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 military, the Purple Heart medal is awarded to members of the armed forces injured in enemy combat. It's a sign of bravery and gratitude that can trace back its origins all the way to 1782, with General George Washington. 

Over the years, there have been different civilian initiatives to honor Purple Heart recipients. In the 90s, for example, some nature trails became designated as "Purple Heart Trails" so hikers could commemorate soldiers while they explored across the country. 

That idea spread. Now there are Purple Heart-designated cities, counties, and even whole states. 

Lighthouse Point is Broward County's latest city to write up a proclamation to remember recipients of the medal - and recently Broward County designated itself a Purple Heart County as well.

One local group of veterans led the charge to make that happen and they say they won't stop until they get the chance to talk to every municipality in the county about what it really means to be Purple Heart-designated.

Florida Atlantic University student Bridget Huston is collecting stories from people in her community about flooding. 

With a team at the university's Florida Center For Environmental Studies, she's looking at flood maps, or projections for how high water is estimated to rise during floods. Then she's comparing them to people's accounts of what flooding looks like in their own neighborhoods. She said she hopes the personal accounts make flood maps even more accurate. 

During the peak of rush hour in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, anywhere between 1,500 and nearly 2,000 cars are driving up and down Andrews Avenue every hour. 

Add all that up and it looks like up to 22,000 cars travel that section of the city per day, according to data from the Florida Department of Transportation. 

Construction is underway on what will be a 102-acre mixed-use development full of shops, restaurants, offices and apartments called Dania Pointe - where the iconic old Dania Beach Hurricane roller coaster used to be. 

The first phase of retail space will have its grand-opening Nov. 1. A few retailers, including Starbucks, have opened in the last two weeks by the Stirling Road entrance. 

Boodnaraine Tihal has been a teacher for 50 years. He started when he was just 18 years-old, in his home country of Guyana. He also taught in the Bahamas, and even was a principal before coming to the U.S. to teach at Seminole Middle School, in Plantation.

He's taught a little bit of everything, from civics, to government, and math.

But now he's retiring. His last day in the classroom is Friday, Oct.19, the end of the school's first quarter.

Voters in Broward County will decide in November whether to increase sales tax from six percent to seven. That extra penny per dollar would be locked in for three decades - all in the name of funding transportation projects and upgrades.

WLRN asked Broward County's Transportation Director, Christopher Walton, to talk about the specific projects the tax increase would fund.

Out of more than 700 projects already identified, Walton said more buses and bus routes top that list - as well as street upgrades and synchronizing traffic lights. 

More than 1,500 people gathered for the Actions For Change festival in Parkland’s Pine Trails Park Sunday night, where celebrities and performers like  Alyssa Milano and Skip Marley rallied people to register to vote.

Drama students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School performed songs from their soon-to-be-released album. One is a nod to the clear backpacks they had to carry right after the shooting - It's called 'Transparent':

If you’ve driven along W. Sunrise Blvd in Fort Lauderdale over the past decade, near the Broward Blvd. intersection, you’ve likely seen Popeye. 

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.

This story has been updated at 11:58 a.m. on Sept. 26, 2018. 

Downtown Fort Lauderdale will soon have a massive, three tower development on its horizon. 

After some commissioners unsuccessfully tried to pull the development project up for review during Tuesday's city commisison meeting, the complex, called Riverparc Square or Southside Centre, will be going up where SW 5th St. meets Andrews Ave.

Phrases like ‘iconic,’ ‘unique,’ and ‘world-class,’ floated around Fort Lauderdale’s City Hall Friday afternoon, as the official Las Olas Mobility group met to talk strategy. 

Beaches in Broward County still don't look like what they did before Hurricane Irma washed sand away. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has two beach renourishment projects planned in the county to fully fund fixing the damage from Irma. 

Fort Lauderdale residents will have a chance to ask one of their city commissioners anything about the city - and they don't even have to make it to a city commission meeting. 

District 2 Commissioner Steve Glassman is hosting a telephone town hall Thursday for people to call in and talk. Callers don't have to live in District 2.

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.

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