woman, 83, likely drowned accidentally
An 83-year-old woman drowned in a pool at a home in the Briarwyck section of Tarpon Woods, according to authorities who were called to the home Friday morning. Barbara Reid of Edgemoor Drive woke at 8 a.m. Friday, did a load of laundry, and told her husband, 83-year-old Joseph Reid, she was taking a dip in their pool, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said. At about 9 a.m., he discovered her floating face down in the water and called 911. Firefighters from East Lake responded, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. The incident does not appear suspicious and was likely an accident, said Pinellas County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda. She said the medical examiner will determine whether health conditions were a factor.
Report: Woman force-fed a child
A Clearwater woman was arrested on a felony child abuse charge Thursday after force-feeding tacos to a 6-year-old girl, police said. Melissa Yarnell, 26, of Morgan Street, was arrested at about 3 p.m. and, according to an arrest affidavit filed by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, was charged with one count of felony child abuse for "shoving tacos into the victim's mouth, then pushing her face into the plate, and punching the victim in the face." The affidavit states that Yarnell "intentionally force fed the victim tacos" and pushed her face and punched her when she refused to eat. After her arrest, she "admitted to force feeding" the girl and "stated she was at a breaking point and doesn't remember punching the victim," according to the affidavit. Pinellas Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said the meal took place at a private home, not at a restaurant. The victim was known to the defendant, she said, and is currently in the custody of a relative. Yarnell was being held at the Pinellas County Jail on $5,000 bail.
City seeks expert on dredging needs
The Dunedin City Commission agreed Thursday night to advertise for an expert to determine whether to dredge Lake Sperry and Cedar Creek. The 5-0 decision followed lengthy testimony by residents who say stormwater from upstream has caused flooding from trash and silt and by critics who believe the project would benefit only a few private homeowners. Commissioners say the consultant's scientific analysis will help the city evaluate its role and responsibilities in the sediment buildup, determine what dredging parameters various state agencies will allow and, if necessary, draw up cost estimates. The expert's findings would be revealed at the commission's Oct. 18 meeting. Until bids come in, officials said it's unclear how much of the $106,000 budgeted this year for both the study and dredge design work would go toward the expert.