Americans spend an estimated $835 million on turkeys each year.
Hosts spend 9.6 hours preparing.
Sixteen million greetings cards are exchanged each year.
An estimated 515 traffic fatalities occur each Thanksgiving weekend.
A helping hand
UF Health Central Florida has added a second da Vinci Xi Surgical System to provide advanced robotic-assisted procedures at the UF Health Leesburg Hospital campus. The new system will be used for a variety of complex procedures, including nephrectomy, prostatectomy, hysterectomy, cholecystectomy, hernia repair, and bowel surgery.
Among the elite
Lake County Schools recently announced that Lykos Hamilton of East Ridge High and William Yates of South Lake High are among 16,000 U.S. students named as semifinalists in the 69th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring. About 95 percent of semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title. Wishing Lykos and William the best of luck.
The dynasty continues
Montverde Academy looks to be one of the nation’s elite basketball teams again this year. As of late September, 247 Sports ranked five players among the nation’s top recruits.
Power forward Cooper Flagg is ranked No. 1
Center Derik Queen is ranked No. 12
Power forward Asa Newell is No. 13
Small forward Liam McNeely is No. 15
Point guard Rob Wright is No. 31
In a region where screaming roller coasters, killer whales, and magical castles reign supreme, a roadside attraction in Clermont still stands tall . . . 226 feet tall, to be exact. Here are some interesting facts about the tower, which opened in 1956:
The Citrus Tower contains 5 million pounds of concrete and 149,000 pounds of steel;
The tower is 543 feet above sea level (the equivalent to a 22-story building);
Visitors can see eight counties and more than 2,000 square miles from the observation deck.
Homage to history
The Clermont Historical Society is hosting its 6th Annual Heritage Day Festival from 10am to 4pm Nov. 18 at the Clermont Historic Village, 490 West Ave., Clermont. Volunteers dressed in period costumes will demonstrate butter churning, ice cream making, and rope making. Model T cars will be on display, and children will be invited to beat rugs, do laundry with a washboard and hang it to dry, experiment with wooden hand tools, and play old-fashioned games like jump rope, hopscotch and hula hoop. Museums will be open for tours, and lunches will be available for sale. For more information, visit: clermonthistoricvillage.org or call 352.432.3496.
Keep calm and breathe
The holidays are quickly approaching, and for many, that means A LOT — additional activities and events, extra shopping, cooking, family time, and a lot of hustle and bustle. If you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or having trouble falling asleep, take a breather. Literally. Deep breaths are considered a good way to de-stress, so find a quiet spot, close your eyes, breathe in through your nose, let your belly fill with air, and then slowly breathe out through your nose. Repeat a few times and ahhhh . . . experience a calmer you.
A walk on the artsy side
The City of Minneola is proud to announce that the Murals on The Trail have been completed. The project, intended to beautify an area previously laden with graffiti by integrating art into the community, consists of more than 20 murals. The artists applied for a spot and were chosen by a committee of volunteers organized by city officials. The final outcome—an open-air art museum of sorts—is truly amazing. If interested in having a look for yourself, simply walk, roll, or ride to the underpass beneath U.S. Hwy. 27 on the South Lake Trail near Trailhead Park, at 315 Madison St., Minneola.
Think outside the kitchen
If cooking the Turkey Day meal seems overwhelming, try the Thanksgiving grand brunch buffet at Mission Inn Resort and Club’s La Hacienda Restaurant. The hearty feast includes a fresh seafood bar, signature carving stations, and a stuffing station. The meal costs $65 for adults and $28 for children age 5-12. Children 4 and under eat for free. The buffet lasts from 11am to 4pm and includes live entertainment. Call 352.324.3930 to make reservations.
Freedom is not free
November 11 is Veterans Day, a federal holiday intended to honor military veterans of the United States Armed Forces, and there are many ways of doing that. You can fly an American flag in front of your home, wear a red poppy, or take a moment of silence to reflect on the bravery and sacrifices of those who defended your freedoms. Most of all, if you see a veteran don’t hesitate to thank him or her for their service.