By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International   |   Aug. 28, 2002 at 5:20 PM
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Entertainment mega-star Johnny Cash has been admitted to a Nashville hospital ... again. Doctors there tell that the 70-year-old "Man in Black" apparently suffered some kind of allergic reaction. There are reports that the reaction could have likely been the result of a medication or certain foods. Experts at Nashville's Baptist Hospital who are treating Cash note that he was admitted in stable condition, ostensibly for observation. Cash's health has been a real concern in recent years, following the announcement that he suffers from a condition called autonomic neuropathy, a disease of the central nervous system that makes him super susceptible to infections and pneumonia. Although Cash has been spending much of his time in Jamaica in recent months, he was in Nashville to promote his latest album, "American IV: The Man Comes Around." The new CD contains 15 tracks and is due for release in early November.


When singer-songwriter Dwight Yoakam was growing up in rural Kentucky he says he ate a lot of what he calls "hillbilly biscuits." Now, according to his publicist, Yoakam has expanded his line of food products to include new Bakersfield Biscuits. The "down home" concoctions, put together by the entertainer from a family recipe, will initially be merchandised in southern Wal-Mart superstores. And in a few weeks be available in supermarkets in "southern" California. Possibly taking a cue from singer Jimmy Dean, Yoakam started introducing his own line of food products several years ago, initially with a line of biscuits in several varieties, with: sausage gravy, chicken stew, country-style gravy, beef stew and even chili.


It's one of those true "Cinderella stories," the finding of a cardboard box that breaks open and out flows a treasure trove of memorabilia of the late American poet extraordinaire Carl Sandburg. But that's exactly what happened some time ago when a Philadelphia-area antiques dealer was disposing of some boxes left by a client. The cornucopia of Sandburg stuff that fell out of the box included manuscripts, correspondence and even letters. Sandburg, one of the last century's icons of the arts may be best remembered for his expansive works on Lincoln and his tribute to the Windy City in his "hog butcher to the world" epic poem, "Chicago." Now, that box of "stuff," that could have easily ended up in a dumpster, has been sold at auction. Catherine Keys, the vice president of Tom Hall Auctions (about an hour north of Philadelphia in Schnecksville, Pa.) tells me that she was ecstatic when she learned that her company might receive the items and proceed with a sale. She says she was afraid that the material might have been snapped up in the weeks before Monday's sale ... they were not, and fetched more than $80,000. By the way, included in the lot were two 33 rpm records of Sandburg reading his poetry. Hopefully they contained his reading of "Chicago." While in college my roommate got a disk from the Indiana University library of Sandburg and played it repeatedly. At the end of each phrase in his epic poem Sandburg paused and then said the name of the Illinois city as: 'shuh-CAAAAAAAA'-go." Stretching out the word became a joke in the dorm and a password for student activities for months.


Since he was a mere youth singer Lance Bass has dreamed of going into space. At one point he even attended a kids space camp. Now, according to NASA, his dreams of becoming a space-man are one step closer to fruition. The U.S. space agency has confirmed that it's given the "green light" to the 23-year-old singer to take a flight to the international space station this year. NASA tells media that Bass -- popular member of the "boy-band," become "man-band" 'NSync -- could become the third private citizen to go into space. From this point will come the necessary coordination with the Russian space agency and the lining up of the necessary funding (estimated to be in the range of $20 million). There have been reports that Bass's trip would be the subject of a super reality TV series, with his mission in space recorded on tape. The final decision is now up to Russian officials. The flight could take place as early as about two months from now.


It's what you might call a "split decision" for singer Marty Stuart. According to the Nashville Tennessean, the singer was acquitted on Tuesday of DUI charges that were first brought after a traffic stop in April. He was, though, found guilty by a judge of violating Tennessee's "implied consent" law by refusing to take a breath test after being stopped. The guilty-on-one-count decision effectively means that Stuart's diver license has been suspended for a year. Additionally, he must attend a safe-driving class. A spokesman for Stuart noted that his client simply wants to move on from here. Additionally, he may request a limited license to drive on special occasions.


In the wake of Sept. 11 there has not only been a downturn in the American economy, a tumbling of stocks, problems in the travel industry and scandals in the board rooms of large companies, the uncertainty over the nation's fiscal health has had a direct impact on many charities. The people who work in the offices of the Red Cross, Catholic Charities, the United Way, the Salvation Army and other groups -- many of them volunteering their time -- report that contributions have been down and they are not looking forward to the approaching holiday season. Now comes word from Indianapolis that amid all of this the local United Way has decided to scale-back its hopes in the latest fund-raising drive, asking for a full third-of-a-million dollars less than it did a year ago. The Indianapolis Star says that this year's citywide target has been set at about $38 million. One official tells the paper that it's sad to see this happen. "Hoosiers need us more than ever right now," he noted.


In light of the United Way story, here is today's question: "Do you give much to charities, either your time, goods or money?" Put CHARITY in the subject line and send to via the Internet.


Last week we asked about your personal heroes. From the mailbag, drawn at random, here is a sampling of replies: Several sports figures, living and dead, were mentioned by readers. Karen D says that her idol was the late Ted Williams. "He was not only a great player but he struggled through a bad childhood, served with distinction during two wars and stood up for the right of Negro League players to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame. He also had his weaknesses, which I think only adds to his greatness," she notes. BW says that Dwight Eisenhower was his hero because he led the troops in WWII and then went on to become a great president. KipN says that any of the astronauts and cosmonauts qualify for "hero status," considering the risk involved. "The early astronauts -- the Mercury 7 guys, for example -- got tickertape parades and worldwide attention. The new shuttle astronauts don't," he notes. ConnieBrew says that Jackie Kennedy will always be her heroine. Finally, MLange says that any firefighter, police officer or others who risk their lives for rotten salaries should be made instant heroes. In keeping with the wording of the question, several mentioned specific instances, including two stories about Good Samaritans who saved lives after car crashes. TOMORROW: What's in the news? GBA.

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