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COMMUNITY | News in Brief: June 2010

Iraq Vet Wins Democratic Primary in Philadelphia | Palin, Romney Back Indian American Woman for Governor | NASCAR Debut | Helping the Deaf | Safety Campaign | Eyeing Guinness | Photography Award

Iraq Vet Wins Democratic Primary in Philadelphia

Manan Trivedi

Iraq war-veteran Indian- American doctor Manan Trivedi has won the Democratic Party nomination to contest the November elections to the U.S. House of Representatives from a Pennsylvania Congressional district.

A doctor-turned war-veteran, Trivedi, 35, defeated Dough Pike, a former local journalist, with a narrow margin of 672 votes; thus earning the right to challenge Republican incumbent Jim Gerlach in the November polls for a Pennsylvania seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Conceding his defeat, Pike in a statement supported Trivedi: "Manan would be a much better member of Congress than Republican Jim Gerlach, a career politician who has let working families down again and again.”

The victory of Trivedi surprised many as nine months ago Pike appeared to be cruising toward the party's nomination.

"Trivedi came on the scene in September as an insurgent candidate, but quickly won over party leaders and rank-and-file activists alike, several of whom changed their endorsements in the race to back Trivedi, a Reading doctor," said the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I think voters across this district made a clear choice for a change in the type of representation they want in Washington,” Trivedi said in a statement. "People are tired of career politicians and Washington insiders, it's clear that they are looking for a new breed of civil servant, someone who has the real world experience to tackle the problems we face and the courage to state their beliefs clearly regardless of which way the political winds are blowing."


Palin, Romney Back Indian American Woman for Governor

Nikki Haley (l) with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Giving a boost to the candidacy of Indian American Nikki Haley for the governorship of South Carolina, Republican leaders including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney have endorsed her.

The impact of her endorsement coming from top two Republican leaders was evident as the latest opinion poll which showed Haley way ahead of her closest rival.

Palin was the vice presidential candidate for the Republican Party in the last elections. Romney is considered to be one of the leading Republican Party presidential aspirants for the 2012 presidential elections.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely Republican primary voters shows Haley earning 30 percent support, followed by state attorney general Henry McMaster who picks up 19 percent, Congressman Gresham Barrett with 17 percent and Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer 12 percent of the vote.

The new findings mark a dramatic turn of events for Haley who ran fourth in March with just 12 percent support.

Daughter of a Punjabi Sikh immigrant from Amritsar, Namrata "Nikki" Randhawa Haley, if elected, would be the second Indian American governor after Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and the first Indian American woman to become the governor for an American State.

"I know, I am going to make this happen. I am going to win the race," Haley had told PTI in an interview a few months after she announced her decision to enter the race, despite several odds against her.

Nikki, 37, is currently a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.



Narain Karthikeyan

History was made in March as Narain Karthikeyan became the first ever Indian-born driver to compete in a NASCAR Series. Karthikeyan debuted in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series March 27 in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville, Va., Speedway. Driving the No. 60 SafeAuto Chevrolet Silverado, Karthikeyan finished in 13th place after staring in the 11th spot.

“This kind of racing is completely different from what I am used to, a lot of shoving and banging, but once I started running it felt good. My goal today was to stay out of trouble, finish the race and do the best that I could. I am very happy to have finished the race in the 13th spot,” said Karthikeyan following the race.

At the conclusion of the race, Starbeast Motorsports team owner Miguel Abaroa said, “We are very proud of him and the result he got today. To finish 13th out of 36 trucks at Martinsville in his first ever NASCAR race is incredible! We threw him to the wolves by starting him here and he responded very well. We couldn’t be more excited to have Narain representing Starbeast and we see a very bright future for him in NASCAR.”

At only half a miles in length, Martinsville Speedway is thought to be one of the toughest tracks on the circuit. The race track known as “The Paperclip” delivered its share of bumps and bruises to the NASCAR rookie. In Lap 114, Karthikeyan got caught up in a wreck but managed to avoid major damage. Lap 152 saw him scrap the inside of the backstretch wall while his truck got loose and was turned backward in Lap 200. Through it all, Karthikeyan sustained minimal damage and was able to continually press forward to gain track position.


Helping the Deaf

The Center for Early Intervention of Deafness was co-founded 30 years ago by Jill Ellis. What she faced then is very similar to what R.P. Singh, who has worked with deaf children at the Ardash School for 11 years in Amritsar, Punjab, is dealing with today.

“Deafness has often been referred to as the ‘invisible handicap,” says Ellis. “Young children are eager to learn and socialize with friends and family, but when they don’t hear normally, their interactions and abilities can be compromised. By identifying a loss early, and providing teachers and parents with information and support, we can reverse those delays and frustrations.”

Ellis recently participated in a seminar at the Amritsar-based Ardash School.

“Having the opportunity to present what CEID has accomplished over a six-day seminar was incredibly rewarding,” she said. “The audience included nearly 100 key physicians, nurses and teachers at the Ardash School, part of the Indian Pingalwara Trust in Amritsar, each anxious to learn more. Kim Burke-Giusti, CEID’s toddler teacher and staff member for nearly 25 years, and I were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm we saw both in the professionals and the children!”

“When I joined the organization,” said Singh, “there were just 250 kids at the Ardash School, and 16 who were deaf. Since then, the number of children has truly grown. Now there are 543 children; 63 in the School of the Deaf; 205 who are mentally handicapped; and 30 in the Vocational Training Program.” Taking this next step forward is very important to the Ardash School and the Indian Pingalwara Trust, he added.

“The purpose of creating a Sister City Project, partially funded by the Home of Hope, Inc., is to share cultural perspectives about deafness and educational opportunities for children who are deaf and hard of hearing,” he said.


Safety Campaign

The Telugu Association of North America has launched a massive public safety awareness campaign among community members living in the U.S., especially among the youths and students, in view of a series of murders and road accidents during the last year.

In the last year and a half as many as 30 deaths of Telugu people have been reported from various parts of the country, says the statistics compiled by TANA.

This includes 14 deaths in eight separate automobile accidents, five murders (three of them apparently by a family member), two suicides and two train accidents. In addition, a fire accident destroyed the possessions of 17 students.

"Today, TANA is launching a safety awareness campaign to prevent future incidents. A TANA Team is planning to visit various cities and universities in USA and Canada to conduct safety seminars for the NRI's especially for the students and the youth," the organization said in a press statement issued May 18.

Volunteers of TANA Emergency Assistance and Management Team (TEAM Square), that was formed in October 2008 and now has 200 members, have prepared brochures in Telugu and English with guidelines for safety. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," said Jayaram Komati, TANA president.

"TANA will prominently promote the safety related information in our Web site and through the media. We plan to distribute thousands of these brochures both in print and electronic mediums and make them widely available in US and India," he said.


Eyeing Guinness

Sai “Psychuck” Manapragada

An event of dance, music and business showcasing produced by Psymphony Inc., featured a dance and song finale in San Jose, Calif. May 16 where singer and musician Sai “Psychuck” Manapragada attempted a set a Guinness World Record with his rendering of the famous A.R. Rahman song “Maa Tujhe Salaam,” while the artists of Kriyaa Dance Academy rocked the stage with a pulsating dance. Psychuck himself wrote and sang the song in 150 languages which is scheduled the break the previous record by a wide margin.

Psymphony’s vice president of marketing Saileel Vijaykar said, “We have received an official Guinness World Records’ claim ID for this record-breaking attempt and (we) are awaiting the official adjudication from Guinness World Records.”

Attendees included San Jose commissioner Bob Gill; Narendra Pathak, Sunnyvale Library trustee and advisory board member for the Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; Sateesh Chilukuri, by-laws chairman, Telugu Association of North America; Manoj Empranthiri and Renuka Empranthiri, board members of Maitri Malayalam Community Organization; Sai Gundlavelli, CEO, Solix Inc.; Veeru Vuppala, joint secretary, TANA; Dilip Kondiparti, vice-chairman, SiliconAndhra; Raju Chamarthi, president, Silicon Andhra; Sriphani Vissamraju, CEO, YesSV Solar Power; Gopi Reddy, CEO, Channel Real Estates; and Manjeera Constructions representative Narsaiah Vadranam.


Photography Award

Namita Sutaria, a Houston, Texas-based amateur photographer, won second and third place in Steel City Art Works’ sponsored juried photographic exhibition in Pueblo, Colo.

Namita’s two entries in the “People” category titled Lajja and Kumbhar placed second and third place in this juried photographic exhibition. The exhibition continued through May 3 at Steel City Art Works in Pueblo.

Lajja means shyness and is a portrait composition of a Rajasthani woman. This photograph captures the beauty and expressions of a native Rajasthani woman.

Kumbhar means a clay potter in Gujarati and is a composition of two creative hands and clay on a turning wheel, in other words, a clay pot in the making.

Namita uses a digital SLR camera. Her favorite subjects are people (in primarily rural settings), flora, and architectural art. Being raised in two cultures (Indian heritage and United States), she has blended both worlds together. She is a Houston-based professional interior designer and a graphic artist. She owns and operates My Kreative Style where she designs and markets eastern and western stationery, wedding cards, and other print products.



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Cricket Tamasha:
The IPL Scandal

Hype, big money and now scandal — the Indian Premier League has it all, but purists lament that cricket has gotten lost in the shuffle. Priyanka Bhardwaj reports.

Undue Hardship:
New Visa Rules

A retroactive Indian visa rule regarding the surrender of Indian passports upon acquisition of U.S. citizenship puts undue burden on Indian Americans, writes Inder Singh.

Don’t Give it Currency:
The Yuan Debate

India should not become a party to the China-U.S. dispute over China’s under-valuation of its currency, writes Arvind Panagariya.

PROFILE: Minister Jairam Ramesh
SUBCONTINENT: Carbon Credit: Green India
IMMIGRATION: Hi-tech Green Card
THEATER: Naatak Presents Tughlaq
HERITAGE: Know India Program
ENVIRONMENT: Sustainable Mining
RECIPE: Sweet & Sour Stir Fry Veg
REAL ESTATE: Cause for Optimism? The Housing Market
TRAVEL: A Trip to Britain
AUTO REVIEW: 2011 Ford Fiesta
BOLLYWOOD: Hindi Film Review: Kites
TAMIL FILM: Kanagavel Kaakka
CINEMA: Bicycle Bride
COMMUNITY: News in Brief
BUSINESS: News Briefs
COMMUNITY: May Day Dance

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