Caitie Switalski

Reporter

Caitie Switalski graduated from the University of Florida, with a B.S. in Journalism, in April '17.

Her radio reporting has taken her to Havana, Cuba, California, Tallahassee, Gainesville, and South Florida. She was an intern at WLRN the summer of 2016.

In July of 2017, Caitie placed third in the Hearst Broadcasting national Competition, in San Francisco, CA. She's worked for WFSU-FM in Tallahassee as an intern and reporter. While at school, she gained anchoring experience for local Morning Edition at WUFT-FM, as well as a digital editing.

When she's not following what's happening all over Broward County, you can catch Caitie lounging in local coffee shops, at the beach, or watching Love Actually for the hundredth time.

Ways to Connect

Katie Lepri / WLRN News

Many parts of South Florida appear to have escaped the worst impacts of King Tide flooding this week — at least compared with tidal flooding the previous two Octobers.

King tides in October 2017 came on the heels of record-setting summer rains and Hurricane Irma. In October 2016, a rare “super moon” intensified the highest of the high tides, which can cause water to bubble up through storm drains and into streets, corroding cars and impeding traffic.

Purple Heart veterans
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

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
Alex Dolce, Florida Atlantic University / WLRN

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. 

Andrews Ave. Fort Lauderdale
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

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. 

One idea to speed things up is to convert Andrews Avenue and Third Avenue into one-way roads. 

 

Avery Dania Pointe
Courtesy of The Meyers Group / WLRN

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. 

Phase Two will have more shops and hotel rooms along I-95, but is not expected to open until fall of next year. 

Broward Teachers
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

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.

Andrew Quintana / WLRN

Residents of tent city, the most recognizable homeless encampment in Ft. Lauderdale, stood in line outside of the Broward Public Library Monday to receive free haircuts.  

Eight local barbers set up shop on the sidewalk. They splayed the tools of their trade on folding tables as generators powered their clippers. One by one, they trimmed, cut, and shaved the heads of nearly 40 homeless individuals, always asking their clients' names and what brought them to their chair.

Shine MSD
Caitie Switalski / WLRN News

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':

Home Depot
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

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. 

He often braved traffic in his wheelchair to panhandle for money and would approach people to strike up a conversation. His real name was Ronald Frederick Gray. 

Gray was killed in a hit-and-run crash in the early hours of Wednesday morning, at the corner of NW. 5th Ave. The Broward County Office of the Medical Examiner identified him.

Stranahan House
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

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.

 

Fort Lauderdale Forum
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

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.

Riverparc Square development
Courtesy of The City of Fort Lauderdale, rendering by architecture firm: Dorsky + Yue International / WLRN

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.

Las Olas Mobility Group
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

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. 

Hallandale Beach
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

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. 

The first project will tackle adding dry sand back to Southern Broward County beaches, including Dania, Hollywood, Hallandale beaches. 

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