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.

It sounds like a typical American success story: A young boy becomes an academic standout, an Eagle Scout and high school valedictorian. Later, he attends college and then law school, all on full scholarships.

But Jose Godinez-Samperio's story is not typical. He's an undocumented immigrant from Mexico — and now he's fighting to be admitted to the Florida bar.

Godinez-Samperio was just 9 years old when he came to the U.S. with his parents. They entered the country legally, but overstayed their visas and settled in the Tampa area.

It was international news recently when a small fishing boat was found adrift in the Pacific Ocean, several hundred miles from the Panama town where it launched. After 28 days at sea, only one of the three men who had been onboard was still alive. The other two died from lack of water and exposure.

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

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The man who authorities said could not be charged with a crime will now face charges.

MONTAGNE: George Zimmerman is expected in court today in Sanford, Florida. Special prosecutor Angela Corey says she plans to charge him with second-degree murder for shooting an unarmed high school student.

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Martin Luther King was assassinated 44 years ago this week. When people in Miami held a rally to mark that anniversary, local activist Billy Hardemon brought up the killing of another Martin.

BILLY HARDEMON: Two Martins that died too young, Trayvon and Martin Luther King.

Rapid growth in the U.S. Hispanic community has created another boom — in Hispanic media. In recent months, several major media players have announced plans to join the competition for the Hispanic television audience. There's a new Hispanic broadcast TV network coming, plus a host of new cable channels aimed at Latinos.

The numbers tell the story: According to the census, the U.S. Hispanic population jumped by more than 40 percent in the past decade. The nation's 50 million-plus Hispanics now make up 16 percent of the TV-viewing public.

Since the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin made Florida's Stand Your Ground law the subject of national debate, one of the legislators who helped write it, Rep. Dennis Baxley, has been adamant in his belief that the law simply doesn't apply in this case.

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Now, let's turn to another case where legal questions are swirling. In Sanford, Florida, and across the country yesterday, thousands of people held rallies yesterday demanding the same thing - the arrest of George Zimmerman. Zimmerman is the neighborhood watch volunteer who last month shot and killed a black teenager named Trayvon Martin. As NPR's Greg Allen reports, city officials in Sanford say the case is now out of their hands.

In 1998, when Pope John Paul II made his historic visit to Cuba, few Cuban-Americans made the pilgrimage across the Florida straits.

But when Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Cuba on Monday, hundreds of Cuban-Americans will be on hand in Santiago de Cuba when he celebrates Mass.

Carlos Saladrigas is well-known in Miami's Cuban-American community. He's a prominent businessman and co-chairman of the Cuba Study Group, an organization working to make Cuba a free and open society. He'll be in Antonio Maceo Revolution Square for Mass.

No state has worked harder to stop the federal health care overhaul than Florida. Hours after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law two years ago, Florida led 12 other states in a federal court challenge. Eventually, a total of 26 states signed on.

The Supreme Court will hear the case this week. Meanwhile, Florida's governor, Rick Scott, has rejected more than $35 million in federal grants to help the state prepare for the new federal program.

Democrats lost no time in attacking the budget plan House Republicans introduced Tuesday. The plan saves money by overhauling Medicare, but Democrats argue it will destroy the program.

One of the Democrats leading the charge is Vice President Joe Biden. Taking on the role of candidate, Biden was in Coconut Creek, Fla., giving the second in what he promises will be a series of campaign speeches challenging the Republicans.

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Now, even if the shooter, George Zimmerman, is arrested for the death of Trayvon Martin, a conviction could be hard to get because of the controversial law that Kathy mentioned in her report. Let's take a closer look at that law. It's called Stand Your Ground and it allows people to use deadly force to defend themselves when confronted with a threat of violence. It's been on the books in Florida for several years. And as NPR's Greg Allen reports from Miami, it was a source of controversy long before the Martin shooting.

When the Supreme Court hears arguments over President Obama's health care law next week, one item on the table will be a program that has been in place for nearly 50 years.

Medicaid, a joint federal-state program that provides health care for the poor, was signed into law by Lyndon Johnson. Under the Affordable Care Act, it will be greatly expanded and provide coverage for millions of uninsured, including low-income adults without children.

Throughout the Republican presidential primary season, whenever there's talk about a short list of possible running mates, one name is nearly always at the top — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Rubio has only been in the Senate for a little more than a year, but his appeal is obvious. He's a young, charismatic, conservative Hispanic.

But as his national profile has risen, he has become a target for Democrats and advocacy groups who say he doesn't represent Latino voters.

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In Florida, members of Congress and the state legislature are scrambling to decide what districts they'll run for in this year's election. The legislature recently released maps that redraw the districts. It's a once-in-a-decade process every state goes through to reflect population changes since the last census. Because of its growth, Florida is gaining two seats, but there is bipartisan unhappiness with the maps. And NPR's Greg Allen reports that the battle over how they were drawn may ultimately be decided by the courts.

There are big plans for oil exploration in the Caribbean, not far off the coast of Florida. A Spanish company recently began drilling in Cuban waters — just 55 miles from Key West.

The well is the first of several exploratory wells planned in Cuba and the Bahamas. The drilling has officials and researchers in Florida scrambling to make plans for how they'll respond in case of a spill.

From the beginning, Florida lawyer Tom Ice says he realized the mass signing of mortgages was more than just a paperwork problem.

"I suspected then, and I suspect now, that we were really just touching the tip of the iceberg," he says.

Just how important is the senior vote in Florida?

Nearly one in five Floridians is retired. And a survey conducted by AARP predicts that as many as 60 percent of those who cast ballots in Tuesday's Republican primary — 6 out of 10 voters — will be retirees.

If that number is surprising, AARP Florida director Jeff Johnson says it helps to remember that primaries typically have a low turnout.

The Fish House, a restaurant in Pensacola, Fla., has become a regular stop for GOP candidates. Mike Huckabee and John McCain came by in 2008 and Joe Scarborough has done his Morning Joe show here. In fact, as congressman, Scarborough used to play on weekends in the restaurant's house band. NPR's Greg Allen goes behind the scenes at the Fish House.

After his second-place finish in the South Carolina primary, Mitt Romney arrived in Florida armed with money and organization. He's used both to stop Newt Gingrich's momentum. With three days until the primary, polls give Romney a solid lead over Gingrich in Florida.

Florida is a big state, but Romney and Gingrich's paths have crossed often this week. There were the two debates, and in Miami on Friday, Romney, like Gingrich, spoke to the Hispanic Leadership Network.

Fresh from Thursday night's debate, the two leading Republican presidential candidates, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, traveled across Florida on Friday.

Gingrich and Romney spent the morning in Miami, where they are both looking to shore up support from Florida's Hispanic community.

Gingrich started the day talking to an influential business group, the Latin Builders Association. Later, he spoke before the Hispanic Leadership Network — a group devoted to building Republican support among Latinos.

From Pensacola to Miami, the Republican primary is in full swing. Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are blanketing the state with rallies and personal appearances. The airwaves are full of campaign ads.

But Jeanne Casserta has heard enough. With several days left to go in the campaign, she stopped by the library in Coral Springs this week to cast her vote. She said she's heard plenty from both the Romney and Gingrich campaigns.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

As we've been reporting on the program this morning, Mitt Romney went on the attack at the GOP presidential debate in Florida last night. His target was rival Newt Gingrich, who was forced to defend his record as House speaker and later as a consultant to mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Gingrich denied charges of influence peddling that were leveled by Romney. And Gingrich said he was the type of bold, tough leader Washington needs.

In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, the tally stands at 1-1-1. Over the weekend, former House speaker Newt Gingrich re-established himself as a presidential contender with a resounding victory in South Carolina's primary.

He beat second-place finisher former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by more than 12 points. That means Romney, Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum have each won a nominating contest. Now all eyes are on Florida.

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In the days leading up to Tuesday's primary, with so much political activity compressed into such a small state, New Hampshire is pretty much nirvana for anyone fascinated by politics. Yes, all the candidates are there. But so are reporters, pundits, researchers, and as NPR's Greg Allen discovered, political tourists.

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