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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.

It appears theme parks will soon be welcoming guests in Florida. Local officials approved reopening plans for Legoland in Winter Haven and the Universal theme parks in Orlando.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Updated at 2 p.m. ET

Carnival Cruise Line says it's making plans to resume sailing Aug. 1. Carnival and all cruise lines have been banned from sailing from U.S. ports since March when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a No Sail Order. The order was later extended to July 24 or when "the Secretary of Health and Human Services' declares that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency."

Congress is investigating Carnival Cruise Line for its response to the coronavirus pandemic. A House committee wants to know why Carnival didn't act sooner to protect the health of passengers and staff.

Hurricane forecasters and the models they depend on failed to anticipate the strength and impact of last year's deadliest storm. Hurricane Dorian caused catastrophic damage to islands in the Northern Bahamas, killing more than 200 people and causing billions of dollars in damage.

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

The Coast Guard is overseeing medical evacuations of crew members from two cruise ships off of Miami. The ships, the Costa Magica and the Costa Favolosa, don't have any passengers on board. As many as 13 crew members on the two ships are being transported ashore on small boats and taken to area hospitals. According to Carnival, the parent company of the Costa line, as many as 30 crew members on the two ships have flu-like symptoms. According to a spokesperson with the Port of Miami, those being transported ashore have respiratory symptoms consistent with pneumonia and bronchitis.

Florida is planning a major expansion of its highways with a series of toll roads that would open new parts of the state to development.

Exactly where the roads will go hasn't been announced yet, but opposition to the highways is growing in rural areas such as Jefferson County in North Florida. Mike Willis' family has lived there since before Florida became a state. He likes to refer to it as "the other Florida."

"Most people think of Florida as palm trees, white sandy beaches," he says. "We have rolling clay hills and beautiful pine forests."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Wisteria Island, created by the U.S. Navy nearly a century ago, has been left untouched for decades, except by boaters and campers who make their homes there. It's a valuable piece of real estate that's now at the center of a court battle between a developer and the federal government who both say they own it.

Officials in Florida are considering legislation aimed at curbing the high number of deaths on the tracks of a new passenger rail line. Brightline is a privately owned rail service operating trains between Miami and West Palm Beach. In its first two years, more than 40 people have been killed by Brightline trains on tracks and at rail crossings, earning it a designation as the nation's deadliest railroad.

For three decades, Georgia and Florida have been battling over how to share a precious resource: water. Georgia has it, and Florida, which is downstream, says it's not getting its fair share. The dispute is once again headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Florida wants the justices to cap Georgia's water use. But a court-appointed special master recently rejected that idea.

More than 6 million people depend on water that starts at Lake Lanier, a reservoir northeast of Atlanta. It generates hydropower as its water is released from a dam into the Chattahoochee River.

On Key Largo, to walk to Paul Butler's house it's best to wear rubber boots. "Did you see the 'No Wake' sign?" he asks. The recently installed "No Wake" signs are for drivers, not boaters.

There are several inches of water on his street and others in this low-lying neighborhood. Butler has lived here 25 years and seen this kind of flooding before.

"It used to happen once a year during king tide, but it would only last for like a week or 10 days," he says. "This year, it's been going on for about 75 days, I think." Other neighbors put it at 80 days and counting.

In Florida, Nestlé is taking heat from environmental groups and others concerned about the future of one of the state's most endangered natural resources — its freshwater springs. Florida has more than a thousand freshwater springs, which provide drinking water, important natural habitat and places for recreation. Nestlé wants to begin taking more than a million gallons of water each day from Ginnie Springs, a popular destination in north Florida for swimming, canoeing and tubing.

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."

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