Kirby Rambin

Host, The Boot

Kirby Rambin is a natural entertainer, having played violin since the age of 9 and performing publicly since he was just 12. As a teen, he performed with the Monroe Youth Symphony and the Louisiana All-State Orchestra.

After graduating from Rayville High School, he enrolled in the University of Louisiana Monroe and performed with both the Monroe Symphony Orchestra and the Brandon Community Orchestra in Brandon, Florida. He has studied under Ildiko Lusk, Ye Tao, and Christopher Thompson.

Kirby plays many genres, including: blues, jazz, traditional, Cajun, and country, all with a unique style inspired by his Louisiana Delta roots and his time playing at the Green Iguana Blues Jam in Tampa, Florida. He has performed at the Louisiana Catfish Festival, the Teddy Bear Festival, the Northeast Louisiana Food and Music Festival, and the Northeast Louisiana Music Awards, among many others.

Kirby also shares his gifts with violin students of all ages at GraceNote Music Academy, and served as Director of the Orchestra at the former Excellence Academy Charter Middle School for the Performing Arts in Monroe.

KEDM is a bit of a family tradition for Kirby. His grandfather helped bring the station to northeast Louisiana, and he is thrilled to be helping give a voice to our region.

Kirby currently lives in Monroe with his wife, Anna, who teaches AP Literature at Neville High School.

Ways to Connect

Strauss Theatre Center

Setting the tale of Huckleberry Finn to music, the Strauss Theatre's production of "Big River" debuts this weekend. The show marks the beginning of Strauss Theatre's 85th season.

Based on the the classic novel by Mark Twain, this musical follows the story of Huck Finn and his friend, the runaway slave Jim, as they attempt to flee up the Mississippi River to free the rest of Jim's family.

Anita Breen with the Strauss Theatre says that the play has help bring together actors of different races that might not have worked together otherwise.

Jay Curtis

Acclaimed songwriter, artist, author, and lecturer Bobby Bridger visits the University of Louisiana Monroe during the week of September 6-9.

Bridger says he developed his love of the West "by accident," and has turned that love into a diverse career.

"If you want to find something that's gonna keep you occupied for a long time -- the American West can do that," says Bridger. He goes on to describes the West as "wherever the tall grass grows." 

Ouachita Green

The Ouachita River is one of the defining natural characteristics of our area. All too often its scenic banks can be seen choked with litter. Ouachita Green hosts a Water Sweep on Saturday, September 10, to deal with this problem. 

Volunteers will meet at one of many staging site scattered along the river between the hours of 9 a.m and 12 p.m. Participants are welcomed to bring their boats, however, Coordinator Stuart Hodnett says that there is plenty that can be done by foot as well.

The Masur Museum

The Masur Museum hosts a reception for the new exhibit "Accalia and the Swamp Monster" by acclaimed Baton Rouge artist Kelli Scott-Kelley on Thursday, August 25 from 6 -8 p.m.

Kelley previously worked as a printmaker for sculptor James Surles, and has been a professor at Louisiana State University for over 16 years. This marks her first exhibit in the Masur. 

Museum Curator Ben Hickey describes the exhibit as "an autobiographical fairy tale."

"It's a little dark, it's a little dreamy, and it's very beautiful," says Hickey. 

An all too familiar sight in North Louisiana is abandoned pets on the roadside. Often, many people do not know how to help. 

The Union Parish Humane Society is partnering with the D'Arbonne Kayak Club to host an event called the Dog Paddle Kayak Race on Saturday, August 27 to benefit the Union Parish Humane society, and many animal shelters across southern Louisiana.

"We wanted to do something fun, but also something good for our community, and there are abused and neglected animals all over our parish," says Stephanie Hermann with the D'Arbonne Kayak Club.

louisianahelicam.com

With many north Louisiana resident still reeling from the floods earlier this year, the local chapter of the American Red Cross is working twice as hard to not only continue to serve our area,  but also help  the southern parishes in the wake of the current disastrous flooding.

Although the current flood has affected roughly the same number of parishes, nearly 4 times the number of homes have been affected, says Executive Director Michelle Davison.

Twitter.com / City of Monroe

The Bayou Black Open Rodeo comes the Monroe for the 16th year on Saturday August 20 at 7 p.m. in Monroe Civic Center Arena. The day begins with a parade starting at Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo at 9 a.m, and ending at the Civic Center.

Also in conjunction with the event, the Monroe Convention Center hosts a Business Expo and a Health Fair, at which local businesses and healthcare providers will distribute information to the public.

For the 7th year in a row, the Driven Desires Car, Truck, and Bike Show has not only entertains gear-heads across the area, but also supports the local chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The event takes place Saturday August 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Monroe Civic Center Arena.

"This event was started by my daughter,Megan Owens, who wanted to do something with her love of cars. We also had a family member with Muscular Dystrophy, so the MDA was already very close to our heart," says Driven Desires PR Manager Amy Owens.

battleofthebadgesmonroe.com

The friendly rivalry between police and firefighters in the area has grown into an event that for the past few years has drawn national attention.

The Battle of the Badges takes place Saturday, August 13 in the Fant-Ewing Coliseum. The event has became the largest event of its kind (per capita) in the country, with proceeds going to support MedCamps.

MedCamps is an organization that provides children who have severe health and developmental disabilities with a summer camps experience equivalent to that of other children.

The Wellspring

It is often too easy to turn a blind eye to the problems facing our community. Sexual assault is one issue that is chronically under-reported because victims often feel too scared or somehow responsible. The Wellspring is working to change this statistic through the use of volunteer advocates.

According to Wellspring statistics, 1 in 4 girls, and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted by their eighteenth birthday. In Ouachita Parish, the Wellspring receives eighty to ninety calls a year from victims.

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