Learn the history behind the songs and carols you love to hear during the winter holiday season as Maestro Mark Thielen leads this lecture.

Learn the history behind the songs and carols you love to hear during the winter holiday season as Maestro Mark Thielen leads this lecture.

Date:December 5

Time: 5:45 pm – 7:00 pm

 

Held the Tuesday prior to a performance, the ISO’s popular Tea & Symphony program takes guests on a musical journey! Tea & Symphony pre-concert talks are designed to enhance your enjoyment of the concert by providing insights into the works on the program. Enjoy a cup of tea and venture “inside” the music with Maestro Mark Thielen as he examines the life and times of composers, the structure and themes in the works and offers fun and interesting facts about symphonic music.

Add the series of Tea & Symphony lectures to your Lakeland Genesis Concert Series subscription for just $10 each!

Top 10 Black Friday Shopping Tips for 2017

Some of us wait all year for the Black Friday shopping season, our heads filled with the promise of scoring the best price of the year on a new TV, tablet, printer, or high-tech gadget. But don’t let all the Black Friday hype fool you. You might end up overpaying if you get taken in by so-so prices masquerading as fantastic bargains, and you can miss out on great deals because you didn’t do your research. (Check out the best Black Friday TV deals for 2017.)

No worries—Consumer Reports has been tracking Black Friday deals for years, so we’ve got you covered. Our top 10 Black Friday shopping tips below will help you get the best deal on the items you want and keep frustration—and overspending—to a minimum.

We are also tracking the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals we find on televisionslaptops and tablets, and smartphones.

1. Start early. Gone are the days when Black Friday simply meant checking the Sunday circulars to see which local retailers had the best deals. Black Friday has morphed into a whole month of deals and savings, and online retailers also regularly update prices throughout the event.

So to judge how good the actual sales really are once it’s crunch time, you’ll need to track the deals leading up to Black Friday. The same goes for Cyber Monday, which now stretches into a week of online specials.

2. Do your homework. Only rookies head out on Black Friday unprepared. Getting ready means studying the ads—in print and online—the weekend before Thanksgiving. CR has already weighed in on the Black Friday deals at Best BuyCostcoDellBJ’sTarget, and Walmart.

You’ll find tons of leaked Black Friday ad scans at bfads.netbestblackfriday.comdealnews.comgottadeal.com, and theblackfriday.com.

3. Compare prices. If you spot a great deal at one retailer, go to PriceGrabber.comPriceWatch.comShopping.com, or ShopZilla to make sure you can’t do better elsewhere. (Don’t forget Google Shopping and NexTag.com.) There are also a growing number of apps, such as ShopSavvy, Shopular, and BuyVia, that let you scan bar codes to compare prices, get discounts, and score coupons from local retailers. (See tip No. 6, below, for additional shopping apps.)

But remember, direct comparison shopping isn’t always easy. For instance, large retailers might apply their deepest discounts to TVs with a specific model number, which makes it difficult to be sure you’re doing an apples-to-apples comparison. In some cases, comparison shopping isn’t even possible.

4. Be loyal. Stores often have loyalty programs that offer sales and promotions to their members first, then let them earn rewards on what they buy. Signing up for Black Friday shopping alerts will get you the early word on promotions, coupons, and discounts. In some cases, you can even find out whether the products you want are in stock or eligible for a buy online/pick up at the store option that saves you on shipping.

5. Get social. The Facebook pages and Twitter feeds of your favorite retailers are a great way to find out about deals and promotions. Retailers will often reward customers who like or follow them with special alerts to Black Friday discounts and incentives. And of course texts, tweets, and social media posts are an easy way to share Black Friday shopping intel with your friends.

6. Phone it in. Before you head out to a store, make sure your smartphone is fully charged and loaded with a few of the comparison-shopping apps mentioned above, or Flipp, RetailMeNot, Shopkick, and SlickDeals. In addition to providing pricing info, they can often be used to place orders or monitor items via a personal watch list.

Many include a bar-code scanner to help you compare prices and a QR-code reader for coupon codes and special deals. The aforementioned Black Friday sites may also have their own shopping apps, as do the major retailers, such as Amazon, eBay, and Walmart. Amazon’s Mobile app, for example, lets you use a smartphone camera to scan products and price-shop online, and Walmart’s uses geolocation, so if you’ve ordered online, it will start getting your order ready the second it detects you’re in the store. But as the The Washington PostThe New York Times, and other news outlets reported last year, be on the lookout for fake apps that masquerade as well-known retailer apps.

7. Create a budget—and stick to it. Yes, this sounds simple. But Black Friday sales, especially the doorbuster specials available in limited quantities, are designed to get you into a store so that the retailer can sell you something else.

Decide ahead of time how much you want to spend on your Black Friday shopping spree, and do your best to resist impulse buying, especially if you’re not sure how good a specific deal is. If you find that you’re too free with your charge cards, try buying with cash this year and see whether you have better self-control. But if you are sufficiently disciplined, buy with a credit card that doubles the manufacturer’s warranty and then pay it off before any interest accrues.

8. Check all store policies in advance. It’s always good to know a store’s price-match and return policies. As noted in our Black Friday 2017 TV predictions article, we expect more retailers to price-match specific online and in-store deals this year. Almost all of the major retailers have some form of price-match policy, and they’ve been expanding them almost every year. But some stores might suspend their price-match guarantees during the Black Friday weekend on certain items, so read the fine print. Check the return and exchange policies for Black Friday sales to make sure that the store won’t charge a restocking fee for any item you bring back.

9. Avoid pricey accessories. You’ve just scored an awesome giant-screen 4K TV at an all-time low price, so don’t blow your savings by splurging on pricey accessories or extended warranties. (This is where retailers make their money, hence the hard sell.) If you know you’ll need an HDMI cable, buy it in advance from an online retailer such as monoprice.com or bluejeanscable.com. That way you won’t be pressed into overpaying at the store, where you might pay $35 for a 6-foot HDMI cable that performs similarly to a cable you can buy for less than $3 online.

10. The cheapest TVs aren’t always the best deals.Doorbuster specials draw people in with visions of savings, but they might not offer the best product for their needs. This is especially true for big-ticket items such as TVs. Just remember that you’ll probably be watching that TV for a number of years; if you’re not happy with its features or picture quality, you’ll wind up spending that time regretting the fact that spending an extra $100 could have gotten you a set you’d be happier with. Also, those loss-leader TVs are usually at their rock-bottom price. A retailer may have more wiggle room on a step-up model or flagship model, so during your Black Friday shopping don’t be afraid to ask for a better price on the TV you’d really like to own. (Read “Haggling Really Works When You Buy a New TV, Laptop, or Other Device” for more details.)

By James K. Willcox

Imperial Symphony Orchestra

Since 1965, the Imperial Symphony Orchestra has been educating, entertaining and inspiring central Florida audiences. What began as a group of 30 passionate volunteer musicians has grown to a paid, per-service orchestra serving Polk County and neighboring communities.

Symphony Guild of Winter Haven Holiday Concert

December 9 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

The Symphony Guild of Winter Haven welcomes the Imperial Symphony Orchestra for a celebration of the season at Polk State College Center for Public Safety in Winter Haven.

1251 Jim Keene Boulevard
Winter Haven,FL33880United States

Netflix Price Increase On The Way

Ah, fall: the days grow colder, the nights grow longer, and it’s the perfect season to hunker down, grab a blanket and a beverage, and binge-watch your way through the winter. Unfortunately for Netflix’s millions of fans, the price of spending quality time on the sofa with your favorite Netflix shows is going up this year.

For subscribers on the “standard” tier, prices are going up by $1 per month, from $9.99 to $10.99.

Customers on the “premium” tier will see a slightly larger bump, going from $11.99 to $13.99. Subscribers to the “basic” $7.99 tier will, however, see their pricing left alone… for now, anyway.

The higher prices will begin to kick in for existing subscribers during November. Basically, starting next week, on your next billing date you’ll be told that the price for you will be higher on the bill after that.

If you go to sign up for a new Netflix account today, your pricing options look like this:

Price increases at first were comparatively uncommon for Netflix — but then again, the entire idea of a streaming TV content service is, itself, barely ten years old.

Customers faced their first $1 increase in 2014, first only for new subscribers. Then Netflix last raised prices over a year ago, when it bumped the Standard plan from $7.99 to $9.99.

Now, the company seems to be joining the likes of many other industries — wireless, cable, even Starbucks — in making price bumps a more-or-less annual thing.

In 2016, the company did indeed lose a few subscribers after a price hike — but considering that it’s crossed 50 million subscribers in the U.S. and 100 million worldwide, the last price hike doesn’t appear to have slowed Netflix down for long.

In a statement, Netflix said, “From time to time, Netflix plans and pricing are adjusted as we add more exclusive TV shows and movies, introduce new product features and improve the overall Netflix experience to help members find something great to watch even faster.”

The Best Solar Eclipse Since 1918 Takes Place Next Month

In less than a month’s time, one of the finest solar eclipses since 1918 will pass across the United States. Weather permitting, the entire continent will be able to see the moon pass in front of the sun on 21 August 2017, as the total solar eclipse takes place.

Solar eclipse 2017: What time is the eclipse?

The total solar eclipse will start near Lincoln City, Oregon, at 10.15am PDT (1.15pm EDT) and totality will end at 2.48pm EDT near Charleston, South Carolina. It will last around one hour and 40 minutes.

Solar eclipse 2017: Where will the eclipse be visible?

The total eclipse will only be visible over the US. NASA has produced an animated video showing the path of the eclipse. It shows the umbra (depicted as a black oval), penumbra (concentric shaded ovals) and the path of totality in red. The sun is also shown in a number of locations.

The path of totality is around 70 miles wide and will cross from West to East. Its longest duration will be over Illinois, where the sun will be covered for two minutes and 40 seconds.

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Solar eclipse 2017: What is a total eclipse?

The sun’s diameter is 400 times wider than the moon’s but is 400 times farther away. This geometry results in the sun and moon seeming to appear the same size when looked at from Earth. As they line up, the moon blocks the sun’s surface. This line-up occurs once every 12 to 18 months.

Partial solar eclipses occur when the alignment of the moon blocks only part of the sun, and these can occur more frequently.

During a total eclipse, the alignment occurs in such a way in which the sun’s outer atmosphere, known as the corona, appears to radiate around the shadow created by the moon. It looks like a ring of bright light bursting from the lunar disk.

Solar eclipse 2017: Why is the August eclipse so significant?

Beyond looking beautiful, and their rarity, total eclipses can be used for scientific purposes. In previous years, it has helped astronomers unlock the secrets of general relativity, coronal mass ejections, and the sun’s temperature.

“An eclipse teaches us so many things, but the 2017 eclipse is especially unique because of the uninterrupted land masses it will pass over,” said Dr Lika Guhathakurta, an astrophysicist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This will allow us to maximise our chance to collect data and connect the shadow of the moon to Earth science.”

The NASA-funded Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment, or GLOBE, Program recently released an app that people watching the eclipse can use to gather scientific data. Each phone running the app will act like a ground sensor, feeding back information about the eclipse to create a simulation of this year’s eclipse and build a so-called 3-D radiative transfer model.

You can download the app from the GLOBE Observer site. To gather data you’ll need to register to become a citizen scientist and use a thermometer to measure air temperature. The app will guide you through the steps for collecting the data points and your observations will be recorded on an interactive map.

For example, studying the corona and its role in space will help astronomers understand the relationship between Earth and the sun, and offer clues to future space missions.

Solar eclipse 2017: How to watch the eclipse safely

NASA advises watching the solar eclipse through a filter that minimises ultraviolet, visible and infrared light. Eclipse glasses can be bought online. The only time it is safe to look at the eclipse is during the phase of totality, when the moon fully obscures the sun, but this lasts for seconds so it is better to watch through a filter at all times.

Prince: 1958-2016

Legendary musician Prince died today at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota, according to a report first broken by TMZ. He was 57. The death has since been confirmed by Prince’s agent.

The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist had been battling health issues of late; last Friday, his jet was forced to make an emergency landing in Illinois and he was rushed to a hospital, though he appeared to have been recovering well.

Prince’s impact on popular music is incalculable. He became well-known for infusing his music with sexuality, at one point changing his name to the “Love Symbol,” and for melding elements of funk, dance, R&B and rock music to create masterful pop songs. His 1980s albums 1999 and Purple Rain are widely considered masterpieces.

We’ll have more for you as this story develops. Meanwhile, check out some live footage from a 1982 Prince concert at the top of this post—the man was renowned for his electrifying performances.

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Disney Takes to Instagram for a First Look at the Live-Action ‘The Jungle Book’ Film

After teasing its first images of a live-action The Jungle Book remake back at the D23 Expo, Disney took to its official Instagram to premiere footage of the forthcoming 2016 film. Directed by Jon Favreau with voiceovers from Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Bill Murray, Lupita Nyong’o, Ben Kingsley and more, the film will follow the same plot as its original, where a young orphan is raised by a group of wild animals. With a release date slated for April 15, 2016, and an official look set to drop later this week, check out the teaser below.

Why Meditation and Yoga Are Recommended for Breast Cancer

Up to 80% of American patients with breast cancer will undergo complementary therapies to manage anxiety and stress after they receive a diagnosis.

Though there’s no clear consensus on which integrative and alternative therapies work and which are ineffective, more and more medical practices have incorporated practices like mindfulness and acupuncture into their offerings. But a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs conducted by several major oncology facilities has examined which therapies benefit patients the most. The answer? Meditation, yoga and relaxation with imagery.

The three methods are known to be calming for those who practice them, and the researchers gave the practices an “A” for treating symptoms of mood disorders that are highly common among people with a recent diagnosis.

To come up with the grade, the researchers parsed through clinical trials conducted from 1990-2013 on complementary therapies paired with routine cancer treatment, like chemotherapy. The researchers then graded each therapy based on efficacy. Acupuncture was given a “B” for controlling chemo nausea, and music therapy also received a “B” for anxiety and stress.

“Women with breast cancer are among the highest users [of these therapies]…and usage has been increasing,” the authors write in their study. “Clear clinical practice guidelines are needed.” The study involved researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, MD Anderson, University of Michigan, Memorial Sloan Kettering and more.

The researchers also gave some therapies low grades. For example, healing touch was given a “C” for lowering pain, and aloe vera gel was not recommended at all for preventing skin reactions from radiation therapy. The researchers also point out that while some natural products were shown to be effective, they did not have the safety data to back them up, suggesting more formal research is needed before some of the therapies can be officially recommended.

As patients with breast cancer and other forms of cancer continue to seek other ways to deal with some of the emotional side effects that stem from serious illness, it will become increasingly important for hospitals to find ways to answer their unmet needs—which might include a yoga class.

Local Restaurants Scare Up Spooktacular Halloween Deals

No tricks! But you’re in for a big treat this Halloween as restaurant chains serve up spooktacular savings and devilish deals. We’ve scared up a spellbinding selection of those Halloween deals below. Unless otherwise noted, all deals are for Friday, October 31. Keep in mind that participation may vary by location. Check with your local restaurant for further details.

Baja Fresh – Kids in costume get a free meal with purchase of any adult entree and this coupon. October 27th through 31st only.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s – Kids in costume receive one free meal per purchase of any adult entree

Bellagios Pizza – Place your order for Halloween (10/31/14) at least 24 hours in advance and get 10% off of your order.

Boston Market – Free Kids Meal with purchase of any Individual Meal with this coupon.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill – Free Kids Meal October 31st through November 2nd with purchase of any adult entree with this coupon. Limit 2 free Kids Meals per coupon, per visit.

Chevys Fresh Mex – Kids eat free all week. $5 to go burritos all day on Halloweeen.

Chipotle Mexican Grill – Visit any Chipotle restaurant dressed in costume between 5 p.m. and closing on October 31, and purchase a burrito, burrito bowl, tacos, salad or kids meal for only $3.

HomeTown Buffet – Bring your little ghosts and goblins to any of the 324 restaurants on Halloween night (Friday, October 31, 2014), and all costumed characters 11 years old and younger will enjoy a free meal. The free dinner offer is available from 5 to 8 p.m. on October 31.

IHOP – Now through October 31st, kids 12 and under can get a free “Scary Face” pancake and make it into as scary – or funny – a face as they want. One per child. Dine-in only.

Krispy Kreme – On October 31st, come in in your costume and get one free boo-tiful doughnut of your choice (including the Ghostbusters doughnuts) at any participating Krispy Kreme US and Canadian location.

Lone Star Steakhouse – Little Goblins Eat Free all day October 31st. Get one free Littles’ meal with each regularly priced adult entree purchased.

Morton’s The Steakhouse – Three courses for $35 at participating locations on October 31st.

Old Country Buffet – Bring your little ghosts and goblins to any of the 324 restaurants on Halloween night (Friday, October 31, 2014), and all costumed characters 11 years old and younger will enjoy a free meal. The free dinner offer is available from 5 to 8 p.m. on October 31.

Olive Garden – Free kids meal with adult entree purchase and this coupon.

Outback Steakhouse – Treat your little ghouls, goblins and ghosts to a free kids meal with the purchase of any adult entree. No coupon necessary. Limit two free kids meals per visit.

Ryan’s – Bring your little ghosts and goblins to any of the 324 restaurants on Halloween night (Friday, October 31, 2014), and all costumed characters 11 years old and younger will enjoy a free meal. The free dinner offer is available from 5 to 8 p.m. on October 31.

Sbarro – Kids eat free on October 31st and during Mall Halloween Festivities. Bring your kids in costume and they will receive one free pizza slice (cheese or pepperoni) with the purchase of any entree.

Sonic Drive-In – 50¢ corn dogs all day. Offer is good for one day only while supplies last.

Souper Salad – Feed your little monster for free Monday, October 27th to Friday, October 31st. Kids eat for 99¢ or free with costume. Adult buffet purchase required for each free or 99¢ kid’s meal. Kids 10 and under. Not valid in Georgetown, Lubbock and Pasadena.

Stevi B’s Pizza Buffet – Kids under 10 in Halloween costumes can eat for 99¢ on Halloween. Buffet only.

Texas Corral Grill & Saloon – Free kids entree with purchase of adult entree with this coupon.

Texas Steakhouse & Saloon – Kids in costume eat free through October 31st with purchase of adult entree. Dine-in only.

Tubby’s Grilled Submarines – Kids can color this sheet and bring in to a Tubby’s for a free small order of french fries with any sub purchase. Valid on regular prices subs only, not on $5 deli subs.

UNO Pizzeria & Grill – Halloween Party, Tuesday, October 28th, 4-7 pm. Kids eat free with purchase of an adult entree. Pumpkin decorating, coloring sheets, goody bags and more at participating locations.

Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson is behind 85 percent of Florida’s anti-pot campaign

Floridians will decide whether to legalize marijuana for medical use in their state next week and, whatever the outcome, two men will deserve most of the credit (or blame) for bankrolling the fight.

The single largest contributor on either side of the fight over Amendment 2, which grants patients with “debilitating diseases” access to medical marijuana, is billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who, new campaign finance filings show, added $1 million to the $4 million he’s already spent in support of the campaign to defeat the measure. Adelson, the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands and America’s 12th richest person, is responsible for 85 percent of the $5.8 million raised by Drug Free Florida, the organization leading the charge against the measure and headed by former Reagan drug czar Carlton Turner. For Adelson, that amount of spending is roughly equivalent to a person worth $1 million writing a $157 campaign contribution check.

The man largely behind the yes campaign is personal injury lawyer John Morgan, who mostly through his law firm has contributed more than half of the $7.6 million raised by People United for Medical Marijuana. Morgan has toured the state and participated in debates to advocate for the measure, which he says he supports so people like his brother Tim Morgan, a quadriplegic, can get legal access to marijuana for pain relief.

Because of Adelson’s outsized influence, only about 15 percent of the money raised by the no campaign has come from within the state. In contrast, about 91 percent of the money raised by the yes campaign was raised in-state. Nineteen out of every 20 contributors to People United for Medical Marijuana listed a Florida home address. A review of campaign finance data shows about 80 individuals or organizations have contributed to the no campaign, while roughly 5,600 have donated to the yes campaign. (Note: some may be double-counted due to typos or slight differences in how their names were entered.)

While the results of more than a dozen polls compiled by Ballotpedia and conducted over the last year have all shown support for the measure outweighing opposition, Amendment 2 must receive 60 percent of the vote next Tuesday to pass.