Man, woman charged in abuse of kids
Thirty-year-old Jason P. Newell of Dunedin faces charges of aggravated child abuse after authorities said he tortured three children by reversing the locks on their doors and keeping them confined as punishment. The arrest report said the children were not allowed to leave the rooms even to use the bathroom, which caused them to soil themselves. That led him to beat the children with a metal spatula and a metal ruler, as well as to slap them across the face and kick them. Newell is also accused of denying the children food, causing them to go hungry. Heather M. Abave, 31, a.k.a. Heather M. Newell, faces a felony charge of child neglect for witnessing the abuse and not intervening, according to an arrest report. The two are each being held at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.
Woman, 70, killed in two-car crash
A 70-year-old Palm Harbor woman was killed and a Spring Hill man was seriously injured Monday after his pickup truck veered off the wet road and into oncoming traffic, the Florida Highway Patrol reported. Maria Valdivia's Toyota sport utility vehicle was headed south on the Suncoast Parkway, just north of State Road 54, about 5 p.m. when a truck driven by Joseph Cascio, 64, slid into her path, FHP said. Valdivia's SUV ran into the right side of Cascio's pickup, and the two rolled into the grassy median before stopping. Valdivia died at the scene. Cascio was taken to Bayfront Medical Center. Southbound lanes of the Suncoast Parkway were closed for about three hours Monday evening.
Your $5,000 can light up the Fourth
Do you have a spare $5,000 to help a small city put on a spectacular Fourth of July fireworks show? If so, Safety Harbor City Manager Matt Spoor wants to talk to you. He and the City Commission are hoping someone will step forward and sponsor the last five minutes of the event, which draws about 20,000 visitors annually. In years past, Safety Harbor spent up to $40,000 on its celebration. But as the economy weakened, officials started whittling it down first to 30 minutes, then 25 minutes and now 20 minutes (at the rate of $1,000 a minute). Spoor thinks that's too short and would like to add another five minutes. If would like to help, call him at (727) 724-1555.
Two face charges in abuse of children at Dunedin home