The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 14 No. 11 - January 8, 2014


Football kickoff

The Anna Maria Island Community Center’s 2014 NFL Flag Football season officially kicks-off with the annual league fund-raising dinner, donated by the Beach Bistro & Eat Here, on Wednesday Jan. 8 at 6 p.m. For 21 consecutive years, the Beach Bistro has been donating and preparing the food for these sports fundraising events.

This event marks the beginning of every sports season and is important to the sports budget. It is a fun way to get together, and all the players get their uniforms. Everyone in the community is welcome to attend, and take-out is available. The cost is only $7 per person for a complete meal with drinks and children below age four are free with a paying adult.

After the dinner, 36teams will begin their run for the Center’s Super Bowl championship. The adult 18 & up league will officially kick-off the regular season on Wednesday night at 7. The 30 & up league will play on Thursday night and the youth tailgate spirit jamboree day will be on Saturday.

The first ever Tailgate Spirit Day will be a day filled with food, fun and football. Coaches, fans, players, and parents are encouraged to dress from head to toe in their team colors. The team in each age division showing the most spirit and creativity will win the spirit prize.

For more information you can call Athletic Director Matt Ray at the Community Center, 778-1908, ext. 9205, or visit the Website at

Youth 5-7-Year-Old Flag Football Schedule

Jan. 11, Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – Beaches Real Estate Packers vs. Air & Energy Bucs - Tailgate Spirit Day
Jan. 11, Saturday, 11:45 a.m. – Miller Electric Broncos vs. Air & Energy Bucs - Tailgate Spirit Day
Jan. 11, Saturday, 12 p.m. – Beaches Real Estate Packers vs. Miller Electric Broncos - Tailgate Spirit Day
Jan. 13, Monday, 6 p.m. – Beaches Real Estate Packers vs. Air & Energy Bucs

Youth 8-10-Year-Old Flag Football Schedule

Jan. 11, Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – LPAC Cardinals vs. Dolphins - Tailgate Spirit Day
Jan. 11, Saturday, 12 p.m. – Beach Bums Patriots vs. Manatee Diagnostic Ravens - Tailgate Spirit Day
Jan. 11, Saturday, 12:30 p.m. – Beach Bistro Bucs vs. Beach Bums Patriots - Tailgate Spirit Day
Jan. 11, Saturday, 1 p.m. – Miller Electric Cowboys vs. Tyler’s Ice Cream Vikings - Tailgate Spirit Day
Jan. 13, Monday, 6 p.m. – LPAC Cardinals vs. Beach Bistro Bucs

Youth 11-13-Year-Old Flag Football Schedule

Jan. 11, Saturday, 1:30 p.m. – Beach to Bay Bucs vs. Will C. Photos Falcons - Tailgate Spirit Day
Jan. 11, Saturday, 2: p.m. – Sandbar Colts vs. Bark & Company Realty Ravens - Tailgate Spirit Day
Jan. 11, Saturday, 2:30 p.m. – LPAC Cardinals vs. Eat Here Redskins - Tailgate Spirit Day
Jan. 13, Monday, 7 p.m. – Bark & Company Realty Ravens vs. LPAC Cardinals
Jan. 13, Monday, 8 p.m. – Sandbar Colts vs. Eat Here Redskins

Youth 14-17-Year-Old Flag Football Schedule

Jan. 11, Saturday, 3 p.m. – Integrity Sound Lions vs. Swordfish Grill Browns - Tailgate Spirit Day
Jan. 11, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. – West Coast Surf Shop Jaguars vs. The Feast Broncos - Tailgate Spirit Day
Jan. 11, Saturday, 4 p.m. – The Island Sun Bears vs. Waterfront restaurant Cowboys - Tailgate Spirit Day
Jan. 11, Saturday, 4:30 p.m. – Galati Yacht Sales Bucs vs. Mr. Bones Bengals - Tailgate Spirit Day
Jan. 14, Tuesday, 6 p.m. – West Coast Surf Shop Jaguars vs. Galati Yacht Sales Bucs
Jan. 14, Tuesday, 7 p.m. – Swordfish Grill Browns vs. Integrity Sound Lions
Jan. 14, Tuesday, 8 p.m. – The Feast Broncos vs. Mr. Bones Bengals

Adult co-ed 18 & Over Flag Football Schedule

Jan. 8, Wednesday, 7 p.m. – Slim’s Place Bears vs. Beach Bistro Raiders
Jan. 8, Wednesday, 8 p.m. – Duffy’s Tavern Seahawks vs. Agnelli Pool & Spas Giants
Jan. 8, Wednesday, 9 p.m. – Waterfront restaurant Panthers vs. Beach to Bay Dolphins

Adult co-ed 30 & Over Flag Football Schedule

Jan. 9, Thursday, 7 p.m. – Jessie’s Island Store Bucs vs. Ross Built Panthers
Jan. 9, Thursday, 8 p.m. – Tyler’s Ice Cream Vikings vs. Agnelli Pool & Spas Giants
Jan. 9, Thursday, 9 p.m. – Island Real Estate Raiders vs. Island Gourmet Bills

Adult co-ed Volleyball Schedule

Jan. 14, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. – Duncan Real Estate vs. Florida Discount Signs & Wraps
Jan. 14, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. – Duncan Real Estate vs. Southern Greens
Jan. 14, Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. – Florida Discount Signs & Wraps vs. Southern Greens

A million reasons to live here

The best advice about trying to manage 30,000 social media followers and popular cookbooks is to multi-task. On a Meetup group, someone posted:

“What is life like for vegans in Sarasota/Bradenton? I was born in Florida and moved away. I want to move back, but I want to be near vegans and a progressive community. That seems to be hard to find in Florida. I’m curious about traffic, pollution, noise overcrowding, crime, whether the Gulf is swimmable, and quality of life for those who love the earth, swimming, bicycling, animals, nature.”

I realized I had the makings of a column, blog and newsletter:

I love it! I travel constantly. I have this overwhelming feeling to kiss the ground when I get off the plane and smell/feel the humidity. That may come from years of working outside in brutal weather in the Midwest.

We can do our jobs remotely now. We can live anywhere. As an avid runner, I love to run on the beaches close to my home where no new construction is allowed over three stories, and the only fast food that’s here is Subway. We didn’t know this when we moved here. We just told our real estate agent, “Get us as close to the water as you can on our budget.” What karma!

Our elected officials try to fight developers who want to make us like Miami. Some new homes nicknamed, monstrosities going up seem to absorb every square inch of the property. Many of us wonder if the setback lines have been scrapped. You may not want to live next to one of those mini-hotels.

Other challenges: Frequent bumper stickers saying, “I kill fish!” I’m all about compassion, but sometimes the polarizing in-your-face attitude seeps into Paradise.

There still aren’t any vegan restaurants unless you head to Sarasota. I wrote about Mr. Bones, an Island BBQ place that advertised on their business sign, Vegan & Vegetarian. Not long after, I was told they had such backlash they removed vegan, but kept vegetarian.

I love walking/running the beach and seeing dolphins, baby turtles occasionally and endangered bird species. I have triathlon friends who swim long distances in the Gulf when it is warm, which these days, is increasing in number. I worry about our luck running out on oil spills. When I fly at night, I’m blown away by the oil rigs that dot the entire Gulf like constellations.

“Bloom where you are planted,” is a good mantra if living in a place allows you to be mission consistent with your values. The growing number of people attending Tampa and Orlando’s vegfests speaks volumes. Those cities have vibrant vegan communities.

I get to Miami at least once a year on business. The traffic there is crazy. It seems to be morphing into New York. Yet, I adore the energy. It’s a much younger demographic spectrum. And way more expensive. I often stay with a friend who rents a gorgeous condo on Brickell Key for about $2500/month. You can do it for a lot less though.

The only major traffic here is during season on and off the Manatee and Cortez bridges. Like anywhere on the coasts, you avoid peak-hour weekend drives on and off the Island and just accept it. After seeing all the recent snow/ice news stories, it is a tiny price to pay. Another story this week says Florida is on track to overtake New York as the third largest state in the next census.

I’ve convinced more than one person to move here. I went with one such friend recently and was blown away by how cheaply you can rent and buy here.

Whole Foods can be an hour drive during season. Fresh Market opened about 10 minutes away, and it has kindly donated all the food for my February vegan cooking classes at the Anna Maria Island Community Center. The Center is a great facility offering many classes, and it has been incredibly supportive.

This will be the first time I’ve taught cooking classes since I started traveling on book tour. But when I taught free Cancer Project cooking classes, we had full classes twice a day, five days a week at the center!

Hope that helps, and no, I don’t work for the Chamber of Commerce.

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.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper