Kurt Papenfus, a doctor in the small town of Cheyenne Wells, Colo., started to feel sick around Halloween. He developed a scary cough, intestinal symptoms and a headache. In the midst of a pandemic, the news that he had COVID-19 wasn't surprising, but Papenfus' illness would have repercussions far beyond his own health.

Papenfus is the lone full-time emergency room doctor in the town of 900, not far from the Kansas line.

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Today:  Our colleague Michael Puente from Chicago Public Radio WBEZ sent along his recent "Off Mic" conversation with Andy Downs, the executive director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue University Fort Wayne, on the political futures of Vice President (and former Governor) Mike Pence and former South Bend Mayor (and presidential primary candidate) Pete Buttigieg.  We bring it to you, along with conversations from northwest Indiana's minority business community on "Neighborhood Voice" and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso Univeity.  Today's conversation is with a well-known Gary public official.

A sweeping new review of national test data suggests the pandemic-driven jump to online learning has had little impact on children's reading growth and has only somewhat slowed gains in math. That positive news comes from the testing nonprofit NWEA and covers nearly 4.4 million U.S. students in grades three through eight. But the report also includes a worrying caveat: Many of the nation's most vulnerable students are missing from the data.

Despite the repeated warnings of public health experts and officials, millions of people traveled for Thanksgiving.

Perhaps you're one of them.

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In partnership with the Legacy Foundation, "Neighborhood Voice" brings you conversations from the minority owned business community. Here's Erica Fizer with Michelle Wainwright, of Cute As A Cupcake.

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SI VEO A TU MAMA")

BAD BUNNY: (Singing in Spanish).

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After winning global praise for aggressively tackling the pandemic, South Korea is now dealing with a third wave of infections, and the government is facing criticism for flouting its own rules. NPR's Anthony Kuhn has the story from Seoul.

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Lakeshore Sports

We just can't leave prep football alone, can we?  Nothing against the winter sports, of course, but we just had to look ahead to the 2021-22 season and wonder:  with so many top teams losing big time senior talent after this season, who will be the top squads of next year?  Gary Graban of Lakeshore Game Night will help us fill in the blanks on this one on today's sports.

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Jamesha Waddell spent nearly two months in the hospital with COVID-19. She died earlier this month at just 23 years old.

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Her grandmother Janice Waddell had a nickname for Jamesha.

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Jamesha Waddell spent nearly two months in the hospital with COVID-19. She died earlier this month at just 23 years old.

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Her grandmother Janice Waddell had a nickname for Jamesha.

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Jamesha Waddell spent nearly two months in the hospital with COVID-19. She died earlier this month at just 23 years old.

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Her grandmother Janice Waddell had a nickname for Jamesha.

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The short list of nominees for the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Awards came out in early August. The awards happen every two years, and celebrate the best books written by Indiana authors.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 378 additional confirmed deaths over the last week – the most reported in a single week during the pandemic. That brings the state’s total to 5,418 confirmed deaths. ISDH also reported nearly 38,000 new cases in the last week.

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:  Ed Feigenbaum, the creator and editor of the "Indiana Gaming Insight" newsletter with Hanna News Service has an update on the Indiana gaming industry, including the latest Indiana Gaming Commission meeting topics that include revenues from the casinos and sportsbooks, as well as the investigation into allegations involving executives with Spectacle Entertainment and former casino operator Centaur Gaming and the probe's impact on the Gary and Terre Haute casino projects.  We also bring back out conversation with Porter County Substance Abuse Council executive director Dawn Pelc and board president Chuck Harris, about the organization's effort to reduce the number of former Porter County jail inmates going back behind bars because of drug-related crimes.  Many of those returning inmates don't have the education or job skills to find meaningful jobs in the community.

This edition of "Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges" was originally aired on 11-24-20 on 89.1FM-Lakeshore Public Radio.

GUEST:  JOSEPH "MOJO" MORGANFIELD
 

JOSEPH "MOJO" MORGANFIELD, the youngest son of Chicago blues icon MUDDY WATERS (whose real name was McKinley Morganfield) has released in a digital format his newest recording, "It's Good to be King," an advance single from his forthcoming album for the international blues label, Delmark Records. 

Mojo Morganfield IS blues royalty -- even though he came into the royal court much later than his already successful older brothers Mud Morganfield and Big Bill Morganfield -- while focusing on sports in his earlier years.  Muddy's youngest is now wasting little time in staking his claim as heir to the throne, while keeping his famous daddy's name and the influential music alive and well.

Not only a rising performer and recording artist, Mojo is recognized as an ambassador of the Chicago Blues scene, and was inducted as such into the prestigious "Chicago Blues Hall of Fame" because of work promoting Chicago blues music and keeping his father's legacy alive for future generations. 

While backstage with Morganfield in 2018 during the "Stars Align Tour" with British guitar god Jeff Beck, this columnist overheard Beck say to Mojo -- "If it wasn't for your father, none of us would be here today doing this!" Muddy was a huge influence on Beck's early band, The Yardbirds, along with The Rolling Stones (who took their name from a Muddy song title), The Animals, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, and many other British Invasion groups.

With the release of his 2018 EP -- "Mojo Risin'" -- young Morganfield set the stage for his entrance into the recording world.  The live dates with The Mannish Boyz to promote that EP put him on the blues radar in a big way.

The COVID pandemic could not have come at a worse time for Morganfield,  who was on the rise as many high profile performances began coming his way. Among them was being invited to perform with Grammy Award-winners Don Was, Jamey Johnson, and Warren Haynes at the Windy City stop of 2019 "Last Waltz Tour" at The Chicago Theatre; sharing the stage at "The Chicago Blues Fest" with older brother Big Bill Morganfield; and getting to open for Paul Rodgers & Bad Company at Hammond's 2019 "Festival Of The Lakes."

  

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Screenshot of Zoom call

More than 10 percent of Hoosiers – that’s more than 700,000 people – have been infected with COVID-19 at some point.

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The biotech company Moderna released new data Monday morning that strengthens the case for its COVID-19 vaccine. It concludes the vaccine is 94% effective — and strongly protects against serious illness. Based on these latest findings, the company plans to submit an application for emergency use authorization to the Food and Drug Administration today.

John Cain, host of "Eye on the Arts," talks with Keri Castro, Co-founder of Premier Performance, about the “Winter Radio Theatre Class.” Classes begin virtually December 4th with a virtual performance on January 23rd.

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The IRS now acknowledges that its own error caused some citizens of other countries to mistakenly receive $1,200 coronavirus relief payments — and that the mistake is likely to happen again if more stimulus money goes out.

Lakeshore Sports

With the Hobart Brickie loss to Indianapolis Roncalli, the prep football season has officially ended, but we still have a final bouquet of roses to hand out to the Class 4A runner ups, That job wil be handled by Lakeshore Game Night's Gary Graban on today's sports

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