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. 
 

Members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission expressed frustration Thursday with a new state Department of Education tool to assess threats at schools. The Florida Schools Safety Portal launched earlier this month, on Aug. 1. 

After the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, safety is at the top of a lot of people’s minds – especially in schools.

The confessed-Parkland school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had a bandage across the bridge of his nose as he stood and raised his handcuffed hand to address a Broward County Courtroom on Wednesday afternoon. 

 

Small group meetings for the Mind-Body Ambassadors always start with guided breathing. Students call it a "soft-belly" breath.

Ten students at a time sit in a circle in an upstairs teacher's lounge at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School - and they take slow, deep breaths from their diaphragms. 

Open mics and improv workshops could be the stuff of nightmares for people who stutter. But that doesn't have to be the case. 

More than 800 people who stutter when they speak came to Fort Lauderdale Beach last week. They tried out those techniques, and others, during workshops at the National Stuttering Association's 36th annual conference. 

The City of Parkland has been asking people in email blasts and on social media not to explode personal fireworks during their Fourth of July celebrations on Thursday out of respect for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD

Symptoms of PTSD can be triggered by unexpected loud noises, including fireworks.

When Hurricane Irma made landfall in South Florida nearly two years ago, it knocked out power across the region — in some areas for up to 10 days. A dozen people in the Rehabilitation Center At Hollywood Hills died after the storm, due to heat-related issues from lack of air-conditioning.

Middle school can be a difficult time in life. 

Nearly a year ago the counseling program 'School Is Cool' was launched in 10 middle schools across Broward County with the help of the Community Foundation of Broward. The program targets students who have issues with attendance, behavior or poor grades and works with them to boost involvement at school. 

Now the program is almost ready to expand to even more schools. 

Five years ago, a mobile food pantry started delivering fresh, healthy food to parents at one elementary school in Hollywood. Then, it went to three.

Now, the nonprofit Mobile School Pantry has expanded to delivering food to seven elementary schools across Broward County. The pantry travels to schools that are located in areas that lack easy access to grocery stores - areas called food deserts.

The nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) told WLRN Monday that it is rethinking plans for a controversial low-income apartment complex being planned near the city's Downtown.

AHF received widespread criticism from neighbors and city officials about the size of the units and the development's location and density. 

"Overall, we've heard the concerns of the community and of the commission," Southern Bureau Chief for AHF Michael Kahane told WLRN. "We will do what it takes to make this a reality for the folks that so desperately need it."

Family members of victims from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre and shooting survivor David Hogg launched on Monday an effort to get a constitutional amendment on the Florida ballot in 2020 that would ban the sale of assault weapons. 

Hogg and Gail Schwartz, who lost her 14-year-old nephew Alex Schachter at the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting, were among the group that dropped off 200 signed petitions to be certified at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office in Downtown Fort Lauderdale. 

The legal team defending the confessed-Parkland shooter argued in front of a Broward Circuit judge Friday morning that the state commission investigating the shooting should not have had access to Nikolas Cruz's confidential medical and mental health records. 


This story has been updated with additional context at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16 2019.

What started as an idea to build more affordable housing in Downtown Fort Lauderdale has become a growing fight between residents, a developer and city officials. 

 

 

More than 100 supporters of the nonprofit The AIDS Healthcare Foundation rallied in front of Fort Lauderdale City Hall Monday night. 

Chanting,"Healthy housing for all!" the group wore white T-shirts that said, "Love Thy Neighbor." 

The foundation is trying to build a 680-unit micro-apartment tower in the city's downtown but has met opposition from nearby residents who expressed concern over lack of services for potentially formerly homeless people living in the building, and about the size and density of the development.  

Members of The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission voted unanimously Wednesday morning to send their first report to the state authorities in Tallahassee, in hopes that it increases the pace of reforms recommended to prevent another school shooting in Florida. 

Videos and photos of police officers responding to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 show them saving at least two victims by applying tourniquets to gunshot wounds on their legs.

Now, Julie Osheroff is learning how to do that. And she's not a cop — she's a teacher.

Osheroff recently trained with about 85 of her colleagues in how to be a first responder.

Community leaders and officials from the nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) defended a proposed high-rise tower dedicated to low-income housing in downtown Fort Lauderdale Tuesday. 

Over the last week, city residents have expressed opposition to the project on social media, citing doubts over how well potential residents would be vetted. Some people have asked if the units are only for people living with HIV, or if the building is a shelter.

The Trump administration has proposed expanding a policy that would deny green cards to immigrants who access certain public benefits, like food stamps and Medicaid.

That would expand the list of services that some people seeking green cards get penalized for using.

Democrats in Congress spoke out against the proposed regulation in Sunrise Monday morning.

“This proposed rule change has sewn confusion and prompted immigrant families to start avoiding programs they need to raise healthy and productive children,” Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said.

More than 800 high schoolers filled a ballroom in the Broward County Convention Center Wednesday morning to hear from Holocaust survivors.

The survivors gave advice to students about how to overcome forms of intolerance and anti-semitism that are on the rise in the U.S., such as bullying, bigotry and shootings. They spoke about the October shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The disgraced former police officer assigned to protect Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School defied a subpoena and failed to show up to a meeting of a state investigative panel that's examining the Feb. 14 massacre that left 17 people dead inside the school.

Two Broward County leaders who have been criticized for their handling of the Feb. 14 shooting at a Parkland high school displayed a stark contrast in attitude as they were questioned on Thursday by a state investigative commission that includes parents of slain students.

This post was updated with new information at 12:00 p.m., Nov. 7, 2018.

In the race to be Florida's next Commissioner of Agriculture, at first it looked like Republican state Rep. Matt Caldwell narrowly beat out Democratic candidate Nikki Fried.

Caldwell had claimed victory at his election watch party in North Fort Myers. 

But now, the race is too close to call and will be going into a manual recount.

After 11:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, just over than 12,000 votes separated the candidates. That means Fried and Caldwell are 0.16 percent apart.

Amy Green/WMFE

A collaboration of marine researchers presented their research projects at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show Thursday, in hopes of finding funds and support among boaters with a stake in the state's waterways.  

Over the last eight weeks, nearly 6,000 Broward County teachers and staff members at more than 85 public elementary, middle and high schools have completed a 'Stop The Bleed' emergency and first aid training course.

Participants learn to use tourniquets and dress fake gashes and bullet wounds. The idea is to be able to stop severe bleeding and take care of significant wounds before paramedics arrive.

Broward County voters have a lot to decide this election. 

Every voter in the county will get 12 ballot questions; there are up to nine amendment questions, depending on the city. 

One of those amendments: a trust fund to make the cost of housing in Broward more affordable. We explain what's at stake. 

It's been a little over eight months since the shooting that took 17 people’s lives in Parkland. 

At a roundtable in Coral Springs City Hall on Wednesday, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and South Florida Congressman Ted Deutch met with grieving alumni, parents and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

On the banks of the New 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.

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