STATHAM, Ga. (AP) _ Johnny Carson says he's going to buy a new stove and refrigerator for two elderly sisters who spent 20 years fighting city hall over their water bills.

''I was already thrilled she was on television,'' Viola Crow, 79, said Saturday after watching her sister on Carson's ''The Tonight Show.'' ''But when he said he was going to give us the stove and the refrigerator - well, oh my, it was just great.''

Carolyn Freeman, 70, told Carson Friday night how she and her sister had told city officials for 20 years that they were paying their neighbor's water bill in addition to their own because both lines were connected to their meter.

Freeman described how she and Ms. Crow had skimped on water by taking sponge baths and eating canned beans to avoid using water to wash fresh vegetables.

The city finally relented in April and reimbursed them more than $800.

When Carson asked how they planned to spend the $800, Mrs. Freeman said they would buy a new stove and refrigerator.

Carson then said he'd buy the appliances.

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Rising country music singer Suzy Bogguss says life has changed since she was voted best new female artist by the Academy of Country Music in April.

''After the award, my bookings quadrupled, the requests for interviews just flooded and everything seemed to happen,'' she said in a telephone interview last week.

''It's a lot different than two years ago when I went to 55 radio stations in the South and Midwest to see if they would play my music,'' the 32-year-old singer said.

''I don't mind because I'm a travel nut and I measure my success by the places I've been.''

By the time her concert tour ends this summer, she will have been to 47 of the 50 states.

Her current album is titled ''Somewhere Between.''

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - A little fear can take you a long way, astronaut Scott Carpenter told a group of 500 school children at the 40th anniversary celebration of the Morehead Planetarium.

''Everyone of us was scared, but there's nothing wrong with being scared,'' Carpenter said in response to a question. ''A little fright helps you do all sorts of things better.''

Carpenter was with six of the original seven Mercury astronauts who appeared Saturday at the festivities for the planetarium, which served as a training center for astronauts from 1959 to 1975.

Donald ''Deke'' Slayton, Gordon Cooper, Sen. John Glenn, Walter Schirra and Alan Shepard were there for the visit, which also marked the 30th anniversary of the Mercury program and the upcoming 20th anniversary next month of the Apollo 11 mission and Neil Armstrong's historic walk on the moon.

For most of the elementary school children it was the first time they had seen a ''real, live astronaut,'' as one youngster put it. ---

BOSTON (AP) - Actor Edward Asner and Thailand's Princess Chulabhorn, an organic chemist, received honorary degrees from Northeastern University.

Asner's daughter, Liza, was among the graduates at the commencement Saturday.

''One thing we've all definitely seen in the past weeks is that despite the potential danger - whether to Chinese students, Polish union workers, the Russian people - democracy is indeed breaking out all over,'' said the former television star of ''The Mary Tyler Moore Show'' and ''Lou Grant.'' ''We look at the great wall of communism throughout the world and watch as its Western version and even its Eastern version begin to crumble as freedom breaks out, with leaders and armies unable to contain it.''

The princess, 31, and youngest daughter of King Blumidal and Queen Sarkit, is the founder and director of the Chulabhorn Research institute in Bangkok, involved in various health, medical and scientific projects with the United States, Japan and West Germany.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Only 20 percent of the late Rock Hudson's home is standing midway into a remodeling job by its new owner, film director John Landis.

Landis, who bought the residence in probate court nearly two years ago for $2.89 million, has filled in the pool with concrete and demolished all but 20 percent of Hudson's two-story hacienda overlooking Beverly Hills.

Still standing is the original motor court behind tall oleanders, soon to be replaced by a large wall with electric gates.

Landis, who purchased the home just after his acquittal of involuntary manslaughter in the helicopter-crash deaths of three actors during filming of ''Twilight Zone,'' could spend more than $3.5 million more before he and his wife, Deborah, move in.

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that the couple hoped to move in by Christmas, but it now appears the earliest would be next Easter.