Letter of Appreciation from Michael Zellner, Past President of the ISA, to Neil Simpson, Heartland Games Ambassador.

March 7th, 2017

From Michael R Zellner, ISA Past President. 

Dear Neil, 

I would like to take this special moment to once again express my sincere gratitude for being allowed to come to Reflections at Avon Park and compete with all of you today in the 2017 Heartland Games for Active Adults. I’ve been playing and competing for the past 21 years in shuffleboard tournaments all around the world and your event today was as good as it gets. I was honored to be among the kindest, sincerest and most fun loving group of seniors all day. There was not one disruptive incident and every aspect of both tournaments came off very professionally.  Kudos with a big pat on the back goes out to of course you Neil Simpson, and also Court Operations Chief Gary Sorko as well as Tournament Director Max Tate, and the Hostesses Nancy Sorko and Linda Vanisacker who gave untiring support to making this a truly memorable event. Last but not least, all of this was possible because of the meticulous efforts in planning and registration performed by Lauren Redick from South Florida State College.  

Well-done team! 


Michael R. Zellner

ISA Past President



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Press Release for the Senior Games held at Reflections on Silver Lake in Avon Park. 2017 03 07

Shuffling at Reflections 

Neil Simpson Speaks:  Very comfortable weather greeted the Heartland Games shuffleboard players at Reflections on Silver Lake, Tuesday. The wind was strong and, contrary to what many might think, that does affect the games. 

The tournament was coordinated by Max Tate, a highly respected Sebring winter resident who has always taken a leadership role in shuffleboard here in Highlands County. Back in his home province of Ontario he has served as the president of the Canadian Shuffleboard Association.  

The Heartland Games tournament saw far more players competing this year than in the past. Among those competing on Tuesday were a couple of highly respected players in the world of shuffleboard.  

Michael Zellner served in the U.S. Air Force, including a stint with the Special Air Missions Crew based in St. Andrews where he was with Air Force One during the Reagan and elder Bush  presidencies.  He then spent the past 21 years as an English professor at the University of Sao Paulo.  While in Brazil, Zellner introduced them to the game he learned as a young lad in New Jersey where he accompanied his grandfather to the courts and served as a disc polisher and fetcher. Not only did Zellner teach the Brazilians how to play, he also built the first courts in the country. 

The team he assembled in Brazil came to the World Shuffleboard Championships in North Carolina in 1997. They went home with lots of new found knowledge despite finishing dead last. 19 years later he brought the much improved Brazilian team to the World Championships in St. Cloud, Florida where they took the silver medal.  

Zellner recently retired to Riverview in the Brandon area. He came to Florida as he wanted to be active in retirement in a location where there were abundant opportunities to stay busy. 

Stan McCormack, who also served as president of the Canadian Shuffleboard Association, has spent many winters in Highlands County. This year he is just here for a month but was able to compete in the Heartland Games and will be taking part in the Hall of Fame Classic in Winter Haven. McCormack was inducted into the Hall of Fame at each of the District, State and National levels for his efforts to promote and help grow the sport, particularly through his blog, “The Shuffler.net” 

Gary Sorko was the host at Reflections, ensuring that the courts were ready for play and that all issues were looked after promptly. Nancy Sorko and Linda Vanisacker were on hand all morning to dole out the doughnuts which were provided compliments of Dunkin Donuts in Avon Park. They also kept the coffee brewing and served up the lunch of sandwiches, chips and soda provided by the Heartland Games major sponsors; Newsom Eye, Edward Jones/Alan Holmes, Drs. Thakkar and Patel, Turner Furniture and Florida Hospital. 

Sebring Village brought a team of ten players while nine came from Adelaide Shores and five from Reflections. There were also four Sun n Lake residents and two each from Buttonwood Bay, Lake Bonnet Village, Leisure Lakes, Highlands Mobile Village and Woody’s R.V.  

The doubles competition, pic above, saw the following teams take gold; Jacques Poitras and Max Bonkoski, Stan McCormack and Michael Zellner, Bruce and Cindy Shidler, Bill Courtney and Bill Reed, Dean Shoup and Tom Stonecash, Harry Gray and Merle Schimke. The following teamed up to win silver medals; Gale and Larry Harvey, Randy Johnson and Marc Zahn, Bob Banyard and Whitey Fisher, Bob Cyr and Chuck Slupe. Partnering for bronze were; Joseph and Julie Oblon, Walt Pickerell and Dudley VanMeter, Donald and Joan Brisbane.  

 In singles, Mary Temoke, Cindy Shidler, Carla Larsh, Carol Weise, Jacques Poitras, Randy Johnson, Walt Pickerell, Paul Strong, Jack Emmendorfer, Don Fredley and Merle Schimke were champions while Julie Oblon, Marg Strong, Karen League, Joseph Oblon, Bob Banyard, Jim Jones, Bill Menheere and Harry Gray wore silver medals home and Michael Zellner, Art Truss, Jack Harpin and Max Bonkoski were bronze medalists.  

Those who finished in the top five in their age/gender category have earned the right to advance to compete in the Florida Senior Games in Clearwater/Pinellas in early December.  

On Thursday, teams from twelve local 55+ communities will compete in the 15th annual  invitational tournament at the Sebring Recreation Club. Nine years ago, the tournament was renamed the Tate Invitational after Max and Ruth Tate who initiated it.   

The Heartland Games, organized by South Florida State College, continue with doubles pickleball on Saturday and mixed doubles pickleball on Sunday. The 2017 Games wrap up with swimming at the Highlands County YMCA on Monday afternoon.

Neil Simpson, Heartland Games Ambassador.  2017 03 07.

Kudos to Neil for such a rapid and extensive report.  Look for it in the local newspaper > minus the pix.  Stan McCormack.

Stan speaks: Sorry if I missed some pix.  Click on any pic to expand.  2017 03 07








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Heartland Senior Games Results; Avon Park 2017 03 07.

Neil Simpson; Heartland Games Ambassador

The message below by Neil Simpson was sent to all participants of the Senior Games held at Avon Park FL to-day, 2017 03 07.  Neil is the Heartland Games Ambassador.  Shuffleboard is just one of several activities Neil “takes care of”!  Other activities include: Indoor Volleyball, Golf, Bridge, Pickleball, Euchre and Swimming. He is “One Busy Man” and seems to enjoy every moment!!  He was ably assisted to-day by Tournament Director Max Tate and Court Manager Gary Sorko.

Neil Speaks:  Thanks for being a part of the Heartland Games today.

Thanks to Max Tate for coordinating again this year. Thanks to our host Gary Sorko and hostesses Nancy Sorko and Linda Vanisacker.

The Games are booked for Feb 6 (and 7 if necessary) at Reflections in 2018.

Gary Sorko will be the coordinator for 2018.

Results for singles and doubles are attached. Photos will follow within 24 hours.

Don’t forget to check out Stan McCormack’s blog  http://theshuffler.net 

Neil Simpson, Heartland Games Ambassador.  2017 03 07  To read the Results, click on the link; then click on SAVE, and then click on OPEN.  (Works great!)

2017 Shuffleboard Doubles Results      2017 Shuffleboard Singles Results

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ISA Past President Comes to Avon Park to Shuffle!! ISA Past President Earns Gold!!

Michael Earns Gold in the Doubles, Bronze in the Singles!!

Michael Zellner, ISA Immediate Past President, added some Super Star Appeal to the just completed HEARTLAND GAMES for Active Adults. The event was held in Reflections on Silver Lake in Avon Park.    

Michael earned GOLD in his age group, (60 to 64) assisted by a much older friend in his 80s, that being the writer > Stanistheman.  Michael took BRONZE in the SINGLES.

Stan McCormack. 2017 03 07.

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More on the Extension of the Time Canadians Permitted to Remain in the USA. Sent Along by Gary Pipher.

Snowbirds may soon be allowed 8 months in U.S., but could risk provincial health benefits

U.S. lawmakers ponder law to allow Canadians to stay longer without paying U.S. income tax

By John Paul Tasker, CBC News Posted: Mar 06, 2017 5:36 PM ETLast Updated: Mar 07, 2017 8:43 AM ET

Canadians Gilles Dupont, left, and Monique Dupont sit in the sun, in Dania Beach, Fla.  A bipartisan bill currently before the U.S. Congress would allow Canadians over the age of 55 to stay south of the border for up to eight months of the year.

Canadians Gilles Dupont, left, and Monique Dupont sit in the sun, in Dania Beach, Fla. A bipartisan bill currently before the U.S. Congress would allow Canadians over the age of 55 to stay south of the border for up to eight months of the year. (Marsha Halper/The Miami Herald/Associated Press)

There is one group of foreigners who are being embraced by American lawmakers with open arms: Canadian snowbirds.

Despite heightened tensions around the U.S. border, a bipartisan bill currently before Congress would allow Canadians — and Canadians only — over the age of 55 to stay south of the border for up to eight months of the year, provided they own a home or have signed a rental agreement for the duration of their stay.

The legislation, if passed, would exempt these Canadian residents from filing U.S. taxes despite the longer stay, as they would still be considered “nonresident aliens” by the Internal Revenue Service.

Current limit is 182 days

Currently, if a snowbird spends more than 182 days in the U.S. they are considered a resident and are subject to U.S. taxes on their worldwide income. Even worse, prolonged, unauthorized stays beyond six months could result in an outright travel ban for up to 10 years.

However, while the U.S. could be prepared to allow older Canucks to stay longer — and in turn spend more of their money while vacationing in Arizona, California, Florida or the like — some provinces still have restrictions on how long a person can be out of the province and retain their health insurance, a key consideration for any senior.

Many snowbirds aren’t aware they risk losing their provincial coverage if they spend long periods of time outside the country, and it can take months to have coverage restored when they return.

There is a patchwork of policies throughout Canada as residents of some provinces have much less freedom to travel than some of their fellow residents.

As a result of concerted lobbying efforts by the Canadian Snowbirds Association over the last five years, British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan have all amended their policies to allow residents to be temporarily absent for up to seven months, while still retaining their health coverage.

Ontarians, too, can keep their health benefits and be out of the province for up to 212 days (roughly seven months) in any 12-month period while Nunavut and the Yukon are comparatively lax and have no residency requirements. Newfoundland and Labrador requires its residents live in the province for just four months of the year, while in Quebec and P.E.I. a person has to be present for six months plus one day to maintain their coverage.

Evan Rachkovsky, the director of research and communications at the Canadian Snowbirds Association, said his organization will push provinces to harmonize their residency requirements should the U.S. bill pass.

Consistency urged on health benefits

“We would like to see consistency across the board and we would like to see every province get to that threshold [of eight months] to allow Canadians greater flexibility when travelling to the U.S., and elsewhere abroad,” Rachkovsky said.

Rachkovsky doesn’t foresee opposition from the provinces, because the health expenditures of snowbirds in the U.S. are largely covered by private travel health insurance. Insurers pick up the tab, while the hit to provincial health coffers is relatively low.


Ronald Boisvert and Francine Belanger from Quebec City are two snowbirds who vacation in Florida. (Candace West/Miami Herald/Associated Press)

The Canada Health Act calls for portability, including for emergency health services provided outside of Canada, but P.E.I. and the three territories are the only jurisdictions that reimburse residents for out-of-country emergency services at provincial rates.

“For snowbirds, the health coverage they get is actually a scaled-down version of the coverage they would get in Canada,” he said, noting Ontario will only reimburse a maximum of $400 per day for a hospital stay in the U.S., while the average rate is many times that amount.

U.S. motivated by jobs, snowbird spending

The motivations are largely economic for the congressmen backing the bill — officially titled “Promoting Tourism to Enhance our Economy Act” — and they have framed the loosened visitor restrictions as a no-brainer because of the expected financial windfalls for Sun Belt states.

“Increased tourism from Canada will spur job growth in towns across the United States,” Democratic Congressman Albio Sires said after introducing the bill last month. “Allowing our neighbours to spend more time to enjoy what our country has to offer will help small businesses and expand the economy.”

“This contributes a great deal to the economy in Florida,” Republican Congressman Ted Yoho, who represents northern stretches of the Sunshine State, added. “Canada is one of America’s closest allies and her citizens contribute millions of dollars to the U.S. economy. This bill will provide an incentive for additional tourism from Canada in the future and will strengthen the bond between our two nations.”

New Congress Boehner

Florida congressman Ted Yoho gives a thumbs up. Yoho is a sponsor of the bill that would allow Canadian snowbirds over 55 years of age to stay in the U.S. for eight months a year. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

Rachkovsky said if, and when, the bill reaches the floor of the House of Representatives he doesn’t expect any opposition from either party.

According to a report drafted by the Canadian Consulate in Miami, Canadians purchase a sizable amount — six per cent — of all homes sold in Florida and inject nearly half a billion dollars annually into the economy through property taxes.

Canadians own some 500,000 properties in Florida alone, while 700,000 of them spend at least 31 days at a time in that state every year.

As reported by the National Post, a separate and similarly worded bill, introduced by Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik last fall, calls for the creation of a snowbird visa, to “support many small businesses, grow jobs, and foster an even closer relationship,” with Canada, she said. (Stefanik’s bill has a lower age requirement of just 50 and older.)

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FSA WCD Tounament AR17. We Give You The Results!! March 2nd, 3rd, 2017

We give you a link to the WCD Tournament AR17 NO 2 PROS PLAYED 3/2-3/2017 AT ST.PETERSBURG S.C.


Sent along by Stan Bober; posted by Stan McCormack. 2017 03 06


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The Central District of FL Will Induct 4 Shufflers into their Hall of Fame!! Participate in Their HOF Classic!!

HOF MEMBERS: Please bring your Red Jacket!! (Pic by Glenna Earle in 2016)

HOF MEMBERS: Please bring your Red Jacket!! (Pic by Glenna Earle in 2016)

2017 Central District Hall of Fame

Come join the celebration Friday March 10th , at

Winter Haven Shuffleboard Courts! 250 South Lake Silver Dr. NW

We are celebrating the induction of

Barbara Fournier, Don Rood,

Dean Myklejord, and Mike Seyfer

As always with FUN , FOOD & CEREMONY.

Please Bring Finger Food!!

Sent along by Ginny Chandler with Thanks!   2017 03 06.

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