Peter Haden

Palm Beach Reporter

Peter Haden is WLRN’s Palm Beach Reporter. His stories cover the diverse issues and voices of a region that includes both the richest and poorest cities in Florida, the president’s “Winter White House,” the state’s leading agricultural territory, a bustling cruise and container port, vibrant immigrant communities, world-famous beaches and the Everglades.

Before joining WLRN, Haden reported for the investigative reporting showcase Reveal, WJCT in Jacksonville, Cronkite News in Phoenix and as a worldwide freelancer. He’s crouched at the intersection of desert Figure 8 races, skimmed alligator-infested waters with Florida bangstick hunters, ridden atop freight trains with migrants crossing Mexico and atop horses with Chilean cowboys crossing the Andes — to bring his audience into the story.

Haden’s radio and multimedia work has won awards from Edward R. Murrow, PRNDI, IRE and the Mark of Excellence award from the Society of Professional Journalists. His stories have been featured on programs including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Reveal and The Takeaway.

Haden holds degrees in geography, international studies and multimedia journalism. He grew up in the Midwest shearing sheep.

Ways to Connect

Peter Haden / WLRN

Hillary Clinton drove home a message to her supporters at a Palm Beach County rally Wednesday:  vote early.

“Go to any early voting site in your county,” Clinton said. “You can go between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to cast your ballot. In fact, you can go right after this rally to the Lantana Road Branch library — just three miles away.”

Clinton stopped at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth.

More than 10 million people nationwide have cast early ballots.  Two million of those were Florida.

Peter Haden / WLRN

Two more Broward voters realized Tuesday that their absentee ballots lacked the medical marijuana question, according to the Miami Herald.

This came just hours after a Broward County judge said she would rule quickly on a case involving ballots missing Amendment 2.

Two Oakland Park voters received ballots last week that did not have the question pertaining to Amendment 2, which would legalize marijuana statewide for medical use. The Broward Supervisor of Elections said they were “test-ballots” sent out accidentally.

Peter Haden / WLRN

“Does the property flood during the king tides?”

Fort Lauderdale Realtor Julie Jones says that is one of the first things her buyers ask these days. 

“The days of just smiling sweetly and saying, ‘Oh no, it’s not a problem,’ are clearly gone,” she said.

Jones gathered with other business people, scientists and local officials Monday in a Fort Lauderdale conference room …  with the water rising outside the building. They had a message to South Florida and Washington: We need to do something.

Peter Haden / WLRN

Brackish water infused with leaves, garbage and fertilizers crept up the legs of people standing in suits and skirts in downtown Fort Lauderdale Monday morning.

Broward county officials - along with academics from Florida Atlantic University and private sector entrepreneurs - willingly gathered on the corner of Las Olas Boulevard and 25th Avenue.

U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch got a close up look at the flooding caused by king tides.

Peter Haden / WLRN

As Hurricane Matthew passed Palm Beach County early Friday, residents camped out in the fifteen area shelters started packing up to go home. Some had additional cargo to pick up: their pets. 

“I think it went amazing” said Elizabeth Harfmann of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, who oversaw the Palm Beach County pet-friendly shelter at West Boynton Recreation Center. “Everybody was so courteous and so helpful. The animals were all pretty calm for such a high stress environment.”

Peter Haden / WLRN

Friday morning, the coast was clear.

“We’re going home,” said Altagrace Bonhomme, of Delray Beach, to her two daughters, Wilnise, 8, and Rebecca, 4.

“Yay!” said Wilnise, in white sandals and leopard-print pajama pants, holding her dog Delilah in the crux of her left arm.

Staying at a Palm Beach County shelter wasn’t too bad for the family, nor for Delilah. But they were anxious to get home.

“I don’t know what do expect,” said Bonhomme.

The family hopped into their minivan and made the short trip to suburban Delray Beach.

Peter Haden / WLRN

There were few cars driving on the streets of Lake Worth at mid-morning, but there were about two dozen people on the beach.

“I wanted to come by and check it out and see what the surf looked like,” said Lake Worth resident Peter Mannarino. “It’s getting rough!”

Ingrid Bonilla, also of Lake Worth, took a documentary approach.


“I wanted to see the beach before the bad weather comes,” Bonilla said. “I want to come back after the storm and see how it’s gonna look - a before-and-after picture.”

Peter Haden / WLRN

Many Palm Beach County residents heeded warnings and spent Wednesday preparing for the worst.  Dave Palumbo dripped with sweat as he clambered to put up shutters on his business in downtown Lake Worth - Igot’s Martiki Bar. “You really can’t take anything for granted down here, so, we’re just getting ready.”  

Palumbo said he’s been through this before, but it had been a while since the last time he had to protect his business from strong winds and flying debris.

Peter Haden / WLRN

South Florida pet owners evacuating their homes ahead of Hurricane Matthew can stay at a special shelter in Palm Beach County. The West Boynton Recreation Center opened Wednesday for owners to stay with their dogs, cats and pocket pets.

“We have a pet friendly shelter for people and their animals,” said Dr. Virginia Sayre, a veterinarian with Palm Beach County Care and Control. “They can bring their animals here during the storm. We put kitties in one section, doggies in another section and people in a third.”

Peter Haden / WLRN

The National Hurricane Center has upgraded Broward County to Hurricane Watch status. Broward County Mayor Marty Kiar says residents should prepare now.

“We have a 75 percent chance on Thursday of being hit by tropical storm force winds, and a 15 percent likelihood of being hit by hurricane force winds,” Kiar said.


Broward County public schools have canceled all school activity Thursday and Friday. Wednesday after-school sports and activities are also canceled. Wednesday classes will take place as scheduled.

Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a state of emergency Monday for the entire state of Florida in preparation for Hurricane Matthew.  
 He says his biggest concern is that the Category 4 storm could veer west and pummel the east coast of Florida.   

“If it makes a dramatic turn to the west, we’re not going to have a lot of time to get prepared,” Scott said. “So you need to get prepared today. Get your water, get your shelter.”

Peter Haden / WLRN

Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year – began the evening of Oct. 2. And for the more than half a million Jews living in South Florida, the holiday is brought in with a familiar sound: the shofar.


The shofar is an ancient musical instrument made from a hollowed-out ram's horn. The rabbi blows it at the end of the Rosh Hashanah service, after Yom Kippur and at other times during the High Holidays.

Peter Haden / WLRN

Bad weather and snafus dampened the mood of many supporters at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s rally in Coral Springs on Friday.

Peter Haden / WLRN

A new law could be in the works to regulate so-called “sober homes” in Florida. 

At a meeting attended by hundreds of residents in Lake Worth, Assistant State Attorney Al Johnson said that he is part of a task force created to crack down on  unscrupulous addiction recovery residences in Florida. The facilities are not currently required to be certified or licensed and the task force will propose legislation to change that. 

The Florida Park Service invites the public to start 2015 outdoors by participating in First Day Hikes.

On New Year's Day, many Florida State Parks are offering free guided hikes for the public. This year there are more than 30 events throughout the state, including at parks in St. Augustine, Flagler Beach, and Palatka.

Most of the January 1st hikes begin at 10 a.m.

The events are part of a national initiative by America’s State Parks to get people outside and healthy.