Woman accused of holding baby over sea wall
A Clearwater woman who believed her infant son was possessed by demons was charged with child abuse Tuesday after police said she attempted to throw the 3-month-old into Clearwater Harbor. The scene unfolded about 1:45 p.m. at an apartment rented by Lydia Chako, 39, of 1209 N Osceola Ave. The property manager, noticing the unit was flooded, entered and found Chako inside throwing items. Chako told the manager that she believed lizards and snakes were on the child and that she was "keeping the demons out." Chako left the apartment, carrying the baby by his feet. The property manager called police, who found a half-naked Chako a block away, standing on a sea wall at the dead end of Palm Bluff Street. Officers said they distracted Chako, grabbed the infant away, then arrested the woman after a brief struggle. Neither the baby nor Chako was injured. The child is now in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families.
Walmart fire called very suspicious
The Dunedin Fire Department is seeking the public's help in identifying the culprit behind an "extremely suspicious" fire that caused $2,800 in damage at a Walmart store and injured an employee Tuesday. The blaze started about 2:45 p.m. near the loading dock behind the store at 2102 Main St. It took crews from Dunedin, Clearwater and Palm Harbor about 15 minutes to extinguish flames that engulfed a bale of recyclable materials and slightly damaged the rear of the building. An employee who tried to fight the fire was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. Dunedin Fire Marshal Bill McElligott said his department is reviewing surveillance video and asking anyone with information to come forward. Call him at (727) 298-3092.
Store planned near roundabout
A city board gave its approval Tuesday to a property owner's request to build a two-story, 23,000-square-foot retail store at 400 East Shore Drive, just northeast of the Clearwater Beach roundabout. That's now the site of a one-story apartment building and a parking lot. The owner's representatives said the new building will house one tenant, likely a store from a national chain. But they didn't name the store. The Community Development Board approved the request, which had no public opposition.
Open house at free health center
Learn more about programs and services available at the Willa Carson Health and Wellness Center during a spring open house from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday. The center at 1108 N Martin Luther King Ave. provides free medical care, community outreach and health-education seminars to people who struggle to afford health care. Officials on Thursday will discuss how they survived a financial crisis that almost closed the center this winter. RSVP by calling (727) 467-9411 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.