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John Legend: Singer, songwriter, spelling bee champ

John Legend's work has won Grammys, an Oscar and a Tony, but years before achieving global fame, the Legend-to-be took home another prize: spelling bee champ.

A 1989 story in The Springfield News-Sun (http://bit.ly/2sQ6VSD ) proclaimed, "Product of home teaching wins bee." The newspaper noted the future R&B singer's sharp attire, his steady gaze and crisp enunciation, saying the 10-year-old Legend "came to win ... and win he did."

Legend, born John Roger Stephens in Springfield in 1978, credited his mother, Phyllis Stephens, and a tutor with helping him study for the contest. He and his siblings were home schooled.

The newspaper says he took a no-nonsense approach, not cracking a smile during the competition until his tutor cried out with joy when he correctly spelled the winning word: "prejudice."

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Information from: Springfield News-Sun, http://www.springfieldnewssun.com

Lauren Hutton to be honored at Maine film festival

Lauren Hutton is going to be this year's honoree at the 20th annual Maine International Film Festival.

The 73-year-old actress, model and producer will be awarded the Mid-Life Achievement Award next month in Waterville, Maine.

Festival programmer Ken Eisen told the Morning Sentinel (http://bit.ly/2u03TZ6) that Hutton was part of what he described as a golden age of American filmmaking in the 1970s and that she broke the rules for aging by modeling nude at age 61.

She'll receive the award July 20 at the Waterville Opera House where her movie "American Gigolo," also starring Richard Gere, will be shown.

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Information from: Morning Sentinel, http://www.onlinesentinel.com/

Hugh Grant offering reward for WWII vet's lost medals

Actor Hugh Grant is offering a $1,100 reward for the return of a blind British World War II veterans medals after the 95-year-old man lost them at a service station.

>> Read more trending news

D-Day veteran Alfred Barlow landed on Sword Beach on June 6, 1944. Barlow, who was a corporal when Allied forces attacked the French coast, attended this year’s Memorial in Normandy, the Manchester Evening News reported.

However, Barlow lost his medals at the service station near Walsall during his return to his home in Stockport on June 8.

Barlow released images of the lost medals -- the 1939-1945 Star, the France and Germany Star, the 1939-1945 War Medal and the Palestine Medal -- through the Blind Veterans UK charity.

Grant tweeted his support, including a contact number and said that anonymity would be guaranteed, the Evening News reported.

Barlow said the incident was “very distressing.”

“These medals are worth very little to sell but to me they are priceless,” he told the Evening News. “I had intended to pass all of my medals on to my grandson, which makes it even more upsetting.”

Barlow turns 96 on Sunday and said the medals’ return would be a great birthday gift, Fox News reported.

Sweet song by Al Capone being sold at auction

Artifacts connected to some of the nation's most notorious gangsters are being auctioned this weekend.

A handwritten musical composition by Al Capone, a letter written by John Gotti, and jewelry that belonged to Bonnie and Clyde are among the items up for bid Saturday in the "Gangsters, Outlaws and Lawmen" auction in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by Boston-based RR Auction.

The musical piece entitled "Humoresque" shows Capone's softer side. Written when Capone was in Alcatraz in the 1930s, it contains the lines: "You thrill and fill this heart of mine, with gladness like a soothing symphony, over the air, you gently float, and in my soul, you strike a note."

Gotti's letter, written about 1998 to the daughter of a mob associate, urges the recipient to tell her father "to keep the martinis cold."

Crime novelist Don Winslow takes out ad assailing Trump

A leading crime novelist has a few words, and then some, for the Trump administration's plans for a new war on drugs.

"The Cartel" author Don Winslow is taking out a full-page ad in Sunday's New York Times that calls President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions "woefully ignorant" about the causes of drugs and crime and about how to combat them. The ad shows a tweet from Winslow to Trump on top and an essay below.

Winslow has written often and sometimes prophetically about the drug wars. "The Cartel" was published in 2015 and featured a prison escape by a drug lord based on Mexico's El Chapo. Shortly after the book came out the real El Chapo escaped, but he was recaptured.

Sessions wants a return to the era of long prison terms for drug crimes.

BET Awards 2017: What time, what channel, who is nominated, performing

Some of the biggest artists in rap, hip hop, pop, R&B, movies and TV will be at the BET Awards on Sunday.

Remy Ma, DJ Khaled, New Edition and more  are scheduled to be at the show at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. 

>> Read more trending news

Here’s what you need to know before the show:

What time: 8 p.m. ET

What channel: BET, with live streams on BET.com and YouTube.  A backstage live stream will be on Twitter at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Who is hosting: “Saturday Night Live” cast member and comedian Leslie Jones.

Who is performing: Bruno Mars will open the show. Mary J. Blige, French Montana, Gucci Mane, Trey Songz, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Tamar Braxton, Big Sean, El Debarge, Xscape, New Edition, SZA,  DJ Khaled, Maxwell and A$AP Rocky are among the announced performers.

Who is presenting awards: Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett-Smith, LaLa Anthony, Issa Rae, Remy Ma, Yara Shahidi and Trevor Noah are among the presenters.

Who is nominated:  The list of nominees in each category, according to the BET website, is below.

BEST FEMALE R&B/POP ARTIST

Beyonce

Kehlani

Mary J. Blige

Rihanna

Solange

BEST MALE R&B/POP ARTIST

Bruno Mars

Chris Brown

The Weeknd

Trey Songz

Usher

VIEWERS’ CHOICE AWARD

Migos featuring Lil Uzi Vert, “Bad and Boujee”

Bruno Mars, “24K Magic”

Beyonce, “Sorry”

The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk, “Starboy”

Drake, “Fake Love”

Rae Sremmurd featuring Gucci Mane, “Black Beatles”

BEST GROUP

2 Chainz and Lil Wayne

A Tribe Called Quest

Fat Joe and Remy Ma

Migos

Rae Sremmurd

BEST COLLABORATION

Beyonce featuring Kendrick Lamar, “Freedom”

Chance the Raper featuring 2 Chainz, “No Problem”

Chris Brown featuring Gucci Mane and Usher, “Party”

DJ Khaled featuring Beyonce and JAY-Z, “Shining”

Migos featuring Lil Uzi Vert, “Bad and Boujee”

Rae Sremmurd featuring Gucci Mane, “Black Beatles”

BEST MALE HIP HOP ARTIST

Big Sean

Chance the Rapper

Drake

Future

J. Cole

Kendrick Lamar

BEST FEMALE HIP HOP ARTIST

Cardi B

Missy Elliott

Nicki Minaj

Remy Ma

Young M.A

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Beyonce, “Sorry”

Big Sean, “Bounce Back”

Bruno Mars, “24K Magic”

Migos featuring Lil Uzi Vert, “Bad and Boujee”

Solange, “Cranes in the Sky”

VIDEO DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR

Benny Boom - Kehlani, “Crazy”

Bruno Mars and Jonathan Lia - Bruno Mars, “That’s What I Like”

Director X - Zayn Malik, “Like I Would”

Hype Williams - Tyga featuring Desiigner, “Gucci Snakes”

Kahlil Joseph and Beyonce Knowles-Carter - Beyonce, “Sorry”

BEST NEW ARTIST

21 Savage

Cardi B

Chance the Rapper

Khalid

Young M.A

BEST ACTRESS

Gabrielle Union

Issa Rae

Janelle Monae

Taraji P. Henson

Viola Davis

BEST ACTOR

Bryshere Y. Gray

Denzel Washington

Donald Glover

Mahershala Ali

Omari Hardwick

DR. BOBBY JONES BEST GOSPEL/INSPIRATIONAL AWARD

CeCe Winans, “Never Have to Be Alone”

Fantasia featuring Tye Tribbett, “I Made It”

Kirk Franklin featuring Sarah Reeves, Tasha Cobbs and Tamela Mann, “My World Needs You”

Lecrae, “Can’t Stop Me Now (Destination)”

Tamela Mann, “God Provides”

YOUNGSTARS AWARD

Ace Hunter

Caleb McLaughlin

Jaden Smith

Marsai Martin

Yara Shahidi

BEST MOVIE

“Get Out”

“Moonlight”

“Hidden Figures”

“Fences”

“The Birth of a Nation”

SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD

Gabby Douglas

Serena Williams

Simone Biles

Skylar Diggins

Venus Williams

SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD

LeBron James

Cam Netwon

Odell Beckam Jr.

Russell Westbrook

Stephen Curry

CENTRIC AWARD

Fantasia, “Sleeping with the One I Love”

Kehlani, “Distraction”

Mary J. Blige, “Thick of It”

Solange, “Cranes In the Sky”

SYD, “All About Me”

Yuna featuring Usher, “Crush”

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Bruno Mars, “24K Magic”

J. Cole, “4 Your Eyez Only”

Solange, “A Seat at the Table”

Chance the Rapper, “Coloring Book”

Beyonce, “Lemonade”

BEST INTERNATIONAL ACT: EUROPE

Stormzy

Skepta

Giggs

Craig David

Wiley

Emeli Sande

MHD

Booba

BEST INTERNATIONAL ACT: AFRICA

Wizkid 

Tekno

Mr. Eazi

Davido

Stonebwoy

AKA

Nasty C

Babes Wodumo

Special honors: Chance the Rapper will receive the Humanitarian Award. New Edition will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Actress Mira Sorvino urges support for trafficking victims

Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino urged all nations and the business community on Friday to ramp up financial support for victims of human trafficking, saying the services such funds provide "mean the difference between life and death."

Sorvino, who has been a U.N. goodwill ambassador for the global fight against human trafficking, told a U.N. meeting that "government and private sector funding is sorely lacking in providing the life-rebuilding shelter, services and legal help survivors desperately need."

The session was part of the preparatory process for a high-level U.N. meeting in September to review the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Sorvino said world leaders need "to craft a better, more victim-centered response" that puts survivors at the negotiating table where the global plan is readjusted. Survivors know "exactly what policies are needed ... as well as how to attack underlying causes," she said.

More than 15 years after the protocol to prevent and punish human trafficking was opened for signatures by a U.N. General Assembly resolution, Sorvino said, "I do believe we stand ready to ramp up our response to effectively combat and ultimately stamp out human trafficking."

"But we must fully commit our political will and resources," she said.

Sorvino's Oscar-winning role as a prostitute with a golden heart in Woody Allen's "Mighty Aphrodite" might have cast the world's oldest profession in comic light. But she has become a crusader against the sex trade and modern-day slavery.

"Often the treatment of survivors inadvertently re-victimizes them, keeping them in an atmosphere of incarceration and re-traumatizes them as they must re-live their experiences ... multiple times," she said.

Adequate funding to groups that help trafficking victims means the difference between "slavery or the redemption of a free, productive life," Sorvino stressed.

Freshman series 'Downward Dog' canceled by ABC

ABC's freshman sitcom "Downward Dog" has been canceled by ABC, the show's executive producer said.

The last two of the show's eight episodes will air Tuesday, executive producer Jimmy Miller said Friday.

ABC "loved it creatively and wanted to do more, but could not figure out a way to get it done financially," Miller said in a statement.

The network didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Miller thanked critics and viewers who have expressed their support for the comedy, and said he hoped it would land on its feet elsewhere.

"Clearly this show has hit a nerve, and we are hell bent on finding a new home for our 'Downward Dog,'" he said.

The series stars Allison Tolman as the owner of Martin the dog, who talks directly to viewers about his feelings. The series centers on his sometimes conflicted feelings about his owner, loneliness and hatred of a neighborhood cat.

Series co-creator Samm Hodges is the voice of Martin.

Tolman was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2015 for her role on the FX series "Fargo."

Video of gaming Seattle officer discussing shooting removed

After an online outcry, a Seattle Police Department video in which an officer playing a video game discussed the recent fatal police shooting of a pregnant mother has been removed from social media.

The video was part of a recent effort by the department to engage a new audience on Twitch.tv, a platform on which people can livestream themselves playing video games and talking.

Previous versions have included members of the department's public information office blasting aliens in the game Destiny while discussing law-enforcement related topics.

But a video posted Wednesday in which Sgt. Sean Whitcomb discussed Sunday's fatal shooting of Charleena Lyles struck many as inappropriate, although Whitcomb's video-game character just walked around rather than firing any shots.

Whitcomb began the stream by saying it was "going to be a little on the heavier side because of recent incidents here in Seattle."

"I wouldn't have done the stream knowing that it caused a lot of hurt," Whitcomb told the website GeekWire on Friday. "But at the same time the question has to be asked, 'What are the merits of this channel if you're not going to talk about the things people most want to hear about?' It just seemed really phony to not talk about the most significant and certainly one of the most tragic events in our city in years, on a stream that exists in a public space."

The video was initially linked on the department's official Twitter feed, but it had been set to private Friday. The department said it would no longer use Twitch.

Lyles' killing has prompted outrage among many, including her family, who questioned why the officers couldn't use nonlethal methods to subdue the diminutive 30-year-old and suggested that race played a role. Lyles was black; the officers are white.

The officers were responding to a burglary report called in by Lyles and knew she had a history of mental health issues, and that she had menaced two officers with metal shears in her apartment earlier in the month.

An audio recording released by police reveals that they calmly took her information until about two minutes into the encounter, when they said she suddenly confronted them with two knives.

The shooting remains under investigation.

Disneyland devotee visits park for 2,000 days in a row

If Disneyland is "The Happiest Place on Earth," Jeff Reitz may be its happiest citizen.

As of Thursday, Reitz had visited the park for 2,000 days in a row — every day for 5½ years.

Reitz, 44, of Huntington Beach began visiting the park on New Year's Day in 2012 with his former girlfriend. The unemployed Disney fans thought it would be a fun way to keep up their spirits if they visited every day during that leap year.

But after they got jobs and even after the relationship ended, Reitz kept going.

"It's become a living breathing thing along the way," he told the Orange County Register (http://bit.ly/2tDcbGS ).

The Air Force veteran now works at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System and makes time to visit the park daily, sometimes alone and sometimes with his current girlfriend, Karen Bell of Costa Mesa.

"I love walking around taking pictures, talking with cast members and guests," he said.

Reitz has tried virtually every ride and restaurant in Disneyland and the adjoining Disney California Adventure Park. His favorite restaurant is Pizza Port in Tomorrowland.

His favorite ride is the Matterhorn Bobsleds, which he first rode when he was 2.

"I love sitting in the front row, holding the handle and leaning into the turns," Reitz said.

But "there's nothing I would turn away from," he said.

Reitz has some advice for Disneyland visitors: Get the Disneyland app for smartphones to keep up with wait times and ride closures and use the FastPass system to reserves times for the most popular attractions.

"The number one thing I tell people is to bring your patience," Reitz said. "With the summer time crowds and the heat I tell people to relax and have fun."

Reitz doesn't know how long he'll keep making daily visits to the park but notes his current annual pass is good until next January.

"I've gotten to experience so much of the magic of Disney that it continues to be fun for me," he said. "And that's why I've still chosen to keep coming every day."

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