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High school senior arrested in beating of 15-year-old

Pinellas County sheriff's deputies have arrested an East Lake High School senior on charges of kicking and punching a 15-year-old at a party on Oct. 26. Christopher J. Vuolo, 18, of Palm Harbor was booked at the Pinellas County Jail on felony charges of aggravated child abuse and child abuse and was being held Friday evening in lieu of $50,000 bail, according to court records. Arrest reports also identified two 18-year-olds from Oldsmar and Clearwater as co-defendants, but sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha had no indication they had been arrested as of late Friday afternoon. Pasha said the three showed up at a party at a home in East Lake around 1:30 a.m. Oct. 26. They were not expected at the party, she said. Arrest reports said Vuolo punched and kicked the victim, who was not identified because investigators were treating the matter as a child abuse case, several times while he was lying in the fetal position. He suffered severe bruising to one ear, swelling to the back of the head and a concussion. Pasha said the victim also had a cooler filled with ice dumped on him and a full unopened can of soda thrown at his head. "It appeared to the witnesses to be unprovoked," she said, "like he was just singled out."

Smoke around subdivision was from prescribed burn

EAST LAKE _ The smoke east of the Ridgemoor subdivision around midday Friday was a prescribed burn in the Brooker Creek Preserve, Pinellas County officials said. Officials ordered the 7-acre burn south of Tarpon Springs Road and east of Forelock Road to reduce the amount of dry vegetation that could otherwise feed a brush fire. The preserve's staff usually does most of its prescribed burns in mid-January, but weather conditions Friday turned out to be just right, said Craig Huegel, the county's environmental lands division administrator. "It's a perfect day for it," he said, "and we needed to get it done."