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Just wait 'til he hits calculus

Most algebra students are satisfied if they can just understand why zero can't exist in a denominator. Andrew Knight, a ninth-grader at McLane Junior High in Brandon, wasn't satisfied until he could disprove that theory _ in a 158-page book he self-published this fall called Knight's Null Algebra. The jury is out as to whether Andrew's work will turn modern algebra on its head, but in the preface, Andrew mentions the many math trophies he's won. Then he boasts: "It's quite uncommon for a person to get first place three times in a row, but I also feel it's quite uncommon for a 13-year-old to write and publish a book disproving present-day accepted algebra. Don't you think?" For copies ($4 each _ what a stocking stuffer!), write to Andrew Knight, 1119 Tuxford Drive, Brandon 33511, or call McLane principal John Alfano at 689-7188.Now you can park and glide

Today's the day: The new 4,744-space long-term parking garage was expected to open at Tampa International Airport at 3 a.m. Assuming all the bugs were worked out over the weekend, automated monorails will carry travelers from the new garage to the main terminal building. Cost: $7 a day (up $2). Rates in the short-term garage also go up today, from $10 to $12 a day.

Jumping the gun?

One of the final five candidates being considered for Tampa's new police chief certainly made an impression during his interview with Mayor Sandy Freedman last week. Eduardo Gonzalez was seen sporting an official City of Tampa lapel pin, complete with city crest _ the type usually reserved for city officials. Could Gonzalez be wearing his wishful thinking literally on his lapel? Maybe. But he also could be showing a little hometown pride. Gonzalez, deputy director of the Metro-Dade Police Department, was born in Tampa.

Another gift of sight

After her son was murdered in a Tampa bar Oct. 30, Martha Self donated his corneas to help restore another person's eyesight. The next day, a Pinellas County veterinarian and a medical supplier teamed up to help the murdered man's half-blind dog. "Skippy" was raised by Self's son, Michael Urbin Meares, and was with the Tampa man when he was shot to death during a holdup at To-Jac's Hideaway Pub on N Lincoln Avenue. Reports indicated the dog waited at the bar for hours for his master to return. Two weeks ago, veterinarian Craig A. Fischer surgically removed cataracts from the 12-year-old Shetland sheepdog's left eye, and he plans to operate on the dog's right eye next month. "Having Skippy with us helps a lot," said Self, who also is recovering from her 82-year-old mother's sudden death, which occurred the morning after sheriff's officials arrested a suspect in Meares' death. "He's a brightness in our lives."

Baby boy or girl? Stay tuned

Is she or isn't she? WFLA-TV Ch. 8 newscaster Gayle Sierens confirms that she and husband Mike Martin are expecting Baby No. 3, due March 1. Boy or girl? "We don't know, and we're not finding out," Sierens said. "We found out with the first two" _ sons Cameron, almost 3{, and Luke, who will be 2 the week before the new baby arrives. "This is the last go-round, and we want to find out what it feels like to be surprised."

Where his loyalties sit

After the Florida State-University of Florida game two weeks ago, Mary Kay Cariseo, a legislative lobbyist for Florida State University, left her portable stadium seat behind in Gainesville. So when UF President John Lombardi next went to Tallahassee, he made a note to return it. The sight of Lombardi, the state's Chief Gator, wandering the halls of the Legislature last Monday, Seminole cushion in hand, caused more than a few heads to turn. "It put fear in the hearts of every Seminole fan," said one. "More likely, in the hearts of Gator fans," said another. Said the ecumenical Lombardi, who's taken heat lately for his outspoken criticism of the Legislature's reluctance to raise taxes: Anything for Florida's universities.

Put this on the boss' desk

This is Tell Someone They're Doing a Good Job Week. So do it.

... and this, too

Friday is Underdog Day, to salute the underdogs, Number Twos and unsung heroes and heroines who make all the Number Ones possible.

_ Contributing: Kim Dutra, James Harper, Janita Poe and Jennifer Stevenson.

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