Caitlin Switalski

Caitie Switalski is a rising senior at the University of Florida. She's worked for WFSU-FM in Tallahassee as an intern and reporter. When she's in Gainesville for school, Caitie is an anchor and producer for local Morning Edition content at WUFT-FM, as well as a digital editor for the station's website. 
 
Her favorite stories are politically driven, about how politicians, laws and policies effect local communities. 
 
Once she graduates with a dual degree in Journalism and English, Caitie hopes to make a career continuing to report and produce for NPR stations in the sunshine state. 
 
When she's not following what's happening with changing laws, you can catch Caitie lounging in local coffee shops, at the beach, or watching Love Actually for the hundredth time. 
 

In the days after Hurricane Irma swept through South Florida last September, knocking out power across the region, 14 patients at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills died from sweltering conditions. Twelve of those deaths were ruled homicides by the state. 

On Thursday morning, one day before the official start of a new hurricane season, South Florida seniors spoke to local emergency management officials and lawmakers about how to better prepare.

In response to a lawsuit filed by the father of a victim of the Parkland school shooting, Broward County’s largest mental health services provider has denied accusations that it mistreated confessed-shooter Nikolas Cruz. 

Broward County’s 911 system was widely criticized after communication failures during the 2017 airport shooting in Fort Lauderdale. Now it's under scrutiny again for similar failures during the Parkland shooting. 

Files show that critical upgrades have been recommended on the system since at least 2016; most were never made.

In a memo released to state environmental officials and county health department offices on Thursday, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued a clarification of when and how local and state officials should perform tests on local water systems.

"We are the long-term people." That's how  Dr. Judith Aronson-Ramos, a member of the Advisory Board of Parkland Cares, describes the mission of the organization. 

Two-year-old Ari Williams is testing out the new motor-sensory friendly playground at the Jack & Jill Children’s Center on West Broward Boulevard.

“It’s sand!” she yells, and scoops tiny cups of sand into smaller containers.

She then jumps to the water tables where she throws her hands in and can splash around. 

Thursday, more than 1,000 teens attended the 12th annual Teen Political Forum at the Coral Springs Center For The Arts. 

The program is a night for teens to ask local city officials and Broward County School Board members their questions. 

 

The first of more than 800 March For Our Lives events in Washington, D.C., the U.S. and around the world took place early on Saturday on the island of Pohnpei in the Pacific nation of Micronesia.

Here in South Florida, things kicked off, fittingly, in Parkland - which was the site of the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people and ignited the student-led #NeverAgain movement for stricter gun control and school safety. Marches were also held in Miami Beach, Boca Raton and Key West.

South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz hosted a roundtable on Monday to discuss how to keep the momentum for gun control going long after this coming Saturday's "March For Our Lives," organized by Parkland students with support from their peers around the country. 

In response to the Parkland shooting that killed 17 people, Broward County’s Charter Review Commission (CRC)  is holding a special meeting to consider proposing gun control amendments for approval by the county voters. 

The meeting is scheduled for Friday,  March 16  at 10 a.m. at the County Governmental Center in Fort Lauderdale. 

Broward County filed a new lawsuit in federal court Monday against manufacturers of opioid drugs.

Walmart, Walgreens, the McKesson Corp. and CVS Health are just some of the drug makers and distributors Broward County is suing.  

 

Others include Johnson & Johnson, Cardinal Health Inc., Health Mart Systems, Mallinckrodt, Amerisourcebergen Corp., as well as Endo Janssen, Purdue, Cephalon and Teva Pharmaceuticals. 

It’s been close to a month since the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead and 15 more injured. In a city neighboring Parkland, one museum is making art therapy for students a weekly ritual. 

 

Kathryn Doll is an art therapist and one of the licensed clinical social workers leading the art healing group at the Coral Springs Museum of Art.

The state’s lawsuit against the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills continues with more hearings this week inside  a Broward County courtroom in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The Rehab Center is fighting Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to keep its license and reopen after 12 people died in sweaty and stifling hot conditions three days after Hurricane Irma made landfall in South Florida. 

Hurricane Irma may have slammed across South Florida almost six months ago, but some are still feeling the effects of the storm.  

 

Therapy horses and puppies, as well as law enforcement officers and members of the community, gathered around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Wednesday morning to welcome students on their first day back since the shooting that killed 17 students and faculty two weeks earlier.

“Welcome back. How are you feeling?” Deputy Bernard Hilson asked, as he hugged students before they crossed the street to enter the school.

Students responded that they felt better and thanked him for being there.

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School aren't the only ones mobilizing for change after the mass shooting that left 17 students and faculty dead on the school grounds. 

 

Three days after 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland were killed in the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history, a Miami gun show went on as planned. 

 

Florida Gun Show puts on gun shows throughout the year across the state. 

Broward County commissioners have approved a new program that aims to keep adults accused of non-violent misdemeanor crimes out of jail by giving them civil citations and coursework instead.

Leaders of Broward Health’s public hospital system met for a board meeting Wednesday to finalize their nine-month-long search for a new CEO, despite several of them facing criminal charges. 

The board voted 4-1 to offer the interim CEO, Beverly Capasso, a contract to be the president and CEO, at least until a federal oversight agreement ends,  which will be sometime in 2020. 

 

Nova Southeastern University held it’s 20th annual Celebration of Excellence Ceremony Saturday night. But this year, the two guests of honor - and the first Indian Americans to have a U.S. medical school named after them - have made NSU history. 

The husband and wife duo from Tampa, Drs. Kiran C. Patel and Pallavi Patel, announced an expansion of a donation totaling $225 million. This makes them the largest contributors in the university’s history.

 

Sewage has been spilling into Fort Lauderdale’s streets, neighborhoods and waterways for more than three years now. Millions of gallons of waste on the roads and in canals are the product of old sewage pipes and cracked infrastructure. 

But at a regular City Commission meeting Tuesday, commissioners agreed to borrow $200 million  to start updating the areas with the worst pipes. 

 

The Fort Lauderdale City Commission is set to hold a special meeting Tuesday at noon at City Hall to discuss legal options on how to deal with the ongoing opioids crisis.

During the meeting, which is open to the public, five law firms will present their advice on how they think the city should legally handle the opioid crisis.

Discussion is expected to include hot topics ranging from overdoses to access to drugs, and what legal issues are at stake if the city enforces new ordinances going forward.

Tony Lima was one of 30 Broward County residents at Tuesday’s commission meeting. The executive director of SAVE, he spoke against conversion therapy for minors – the controversial practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We need to be able to as a county send a strong message that we are inclusive, that we are loving, that we are protective of their authentic selves – above all,” Lima said.

Fort Lauderdale's troublesome, aging sewage system just got a major update, according to a new city report. 

 

Broward Health operates five public hospitals that serve the majority of people living in central and northern Broward County. This week, five of the agency’s board members were indicted on charges of violating Florida’s open government law, also known as the Sunshine Law. 

The charges could affect the health system’s national search for a new CEO.

 

Nova Southeastern University is home to a leading research practice for chronic fatigue syndrome. The condition’s full name is myalgic encephalomyelitis, but it’s abbreviated to ME/CFS. The chronic immune illness causes brain and muscle inflammation. 

 

Deerfield Beach is following Miami Beach's lead in prohibiting plastic foam containers, like Styrofoam, on the sand.

Deerfield Beach officials banned polystyrene containers, like coffee cups and coolers, from all city events starting October 1. Even vendors can’t use the material, which isn’t biodegradable and often ends up in the ocean.