The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 13 No. 23 - March 20, 2013


Team Harrison Cornhole Champions

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Anna Maria Island Community Center Cornhole League
Champions – Team Harrison, Jim and Dee.

Cornhole is labeled as one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and has gained popularity on the Island. Six teams played this year in the first Anna Maria Island Community Center’s Cornhole league.

The league featured teams of two people who played a 10-game season on Wednesday nights in the Center’s gym. The league concluded with an end of the season tournament to determine the champions. The inaugural season champions were Team Harrison, comprised of Jim and Dee Harrison.

The league was open to all ages including youth. It’s a laid back activity where any age and any skill level can compete together. It’s not just a tailgate activity, and the popularity of the sport is growing. All the teams said it was a great season, and they would be back next year.

Pirates visit the Community Center

The Pittsburgh Pirates are in town, and baseball fever is everywhere. The Pirates visited the Anna Maria Island Community Center to dedicate the installation of the new scoreboard at the Center’s field.

The Pittsburgh Pirates Charities awarded the Community Center a matching grant of $2,500 for the purchase and installation of a much needed scoreboard to replace the old broken-down one. Firkins Automotive donated a large part of the match and the children in the Center’s baseball league raised the rest to reach the $5,300 needed to complete the project.

Ten-year-old, Center baseball player Jackson Hayes raised the most money for the children’s league and was treated to a Ray’s baseball game and also invited to the scoreboard dedication ceremony at the Center. Jackson was able to meet Pirates centerfielder Mel Rojas Jr. and get his autograph. He was also able to mess around with the pesky Pirates mascot, who seemed to enjoy joking around with him.

The multi-sport scoreboard is fully functional and ready for baseball, flag football and soccer action.

Sharen Pittman, Community Center’s development director, said, “We are so grateful to the Pittsburgh Pirates Charities for awarding the matching grant. It motivated the children at the Center to take ownership of the scoreboard and really make it their own. With the help of Firkins, the kids were able to meet the matching grant and see the results of their efforts.”

Adult co-ed Flag Football Schedule

Mar. 20, Wednesday, 6 p.m., Slim’s Place Patriots vs. Harrington House Bucs
Mar. 20, Wednesday, 7 p.m., Sato Real Estate Browns vs. Waterfront Restaurant Dolphins (NFC Championship game)
Mar. 20, Wednesday, 8 p.m., Island Sun Bills vs. Tyler’s Ice Cream Vikings (AFC Championship game)
Mar. 21, Thursday, 7 p.m., Pro-Bowl game
Mar. 21, Thursday, 8 p.m., Super Bowl Game: AFC Champions vs. NFC Champions

Adult co-ed Kickball Try-Outs

April. 3, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., try-outs and team draft immediately following.
Youth co-ed Baseball Try-Outs
April. 5, Friday, 6 p.m., 5-7-year-olds, try-outs and team draft immediately following;
April. 5, Friday, 7 p.m., 8-11-year-olds, try-outs and team draft immediately following.

Youth co-ed Basketball Try-Outs

April. 2, Tuesday, 6 p.m., 5-7-year-olds, try-outs and team draft immediately following;
April. 2, Tuesday, 7 p.m., 11-13-year- olds Try-outs and team draft immediately following;
April. 2, Tuesday, 8 p.m., 14-17-year-olds, try-outs and team draft immediately following;
April. 3, Tuesday, 6 p.m., 8-10-year-olds, try-outs and team draft immediately following.


Standing at the table

If you read nothing more, find me this Wednesday at 2 p.m. the Island Branch Library where I’ll be speaking about how to incorporate cheap vegan eating and fitness ideas into your lifestyle. It is the same talk I give all over the U.S. and Canada since my book, “Eat Vegan on $4 a Day” came. I’m starting on time. My daughter is getting married the next day to an active military man. Long story, but I’ll have a plane to catch.

I’m still high from having been one of the main speakers at the New York City Vegetarian Food Festival in Manhattan last weekend. The vegan food – OMG. There’s a chance I may take it off running a half marathon next weekend. My talk was standing room only, as my talks often are. This was the second year in a row I spoke at New York’s VegFest.

Authors at these events tell me they are lucky if their publisher pays their expenses beyond two months. My publisher paid my expenses for almost two years. If the book sells well, as mine has, the publisher loves to show it off. My book continues to be listed on my publisher’s website as a bestseller. The Amazon ranking, still dips below five thousand out of millions of books offered by Amazon. It has peaked at 200.

Often, authors don’t stand at the table all weekend like I do. My publisher says most authors, by the fact they are cooped up in a room with a computer for years, suggests they’d prefer to do that rather than speak to thousands. I’ve been surprised at how often the book-signing table set up by the publisher was never occupied.

I learned to stay at the table from my days as a financial consultant at Smith Barney. If the publisher or I am paying my way, the costs don’t get covered if books don’t sell. I couldn’t imagine doing a disappearing act. OK. I was a TV reporter for 18 years. I love engaging with the public, sharing what I know if it can help others the way it has saved my life.

One of many book titles floating in my head is, “All I Learned About Book-Selling, I Learned at Smith Barney.” My fav imprinted boiler-room-training mantras: “play in traffic,” “my income this year is solely determined by how many people I tell today what I do for a living,” “people are motivated to buy by two emotions – fear and greed” or “40 rejections are one step closer to the next yes.”

At the end of the New York VegFest, the organizer asked me back for next year. Most VegFests don’t invite speakers back two years in a row, let alone three. If you continue to be hot, you’ll be on a three-year rotation. It is my message that packs the room.

It doesn’t hurt to have the athletic accomplishments I do – being third in state in my age group in the 200, 400 and 1500 meters, and looking 20 years younger than I am, so I’m told. Then there’s that gene-defying act as I’ve watched my mom, aunt and both sisters get breast cancer. And much more. The curious figure that I’m a genetic freak or must be doing something right that is worth a listen.

Other venues invite me back because people are interested in learning how to save money. I’m hitting the Kiwanis, Rotary and library circuits big-time.

I ask audiences, “Headlines have you believing our economy is improving. But how many of you can tell me that your personal finances have improved from five years ago or will improve over the next five?”

Not many say yes.

A friend who has published popular books and was on Oprah twice, asked me, “How do you make money? Everyone wants me to write for free. I refuse.” I feel her pain.

In my background, newsrooms closed because the station made more money running sitcoms. I write tons for free, including this column. But then I link it to my blog, newsletter, 30,000 followers on Facebook and other social media sites. At the moment, writing gratis seems like the only way to be a paid author.

You can follow Island resident Ellen Jaffe Jones on her Facebook page and keep up with her just released book:,"Eat Vegan on $4 a Day," or her website: She is also a nationally certified personal trainer and running coach. For training in a gym or private hire, contact Ellen at or 941-704-1025.

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