Kenny Malone

Kenny Malone hails from Meadville, PA where the zipper was invented, where Clark Gable’s mother is buried and where, in 2007, a wrecking ball broke free from a construction site, rolled down North Main Street and somehow wound up inside the trunk of a Ford Taurus sitting at a red light.

Malone graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH as a mathematics major and economics minor. He took an un-ironic oath to use mathematics for good not evil. Per that oath, Malone has taken on a wide array of non-evil numbers-based reporting endeavors -- everything from proving the existence of a home-field heat advantage for the Miami Dolphins to explaining South Florida’s economy in terms of automobiles on I-95 to exposing the extraordinary toll the densest cluster of assisted living facilities in the state had on both local authorities and the residents of those facilities in Lauderhill, FL.

Malone’s work has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition as well as APM’s Marketplace and The Story. His work has won national awards for religion, financial, crime and investigative reporting as well as three Best in Show Green Eyeshade Awards, the National Edward R. Murrow Award for use of sound, the National Headliner and PRNDI awards for series reporting, and the Scripps Howard Award for In-Depth Radio Reporting.

Malone lives in Miami Beach with his scruffy dog, Sir Xavier Charpentier III.

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The End of the Road
5:29 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

I-95: America's 2,000-Mile Political Lens?

Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, head of the Republican Governors Association, recently claimed that the GOP was becoming the party of I-95. While it's not unheard of to use Interstates as a political lens, using an entire 2,000 mile Interstate is a little strange.
Credit Graphic by Kenny Malone

You’ve heard of “big tent” political parties. How about “big overpass” parties?

Is GOP the party of Interstate 95?” read a headline from McClatchy Newspapers last month.

About two weeks after the November midterm elections, the Republican Governors Association met in Boca Raton. During a press conference, newly appointed chairman -- and Tennessee governor -- Bill Haslam told a group of reporters about a recent revelation.

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Transportation
11:49 pm
Sun December 7, 2014

Uber Expands Throughout Florida, Still Faces Legal Battles In South Florida

An Uber graphic touting their new expansion through Florida.
Credit Graphic by Uber. Color darkened by WLRN for clarity.

From Pensacola to Key West, the ride-sharing company Uber announced that its app-based service -- specifically its lower cost "uberX" service -- will now be available in dozens of new locations around Florida including Naples, Sarasota, Fort Myers and the Florida Keys.

"Now we’re nearly everywhere in Florida," an announcement claimed on the company's blog. "As of today, over 82 percent of Floridians have access to Uber!"

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The End of the Road
10:29 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Blazing The Waze: FDOT Is The Traffic App’s First U.S. Partner

Earlier this year the Florida Department of Transportation entered into a partnership with the traffic data company Waze. The Israeli startup, now owned by Google, lets “Wazers” use a smartphone app to report the location of crashes, congestion, potholes, road kill and police officers among many other things.

The agreement is purely a “data-sharing” partnership. Waze gets access to the stream of information produced by the road sensors FDOT uses to monitor traffic flow on Florida’s major highways. And FDOT gets access to the myriad reports filed by Wazers.

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The End of the Road
11:06 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

The Words Invented By South Florida's I-95 Drivers

Regular commuters along Interstate 95 have created some terms to describe what they see on these roads.
Credit Gregory Castillo / WLRN

When Arthur Bowditch Fay set out to chronicle his 300-mile Interstate 95 commute from Spotsylvania, Va. to Leonia, N.J., he came to the realization that the English language did not have the words to describe what he was seeing and doing.

So he invented those words:

dreamile (noun)
[dree-mahyl]
“The distance traveled while... daydreaming. Usually nothing of the dreamile is remembered.”

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Hurricanes
8:26 am
Fri November 28, 2014

Florida Continues Unprecedented Streak Of Hurricane Luck

Another hurricane season has flown by without a lot of wind.

The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season will come to an end on Sunday having produced just eight named storms: Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna.

“If this were a typical year we would have seen 12 named storms,” said National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen.

A total of six tropical storms turned into hurricanes. Two of those grew into Category 3 or higher storms.

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History
9:20 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Meet The Tuskegee Airman In Your Own Backyard

Lt. Col. Leo Gray is one of a few dozen remaining Tuskegee Airman. He began training in Tuskegee, AL in 1943.
Credit Philip Hall / University of Alaska Anchorage for "Living history: Tuskegee aviator visits UAA." Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Lt. Col. Leo Gray was born in Boston in 1924. A trumpet player and track runner, he joined the Army in 1943. A year later, he flew solo for the first time, a training flight in Tuskegee, Ala.

Gray flew with the 332nd Fighter Group, arguably the most famous of the Tuskegee Airmen. In 1941, for the first time, the United States Army began training black pilots.The Army was still segregated and trained the men in the same location: Tuskegee.

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The End of the Road
12:52 am
Mon November 3, 2014

I, 95: A Man's Findings On A 300-Mile Commute

Arthur Bowditch Fay decided to pay attention to everything he possibly could while on his bi-weekly 300 mile I-95 commute. He compiled the results in a book titled "I, 95."
Credit Graphic assembled by Kenny Malone (I-95 shield comes from "I, 95" book cover, map from Google Maps)

No bicycles allowed. Turn signals, believe it or not, are required before switching lanes. And if your car breaks down, you are supposed to move it, within six hours to be exact.

Those are some laws on Interstate 95. And then there are the laws of I-95:

FIRST     The less time you have to get to a destination, the more likely you will encounter traffic.

SECOND     Important signage will be displayed improminently or out of sight.

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The End of the Road
7:14 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Two Roads, One Billboard And A Miami Legal Battle On The Word “On”

Andy Hancock stands beneath a billboard structure built in 1985; it was one of 10 allowed on Miami highways at the time. The sign is now owned by Clear Channel.
Credit Kenny Malone

About 30 years ago, Hancock Advertising, Inc., was awarded eight of the first 10 permits to put billboards on the City of Miami’s highways. Seven of those billboards went up on Interstate 95. It would take a two-year legal battle over the word “on” to determine whether or not the eighth sign was also on I-95.

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The End of the Road
4:26 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

I-95 Is Still Insanely Bumpy And Here's Why

The patchwork concrete rehabilitation on southbound I-95.
Credit Kenny Malone

“Miami’s Southbound Interstate 95 from 153rd Street to 125th Street looks -- and feels -- like it was engineered by Pablo Picasso,” we reported last August.

Well, apparently I-95 is still in its Cubist phase.

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The End of the Road
2:27 am
Wed October 1, 2014

If You See Blacked-Out 95 Express Signs, Here's Why

The northbound 95 Express toll sign and gantry is roughly two miles past the 95 Express entrance.
Credit FDOT (http://sunguide.info/sunguide/index.php/gallery/express_lanes)

At best, the signs were confusing. At worst, an incentive to illegally pylon-jump between express and non-express lanes.

On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Transportation will shut down two problematic electronic 95 Express tolls signs: one above the northbound 95 express lanes near Northwest 54th Street and one on the southbound lanes near Northwest 144th Street.

“It really doesn’t add benefit at this point,” says Rory Santana, who runs the 95 Express system for FDOT.

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The End of the Road
7:31 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Inside "Florida's Toll Lane Boom"

95 Express was Florida's first dynamic tolling system but it will not be the last.
Credit FDOT

As part of our End of the Road series, we’ve reported extensively on the so-called “Lexus Lanes” on I-95. In the 95 express lanes drivers can pay a toll to get around regular gridlock traffic. That toll varies based on how many car are piling into the express lanes at that moment. The more demand, the higher the toll -- to keep things moving.

The lanes were the first of their kind in Florida, but a new report from the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting says 95 Express is the future for Florida’s highways.

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The End of the Road
8:48 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Audience Feedback: How To Fix The 95 Express "Closed" Sign Problem

595 Express uses warning gates to help stop drivers from entering the wrong way into the reversible express system.
Credit FDOT

An internal FDOT report shows more and more drivers are plowing past bright yellow “closed” signs and getting into 95 Express when the lanes are technically shut down for accidents or broken-down vehicles. But the Florida Highway Patrol can’t enforce the signs because they’re the wrong color: yellow-on-black  instead of black-and-white.

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Real Estate
5:47 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Florida Leads Nation In Cash Home Purchases

Florida has the highest rate of cash home purchases in the country.
Credit Flickr user Images Money per Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The majority of Florida home purchases were cash transactions in June. That’s according to a new report from California-based real estate analysis company CoreLogic.

Mark Fleming, chief economist at CoreLogic, says the recession and housing bust have resulted in a spike of cash buyers.

“Either because they don’t want to have the mortgage debt burden or, in many cases can’t qualify for mortgage loans,” Fleming says.

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The End of the Road
6:37 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

"Closed" Signs Don't Stop South Florida Drivers From Using 95 Express

More and more South Florida drivers are getting into the 95 express lanes when the sign reads "CLOSED."
Credit Kenny Malone

Carlos Lora doesn’t care what the electronic toll sign for 95 Express says. Fifty cents, $6.00, $10.50 -- it doesn’t matter. After a long day at work as a South Beach condo manager, he’s getting in his Mini Cooper to go home to Hollywood Beach, and he's using the fast lanes to get there.

“And even if it says ‘closed,’ I’m guilty of still jumping on,” Lora says.

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The End of the Road
2:00 am
Mon September 1, 2014

I-95 And Its Eclectic Array Of Road Debris

Credit U.S. Government Accountability Office

The blonde wig flew out of nowhere, “flapping like a bird” as it lodged in the driver’s side windshield wiper of Jorge Garay’s delivery truck.

“Scared the viva Cuba libre out of me,” Garay wrote.

His tale is one of more than a dozen absurd -- and sometimes harrowing -- accounts of close encounters with road debris on Interstate 95 provided in response to a Public Insight Network query.

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