.

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Health News Florida
6:35 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Florida Bill Would Allow Medical Marijuana For Child Seizures

Marilyn Budzynski takes care of her 20-year-old son, Michael, in Eustis, Fla., in September. Michael suffers from Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.
Tom Benitez MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 4:57 pm

Florida may soon become the latest state to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana. Advocates there are gathering signatures to put a medical marijuana referendum on the fall ballot.

But Florida's Legislature may act sooner to allow residents access to a particular type of marijuana. Advocates say the strain called Charlotte's Web offers hope to children with severe seizure disorders.

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