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Magic tricks take nerve in Chicago

(ran W edition)

It's a little nervy to wear an Orlando Magic shirt to work in the Chicago area while your team is beating up on the Bulls. It takes chutzpah, especially when you're the boss, to get on the intercom and announce that Michael Jordan should report to the Turnover Room or the Airball Room.

And then, after the Magic beat the Bulls in six games to win the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals, can you imagine someone having the gall to call a staff meeting on teamwork and show a tape of the last Orlando-Chicago game in which His Airness might not have shared the ball as much as he should?

Former Clearwater resident Tom Kelly did all of the above. But, oh, did his employees get revenge when his team lost the NBA Finals in a clean sweep by the Houston Rockets.

Tom and his wife, Kathy, a former mayor of Clearwater, now live in Lake Forest on Chicago's North Shore. Tom works at Baxter Health Care headquarters in nearby Deerfield. He formerly headed the Baxter operation in Largo and was active in the community, especially as president of the board for Ervin's All-American Youth Club in Clearwater.

Tom has had Magic season tickets since the team's second year, in part because he and Matt Guokas, Orlando's first coach, have been friends since playing high school basketball against each other in Philadelphia. Guokas was an analyst for NBC's recent coverage of the NBA playoffs.

Tom wasn't able to get down for any of the Magic games this season, but he has more friends than he realized who were eager to buy his tickets. He had to come down here on business the day after Game 4 of the finals, and had hoped he might be able to see Game 6 in Orlando.

Of course, the finals ended with Game 4. And that's when Tom's employees in Deerfield went to work, literally, with brooms and toilet bowl brushes to decorate the boss's office in honor of the Houston sweep.

"It was good fun," Tom said _ until next year when the competition resumes.

Meanwhile, Tom donated two of his tickets for Game 2 of the NBA Finals to the Baxter employees in Largo to raise money for the annual Christmas in June party that he started when he worked here. A raffle raised $980 for the party today at which underprivileged children and adults will be feted. He plans to fly down for the event.

Library gets slice of "Just Desserts'

You can help the building fund for the new Dunedin Library by buying a $5 copy of Just Desserts, a collection of 100 dessert recipes _ in honor of the library's 100th anniversary _ submitted by members of the staff.

Included are recipes for cakes and cookies, pies and puddings, bars and breads (as in cranberry nut bread), candies and more. Insiders say the "low-calory" brandied peach chiffon pie and chocolate cheesecake are awesome.

The recipe book is available at the library on Douglas Avenue just south of Dunedin Stadium.

_ Bob Henderson is a columnist for the north Pinellas editions of the Times.