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L.A. Beat

From the Editor's Desk

Library closed early due to weather

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The Main Branch of the Lethbridge Public Library will be closing at 5:30 p.m. today, December 3, 2013 Please note that due to continuing weather conditions, the Main Branch of the Lethbridge Public Library will close at 5:30 p.m. today. The Crossings Branch and the Bookmobile remain closed throughout the day.

—  Submitted


Crossing Branch library closed early due to storm

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The Crossings Branch Library will be closed at 4:30 p.m. today  Please note that due to drifting snow and weather conditions, The Crossings Branch Library in West Lethbridge will be closing this evening, Monday, December 2 at 4:30 p.m.  The Main Branch downtown will remain open until 9 p.m., weather permitting.

 The Bookmobile is also not running today.

— Submitted


Remember the veterans always

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While some people look at this weekend as a long weekend, with Remembrance Day happening on Monday,  it is a day that should be dedicated to remembering our veterans past and present.
 It is a day in which we should count our blessings and be thankful for the freedom to say and do pretty much whatever we want to without fatal consequences.
Remembrance Day is not a day to glorify war, but to think about the consequences and costs of war not so much in money, but more importantly in blood — in young lives lost way too soon. It's not just lives lost, but lives impacted and irrevocably changed by injuries and trauma resulting from the experience.

 My dad is a Second World War veteran, so while he, at 90-years old, still attends one of the many Remembrance Day services in Calgary, I always go to Lethbridge’s Remembrance Day Service at Exhibition Park first thing in the morning on Nov. 11. My dad doesn’t talk much about his experience as a gunner in a Lancaster Bomber during the war. He will sometimes recall the cramped conditions thousands of Canadian soldiers endured on the ship they took over to Europe, but he doesn’t mention his friends who died in the war or any wartime experiences. When we visit the cemetery back home he’ll mention he knows more people there than he does people still living. There are faded gravestones of veterans there — their names slowly being ground away by time and the elements, but they should not be forgotten.

 Remembrance Day is a day to remember the ever dwindling number of Second World War veterans , as I don’t think there are any First World War veterans still surviving, but also veterans of the First World War, the Korean War, peacekeepers and veterans of ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Lethbridge music scene mourns Randy Shaver and James ‘DJ Booda’ Nishima

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It has been a terrible week for Lethbridge’s music community. Two stalwart pillars of the community have passed away this week way too young — Randy Shaver and James ‘DJ Booda’ Nishima.

James Nishima, best known as DJ Booda passed away suddenly Aug 28. He will be missed by a lot of people. He inspired numerous local performers and basically kickstarted Lethbridge’s hip hop scene. In addition to being a fantastic  DJ, he was not afraid to dream. He brought in a variety of high profile acts including well known rappers like D12, Riff Raff, Deezuz, Randy Shaver playing at Bigwood in 2010. Photo by Richard AmeryMadchild, Swollen Members, Moka Only, Kyprios, Snoop Dogg, just to name a few. He also brought in up and coming rockers like Dragonette and well known names like 54-40, Matthew Good, Finger Eleven and Gob. In doing so he brought a taste of the big city excitement to our small town. And by doing so thumbed his nose at those who would denigrate Lethbridge as Deathbridge.

As any local concert promoter knows, it takes cajones of stone to put on a show in Lethbridge because you never know if people will show up in last minute Lethbridge. Booda knew this and while I’m sure he had his moments of self doubt — moments where he almost decided to quit, fortunately for us he didn’t. Lethbridge is better for it.

He probably lost his shirt on a couple of his shows. I have been to many of his shows in which I couldn’t believe there were so few people in the room and I’d been to to others where there were so many people I couldn’t breathe. But at each one, Booda was there at the door to greet me with a big smile and welcoming arms. And always, the entertainment was fantastic. Booda knew how to put on a party. I had the pleasure of interviewing him a couple times. He was always genial, friendly and most of all excited. His excitement was contagious.

He was an unbelievably hard worker, he had four big shows of all different genres ready to go in September and October alone — Gob with Sophmore Jakes, Sept. 20-, Twiztid with Blaze Ya Dead and Aqualeo, Sept. 21 Sloan on Sept. 26 and The Cancer Bats and Bat Sabbath on Oct. 5. Madchild of Swollen Members is returning to Lethbridge, Sept. 25 to play a memorial show for Booda at Studio 54.
  I never really appreciated rap music until his shows gave me the opportunity to interview some of the biggest names in the business. No matter who it was, they would invariably rave about how great it was to work with Booda. He expanded mine a lot of people’s musical horizons. His death leaves a huge void which will take some big shoes to fill.
A celebration of James Nishima has been scheduled for this Thursday, Sept. 5 at 2 p.m at Martin Bros Funeral Chapel 610 4th street S, Lethdridge AB T1J 4P3

Randy Shaver

 Local musician Randy Shaver passed away last week way too young, at only 43.
 Randy was one of the first people I met when I started covering music in Lethbridge for the Meliorist. He was also one of the first people I met when I moved back here, I was excited to still see him playing around town.

The early days were days when I was still a little awestruck by people in bands. I’d seen him play with his band Tinker’s Damn a couple times, then one day he showed up and hung out with all the new “res rats” at  one of the beginning of year get togethers in the university of Lethbridge residences. He sat quietly by himself. I didn’t speak to him then, being very shy and, like I said, awestruck.

 I’d go see him play with Tinker’s Damn countless times over the next four and a half years, I’d interview him and them several times. I wrote numerous articles about him and the band and took countless pictures of them. I was even the judge in a several band wars back in the day when they were among the competitors.


Salem Abraha will be remembered fondly by the Lethbridge music scene

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You never truly appreciate somebody until they’re gone.
 The Lethbridge music scene lost a prominent member of the community on the weekend as Salem Abraha passed away on Saturday from cancer.

 I didn’t know Salem well. He waSalem Abraha playing a benefit for Murray Nelson. Photo by Richard Amerys was playing solo recently, but I first got to know him when I first moved to back to  Lethbridge as part of the Ben Brown Trio.

I was immediately impressed. You never know someone as well as you’d like. We had many a chat at the countless community events and open mics he was  part of. He was always funny, very friendly, approachable, upbeat and always easygoing.

While fighting cancer, his attitude was inspiring. Anytime I saw him perform I was always blown away by his voice — a beautiful, very much pop inspired tenor. He played stunningly beautiful guitar. And he played a lot. So much so, that unfortunately he was one of the performers who I passed on seeing for other gigs. After all, there will always be next time. Right?  Unfortunately not. Sometimes there is no next time.

Because you never know. He was so young,  you always expect another gig from someone so young and exuding so much talent. I will always cherish the little time I was able to spend with Salem, and any time I  was able to hear him play and sing. He hosted open mics all over the city at the Black Tomato Lounge, Bar One and lately Bo Diddly’s. I would almost always see him playing open mics at the Owl Acoustic Lounge and the Slice. He’d welcome anyone on stage with him, even me. Though I never took him up on it. I didn’t want to follow such a magnificent voice.

 The last time I saw him was about a month ago,  I thought he looked well.  I thought he had beaten cancer once and for all.  I told him I looked forward to hearing him again. Unfortunately it was not meant to be.

It has been a tough year for the community, with other prominent faces like Murray Nelson suffering a heart attack, George Arsene undergoing serious surgery and Tom Dooley suffering from a construction accident.
The last time I saw Salem play was at a fundraiser at the Slice for Murray Nelson, put on by  a new group in town called the Harmony Foundation, whose goal is to help musicians in the community undergoing health issues.

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