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Aaron Jackson Gets the St. Pete Times Treatment

Though last night's Planting Peace fundraiser at the Bubble was canceled due to last-second scheduling conflicts, the charity's founder, Aaron Jackson, was in town from Haiti (where Planting Peace has several orphanages), and that gave me the opportunity to ask him about this week's big feature spread in the Sunday edition of the St. Petersburg Times and for him to challenge me to a dance-off.

The newspaper story tells Jackson's riches-to-rags tale, how he started his charity, how he's received help from some big celebrities (including Rainn Wilson), and how he wants to rid Haiti of intestinal parasites.

"I thought it was a good story," he told me. Of course it's not unlike the cover story New Times wrote on Jackson nine months ago, or the other New Times cover story on Jackson in July 2005.

In fact, he explained, last night's would-have-been event was inspired by connections made through that original New Times story. His experience with the CNN Heroes program sprang from that same story. "I was this big before New Times," he joked, gesturing with his thumb and forefinger. "It's like Eric Barton [the author of the original story and current New Times boss man] is a second mother to me, giving birth to the man you see before you."

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Michael J. Mooney

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