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. 
 

On the banks of the Tarpon River, the 117-year old Historic Stranahan House and Museum is the oldest building in Fort Lauderdale. It was home to the city’s founding family, Frank and Ivy Stranahan. 

But in recent years, it has suffered the effects of climate change, according to the museum’s Executive Director, April Kirk.

 

In recent years, the City of Fort Lauderdale has faced heavy criticism for its treatment of homelessness, including of a long-running legal dispute it's had with groups distributing free food in public spaces.

For Dorothy Gay, there was never any question that Broward was where she would retire. She was born in Pompano Beach and has spent her entire life here.

But now that she's retired, it's not easy for the 77-year-old. She struggles to get by.

"You know how you think you going to save a little here and a little there, but you didn't?" she said.

There's a new person in charge of emergency management in Broward County.

Tracy Jackson started as the director of regional public safety and emergency services at the end of May, days before this year's hurricane season began. In addition to hurricane preparation, he now oversees Broward's regional 911 system. 

Jackson began his career as a firefighter in the  Miami Fire Rescue Department in 1982. He was the division chief of support services during and after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, heading up logistics.

Toxic blue-green algae blooms have officially come to Fort Lauderdale.

The green, foul-smelling goop has been sighted in Intracoastal canals, near Annie Beck Park, and the Las Olas Isles neighborhood.  

Adam Weinstein lives on the 15th street canal, and noticed the green floating patches near the dock behind his house two weeks ago.

Commissioners investigating the Parkland school shooting said Thursday that law enforcement school resource officers, or SROs, should play a larger role at schools. 

Florida Sen. Lauren Book, who sits on the commission, asked the group to recommend that SROs be given access to students’ educational and disciplinary records. 

Last year saw 1,642 opioid overdoses treated in Broward County emergency rooms. And 85 percent of those cases were overdoses on heroin.

Fort Lauderdale officials decided this week to uphold a city ordinance that limits the number of medical marijuana dispensaries allowed to open in the city - despite a state law that says it does not have that power.

Enrique Martinez was dripping water when he walked into Fifth Street Counseling Center, in Plantation, on a Tuesday evening last July.  

The organization Parkland Cares, founded in the wake of the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, awarded its first three grants to local mental health service providers Mondy, totaling $75,000. 

The Children's Bereavement Center, Behavioral Health Associates of Broward and Henderson Behavioral Health each received checks for $25,000, which will go directly to creating services, subsidizing services, or making counseling more accessible for residents. 

Over the past two years, The Community Foundation of Broward has awarded 16 grants totaling $800,000 to local nonprofits to bring relief to residents who are struggling financially. 

Now the foundation is accepting a new round of applications to fund programs that promote economic independence. 

The Broward Health System is almost ready to open it's new building in Coral Springs. 

A new tower with over 112,000 square-feet focusing mainly on the health of new moms and babies has been added onto the existing Coral Springs Medical Center. 

The national debate over 3D printed guns has reached Broward County. Starting Monday, Broward County's Library system suspended use of all 3D printers at its facilities, citing the need for extra caution and weapon concerns. 

Updated August 2, 2018, 11 a.m.

An ordinance banning the sale and distribution of plastic straws in Hallandale Beach as well as their use on the public beach passed with a unanimous vote of five to zero at the Wednesday night city commission meeting, which spilled over into early  Thursday morning. 

It is expected to take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Monday marked the first day of class for students in Nova Southeastern University's new medical doctorate, or M.D., program. It's the first such program in all of Broward County. 

At the main campus in Davie, the hallways were filled with students wearing new white coats. The class of 53 has been divided into two smaller groups, called learning communities. These groups that will study together and share a mentoring physician. 

The smaller community system is used predominantly in undergraduate programs, not in medical schools.

Broward County is almost done training its first group of armed school safety officers, called Guardians, in time for the first day of school on Aug. 15. 

It's a typical Saturday afternoon at North Regional Broward College Library. Logan McGuire, 6, picks a book and sits down to read. He has an audience waiting - his new friend Zoe. 

As Logan reads out loud page by page of "The Cookie Fiasco," by Dan Santat and Mo Willems,  Zoe looks curious. She gets closer and, at one point licks Logan's hand. It's a gesture of affection in dogs and she happens to be a Shih Tzu. But Logan, unfazed, keeps on reading until he finishes the entire book. 

Beach lovers in Broward please watch where you walk these days. According to the latest count,  the county's beaches are holding more than 2,300 sea turtle nests. 

 

More than 100 people answered the call from local students to march through downtown Fort Lauderdale on Saturday asking for action on climate change. 

'This Is Zero Hour' is a national climate change awareness and action campaign, but a group of recent graduates from American Heritage in Plantation organized a local campaign march that began in Esplanade Park. 

The commission tasked with investigating the Parkland school shooting discussed on Wednesday how Broward County and the Broward Sheriff's Office communicate and split duties when responding to emergencies. 

This story has been updated for clarity, and with new information.

Broward County released its 2017 water quality report Monday.

The report, from the county's Water and Wastewater Services office, shows drinking water across Broward County had low, acceptable levels of all chemicals during 2017.

“Once again, our water met or exceeded all standards of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act,” Alan Garcia, the Director of Water and Wastewater Services, wrote in a statement Monday.

Just as the company says it’s hardening the power grid against future hurricanes, Florida Power & Light is also making some of its service centers more resilient against storm damages. 

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.

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