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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 environmental stories. 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 front lines of NPR's coverage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, arriving in New Orleans before the storm arrived 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.

More recently, he played key roles in NPR's reporting in 2018 on the devastation caused on Florida's panhandle by Hurricane Michael and on the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

As NPR's only correspondent in Florida, Allen covered the dizzying boom and bust of the state's real estate market, as well as the state's important role in the 2008 and 2016 presidential elections. He's produced stories highlighting the state's unique culture and natural beauty, from Miami's Little Havana to the Everglades.

Allen has been with NPR for three decades as an editor, executive producer, and correspondent.

Before moving into reporting, Allen served as the executive producer of NPR's national daily live call-in show, Talk of the Nation. Prior to that, Allen spent a decade at NPR's Morning Edition. As editor and senior editor, he oversaw developing stories and interviews, helped shape the program's editorial direction, and supervised the program's staff.

Before coming to NPR, Allen was a reporter with NPR member station WHYY-FM in Philadelphia from 1987 to 1990. His radio career includes working an independent producer and as a reporter/producer at NPR member station WYSO-FM in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Allen graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977, with a B.A. cum laude. He began his career at WXPN-FM as a student, and there he was a host and producer for a weekly folk music program that included interviews, features, and live and recorded music.

A year after Hurricane Michael slammed Florida's panhandle, communities there are struggling, and rebuilding is slow. With housing devastated, local governments are being forced to raise property tax rates to pay for high recovery costs, and a severe housing shortage has caused many, to temporarily leave the area.

A high school marching band greeted shoppers and paraded through the store when a Winn-Dixie supermarket reopened recently. Businesses have been slow to reopen since Hurricane Michael, in part because there aren't enough workers.

The Trump administration is considering removing the Key deer, one of Florida's most iconic and beloved animals, from the endangered species list. Named for their habitat in the Florida Keys, they are tiny versions of white-tailed deer, typically at the shoulder just 2 or 3 feet tall. They're cute, popular with tourists and used to be found on more than a dozen Florida islands. Today, most of them live on a single island, Big Pine Key.

Three people turned themselves in to police Monday to face criminal charges in connection with the deaths of a dozen patients at a South Florida rehabilitation facility days after Hurricane Irma in 2017.

A fourth person was arrested by authorities in Miami-Dade County.

Those charged all worked at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills when the storm knocked out a transformer that supplied power to the facility's air conditioning system.

Following the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Congress is considering a bill that would encourage states to pass red flag laws. Members of Congress may want to study Florida, where it's been in place for a year and a half.

Since it was adopted there, courts have approved some 2,500 risk protection orders. That's nearly five every day, more than any other state. The Florida law allows police, acting with court approval, to temporarily seize weapons from people deemed to be at risk of harming themselves or others.

A new tool

Anyone who was in Panama City, Fla., last year when Hurricane Michael hit has a story to tell. Christina Harding rode out the storm with her mother, daughter and two nephews. "It was crazy," she says. "We had to tie the door shut because Michael was trying to come into the house with us, which was not what we wanted. It was like bam, bam, bam, bam. Like somebody trying to get in, you know?"

Many residents in the southeast U.S. and along the Gulf Coast are already thinking about the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins on June 1. Last year brought two of the most destructive storms to ever hit the U.S.: Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael.

A jury in West Palm Beach, Fla., has convicted a former police officer in the shooting death of a black motorist. It's the first time in 30 years that an on-duty police officer in Florida has been convicted in a shooting.

Corey Jones, a housing inspector and part-time musician, was on his way home from a nightclub in October 2015 when his van broke down on Interstate 95 in Palm Beach Gardens. He was on the side of the road in his SUV when he called for roadside assistance.

In Florida, two months into the job, Florida's new governor is showing what it means to be a Trump conservative, Florida-style.

For well over a year, visitors to Florida's beautiful Gulf Coast beaches have found dead fish lining the shoreline. A red tide algae bloom afflicted coastal communities from Florida's Panhandle to its southern tip. But in the past few weeks, monitoring conducted by marine scientists shows that the red tide bloom is finally disappearing.

Red tide blooms occur when a microscopic alga, Karenia brevis, proliferates in a higher than normal concentration. When concentrations are high enough, toxic chemicals released by the algae can affect marine life and people.

More than three months after Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle, communities now are struggling with the storm's financial aftermath. In Mexico Beach, where Michael's 155 mile-per-hour winds flattened more than three-quarters of the homes, just removing the debris threatens to bankrupt the city.

On Highway 98, the beach road, nearly every house on the ocean side is gone. Collapsed home sites and piles of debris wait to be bulldozed away.

Off Cedar Key on Florida's west coast, the water is some of the most pristine in the Gulf. The estuary there has long supported a thriving seafood industry.

Sue Colson, a city commissioner in Cedar Key, says one of the best places to harvest oysters used to be the Lone Cabbage oyster reef, about a mile offshore. When the tide was really low, she says there were so many oysters that she and her husband could walk along the reef picking them up.

More than 300 people recently packed into a college auditorium in the middle of a weekday to see Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Democrat is running for governor and, if elected, would be the first in the party to win the seat in the state in 20 years. He'd also be the first African-American governor in Florida's history.

He's facing former Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in a contest that has been marked by heated attacks, the influence of President Trump and a hurricane.

Santa Rosa Beach, in Florida's Walton County, is a quiet place with sugar-white sand, a pleasant surf and signs warning visitors to stay out. The largely rural county on Florida's Panhandle is at the center of a battle over one of the state's most precious resources: its beaches. Most of the 26 miles of beaches are already privately owned. As of July 1, homeowners with beachfront property in Walton County can declare their beach private and off-limits to the public. The new law has sparked a standoff between wealthy homeowners and other local residents.

Florida this week declared a state of emergency because of a slow-moving natural disaster — red tide.

Red tide is toxic algae that have persisted off Florida's Gulf Coast for nearly a year. In recent weeks, the algae bloom has worsened, killing fish, turtles and dolphins and discouraging tourism on some of the state's most beautiful beaches.

Smack in the middle of the Florida peninsula, Lake Okeechobee, one of the largest lakes in the U.S., has a nagging problem. Nearly every year now, large blooms of algae form in the lake.

On a recent visit, even Steve Davis, a senior ecologist with the Everglades Foundation, was surprised.

"Oh my gosh," he exclaimed, "look how thick this blue-green mat is right here."

At Florida's Capitol in Tallahassee, four times a year, dozens of anxious people gather to hear a decision that will affect the rest of their lives. Felons whose sentences and probation are complete stand before the governor and other Cabinet members to ask for clemency and the restoration of their right to vote.

After waiting for years, Joanne Calvarese made her case to the clemency board in June.

"I feel that I have paid my consequences," Calvarese said. "I know I don't deserve your mercy, but I beg you for it."

Updated at 9:35 a.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has visited Puerto Rico six times since the island was ravaged by Hurricane Maria last year. He's brought aid, advice, and on one trip, even a delegation of utility providers to consult on how best to restore the island's tattered power grid.

Prosecutors have released three cellphone videos recorded by Nikolas Cruz, in which he described his plans for the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Some of the videos appear to have been recorded the day of the shooting.

In Florida, only the state is allowed to regulate firearms. Local government officials who ignore that law — posting signs prohibiting guns in city parks, for example — face stiff penalties. They include removal from office, a $5,000 fine officials must pay from their personal funds, and lawsuits from any person or group affected.

For coastal communities from Florida to Texas, this year's hurricane season may be a preview of what's to come. Scientists say with climate change, in the future we're likely to see more severe hurricanes and heavier rain events. In addition, as ice sheets melt, sea levels are rising faster, flooding low-lying coastal areas such as Miami.

Like many in Puerto Rico, Irma Rivera Aviles and her husband Ivan Martínez weathered Hurricane María in a shelter at the Ramón B. López vocational school in Cataño, a town several miles west of San Juan, along with nearly 200 others. Conditions quickly got bad at the shelter and she was angry when she spoke with NPR in September.

For Yamyria Morales, her baby daughter and 2 year old son Jonael, home for now is a couple of cots in an elementary school gymnasium in Vega Alta, an hour west of San Juan.

"I've lost track of when I arrived here," Morales says. "It's been really hard."

Morales, a 25-year-old single mom, came to the shelter with her kids and her father just days after Hurricane Maria destroyed her wooden home in Sabana Hoyos, about 20 miles away.

"Whatever little I had, I lost," she says.

Updated at 1:30 a.m. ET Sunday

In Little Haiti, Liberty City, and a number of other neighborhoods in Miami, canvassers are now walking door to door to spread the word about the risks of Zika, one household at a time — hoping to reach 25, 000 people the next six weeks. In some neighborhoods, these workers aren't sponsored by federal or state health agencies, but by Planned Parenthood.

In a well-kept neighborhood in Miami with lush gardens, Larry Smart, a county mosquito control inspector, holds a turkey baster up to the light. "If you look closely, you'll see some moving fast. They're wriggling around," he says. "That's actually mosquito larvae." Smart uses the turkey baster to sample standing water in hard-to-reach places.

In a major concession to critics and animal welfare groups, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Inc. says it will stop breeding captive killer whales.

SeaWorld's treatment of its killer whales, or orcas, was put in the spotlight three years ago by Blackfish, a documentary that examined the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was killed by an orca named Tilikum. Since then, in a steady campaign on social media, critics have demanded SeaWorld end its orca breeding program.

When people talk about Florida's Everglades, they often use superlatives: It's the largest protected wilderness east of the Mississippi River, and it's the biggest subtropical wetland in North America.

But it is also the site of a joint federal-state plan that is the largest ecosystem restoration effort ever attempted — one that is beginning to pay off after decades of work.

The rapid spread of the Zika virus has raised interest in a British company that has developed a genetically modified mosquito. Oxitec has produced a genetically engineered line of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the mosquito that carries dengue fever and chikungunya. Those tropical diseases have become common in Latin America and are now showing up in Florida.

Aedes aegypti also carries Zika, a disease whose symptoms include fever, like dengue. It has also been linked to a birth defect, microcephaly in children born to women infected with Zika.

There was an unusual scene at Florida's Capitol building in Tallahassee this week. To comply with a court order, legislative staffers used a computer program to randomly assign new numbers to Florida's 40 state Senate districts.

It's the latest in a series of moves that have reshaped politics in the Sunshine State. The political ground shifted recently when the courts approved new maps for congressional districts and the state Senate. The maps are the result of laws that aim to eliminate gerrymandering: drawing districts to benefit one political party or another.

Since President Obama opened a door to Cuba, there's been progress in the past year. Americans can travel there. The two countries reopened their embassies and have agreed to re-establish commercial air travel.

But on the financial front, progress has been slow. After a year, there's just one U.S. financial institution doing business with Cuba — and it's a small bank in Pompano Beach, Fla.

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