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‘Alabama’ Tops Country Awards

Alabama, the country-rock group whose 21 consecutive No. 1 singles include “Feels So Right,” “The Closer You Get,” “Roll On” and “You’ve Got the Touch,” was named artist of the decade at the 24th Academy of Country Music Awards show. The other contenders were Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson and groups the Statler Brothers and the Oak Ridge Boys. K.T. Oslin won this year’s best-album award for “This Woman.” Oslin also was named best female vocalist at the awards show, which was broadcast on NBC-TV from Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. Another double winner was Hank Williams Jr. He collected his third consecutive entertainer-of-the-year award and also won in the best video category for his “Young Country.” George Strait was named top male vocalist. Highway 101 was named top vocal group for the second year in a row. Mother and daughter Naomi and Wynona Judd won as best vocal duo for the fifth time. Kathy Mattea’s ballad of the road, “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” was named both top song and best single of the year. The pioneer award went to veteran star Buck Owens for his longtime contribution to country music. President Bush, a country music fan, made a videotaped appearance, noting the values and American pride reflected in the songs. The Academy of Country Music’s 2,000 voting members cast ballots to choose the winners of the cowboy hat-shaped awards in 11 categories.

--If the name Antonio Meucci doesn’t ring a bell, you haven’t come across John N. LaCorte and his mission to draw attention to Meucci’s accomplishments. LaCorte believes that Meucci--not Alexander Graham Bell--deserves recognition for inventing the telephone. He has already convinced some people and gathered about 250 friends and supporters in Brooklyn to pay tribute to Meucci, an Italian-American inventor who, in 1871, filed notice of intent to seek a patent for a device that would transmit speech sounds via electricity. But Meucci did not have enough money to develop the project and his document with the U.S. Patent Office lapsed, LaCorte said. It was five years later that Bell applied for his own patent. This is not the first time that LaCorte, 79, has worked to gain recognition for an Italian. As president of the Italian Historical Society of America more than two decades ago, he sought acknowledgment of Giovanni da Verrazano for his exploration of New York harbor, and officials subsequently named the bridge spanning the harbor’s entrance the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.


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