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.

Update at 8:51 p.m. ET

A scientist who created a dashboard for monitoring Florida's rising number of COVID-19 cases said she's been fired for refusing to manipulate the data.

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In the pantheon of great NFL coaches, Don Shula stands at the top. He had 347 career wins, more than any other coach in NFL history. Shula has died at the age of 90, according to his longtime team the Miami Dolphins.

In his 33 seasons as a head coach, first with the Baltimore Colts and then later with the Dolphins, Shula took his teams to six Super Bowls. With the Dolphins, Shula recorded the NFL's only perfect season ever.

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.

A federal judge in Miami has ordered U.S. immigration authorities to begin releasing detainees held at three facilities in South Florida.

In an order issued Thursday, U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke said crowded conditions exposing detainees to the coronavirus violate their constitutional rights, including protections from "cruel and unusual punishment."

About 1,200 people are being held in the three detention centers in conditions that Cooke said places them at a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19.

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.

The last cruise ship carrying passengers finally docked this week. On Tuesday, the Costa Deliziosa disembarked passengers in Genoa, Italy, allowing more than 1,500 people to return home after a 113-day voyage.

Under an order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it will be another three months — at least — until cruise ships will once again be able to sail from U.S. ports. In the meantime, cruise lines are dealing with a host of lawsuits filed by passengers and crew who accuse the companies of negligence in exposing them to the coronavirus.

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Last night, as President Trump announced new federal guidelines on reopening the country, he said it's governors who will lead the way.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

The structure of a compensation fund for victims of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein now rests with the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands, where Epstein had a home.

U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George went to court in January to block the executors of Epstein's estate from setting up a fund to compensate his alleged victims. Dozens of women have accused Epstein of sexually abusing them at his estates in Palm Beach, Fla., and in the Virgin Islands. Epstein owned two islands in the U.S. territory and lived in a lavish estate on one of them.

County leaders across the country are asking the federal government for more emergency aid money as they watch tax revenues sink because of the coronavirus shutdown.

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

With an election year pandemic, mail-in ballots may become an increasingly popular way to vote, especially in states like Florida that allow any voter to use them.

The nation's counties say they are facing major challenges meeting the demands of the coronavirus pandemic. Local governments are seeing a steep rise in the number of people seeking help from programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

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New York City has been hit so hard by this global pandemic. The daily death toll there hit a new high this week, and NPR's Greg Allen reports this is overwhelming the region's system for handling the dead.

Updated at 2 a.m. ET Tuesday

In New York City, as the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic continues increasing, officials say the city may have to temporarily bury some of the dead at a public cemetery in Long Island Sound.

New York City Councilman Mark Levine says that if the death toll doesn't level off soon, the city will likely start doing "temporary interment." New York City's data indicate that total deaths in the city averaged nearly 150 per day before the pandemic. On one day recently, the city reported that 806 people died in a single day.

The fast-growing number of cases of COVID-19 around the country is also bringing a surge in the number of deaths. In New York City alone, the death toll is in the thousands and rising steeply every day.

There, and in places such as Detroit, Seattle and New Orleans, funeral directors are struggling to meet the increased demand. Joseph Lucchese, who owns and directs a funeral home in the Bronx, says it's unlike anything he's ever seen and it's dispelled any doubts he once had about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic.

Florida has now joined the list of states that are ordering residents to remain in their homes for all but essential activities to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made the announcement at an afternoon briefing. It was just a few hours after he spoke to President Trump. DeSantis said he's issuing an executive order that will direct "all Floridians to limit movements and personal interactions outside the home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or essential activities."

People in coronavirus hotspots are being told not to travel to other parts of the country, for fear they'll bring the infection with them. Those who do so anyway might find themselves in a forced quarantine.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that he had authorized law enforcement officers to begin setting up checkpoints in the state's panhandle to screen people coming from the New Orleans area.

"There's a fear as New Orleans becomes more of a hotspot, that you could have an influx of people into the Florida panhandle from Louisiana," DeSantis said.

Four people have died, and nearly 140 passengers and crew members have flu-like symptoms on a cruise ship currently holding off the coast of Panama. The Holland America ship Zaandam left Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7, but passengers were not allowed to disembark at stops after March 14 in Chile.

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.

In Florida, local officials are trying to decide whether to allow a cruise ship to dock that has dozens of passengers and crew aboard possibly infected with the coronavirus. The Holland America ship, Zaandam, left Valparaiso, Chile over the weekend and is headed to Ft. Lauderdale where it expects to arrive March 30.

Updated at 6:47 p.m. ET

A drive-through site to test for the coronavirus has been set up for golf carts at a massive retirement community in central Florida. More than 125,000 people live in The Villages, north of Orlando. Because the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the virus, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he was concerned about getting protections in place for the senior citizens who live there.

Updated on March 16 at 8:42 p.m. ET

Long before condominiums lined the shoreline in Miami Beach, before air conditioning, many thousands of years before Columbus, people lived along Florida's coastline.

Archaeologists say the remains of their settlements are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels as a result of climate change.

In Florida's Palm Beach County researchers are planning how best to protect and preserve the ancient sites most at risk from rising seas.

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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."

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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.

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