NPR: 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.

For thousands of people in Florida, the last launch of the space shuttle is not just the end of an era, it's also the end of a career. Nearly 8,000 men and women who worked on the space shuttle have been laid off — a blow to an area where unemployment is well above the national average.

But even as the shuttle ends, many on the Space Coast are optimistic about the region's future.

In his first six months as Florida's governor, Republican Rick Scott has had a major impact on the state.

Tropical diseases like dengue fever sound as if they belong in faraway places. But in the past several years, some have begun showing up in the continental U.S.

Now in Key West, Fla., public health officials are combating a scourge they thought they'd eradicated seven decades ago.

Dengue Back After Long Absence

Until recently, a locally contracted case of dengue fever had not been seen in Florida since 1934. That suddenly changed in 2009, when doctors in Key West began seeing it in people who had not traveled outside the area.

Dozens of golf courses have closed in Florida in recent years, leaving communities with a dilemma: what to do with the vacant land? Some have been turned into parks, some have been developed and some towns have begun operating the courses themselves.

The Army Corps of Engineers opened another bay on the Morganza Spillway Wednesday — diverting more water off the Mississippi through the bayous and rivers of Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin.

The Corps says it will divert as much water as necessary to keep the Mississippi no higher than 45 feet as it passes through Baton Rouge.

But some of that water might actually be welcome.

'We Need Good Water'

Few people pay closer attention to water conditions in the Atchafalaya Basin than those who make their living catching crawfish.

By opening the Morganza floodway, the Army Corps of Engineers is sending Mississippi water through communities that thousands call home. But, even as they're forced to evacuate, few are blaming the Corps. Those who live along Louisiana's bayous aren't happy about having to fight the river, but say it's something they've grown up with and which they take very seriously.

Over the weekend, the Army Corps of Engineers began opening gates of the Morganza Spillway — a structure that hadn't been opened in nearly 40 years. After the spillway was opened in Louisiana, mandatory evacuations were ordered for areas of St. Landry Parish.

To handle all the water flowing down the Mississippi River, the Army Corps of Engineers is opening the floodgates on a spillway, north of New Orleans.

Opening the Bonnet Carre spillway diverts some of the floodwaters into Lake Pontchartrain and from there to the Gulf of Mexico. But nearly every flood control action taken by the Corps is not without controversy.

Winners And Losers

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign a bill that will make the state the first in the nation to prohibit doctors from asking patients if they own guns. The bill is aimed particularly at pediatricians, who routinely ask new parents if they have guns at home and if they're stored safely.

Pediatricians say it's about preventing accidental injuries. Gun rights advocates say the doctors have a political agenda.

An Invasion Of Privacy?

Florida's legislature wraps up its annual budget session this week. Like other states with tight budgets, Florida is setting new spending priorities. Environmental protection is one area that's seeing big cuts.

Tough Choices

Florida freshman Rep. Daniel Webster bucked the Tea Party line recently and voted to support the House spending deal pushed by Speaker John Boehner. Days later, the Republican also voted to support a GOP plan to privatize Medicare — an issue of special interest to Florida seniors.

In a courtroom in Orlando, Fla., Friday, an immigration hearing resumes that involves a former top Salvadoran military official. Gen. Eugenio Vides Casanova faces possible deportation. He's charged with participating in torture and human rights abuses in El Salvador nearly 30 years ago.

It's still a year and a half until the presidential election, but members of Florida's Legislature are already jockeying over who will be able to vote and how.

Republicans — who control both Florida's House and Senate — are sponsoring bills that would restrict the ability of third-party groups to conduct voter registration drives. Another measure would slash the number of days allotted for early voting.

Democrats and independent voter groups say it's all about politics.

Early Voting Aids Democrats

If it's April in Panama City, Fla., it must be spring break.

Here and in other beach towns along Florida's panhandle, hotel and restaurant owners are smiling once again, a year after the Deepwater Horizon drilling-rig blast and oil spill. The crowds appear to be coming back.

And that's quite a difference over last year, says Dan Rowe, the head of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"It was a very stressful summer," Rowe says.

While Cubans in Havana marked the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion with parades and marches, there were commemorations of a different sort in Miami, home to a large Cuban community.

As in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states, Florida's public employees and their unions are on the defensive.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott has proposed a budget that cuts thousands of public jobs and requires workers to contribute part of their salaries to their pensions.

Plus, the Republican-controlled Legislature is close to adopting a measure that directly targets public employee unions.