When "America's Got Talent" returns to NBC for its sixth season in 2011, it may feature an Egg Harbor Township resident.
Alexander Bui, 16, who will be entering his junior year at Egg Harbor Township High School, is one of 15 finalists selected to audition in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Bui said 12 of the 15 finalists will make the cut and be featured on the reality series.
The only child of Brandon and Mandee Bui, both Vietnamese-born dealers at Atlantic City casinos, Alexander Bui is a concert pianist who submitted his audition video to the television show's YouTube channel.
The video shows Bui playing a toccata that was composed by his piano teacher, Egg Harbor Township's Edward R. Nelson. In June, the show's producers informed Bui that he was one of 40 finalists out of thousands of entries. He later learned he received enough votes on the channel to make the final 15.
"America's Got Talent" will cover expenses for Bui to travel to Los Angeles. Bui, who originally learned how to play piano from his mother, will perform Nelson's composition again, but he is already working on other pieces if he ends up on the show.
"This is a big opportunity," said Bui, who takes six hours of lessons a week and practices four to eight additional hours every week. "I want to be a professional musician, so this would be great. I never thought I would make it this far."
Helping the uninsured
As a registered nurse for about 15 years, Manahawkin's Julie Lambert saw many uninsured patients subjected to high emergency room prices. She also knew other people who would not even go to an emergency room or doctor because they were worried about the financial impact.
Lambert, 51, went back to school to become a nurse practitioner, eventually opening Lighthouse Primary Care Services in Stafford Township last summer. Her goal is to make sure everyone has a place to turn to when they are ill.
With routine visits at Lighthouse priced as much as most people's co-pays, Lambert said she is not only offering personal, top-notch care for people who cannot normally afford it, but she focuses on prevention.
Lambert admits she is not getting rich quickly with her practice, which she said is able to do "everything your normal family doctor can do," but she feels fulfilled. She typically goes above and beyond the call of duty, helping patients fill out forms and even referring those who need advanced treatment to doctors who share Lambert's philosophy.
"My mission statement is to help people that need me the most," said Lambert, whose daughter, Katie Crider, 20, a student in Richard Stockton College's nursing program, works as Lambert's medical assistant. "People are intimidated by the health care system, and I want to help change that. I want to show most of what they are going through is highly preventable. I feel like I have the best job in the world."
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Pouring for charity
A Somers Point resident rallies area bartenders for a good cause in Monday's Everyone Has a Story.