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Robert E. Lee lost the Civil War, and now his statue has lost its place on Richmond's Monument Avenue. A pair of filmmakers tells the story of why both those things matter.

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After last year’s in-person convention was canceled due to COVID-19, thousands of tabletop game enthusiasts return to downtown Indianapolis for Gen Con this week. Vendors hope pent-up demand from the past two years encourages purchases.

Friday Recap

Sep 17, 2021

Today we revisit some of our favorite conversations from this past week. First, we find out how different schools are reacting to COVID-19 and the Delta variant. We also hear the story of a Burmese refugee who made a new home in Indiana, and learn about a streaming service launched earlier this summer that was exclusively built to present Indiana documentaries.

Produced by Mariam Sobh.

Indiana's August unemployment rate remained stuck at 4.1 percent for the third month in a row. The state lost both employed and unemployed workers from the total labor force as thousands of jobs remain unfilled.

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Today on Off Mic: We talk about the controversy over a 9-11 parade float in Valparaiso last week and more issues of potential bias happening in that city. We talk to to a motivational speaker about being positive and authentic. And it’s Hispanic Heritage Month. We talk about the issues and get a jump start on the month.  All this on Off Mic.

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On this edition of the podcast you’ll hear the latest on the Lake County Council's decision regarding a school mask mandate, Brandon Smith reports on the release of the state House and Congressional proposed redistricting maps and Chris Nolte has a conversation with Antonia Ciaccia on working with the National Consumers League to educate the public about pharmacy benefits managers. All of that, and more, on this edition of “Lakeshore Update”…

Updated September 17, 2021 at 1:03 PM ET

A debate is heating up over whether President Biden's sweeping vaccine mandate should be extended to cover those who travel domestically by plane and train.

Humans aren't the only ones who have to worry about COVID-19. A number of lions and tigers at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., are now being treated for the virus.

Six African lions, a Sumatran tiger and two Amur tigers have tested presumptive positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 and are undergoing treatment, the zoo said in a news release Thursday.

It appears Indiana Senate lawmakers will approve the state Senate redistricting map without any changes – regardless of what Hoosiers have to say at the only public hearing on that map.

The Senate map will be unveiled Tuesday, revealing which state Senate districts Hoosiers will live in for the next decade. Wednesday, House lawmakers plan to insert the legislative language version of that map into the redistricting bill.

Join us this week as we get pumped about the upcoming Gen Con! Also we talk about how to bury a lead and movies we want to see.

As a group, American children and teenagers have seen a significant increase in weight gain since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with the biggest jumps occurring in younger school-aged children and those who were already prone to obesity, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Thousands of migrants are under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, a new humanitarian crisis at the border that threatens to grow in coming days. Nearly 10,000 migrants, most of them Haitians, have been coming to the U.S.-Mexico border in recent weeks.

On a hot afternoon in California's Sequoia National Park, Alexis Bernal squints up at the top of a 200-foot-tall tree.

"That is what we would call a real giant sequoia monarch," she says. "It's massive."

At 40 feet in diameter, the tree easily meets the definition of a monarch, the name given to the largest sequoias. It's likely more than 1,500 years old.

Still, that's as old as this tree will get. The trunk is pitch black, the char reaching almost all the way to the top. Not a single green branch is visible.

Updated September 17, 2021 at 11:18 AM ET

For more than two weeks starting this week, more than 600,000 white flags will fill the National Mall — symbolizing the lives lost to COVID-19 in the United States.

Each of the flags, displayed across the 20 acres of grass, will hold a written personalized message from loved ones honoring their memory.

About The Episode

Jason Reynolds is an award-winning author and National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. This hour, Jason speaks with Manoush about reaching kids through stories that let them feel understood.

About Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds is a best-selling author and the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. He was recently appointed to that position by the Library of Congress for a record third term.

Before Or After?

Sep 17, 2021

Ask Me Another premiered on May 4, 2012, and wouldn't ya know it, things have happened in those nine years since! Oscar Award-winning composers Robert and Kristen Anderson Lopez guess if certain events occurred before Ask Me Another premiered or after. Sounds simple enough! Plus, there's no way our perception of time is in any way warped by this past year and a half...

Heard on The Penultimate Puzzles

TV Adaptation Theme Songs

Sep 17, 2021

Oscar Award-winning composers Robert and Kristen Anderson Lopez are the geniuses behind that WandaVision song "Agatha All Along," for which the world is forever indebted to them. So, it was only right to give them a chance to show off their TV theme song chops! In this music parody game, the lyrics of older TV theme songs were changed to make them about recent TV series, based on books. Step aside Marvel, there's a new "most ambitious crossover event in history."

That's How I Midroll

Sep 17, 2021

On TV, they're called "commercials." But on podcasts, they're called "midrolls." In this game, Welcome to Night Vale's Cecil Baldwin and guest house musician Julian Velard are read ads for companies that famously advertise on podcasts. The twist is— the person who wrote these midrolls has done no research into the companies... instead, they've given it their best guess based solely on the company's name. It's not lazy if it's on purpose!

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All right. Joining us now is Dr. Celine Gounder. She's an infectious disease specialist at NYU. She's also a former adviser on the pandemic to the Biden administration.

Good morning, Dr. Gounder.

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Tammy Faye Bakker was a lot of things to a lot of different people. In the 1970s and '80s, she was a televangelist with a massive audience.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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