TRACY BYRD HONORED AS TOP CITIZEN
Country music's Tracy Byrd was surprised to find himself recipient of top honors at the Neches River Festival in Beaumont, Texas. The singer-songwriter thought he was attending a special ceremony for the Children's Miracle Network, but his publicist tells United Press International that when Byrd arrived at the venue he found out it was he who was being honored. In conjunction with this year's Neches River Festival, that group decided Byrd should receive the accolades and when the singer found out, he reacted in the same way hundreds did in the early days of television when surprised by Ralph Edwards on "This is Your Life." He told those around him: "You got me and you got me good." An early tip-off that the event was going to be more than he expected was a bevy of reporters and camera lights in the meeting room where the event to be held. By the way, his latest album, "The Truth About Men," goes on sale on July 1. Andy Griggs and Montgomery Gentry with Blake Shelton appear on some of the songs.
DICK CLARK MOVES MAJOR AWARDS SHOW
Veteran music host and producer Dick Clark says the next American Music Awards will take place on Sunday, Nov. 16. Clark says the nationally televised event will be the 31st annual for the show, which he has spearheaded since Day One and continues to serve as executive producer. Over the years, except for three occasions, the show has taken place in January. In 1974, '75 and '94 it was moved to February. Thursday's announcement the event is moving to November is a major change but Clark says there just are too many awards shows in the first few months of the year. Moving his show to November will give it added visibility and make it easier for performers to break loose and be a part the event. Unlike most other shows, the American Music Award's winners are chosen by polling a cross-section of people from various parts of the country. National Family Opinion Inc. handles the canvass of more than 20,000 people.
THIRSTY REPORTER DRY NO MORE
Following remarks by war correspondent Matt Labash that Iraq was short on booze, his home office received a box full of bottles of whiskey. The New York Post says Labash, a correspondent for the Weekly Standard, has received what is being described as a "CARE package" from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. The box apparently contained bottles of Johnnie Walker Black and Maker's Mark whiskeys. His fellow Stateside colleagues then poured the booze into old Gatorade bottles and shipped them off to Iraq. The head of the spirits council, in an interview with the military's Roll Call newspaper, noted he wanted to do everything he could to help patriotic, hard-working journalists who were covering the war.
TEEN GETS ASTRONOMICAL MEDICAL BILL
A Colorado teenager has received a huge hospital bill even though his surgery failed and he might never walk again. An operation to help 15-year-old Dane Bower straighten a curved spinal column left him unable to walk, but his spirits aren't crippled. He went into Denver's Children's Hospital just before Christmas for what doctors hoped would be a complicated-but-routine operation to correct a condition known as scoliosis -- curvature of the spine. Before the operation, Dane was as active as he could be in sports and loved skateboarding; but the curvature was such that doctors felt as he got older he might develop a condition that would shorten his life. The surgery, which involved the implantation of adjustable straightening rods to allow him to grow taller, left him paralyzed from the waist down. The Denver Post says Dane is fighting back, undergoing therapy at a suburban Denver hospital, determined to walk again. He tells the paper if he never is able to actually get out of his wheelchair, it's OK, at least he will live longer. His main concern now is one shared by his family, a doctor bill for $2.5 million dollars.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 575
Today's question is for people who are part of the workforce: "What are your days off? In other words, when are your Saturday and Sunday?" Put UPI-DAYS in the subject line and send to email@example.com via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 570 (SCAN)
Last week we asked: "Have you had any experience using the new self-operated grocery scanning machines?" From our random dip into the e-mail inbox here is what we found:
-45 percent said they had used self-service scanners at one time or another. Most reported good success, though Blotto says he always has to have an employee come help when it comes to weighing produce.
-55 percent had never done his or her own scanning.
Peggy lives 65 miles north of San Francisco and says the world of self-scanning hasn't come to her neck of the woods next.
NEXT: Hang up and drive. GBA