Peter Haden

Reporter/Producer

Peter Haden is an award-winning investigative reporter and photographer currently working with The Center for Investigative Reporting. His stories are featured in media outlets around the world including NPR, CNN en Español, ECTV Ukraine, USA Today, Qatar Gulf Times, and the Malaysia Star.

He holds a Master of Mass Communication degree from Arizona State University's Cronkite School and bachelor's degrees in Geography and International Studies from the University of Iowa.

After growing up on an Iowa sheep farm, Peter has lived and worked in Ukraine, Chile, Mexico, Washington D.C., Georgia, Arizona and Florida.

His current mission is to tell the greatest stories on earth - in three minutes and thirty seconds.

In the 1980s, a Spanish seminarian named Mother María Jimenez recognized that the job of crewing a ship could be particularly stressful and isolating.

Every week, thousands of these 'seafarers' pass through South Florida’s ports. They work on the same ships that bring clothes and computers and gasoline and all the things that make modern life modern.

Many don’t have a visa to enter the U.S. - so they can’t leave the port.

Jimenez wanted them to have their own place at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. So, she created the Seafarers’ House.

Jean Noël-Frydman was born in France, but he feels right at home at his house in the Grove.

"Coconut Grove is a neighborhood that appeals to the French taste," said Frydman. "It's not as organized as the rest of the city. Disorganization is a big French thing."

Trés bien. But recently, chaos in Frydman's business has turned his world upside down.

On a Friday morning in West Palm Beach, World Cup fans clad in sky blue took over the Argentine restaurant Al Pan Pan. South Floridians representing a host of different Latin American countries collectively cheered for their neighbor Uruguay in its match against France. 

Members of the crowd screamed, cried, and bit their nails during the quick 95-minute game.

Among the folds of Uruguayan flags stood patron Juan Iglesias, who is Cuban.

"Whoever's in that is a Latin country, you know I root for that," Iglesias said.

People living in Palm Beach County have a new way to reach 911 in an emergency: by text message.

Anyone in the county with a cell phone can send a text to 911 describing their emergency. The message will immediately begin a text conversation with an operator - just like a call.

“We will be able to text back and determine what the emergency is and get you the appropriate resources - police, fire, paramedics,” said Natalie Heneks, communications supervisor at Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

A Palm Beach County organization is gathering aid for Guatemalans in need after the eruption of Guatemala's Fuego Volcano Sunday. 

Photographer Sofia Valiente grew up in Davie, but for the last three years she’s been documenting the history of the Glades region around the southern lip of Lake Okeechobee. Her project is a 2017 Knight Arts Challenge winner.

Valiente recently told WLRN’s Peter Haden how the idea was born when she came across a set of books by Laurence E. Will, the self-proclaimed “Cracker Historian of the Glades.”

Survivors of the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have announced their next push to end gun violence: a cross-country voter drive.

Six tons of South American cocaine destined for the United States arrived Thursday, but not as originally intended.

The drugs were intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard and offloaded to authorities at Port Everglades.

The cargo came from an ocean away.

The Coast Guard’s Southeast District operates out of Miami, but some of its ships hunt for smugglers in the Eastern Pacific. Such was the case for the USCG Cutter James that rolled into Port Everglades with nearly $180 million of intercepted cocaine.

With hurricane season fast approaching, Florida Power and Light is testing its systems — and more than 3,000 employees — to make sure they can get the lights back on quickly after a storm.

All this week at the Riviera Beach command center, the company is drilling for a hypothetical storm with characteristics similar to Hurricane Wilma, which struck Florida in 2005.

The company said it’s applying lessons learned from Hurricane Irma.

Dozens of people marched through downtown Lake Worth Tuesday evening before holding a rally for International Workers Day.

There were young boys drumming on buckets, and adults carrying banners and chanting.

The group represented a broad network of community, labor and health organizations.

Ubaldo Cruz, of West Palm Beach, served 22 years in the United States Marine Corps. He said he wants to see equal rights for all people.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,” said Cruz, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

There will be no harvesting of Goliath Grouper in Florida, for now.

Opera may seem like work for the grand stage.

But at the front of a crowded assembly room in Lake Worth imaginatively costumed performers recently presented an epic tale of striving, loss and the triumph of friendship: The Adventures of Lola & Friends.

Authorities in South Florida have charged more than 60 sober home and drug treatment center operators with health care fraud over the past year and a half.

 

Economic development teams in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties are working together to reel in a whopper: Amazon’s second corporate headquarters.

Peter Haden / WJCT News

Hundreds of people gathered at the Duval County Veterans Memorial Wall in downtown Jacksonville Monday for the city’s Memorial Day Observance ceremony.

Five new names have been added to the wall.

All branches of the United States military were well represented at the ceremony. Current and former members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and the Coast Guard, their families, and members of the public came to honor Duval County veterans who died in service to their country.

Florida National Guard Adjutant Gen. Michael Calhoun announced those most recently taken:

State of Florida

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed nearly 50 bills into law this week. One of them lifted decades-old restrictions on doing business with Northern Ireland.

The move has raised the ire of Irish Catholics.

Peter Haden via Twitter / WJCT News

Former Florida Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry is Jacksonville’s next mayor. He narrowly beat incumbent Democratic Mayor Alvin Brown Tuesday with just over 51 percent of the vote. Curry says the work starts now.

"This is about one Jacksonville, about one people, and about our future. The message that I’ve carried over the course of this campaign comes from deep within me. This is what I believe. This is what we’re going to do. This will be a safe city again!" Just after conceding, Brown told his supporters he won’t stop trying to improve the city.

Larry Baker

The author of a new novel set in the First Coast is speaking at the Jacksonville Public Library on Wednesday.

Larry Baker will be discussing his latest book, “The Education of Nancy Adams.” Adams is a teacher in a Jacksonville high school.

The Jacksonville Public Library’s Olga Bayer says Baker used to live in the area.

“He has several books which he has set in Northeast Florida. In this one, I think he talks about the St. Johns River quite a bit,” Bayer said.

Peter Haden / WJCT News

A new photography exhibit at Jacksonville’s Museum of Contemporary Art focuses on the American South. Southern Exposure: Portraits of a Changing Landscape features the work of seven renowned photographers.

The project looks at the stories the land can tell.

MOCA Jacksonville Assistant Curator Jaime DeSimone says she knew the new show would be about the South.

“It took us awhile to understand and refine what that meant. Eventually we decided to focus only on the land,” DeSimone said. “Most of the photographs that you’re seeing don’t include people.”

Peter Haden / WJCT News

Florida has set a tourism record for a single quarter. Tourism marketer VISIT FLORIDA is reporting more than 28 million visitors arrived between January and March in 2015. WJCT went to the Florida Welcome Center on Interstate 95 to see what was drawing them in.

When asked why he was visiting Florida, Wayne Phillips, from Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, said he loved Florida. He said he was going to spend his vacation at Ormond Beach.

Peter Haden / WJCT News

Norman Studios' monthly silent film screening, “Silent Sunday,” celebrates Northeast Florida’s early film industry.

The events include live musical accompaniment by Jacksonville University music professor Tony Steve and his group, the Silver Synchro Sounds.

​We stopped by Steve's classroom for a lesson in the sound of silent movies.

UF Health

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is asking the feds to bypass Tallahassee and work directly with the city to keep the UF Health Jacksonville open.

The hospital receives around $95 million a year from a federal program called LIP that covers uninsured, low-income patients. The LIP program is set to expire at the end of June.

Peter Haden / WJCT News

The oldest cracker-style house on the First Coast got a new home Tuesday.

Crews moved the 142-year-old Oesterreicher McCormick cabin from its original location on Palm Valley’s 20 Mile Road to the Beaches Museum and History Park in Jacksonville Beach.

Director Christine Hoffman says the importance of the antique cabin goes beyond the historical aspect.

Vagabond Coffee / Facebook

  A coffee stand was broken into Thursday night in downtown Jacksonville’s Hemming Park. But Vagabond Coffee Company owner Will Morgan says the stand will come back better than ever.

Morgan was notified about the break in around 7 a.m. Friday by a regular customer. He got the message on Facebook.

Morgan said, “Somebody was walking through the park and they snapped a picture and said, ‘Hey, I just want to give you a heads up. I’m not sure if you saw this yet.’ And that started the morning.”

Peter Haden / WJCT News

Aircraft from the United States Air Force Reserve’s “Hurricane Hunters” unit were at the Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine Thursday. The unit collects data in real time that is used by emergency managers and meteorologists to track storms and warn the public.  

The “Hurricane Hunters,” who are based at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, fly a 700-ton cargo plane directly into the eye of a hurricane in the name of science.

Peter Haden / WJCT

Wednesday has been proclaimed “Police Memorial Day” in Jacksonville.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office held a ceremony to honor the city’s fallen officers.

At the memorial, Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford said his agency strives to make a positive difference in the lives of those who are troubled. But they are far too often called upon to bury their own.

Rutherford said, “This year is especially poignant as we change our roll call and add the name of Mark Larson.”

Peter Haden / WJCT

  A monthlong tournament has just kicked off to see who can take the most lionfish out of Northeast Florida waters. State wildlife officials are promoting similar tournaments around the state to thin out the invasive species’ numbers.

Divers at Jacksonville’s Mudville Grille signed up last week to prey on the spiny predator.

Benjamin Messinese, an Atlantic Beach resident, says you don’t have to think to catch a lionfish.

“They’re all over the place. They’re not skittish, they’re not scared,” Messiese said. “They sit still. They’re right there in front of you.”

Erik Hersman / Flickr

Early voting began Monday in Jacksonville city elections.

African-American pastors held a get-out-the-vote rally at an early-voting location on the city’s Northside.

Residents can transform Jacksonville — socially, spiritually and economically — if they go to the polls and vote.

That’s the message a group of Baptist Ministers from around the First Coast are trying to drive home.

Duval Baptist Ministers Conference President Darien Bolden says economic, education and criminal justice policies have been unfair toward African-Americans in Jacksonville.

Peter Haden / WJCT News

Jacksonville’s annual World of Nations Celebration is in full swing at Metropolitan Park through Sunday.

Representatives of 34 nations are at the festival this year eager to tell visitors the best thing about their countries.

Lordania Foreman says the best thing about Romania is how it takes influences from all of the people that have invaded it throughout history, including the Huns, the Tatars and the Turks.

Yi Rian says the best thing about China is the celebrations.

Ray Hollister / WJCT News

More than 20,000 people are expected in downtown Jacksonville this weekend as the city hosts five major events geared toward families and sports fans.

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