The Patti LaBelle-Gladys Knight ‘Verzuz’ took me back to my grandmother’s kitchen

If you are too offline to know what “Verzuz” is, or too young to understand why everybody has been raving about Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight on social media this weekend, let me help you out (sort of). You missed one of the greatest, possibly defining, cultural events of the pandemic era because you decided Instagram had too many ads and you thought, what, the women who helped define the R&B genre are “old people” music?

Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle are posing for a picture

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First off, Patti and Gladys — and their surprise guest, Dionne Warwick (who, notably, was Whitney Houston’s cousin) — made some of the most important music in American history. Whether your knowledge of their discographies started after their hits were made or, like me, you grew up on a steady diet of their songs, you can and should recognize echoes of their work in current hits such as Beyoncé’s “Lemonade album, or Chloe x Halle’s “Forgive Me.”

And, if you somehow missed the “Verzuz” phenomenon, basically, two artists perform (or in the case of producers, play) up to 20 songs of their discography and discuss them while streaming on Instagram (and now AppleTV) in a nominal “battle of the bands” — though, really, it’s viewers who win. Beginning in the early days of the coronavirus quarantine, matches were between current stars, but over time “Verzuz” has evolved — technologically and otherwise — to include the greats of past decades.

Which takes us to Sunday, when all-time greats Patty LaBelle “faced off” against Gladys Knight for the aforementioned bragging rights. Of course, the singing was flawless; of course, the competition sublime; of course, bringing in Dionne Warwick just added to the perfection. But for many people, listening to them sing their back catalogues and compare stories brought up so much more than that.

For me, their music stirs up childhood memories of Saturday cleaning and Sunday cooking: I was raised by my grandparents and an aunt, and it was not a weekend unless the radio was on and there were greens to pick or chores to do while the radio played. Whether it was 1991’s “Superwoman” with all three artists or Patti LaBelle’s “On My Own,” Sunday’s “Verzuz” wasn’t just the sound of an era, it was the soundtrack of my childhood.

Music weaves itself into our lives: it cements certain moments into our memories, evoking the smells, the feelings and even the flavors that were integral to the first time we heard a given song. I can’t tell you what was on top of the Billboard charts when I was 5 or 7 (or even 11) because even though Patti LaBelle’s and Gladys Knight’s works were technically songs for Gen X’s parents (or very cool grandparents), they also were the first music that many of us heard as kids.

And yes, I still associate it with chores — that music playing on a Saturday morning meant it was time to get up and clean — but also with feeling

Inmate transfers for wildfires causing overcrowding and delays in medication, meals, bathroom access, families say

The state mismanaged its evacuation of 3,439 inmates who were moved in the last week from four minimum- and medium-security prisons in the Willamette Valley to prisons in Salem and Madras due to wildfire smoke, their attorneys said Monday.

Inmates with different security levels were mixed, leading to a rash of fights, the lawyers said. Guards were unprepared and used pepper spray to respond to rioting, adding the toxic chemical to prisons already filled with smoke from nearby fires, they said.

Inmates also didn’t get their medication on time, they said, and no meals were served for nearly 24 hours for women prisoners transferred out of Coffee Creek Correctional Institution.

Some inmates were forced to sleep on the floor, with little social distancing and increased risk of the coronavirus, according to family members.

Women transported in the middle of the night from Coffee Creek Correctional Institution sat on buses for hours, forcing them to urinate in their pants without access to bathrooms.

“Women were peeing in cups and throwing tampons and feces out the buses,” said Rod Richardson, whose wife Tammy Saylor was among those moved from the women’s prison in Wilsonville to Deer Ridge Correctional Institution in Madras. Once at Deer Ridge, she had to sleep on metal bed springs for hours before mattresses arrived, he said.

A group of attorneys representing inmates urged Gov. Kate Brown to release those who are medically vulnerable and are six months away from release.

“It appears as if there wasn’t a plan for this,” said attorney Tara Herivel, who described the Oregon Department of Corrections actions as extremely haphazard.

More than 180 habeas corpus court cases are pending across the state by inmates already arguing that the prison conditions are unsafe, increasing their risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Lawyers are expected to incorporate the latest prison evacuations and changes into those cases, pointing to the altered, deteriorating conditions as further examples of alleged “deliberate indifference” to inmates’ medical conditions and safety, Herivel said.

The Corrections Department “has not only abused and mistreated our clients and other Oregonians in prison, they have exposed them to a mass COVID contraction environment,” she wrote to state officials.

Jennifer Black, spokeswoman for the Corrections Department, said the agency recognizes that “life at some of our institutions is not ideal for those who live and work at them” because of the wildfire emergency.

“However, life and safety are our first priority and we will return to normal operations as soon as conditions allow.”

Inmates from the Oregon State Correctional Institution, the Santiam Correctional Institution and Mill Creek Correctional, which are all in Salem and sit closest to the mouth of the Santiam Canyon, were moved to the Oregon State Penitentiary, also in Salem, last week. The inmates from Mill Creek and Santiam are now back at those prisons, according to Black.

The Corrections Department has extensive emergency preparedness plans that cover evacuations, mainly for a potential Cascadia earthquake, Black said. The state faced “unique circumstances” it couldn’t

House agrees to rename Grand River Post Office for police officer Andy Nowacki, who died in Iraq war

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday agreed to rename Grand River’s post office after Andrew “Ace” Nowacki, a Grand River police officer and U.S. Marine Corps lance corporal who was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb in 2005.

A graduate of Lyndhurst’s Brush High School who resided in South Euclid, Nowacki was working as a the gunner on a Humvee, protecting a truck convoy in the Anbar region, south of Baghdad, when he died at age 24. His family set up a memorial scholarship fund in his name to assist public safety and nursing students. Nowacki joined the Grand River Police Department in 2001, and was part of its ready response team, honor guard and bike patrol.

“Andy’s commitment to community, dedication to service and desire to help others is something we should forever honor, and his sacrifice is something we should never forget,” said Bainbridge Township Republican Rep. Dave Joyce, who introduced the measure for the name change. The House of Representatives passed his bill on a noncontroversial voice vote.

“By renaming the Grand River Post Office after him, we can help ensure Andy will forever be remembered by the community he cared so deeply for and contributed so much to,” Joyce continued. “I thank my colleagues here in the House for helping me preserve the legacy of a true American patriot and urge my colleagues in the Senate to do the same.”

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2021 Jaguar F-Pace gets new engines, interior

Jaguar’s first-ever crossover is getting a major update. The 2021 Jaguar F-Pace, while looking not much different on the outside, is hiding an all-new interior as well as new engines.

The changes to the exterior are quite mild, rather like those of the F-Type. Headlights and taillights are more slender, with the tails losing their little rounded sections altogether. The grille and diffuser areas of the bumpers have been slightly changed, and the main grille gets different inserts on all trims. The fender vents now get the “Leaper,” the cat logo, embedded in them.

Under the hood are two types of engines. There’s the familiar turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder at the base of the range with 246 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. Above that are two versions of the new inline-six-cylinder engine, both of which use a regular turbocharger and an electric supercharger. The less-potent version makes 335 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, while the high-output version makes 395 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Each engine also gets a belt-driven starter-generator powered by the same 48-volt electrical system that drives the electric supercharger. All engines are coupled to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and rear-biased all-wheel-drive system.

The interior gets the most immediately noticeable changes. The curvy, rounded dash of the outgoing model is replaced with a more crisp design with better-integrated air vents and large sections of contrasting leather and other accents such as metal or wood trim. An available 11.4-inch infotainment screen dominates the center stack, and it runs the new Pivi Pro infotainment system launched on the Land Rover Defender and the Jaguar I-Pace. This infotainment system can support pairing two phones at once and can receive over-the-air updates. The instrument cluster is available as a 12.3-inch screen that can be configured to show an array of different information including navigation info. The old shifter dial is replaced with a small leather and metal shift lever.

Jaguar is also including more features as standard in the F-Pace. Among them are heated seats, a Meridian sound system, keyless entry, blind-spot monitoring and a surround-view camera. Active noise cancellation is also standard and a first on a Jaguar.

Pricing and the on-sale date for the new F-Pace have not yet been announced.

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Atlanta Orders In: Bold Monk Brewing

ExploreMore Atlanta Orders In
Bitterballen from Bold Monk Brewing Co. comes with smoked brisket, apple mostarda and beet sabayon. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Bitterballen from Bold Monk Brewing Co. comes with smoked brisket, apple mostarda and beet sabayon. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

In early May, Bold Monk reopened for to-go service, followed by limited dine-in service, which included adding tables to a covered breezeway. Also, a long-planned beer garden, situated on a wooded hilltop behind the restaurant, suddenly became a priority.

Fittingly, one of the first events planned for the beer garden is an Oktoberfest celebration on Sept. 19, with a German menu, and a Bold Monk Fest beer brewed for the occasion.

ExploreIntown Atlanta dining news
Bold Monk's yellowfin tuna salad features bibb lettuce, chile-orange vinaigrette, charred corn, peach, avocado and spicy peanuts. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Bold Monk’s yellowfin tuna salad features bibb lettuce, chile-orange vinaigrette, charred corn, peach, avocado and spicy peanuts. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

“It’s the day Oktoberfest would have started in Munich,” Roberts pointed out.

He said sales at Bold Monk are a third of what they were before COVID-19, but he’s hoping a combination of cooler weather, more outdoor seating and increased beer sales will add up to better numbers this fall.

“People are still looking to come out and do parties,” he said. “People are still getting married. We set up the loft and our beer garden specifically with weddings in mind. Those are the things we need to focus on right now, and hope for a recovery.”

Oktoberfest beer soon will be on tap at Bold Monk Brewing Co. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Oktoberfest beer soon will be on tap at Bold Monk Brewing Co. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

What may be most difficult for Roberts, though, is that Max Lager’s in downtown Atlanta, the first Brewed to Serve venture, remains closed.

“It makes me really sad,” he said. “I was just there checking things out, and it’s hard to walk into the place that you’ve worked in for 22 years, and now it’s closed. Going into 2020, things were golden. We had negligible debt at Max Lager’s and White Oak, and they were doing very well. Now, Bold Monk is supporting everybody.”

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Menu: Belgian-inspired seasonal menu

Alcohol: full bar menu available for dine-in; beer, wine and cocktails available for takeout

What I ordered: Yellowfin tuna salad, with bibb lettuce, chile-orange vinaigrette, charred corn, peach, avocado and spicy peanuts; bitterballen, with smoked brisket, apple mostarda and beet sabayon; duck confit fried chicken wings, with cayenne and chile honey; 1836 pizza, with soppressata, tomato, mozzarella and torn basil. It all traveled well, but the unique, melt-in-your-mouth wings are special, and the soppressata pizza is a nice combination of heat and spice, with a fluffy, chewy, charred crust, and a crispy edge.

Service options: dine-in or takeout; order in person, by phone or online through OpenTable; call on arrival for curbside delivery

Safety protocols: following all COVID-19 safety guidelines

Address, phone: 1737 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd NW, Building D, Atlanta; 404-390-3288

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ House Is Back! What’s Up With This Famous Mansion Today

Remember “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” the hit NBC show from the 1990s starring Will Smith as a streetwise teen from Philadelphia sent to live with his rich relatives in a gorgeous mansion in Bel-Air, CA? That iconic house has now returned to the limelight as an Airbnb rental.

Starting on Sept. 29, Los Angeles County residents will have a chance to book one of five October stays in the Fresh Prince’s wing of the mansion. And it can all be yours for the astonishingly low price of just $30 per night—a fan-friendly rate set to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the home’s TV debut.

Guests will revel in the home’s ’90s decor and amenities as well as enjoy exclusive Airbnb experience perks, including donning a new pair of Air Jordans to shoot hoops in the bedroom, dining on literal silver platters (all meals are included), and playing the home’s vinyl collection on a turntable like the one owned by show co-star DJ Jazzy Jeff.

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YOOOO!! Y’all think we should rent out the @freshprince house?? We’re making it happen with the squad at @airbnb!! #FreshPrince30th

A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith) on Sep 13, 2020 at 6:00pm PDT

Given the world we live in today, all local COVID-19 guidelines will be strictly enforced. (The home will be scrubbed between guests, following both CDC and Airbnb enhanced cleaning protocols.) In fact, guests (two max per stay) must show proof of L.A. County residency and live in the same household to minimize potential health risks.

And to help celebrate community and support youth during this 30th year milestone, Airbnb is making a donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, which happens to also be Smith’s hometown. Isn’t that sweet?

Choose from a dozen poolside lounge chairs.


The reality behind the Fresh Prince mansion

Of course this is a made-for-TV tale, so not everything is exactly true to life, including the location of the famed estate. For one, it isn’t in Bel-Air—it’s actually located in nearby Brentwood. But “The Fresh Prince of Brentwood” doesn’t sound quite so lofty, does it?

Granted, in reality, the difference between these two tony enclaves is subtle. Bel-Air, just minutes from West Hollywood, is a smaller area with winding streets and loads of privacy. Meanwhile, Brentwood feels like a more traditional neighborhood, albeit with lovely lush yards plus easy access to top-notch schools and world-class shopping, dining, and nightlife.

Gaze at Will Smith’s way-cool kicks and lids from the king-size bed.


And if it’s celebrity residents you seek, both neighborhoods sport multimillion-dollar mansions and can point to many famous celebs as current and past residents.

“Bel-Air commands prestige: Elizabeth Taylor, Ronald Reagan, and Frank Sinatra all lived here, as have business and tech moguls like Elon Musk,” says Cara Ameer, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, Brentwood’s residential bragging rights include Cindy Crawford, Gwyneth Paltrow,

After 10-year-old locked herself in bathroom, 3 brothers accused of breaking in and raping her | Crime/Police

Three brothers are accused of forcing their way into a bathroom and raping a 10-year-old girl who had locked herself inside to hide from them, Kenner police said Monday. 

Two of the suspects, Raul and Wilmer Paz Perez, both 35, were arrested Saturday and booked with first-degree rape of a victim under the age of 13, said Lt. Michael Cunningham, spokesman for the Kenner Police Department. 

$700,000 bond set for Gretna man accused of raping 10-year-old girl

Authorities have arrested a Gretna man who is accused of raping and inappropriately touching a young girl over the course of four years. 

Investigators are searching for a third sibling, Elder Paz Perez, 31, on the same charge. 

The brothers are friends of the victim’s family, according to authorities. 

The three were alone with the girl in a Kenner house on Sept. 9 when they began making sexual advances towards her, authorities said. The brothers offered the girl money, but she refused and locked herself in the bathroom, according to Cunningham. 

The trio used something, possibly a butter knife, to unlock the door. The men then raped the girl, authorities said. 

One of the girl’s relatives contacted police Saturday after she revealed the rape. 

After their arrests, Raul and Wilmer Paz Perez gave conflicting statements about what they were doing at the time of the rape, Cunningham said. 

As officers continue to look for Elder Paz Perez, detectives are investigating a second rape allegation against him involving another victim, according to Cunningham. 

Raul and Wilmer Paz Perez were being held without bond Monday at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna. 

Anyone having any information on the whereabouts Elder Paz-Perez are asked to contact the Kenner Police at (504) 712-2222 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.

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QFA presents Football for All Award to Ministry of Interior

The Board of Trustees of Qatar Football Association (QFA) Award presented the Football for All Award for the 2019-20 season to the Ministry of Interior, for its great efforts and contribution towards resumption of football activity.
HE Director of Public Security Major General Saad bin Jassim al-Khulaifi welcomed the initiative, and greeted HE the President of the QFA Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani, highlighting the importance of co-operation between the Ministry of Interior and those in charge of football management in the State of Qatar to present a distinct image of the sport. 
On his part, General Secretary of the Board of Trustees of QFA Award Hassan Rabiah al-Kuwari, said, “On behalf of His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of QFA Award, I extend my thanks and appreciation to the Ministry of Interior for its concerted efforts and the great work it did in co-operation with various parties concerned to address the coronavirus pandemic. This honour also comes as a token of thanks and appreciation to the Ministry of Interior, and all its employees for their great contributions in the resumption of football activity in the State of Qatar.”
It may be noted that the Football for All Award is given to organisations, groups or individuals making a significant contribution towards football in the local community.

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House approves bill to secure internet-connected federal devices against cyber threats

The House on Monday passed legislation to improve the security of federal internet-connected devices, with the bill garnering bipartisan support. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act, passed unanimously by the House, would require all internet-connected devices purchased by the federal government — including computers, mobile devices and other products with the ability to connect to the internet — to comply with minimum security recommendations issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. 

The legislation would also require private sector groups providing devices to the federal government to notify agencies if the internet-connected device has a vulnerability that could leave the government open to attacks. 

The bill is sponsored in the House by Reps. Robin KellyRobin Lynne KellyRaces heat up for House leadership posts Battle looms over Biden health care plan if Democrats win big Lawmakers set for tearful goodbye to John Lewis MORE (D-Ill.) and Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHouse Democrats’ campaign arm reserves .6M in ads in competitive districts Trump, GOP seek to rebut Democratic narrative on night one ‘Trump show’ convention sparks little interest on K Street MORE (R-Texas) and more than two dozen others.

The bill was approved by the House Oversight and Reform Committee last year. Committee Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyBusiness groups back pandemic insurance bill modeled on post-9/11 law Democrats reveal Medicaid chief’s spending on high-paid consultants The Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by National Industries for the Blind – Prudent or ‘pathetic’? GOP senators plan to vote on coronavirus relief Thursday MORE (D-N.Y.) said on the House floor Monday that the bill would help address the “silent war” the U.S. government faces from hackers on a daily basis. 

“Currently there are no national standards to ensure the security of these connected devices,” Maloney said. “Protecting our nation from cyber threats is an ongoing, interactive process that requires established, baseline standards and constant vigilance.”

Both Hurd and Kelly spoke on the House floor in support of the legislation, with Kelly noting that she believed it is a “strong bill that I think can be passed by both chambers and signed into law.”

Hurd said the bill would help the U.S. government “take advantage of technology before it takes advantage of us.”

“The Internet of Things is showing just how innovative humans can be, but like most innovations, IoT has the potential to be misused and abused by bad actors,” Hurd said. “If our security practices for using the Internet of Things does not evolve as our use of it grows, then we will find out how innovative criminals, hackers and hostile foreign governments can be.”

The legislation has also been introduced in the Senate, where it is primarily sponsored by Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenate panel seeks documents in probe of DHS whistleblower complaint Microsoft warns Russia, China and Iran targeting US election Intel panel rebuffs request to share info for GOP’s Obama-era probes MORE (D-Va.) and Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerCongress needs to finalize space weather bill